Britt Hysen, EIC, Millennial Magazine: 10 Years of Growth in Digital Media
Meet Britt Hysen, the powerhouse behind Millennial Magazine and the visionary Editor-in-Chief who has built Millennial into a legacy brand, forging new opportunities for all who join her.
With a passion for storytelling and connecting clients with their ideal target audiences, she has turned the digital media hub into an SEO machine for personal branding.
Now, Britt is stepping out from behind the Editor’s desk to share her own story. Join us as we dive into Britt Hysen’s journey and discover what it takes to build a successful media platform in today’s ever-changing digital landscape.
Britt, what inspired you to start Millennial Magazine?
In 2008, I was a teenage actor entering adulthood when the crash happened. While many millennials fell into record unemployment at the time, I was surrounded by a community of artists and entrepreneurs in Los Angeles who were making a living doing what they loved. Then in January of 2010, I attended NAPTE in Las Vegas where the President of Discovery Channel, David Zaslov, stressed that YouTube was the future.
From that very conference show floor, I switched my point and shoot camera to video mode and started interviewing attendees. When I returned to LA, I moved into full production mode with The DoLab, an event production company known for their famous festival Lightning in a Bottle. I began interviewing festival artists and musicians to inspire our peers. This became the foundation of Millennial Magazine.
In 2013, I worked with CNBC where I began to see that CEOs were quickly becoming the new celebrities. During my time there, I witnessed what was being coined the “disrupter movement.” In 2014, I teamed up with my mom, Sylvia, who owned a public relations firm, to officially launch our own platform, one that would share these inspiring stories with the world.
How have you developed as a professional, and what lessons have shaped your outlook?
When I think back to who I was as a budding entrepreneur over a decade ago, I realize how much I’ve grown and developed professionally. I’ve been blessed with incredible experiences and wins over the years, but have also faced my share of rough and challenging times. All of the ups and downs led to a more poised and strategic outlook on the future.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve recently learned is to look at a business through the lens of your personal brand. For the past 13 years, I’ve helped entrepreneurs and professionals share their personal stories without realizing the market was going to catch up to a new standard that requires “the face as the logo.”
Now in 2023, it’s so important to see who is behind the company to gain trust. The person is unequivocally more relatable than the product or service they are selling, which is why you see so many founders stepping in front of the camera these days. So here I AM, telling my story and sharing the face behind Millennial Magazine.
Describe the breakthrough moment when you realized your career was taking off.
In 2014, after several grueling months of launching Millennial, I received a message that would change my life. It was a difficult time for us, and I began to doubt whether or not we could get the company off the ground. I was doing 16-hour days 7 days a week for 4 months straight, producing original content with a team of writers and photographers, and hadn’t made a dime in that time!
It was that feeling of being on a hamster wheel, working so hard and getting nowhere (so I thought), when I received a message from The White House recognizing us as a Top Media Platform for Millennials and inviting us to Washington D.C. to be part of an exclusive travel summit.
I thought, “there is NO WAY this is real. This has to be a SCAM!” But sure enough, it was real! That same week, as fate would have it, we landed our first advertiser- The Mapua Institute of Technology in The Philippines who wanted to promote their study abroad program with us.
I eventually did go to The White House, and that trip led to even more advertisers in the travel space which then led us to working with Boards of Tourism in Europe, and ultimately, opening up a hospitality division in the magazine.
Since then, we’ve continued to work with some of the most iconic travel brands in the world and this summer will be launching a podcast that takes place from the trains and hotels across the globe.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
When the 2020 pandemic hit, most businesses were forced to close. Yet, amazingly, as a digital publication, our business flourished! It felt fateful to be in that position at that exact time because for the months leading up to March 2020, we seriously considered selling the magazine. Luckily, God did not let us sell and instead provided a new opportunity! Where one door closes, another opens…
During the pandemic, our ad sales grew, and I was fortunate enough to bring my father and brother into the business which gave us all fresh perspective on how to grow. Now three years later, we have so many fun and exciting projects going on and are in the middle of planing some really cool things for our 10th year anniversary, coming up in 2024.
How has Millennial’s approach to social media changed over time?
Social media is an ever changing landscape. It can be hard to keep up with the trends, but the most exciting part is that it is always a good time to start! I love that Youtube is just as powerful now as it was 10-15 years ago. As long as you know your niche and you produce consistent content, you will get ahead no matter when you start.
I started on YouTube back in 2010. Part of me is embarrassed that I have migrated off back in 2013 to build a media platform, but the other, more intuitive part of me, knows that timing is perfect and it was all meant to be. I’m approaching YouTube with a whole new love and applying years of knowledge to a brand new channel.
And Instagram has the been a powerful tool for cross-promotion in addition to reaching new audiences through IG Reels. Even though I have a love-hate relationship with social media, I’m excited to mobilize our community and provide opportunity for our following in a whole new way.
Describe your lifestyle and how you maintain a life/work balance.
We featured Amanda Slavin of CatalystCreativ back in 2015, when she informed me that the new term for work/life balance is instead “work/life integration”…because entrepreneurs work around the clock and make their business apart of their life. I’ve loved this term, and have been using it ever since!
So how do I integrate my work with my life? By creating fun opportunities that benefit both! Whether that’s travel, music events, or dining out, I love going places that I can also feature in the magazine. I’m a shameless opportunist!
But while there is this work life integration aspect of my lifestyle, I learned a long time ago about the importance of taking breaks. Without taking breaks, I burn out. It’s very important for my internal “balance” to relax and turn off my brain each evening. Over time, I’ve gotten better about being “on” and “off” the clock.
What plans do you have for Millennial Magazine in the near future?
Last fall, we launched the Signature Boss Series as a way to feature the entrepreneurs and influencers thriving in a post-pandemic world. The series has become so popular that we created an opportunity for brands to pair SEO strategies with our editorial coverage.
Reach out directly to me if you’re curious to learn more! Additionally, we’re turning the series into a cool podcast this summer called, The Boss Society, to bring these stories to life through video.
To stay connected with Britt Hysen, follower her on LinkedIn and Instagram.