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How to reinvent the women’s magazine industry by Womanthology’s Fiona Tatton

If you could create your own magazine, what would it be about? What would it look like? Who would it feature?

Fiona Tatton was frustrated by gender stereotypes in the media, so she decided it was time for a change and she set about creating her own magazine.

Womanthology is the result. An uplifting digital magazine that celebrates female passion and purpose at work, Fiona is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help her reach more people and share more stories of women (and men) who believe that gender balance isn’t just the ‘right’ thing to do, it’s the ‘smart’ thing to do.

We first met Fiona when she took part in ECUK’s Let’s Go Live: Publishing event in June, where we created a magazine live within three hours. To understand a bit more about her mission and goals for Womanthology we took some time out with the Founder and Editor-in-Chief to find out what the start up of a new publication involves day-to-day. 

DB: First things first, what is an editor-in-chief?

FT: I set up Womanthology myself, so, whilst it sounds like a grand job title, it’s not actually quite so grand in reality. As well as having all the responsibility for the magazine and getting to make decisions about content, I also do most of the day to day editing of text and images. As I’m sharing other people’s stories and wisdom a lot of what I do is about curating them, and helping people put their own ideas out there. The contributors are the magazine.

 

DB: What does a typical day look like?

FT: Life is always a bit of an adventure when you’re an entrepreneur. Some days I’m head down at my desk, up to my eyes in copy. Others days I’m out and about attending networking events, learning new skills from new people. There is nothing like setting up a business to make you realise that there’s always someone else who knows more than you about a particular area. I like to think that I’m able to pay it forward to share some of my knowledge with people who are where I was a year or two back. It’s still relatively new.

 

DB: What made you decide to crowdfund and how does it work?

FT: I decided on a rewards-based campaign because it’s a perfect way of tapping into your existing networks. Very often with the start-ups I see it’s a relatively modest amount that will make all the difference to allow expansion. It’s still a bit of a grey area for many people so I thought a campaign seemed like a good way of learning by doing. You offer ‘perks’ that backers choose and the proceeds go towards your campaign. You have to keep tabs on your costings as you have to factor these in carefully.

DB: Meals out – or desk-time packed lunches?

FT: If I’m working at home then I try to make myself take some sort of break at lunchtime, so I’ll quite often be on the phone and the oven bleeper will go off whilst I’m deep in conversation. If I’m out and about and it’s lunchtime then I’m usually grabbing a bite on the go, or I’m meeting someone, so I try to pick things that are easy to eat in between sentences.

DB: Best / worst part of the job?

FT: The best part of the job is to look at what I’ve built up from scratch myself. It’s never been easy but without the struggles you can never really appreciate the triumphs. The worst part of the job is when I get to the end of a long day and there’s been a problem I couldn’t solve, or I’ve not made the progress I wanted. When you set up your own business you have to be prepared for days like that though…

DB: Best tricks of the trade?

FT: One of my favourite tools is Canva, the website that allows you to create your own designs. It’s so accessible and intuitive to use. (It’s also co-founded by a woman!) I don’t think it will ever replace designers – it just allows you to create images and graphics that probably wouldn’t have existed before if you’re a start-up without the budget for a designer. You can even edit designs on your mobile phone if you need to as well.

DB: After work pursuits?

FT: It’s usually more on weekends, but I love to blow away the cobwebs with a bike ride out in the Peak District. Glorious sunshine (but not too hot) is my favourite weather. I’m not one of these all-weather types though.

DB: Best tip for work/life balance?

FT: I think if you’re going to run your own business you have to set some boundaries for yourself. There will be times when you are working round the clock to get something done, but you have to balance this out. Because I work with international contributors I can often start a bit later because the US is several hours behind, for example. Australia can require more effort as they’re further ahead, but I try to make time differences work with me, rather than against me nowadays. I’m not perfect but I’m getting better.

For more from Fiona on her mission behind Womanthology read here. 

To donate to Womanthology’s crowdfunding campaign click here.

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