Name: Linda Graham
Job title: Founder & Chief Editor at Zuri Magazine
Time in current role: 6 years
Linda is Founder & Chief Editor of Zuri Magazine (formerly ISIS Magazine).
Why did you decide to start the magazine?
Before I proceed, I want to state clearly for the record that I had NO INTEREST in ever becoming a business owner. It just so happened that I cut my hair in 2012 and when I was looking for a natural hair magazine I realised nothing was coming up. I started researching and talking about the idea of a natural hair magazine – bear in mind I knew nothing about running a publishing company.
I initially launched ISIS Magazine back in 2012 and that was because I wanted to create a magazine for girls who were either transitioning or unsure about becoming natural. I believed that if I could provide people with tips, tricks and expert advice to show them that natural hair isn’t hard to maintain then they would approach their hair with a more positive attitude. I also have a personal interest in holistic health as I’m a vegan and I enjoy meditating, yoga and healing with herbs so I wanted to blend both elements of my interests into one ‘smexi’ magazine and essentially that’s how ISIS Magazine now known as ZURI Magazine came about.
What are the key functions of your role?
Well since my business partner quit in December 2015 (without notice), I’m now the top dog which basically translates to; Linda Graham + Founder of ZURI Magazine = NO LIFE. But it’s all good in the hood!
As the Founder and Chief Editor I’m responsible for maintaining good behaviour amongst the interns at the Zuri head office (in Tottenham), scheduling the office rota, assigning tasks to interns and staff, liaising with my accountants/business manager and lawyer, and seeking new writers and talent.
My aim is to consistently outdo myself and my last issue. I literally get hundreds of emails a day and that isn’t an exaggeration. I get messages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, email and on my phone, so I have to literally schedule my day by the clock (which is something I’m getting better at). I also make sure that anyone who submits content or images have signed our company’s consent form to make sure we are legally compliant. What people don’t understand is that the publishing and magazine business is heavily administrative.
Talk us through your typical working day
I go to the ZURI office, air it out, clean it and wait for my team to turn up. I brief them if needed and then we get on with the day. Work finishes at 4pm but staff don’t leave until 10pm (I really don’t understand why they can’t just leave me alone in peace lol). I encourage everyone to contribute something in a way that feels pleasing to their soul, and all views must be respected. People are allowed to work how they want and there aren’t many rules since I’m not good at abiding by them myself. I realise that having a relaxed work environment with some targets in place allows room for true creativity and self-expression. We burn incense and listen to music because we’re all cool like that.
I then go home, catch up with my family and watch True Entertainment or the Food Network only. Depending on the day I go to the gym, swim or do a session of yoga. I may also paint, take Skype meetings or do so more work. I try to be in bed by 10pm – again this depends on the time staff leave.
Your favourite part of the job?
Being able to interview some really amazing people for the magazine or constructing photoshoots for our front covers, especially if they are international. In the past, I’ve interviewed George the Poet, Nerissa Irving and two Guinness world record holders (one with the world’s largest afro and the other with the world’s longest locs).
I also love learning from the people I work with. The knowledge and experiences they bring keeps me at peace. When the first issue of ZURI Magazine lands I’ll be leading on the front cover design and internal layout so I’m excited about that as I love designing too. Finally, I love meeting and hearing from people who have been inspired by my magazine. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside and helps me to remember that I’m doing something positive.
…and the part you could do without?
Dealing with people who have no people skills, people who are linear in their thinking, and the administrative side of the business. Other than that, it’s all a cup of Kale smoothie.
How would your staff and clients describe you in three words?
Staff = geeky, funny, inspirational.
Clients = passionate, enthusiastic, visionary.
Plans for the future?
I have so many great plans, but I don’t think they’ll be great if I spill the beans, because then you’ll see them coming!
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Keep at it and be organised. Plan the majority of your day by the clock.
- Don’t you dare quit! Trust me, if I sat down and told you all the things that went left, you would ask me why I still do it.
- Trust in yourself that you will attract the right people, circumstances and opportunities with hard work, constant networking and advice.
- Follow people who inspire you on social media.
- Get rid of linear thinking people. They limit your creative expansion.
- Don’t be afraid to shine or be yourself.
- Humble yourself, you can learn a lot from your staff.
- Remove people from your team who take pride over growth and team expansion.
- If something doesn’t feel right from the beginning, let it go.
- Try things out yourself, you’ll be surprised what you can do.
- Try and be in a state of peace at all times. LLY