This month we launched a new project called Sip & Scrunch - a networking event series all about supporting influencers on their journey through educational workshops, networking events and panel discussions. The first Sip & Scrunch event in Brisbane focused on how you can build a business you love and take your social accounts to the next level by establishing a business off the back of your influence.
We had three epic speakers who shared their story… Nikki Parkinson from Styling You, Kirsten Smith from Kirsten & Co and Skin Boss and Nicola Scruby from The Unrefined, NutiiBoost and F.ACNE. These three influencers turned their side hustle into a full time job, building businesses they love. They shared their journey and the ups and downs, as well as the challenges of working as an influencer, how they jumped away from their “traditional jobs” to carve a career as an influencer and how they each built a thriving business (or businesses) from scratch.
If you couldn’t make the event, here are some of the key takeaways from our amazing panel of speakers…
Nikki Parkinson from Styling You
Nikki Parkinson is a former journalist-turned blogger and author. She blogs at award-winning fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, Styling You. You can follow Nikki at @stylingyou on Instagram.
On taking the plunge... I had a now or never moment and jumped into blogging. I googled ‘what is a blogger’ and then I realised that I could be one. I just changed my writing style from my background as a journalist.
On taking Styling You to the next level… Be open to pivoting and adapting with new technology, social media changes and consumer trends.
On running your own business… I am working more hours now than ever before. You have to be self motivated and you have to do something you love if you want to run your own business.
On balance as a business owner… Balance is not always possible but to keep going you need to keep striving for it. I don’t think anyone has mastered work/life balance.
On Instagram algorithms and email marketing… Don’t rely on Instagram alone or any other social media channel for that matter. You need an email database to tackle changing algorithms and social media channels. You own an email database and it is the most important thing to build. More important than followers on social media.
On working with brands… The best relationships I have had with brands are the ones that trust that I know what will work best for my audience. I know what my audience will like and enjoy. The brands that know I have their best interests at heart and truly want them to get results are the ones that I have the best relationship with.
Kirsten Smith from Kirsten & Co
Kirsten Smith is a former early childhood teacher turned fashion and lifestyle blogger sharing real life stories and style inspiration with her community. She also founded Skin Boss, a natural skin care company that launched in 2017 and helps thousands of women with their own skin care needs. You can follow Kirsten at @kirstenadnco and @skinbossau on Instagram.
On the challenges of starting a business… For us, stock control was a challenge in the beginning. When we launched, what we thought was 1 month of product sold in 24 hours. I had no idea where to source bottles and packaging supplies and it took months but I kept going and focussed on supporting other small businesses.
On growth and getting it all done… Slow and steady wins the race - if you take a slower approach you will have longevity.
On dealing with challenges...The worst case scenario is not actually that bad in the grand scheme of things. Keeping perspective is a challenge but it is important. Surround yourself with likeminded people - it helps you avoid going nutty.
On balancing work and family life… I have a small window between 8am and 3pm (the school drop off and pick up) to get all of my work done. I’ll turn my phone off to stop distractions and I try to educate my family and friends that what I do is a real job. It’s important to create boundaries.
On doing it all...You can find anything on Google.
On growing your following as an influencer… Big numbers are great but you can be a micro influencer and be very successful and still work with big brands.
On authenticity as an influencer… Genuine engagement is key. Your community will resonate with genuine content.
On working with brands… I wish brands knew the amount of work that goes into one Instagram post - there is a lot of time that goes into my work and sometimes brands don’t realise it.
Nicola Scruby from The Unrefined
Nicola Scruby is the founder of three businesses - The Unrefined blog and digital channels, the NutiiBoost granola range and her new project, F.ACNE, which is an online program to support and provide information to women who have acne. You can follow Nicola at @the__unrefined, @nutiiboost and @f.acne on Instagram
On starting The Unrefined… I was working full time when I created a side platform to write and be creative, and to share my experience. That is how The Unrefined was born. Originally it was all about recipes and then I decided to start sharing more about the person behind the brand and people really found that engaging.
On starting a business… You need resilience to start a business and it’s not easy. But the challenges in business make you stronger.
On productivity… Find times that you are most productive whether it is 5am or 8pm. Work when you are most productive to maximise your time and don’t think you have to do 9am to 5pm.
On asking for help and support… I’m bad at asking for help but I realised lots of people are willing to help and referrals are key.
On putting all of your eggs in one basket… Things change quickly on social media so don’t rely on it
On building your email database… Don’t always give things away for free - create gated content that people have to download to access.
If you loved reading the event recap, keep your eyes peeled for information about our October event in Brisbane - Sip & Scrunch: Top Tips from Top Brands. More information here if you want to grab a ticket and join us for our next event.
If you want to see all of the event pics, check out the gallery here.
We couldn’t have done it without our event partners - our beautiful venue partner Newstead Studios, Say Cheese Brisbane for an incredible (and delicious) grazing table, Vinomofo for providing the bubbles, Kate Penberthy Photography for capturing all of the fun and The Print Bar for creating our goodie bags. A special thanks also to our goodie bag sponsors: Youfoodz, LuxIT, Skin Boss, NutiiBoost, Frequency H2O, Bio-Oil, Before You Speak, Artisan Cosmetic and Rejuvenation Clinic, Tarpobane Tea Company and North Hem.