Ever wondered what the average day of a successful soloist looks like? Well wonder no more. Today, Styling You’s Nikki Parkinson gives us a peek into the inner workings of her business.
If you look at the Facebook or Instagram feed of any fashion and lifestyle blogger, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a pretty glamorous life. Dig beneath the surface of the immaculate outfits, mouth-watering meals and gorgeously styled vignettes however and you’ll find some seriously hard graft.
Take Styling You’s Nikki Parkinson. One of the very first bloggers in Australia to derive a full-time income from her blogging efforts, you’d think after seven years Nikki should be kicking back on a beach somewhere just watching the money roll in.
But no, the online world is evolving at breakneck speed and if you want to stay in the game, you need to evolve too. Quickly.
For people like Nikki however, this is no hardship. She’s living the solo dream: she loves what she does, she adores the people she serves and with the youngest of her three children still in school, she loves the flexibility her business gives her.
And what exactly is that business about? Inspiring women of all ages to look and feel their best. Every day.
So if her days aren’t spent swanning around fashionable events – what does Nikki do all day? Fellow business-owning parents will take heart from seeing she spends it in much the same way we all do.
Here’s Nikki Parkinson …
The first thing I do when I wake up each morning is check the blog post I’ve scheduled for the day has actually published. (Technology – it’s great when it works!)
From there, I’m either attending a 6am yoga class or walking the neighbourhood while my nine-year-old son is at swim squad. Once home from those early morning shenanigans it’s straight in the shower, change into my outfit for the day, pose while my son takes my #everydaystyle photo … and then we’re off to school.
After the school run I collect mail from my PO box, have a late breakfast and COFFEE and then finally start my working day.
The first order of business is always to check and reply to Facebook and blog post comments about the day’s post. Generally speaking I work solidly until 3pm and the things I do include writing the next day’s blog post, shooting for future ‘Model and me’ posts, writing and prepping sponsored posts assigned through my agency The Remarkables, answering emails and responding to enquiries about working with me and the Styling You blog.
Three mornings a week I’m lucky to have an admin assistant who helps with emails, the mail that’s arrived, admin for my accountant, prepping and steaming clothes for blog shoots and helping with a new project I’m working on for the blog. She works 1-2 hours on the mornings she is there.
At 3pm I’m off to do the school pick-up and once home, my son does his homework with me in the office as I continue on with the above.
Around 5pm I stop to make (and eat!) dinner and chill out with my family before returning to the laptop around 8pm on weeknights. What am I doing during the 8pm shift? Usually still working on the next day’s post. Yes, the old journo in me loves a tight deadline! I also make sure all the scheduling (including social media is done before bed).
I don’t blog on weekends but I still pop up here and there on Facebook and Instagram.
The biggest challenge I face in the average working week?
Not answering emails as soon as they drop into my inbox. I could seriously spend all day just doing that and then not have time for writing posts or working on projects for the blog.
What kind of help do I have?
In addition to the aforementioned admin assistant, I have a marketing assistant who works remotely for me; she compiles my email newsletters and my regular multi-draw competitions. I also now have an intern, a second year journalism student who is writing a ‘teenage-style’ post for me once a month while I help her with any questions she has about her course work.
I’d like to get more part-time help going forward so this year I’m making it a priority to download everything in my head about how my business works and create fully documented systems and procedures around those things.
I also outsource my graphic design and my accounting. I used to do both these things myself in the early years so it’s a huge relief to be able to contract others to help and support me in these areas so I have more time for creativity (as that’s what grows my business).
The reality of being a soloist?
I’m heading away with a sponsor on a week-long health retreat in Koh Samui soon. Which is nice right? But like anyone in business for themselves – especially an online business – there is so much to be done before you head away. You can’t just put an auto-responder on your email, switch off your computer and go! My reality is not only do I have to get a lot done before I go, I will also probably have to get a bit of stuff done while I’m there. And I’m ok with that because I do love what I do. But I’m also happy that I’ve been able to put in place help for while I’m away so my responsiveness during that time can be mostly limited to emergency/time-sensitive stuff only.
What keeps me going?
I started Styling You seven years ago so it’s taken a lot of (good fun, but) hard work to get to this point. I’ve been a full-time blogger for three years and the work doesn’t ever stop. That is why you have to LOVE it. It’s the love that drives you to keep showing up. I know for me, a huge part of the love I have for my job/business is the community I’ve painstakingly built from scratch. They just keep showing up each day and letting me know my message is resonating.
What is that message?
I’ve always believed that just because you reach a certain age it doesn’t mean you’re not interested in how you present yourself.
It’s an easy thing to dismiss but peace with your wardrobe plays a huge role in confidence. I love giving people the confidence to be their best selves because when people are their best selves, they’re best placed to do amazing stuff for the world. The ripple effects of the work I do are endless.