Nathan & Abigail Shepherd
Husband and wife team Nathan and Abigail Shepherd run The Perthshire Magazine,
a monthly digital publication featuring local businesses and events. Based in
Kindallachan in Highland Perthshire, in just two years the pair have built up a readership of some 30,000 people
both at home and abroad for each issue.
Abigail and Nathan say that The Perthshire Magazine came about because they both felt that there was a need
for an accessible digital platform to offer an in-depth insight into the people and places of Perthshire.
Between the two of them, they had skills in writing, editing, photography and social media, and to be certain there was a demand for their idea, they initially launched quietly on social media. Within a few weeks they were “inundated” with offers of reviews, guest articles and interview requests, and knew then that they really had something to offer the local community.
The enterprise journey
As with so many entrepreneurial stories, Abigail and Nathan got where they are today thanks to “lots of hard work”.
Abigail explains: “We’ve done everything we can to make sure that the quality of The
Perthshire Magazine is the absolute best that we can make it, with interesting articles,
gorgeous photos and eye-catching design.
“We also spend hours promoting what we’re doing on social media so that more people can find us. This has resulted in an average of 30,000 views per magazine issue.”
But she adds: “I think at the start we didn’t always have enough confidence in ourselves. Because we were new to publishing, we often felt that we didn’t really know what we were doing, whereas, looking back now, we actually did.”
And she says: “When you’re self-employed you don’t get sick leave or paid holiday time or set office hours, so it can be very hard to stop and take a break. My advice to any potential entrepreneurs is to believe in yourself and in your business and work hard to make it the best it can be, but don’t forget to take some time off for yourself too, or you’ll get burnt out.”
Around the time that they were thinking about starting The Perthshire Magazine, they saw an advert for GrowBiz in a local directory mentioning a possible funding opportunity.
Abigail says: “We’re not sure we would have ever started the magazine if it wasn’t for GrowBiz.
“We went to them with a somewhat nebulous idea and they encouraged us to do a business
plan. It was this that really crystallised what we wanted to do and it looked so great it gave us the motivation to actually make a start!
“We would definitely recommend GrowBiz to anyone who would like to start their own business and isn’t sure where to begin.
“There are so many people in rural areas who work out of their spare bedrooms or kitchen tables or garden sheds and it can be easy to feel isolated when that’s the case, but GrowBiz organises events to bring you together with other entrepreneurs where, not only can you share advice and learn from each other, you might also come up with great ideas for collaborations.”
She adds: “Family members have been very supportive as well, as have our friends — particularly local graphic designer Jules Akel, who was kind enough to design our logo for us and also helped us with lots of practical design advice and encouragement.
“We also appreciate all the businesses who have chosen The Perthshire Magazine to help with their marketing, we really rely on them since the magazine itself is free.
“And recently we were delighted when our publishing platform, Issuu, chose one of our January edition stories to feature on their Apple News feed. It wasn’t just the extra coverage, but the validation that came from being one of the few publications singled out for this out of the 20,000 or more that are uploaded to Issuu each day.”
Looking to the future
The pair are planning to use what they have accomplished with the magazine as a springboard to offering other services, such as product and event photography and social media management.
As the magazine has grown, people are keen to work with Abigail and Nathan, submitting
articles and photos, and they have also been able to help out some young people looking for
work experience in journalism. And recruiting others is something they say they wouldn’t rule out in the future if the magazine continues to grow as it has.
See www.theperthshiremagazine.com for more information and to read the latest issue.