What would you do if you hit a major bump in the road of your career and decided to start your own business? Even though this was filmed before lockdown, Fehintola "Fen" from MonAnnie Cakes has a lot to share about overcoming adversity and growing a luxury brand that now serves incredible weddings such as Sophie Turner & Joe Jonas. That's right - THAT wedding.
That's right, the latest interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women is here! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the amazing Fehintola from MonAnnie Cakes!
I've known Fen and her wonderful husband Segun for a few years and I've so enjoyed watching them grow, so I was very keen to get her on to share her pearls of wisdom and that laugh!
On the show we talk about overcoming major challenges, how she's growing her luxury cake business and all things in between!
I really wanted to find out more about her story, how she grows her business (tips for us all!) and how she stays on top of it all (and what happens when she doesn't!)
Dr Fehintola “Fen” Bolodeoku is an award winning cake and patisserie artist. She was born and raised in Nigeria, where she developed a love for art, science, and flavours. She moved to the UK in 2000 and qualified as a medical doctor from the University of Cardiff.
In 2013 she took a career break to focus on her love of the culinary arts, and in 2016 MonAnnie was born. In her spare time she is an accomplished singer, enjoys crochet, and has recently acquired a taste for murder mystery TV shows.
Yay! The latest interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women is here! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the amazing Laura Devine of Devine Bride!
I've had the pleasure of knowing Laura for a few years now and BL (Before Lockdown) we were co-working buddies at The Wing. I know that she's really well placed to share some wisdom in these strange times all still valid, even though we filmed this a while ago!
On the show we talk about the power of visibility, especially:
Devine Bride - Pick + Mix Wedding Planning | Multi Award Winning Blog
Based in East London for over 10 years but originally from Glasgow, I offer pick + mix wedding planning helping cool couples to plan their wedding in a more flexible way.
From planning power hours to partial planning, help on the day to hire a bridesmaid, and everything in between! My speciality is difficult dry hire venues. I’ve planned and styled a goth wedding in an industrial metal works warehouse but also an ex-fashion editor’s pretty Chiswick marquee wedding too.
My vision is to make wedding planning accessible and flexible. I offer creative ‘pick + mix’ solutions to planning, budgeting, and coordinating weddings. And I’m obsessively organised so you don’t have to be. The experience has to be easy, yet unique, innovative, and personal for my clients. Above all, it should be stress free and fun. It’s a celebration after all!
I have personally planned and worked on some 170+ weddings and events to date (under Devine Bride and as a consultant at a handful of wedding venues), and I know what’s worked, what’s not, and what’s fun!
I love working in the wedding industry because I love making people happy, there’s no better feeling, but other smaller loves include Crosstown doughnuts, bad 90’s dance music, bad electro music, and Gogglebox
Hello! So last year I wrote a blog post on how to make the best of your 2018 highlights. It was quite popular. So I decided to write an updated version so you can create your own highlights of 2019.
For this was the year of even more ways of being visible to your audience. Videos and in particular, Instagram Stories became even more of a thing. Sharing more personal bits of our lives became more important as we all suddenly/slowly realised that we were selling to human beans and therefore should probably act like them on social media.
So OK you're probably thinking. Where on earth do you start? 🤔
Perhaps you’re thinking any one of the following....hmm not sure what I did this year that's different from last year that anyone would care about apart from my mum, or....not sure what I would say, ....not sure whether I want that to be my first blog post in god knows how long.... hmm it’s sitting half complete in my drafts actually,....nah they're only for certain types of businesses, and certainly not for me!
Perhaps you’ve seen the super fancy lovely slideshows set to music and thought “Not only do I not know how to do that, I also don’t know if I have that many images that I love, and the very task seems daunting”?
You aren’t alone, and I’m here to help.
In this blog post I will not only present different types of Best of 2019 blog posts but also, I’ll share with you how to make the most of this kind of blog post, and the added visibility (SEO and marketing - YAY!) benefits of creating this blog post.
Your best of 2019 isn't limited to those with lots of images (looking at you, fabulous photographers!), and it certainly doesn't always have to be a slideshow set to music. Of course this is a lush idea and works well if you're that way inclined, but there are many other ways you could present your Best of 2019.
Obviously, as your SEO Queen, I’m going to focus on the SEO benefits of having such a blog post. Creating a Best of 2019 is not only a FAB-ulous opportunity to reflect on how awesome you are, but also to repurpose the content that worked really well for you in the past year.
1. Blog your Top Ten Blogs using Google Analytics
One way to present your Best of 2019 is to create a blog post from your 10 most popular blog posts of the past year.
This idea makes the assumption that you have Google Analytics (or similar stats) installed
To do this, just log in to your Google Analytics.
Then, go to Behaviour on the left hand side menu
Click on Site Content
Click All Pages
Change your dates in the top right corner by manually typing in Jan 1 2019 and leaving today's date in the second box
Scroll down and you'll see your 10 most popular pages of your site in the past year. Chances are your blog posts may not be there, as your pages will be listed, so there's a small box saying Rows underneath - click this and change from 10 to 100
There you'll spot your blog posts as your most popular content over the past year.
You can then link to each blog post and add one image from each blog post. The text you use to link to the blog needs to be something very relevant to the blog post itself such as “Dorchester Hotel wedding - Tom & Rachel” because you want to attract more traffic for Dorchester Hotel weddings, right?
Of course, you don't have to add images, but if you're a visual business then it makes sense to. Otherwise, you could just list them like this... 😉
I was a little nervous about traffic this year as I have started to email out whole blog posts in my emails to my list with an option to click through to read the same post here on the blog, but it's been fine 🙂
2. Blog your Best Nine from Instagram
You could create a Best of 2019 blog post by linking to the 9 posts that were your most popular on Instagram, or simply using it as inspiration of course. This idea makes the assumption that:
If you haven’t blogged about each of the projects that were on your best 9 then you don’t even need to refer to the best nine and instead just link to the ones you did blog about and/or add the best nine images to your slideshow if you're doing one, along with links to the photographers who took the photos, the venues where the images were taken and any other fun details. People are nosier than you think, so give them an opportunity to engage with you.
Here's my best nine of 2019 - it was a fun year, one that made me see even more how I want to spend my time....
Create a blog post where you list your numbers of the year. And no, I don’t mean publish your turnover, but by reviewing the year in this way, you celebrate your wins! And you could create quite a quirky list depending on your brand 😉 Some people have done this as Facebook or Instagram updates and that’s cool but that’s not driving the traffic to your website, and your website is your best employee. Why not let it work for you?
Here are some examples of numbers you could share...
X awards won X nominations X workshops hosted / attended X press features X podcasts listened to / been featured on
If you're a wedding supplier...
X amount of weddings planned X wedding fairs attended X styled shoots done X cakes made X berries picked X cake tastings given X amount of first kisses you cried at X amount of Mums you hugged X amount of times you had to help a bride to the loo
If you're a destination wedding supplier or simply a travel lover:
X holidays booked X continents travelled to X amount of clients served X miles travelled X planes caught X amount of miles walked / run
If you're a movie/TV show/soundtrack binger like me then another way of attracting more of your ideal client is to share your favourite TV shows, movies, music and more. Honestly, I cannot tell you how much sharing about this stuff has made me more visible.
Of course if you're prone to sharing more personal fun stuff as well as work stuff then you could make the focus of your best of 2019 a round up of your personal goals. You could break it down into highs, challenges met and surprises along the way.
Launching my YouTube channel Gin and Magic where I chat to strong creative women about how they make their lives work was brilliant with such great feedback, and I have huge gratitude for everyone who came along to have a chat with me. I have many more videos recorded and cannot wait to share in the new year!
I moved back to London at last after a six year break and wanted to jump back in with movie + theatre + arts stuff. I joined the V&A and went to the Dior exhibition twice (gorgeous!). I went to see Hannah Gadsby (watch Nanette on Netflix and Please Like Me on Amazon Prime if you haven't already), Julie Andrews, mega fun Spice Girls at Wembley, an emotional Elton John with my parents, Emma Thompson, Jonathan Van Ness (from Queer Eye) and Ian McKellen (who I chatted to!) I dyed my hair pink, rose gold and blue after envying my unicorn hair friends for years. After eyeing them up on Instagram for 3 years, I joined the Wing, an all-female co-working space in central London.
Balancing the books regularly really helps
Getting a good accountant helps even more
Accountability for your goals really matters. I ask the participants on my Let's Get You Found program to share each Monday and Friday for good reason - it really helps!
Taking a holiday will not damage the business. It’s about having a structure in place and being organised about it - I went on two retreats to Sweden and a solo trip to Mexico and it was a bit nerve wracking but it was great for a mental health break
No one cares if you don't post on social media but they do care when you do (be prepared to play the long game)
No one single course, coach or program will solve all your problems but with expert support you can. But you do actually have to do the work.
I've been studying on a course all year that teaches how to use discovery calls to help more people and how to present your value. It hasn’t been nearly as terrifying as I originally thought, and actually the key is figuring out what the person is really looking for and not actively selling to them.
At the end of 2018 I took a big gamble and stopped offering quite a few services like copywriting + web design to new clients, Pinterest as a separate course (it's offered only as a bonus with other services now), and instead focused on my Done for You SEO service and my Let's Get You Found program. I love it!
I got even more specific with my goals - personal and work and therefore stripped back. Did this mean I earned more money? No. BUT this DID mean I stopped taking on sticky projects, difficult clients and panicky bookings. It DID mean that I had better boundaries. It DID mean I knew what failure meant = learning. I knew what I wanted from each launch / process / new project.
5. Best YouTube videos
Of course if you've been busy on IGTV or YouTube this year creating content, then you could link to your top five YouTube videos and whaddya know, here are my most played Gin and Magic videos (I didn't take into account how much they were played on Facebook where I've also been uploading them directly!)
So you’ve created your blog post, what now? What’s the best way to share this on social media?
Here are some ideas for you:
Choose an image from 5 of the best things you shared and post for 5 days about it on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest.
Pin each image to Pinterest with a detailed caption
You can paste the link to your Instagram bio, you can say something poetic or a line from a song you love to accompany the image.
You don’t have to always say it’s from your best of. Do not be afraid of repeating that it is, but at the same time you need to mix it up.
Link to Best of 2019 blog post in your Autoresponder/Out of office
Link to the Best of 2019 in your email signature
Email out to the couples who are in it with a link to your Facebook and blog post for them to share it.
Email the suppliers and collaborators you have featured in your round up.
Email your list to tell them (if you have one!)
But wait, you haven’t even talked about creating a slideshow to music - how do you promote that?
Sharing the slideshow directly to social media will be most effective for engagement rather than just posting a link to your blog post with the slideshow in it. Make sure you still post a link to the blog post so your audience can continue to engage with you if they wish to.
Notes to Behold (this is my new meaning for N.B. 🤣)
No one cares when you post it OR if you don't post it but they do care when you DO publish it. You can publish this whenever you like! Your audience wants to hear from you! Your potential audience is eager to see your work!
You don't need to do all of these ideas I've listed here. Just choose one! 🙂
Your website is your best employee, and your best employee represents your brand, promotes your values and works damn hard for you.
Don't have too many images - this will slow down your website a lot! No one wants to wait that long - be brutal with your culling (hence why I suggest top 10 for example)
But wait there’s more....
Now that I’ve planted these seeds, and you’re on board, you can use this information to spark future blog post ideas. What was popular this year? Blog more of that kind of content, particularly if it's a good excuse for you to share your expertise. It reminds people they're in the right place to find the solution they're looking for.
Like I said at the start, you want to create great excuses to repurpose content you already have. You also want to have great reasons to link to other content ideally published on your website but if not then external links that are highly relevant to your brand (submitted weddings or shoots, collaborations, etc)
And finally, remember that your blog is not always there for you to sell directly but to make people more AWARE, demonstrate how you can be useful to them. Check your traffic on your best of 2019 blog post after you publish and you might be surprised by the results.
By taking the steps laid out in this blog post, you can achieve fantastic results.
Yay! The latest interview in my Gin and Magic YouTube series championing strong creative women is here! Straight from my home to your eyes + ears, this week featuring the incredible Faye Cornhill!
I've had the good fortune of knowing Faye for some years now, as we have worked together on her SEO for her wedding photography business and now she is a brilliant wedding business coach with a membership club and so.much.good.advice.
On the show we talk about:
the popularity of being a coach
staying on point with your own message
how we can all chill out about the algorithm
how I'd miss my Instagram friends
what our target audience really wants from us (and what they don't care about!)
the excuses we all put in our own way, and so much more.
I really wanted to find out more about her story, how she has grown her business and what she does when she's feeling stuck.
Enjoy and please don’t forget to hit like + subscribe if you enjoy the Gin & Magic videos 🙂
Thanks so much Faye, you were fab!
Faye's official bio:
Faye Cornhill is a multi-business owner whose entrepreneurial experience started over 10 years ago when she turned her back on corporate success to follow her dream of becoming a wedding photographer. Within a year Faye was a fully booked award-winning photographer who was travelling the world to shoot weddings. After rocking the industry, Faye then started to help other wedding entrepreneurs to grow wildly successful and profitable businesses. Faye works 1:1 with clients but also has a signature programme called Booked in 90 Days which has helped hundreds of wedding entrepreneurs. Most recently Faye has launched The Wedding Business Club, a membership for wedding business owners. When Faye isn't coaching clients she is spending time with her husband, two children and labrador at their home in The Chilterns.
Well hello! On today’s show we have an award winning wedding florist, the simply incredible Emma Soulsby. Emma is determination personified as well as being an incredibly down to earth and funny person.
In just two years she has completely rebranded herself into a luxury florist brand as well as launching an online flower school - AMAZING!
I knew she would have a lot to say about the faith, resilience and determination it takes to make a business work successfully, how to use Instagram as a powerful shopfront, as well as fascinating insights on prioritising self care AND SO MUCH MORE!
In her own words, "I love making my clients' dreams come true through creating unique installations."
If you like what you see, don’t forget to give me a thumbs up, leave a comment and hit subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on any future videos.
Thanks again Emma, it was so much fun to chat with you and find out more about how you run your business.
Well hello! On today’s show we have a brilliant guest - the fantastically funny Kari Bellamy, a successful London wedding photographer for some years now so I knew she would have a lot to share about how to make it work, recognising your expertise, how Kari attracts 50% of her bookings through SEO, how she manages her busy schedule and some fantastic top tips on self care (and mac and cheese!) AND SO MUCH MORE!
In her own words, "I work with brides and grooms that are passionate about their wedding photography, helping them in any way I can to ensure they are going to throw an amazing party for their family and friends."
If you like what you see, don’t forget to give me a thumbs up, leave a comment and hit subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on any future videos.