Office Job to Magazine Success: an interview with TLL’s Founder

5 min read
Watb Team
Theresa Onley, founder of The Lifestyle Library

Graham from Watb interviews Theresa, owner of The Lifestyle Library magazine who tells us all about what it’s like to move from a full time comfortable and well-paid home office job, to following your dreams and starting your own business.

Theresa also gives us the secret to networking, and how she managed to secure content from celebs such as Joe Wicks of Lean in 15, and Tips on losing weight from Olympian Jamie Baulch.

Can you tell us a little about The Lifestyle Library?

The Lifestyle Library is an online community and magazine aimed at people interested in Beauty & Lifestyle, Health & Fitness and Travel & Wellbeing. We pride ourselves on our ethos of bringing REAL content to REAL people by telling things how they are and not being swayed or influenced by being paid to promote products and services. We have a monthly digital magazine, and a print version.

The Lifestyle Library on iPhone

What have been some of the challenges in creating The Lifestyle Library brand?

From a personal perspective, although I have had 20 years’ experience in media, it has always been in B2B, recruitment and HR. I have had to learn a whole new industry and get to grips with the consumer marketplace without having any contacts at all – I very much started from scratch. It’s also such a competitive market!

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone looking to start their own business, in an industry they haven’t got much experience in, what would it be?

I think having passion and believing in what I’m doing has helped me a lot. It’s important to be flexible and have an open mind to look at options you didn’t think of when starting with your initial business ideas. Of course, having a great team of people behind you that you can rely on is also super important.

As a magazine, producing great content is key to engaging readers. How have you found the time to put out so much content?

If I’m honest, I never have enough time. It’s taken lots of hours and sadly having no life other than The Lifestyle Library to get the magazine off the ground. I am always looking to meet new people in the industry as one thing I’ve learnt is to lean on people as much as you can – it’s surprising how many people genuinely want to help!

Much of your content is curated by well-known celebs. How have you managed to secure such great content contributors?

By having passion and a story to tell. Again, it’s amazing how many people genuinely care and want to get involved in something that has passion and believes in a good cause (for us it’s being authentic and true to our messaging). It’s also a bit of luck with the contacts that I’ve made.

What was the transition like from working full time and running TLL, to full time on TLL? How did you know the time was right, and how did you cope with the change?

The transition was the hardest thing for me. I was in a very well-paid job in London, as a director of a company. I worked from home most days so had it good compared to a lot of people. For me it was exciting to do something different and through TLL I was challenging myself, which is what I needed.

I then realised that people loved what TLL was all about and so decided to go part time and give it go to test the water. After 6 months of running the magazine part time, I needed to make a decision on whether to make the leap or not – TLL was getting busier and needed more time spent on it and my job was demanding too… so something had to give.

going from a comfortable, nice life to not earning, and working all the hours. I was sacrificing the nicer things in life.

It was a huge risk – going from a comfortable, nice life to not earning, and working all the hours. I was sacrificing the nicer things in life. It took me a few months to decide to make the leap but once I did (although scary) I haven’t looked back. It’s still early days for TLL but if all else fails then I have learnt a whole lot of new skills I never knew I had – something I can take into anything I do in the future.

Any final advice for business owners looking to build an online magazine?

Don’t expect it to happen overnight. I’m the most impatient person there is and I have had to learn that good things take time. Follow your dream, believe, and hopefully all will work out. Reach out to like-minded people and don’t be afraid to ask for help. But most of all enjoy the roller coaster of a ride…that keeps on going!

What’s next for The Lifestyle Library?

We have just agreed to have our magazine in the UK airports which is a big step. We are continuing to build the brand and get it out there as much as possible, listen to our audience and expand into events from October 2017.

We are always looking to hear from people who want to get involved or anyone interested in networking opportunities, including possible mentor opportunities. If it sounds of interest, I can be reached on theresa@thelifestylelibrary.com

www.thelifestylelibrary.com

Theresa, owner of The Lifestyle Library

Social Media Management Software

In order to promote your business and reach consumers that spend an entire 24 hours a week online, you need to make sure that you have a viable social media strategy in place.

By posting unique and interesting content on your social media platforms, and by actively engaging with followers, you can start to turn this into a funnel for generating leads.

In order to stay on top of your social media strategy, it’s important to have some form of social media management software to do some of the heavy lifting. Software such as this is imperative for scheduling, tracking and monitoring social media content.

At its best, social media management software can help you not only plan your content months in advance, but also remain reactive by letting you tune into ongoing news stories or trending topics.

Screenshot of Hootsuite's homepage

We recommend: Hootsuite

There are a whole bunch of social media management companies out there and all of them offer roughly the same sort of package but Hootsuite is the only one that offers an actually free service (as opposed to just a free trial period).

They do try to hide it on their website though so make sure you follow this link in order to get to the right page.

The free version of this software lets you:

  • Manage up to three social media profiles from a choice of channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
  • Schedule up to 30 posts in advance at any point in time
  • Track follower growth, likes and comments
  • Integrate two RSS feeds in order to find and share compelling content
  • Access Hootsuite’s online help center and community forum

Of course, there’s also a number of paid-for packages that you can buy from Hootsuite that give you access to a great number of services including higher ad spend budgets, automated post scheduling and custom analytics.

But if you’re a small business looking to get started, the free version of the software should be comprehensive enough to allow you to get your social media strategy in motion.

Website Tracking Software

We’ve said before that the secret to a successful lead generation strategy is to keep analysing and refining your methods. Well, website tracking software is the best way to conduct this analysis.

By digging into the analytics of your visitors’ actions, you can start to gain a better picture of why people come to your site, what they want from it, what they dislike about it and how you can improve upon their experience next time.

There are a wide variety of services that can fall into the category of website tracking software, including heatmaps, funnels, user polls, surveys, visitor recordings and more.

Basically, any kind of software that collects data about the ways in which your visitors interact with your site can be considered website tracking software.

Screenshot of Hotjar's homepage

We recommend: Hotjar

Whereas there are a multitude of smaller software companies that focus in on just one website tracking service, Hotjar offers an array of useful tools.

Hotjar tools include:

  • Click, move, scroll, download and share heatmaps that can also be split by device type
  • Visitor recordings that allow you to replay sessions of real site visitors
  • Conversion funnels that identify on which page and at which step the most visitors are leaving your site
  • Form analysis that can help you to discover which fields take too long to fill, which are left blank and why your visitors abandon your form and page
  • A customizable widget that allows you to create pop-up feedback polls
  • Responsive surveys that can be distributed through web links and emails, or featured your site just before your visitors abandon the page in order to discover what their concerns are
  • The ability to recruit test users in order to get instant feedback on your site

Hotjar’s free service is able to collect data from 2000 page views a day and will give you access to up to 300 visitor recordings and 3 heatmaps, forms, funnels, polls and surveys. Unlimited users can be added to your account and Hotjar will also store your data for a full year.

While we’d normally recommend free services when possible, it’s probably worth paying for Hotjar’s Plus plan to begin with.

For just under £25 a month you can collect data from 10,000 page views a day and have unlimited services and reports. Plus there’s even a 15-day free trial for you to test out whether you like their software or not.

Remember

Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour.

What’s important is that you put real effort into all of your interactions with potential leads - whether that’s through educational and informative blog posts, social media interactions or even just a chat on the phone.

If you believe in your business’ ability to help its customers then all you have to do is let that shine through.

Ultimately, these tools are just there to help you meet potential leads on their level. The rest is up to you.

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