Emily Brayshaw
Smarter Writer

Emily Brayshaw was a tech journo for 9 years before working at a big four consulting firm. She's been with SMARTER since 2009.

Stylishly solo: running a business with no physical staff

Emily Brayshaw
Smarter Writer

Emily Brayshaw was a tech journo for 9 years before working at a big four consulting firm. She's been with SMARTER since 2009.

“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.”

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

Today, the blog attracts over 150,000 visitors each month, with main income coming from sponsored work with brands, the Styling You shop, paid speaking jobs, banner advertising, book publishing and online style program memberships. And all this without any physical staff. Parkinson shares her three keys for success with Emily Brayshaw. 

Nikki Parkinson from Styling You with her laptop

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 has never been my goal. I want to be flexible for my family, which means having a home base. My book (Unlock Your Style) came out in July 2014 and I was doing events all around the country, but 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 make money doing 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. 

Collaborate digitally

My contractors help with admin, graphic design and web design. I also use online tools to manage tasks in the team, including Dropbox to share and manage folders, and a tool called Asana to manage projects end to end. This includes assigning project tasks and keeping on top of dates. It’s easy to update and it 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. 

Virtual colleagues

Getting help has allowed me to expand my user community with two Facebook groups – a free one and a paid one – which are really powerful for reaching into niches and geographic locations. I now have two managers for these groups and I share the load. The blogger community also is 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.

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