A quarter of a century for a small business to remain vibrant and still growing is remarkable in these days and times, especially since it has relied most of those years on a print magazine to stay alive.
November marks the 24th anniversary for Workamper News, Inc., an important and yet little known company located in a relatively small town, Heber Springs, Arkansas. The scope of the business, however, is huge.
Prediction of the demise of print magazines and newspapers has been batted about since the ‘90s and gradually, many print magazines and newspapers have either switched over to digital media or stopped the presses entirely.
“Admittedly,” says Steve Anderson, “it has been challenging, particularly since so many of our readers are retirement age. In our sixth year of ownership, the basic subscribers—those members who receive only the print magazine-- has actually grown smaller.”
That is not a concern, however, because Workamper News changed its vision. Up until 2011, they were a subscription based business model.
“Now, we are a membership based model with more choices for our members to utilize our services. Members join at several levels, according to the elements of Workamper News they wish to receive,” Anderson explains.
The Workamper News magazine is still published bi-monthly in print format and mailed to those who want to continue receiving it in its original format.
“Many of our members choose for both options (print and digital) but a growing majority of members are “Green” –meaning they view the magazine online.”
The bi-monthly magazine began as a newsletter, alerting readers to job opportunities around the country for RVers. Today’s magazine is much more than classified advertisements for Workamping jobs. Readers enjoy hearing about Workamping experiences, great places to visit, and how to successfully live the RV lifestyle. Members can post a free Situation Wanted ad describing the type job and location they are looking for, as well as a little bit about themselves. Employers view the ads and contact those they are interested in.
But that is far from all. Steve and Kathy Jo Anderson, owners of Workamper News, have turned the business on its head: it is much more than the magazine standard it originated as. It is designed to be a vibrant, community of members learning the ways and means of Workamping successfully.
“The truth is,” says Steve Anderson, “as more and more people become computer savvy, the internet allows us to impart timely information to our readers that enables them to utilize our job listings, educational tools, post their resumes and photos or Situation Wanted advertisements at the click of a button. We provide frequent Jobinars (live “Go to Meeting” webinars given by employers such as DNC Parks at Yellowstone, Amazon, and other large employers seeking hundreds of employees), and a myriad of webinars and online tools to assist our membership in living the Workamping lifestyle. Other resources are available such as books, CDs, DVDs and online “Workamper University” courses.
Member employers have choices also. They can simply advertise their job openings in the magazine, or send out an advertisement on any day of their choosing through Workamper News’ Hotline email service. Some employers choose to “optimize” their advertisements with audio messages; they can upgrade their membership to be “Featured Employers” and have an ongoing presence on the website with multiple photographs for anyone who wants more information about them, including a link to their own website.
There are so many facets to Workamper News, it is difficult to cover in one article. Suffice it to say, the business is forward-thinking and seems to thrive on keeping up or even ahead in our digital era, making use of You-Tube and blogs and numerous websites to serve their purposes.
In 2011, another change was implemented. The Company held two live events called a “Workamper Rendezvous” in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Both existing Workamper members and those that were just curious about the lifestyle met together and were educated about how to enter and succeed in living and working from their RV either part or full time. The first event in April was so successful that it demanded a duplicate one for those who couldn’t attend the first one. The second Rendezvous was held October 18-21, 2011, in the same venue and was equally as successful. Plans have already been made to hold two events in 2012 with other relevant topics.
One can’t help but congratulate the Company on their integrative, real-time format and willingness to face challenges. Had they remained a traditional print-only publication, they would have been seriously limited and possibly out of business. Instead, they are looking ahead to future growth and expanding the services they offer.
Steve Anderson, President
Workamper News, Inc.
110 Tulaka Blvd., Suite C
Heber Springs, AR 72543