From journo to blogging queen ... by accident
A FORMER Sunshine Coast Daily journalist has won a Telstra Queensland Business Award for a blog which she started writing unintentionally.
Nikki Parkinson's blog, Styling You, evolved from a website to promote a specialised public relations and personal styling business she founded after 20 years in journalism.
Styling You won Ms Parkinson the Telstra Queensland Business Award in the micro business category on Thursday night.
It was the first time a blogger had been a winner in the awards' 25-year history.
The blog, which offers fashion and styling tips, attracts 125,000 readers a month.
Ms Parkinson did not even realise she was writing a blog when she started out seven or eight years ago.
"I didn't know I was blogging. I was just adding content and I was good with that."
She said she was fortunate to have a mentor through a Sunshine Coast Business Women's Network program who spotted her blogging potential early on after noticing the amount of traffic on her website.
"She was the first person who looked at my website and said, 'You've got a lot of people coming to your blog. You should look at how you can monetise that traffic'," Ms Parkinson said.
"I didn't have a clue what she was talking about."
Ms Parkinson said she had been able to build up a loyal audience of followers by involving them in the online conversation.
"For me, it was understanding the difference between writing as a journalist and a blogger - you're starting a conversation, not just putting words out there," she said.
She now works with a brand relationship agency, has a part-time administrative assistant, has four paid contributors, and uses an accounting and marketing consultants.
Ms Parkinson said learning how to run a business had been a big part of her journey.
She said in hindsight, she might never have got to where she had if she had set out to do it.
"I think to run a business, you've got to have some sort of plan, but my belief is you've got to be open to opportunities and very intuitive about what's going to be a good thing and what's not going to be a good thing."
Startup - Ecoriginals; Micro Business - Styling You; Small Business - Beginning Boutique; Medium Business - Tu Projects; Regional - Cape York Camping; Business of the Year - Beginning Boutique.