How a Conversation at a Dinner Party Led this Mom to Her Coffee News Career

Lori Danielson (left), Leah Hickman (right)

Lori Danielson (left), Leah Hickman (right)

NEW Coffee News® Publisher – Leah Hickman of Longview, Texas

It was at a dinner party in the summer of 2015 when Leah Hickman found the career opportunity she had been looking for. “My friend Lori Danielson, who has been a Coffee News publisher for the past twelve years, told me that another publisher wanted to sell back the publication that Lori had sold to him previously, because he was moving,” Hickman recalled.

She added, “Lori’s Coffee News business was really growing and, after talking it over, we decided to go into business together.”

Hickman had been searching for her next career opportunity after being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years with her son and daughter. “When our youngest started school, I knew it was time for me to start thinking about my next chapter,” Hickman said.

Lori and Leah run and get it done in their best Coffee News fashions.

With a background in sales and marketing, Hickman explored many opportunities that included returning to her previous career in pharmaceutical sales or in medical billing.   She had also worked as a marketer for an assisted-living facility and sold fundraising campaigns for schools.

“I knew I needed something that would get me out of the house.   I was also looking for something that was flexible and with a good income, and I wanted to be my own boss,” Hickman said.

Hickman, who is very active in her community as a volunteer, met Danielson through her involvement with the Junior League.   “When Lori and I started talking about Coffee News at the dinner party, everything just came together.   It just felt like the right fit for both of us,” Hickman said.

She adds, “We make a good team.   We complement each other and together bring 30 years of experience in sales and marketing to the business.   By sharing the workload and the profits, we can cover more ground and still have time to do the other things we both love to do,” she said.

The team is now publishing three editions of Coffee News and Hickman has hit the ground running selling ads and loves her new career. Hickman says, “It’s such a fun paper. Everyone loves it and wants to be a part of it. And I love being back out there, being my own boss and being a community connector.”

Are you the next Leah?


How to Be Your Own Boss Without Stressing Out

All of our Coffee News® publishers remember the energy and emotion of their early days as entrepreneurs. Starting your own business and taking charge of your own financial future means taking on a lot of responsibilities—and new kinds of stress. How can you manage your new workload and manage your anxiety? We can help!

You started your own business. Now, your new business needs an employee wellness plan. Managing the stress of being your own boss is one of the hardest things for new entrepreneurs to do, but it’s also one of the most important. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of business. To succeed at being self-employed, you need to find ways to fight off stress.

Self-employed and stressed out? Start getting plenty of sleep.
Sustained stress has a big impact on your sleeping patterns, and your sleep has a big impact on your success. Sleep deprivation clouds your memory, reduces your immunity, heightens your irritability, and can make you gain weight. It can also have long-term negative effects on your cardiovascular system and your mental health.

Are you staying up late working, or just worrying? Either way, you’re probably better off sleeping. While the amount of sleep we need is highly individualized, most adults aren’t getting enough. Adults who get less than seven hours of sleep on any given night have more difficulty concentrating and more mood swings than people who slept seven to nine hours.

Because you are your own boss, you can create a sleep schedule that works for you. If you do your best work at night, sleep later in the morning. If you find you are more focused and alert early in the morning, go to bed earlier in the evening. Just make sure that you get a healthy amount of sleep.

Self-employed and stressed out? Start exercising regularly.
Just like a full night’s sleep, regular exercise strengthens your resistance to stress. Exercise releases endorphins, natural mood enhancers that boost your outlook and your productivity. Exercise also enhances your immunity, increases your stamina and keeps you looking and feeling your best.

Being your own boss lets you schedule your workout whenever you want. Go jogging in the morning, take a brisk walk during your lunch break or go biking with your family after dinner. Better yet, find exercise opportunities that can also expand your business. Gym and golf memberships or intramural sports leagues are great places to meet other business leaders in your community.

A regular exercise program also boosts your energy levels, making it easier for you to make healthy eating choices throughout your day. When you feel naturally energized, you don’t need sugary drinks or sweet snacks to wake you up. Regular exercise will keep you feeling healthier, stronger and stress-free.

Self-employed and stressed out? Start seeing the bright side.
A positive outlook is a powerful way to manage stress. When things aren’t going your way and you feel yourself getting stressed, step back. Take a few minutes to take some deep breaths. Focus on finding the best way forward. And see if humor can help! When it comes to stressful situations, laughter really is some of the best medicine.

Seeing the bright side of being your own boss is easy when you work at Coffee News®, the little brown paper filled with humorous stories and good news! A franchise opportunity is also one of the least stressful ways to start your own successful business. Learn more about Coffee News® franchise opportunities today!


Interested in being a Coffee News franchise owner?


How a Career in Law Enforcement Prepared One Couple to Own a Franchise

vanessa randy coleCoffee News® Profile – Vanessa & Randy Cole of Dalton, Georgia

Sometimes you just need to make a change.   That was the case for Vanessa Cole and her husband, Randy of Dalton, Georgia.

“We both had a long career in law enforcement as sheriff’s deputies and I was a crime scene investigator.   About eight years ago we began thinking about starting our own business,” Cole said.

The couple had no idea what kind of business they wanted to start, so they went to the SBA (Small Business Administration) seeking advice.   “We asked them to tell us what we should do. They said we would have to make that decision for ourselves and they would help us once we knew what we wanted to do.   So, we took some business classes and started looking around,” Cole recalled.

They saw a story about Coffee News in and became intrigued with the business, especially because it was such an affordable franchise. “We performed our due diligence by talking with the franchisor about it and with other publishers about their experience. We brought it to our contact at the SBA and they thought it looked like a viable business opportunity, so we went for it,” Cole said.

In 2008, the couple purchased two franchises and published one edition. “It wasn’t easy at first because no one within a hundred-mile radius had heard of Coffee News, so we had to educate people about it.   Plus, the economy was in a downturn at that time. We tried to find distribution points and sell ads at the same time.   It was hard to sell ads before we had our distribution places lined up.   A few weeks into it, I was a bit discouraged, but I’m really persistent and I’m not a quitter,” Cole said.

Today the Coles publish six editions of Coffee News. “I gave up law enforcement to go into the Coffee News business full-time. Randy left law enforcement two years ago to join me in the business. “It’s been eight years now and I’m so glad we did it,” said Cole.

When asked how their background in law enforcement prepared them to go into the Coffee News business, Cole explained, “All I ever knew was law enforcement, so this was a big change. The stress is totally different.   It’s not ‘life or death’ and it’s a lot easier and more fun.   We learned how to work hard in law enforcement and how to be persistent. You can’t give up when you are investigating a case. Those skills are serving us well in our business.”

The Coles are also enjoying the flexibility of their Coffee News franchise. “There are weeks when we will put in forty to fifty hours. We do work hard, but with this business I can go to the beach with my cell phone and laptop and take care of business from there,” Cole said.

They have built a great team, including two sheriff’s deputies who help them deliver their Coffee News editions. They partner with an organization that provides opportunities for developmentally-challenged adults to also deliver their papers.

They employ a college student part-time for administrative, web/social media support and client retention efforts.

“Randy and I share the duties of running the business. He does some of the deliveries and the ad layout work. I focus more on ad sales. We have different responsibilities. So even though we are in business together, we rarely see each other during the workday because our schedules are different,” Cole said.

Cole also spends a lot of her time volunteering and networking. “Although I was out in my community when I was in law enforcement, people really didn’t know who I was.   When we started Coffee News, I jumped into the business community.   It was a new world for me, but today I am very involved with our Chamber and community events.   A lot of our business comes to us through referrals as a result of me being out there. I don’t do a lot of cold calling,” Cole said.

Cole says the businesses that advertise in Coffee News like the fact that they can target their advertising to where their customers are.   They also appreciate the exclusivity and affordability of advertising in Coffee News.

“We educate businesses about why it’s important to advertise for the longer term. We recommend a six-month to one-year commitment to see results.   Time and repetition works. We see a higher percentage of ad renewals from businesses that advertise for the longer term,” Cole said.

Cole offers these tips to be successful in the Coffee News business:

  1. Understand your cash flow and plan how you will cover your expenses while you are building your business.
  1. Be patient and persistent. Don’t ever give up!
  1. Get out in the community and get involved. People have to get to know you and trust you.
  1. Be sure to follow up with people. Call people back promptly. Do what you say you will do. Under promise and over deliver.

Business Lessons Learned by a Coffee News® Publisher and Trainer

Coffee News Ron VellucciProfile – Ron Vellucci of St. Augustine, Florida

Who better to ask about what it takes to be successful in the Coffee News business than a publisher who has trained, coached and encouraged new Coffee News franchisees for the last eight years?

Ron Vellucci has been a Coffee News publisher for nearly twelve years in the St. Augustine, Florida area.   Like many Coffee News publishers, Vellucci has a diverse background and interests.

He has worked in retail, in the newspaper business, in radio sales and promotions, and as the marketing director of a non-profit.   He is also an accomplished artist, specializing in wood and metal relief sculptures. His work appears in several galleries.

So, how did Vellucci become a Coffee New publisher?

Vellucci was familiar with Coffee News when he worked in radio advertising sales in New Hampshire and a colleague of his was a Coffee News publisher.

It was on a cold day in February in 2002, when Vellucci’s wife, Donna suggested that Florida was a lot warmer than Maine and she would like to move there.

“We had a lovely home and a good life in Maine, but Donna really wanted to be someplace warmer. I figured a move to Florida was cheaper than a divorce, so off we went,” Vellucci jokingly said with a smile.

The couple settled into a new life in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida. “We had only been there for three days when I spotted a Coffee News in a pizza place.   There were hardly any ads sold in that edition, so I called the publisher to find out what the story was,” Vellucci explained.

It turned out that the publisher had purchased that edition a year earlier and, due to health issues and wanting to spend more time playing golf, he wasn’t investing time in his Coffee News business.

In 2004, Vellucci, along with his wife Donna, became the new owners of that edition and acquired two Coffee News franchises. Vellucci refers to Donna, who also has a background in the newspaper business, as his Vice-President of Circulation.

Having limited time available during his start-up, due to having to deal with family health issues, Vellucci approached his business by focusing 80% of his efforts on building readership and 20% on sales. “Selling the ads is really all about meeting people, listening to their needs and concerns, and building trust and relationships.   You really have to like people and want to help them,” he said.

Today, his editions are always about 90% full and he credits a lot of that to working closely with his advertisers. “I also enjoy putting together sample ads for a new business prospect.   I will spec out an ad after researching their business and other advertising I have seen them do and they love it,” he said.

Reflecting on the history of his business, Vellucci talks about the challenges he faced during the recession. “Coffee News has historically been a restaurant publication. It’s a paper that people pick up and read while waiting for their meals to arrive.   When we started out, we focused our distribution on restaurants and when the recession hit, we lost several restaurants in our community.”

Realizing that would negatively impact their readership, Vellucci decided to be pro-active and seek out other types of businesses to serve as distribution points for Coffee News.   “We no longer wanted to be perceived as only a restaurant publication, so we went after alternative distribution locations, including the healthcare industry.   We started putting out papers in medical office waiting rooms,” he said.

That strategy worked.   Not only did it expand the Coffee News distribution network and readership, it brought in new advertisers. “Within a very short period of time, those medical practices wanted to advertise in Coffee News because they saw how many people were reading the paper in their waiting rooms. Kids were kept occupied and busy searching for the Coffee News man in the paper,” Vellucci said.

When asked what he likes best about Coffee News, Vellucci says “It’s popular because it’s fun and easy for people to read. The paper stands out from all the other print media because it’s a one-page paper, which increases the probability that advertisers’ ads will be seen and the ads don’t ‘get lost’ in the publication. Plus, advertisers appreciate that we guarantee exclusivity for their business category,” he said.

Vellucci adds, “Some might be surprised to learn that even with social media and online publications, our Coffee News readership continues to grow every year.”

Vellucci has taken the experience he has learned as a Coffee News publisher and now teaches others how to run their Coffee News business.

Vellucci serves as an instructor, mentor and advisor to new franchisees who attend Coffee News training workshops and is also the coordinator of Coffee News Regional Roundtables.

“I’ve been teaching for about eight years now. In addition to teaching, I help fellow publishers organize Coffee News Regional Roundtables in the U.S. and Canada about seven times a year. Our Coffee News Regional Roundtables are a great way for publishers to come together to share their knowledge and ideas, to learn from business experts, and to leave invigorated and motivated,” he said.

Vellucci also appreciates the flexibility that his Coffee News business affords him.   That flexibility allows him to work as a Coffee News trainer and to continue creating his works of art. At 67-years old, he’s looking ahead to perhaps selling the franchise or hiring people to run it in a few years. “I’m looking forward to the future and having more time to work on my art, but I would like to continue training other Coffee News publishers,” he said.

Based on his experience as a Coffee News publisher and a trainer, who has met and worked with hundreds of Coffee News publishers, Vellucci offers this advice for new publishers to be successful in the Coffee News business:

“Get out of bed in the morning, leave your house with a smile on your face and a sparkle in your eye and have fun. Know that it gets so much easier after two years in the business.   By that time you’ve worked out the kinks of how you manage your business and you’ve established Coffee News as a credible brand.   Plus, you’ll be more experienced and it will be easier for you to talk about Coffee News with confidence. Take advantage of the training and support available to you and most importantly – have fun!”

Want to Start a Business? Read This First!

Franchise1Are you dreaming of working from home, being your own boss and finding financial and personal freedom? Starting your own business can put you on the path to all of these exciting lifestyle improvements and achievements—but more often than not, it doesn’t work out. In fact, 80% of the people who start a new business fail within the first 18 months. Do you want to be one of the lucky 20% who succeed? Consider a franchise opportunity first.

Anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit hears “yes” when others hear “no,” and knows that great rewards require taking a few risks. But smart new business owners understand the risks they are taking, and take action to overcome them. The statistics from the Small Business Association are sobering: half of all new businesses fail within five years, and two-thirds fail within ten years. Why? There are many reasons, but most business failures occur for one of the following six reasons:

  • the business idea or service wasn’t strong enough to sustain the company
  • the business didn’t find or satisfy enough customers
  • the business didn’t survive a downturn in the economy
  • the business location wasn’t right
  • the business wasn’t managed effectively
  • the business was too expensive and ran out of cash

The good news is, the longer a new business survives, the better its chances of thriving. If entrepreneurs can get through the first 18 months, things will get better. Not sure if your new business plan can go the distance?

There’s a proven way to get a head start in the small business world. If you really want to start your own business and have it succeed, you should really start thinking about franchise opportunities.

An established franchise opportunity helps you fight back against five of the six biggest reasons small businesses fail—and an affordable franchise opportunity like Coffee News® fortifies you against all six! Coffee News® franchise owners, called publishers, don’t build their small business from scratch. They build their small business on a strong and proven foundation, and that helps them build that business to last.

  • Coffee News® is one of the best small business ideas of the last 50 years.
  • Coffee News® advertisers see real results—and Coffee News® readers love our little brown restaurant publication.
  • Because Coffee News® offers affordable advertising in exclusive local markets, it weathers national economic downturns more effectively.
  • Coffee News® publishers know their location well—it’s their own community, where they live, work and shop! What better inside advantage could any small business owner want?
  • Coffee News® takes care of almost all of the operational aspects of running your small business, so you can focus exclusively on sales.
  • Coffee News® is so affordable and so successful that it routinely tops advertising franchise lists at Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines.

At 18 months, 100% of Coffee News® publishers are still in business, and at five years, approximately 50% are going strong. When they are ready to retire, around 75% sell their franchise at a profit!

Perhaps the single biggest advantage affordable Coffee News® franchise opportunities provide is community. When you become a Coffee News® publisher, you have the 24/7 support of a brain trust of successful small business owners who want you to succeed, too. With experienced mentors guiding and advising you, going it alone doesn’t feel so lonely—or so risky.

Are you ready to start your own business? First, start exploring the advantages of a franchise opportunity like Coffee News®.

How Being Downsized Led One Couple to Make the Move to Owning Their Own Business

Julie MclainCoffee News Profile: Julie McLain of Stow, Ohio

Sometimes all it takes is a “sign” at the right time to move your life in a new direction.  That was the case for Julie McLain who has been publishing four Coffee News editions in Northeast Ohio since 2009.

McLain was working at a health club where she managed individual and corporate sales.   She happened to walk out of her office one day and spotted a copy of Coffee News on a table.  “I had never seen it there before and it said that edition was for sale,” recalled McLain.

It was around that time when McLain and her husband Jeff were exploring home-based business opportunities.   Both had been through career changes that necessitated a move to and back from another state.

They were looking for a way to stabilize their lives and income while having the flexibility to spend more time at home raising their two young daughters.

“We had actually explored Coffee News prior to my seeing it at work.  We even talked to the franchisor about it.  But, with an out-of-state relocation and everything else going on in our lives, the timing wasn’t right.    When I saw it at work and saw that it was for sale, I knew we had to seriously consider it this time,” McLain said.

They ended up purchasing that edition and began their Coffee News business.

“Jeff had been downsized in his job, so he worked our Coffee News business part-time while job hunting and I kept my full-time job.  My company was going through ownership changes as well, so I decided to make Coffee News my full-time business in late 2011,” McLain said.

“I asked myself if I wanted Coffee News to be a hobby or a business and, if it was going to be a successful business, I knew I had to devote myself to it full-time.  When I decided to treat it as a business that changed my whole perspective and helped me look at things differently.  It was scary, but I haven’t looked back,” she said.

That dedication and commitment to the business helped McLain grow her distribution sites from 50 to 450 locations and that growth continues today.

They currently own five franchise territories, publish four editions and are looking at a possible fifth area.  “It just made sense to purchase a new edition that is along the same route and in the same communities that we have been serving anyway,” McLain said.

McLain relies on her great team that includes her youngest daughter and retirees who deliver the papers.   “I look for people with delivery experience and who are also community-minded and fun, yet mature,” she said.

McLain enjoys being part of her community and working with the businesses that advertise in Coffee News.  “I grew up here and love these communities and the people.   I like to connect with all business owners.  I really strive to make it a local publication.   My advertisers know that I, too, am a local business owner, that I am invested here and I want to help their business grow,” she says.

McLain has enjoyed her Coffee News business for many reasons, but especially for the flexibility it has afforded her family while raising two daughters who are now in college.  “That was huge for me.   Having that time with them would not have been possible if Jeff and I had continued to work in corporate jobs,” McLain said.

When reflecting on her Coffee News journey McLain says, “I enjoy having this business.  It’s a great opportunity for anyone, but especially for women who have an entrepreneurial spirit.  A day never goes by that I haven’t learned something.”

McLain offers these three tips to be successful in the Coffee News business:

1. You need to view this as a “business” and have an entrepreneurial spirit.  Having sales experience in your background is also very helpful.

2. Know your limitations and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and can help you.  Delegation is key!

3. You need to constantly reassess and re-evaluate the business and make course corrections as necessary.  If you aren’t resilient with change, you will fail.  It’s good to evolve.


How a Conversation at a Dinner Party Led this Mom to Her Coffee News Career

Lori Danielson (left), Leah Hickman (right)

NEW Coffee News® Publisher – Leah Hickman of Longview, Texas

It was at a dinner party in the summer of 2015 when Leah Hickman found … Read More