Heart Business

By Mike Johnson

Twenty-eight years ago, wife & I started a community newspaper. Our policy was "no-crime, no-controversy." Good news only. Readers preferred it over the existing newspaper 62% to 38%.

Every person has a story. We dove in & started sharing them. Each issue featured a volunteer. A new business. An interesting citizen.

Regular columns featured schools, health, fishing, local history, humor & inspiration. We helped many budding writers from age 14 to 80 get published.

Like the old days, we employed kids to deliver the papers.

We ran a contest for readers to send their best photos that included our paper. We received photos from Red Square, the Berlin Wall & clever photos like the one here.

My favorite feature was "A Mile in Their Moccasins." I spent a day with someone interesting like a county commissioner, an electrical lineman, a commercial fisherman. My two-page photo essay showed all they go through behind the scenes to help the community.

This was a heart business. We sold love, wrapped in newsprint. Due to the small size of the community's ad base, it wasn't a financial success. But it was a soul success.

It was also 12 years of college, trade school & life experience jammed into three years of publishing.

The journey was brutally difficult. But the lessons learned there gave us the skills and knowledge to wildly succeed with later businesses.

It didn't have to be so hard. Perhaps you'll find an easier path. Here's our inspirational newspaper publishing story: "How We Turned a Broken Coffee Machine Into Millions"


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