A while ago I was looking at the best in digital magazines to get ideas for a magazine I wanted to launch.

I stumbled across a beautifully designed  entrepreneurship and lifestyle magazine called The Collective and fell in love.

It was not only amazing in design and content, but it was produced digitally and in print - and I could tell it was run by people who knew what they were doing in business.

I had to know who was behind it.

That's how I discovered Lisa Messenger. She is the genius behind The Messenger Group, the media company that produces The Collective magazine and the events that have followed the brand.

She is a genius of marketing and  building community, as you can tell by the rapid rise to success of her magazine that is only 2 years old.

But what I didn't know until I interviewed her on my podcast was that she is also a  master of hustle.

I honestly felt like I was talking to my sister-in-business as we discussed our viewpoints on what it takes to make it in a crowded industry (starting from nothing).

I loved Lisa's energy, perspective, and stories and I didn't want to end the interview.

What really fascinated me about Lisa's success was that she chose a highly competitive, and what some would say has-been, field to launch her big idea - magazines. Yet she has built a successful digital and print magazine in just a couple of years (without going into debt!) and also runs events that bring together the readership community, sponsors, and influencers.

How did this happen? 

The platform you choose is irrelevant; it's the message that counts.

That's Lisa's secret. And that's why extremely great design and content has been a cornerstone of the magazine since its beginnings.

As Lisa explained, design and delivery make people want to be associated with you. Once she got just one or two A-list celebrities on the cover (through her own network and hustle), publicists started calling her to have their clients featured. Who doesn't want to be featured on a gorgeous platform that other high-profile people have appeared on?

This really inspired  me since I see so many entrepreneurs talking about whatever the hot new platform and how important it is to be present on the right one.

In actuality, as Lisa confirmed, the content and user experience of your message will speak much louder than the platform you promote it on.

Of course, it doesn't hurt to show up on the popular platform of the day, but if you have a vision that will work best on a non-trending platform, it's still okay to pursue it.

Going along with this idea, Lisa cautioned that so many people get attached to a specific outcome rather than accepting the process. If your goal is to become the #1 resource for your industry and you believe that the only way to do that is to follow the path that others have taken to get there, you are probably missing out on the biggest opportunities available. Being open to doing things differently, sometimes very differently, is a theme I picked up from Lisa's success story.

If you're on the fence about whether or not to go off the beaten path with your product/brand idea, Lisa's advice is to pre-sell everything. For example, when she was calculating the numbers before she launched her magazine, she saw that advertising dollars alone were not going to support her vision of what she wanted the publication to be.

Instead, she decided to go a novel route and pre-sell bulk orders of the magazine to big businesses, like banks, who could use them as gifts, etc. for their clients.

She went door to door to the heads of these businesses and pitched her idea. She finally found a huge bank that said yes, and she got the funds to start the magazine without selling a single ad.

This is the power of pre-selling your product (something I'm a huge fan of as well). You not only get to vet your idea before prospective clients to see if it's desirable, but you can get the cash up front to make your idea happen.

That's the kind of hustle Lisa Messenger thrives on to this day. And she's just getting going.

Published on: Feb 11, 2016