As a child, all Paul Johnston wanted to do was work and earn money. He says when he was 15 he said to his mother that he wanted to leave school. She said he could if he got a job. He got a job the next day for the local newspapers and now he owns his own publishing brand.
In the lead up to starting Style Magazines with co-owner Tracy Johnston, Paul says he worked for many publishers and had his own graphic design studio, and that his previous employers taught him a lot of what to do and what not to do.
“In the initial stages we (Tracy and I) started in the affluent suburbs of Ascot and Clayfield. The businesses in this area had no options for marketing their businesses except for the local newspapers. We provided a glossy upmarket alternative.
“One of the major benefits to starting a business is Brisbane is that Brisbane people are very open to new ideas and creativity. They embrace anything that is new. Brisbane is a very go-ahead city, which blossoms on a daily basis. No idea is too big or too small,” he says.
Paul says he admires that the people in Brisbane have great ideas and are not afraid to have a go.
“I love to hear about new ideas that I’ve never seen before. In Brisbane we have a breed of people who travel the world, keep their eyes open and adapt their ideas to Brisbane’s culture and climate. It’s a happy city so that fuels creativity,” Paul says.
That’s where Style’s Style + Substance campaign comes in, a campaign designed to give Brisbane entrepreneurs, dreamers and small business owners an extra head start, in the form of a $10,000 kick-start. Read more about the campaign here. Paul is among three other panelists who will determine four finalists for the public to vote for a winner.
Paul’s day usually starts with a dose of social media or the news on the television in the morning, while staying updated with local events and new openings. He also attends multiple meetings during the working week with Style’s different departments, who are an enthusiastic and creative bunch.
“People are the most important part to running a successful magazine; the people you work with and the people you want to work with.
“I love to give people I work with responsibility and embrace their enthusiasm and creativity. I like it when they come to me with ideas. We do a lot of brainstorming and refine ideas so they can work to get a result. I also enjoy visiting clients and learning about their business so we can come up with a solution to their marketing challenges,” he says.
When it comes to the evening, you can find Paul at a variety of events, which include business openings and birthdays, fashion shows, networking, and events that keeps him in touch with Style’s clients and their businesses. He says hearing of other people’s business keeps him stimulated and happy.
Here are three bits of advice Paul can give to anyone wanting to start their own business:
“Surround yourself with great people and mentors and listen; Get a great accountant; and fail fast - if something or someone is not working out don’t be afraid to can it and work towards something else.”
1. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Creative, active and compassionate
2. What’s song do you listen to on repeat?
You Are So Beautiful - Joe Cocker
3. Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Probably in James Street at a restaurant or a local bar. It’s a great area to wind down.
4. Where can we find you on a Sunday?
I love hanging out somewhere different on a Sunday but my favourites would be Southbank, Moreton Island, Sunshine Coast or Byron Bay.
5. What gets you through your day?
Adrenaline. I never seem to tire of working with the team at Style Magazines. I especially like it when we are nearing deadlines and the pressure is on. It’s great to see people’s personalities and how they cope. I’ve heard some of the funniest things during our busiest days. Everyone helps out and no one leaves until the job is done. The teamwork is infectious.
Read more about the campaign and our other Style+Substance panellists through the links below:
Read more about Style+Substance here