Victoria Wise is wise to the many ways of building a business in the digital age. She has been building her own since 2011 and is still going strong as the founder and CEO of Madeworthy Media, a publishing company focused on Fort Worth, Texas.
Named one of the 400 most influential people by Fort Worth Inc., Wise started her online entrepreneurial journey on two parallel paths. She and a partner created Jewelry Nut Auctions as a venue to sell accessories and clothing in live Facebook auctions, and Wise separately set up a Facebook group called Tanglewood Moms for Fort Worth women.
The auction idea took off first, generating $1.5 million a year in sales and employing 19 people until Wise and her partner sold it. But Tanglewood Moms found an audience, too — one that Wise and her writer husband, William, capitalized on four years later by launching a related blog and business directory. Then in 2017, Wise went old school by starting Madeworthy Magazine, a print publication aimed at the Fort Worth community.
The Tanglewood Moms Facebook group began with a base of 2,300 members; now there are 16,000 members, 14,500 followers of the active Instagram account and 10,000 email subscribers. The print magazine also is circulated to 10,000 homes. Madeworthy Media has three full-time employees and publishes the work of several freelance writers.
Some people questioned Wise’s investment in a magazine, but her decision to extend the community experience from online to print quickly paid dividends. It was profitable immediately, with one local advertiser saying in a testimonial that “it has been far better than any advertising we have done, and we have been in business for over 35 years.”
Digital products from Basecamp, Dropbox, Asana, and G Suite to Facebook, MailChimp, and WordPress empower the team to work independently. Facebook ads help promote the brand. Wise sees technology as the hub of her business and said any government efforts that undermine the businesses that provide those tools ultimately could kill small businesses.
Google, in particular, is essential to Wise’s publications. “Google helps me reach new readers and build my revenue base,” she said. “Members of Congress should know the value Google unlocks for publishers like me and the journalism we are able to provide because of it.”