Nicole (Nikki) Helgason is a PADI Dive Instructor with nine years of professional dive experience. Nicole has taught scuba diving in Canada, Dominican Republic and Indonesia, and has managed dive centers in Mozambique and Baja, Mexico. Nicole has a Bachelors degree in Coastal Geography from the University of Victoria and is passionate about coral restoration and coral reefs. Read our interview with the lovely Nicole below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I am inspired to share my knowledge of scuba diving and marine biology so other people can learn about the ocean.
Tell us about your business.
ReefDivers.io is a blog dedicated to scuba divers, snorkelers and ocean enthusiast. We don’t sell anything, we only give away information and try to connect people with incredible destinations for diving and looking for corals.
PADI Open Water Dive Instructor since 2007.
Where is your business based?
I am currently living in Colorado. I am from Vancouver, Canada and travel to different locations to get content for the blog.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I had help to set up the initial webpage and once that was up, my mission was just to start posting content. Since March 3rd, 2016 I have written 226 articles on the website. My goal for the year was to post at least once a day Mon-Friday.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Last year I was able to attend DEMA, the largest Dive Trade Show in the USA and covered the show on our website. This helped to grow my traffic and start gaining trust in the industry as a source for news and new scuba diving equipment. Posting on Facebook, joining blogger support groups, joining scuba diving related groups. Posting on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter. Reaching out to new companies, companies who are in the kickstarter phase and offering to write about them for free in hopes they like the article and will share with their own social media network.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Continuing to post on a daily basis without any financial gain.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I have meet a few people now who read the blog or email me directly to thank me for writing an article and this keeps me going. I hope by continuing to post regular content the website will gain traction and recognition within my industry.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Just keep posting and looking for new and interesting things to write about. Taking trips to go diving and gathering new content for the website helps me to keep going.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I write about coral identification and coral restoration which are my two passions. No other dive blog focuses on corals as much as we do. We also write about dive gear and dive travel but everything comes back to corals.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Just keep going!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
If you are trying to get started, the key is consistency. Make sure to post once a day everyday. Make sure your message is clear what people can find or get out of visiting your site on a daily or weekly basis. Keep them coming back.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Canva is a free online tool for making quick and easy graphics.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Creating engaging content which makes people want to comment and submit their own coral photos for identification.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Continue to grow my traffic, set up a mailing list. Create a freebie for newsletters (I am thinking desktop background of beautiful coral reef pictures).