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Lisa Messenger bringing back The Collective Hub print magazine

The Collective Hub will return as a print magazine in late November after the magazine’s founder and owner Lisa Messenger closed it a few months ago citing unsustainable growth and issues drumming up advertising dollars.

The Collective Hub’s return has seen 17 of the 32 staff who were made redundant in March return to work for the publication, but this time as freelancers.

Messenger has a message for those who think she’s just in it for the publicity

On stage at Mumbrella’s Publish conference today, Messenger said she had spent over $500,000 on the redundancy payments, but the time was right to bring the product back, and she had learned her lessons from its first iteration.

Having the staff now as decentralised freelancers with stringent KPIs, she said, was leading to far more efficiencies, fewer unnecessary meetings and less wasted time.

When asked whether it would have been more efficient to simply restructure the previous full-time team, give them strict KPIs – and thus avoid $500,000 in unnecessary redundancy payments – Messenger was resolute: no.

“Nope. Not in one million years. The reason is this. When I started my business in October 2001, everyone worked 9am-5pm, or 8am-6pm. Everyone had one job. And that’s what they did. And we have got to move with the times… I want [my staff] to be free. I want them to be able to have multiple jobs. I need to not get frustrated and sit there going ‘Why aren’t they working for me harder?’ or whatever. Let them be free. And I tell you what, I am just so much happier now.”

Given the brevity of the magazine’s absence from newsstands, Mumbrella asked Messenger if the magazine had ever really closed. Would she not benefit from the publicity surrounding its closure, and the ensuring publicity when it returns? Did she ever really exit print?

Again, Messenger was firm: this was not a publicity stunt and no-one who knows her would think that.

“At that, I want to swear… If you have any fucking idea what it takes to run something like this, there is no way on the planet… You’re not a business owner [directed at Mumbrella editor, Vivienne Kelly]. If you knew the blood, the sweat, the fricken cash I haemorrhaged, not having a baby. Like I put so much on hold. I take massive offence to that…. But whoever wants to say that, read what I have written… So I get it [the accusation], and I’d love that to be a big fat ‘fucking yes’… Fucking publicity stunt,” she said.

Messenger said she had some very big advertisers and partners on board for the revived issue 53, but she would not again be wasting time with media agencies who did not understand her offering.

“[During the magazine’s first run] I was on the phone to media agencies, dialling for dollars, and kids, 19-year-olds [were] beating me down – ‘No, can we not pay $10,000 for that page. Can we get it for $3,000?’ And I’m like ‘What the hell am I doing? This isn’t me in my sweet spot. This isn’t me in my genius zone’… So I broke it.”

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