The Power of Seven
There is nothing more fun than celebrating a special birthday with lots of chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream, so I’m doing that today. I will blow out seven candles and happily acknowledge another successful year for Houston Woman Magazine.
I will also reflect on its beginning.
I have often said, “Houston Woman Magazine was launched only after I gave in to dozens of not-so-subtle nudges and too many not-to-be-ignored events.
When the idea of a magazine like this came to me, I no longer viewed starting a new publication as a dream job. I had played the role of publisher/entrepreneur twice before and had already spent nearly 20 years dealing with the challenges of attracting loyal advertisers and readers.
I knew the industry I loved was changing fast, and I wasn’t sure how the changes would impact even the most conservative business plan. I had enough experience to know: starting a new publication would be difficult.
But, the nudges and events continued. I started viewing them as Divine interventions — the kind I wanted to ignore.
Even so, in early September 2001, I decided to find out if the name Houston Woman Magazine was available. A young woman in the DBA office looked it up on her computer and said, “I’m sorry; the name is taken.”
Relieved, I walked out of her office, jumped in the car and drove directly to Starbucks. I wanted to celebrate the good news — with a Venti Mocha Frappuccino. (At jubilant times, it’s okay to give in to forbidden calories.)
Thirty minutes later I walked through the front door of my home and was greeted by the sound of a ringing phone. On the other end of the line was the young woman from the DBA office. She was calling to tell me she had made a mistake. The name WAS available!
(Just that week I had requested Southwestern Bell to change my residential phone number from unlisted to listed. Otherwise, that dedicated young woman would never have located me.)
Reluctantly, I drove back to the county annex and, with major reservations, filed the necessary papers and claimed the name. I drove home thinking: What am I doing? By the next morning, I had concluded: It’s fate. It’s God’s will. I’m supposed to publish Houston Woman Magazine.
So, I got busy.
I rented a post office box for the new business. I sent out notices to dozens of nonprofits and women’s organizations inviting them to send their press releases to Houston Woman Magazine. I got price quotes from printers and graphic designers. I talked to free-lance writers. I even came up with pricing for the advertising I would have to pre-sell to launch a new publication.
Then, on September 11 – while watching the morning news – I saw a plane hit the first tower of the World Trade Center. Within minutes I saw the second plane hit the second tower. For days, I did nothing but watch TV. My focus, like everyone else’s, was on the horror of the tragedy.
Needless to say, I opted not to launch Houston Woman Magazine right then. Timing is everything and, all of a sudden, the timing was totally wrong.
About two years later, in the fall of 2003, I began to take note of new nudges and new coincidences. All seemed to be encouraging me to turn around and look back at my old idea. So, even though I knew how hard it would be, I finally said, “Okay, I’ll do it!” And, by early 2004, the first issue of Houston Woman Magazine was rolling off the press.
From the beginning, the mission of this publication has been to inform, inspire, celebrate and connect successful women. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe we’ve been doing it now for seven great years!
So, today, as I recognize this milestone, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to HWM’s beloved readers. Without you all, the Number Seven would never have become so significant!