Jennifer Reitman, founder of DAME Magazine
21 Jan 2018
Founder: Jennifer Reitman
Business Name: DAME Magazine
Equallet Business Page: DAME Magazine
Tells Us About Your Business: DAME is a news and culture website, delivering sharp, incisive takes on issues that impact women and their allies. But we’re not another “women’s site.” Our reportage transcends the confines of existing mainstream women’s media, resonating with men and women, alike.
Founder's Journey: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I started my first business when I was in my late 20’s. I had been working for a music magazine in Los Angeles, and it was the heady days of dot com launches (the late 90’s). The internet was very different then, and our business model was to create print magazines for online companies to attract audiences. That business grew into a full service digital agency, which I still run as a sister company to damemagazine.com. I launched DAME because I truly believe, and still do, that there is a void in the media landscape for content like ours.
What has been your greatest challenge as a WOB and how did you overcome it? As a business owner, it’s frankly difficult to narrow down to one single greatest challenge, as each new day brings new ones from financial to market shifts to the isolation that can come with being an entrepreneur. That said, generally, I’d say the biggest challenge for me has been learning how to balance tactical with strategic. Small, independent businesses have unique challenges in that owners tend to wear ALL the hats – accounting, legal, operations, marketing – but it’s critical to try to think like a Fortune 500, to take the time to develop long term strategic plans.
What are the 3 biggest tips you would give women?
- Be yourself. I didn’t learn this lesson myself until I was well into my 40’s. I used to roll my eyes a bit whenever I heard the term “authenticity” but it was because I don’t think I understood what it really meant in the context of womanhood. I realize now, that being authentic is about being unafraid, outspoken, confident, both personally and professionally.
- Prepare for change. The adage “the only constant is change” is perhaps one of the most important truisms. Contingency planning in running a business should be as important as any other aspect. So many things can affect the success of a company – and many of them are beyond your control – so back up plans for back up plans is paramount. And this doesn’t just apply to negative scenarios. The same is true for success – imagine you’ve come up with a fantastic cleaning product, but suddenly QVC wants to order 1,000,000 units – planning for positive scenarios is as important as it would be for negative ones.
- Say thank you. This sounds ridiculously simple, but it’s something I’ve noticed other business owners don’t do enough (and certainly something early on I didn’t pay attention to myself). Unless you have a factory of robots, you’re not doing this alone – so remember to appreciate every single person who is on this journey with you.
Founder Trait I was Born With: I think there are two, in my case. Risk tolerance is one for sure. If you’re going to start and run a business, you have to be prepared to lose everything. Which, I nearly did during the recession of 2009. My dad always had a great saying: “You’re only as good as what goes up and down the elevator each day” and I really internalized that. I know that I’m, (and by proxy, DAME) is only as good as the people I hire. I trust my team implicitly, and I do my best to get out of their way and not second guess them. I’m truly the luckiest person to have the editors and writers we do at DAME.
Fav Female: Oh, this is a nearly impossible question to answer – particularly in this time. How can I possibly narrow it down to just one person?
Tell us something few people know: I’m an introvert. Most people think I’m incredibly social and outgoing, but the truth is I hate being the center of attention and have never been comfortable with public speaking. But one of my new year’s resolutions is to do more talks and sit on panels, to help get over this fear.