Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Nikki Parkinson is a full-time blogger, social media influencer, author and fashion designer, and her blog, Styling You, was the first blogging business to win a Telstra Business Award. She created the business in 2008 after making the move from a 20-year journalism career, and it’s a move that paid off.

“I realised that if you want to do something well it’s okay to get help, and that doesn’t mean having an office and staff.”

Today, Styling You attracts more than 70,000 page views each month, and has close to 60,000 Instagram followers. Its revenue comes mainly from sponsored work with brands, paid speaking jobs, banner advertising, book publishing and memberships to its online style program. The blog’s success led Nikki, in 2019, to launch Styling You The Label – a collection of stress-free everyday basics.

Here, Nikki shares her three key tips for business success when you’re on your own.

Man on grass with laptop

1. It's okay to get help

It’s important to understand your own version of success so that you don’t burn out. A lot of people want to take their business from the kitchen table to the office, but that was never my goal. I wanted to be flexible for my family, which meant having a home base.

When my book (Unlock Your Style) came out in July 2014, I was doing events all around the country. The work was piling up and I was spending all my weekends doing admin. I needed an assistant. I realised that if you want to do something well, it’s okay to get help and that doesn’t mean having an office and staff.

The first tasks to outsource are the non-creative ones, which frees you up to do what you love. You can still be solo, but you’re building a support team for the things you need done that aren’t in your zone of genius.

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2. Collaborate digitally

My contractors help with admin, graphic design and web design. I also use online tools to manage tasks in the team – Dropbox to share and manage folders, and a tool called Asana to manage projects end to end, from assigning project tasks to keeping on top of dates. It’s easy to update and keeps the project flow and conversations going. Some of my contractors work remotely, so we also have fortnightly Skype sessions to work through issues face to face.

3. Virtual colleagues

Getting help allowed me to expand my user community with two Facebook groups – a free one and a paid one – which are really powerful for reaching niche audiences and geographic locations. I have managers for these groups, who help me share the load. The blogger community is also great. We might not see each other, but we talk online or on the phone, which helps to overcome not working in a bigger office with other people. It’s nice to talk to people who understand how you operate.

*Originally published October 31st 2016. Updated November 28th 2019.

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