99 Percent Lifestyle's Conor Rees on entrepreneurship
This interview was first published in the Coverage newsletter on April 26, 2018.
I'm huge on entrepreneurship and creativity, which makes 99 Percent Lifestyle tick all my boxes. What started as a uni magazine project about creativity has morphed into a publication more focussed on entrepreneurs and the people behind creative businesses.
I talked with editor Conor Rees about his magazine's subject and putting together his third issue (out now!)
Dan R: What interested (or still interests) you about business and entrepreneurship that made you want to start a magazine about it?
Conor R: The magazine started out all about creativity. After I released my first issue, I realised I needed to give the magazine a more specific focus. I reflected on everything the magazine was about, and every article (besides the final 'Epilogue' feature) featured a different person; every article was a feature about a creative or an entrepreneur.
I have been interested in business for a very long time. Business and entrepreneurship are very creative and I think they fit perfectly alongside what you would normally class as creative professions. Starting a business in itself is creative; you need to create a brand image, a presence on social media, online and possibly in print with my business. You need to market yourself in a creative way to stand out, and if you have a product, then there are a lot of creative elements that go into that such as design and photography.
The magazine is all about people, but its main aim is to provide value in every single article and inspire action. By having 99 Percent Lifestyle focus on creators and entrepreneurs, I really think it provides a whole host of value in different areas.
DR: What are some trends or common themes in modern entrepreneurship that you have seen appear as this third issue came together?
CR: For a while now, entrepreneurship has become more mainstream. A lot of people view it as the cool thing to do nowadays, and with entrepreneurs having platforms to build an audience on, such as on Youtube, you can understand why.
Most things I tend to see are all about producing content around your brand, giving your brand a personal touch (because people tend to follow people as opposed to faceless brands) and that you need to utilise social media as much as possible—even if you are a print magazine. A lot of these factors have been around for a while now, but all of these elements are constantly evolving alongside where attention is currently focussed (e.g a new social media platform).
Every issue of 99 Percent Lifestyle is varied and diverse in content; I don't like to have each issue follow a specific theme. I have loved some magazine titles but not picked up their new issue because it was about a theme not relevant to my interests. Instead, I have a collection of long-form features in the middle section of the magazine that revolves around a specific theme.
DR: What have you focussed on for this third issue?
CR: The latest volume is about building a business. One of the features in this section is all about the risks of starting up and ways you can reduce the risks as much as possible. One thing that isn't talked about enough is that starting a business is hard, and for every success story there are dozens of failures. With everyone idolising people like Gary Vaynerchuk and Steven Bartlett, it's important that people understand that this is a risk, it isn't going to be easy and you need to approach starting a business with the right mindset and go about it in the best way possible.
Though from my own personal experience, starting a business is probably one of the most exciting things I have ever done.