The year was 1996 and I was surrounded by 49 other eager beavers in the basement computer lab of my college library.
Everyone was engrossed in their own screen, feverishly typing away to reach their assignment deadlines in time, or scouring the internet for that crucial piece of knowledge that would make their assignment that much more complete.
(dramatic pause…) And then I saw it.
Somewhere between looking for the latest BlueMountain e-card and research for an upcoming paper I found the resource that would help to guide me when my own social work strategies were low. My go-to for all things resources, and it’s name was…The New Social Worker Online Magazine!
I remember being so excited that I’d found this site that I immediately started devouring as much of the plethora of information that I could and promptly forgot about the research for my paper!
The magazine had a section for social work programs, one with helpful client resources, another that highlighted social work experiences in the field, and there was even a space for careers!
Fast forward to 2013.
I had completed my book How NOT to Practice Social Work and was eager to share it with the social work community so, of course, I reached out to NSWM editor, Linda Grobman.
Now, most successful magazines employ several people in high-level positions for things like online vs. offline publishing, marketing, and advertising. So you can imagine my surprise when I later found out that not only is Linda the magazine’s editor, she’s also the magazine’s publisher – and for both formats!
It’s truly amazing how much this woman has been able to accomplish in just 21 short years (was I really in college that long ago?!) and the contribution that she’s made to the profession of social work is simply magnificent. So I was thrilled to not only meet the legend herself, but delighted when she agreed to answer a few questions about her journey into entrepreneurship and creating a truly rich experience.
Enter Linda May Grobman, MSW, ACSW, LSW:
What led you to begin The New Social Worker Magazine?
I think everything up to that point led me to it!
I had always loved reading and writing from the time I was a little girl. When I became a social worker, I had a lot of questions and was very interested in career development, job search, and professional skills for myself and other social workers. I LOVED magazines and wrote for a few that focused on career development in other fields. So, I had the idea to start a similar magazine for social workers…the magazine I wished I had had when I was new to the profession.
What sorts of new learning did you have to avail yourself of in order to build the magazine over the years?
I already had experience in writing, editing, layout using desktop publishing, and other technical aspects of publishing, and I had a varied social work background. Over the years, I’ve taught myself HTML, social media, and anything else I needed to learn, including all the skills that go along with having one’s own business.
I like to learn new things.
How have you been able to monetize the magazine/your work? (i.e. tools, platforms, methods such as ads on the page, books, etc.)
When I first started The New Social Worker, it was solely a print magazine. There were no electronic magazines at that time.
I sent out a lot of letters, went to conferences, and did other marketing to sell subscriptions and get advertisers. The magazine is now primarily an online magazine, supported by advertising.
If you had to start the magazine today with the knowledge that you have, what would you do differently if anything?
That’s difficult to answer, because the publishing business has changed significantly since I first started this venture in 1993. Back then, there wasn’t the information “overload” that we see today. Of course, today I would start with a big social media presence, which didn’t even exist at that time.
What advice would you give social workers who are interested in entrepreneurship as the first step/s to take?
Be passionate about your idea. Ask lots of questions and research the pros and cons of what you want to do. At some point, you will be ready to “jump in” and do it, whether you have done thorough research and are completely comfortable, or you just feel that you have to do it because it is your dream. Once you do that, you will realize that it won’t go exactly as you expected! Go with the process, and you will learn as you go what works and what doesn’t, and whether being an entrepreneur is right for you.
Great advice from a great social worker. Thanks so much, Linda!
Now, I want to hear from you! Were you taking notes? I’d love to hear in the comments what lessons stood out to you from Linda’s journey and what tactics you plan to incorporate in your own rich path. Personally, I love that she’s a lifelong learner and has taught herself several business skills including HTML!
To find out more about Linda’s work, to contact or to subscribe to The New Social Worker Online Magazine, you can do that here!
And if you are or know of an inspiring social worker who’s on the journey of riches, link me! I want to share your story!
As always, thank you so much for being a part of this community. . .I think you’re definitely on to something. 😉
To your rich social work success!