This January, FAMILY Magazine published my personal story of how I started FAMILY Magazine back in 1991. When I meet new people they are always interested in how I started the magazine. Our 20th Anniversary celebration launched in January so we thought it would be a good time to tell the story of FAMILY Magazine. Let me know if you find it interesting.
Profile Brenda M. Hyde
Publisher & CEO
FAMILIES Magazines, Inc.
Back in 1991, I was frustrated when I could not find a children’s shoe store for my four kids. This annoying situation made me realize that the Washington metropolitan area lacked a good resource for busy moms. So, with the support of my husband, I set out to create a magazine that would guide parents to resources and publish insightful articles.
Now, after 20 years of publishing, I have had the honor of helping parents and advertisers alike. I will never forget the first time a mother told me she was able to help her child with a learning disability because of an article FAMILY published. Or the time a small business owner thanked me for helping them increase their sales. These reaffirming stories inspire me to work hard every day.
Today, FAMILY Magazine helps more parents and supports more business than ever before. We have the largest circulation in the Mid-Atlantic region, and we have won many awards for our magazine. But, most importantly, parents tell us they keep our magazine for over two years because the information and resources are priceless to them.
I would like to take the credit for these successes, but that would just be in vain. Over the years, I have hired some true visionaries. Most of the time these visionaries arrive with babies on their hips, but they come to me with the desire to grow intellectually and fiscally.
However, there is one visionary who has been by my side for the start: My husband of 30 years. He believed in my vision from the very beginning, and he gave me sound advice from the start. He said, “Brenda, this idea needs a detailed business plan.” The plan has served me well, and the habit of planning in detail has come in handy hundreds of times.
In 2010, planning has been my focus. We developed a plan to expand our vision to include both traditional and online marketing strategies. This new vision encouraged us to update the magazine and transform our website. At times, all this planning was challenging, but I have gained precious insights on how to communicate with parents today and develop brand awareness in the marketplace.
Communicating with parents today is different than it was 20 years ago, but I have found parents are still talking about the same issues—such as safety, education, and enrichment.
Getting in front of parents to build brand awareness is a challenge for any small business. It requires consistency, effective advertising vehicles and hard work. In my experience, running a successful small business is part elbow grease and part showmanship. I have pulled countless all nighters, heard thousands of interesting stories, and spoken in front of hundreds of people. Operating a small business is hard work, but it’s full of rewards.
If you’re a mom whose goal is to start her own business, my advice is to find your passion, learn all you can about it, and work hard. My dad use to tell me, “Find your passion in life. It does not matter what you do as long as you are willing to do it for free. You can be a garbage collector or President of the United States. If you would do it for free, then whatever you get paid and however hard it is, you will never work another day in your life.”
That advice from my father has served me well, but the advice I would share as a mother and grandmother is: Don’t forget your kids. Play with them every chance you get. Play more and then play some more again. The memories you create with them will build a castle for the future.
Creating a future with your spouse is equally important. Keeping a good marriage is extremely difficult and you have to work at it. I’ve found that supporting your spouse’s life dreams and learning a hobby together are two of the best ways to keep a marriage strong. These simple gestures are invaluable and will go a long way.
All in all, the FAMILY Magazine’s vision remains the same as it was in the very beginning; to connect parents to the best resources and businesses that will aid them in the great adventure of raising children in our Nation’s Capital.