I am the publisher of East End Taste Magazine, a digital publication based in the Hamptons. I am also a freelance journalist and the founder of the Hamptons interactive brunch, and an annual event that takes place in the Hamptons every summer.
- CEO Hack: I love Canva and check youtube resources to learn and research new designs
- CEO Nugget: Try to research and find resources before starting over your business and don’t be afraid to ask the experts
- CEO Defined: Be in full control of your company and love every aspect, come to work with an open mind and don’t give up
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today have Vanessa Gordon of East and tastes magazine. Vanessa is awesome having on the show.
Vanessa Gordon 0:40
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I'm great. Happy to be here.
Gresham Harkless 0:42
No problem. Super excited to have you on as well, too. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Vanessa so you can hear about all these awesome things that she's doing. And Vanessa is the publisher of East and taste magazine, a digital publication based in the Hamptons. She is also a freelance journalist and the founder of the Hamptons interactive brunch in an annual event that takes place in the Hamptons every summer. Vanessa, are you ready? Speak to the imcl community?
Vanessa Gordon 1:05
Yes, I am.
Gresham Harkless 1:06
Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I want to hear a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through what I call your SEO story? When did you get started with all the paperwork?
Vanessa Gordon 1:14
Sure, yes. So it was soon after graduate school. And after my daughter was born, I really wanted just an opportunity to have a creative outlet, where at the time, I was freelance writing a lot, but I really wanted my own platform. And I explored the opportunity just by creating a blog, if you will. And it just it grew from there. Now how did it grow? So for instance, because I was still freelance writing at the time, I would have to go cover events, do interviews, etc. So as I was, you know, slipping people my business card, it said Easton tastes on it. So people would ask, what is that? So it grew, it grew from there, it grew very like, almost like a snowball effect. But it grew very organically. But I had no business entrepreneurial experience at all zero, I had, you know, little bits here and there of editorial experience from my internships in the city. But other than that, and freelance writing, no experience whatsoever. So it was a lot of carefully choosing my mentors, if you will, or people that I would look to for advice, and they would direct me. So it was a lot of trial and error in the beginning. And I really didn't push it to a full fledged business until 2018. Or just under two years ago, it became a digital publication 2016. But I didn't really take it seriously in terms of monetizing and strengthening the platform. But it's quite incredible when I've dedicated my time to it how fast it has grown. Now mind you, I do have you I have a family, I have two young children. So there is a limitation to what I can do on a regular basis. So but when I work hard, I give it my all.
Gresham Harkless 2:52
Yeah, absolutely. It goes to show you just how that that focus really has an opportunity to really take things to another level. And I love and I think sometimes some of the best things don't necessarily grow with Oh, I'm going to create this really great publication. But it kind of grows with you just it sounds like just kind of building and growing. And it starts to organically build like that snowball. You mentioned before.
Vanessa Gordon 3:11
Certainly, I mean, I initially just want to focus on the Hamptons, or a lot Eastern Long Island region. But because I've developed even more of an interest in traveling, I've incorporated that now. And that's actually become the focal point. We do specialty food, there's now now we've just launched a real estate component to it, we like to see where the the market is or what people are looking at. So we're doing a lot of research on the back end. So it's very fascinating to see where the coverage goes.
Gresham Harkless 3:40
Yeah, and that evolution, evolution is always fun as you get to have different arms or so. So to speak to the publication and grow from there. So I know you touched on you know, some of the things you're adding on as well. So you can you take us through a lot of how the ways in which I should say you serve the clients that you work with and now and what we can find on the sites.
Vanessa Gordon 3:58
Sure. So what's really cool about us is not only are we and edit, you know, we have the editorial side to it. We also have that experience on the marketing side with the events with the Hamptons interactive brunch. So we're doing now we've transitioned to hopefully next summer we'll be doing smaller events or making it a brunch series, having them not be no more than like 2025 30 people as opposed to 150 or over 200 like we've had within the those past two years, I'm speaking 2018 and 2019. So have them be very, very specific focal points. So for instance, we may do an event that's only focused on cruelty free or vegan wellness, then we may have a specialty food focus. So we're we're developing that so there's so what's so unique about us is there's so many different ways to work with us. It's not just the editorial side, there's the social media platforms. There's my goodness, there's I mean, I also have my my radio broadcast with oil and radio broadcasting. I do do. I had a column with the Independent newspaper out here but that has since merged With Dance Dance papers or dance Hamptons media, so we'll, we'll see where everything's going just because of what's been going on lately. There's a lot a lot of shifting going on. So we're, we're doing our best though.
Gresham Harkless 5:12
Yeah, absolutely. It definitely is a shifting environment, you know, for every industry and every, you know, area of the world as well, too. So it's great to hear that you've been able to kind of be like water, so to speak, and being able to move and evolve and change as things, you know, start to happen. And so you might have already touched on this, but I want to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce, and this could be for you individually, or your business or combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and make?
Vanessa Gordon 5:37
Sure is, I think with, with us, in particular is our strong connections that we've met, you know, we've manifested over over the years and how we are so in touch with so many so many different entities, that we don't even publicize. We there's so there's so many opportunities to work with us that I never, you know, I'd never tell people, hey, that's cut and dried this, this and that. I'm always, you know, willing, willing and able to explore different opportunities and methods for working with us. And what's particularly so unique about us is our readership is that we have about a 35 40% New York based readership, but we also have that international component as well. We are the only publication on the island that has such a strong international readership. So in particular, with our readership is within the EU, the UK, Ireland, Italy, and I think Germany is one of the top four. Okay, that's
Gresham Harkless 6:35
interesting. Do you feel like I know, you mentioned that travel aspect? Do you feel like that is in relation to the travel and where you've been able to kind of bring in that, that audience as well?
Vanessa Gordon 6:44
Yes. I mean, that's what people are craving the most in terms of coverage. So every time I've noticed that I've had, you know, an internationally based story published that always seems to do extremely well and not necessary because you know, people travel there a lot of wanted the, there is that fascination with perhaps that region. So it's, it's really interesting, we're, you know, our demographic of readers we are we either have readers that are, you know, aligned with the Hamptons, aesthetic that up, you know, upper class, who can afford to afford, you know, these types of travel opportunities, and there's ones that more aspire to that. So it's very, very fascinating.
Gresham Harkless 7:21
That's awesome. You know, what I hear, you know, when you're explaining that you just really I think you spoke on to really understanding the I hate to call it the data, but just the information and who exactly you're targeting and be able to kind of be, I guess, in front of what they're potentially searching for. So by the time you search, it sounds like your content and your information. And even the experiential events you have are cater to that.
Vanessa Gordon 7:43
Yes, yes. So we're, we're always very careful to make sure that our content isn't lined with our readership in the beginning. You know, it's tricky. It's tricky, because some sometimes things that I love, people don't necessarily aren't necessarily interested in. That is what's so fascinating about this. I'm originally, I truly just wanted this platform to be expressing things that I loved. But now I've gone outside in I'm tailoring literally now, almost everything to what other people like that is what's so tough, honestly. I mean, it's fascinating in terms of, you know, people are telling me they want more upscale interior design, they can't get enough of it. They want more like kitchen decor and like, I'm not, you know, that's not my specialty. So now I've had to make it my specialty, if that makes sense.
Gresham Harkless 8:30
Yeah, absolutely. And it's so important. Like, I think so many times, like in business, especially, sometimes we get lost in the things that we love. And while sometimes that is right in line with what we were looking for, sometimes it's not. And you kind of have to be able to understand this is the mission, this is what we're trying to accomplish, and how can we serve and create the solutions for that, rather than get stuck in? Oh, I love this. I only want to write about this. So I love that you've been able to make that pivot?
Vanessa Gordon 8:52
Yes. And we're doing that even more now that as we're focusing on that real estate component, so we're gonna be we have a lot of fun stories coming up. And then, you know, the biggest aspect is juggling all of this. I mean, it's it's a lot, but so we're very, very limited to what we can publish on a monthly basis.
Gresham Harkless 9:07
Yeah, absolutely. You kind of have to be very, sounds like very focused on the things that will move the needle the most, rather than, you know, always doing like a quantity from that aspect and having a lot of bad but
Vanessa Gordon 9:17
yeah, that's it. So it's so hard to explain to some people who are pitching us that we have a six two, I think now we're at eight weeks, we have an eight week editorial, you know, we're out, we're out eight weeks. Now, people have a hard time comprehending that in one simple, it's as simple. As you know, we may have 10 or 1215 different storylines ready to go. But we have to get those in. And that easily is eight weeks,
Gresham Harkless 9:43
easily. Yeah, well, I definitely understand that from the podcast. We know you've been able to kind of plan out as far as advance allows you to kind of focus on and provide as much value as possible. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be Like an app or book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Vanessa Gordon 10:05
Oh gosh, well, I would not, I really can't think of anything specific. But what I like to do a lot of times is I literally just search YouTube. So say for instance, right now, we are focusing on upgrading our mail mailing lists, or our layout for our mailing list in terms of the design, so honestly, what I do is I mean, I love Canva. ca and VA, it's really my go to, it's so it's so funny when you kind of, you know, lift the hood. So to say, it's not really anything too fancy. You know, it's all it's all out there, those resources are out there for for anyone that's willing to to grab them. But I will say this, I'm always on YouTube for just searching like ways to bump up your design or, you know, do this or that. So fascinate everything, you could find all the free information free. And I really emphasize free information out there.
Gresham Harkless 10:59
Yeah, absolutely. I often say that sometimes. I go to I went to YouTube university or Google University, because if you have the power to be able to search for stuff, there's a ridiculous amount of information out there. And I think not that many people go the extra I want to say go the extra mile. It's like half a mile sometimes. And just finding stuff. And being able to drill down and learn how to do some of these things.
Vanessa Gordon 11:20
That's what I do. I literally, I just set the time because I truly believe in the motto of if you want something you want to get something done, you have to do it yourself. I'm not saying like I like to I don't I'm not a micromanager by any means. But if I want something done, I just I press the stop button. I am the one that goes in and looks it up.
Gresham Harkless 11:40
Yeah. And that's so huge. And I think so many times that, especially when you're trying to build and grow a business, so many people say they don't have you know, this resource or that resource. But, you know, I've heard this quote where you want to build your resourcefulness, so to speak, and you're really tied into that and figure out how exactly you can make something happen rather than what you don't have.
Vanessa Gordon 11:58
Right? That's it, I think that every every CEO really has to have a grasp on every elite, at least a little bit of every little component. Um, you know, because there might be something that you know, someone that's working under, you doesn't see or you really want to make sure you're covering all your bases.
Gresham Harkless 12:12
Yeah, absolutely. You have that that that varied and wide knowledge and information. So I want to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget, and this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something if you were to happen to a time machine, you would tell your younger business self.
Vanessa Gordon 12:28
Oh, gosh, honestly, for for me, it would be just be more, I would say savvy in terms of knowing what is like what resources are out there, rather than, you know, trying to search, you know, for you know, discount. Okay, so first. So for instance, instead of how do you say just going with like, so say, if you're looking for a service, or looking for something specific going with a first person, first person or someone that's made the least expensive? Think about invest in long term investment. So for instance, in a way, I wish that I had asked people around me for resources in terms of me just just searching and just find someone, okay, let me just go with them, because they seem like the most reasonably priced. And you know, you're rushing through it. So definitely take your time. And don't be afraid to be, you know, be a little tough and, you know, ask very hard questions. interview.
Gresham Harkless 13:28
Yeah, that's absolutely huge. And I think especially, you know, with bringing people on your team in some way, shape, or form that we're able to do, as I love how that, to me even dials into your hack, because I think once you have that knowledge and information, you can start to ask those, those tough questions. Because I think some sometimes we have no idea by you know, what we're hiring for, but we hear that we might hire, and sometimes that person isn't necessarily the right fit for me.
Vanessa Gordon 13:50
Right. That's it? That's it? Yeah, you don't even know something? You know, I see all these things that, oh, I could use this. I could use that. Like, why, what what? Sometimes I was afraid to ask like, what is that? Right, that makes like, what, what does that mean? And sometimes, that's another thing too, is like, don't be afraid to ask those. They may sound silly, but don't be afraid to ask those questions. can't know, we can't know everything right away.
Gresham Harkless 14:12
Right? No, that's, that's so huge. And I think so many times you have to have that, that balance between, you know, being the the person that's able to kind of build and see a vision and excel and execute on that. And being able to kind of have the humility to be able to say, Hey, this is something I don't know. So can you explain it to me? What does this mean and be able to kind of build your information from there? Mm hmm. That's it. Awesome. So now, I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So Vanessa, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Vanessa Gordon 14:44
Oh, gosh, well, for me being a CEO Be it not not only means being in full control of your company, but loving every aspect and really coming you know, coming to work every single day, you know, with an open mind but also ready you Ready to work and get get stuff done and to really truly never ever give up. See, that's a that's a huge responsibility. And you really have to embrace not only the role but every single component under you as well. So you there's there's a lot that's entailed, but it has to be worth it.
Gresham Harkless 15:16
Yeah, absolutely. I think so many times we fall in love with one aspect of it, but don't love the other aspect of it, but you kind of have to love it the good and the bad because it's always what makes what you're trying to do. worth it. That's it. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Oh, Vanessa, truly appreciate that. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and of course how best they can get overview and find out all about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.
Vanessa Gordon 15:44
Oh sure enough that thank you so much for having me. I love hearing you know, I love hearing from people so anyone is free to email me or to reach out to me through our social media platforms anytime. We can be found at East End end taste on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and at Hamptons interactive brunch just on Instagram. And we are east,
Gresham Harkless 16:06
East and taste magazine.com Awesome, awesome, awesome. And we will definitely have those links and information in the show notes as well too. So you can click through and find out about all the awesome things that Vanessa is working on. But I truly appreciate you and your time and awesome things you're doing. And I hope you have a phenomenal today.
Thank you for listening to the IMC o podcast powered by Blue 16 Media Tune in next time and visit us at I am ceo.co I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five star rating grab CEO email@example.com gear.co This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Thank you for listening.
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