When Nicky and I met in 2017, I knew we were going to get on like a house on fire. Our daughters were friends in the same class and we got chatting after a play date was set up for the kids. 

With my background in journalism and Nicky’s in graphic design, we had plenty to talk about – and found ourselves becoming firm friends.

Then when the opportunity to launch a new community magazine arose late last year, Nicky and I immediately thought of each other.

We were both working as freelancers (I had just left my job as the editor of a travel magazine) and Nicky was keen to get her teeth stuck into an exciting new project. It seemed like a great idea – one that we could both be passionate about and where we could utilise our creative skills.

Life since December last year has been busy to say the least. Who knew just how much was involved in starting a brand new magazine from scratch?

But just a quick look at our Trello dashboard (note to small businesses: if you work as part of a small team, Trello is fabulous for keeping you organised!) shows just how much we’ve done in a short space of time…

Here are just a few things we’ve managed to achieve in the last month…

  • Come up with the magazine name (we initially wanted Orpington Life but there were plenty of community magazines by this name and the url was also taken!)
  • Set up social media (this was of course dependent on the name of the magazine too)
  • Create a logo
  • Design and create a website from scratch
  • Write up the copy for the website
  • Take pictures for the website, edit and upload
  • Take pictures for social media (an ongoing process naturally)
  • Link emails and social media accounts to website
  • Sign up to Mailchimp and design templates for the newsletters (are you a resident of Orpington? Sign up to the monthly newsletter to get informed about what’s happening locally plus any special notices or announcements!)
  • Work out how much money we need to bring in to break even and then start making a profit (after printing, distribution, website and CRM costs etc)
  • Decide on our rates and packages
  • Research useful contacts (community contacts such as schools, churches, charities etc) and then contact them to tell them about the magazine and ask them to submit their information. This is ongoing of course and many companies first have to seek approval from head office, but we’re getting there. (ps If you’re a community business or organisation – a school, charity, church, town hall etc – sign up to receive the monthly community newsletter)
  • Design and launch email signature
  • Set up a business bank account
  • Sign up for Google Analytics
  • Decide on an invoicing system and sign up
  • Decide on a CRM system and sign up
  • Decide on the editorial content for Life In Orpington and write up all the pages
  • Decide on the editorial/advertising ratio for Life In Orpington
  • Decide on what editorial we’ll cover and design all the pages for Life In Orpington

Lauretta and Nicky - founders of Life In Orpington

But while we’ve come a long way, there is still so much to do for the magazine. We still have to order our business cards, get our business mobile phones, decide on our distribution area, firm up printing quotes and deadlines – and of course – spread the word about our new magazine and how fab it’s going to be.

Nicky and I are both passionate about living in Orpington – and that’s why we decided on the tag ‘Live, Love, Life…Locally’ for Life In Orpington magazine.

It sums up everything that we want to promote – celebrating the best of Orpington and its surrounding area – and (hopefully) evoking a real sense of community amongst residents.

We’re so excited about our new business venture  – and have to keep reminding ourselves how great it is to love your job and be passionate about what we do.

Here’s hoping some of that enthusiasm will be shared as we continue to spread the word.

Next month we’re going to press (we still can’t believe it!), so we’ll be covering what we’ve done in the run-up to the big day!