Interview - Tim Lawrence: Espy Magazine

Interview with Tim Lawrence, Founder and Publisher, Espy Magazine: The Entrepreneur's Bible - 11th April 2003

What are your main aims and objectives?

That every business owner in the world reads Espy Magazine.

How did you break into the business?

I had a business partner for the first 5 months of the magazine. Back then (Feb 2000) it was an internet/technology/lifestyle magazine. What our 2nd title Dodgy Mag is now It was A5 and FREE. I knew nothing about publishing, he had some experience, so I handled all the advertising and marketing (I had never sold an ad in my life!). After 3 issues / 5 months I ended up buying him out. We did 6 issues of the original free model, then 5 as a paid lifestyle/technology magazine, then on October 2001 I relaunched it as a business magazine (what it is today).

I felt at the time (as someone only in business for less than 2 years) there was no magazine on the market for serious entrepreneurs. By serious, I mean the future Bill Gates, Richard Branson's and Rupert Murdoch's. Current business mags either focus on running a small business or on management issues (like managing your staff through change).

Espy magazine is for the people who hire those who read the other business mags. Espy compliments the daily business news and weekly business reviews like AFR & NBR. What I found interesting was that truly successful company founders/entrepreneurs focus on the big picture. They are always thinking about the future and what opportunities they can seize. When we relaunched Espy as a business magazine, we launched Dodgy Mag to take over where Espy had left off (so we didn't throw the baby out with the bath water). I feel that the last 3 years (the very first issue of Espy came out 6th April 2000, our latest issue came out 7th April 2003), have built good solid foundations for the magazine. We have a clear direction, readership and business model. Yet we still have a lot of learning to do!

What are your most significant achievements?

I personally celebrate every victory. I still sell advertising for both magazines (in fact I only get paid advertising commission, I don't draw a salary, this keeps me motivated to generate revenue!) Victories like: the recent launch of our audio CD (Espy Audio CD) with interviews from the mag, every issue breaking revenue records, breaking circulation records, getting very complimentary e-mails about the magazine (like yours Greg), getting big advertising clients on board, winning an award for our relaunch, building relationships with advertisers and readers who will tell me what they really think, the list goes on.

Who are the best and worst people to work with?

I work best with like minded people. People who have long term goals, that's where the serious success is. People who "get it". I believe there are only 0.01% of the world's population who have what it takes to be successful. This is not something they are born with; it's the simple activity of taking action, doing something to achieve what it is you're dreaming of. Those are the people I work best with. Not people who look for the "get rich quick" ideas or lazy people.

How long has Espy Magazine been established?

The very first issue was launched 6 April 2000, the relaunched first issue was 1 October 2001. The current issue on sale is issue 8.

What gives you the edge?

I don't take no for an answer.

What is your U.S.P (Unique selling proposition)?

Espy Magazine - The Entrepreneur's Bible(TM).

How many subscribers do you have?

About 1000.

How many website visitors do you have?

We had 1,867 unique visitors in March.

Who are your mentors and what's the best advice you have ever been given?

I admire who I call the "gods of entrepreneurism": Gates, Branson, Murdoch & Ellison. These guys throw themselves at the world and make a dent. The best advice is what these guys do: Don't take no for an answer, firmly keep their eyes on the big picture and don't make money their god. These guys are self made, I admire that immensely.

Who are your biggest supports and advocates?

I'd say most people we come into contact with. Integrity is a big issue with me, so I treat others as I'd wish to be treated.

What's the biggest scoop, interview or story you have ever reported?

Once again, there are a few: Larry Ellison, Robert Kiyosaki, Bob Jones, Michael Hill, Bill Clinton, Stelios, Stephen Covey...

What well known Australian subscribe to Espy?

We're still waiting on your subscription Greg!

Have you ever "pissed off" a "powerful" entrepreneur, and what was the end result?

Not yet... Well not that I'm aware of!

Who are your biggest clients / advertisers?

Flick through the mag.

How has the Internet helped and hindered you?

Definitely helped! I'm an internet junkie. I'm always surfing, so for me personally it's been priceless (that's why I launched our own Telco

For Espy Magazine it has been tremendous, we get subs from all over the world via it... I love it when we do business in our sleep!

What have been your biggest challenges?

My biggest challenge, is also my biggest motivation = expansion. I live to expand. Espy is currently on sale in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and via We have businesses in Design, Telecommunications, e-commerce, investments and of, course Dodgy Mag! I'm always looking for the next step to take to get the long term end result.

What's your motto?

Life is short, what do you want to be remembered for?

What's the next big thing for Espy Magazine?

We currently have 1 version/edition of the magazine, later this year we will launch an Australian version.

The goal is to have a version for every country we are in.

What business tips can you give me, that are most relevant for Media Man Australia, and doing business in Australia?

Read my "7 Things You Should Do Today", in the current issue (April/May 2003).

Any tips to what other entrepreneurs I should aim to interview, that may be open to the opportunity to being further exposed to the who's who of the Australian media business?

You should interview Rupert Murdoch & Kerry Packer.

What other information would you like to share with our audience?

Subscribe to Espy Magazine now! I've always said I wish there was a magazine like Espy around when we first started. It really is a business advantage.