Sabrina Proffitt, editor-in-chief of The Zillennial Zine, shares her career path and journey starting her own lifestyle magazine.
1. What made you want to start your own magazine?
I’ve worked for a ton of magazines, newspapers and online publications in the past. And while I’ve loved every opportunity I’ve had, I felt like something was missing. A lot of online magazines focus on older generations – the mommy blogs, the highly curated lifestyle magazines… I was looking for something a little crazy, a little raw and a little real. I wanted to create a space for the messy, penny-pinching, incredibly diverse range of people in my generation. The Zillennials. It’s funny to me because the internet has been so shaped by this generation, but we’re not often represented in the media portion of it. We’re glazed over. The Zillennial Zine is for the people who feel like they are in between two major generations, the Millennials (the dog moms, man buns and “hipster vegans”) and Gen Z (Robloxers, tide pod eaters, TikTok dancers). There are so many of us who are in the middle of these two generations. Who often might have a little bit of a hipster vegan vibe to us (we’re environmentalists through and through), and those of us who will scroll through TikTok all damn day (but won’t dance on it, ever). I wanted to make a space for them. On the Zillennial, TikTok trends are discussed regularly, new musicians and small women and LGBT-owned brands are spotlighted, fashion and beauty trends are extreme and fun, self-care is vital and we fill in that middle ground.
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2. And you freelance on the side! Walk us through a typical work day for you.
In order to fund the magazine of my dreams, I have to work a ton of side jobs. In terms of freelancing, I’ve written for a ton of different magazines, newspapers and online publications. I also do some other writing side gigs like SEO work for all different types of clients. You would not believe how much information I’ve garnered about random technology like cybersecurity or the number of articles I’ve written about vasectomies or total knee replacement surgery. Freelance work is all about using your skills to make some extra cash on the side. On a typical work day, I’m usually going down my list of deadlines, checking off my month’s work, all while curating, writing, posting, formatting and working on The Zillennial’s website.
3. Tell us a bit about the Zillennial’s audience. How did you grow an engaging readership?
As mentioned above, it’s a highly curated age range. It’s important to me to write about what’s important to us, as a generation. It’s actually really funny how niche you have to get to harbor a following. Some of our most popular articles have been SO tightly targeted to our generation. For example, one of our most popular articles ever was about which Bath & Body Works candle smells like each Harry Potter character. Our newest most popular articles are about what to wear to a Harry Styles concert or the Utah dirty soda trend. It’s pretty niche and specific because we’re covering things that other publications aren’t. We’re creating a space for information you can’t find anywhere else. What’s a “Hot Girl Walk” or what is shifting? We’ve got it on our site. Along with that, we love highlighting small businesses and small musicians so they can get their name out there (and we can get our name out there too! It’s a win-win!).
4. What advice would you give people who want to start their own online magazine or blog?
Find a niche. You are a unique person with such a valuable and unique perspective. Share that. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Make your magazine or blog your own special place! Find a way to make it unique and unlike anything else out there! On the technical side, watch a ton of YouTube videos. I learned so much about WordPress, SEO, Yoast, social media and so much more about running my own magazine through online tutorials.
5. And then back to freelancing…do you have any tips for people who are just getting their freelance feet wet?
Simply ask around! I found most of my freelance jobs by emailing them directly, asking if they were looking for writers. It’s a common misconception that you have to wait until a publication posts on a job listing site like LinkedIn or Indeed. There are some great opportunities there too, but don’t feel too nervous to just reach out to publications you are actually really interested in. All they can do is say no, but even if they do, they might remember your name later when they ARE looking for someone. Get out there and start networking, whether that’s digitally or in person!
6. Anything else you’d like to add?
Please check out The Zillennial Zine if you have the chance. If you are interested in TikTok trends, new up-and-coming musicians, fashion, beauty and more, give us a read! There are so many cool things to come, so be on the lookout or follow us on social media @thezillennialzine.
Interested in a creative gig? We have some open jobs for you!