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.