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Client Spotlight – E-Squared Editorial Services

Emily Esterson

E-Squared Editorial Services creates and manages custom magazines, newsletters, annual reports and programs. Their high-quality work is editorially compelling, graphically beautiful, and intensely reader-focused. Whether annual, quarterly or monthly, the publications they create reflect their creativity and process orientation. Readers love them.

E-Squared Editorial Services work closely with clients, learning about their business and industry, becoming partners in their communication efforts.

They provide:

  • Editorial consulting, development and management. From developing editorial schedules to working with writers on the details of each article, they provide start-to-finish editorial management.
  • Art direction, graphic design and production. Every step of the way, their team works with graphic elements to create graphically exciting products.
  • Advertising and sponsorship sales management

Founded by Emily Esterson in 2005, E-Squared Editorial Services has managed aspects of publications for dozens of different entities. Their specialty is tourism, equestrian and museum publications. Their clients find them to be easy to work with, deadline driven and most importantly, quality obsessed.

Where did the “big idea” for your business come from?

I was freelancing as a writer/editor after I left the editor’s job at New Mexico Business Weekly (now Albuquerque Business First)—cobbling together $300 jobs here and $100 jobs there. It was exhausting (and not providing much of an income). A good friend in Washington, D.C. heard about a “turnkey” magazine project for an equestrian association—managing editorial, design and sales—from idea to print. Although I’d never run an entire operation, I’d been second in command at a number of big publications and I’d been writing for horse magazines for years. I decided to bid on the job, and when I won it, I realized there was a great niche project managing publications! There was a bit of hiccup, though: I had to shell out some cash to produce that first issue; cash I didn’t have. Enter WESST!

That first year was tough, but once I figured out some systems, I realized that producing print, magazine-style publications was a rare skill in today’s digital media world, and that companies and associations wanted print, but didn’t know or have the time to produce a high-quality publication. Once I got that first job ironed out, I realized this was something I could actually do successfully.

What’s the most satisfying part of being an entrepreneur?

That I built this business into what it is today. I think I went from being an editor who performed a set of tasks to learning how to run a business (still learning). Frankly I was ready for a new challenge, and running a business was that challenge. I also really love it when someone says, “You guys are great” or “We love this publication” because I feel like we’ve provided a valuable service to them. Also, I like providing good pay to writers and editors and graphic artists. Believe it or not, writing a big check to my art director for her stellar work is very satisfying!

What’s the most challenging?
Managing growth! OMG! It’s so hard to figure out how to put money into the right things, and not make too many egregious mistakes with money or projects. I’m trying to learn how to say “no” right now, when a project isn’t right for us or has gotten out of control. It’s a balance between growing too quickly and sacrificing quality, or taking a slower, smaller route and possibly missing some opportunities. And then there’s this eternal question: How big do I want to be?

Also its sometimes really lonely. You can’t stand around in the coffee room and complain about the boss. You ARE the boss!

What do you do when you’re not working?
Ride my horses. They are what I live for. I have four of them (two retirees and two younger horses I ride in dressage and eventing. Horse publications are one of my niches, along with cultural institutions and tourism, so I get to combine business with passion.

What’s the best piece of business advice you received before you launched your business?
Hmmm, I didn’t really plan ahead. It just kind of happened. But while running my business, I’ve gotten a lot of wise advice. I think not taking things so personally and understanding that you can’t really change your clients are pretty valuable pieces of advice. It’s like when you first start dating someone: Whatever red flags you notice on your first date will be there when you’ve been married 20 years. You learn to manage it, or you get divorced. I’m still working on this.

What is one quick tip you would give for someone who wants to start their own business?
Eyes wide open! It’s hard, you’ll be frequently overwhelmed, and you’ll have to make some sacrifices. Take one task at a time and try not too rush decisions or projects.

What was your biggest takeaway from your work with WESST?
Besides the financial support, that cash flow statement that Clint Reecer asked me to do is like my business bible, in a spreadsheet! It has been a really great exercise in learning the ins-and-outs of my finances (something I haven’t always been good at), and what I can, and cannot, afford. Such a relief.

Also, sometimes it’s great just to have someone to bounce things off. Clint is my “business therapist.” When I meet with him I leave feeling energized and ready to tackle the next phase.

Kim Blueher

Kim Blueher

Kim received her MBA in Finance from the UNM Anderson School of Management in 1982 and spent the next 8 years in banking as a commercial loan officer in Arizona and New Mexico. When WESST started in 1990, she joined to set up the micro-loan program, which she currently manages. She also teaches classes in Albuquerque on business planning and financial projections.