The Dilemma of Transparency
I’ve made some recent posts about needing help. I can’t tell you how hard it is to reveal the struggles that I know many people are having this year. As a business owner you always want to build the perception that you have it all together; that business is wonderful, and you should do business with me because I have all the answers. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. You would think after nearly 25 years doing this business that I would have all the answers.
What I’ve learned from life’s journey is exactly the opposite. Life is a journey and no matter how long I’m alive, I will never have all the answers. Here’s what I do believe. If you love what you do, chances are the money will follow, and for 25 years it has. What I’m learning now is that the power of focus is paramount. To stay the course even though it’s hard. To keep pressing into the difficulties until the answer reveals itself.
The last 8 months have been the biggest learning experience I’ve ever had. Who would have thought that the schools would shut down, that restaurants would close, and we’d all be wearing facemasks everywhere? I could give you a laundry list of all the reasons why business is slow but we’re all going through this, together. I think that community is more important now than ever before. The wild success of Facebook has proven this. People want to be heard, recognized, celebrated, and collaborate.
So, I mustered up all the courage I could find to admit to the world that The Northwest Horse Source is struggling. I think it’s easier to help people than businesses, so I knew this was a risk. We relate to people, not entities. I’m here to tell you that my identity is wrapped up in the Northwest Horse Source so if this fails, I fail. What I have to realize is that change is always inevitable, and we have to conform with the changes, or the business fails.
The hardest part of this is separating myself from the business and realize that we all learn through failure. I have created this magazine with zero experience in publishing and a fierce determination to do this. I love the magazine and can’t imagine doing anything else, but I do realize that if I am to continue doing the Northwest Horse Source, I need to make some changes. (Like not always referring to It as a magazine. It’s a website too!)
It starts with taking 100% responsibility. No one else is responsible for its success or failure. That’s on me. I need to listen to what readers and viewers are telling me. I need to be committed to the success of horse owners and equine related businesses. My success depends on how much I have helped or will help my colleagues, friends, viewers, readers and businesses that depend on my expertise to be successful.
Yes, we do need your help. The best way to help the NWHS is to let us help you be successful. So, I’m asking you to complete surveys, sign up for newsletters, donate to NWHS, read and share our content and make suggestions that will inspire you to continue reading and learning from the writers who have generously donated their time to impart their knowledge and experience. I am tremendously grateful for the readers, writers, businesses and team members who keep this vision alive. Thank you for letting me be a resource since 1995. I am humbled and grateful for the recent donations and subscriptions that will help us decide the next chapter for the Northwest Horse Source and learn what we can do better.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Karen Pickering, Publisher
The Northwest Horse Source LLC
Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 14,000 copies and over 500 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!
Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.