Several years ago, I sought to add another product to my publishing business. I looked at options and considered alternatives. Two possibilities rose to the top. I began investigating both, planning to pursue whichever path opened up first. Instead, they did. So, I embarked on two nearly simultaneous publication launches: AnswerStat magazine (addressing medical call centers) and Answer Plus Newsletter (for telephone answering services).
AnswerStat is an advertiser-supported magazine, in which ad revenues cover the production and distribution costs; it is a model in which I take all the risks (I could lose money — and have on a few issues — or realize a profit, which are beginning to occur on a somewhat regular basis). In contrast, Answer Plus Newsletter was a custom publication in which a sponsor covered all the costs. In this endeavor, my risks were minimal and a modest profit was ensured. (AnswerStat is still going strong, but I pulled the plug on Answer Plus after two issues.)
Launching both simultaneously was a confusing challenge. I was forever getting the two confused, as each had different requirements, goals, and expectations. This would result in things being overlooked or double-checked. I asserted that I would never again make the mistake to two simultaneous product launches — it is just too bewildering.
Fast forward seven years and I did it again. After years of being a “future” project, I recently launched TAS Trader, an e-publication. (It is laid out like a printed newsletter, but distributed electronically.) It is an advertiser-supported publication. Right on its heels was another “someday” project, an e-newsletter, Medical Call Center News. It is supported by a sponsor.
Although neither is printed and both rely on email for connect with readers, the similarities end there. Their design is different, their cost structures are different, their distribution is different, the revenue models are different, and their supporting websites are different.
So, guess what? It was a confusing challenge. So much so, that I’ll never again launch two products at the same time. Really.