Sian Richardson is all sorts of cool – a layout designer with some rad-girl branding. OH, she also runs the monthly digital magazine, The Unmistakable Effect. This mag is for the seekers of inspiration and the know-all of their souls. It is fresh, bold, and filled with real talk from real people following their passions.
I am a sucker for a good mag, so when I stumbled upon The Unmistakable Effect, my first gut reaction was, “HOW DO I GET INVOLVED AND WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?!” AKA, I was inspired.
I interviewed Sian Richardson all about the digital mag – how it came to be, what her inspirations are, and her future’s horizon.
Proceed with caution: you might get hooked.
For those that don’t know, what is The Unmistakable Effect?
The Unmistakable Effect is a magazine to get you stoked on winning at your own game. Right now its a monthly digital magazine, with a special edition print issue that just launched in August!
How did you come up with the idea to start a monthly digital magazine?
Last summer I spent some time in Canada (a country I love very much) and I was just feeling like there was something else I was meant to be creating — other than what I was already doing in my business. I spent a LOT of time over the summer just exploring and being outside and going on solo missions, and eventually it just kinda came to me… I thought, shit, a monthly magazine? Hell yeah, I can get on board with that.
It was kinda funny when I started telling friends thats what I was doing because almost all of them were like ‘Oh yeah duh, how have you not done this already?’… And I kept thinking the same thing too. Layout + publication design has always been my strongest point (and something I love very much), I love connecting with cool people and sharing stories, and I’d co-created another magazine in the past that I absolutely loved working on — so creating my own magazine just seemed like such a perfect fit.
What was the determining factor that made you go digital vs. print?
Just for ease, honestly. I knew that I wanted it to be monthly to start with, I knew I wanted to monetise it, and I knew my way around digital products enough to spend very little time getting it launched and off the ground. From the idea to the first launch I think it was only about 2 months at the most? Which is basically nothing. So I could have worked in that same time frame if I launched a print magazine with print on demand, but something was telling me to launch fast with digital and then figure out print issues later.
In all honesty I actually see this being a mainly print magazine (with other exclusive digital content) in the long run, so now that I’m one year into it this is something I’m working on! I just launched a special edition print issue too — and that went over pretty well and it got me stoked to do more print issues in the future.
How do you choose who to feature and who to contribute? What is that process like?
Part of the reason I was so stoked to create the magazine was because I wanted an excuse to hit up people I thought were awesome, haha. So far, the people who’ve been interviewed in the mag or have written for it are friends of mine or we’re connected in some way, and some were just totally random that I hit up and basically said “Hey I think you’re rad AF, wanna be in my magazine?’.
I also post on my Insta stories every couple of months with new themes for future magazines and make a call out for articles, and I usually get quite a few replies on those, which is awesome.
I’m always keeping an eye out on social media and the online world for people I’d love to see in the mag too — especially people my friends talk about… I feel like if I’m friends with someone and we really vibe, there’s a good chance they’re gonna know some other badass people that I’d probably vibe with and love to see in the mag too.
In terms of the process, I have this basic AF Google spreadsheet with a list of ‘dream people’ that I’d love to see in the mag so anytime I find someone new I throw their name/website/email in there, and I check off when I’ve contacted them, if they replied, if I followed up, etc.
I also have a column where anyone can send a story of their own for it to be featured in the mag (just via a super simple page on my website) — as I really love just opening up to anyone who has something to say. There’s also another column with Steph Jagger where she answers submitted questions each month (called Words to the Motherfucking Wise), and that’s always super cool to see.
So yeah, I love the mix of both me finding and contacting people that I think fit the vibe of the magazine, and also seeing stories or articles submitted from anyone who has something to say. I don’t want the mag to feel like some exclusive cool-kids-only club, so that’s important to me, to mix it up.
How has The Unmistakable Effect grown from Issue 1 to Issue 13?
I feel like its taken this long for me to just get my head around creating an issue every month, so now that I’ve done that I’m focusing on really growing it and making it even more awesome. So maybe in terms of the subscriber numbers and hard stats I wouldn’t say those have drastically increased, but more so behind the scenes. Like launching a new website, setting up an email list with an email series, stuff like that is what I’ve been working on quite a bit. And now is when I’m working on getting more new people signed up!
What has been the greatest surprise for you in growing this digital magazine?
Its been pretty cool to see how many people just GET the vision and what I’m trying to do with it. There’s some people that just don’t get it and that’s cool — I’m not here for them… But yeah, people who have been interviewed or people who have written for the magazine (without compensation — as I need to monetise it more before I can do this) has been amazing. Like just looking at the Contributors page on the website, I’m like shit, that is a lot of people! Haha.
And everyone who’s brought a copy, or maybe they haven’t brought one, they just saw a post with an excerpt from an issue or something and it just vibed with them — that’s fucking cool.
What is the inspiration that threads through each issue?
Overall the vibe of the magazine is to get people stoked on doing their own thing as I mentioned, but then each issue also has a more specific theme of its own. So these themes are just ones I come up with based on what people are talking about and what I think would be interesting to explore some more!
Who is The Unmistakable Effect reader?
Someone who is sick of doing things the way they’ve always been done… Someone who wants to get after life in their own way, on their own terms. They’re prepared to do the work to get to where they want to be, and they know ‘overnight success’ ain’t a thing.
What have you learned about yourself in creating a monthly digital magazine?
That I have a decent amount of resistance when it comes to doing the work that I know is what I’m meant to be doing… Haha. Its weird because the magazine is 100% a project I know I’m meant to be doing and I LOVE it so much, and once I’m ‘in the zone’ working on it I’m fine, but shit, getting in that zone is a real struggle sometimes. I know Steven Pressfield talks a lot about resistance so I should go back and read what he has to say on it…
I think its one of those things where you have to get past your own bullshit + beliefs + what you think you know, and you gotta show up even when you’re scared, you know?
How would you describe your branding?
Ooooh my branding… Always an interesting question to throw at a designer/creative, haha. I guess my personal branding (and business) is quite similar to The Unmistakable Effect, but I want everything I do to feel quite fresh and interesting and unapologetic, for sure.
For the most part I don’t think we have a lot of control over our ‘Brand’ or how people choose to see us — all we can do is create and put shit out into the world in a way that feels fun and exciting for us, and then people are going to take from that whatever they’re gonna take.
But yeah… I’d go with fresh + unapologetic + bold.
What has been the biggest challenge in growing The Unmistakable Effect?
I’m not sure if its really a challenge, but its been interesting on the odd occasion I’ve had with someone who just does not get what I’m trying to do with the magazine. I feel like thats when you know when you’re doing something you’re meant to be doing — when you have people that absolutely 100% get it and want to get on board, and on the flip side you have other people that just couldn’t care less or it’s just not their vibe… And thats when you have to be the number one cheerleader for what you’re doing.
As one random example, I was recently reaching out to companies who might want to sponsor the print issue. I sent out an email pitching the whole mission of the magazine and telling them that I don’t have any huge fancy + impressive followers or stats (like you would expect from a pitch asking for sponsorship), but I wanted to partner with companies who aligned with the vibe of what I was trying to do.
One company replied and said that the magazine sounded interesting, but they didn’t do sponsorships because they never saw the point in them as they don’t get an ROI on them compared to other forms of advertising. Their reply was totally profesh and I respect that they even replied at all though (actually they were the only one to this day who replied, out of about 6 people I emailed)… But yeah, that just told me that they didn’t really get the vibe of what I was doing.
So I’m getting good at accepting not everyone understands what I’m doing. I knew this when I started the magazine, but as I take bigger moves those hits keep coming faster, and you have to learn to be okay with it.
What is the one thing you are super proud of yourself for?
Probably that I’ve managed to launch an issue every month, for 13 months in a row! Haha. When I started the magazine I was kinda like, ‘What am I getting myself into here…’, but I’m stoked that I’ve been able to stick with it — and the fact I still love working on each issue is pretty rad to me.
If you could only tell a potential reader one thing before they make their purchase, what would it be?
Ditch what you think you know. Go into it with an open mind. AND go buy the print version of Issue 12, cause you won’t regret it. (It’s literally more like a coffee table book than a magazine). 😊
To visit The Unmistakable Effect, click here.