Who's That Gal: Seri Roth, Founder of Step Up Magazine
Name: Seri Roth
Occupation: Founder of Step Up Magazine
Hometown: New York
Current ‘hood: Boston
Currently reading: Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Dream vacation: Traveling the world with my sister and best friend
Morning person or night person: Night person!
What is Step Up Magazine and what inspired you to start it?
Step Up is an online destination with created by and for young professionals, as well as high school and college students, who aspire to be the next generation of founders, innovators, philanthropists, changemakers, and leaders. Step Up is a safe place for our writers and readers to talk about everything and anything. From tackling the more serious issues like gun reform and reproductive rights, to discussing what happened last night on The Bachelor or geeking out over the latest beauty trend, we cover it all.
As for what inspired me to start Step Up Magazine—I began a “Step Up” club while in high school. Every month, as a club, we’d choose an issue to step up for and draw awareness to. A few years later, when I was a sophomore in college, I had the idea to apply the concept of what I started in high school to an online destination in which everybody could participate.
What makes Step Up unique?
Many aspects of Step Up are unique, but probably the one that stands out the most is that our entire organization is completely student-run. From our senior management team to our entry-level positions, we're all students!
We are living in unique times and it is so important for young people to have a place to share their opinions with their peers, where many and diverse voices can be heard. It is, after all, our world to shape!
How do you balance running the magazine and going to school full time?
It’s a balancing act and it takes strategic planning. The last thing I do before I go to bed is write out a to-do list for the next day. My list includes the most important things that MUST be done, the things that should be done but can wait one day, and the things that I should do if I have any extra time. This has been a game-changer for me. I waste no time from the moment I wake up because I know exactly what I need to do. Since I’m not wasting time, I finish my work faster which means I can have a social life.
What has been the biggest challenge of starting the magazine? Biggest reward?
One of my biggest challenges has definitely been time management and balancing all the different areas of my life.
Another personal challenge has been explaining to friends that being your own boss doesn’t mean your time is your own and that you're always available for social occasions. In fact, it’s the opposite. The business sets your agenda, and the needs of advertisers, staff, and other important folks orbiting Step Up are almost always time-sensitive.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a digital magazine (or other passion project)?
To understand the commitment, time, and sacrifice that goes into it all. When you work for a company, you typically will work the traditional 9-5 with the security of a paycheck at the end of the day. The entrepreneurial life differs in that you are working from dawn until dusk without that security of a paycheck. You are responsible for creating your paycheck, while also all the other aspects of growing and running a business. Sound overwhelming? It is. But if you find your passion, it’s all worth it. I hate going to sleep at night, and I can’t wait to wake up in the morning so that I can get to work. I light up when I talk about Step Up. So in a nutshell, my advice would be to understand the risks, the sacrifice, and the commitment that goes into starting your own company. Evaluate if your passion is strong enough to get you through the daily hurdles of an entrepreneurial lifestyle. And if it is...dive in!
What’s next for Step Up?
We are excited to launch Step Up Clubs and Step Up Chapters this fall. Additionally, we will be launching our Step Up Portal. We believe that more people would get involved in creating meaningful change if they knew what first steps to take. That’s why we are partnering with various organizations, initiatives, and meaningful causes to bring our readers ten ways to start making a difference in the areas they are passionate about!