Last Wednesday night I had the enormous pleasure of attending the inaugural Unplugged event that was the baby of Those Two Girls. Those Two Girls is the serendipitous union of Sarah Wills of Pearls of Willsdom blog and Lise Carlaw of re:myStyle blog. Both mums, gorgeous, funny, clever and highly entertaining.
It was a panel style event – preceded by delectable food and champagne. The panel was made up of highly accomplished women most of whom owed their business success to their blog. How times change.
WOMEN IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
Women are leading the relationship based digital economy, and it is reaping significant rewards for them.
Nikki Parkinson of Styling You is the recent winner of a Telstra Business Women award for micro business. In her acceptance speech Nikki said once people know she is a blogger the very next question she is asked is “how to do you make money?”. Nikki said she replies “increasingly bloggers and online influencers are being engaged by brands and companies – big and small – because of the strong and influential connection we have with our readers, readers who match those brands’ target demographics.”
WHY A BLOGGING BUSINESS?
Interestingly Nikki said her driving motivation to make a success of her business was to provide her with the flexibility she wanted to spend time with her family. Nikki said she likes to work with mums to give them flexibility. Nikki loves working from home.
LEVERAGING YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Nikki released her first book last year called Unlock Your Style, which resulted in interviews on national TV and radio.
When asked about when they first decided to take on help to grow their business, Nikki said that her first outsourced service provider was her accountant, and how has part-time administration and marketing contractors. Importantly to make it a seamless transition to growth and outsourcing successful she had to do a brain dump to develop operating procedures for her team to follow. Nikki said this was six months of hard work but well worth it in the long term.
Bel Kurtz is the Director of Petite Vintage Interiors, which has a social media audience of almost 100,000 style conscious parents and one of her rooms was featured in House and Garden Magazine’s top 50 rooms of the year for 2014. When asked about what she would have done differently in starting her business, Bel said she would have outsourced more and earlier. Anything to free her time up to focus on the growth of the business such as a nanny and administration.
Another clear message from all panellists was not to focus on competitors but instead to focus on what you are doing and how you can be innovative in what you do. Your creativity is your intellectual property, which is your key point of difference. No-one can replicate you.
Rebecca Sparrow was another of the panellist. Rebecca is also the mother of three young children. In my world Rebecca was most famous as the author of The Girl Most Likely. However, many of you may know Rebecca as a MammaMia blogger or the author of books and workshops for teenage girls. Rebecca was extremely authentic in her stories and advice.
As a MammaMia blogger Rebecca has been the target of nasty criticism on social media. Rebecca’s advice was to not give criticisers air – ignore them. By giving them air you are only fulfilling their desires. Rebecca said her goal is to be happy and she achieves this by giving back through contributing to her community.
A point of agreement for successful entrepreneurship was to stay true to yourself. Not just in business but also your personal life. Ask yourself “does it feel right” when making a key decision. Integrity and instinct is important. Lise and Sarah explained their “3 second (instinct) rule” – your first thought is the way to go they say.
Rebecca spoke touchingly about her female friendship that provided her support when she was going through an awful time, and also about the ongoing care and kindness of her friend. Rebecca spoke about that type of unique friendship when two people truly and indescribably connect. In the same way that Lise and Sarah had talked about their friendship. The power of friendship.
Inspiringly the next Unplugged event is already sold out! Extremely disappointing for me because I missed the 12 hour sell-out window. However, well deserved for Lise and Sarah who are doing a splendid job of connecting with their market to build a sustainable business. Running true to the concept of pre-sold and over subscribed on their remarkable solution.
One of my favourite quotes of the night was that the decision to start up your own business was a “decision to take a leap of faith – in self”. This applies to so many aspects of life.
Photo courtesy of Fashion Weekly.
Claire Harrison is the Founder and Managing Director of Harrison Human Resources, a flourishing HR consulting business that sprouted in 2009 from Claire’s passionate belief that inspiring leaders and superstar employees are the key success factor to any business. With over 20 years’ experience, Claire has worked as a HR Director of multi-national organisations, as a Non-Executive Board Director, and a small business owner. Claire’s corporate career includes working with companies such as BHP, Westpac, Fonterra and Mayne Nickless.