We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Avena and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have always been a risk taker for both personal and business. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it dont. You just give it your best shot. When it works out, it is a great feeling knowing that you took a chance. You rolled the dice and it came up seven. There is that high that you get from success.
But on the flip side, if things do not work out? As long as you know that you gave it your all and left it all out on the field, you can walk away knowing that you did all that you could to make it work.
There is no shame in failure. There is shame in not trying.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I was speaking to someone about purchasing their publication, but they were not asking rational numbers for the purchase so, basically – I said that I do not need to buy that magazine, I can start one on my own for a lot less. Hence the risk. What am I most proud of? Starting a magazine was a monumental undertaking in itself. I did not know much about the magazine business when I first started. Of course, there is the content which is always an important piece of the puzzle. I had to find outdoor writers that were willing to share their adventures and experiences. Luckily, I knew enough people in the outdoor industry that really stepped up to help me get the magazine off the ground. Larry Weishuhn who is a well-respected outdoor biologist, writer, author and friend approached me right away to write for me as well as others in the industry. It would have been more difficult without the help of friends. I was very fortunate. Larry still writes for American Outdoor News to this day. Aside from the content, I had to take care of the layout, editing and of course, Advertising. Without advertising, this whole venture does not work.
Then I had to build an audience. Social Media played a big part in building an audience. But I had to choose a theme that would set my magazine apart from all the rest of the outdoor publications? I chose to have celebrity hunters and outdoorsmen/women on the cover. That certainly helped in attracting an audience. I started with people from the outdoor channel. Familiar faces like Jana Waller, Jim Shockey, Melissa Bachman. As we became more established, I was able to find famous mainstream people that hunted. People like Bo Jackson, Joe Mantegna and Travis Tritt. Which opened up a new demographic for us.
Overall, every new issue has been a learning experience. The magazine progressed and each issue turned out better than the last. Today, every time I turn out a new issue I say – Wow, this is the best issue yet. It is kind of funny. I am always learning and this was an amazing growing experience. I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and I love what I do. If somebody was to ask me how or why did I make this magazine what it is? Just follow your vision. Do not let anyone compromise your dream and keep pushing forward.
What would I want you to know about American Outdoor News? American Outdoor News is committed to provide you with an objective commentary of the outdoorsin every issue. Whether you are passionate about hiking the Appalachian Trail, hunting the Plains of Africa or fishing the Sea of Cortez, American Outdoor News has it covered.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well – you want to talk about food? If a friend was coming to town, I would have to take them to one of my favorite steakhouses “Sparks Steakhouse” in NYC. We would probably head over to Madison Square Garden to catch a concert or head down to Time Square to catch the latest show on Broadway. There are just so many things to do in Manhattan. There might be an event at Chelsea Piers to have a few drinks and have some fun. It does not seem like too long ago there were plenty of night clubs to hit in the city. Now there are just “Lounges”. Or we could head downtown and people watch. Yes – You have no idea what you might see people watching in the city.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to give a shoutout to all of my friends in the outdoor industry that contributed to American Outdoor News. Whether they contributed a story or an interview, American Outdoor News would not have the success that we have had without their assistance. For that, I am sincerely grateful.