Last year, Melissa Vanderhorst launched Vegan Kids Magazine, an illustrated magazine for vegan and vegan-curious children. Melissa works with doctors, scientists, nutritionists, activists, sanctuary owners and athletes to create content that is both fun and educational. Melissa explains the journey behind starting Vegan Kids Magazine and offers her advice on starting a vegan business.
The idea behind the Vegan Kids Magazine was to make it as non-confrontational as possible whilst educating kids on animal rights and celebrating how amazing it is to be vegan. We aim to encourage kids to see veganism as a super inclusive club where it doesn't matter the colour of their skin, religion, socio-economic background, whether they are new vegans, have been vegan from birth or want to find out about veganism; if they love animals then they are welcome to the club.
I started the magazine mid-2017, when I recognised that there was a need for vegan content for kids. The more I became involved with veganism the more children I met who were growing up vegan. I believe young people can understand veganism on a deep emotional level. What kid doesn't love animals?
After the idea hatched I reached out to absolutely anyone I could think of, unsure of the response my vision would receive. I was pleasantly surprised by the excitement of those around me. I felt very supported by the vegan community from day one and was overwhelmed by the number of people willing to be part of the magazine, or reaching out to me to lend a helping hand. It turns out that vegans are a pretty alright group of people!
From the get-go I made contact with James Aspey, That Vegan Couple, Vegan Australia and so many others. I was told that although the journey I was embarking on was going to be a difficult one, it was a worthwhile pursuit.
The past months of running Vegan Kids Magazine have been filled with lessons that I will never forget. I would like to share with you six valuable things I have learned during my time working on this incredible venture.
Be confident when starting something new
A new venture might be a little scary at first. It can be hard to take leaps when we are uncertain of the journey ahead. Take comfort in the fact that few people truly know what they are doing. Remember that your commitment and passion towards veganism will shine through. If you're confident in your motivations then likeminded people will believe in your vision.
You might be surprised by who will help
One of the strengths I had when starting Vegan Kids Magazine was the vegan community. Without all the people who gave me advice, provided content or filled my inbox with supportive messages, my journey would have been a lot more difficult. I started emailing people as soon as I had my idea and the relationships I formed were integral to my success. Remember, the worst thing someone can say is no, so it's always worth asking!
Hard work pays off
It is never easy to pull all-nighters, work weekends or to make your project the main focus of your life. These things can be made even more difficult when you have families, jobs or any other commitments. That being said, sometimes it is necessary to work harder at the start. While this might not be practical long-term, it's certainly worth putting the extra hours in, in order to really kick-start a business.
Take time for yourself and your loved ones
This might sound like a cliché, but you are your most valuable asset in running a business. Make time to pamper yourself, do what you love and connect with family and friends. Taking time to do these things will help you feel balanced and prevent you from burning out.
Social media is important
The roadmap to success is different than it was 5-10 years ago. Social media has changed the way we connect to each other and this applies to business as well. Take time to develop a professional social media profile and learn the skills that can help you thrive. There are loads of great YouTube videos designed to help you learn how to tackle social media, but be sure to find current content as the algorithms change.
It is a great time to start a vegan business
If you want to write a book, start a blog, create a YouTube channel, get a product off the ground or run an event, then now is your time! There are more people turning vegan every day and with the movement gaining rapid traction, there is no time to waste. Starting a vegan business puts you at the heart of the movement by encouraging a vegan world, that knowledge in itself is incredibly rewarding.
My journey with Vegan Kids Magazine is still developing and I am sure there are more lessons to learn. The new issue has just come out and is about animal sanctuaries, what they are and why they are important. To find out more information about Vegan Kids Magazine head to www.vegankidsmagazine.com and follow us on Instagram @vegankidsmagazine to hear updates.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.