How We Got to 200 Issues of Our Newsletter

Oh my!  I can’t believe we’ve actually published two hundred issues!

I still remember a friend questioning whether I’d have the discipline to commit to kicking a new newsletter out every week.  HA.  (If only I could remember who it was so I could forward this to them! Guess my mom will have to due.)  Thankfully, having someone second guess our abilities is sometimes the best inspiration for us to step up to the plate. This newsletter is one example of that for me. 200 issues is a milestone I never fathomed we’d reach. (After all, in grade school I couldn’t get homework assignments in on time for my life!)  But when I realize how much information like this would have helped me get further, faster, not to mention feel infinitely more confident along the way, I couldn’t help but keep it going.  I still marvel at the millions of young people and even more established people who simply don’t have the support and resources they need to succeed.  That is the mission behind this.

The goal of this newsletter has always been to provide tips, tricks, tools and resources for building your career and businesses. My original dream was for it to be very edutainment oriented – educational, but entertaining, cool, accessible and engaging.  While I’m never one to settle and have this bad habit of constantly wanting to innovate and evolve, even now, I couldn’t be more proud of this body of work.  200 issues and somewhere in the ball park of 3 million copies sent first via snail mail and today email and RSS.  Wow.  My next goal is to get to 5 million sent a year.  I’ll definitely need your help for that!  🙂

Speaking of help, building a newsletter archive like this would have been impossible without an extraordinary team.  I could never have done it my own – especially with this frequency, level of detail, all the rich content, substance and technology involved.  Just as the newsletter has evolved and matured over time, so has our team and contributors.

As I thought about this issue over the past week, I couldn’t help but marvel over all of the dedicated people who’ve worked so hard for us to make this possible.

I’ll never forget our very first issue.  It was about 1993 or 94.  I was running the Young Entrepreneurs Network “aka World Headquarters” out of my first apartment in Boston.  A sophomore in college.  My “staff” was made up of about a dozen volunteers who interned for me when I myself was just 19.  Jolina Cuaresma was the very first.  Elizabeth, the first journalism student intern eventually became an Associated Press writer.  The newsletter was called Visions and printed on a cool gray speckled paper in black and white.  (So 80s chic!)  Bonnie Drew who has written extensively for Young Money and Young Entrepreneur Magazine wrote one of the first articles, as did Jennifer Iannolo who still works with us on projects but is a big online star in her own right.  Her first article with us, was actually her very first article about food and entertaining ever!  It was called Move Over Martha.  You should see where she is now.

A few years later we upgraded the print version when Ernst & Young wanted to launch a “young entrepreneur” category for their Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and asked for our help.  They were our first sponsor.  We helped them get the word out to the most successful young business owners out there and even nominated the first national winner! (Apparently that helped Ray Sozzi since he was just taking his internet company, Student Advantage, public.  He ended up with a billion dollar market cap too!  One of the first young companies I’d ever heard of to do that.)

After a few bumps in the road, and a few dark periods, we eventually went online, our new company Young & Successful Media took over, and then later YSN.  Ben Kyan and Cortney Sellers were pivotal  in the early years and taught me how to wrap our content and new technologies around a thriving community.  Ian Young, still a great friend of ours kicked out a lot of issues for us when we re-launched as Young & Successful.   Then our first full time director of content was hired.  You’ll recognize Jovie Baclayon from many of our most popular pieces still!  Katie Ketchum kicked in after for a bit, before turning things over to be run almost entirely by Monique Peltz, who most of you already know and love.  Most recently, she’s done a stellar job getting it all upgraded yet again, and is completely dedicated to keeping it up to date with new posts coming out daily now!  It’s sooooo much work, you can’t imagine, but so worth it when we see how well you all respond.  (Speaking of, keep the comments coming!)  And if it weren’t for our beloved Jennifer Iannolo, god only knows how far behind we would be on the latest and greatest of technologies and platforms.  She’s  a real gem.  I must give a shout out to Blue Sky Factory too, one of our favorite vendors of all time.  As far as email marketing goes, these guys are tops, and an absolute pleasure to work with.  (No wonder Chris Penn made that his new home!)  Lastly, our contributors – too many over the years to all mention – but you can now learn more about them on the site  and even consider becoming one yourself.  Thank you for sharing your time, your experiences and your expertise.

So, that’s our story.  Our evolution.  Now that we’ve hit our groove, expect more good things to come.  And thank you from the bottom of our hearts for so enthusiastically welcoming us into your inboxes every week for all these years.  As we always say, your success truly is our business.  Thank you for making our business a success along the way too.