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Amy Cosper on Transforming Entrepreneur Magazine

“Entrepreneurism isn’t just about owning a business – it’s the spirit you bring,” says Amy Cosper, vice president of Entrepreneur Media Inc., and editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur magazine.

Cosper embodies that philosophy. She didn’t launch Entrepreneur magazine, but she revitalized it to be relevant and true to its word. Recruited into the magazine to transform it, Cosper arrived bursting with energy and ideas only to discover “the staff hated me from day one.”

The staffers — 37 editors generating a mere 72 pages of content a month in total — were used to the staid slow ways of the previous 30 years of the magazine. Cosper scrapped the staff and started from scratch, finding the best talent regardless of location. Now the entire staff totals six, the smallest staff of any national business magazine. In true entrepreneurial fashion, they run lean!

What’s more, staff members live in different states and work virtually. “I didn’t want to be forced to hire second-tier people just because they were living in the headquarters’ city,” Cosper said. The team communicates by Skype and iChat. “Inc. magazine did a special issue in which they sent their editors to work remotely for one month, but we’re living it,” Cosper said.

Today, in addition to print subscribers, Entrepreneur gets six to eight million unique visitors a month reading the magazine and accessing additional content and resources for entrepreneurs.

After her keynote (which Cosper preferred to call “an extended toast”), Cosper fielded questions from theMile High Social Media Club members for over an hour. People asked for advice on how entrepreneurs can get media coverage, how writers can get hired, and how social media is changing print business models.

Erika Napoletano, a columnist for Entrepreneur, urged entrepreneurs to get their message down to three sentences — in 15 seconds — that answer:
1) Who are you?
2) What makes you different?
3) Why should I care?

When asked which companies are getting social media right, Cosper gave MixOne and GoodBelly as good examples.

Cosper ended the evening (hosted by Doyle Albee at the Metzger Associates‘ conference room) by saying, “Thinking entrepreneurially will help you in life, not just work — be fearless!”

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