College can be the four greatest years of your life. You have your friends, you live on your own, and there is almost always something to do on the weekends. Sadly, all good things come to an end. And when those college years are up, many students find themselves wondering what they are going to do after graduation. As you can tell, I absolutely love writing. And what some people may not know is that I changed my major sophomore year just so I could see if I could make communications a full-time job for me. Since that change, I have been blessed with an internship with the company PR by the Book. It is here where I was able to meet Marika Flatt. A former Aggie herself, she and her husband launched PR by the Book in 2002, capitalizing on her love for media as well as books. Not only does she have that company, but she is also co-owner of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. Seeing someone as successful as she accomplishes all this with the same degree I have, I wanted to know just how she did it. The answers to her questions are super insightful. And hopefully, they help you realize you too can do anything you want.
1. How were you able to go from an A&M graduate to running a Texas Lifestyle Magazine?
I did four internships while I was at A&M. I took the career path in book publicity upon graduation in 1997. And when I was presented with the opportunity to freelance for Austin women’s magazine in 2002, I jumped at the chance. I worked really hard to build connections with other publications where I could submit my travel articles. I began writing for what was Austin Lifestyle Magazine. I asked to be named the travel editor and was approved immediately. Then had the idea in 2014 to expand the magazine to Texas and went into business with my husband and the original owner.
2. How do you get ideas for the places you travel to and talk about in TLM?
Mostly I am pitched via email from travel PR practitioners who want me to visit their locations and write about them. Every once in a while, I will do the research myself about a particular location and reach out and try to make contact with whoever handles their press request.
3. How did you go about making connections for the magazine to become what it is now?
Gosh, I could talk to you for days about this. Making connections is the name of the game to build a successful career. I hate the word networking, but I am all about making connections that help other people and also advance my career or my businesses. Connections are really valuable. And it is about being persistent, following through, and helping others in the long run.
4. Any other advice you would give to aspiring college students who want to work in this field?
Be willing to get the experience for the experience alone, not the money or payment. You will learn so much more through experimental learning than you will in the classroom. Make those connections, work hard, and follow through with what you were supposed to do. Find ways you can help others because that’s great karma, and it will come back to help you later. There is no substitute for working hard and not making excuses. Deliver what you have been asked to deliver. Go the extra mile. Send people emails with links to things that can help them. Foster those connections.
So there you have it. Marika is extremely successful; she was just named outstanding Austin communicator 2021- and she started right where we are. Take some of her advice, and make your dreams come true. Read more about Marika and the magazine here: https://texaslifestylemag.com/.