Seri Roth is the publisher and editor of Step Up Magazine. With a passion for entrepreneurship, leadership, and giving, Seri created a digital publication as a resource and community for young millennials who have created, or want to create, businesses that do well by doing good. Seri is also the founder of A Dollar Campaign, a 501c3 non-profit charity. A Dollar Campaign’s mission is to raise money to support research with the goal of finding a cure for pediatric cancer. Seri is a rising senior at Boston University. Upon graduation, Seri plans to move to Boston and take on Step Up and A Dollar Campaign full time.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I was that kid who spent her days creating and running pretend stores, pet shops, doctors offices (my parents favorite – they got to be the patients), and I was constantly forcing my cousins to act in plays that I’d plan and direct. I’ve always had a drive to create and run my own projects.
Tell us about your business.
When I was in high school I founded a non-profit called A Dollar Campaign. We fund pediatric cancer research. Through my work with A Dollar Campaign, I’ve had the privilege to talk with and meet hundreds of motivated young people who are utilizing their passions to make a difference in the world. I wanted to create a platform in which all of these individuals could come together to support, encourage, and empower one another. This ultimately led to the creation of Step Up Magazine. I launched Step Up last year. We initially started as a magazine split into three sections featuring doers, thinkers, and givers; with the goal of creating a place that allowed these three types of individuals to connect with one another. We provide content from prominent leaders who are making a difference with the ultimate mission is to inspire a world of action, education, and good, particularly within young people.
Since our inception in the summer of 2016, Step Up has seen tremendous growth. We now offer a media production division in which we create video content from script to screen for companies and brands who are making a difference. We also recently launched Step Up Education – a program that will be implemented in schools across the nation!
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Not at the moment. I will mention that our summer issue will be released on August 14th (which is today), so make sure to check it out!
- Congressional Award: Awarded by the United States Congress.
- Inspirational Leadership Award: Each year WISE honors a person who has made a difference in their community by presenting them with their “Inspirational Leadership Award”.
- Emerging Leaders Certification: I was selected to participate in my university’s Emerging Leaders program. Emerging Leaders is a leadership program that teaches students about personal leadership styles and hones individual leadership skills.
Where is your business based?
New York and Boston! But our readers and contributors are from all over the world.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I had the idea for Step Up one night as I was going to sleep. I woke up the next morning, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work. The first step I took was to do my own market research. Did something like Step Up exist? Would Step Up solve a problem or fulfill a need within the audience I wanted to reach? After I felt confident with my research, the first step I took was to buy my domain and start my website. I started to reach out to potential contributors, and the pieces started to fall together.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Time management. I’m a full-time student, and I also run my non-profit. Finding time for everything while also having a life outside of “work” can be tricky.
How did you overcome these challenges?
It’s all about balance and a whole lot of planning. The last thing I do before I go to bed is I write out a to-do list for the next day. My list includes the most important things that MUST be done, the things that should be done but can wait one day, and the things that I should do if I have any extra time. This has been a game changer for me. I waste no time from the moment I wake up because I know exactly what I need to do. Since I’m not wasting time, I finish my work faster which means I can have a social life. Yay!
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My friends motivate me through difficult times. We are there for each other during our highest highs and our lowest lows.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
I just came across this quote from Katie Couric, and I think it’s perfect. “Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades bumps and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested. And have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect — nothing is and no one is — and that’s OK.”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Choosing the entrepreneurial lifestyle is a scary life to lead. Before you go into working for yourself, you need to understand the commitment, time, and sacrifice that goes into it all. When you work for a company rather than starting a company, you typically will work the traditional 9-5 with the security of a paycheck at the end of the day. The entrepreneurial lifestyle differs in that you are working from dawn until dusk without that security of a paycheck. You are responsible for creating your paycheck, while also all the other aspects of growing and running a business. Sound overwhelming? It is. But if you find your passion, it’s all worth it. I hate going to sleep at night, and I can’t wait to wake up in the morning so that I can get to work. I light up when I talk about Step Up. So in a nutshell, my advice would be to understand the risks, the sacrifice, and the commitment that goes into starting your own company. Evaluate if your passion is strong enough to get you through the daily hurdles of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I’m a huge fan of podcasts. I also think that students forget how big of a resource their own school is. Make meetings with your professors, network with fellow students, join clubs, and scout out the unique resources that your school offers.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I might be a bit biased, but I truly am obsessed with the content that our contributors publish on Step Up’s website every day. Every article teaches me something new.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
There is so much! We are growing Step Up Magazine, Step Up TV, and Step Up Education. There is so much to get done on a daily basis with all three.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
As I just mentioned, grow and maintain our three divisions at Step Up. Sometimes I forget that Step Up is only one year old, but it shows how much can get done when you give it your all!
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.