Growing up in an Italian Catholic family, Tammy Mastroberte always had a belief in a higher power. But at the age of 22, the sudden death of her mother three days after Christmas sent her on a quest to discover more. She wanted answers to life’s big questions: Why did it happen? What is the meaning of it all? What happens after we die?
After eight years of searching, she began to uncover the purpose and synchronicity behind many of the events in her life, including the death of her mother, and decided to use her talent for writing and her 10 years of experience in the magazine publishing industry to be of service to others. She created Elevated Existence Magazine to offer the latest on spiritual and self-improvement topics and teachings with the hope of helping others who are also seeking answers, along with tools and inspiration to improve their lives.
In March 2008, she founded Elevated Existence LLC in order to publish Elevated Existence Magazine, a digital, quarterly publication, which has featured spiritual celebrities, including Russell Simmons and Olivia Newton-John, as well as popular spiritual and self-help authors and leaders, including Deepak Chopra, Joe Vitale, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Judith Orloff and Louise Hay. Some of the topics featured in the magazine include the Law of Attraction, manifestation tools, yoga, meditation, and holistic and alternative healing methods.
Additionally, in its first year of publishing, the magazine won two awards. For editorial excellence, Elevated Existence won a 2009 Bronze Eddie Award from Folio Magazine for Best Single Article in the Religious and Spiritual consumer magazine category. The article, written by Tammy, revealed the connection between addiction recovery and spirituality or belief in a higher power. On the design side, the magazine was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Design by the Art Director’s Club of New Jersey for the layout of the June 2008, premiere issue cover story featuring Deepak Chopra. This past year, the magazine also won a 2010 Clarion Award for Best Online Publication.
Tammy maintains the publication’s blog, Elevated Ideas Online, and is also an expert voice on Intent.com, a wellness website created by Deepak Chopra’s daughter, Mallika Chopra, featuring blogs by popular wellness experts and authors. She also created the Elevated Existence Spiritual Service Award to highlight one individual each year who is working to spread the gift of spirituality to others worldwide, and presented it to Louise Hay as the first recipient in December 2009.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently wrapping up our September 2010 issue, which will feature singer, songwriter and guitarist, Melissa Etheridge, as the cover story interview regarding her new album “Fearless Love.” I’m also simultaneously working on our December 2010 issue, which is a big deal for us. Last year, we launched the Elevated Existence Spiritual Service Award with our December issue and presented it to Louise Hay, best-selling author and found of Hay House Inc., one of the largest spiritual and self-improvement publishers in the world. We also do an entire Spiritual Gift Guide where we feature Editor’s Picks for the holiday season from jewelry and body lotion, to T-Shirts and yoga gear.
3 trends that excite you?
Publishing a digital magazine, one of the biggest trends that excites me is the increasing consumer use and sophistication of mobile technology. With the iPad, iPhone and Droid, our readers don’t have to be home or at a desktop or laptop computer to get our publication. Since we are in a PDF format, they can take it on-the-go with them and read it anywhere on a train commute to work, an airplane ride or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.
Along the same line, I am very excited about the e-book trend. We get so many books to review at Elevated Existence, and we are running out of space! Being able to keep them all in one device, like and iPad, Kindle or Nook is great. And as an avid reader and book lover, e-books are less expensive, more portable and very convenient.
I’m sure everyone gives this answer, but social networking is an amazing trend. Between Twitter and Facebook alone, I have the opportunity to interact with our readers and get immediate feedback. Customer service is always key, but so is interacting with people and making their experience more personal.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m always cooking up new ideas, and thankfully, I am surrounded by smart people that I can bounce them off of to see if they make sense and are doable. But once I get excited about something, it seems there is no stopping me. I actually had the idea to create Elevated Existence in January 2008 and launched it with Deepak Chopra on the cover in June 2008. The most important thing is to do the research, which comes pretty naturally to me since I’ve been in the publishing and reporting industry for 12 years. I find when I am excited or passionate about something, it never feels like work, and things tend to flow pretty smoothly for me. That is usually when I know I’m on to something good!
What is one mistake that you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
One mistake I made from the start is not allocating enough time and money toward marketing. No matter how amazing your product or business is, people need to know you exist in order to be successful! There are so many avenues available for small companies who don’t have the $5,000 to $10,000 a month to hire a publicist, or a large marketing budget. I recommend people do their research and know that you can get publicity and advertise your product without breaking the bank. When you have a great, quality product, it’s important to focus on selling it!
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
One of the best books I’ve read about business is “Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success” by hip hop mogul, Russell Simmons. I interviewed him for our March 2009 cover story, and to me, he is an amazing example of running a successful empire, while staying true to himself and keeping his ego out of the way. He is actually working on a new book right now called “Rich Inside and Out,” and I can’t wait to read it.
In terms of a tool that helps me bring my ideas to life, first and foremost it’s the Internet, the ultimate research tool. But a close second is my iPhone. I can check e-mail, look up something on the Web, and thanks to my Tweetdeck for iPhone, I can interact with Twitter and Facebook at the same time from anywhere I happen to be.
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Well, if you are talking about a new business idea, I would like to see someone create a nationwide program for schools to teach stress management to children. They are taught to read, write, problem solve and spell, but nobody teaches them how to handle stress. The David Lynch Foundation works to teach children Transcendental Meditation, and I think something like this in all U.S. schools that focuses on stress management is essential.
However, if you are asking for a business tip, I would say maintain your integrity at every turn. No matter what people offer you, how they treat you, or what you believe you can gain from something, always do what is best for you, your business and your customers.
How did you get involved in the magazine industry 12 years ago?
I started when I was still in college by answering an advertisement in the newspaper (old school!) The ad was for a part-time editorial assistant to work for two trade magazines serving the architecture and interior design industry, and the hours were flexible around my school schedule. Also, the office was in New Jersey only a few miles from my house. I ended up falling in love with the magazine industry, and was hired full time.
If you were not working in the magazine industry, what other job do you think you would be doing?
I am a writer at heart, so if I wasn’t working in magazines, I’m sure I would probably work in the book publishing industry. It’s fascinating to watch how that industry is changing the same way the magazine industry is changing — going digital. I’ve always wanted to write books, and along the same lines of what I am doing with Elevated Existence Magazine, I would like to write books that help people improve themselves and their lives. Stay tuned because I may do just that!
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.