Looking back on 2020

Looking back on 2020

With the end of 2020 just weeks away, Katie has spent time reflecting on the goals she set for the year, and the outcomes. She shares everything she’s learned with us this week in episode 59 of The Whin Big Podcast.

This week we hear how the pandemic has completely changed Katie’s outlook on setting goals and planning, and there’s a free workbook for you to download to use on your own 2021 goal planning.

Revisiting 2020 (even the truly tough bits) for business development

After a weird old year (understatement of the year?!), we know only too well how emotional the year has been for business owners across the board. Now we’re at the end of 2020, the traditional thing to do is review the year we’ve had, and set goals for the next.

Somehow, as we grind to the edge of 2020, reflecting feels more daunting than normal. We’ve had our emotions, patience and confidence stretched to the limit this year, so going back over it seems like an unpleasant thing to put ourselves through!

2020 – the year we got real with our goals

Before we dive deeper into Katie’s practical advice for reviewing and planning, let’s take a look at the two valuable lessons she’s learned from this year which have turned her entire attitude to goal planning around for 2021.

1: Rigid plans are not your friend 

Katie is a traditional ‘end of year planner’. In the past, she’s created a 12 month plan for the new year and used the plan as action steps for each quarter, and each month.

After the unpredictable nature of this year, whilst reflecting and reviewing, one lesson that quickly floated to the surface the notion that making a rigid plan for a full 12 months can lead to stress, frustration and failure right from the get-go.

    “Deciding to just work harder next year is not a good strategy. Even in a normal year – what’s the likelihood that you can sit down in December and map out everything you’re going to do over the next 12 months? Life has never been that predictable.”    – Katie

    2: They might be small, but you still have choices 

    For Katie, one of the joys of being self employed was having freedom to make daily decisions around things like working from a cafe for a few hours, or switching working hours to spend time with family. The global pandemic put a stop to those little freedoms for us all and Katie found this really tough.

    Looking back, she realised she still found a way to make choices. Even if they were much smaller than before. She changed work rooms for a while, and turned her desk around for a different view.

    The activity of review gave her a more positive outlook to her achievements this year, and a better understanding of the way she works on a conscious and subconscious level.

    Shifting perspectives for 2021 planning

    Armed with her new insight, Katie has a new perspective for forward planning for next year. . Her new focus is to set goals and reflect on areas where she has choices, options and influence rather than areas she can control.

    With a fresh outlook, she can now see that her old planning approach was unrealistic, unsustainable and completely exhausting!

    Where’s the flexibility in SMART? 

    Traditionally, Katie has set goals using the SMART criteria. Goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely have no room for flexibility. 

    “With so much unpredictability, how can anything be realistic or timely.” – Katie

    Katie’s goals for 2020 

    Let’s see how Katie’s goal planning panned out. 

    Goal 1: Financial Goal

    Katie gave herself some significant (and exhausting) financial goals to hit this year. 


    Overall, The Whin didn’t achieve the financial targets Katie set. Taking time to reflect on this goal has shown her that her priorities were misaligned right from the start. The reality is that she wanted to scale her business in a sustainable and financial way. The targets she set didn’t allow for steady growth, but rather forced her into big projects that pulled her focus away from scaling and growing.  

    For 2021 

    Going back to the SMART criteria, Katie can’t see how a financial goal can be set that is both realistic and timely, so for 2021 she’s passing on setting financial targets.

    Goal 2: Pivot online

    Part of Katie’s plan for The Whin was to begin scaling elements of the business. Her idea was to take her in-person marketing courses into the online space.


    The Instagram Masterclass course is now fully online. It’s a 4 unit, self-paced course, available online for a bargain price of £97.

    For 2021 

    Katie’s writing and planning new modules to expand the course for 2021. It will include Instagram’s new Reels feature. The price will go up to £140 to reflect the extra value, and if you buy the masterclass in 2020, you can access the new material for a much lower price. 

    Goal 3: Increase to 3 cohorts of the All-in-Whin Marketing Method

    The All-in-Whin Marketing Method is a 12 week live online course, with weekly support and coaching calls. It takes participants on a much deeper level of training and learning. 


    Katie achieved 2 out of 3 cohorts. Participants needed extra support than she’d planned for, so time restrictions reduced her intake to 2. Both rounds went really well for participants and Katie, so she’s pleased with the quality. 

    Goal 4: Audience growth

     Katie set number goals in the following areas:

    • Instagram – 2000 followers
    • Newsletter – 2000 subscribers
    • Podcast – 7,500 downloads


    The Whin’s Instagram followers didn’t grow to 2000. She’s confident her numbers would have grown steadily this year on Instagram if she’d joined in the Reels fun when they first launched the new tool. The algorithm changed to encourage more users to create Reels, so her account didn’t grow the way it could have otherwise.

    Whin Wednesdays subscribers are still sitting at around 200 subscribers.

    Podcast downloads are now half way towards the 7.5k target

    Looking back at these numbers, Katie recognises she set the numbers, but didn’t put any plan in place to reach them. The reality is that she didn’t put the effort in that was needed to hit the goals.

    For 2021 

    You may have noticed that Katie’s posted a few Reels now and has lots of plans for more next year. She’s confident the numbers will move in the right direction, so she’s going to keep 2000 Instagram followers as a goal.

    “The goals I set at the beginning of the year matched up with the model I had for increasing my income and redirecting what the business was going to do, but my actions in the moment didn’t reflect those priorities for the year.

    “That’s something I’ll consider when I work out what to plan and how to plan it for 2021.” – Katie

    Goal 5: Website testimonials 

     Katie aimed for 20 new testimonials on The Whin website. 


    15 new testimonials on the site, and 5 people Katie plans to email for final testimonials. This is a great achievement as there were only 3 at the start of 2020. 

    A master plan for 2021

    Where Katie didn’t hit some of her goals, she’s ready to admit that she’s learned so much about the way she works – especially during times of stress.

    And after reflecting on the past 12 months, Katie now feels ready to look to 2021 and the goals for The Whin. She’s set her goals following a set of questions and prompts she’s gathered over the years and has pulled the whole lot into a workbook if you would like to do the same.

    The 2021 Master Plan is yours completely free, just click on the link and we’ll send your workbook over straight to your inbox.

    What’s on your bookshelf for 2021? 

    Regular listeners know we ask every guest to recommend a couple of books that have inspired or helped with business growth or self development. We’ve pulled the recommendations into an end-of-year list, so if you’re bored over the next few weeks – or looking for a last minute present ideas – head on over to the blog for your next favourite book.

    The Whin Big Podcast 2021

    The next Whin Big Podcast comes out on Wednesday 13 January. Katie is taking a well deserved break, so we’ll all be back with you mid January to tackle Instagram and marketing themes for growing your business.

    During the festive break, Katie will be posting regularly on Instagram and she’ll still send out her weekly newsletter, so sign up if you’re not a subscriber.

    More of your Instagram questions answered

    Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

    This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...

    The ultimate guide to Instagram Guides

    The ultimate guide to Instagram Guides

    Hands up if you noticed a new feature on Instagram this week!

    Did you notice they’d snuck a new tool in without telling anyone? It looks amazing, but with all new features we know it’s brought up a heap of questions, so this week Katie guides us through the feature, If you’ve got questions, we’ve got you covered. If you’re wondering what Guides are, how you use them, and why you should use them – this is the podcast for you. Grab your notebook and let’s jump into this week’s episode. 

    Today’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Click below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

    Instagram Guides! Not another new function surely? 

    First of all, as new features go, Guides are so much easier to use than the Reels function – so if you’re worrying about learning another technical tool, you can rest easy!

    Guides are a little like Story highlights, but they sit on your feed, rather than the highlights area. You can use your own feed posts, those you’ve saved, shopping posts for your own business or other peoples.

    If you haven’t seen one before, don’t worry – we’ve got you!

    1. Open Instagram
    2. Tap the magnifying glass
    3. Search thewhinco (that’s us!)
    4. Scroll past story highlights – above the feed you’ll spot a few icons.
      • You’ll see a grid, reels, IGTV, a little book and a tag.
      • The little book icon is the Guide feature

      5. Tap on the icon and it brings up all of Katie’s guide posts, the first one is a roundup of the most important podcast episodes on Instagram. It’s called Lessons in Instagram Marketing.

    What’s the structure of a Guide?

    When you tap a Guide to look at it, it’s structured like this:

    Top: is a cover photo and a title
    Next: Description
    Then: Series of individual posts (each with a title & description)

    You can tap on any picture on the Guide so you can read the original post caption

    Can I share a Guide? 

    You have a couple of options here:

    • As a direct message to one person
    • As a Story. You can’t share directly to your feed

    How will Guides fit into my content strategy? 

    When we create content for Instagram, we usually take a large idea and break it down into smaller pieces to use as Instagram posts. The new Guides function allows her to join the smaller pieces back up so people can see how things fit together.

    It’s another excellent way to share your own business journey with your audience – so have a think about how it might work for you and your own ideas.

    How do I pull together a Guide? 

    • Go to your own profile and choose the posts you’ll include
    • Browse and make a note of the posts to include – up to 30 posts, including feed posts, IGTV, photos, videos carousel all work
    • Choose posts based on the photo or video cover – captions don’t show up in a Guide
    • Go to your profile page on Instagram – at the top, click on the PLUS icon
    • Tap + and choose guide from the list that appears
      • There are 3 to choose from – in this case we’re going for ‘post guide’
    • Select all posts for the post. Make sure you’re paying attention to the order so they come in the right place
    • Tap next – and choose a cover image for your guide from the images in your feed.
      • Unfortunately you can’t upload a new image for the Guide cover, but Katie’s found a clever workaround – you’ll get all the details in the podcast episode so don’t skip it!
    • Give your Guide a title. You get 3 lines of text, so keep it short.
    • Add a description – because the titles are so short, make sure you use the description to give your audience all the great information
    • Links aren’t clickable in guides, so make sure your links are in the bio
    • And finally – add in a title for each post in the Guide. You can add descriptions into the individual posts too.
    • Hit publish – you’ll see a new icon for Guides on your profile – well done! 

    Does the algorithm love Guides as much as Reels? 

    Right now, there’s no insight information for Guides, so it’s difficult to measure if it’s working. 

    “Don’t invest lots of time into creating original and cool content for Guides, keep the original ideas for blog posts, IGTV or even Instagram feed posts, because you can’t measure how the Guide itself is working,” – Katie

    What if I want to make a Guide of posts from other people? 

    If you want to make a guide of posts from other people, browse through your feed and other Instagram accounts and make a list of the posts you want to include. Click on your label icon and save it to a collection so its easy to find in the future.

    Instead of choosing ‘feed posts’ when selecting your posts, choose ‘saved posts’. You can then create your Guide post following the steps above.

    Is it the same format for a Product Guides? 

    Save posts from the shopping tab into a wish list – including your own products – and create your Guide the same way. 

    Creating a Location-based Guide

    This is a little trickier because there’s no way to save a list of posts in advance, and you can only build the guide around one specific tagged location, so it can be more challenging to find posts that cover the full area you want to focus on. 

    What’s the best way to use Guides? 

    We’ve come up with 5 great suggestions for using the new format:

    1. Use a product guide to share suppliers or collaborators you work with in your business
    2. Spend time creating posts on your IG feed about the different services you offer in your business, then create a Guide that links all the services in one place
    3. If you have a venue or premises that people will tag in their own posts (cafes, restaurants, bars, workshop space etc) – make a Guide of posts called ‘customer reviews, customer feedback) and include all the posts where people tag you and recommend you, and why.
    4. If you’ve ever done a post series – an alphabet challenge, a meet-the-maker challenge or something similar, create a guide that joins the posts all together, to get a better overview of the story you’re telling for easy browsing.
    5. If there’s a cause, a charity or movement that matters to your business, create a Guide with a combination of posts with resources to learn, you’re connection to the cause and other ways to donate money, or get involved.

    Other ways to use Guide posts

    These are just 5 great ways to use Instagram Guides, but there are so many more. We’re setting you a challenge this week to find Guides that spark your interest, or create one of your own and send it to us.

    Here at The Whin we love to see how people creatively use new features – you can tag us @thewhinco.

    What if I want in depth training on Instagram so I can grow my business? 

    Good question! The Whin’s Instagram Masterclass is THE place to go for comprehensive training on Instagram.

    4 modules with detailed explainer videos and practical exercises so you can:
    master growth,
    sales and
    planning your Instagram content

    Next year, we’re adding a whole section on Instagram Reels and the price will go up – but if you book the Masterclass before 31 December 2020, you can bag it at the low price of £97, and still access the Reels module in the new year.

    How do I find out more about using Guides for my business? 

    Book a one-to-one Instagram Power Hour for an audit of your profile and a clear plan for your next move. 

    More of your Instagram questions answered

    Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

    This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...

    Growing a business with stories, with Jenni Weaver

    Growing a business with stories, with Jenni Weaver

    Welcome to episode 57 of The Whin Big Podcast where Katie meets Jenni Weaver, co-owner of Yorkshire based deli Origin Fine Foods. They talk about growing a social media following from nothing and how the team at the deli use stories to connect with their customers. Jenni also talks us through the pivots and shifts she’s made in the past year in her marketing strategies, and offers within the business.

    Jenni attributes some of her recent success to the business coaching and programmes she’s joined since Covid. She talks us through her favourite ones and why they’ve helped her move forward in such a positive way during challenging times.

    Today’s episode is sponsored by our Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist will take you through all the most important things you need to get right in your Instagram marketing. Click below to sign up for the free training and download the checklist.

    One full year of trading before Covid-19

    Origin Fine Foods had one full year of business before Covid struck. In her first year, Jenni found the freedom to make her own decisions a real pleasure, but focused on prioritising her ideas as they came to her so she could avoid overwhelm. By December 2019 the pair focussed efforts and energies on the eating-in side of the business, instead of focussing on hampers. They opened for Bistro Evenings and other dining-in experiences for customers and had lots of great feedback. 

    Managing the Covid pivot

    Like every other business in the UK, Jenni and her business partner changed tack when the first wave of restrictions kicked in. The Yorkshire based food deli gave way to selling – and delivering – everyday household goods and essential items to the local residents. 

    “Our community was in need. You couldn’t get any delivery slots from the bigger supermarkets, so we filled that gap.” – Jenni

    Now the big rush around shopping for essential items has died down, there’s a renewed interest in the artisan products they’re selling in the deli and with the new alcohol license in place, there is a lot to plan going into the festive season and beyond. 

    The stories that run through the business

    Unexpectedly, Jenni’s favourite part of being a business owner is the stories behind the brands they stock. Jenni points out how disconnected shoppers are from the brands on sale in big supermarkets. As a Yorkshire deli, supplying Yorkshire based products, the team make it a priority to visit suppliers and build personal relationships with them. 

    “We’ve even met the cows that made our ice cream. That makes people smile when we mention it. We’re all about provenance. It’s important to get people to stop and think about what people are putting on their plates and in their mouths.” – Jenni

    Finding a balance for social media marketing

    While they were finding their feet, the team took inspiration on social media marketing from similar businesses, promoting products and sharing information on the business.

    2020 has seen them move toward making deeper connections, by sharing more stories. Stories about the background of the business, the real stories of Jenni and Abi and the stories behind the suppliers. Their following has grown as a result. 

    “I always think the long copy posts are going to be scrolled past by people because it’s not the norm in our industry. But they’re the ones that get most interest” – Jenni

    Social media platforms Jenni uses

    When they first opened, Jenni snapped up the account name on Instagram but didn’t take any steps to market on that platform. Instead, they used Facebook, and have been regularly posting there since they opened.

    They’ve now embraced Instagram and as a result, their following has snowballed.

    “Instagram is good because you can reach out to that audience using your hashtags and all your organic content in a way that just doesn’t work on Facebook anymore. So there’s an opportunity to grow your audience in a different way.” – Katie

    Feelings of optimism for the future

    At the beginning of the pandemic, Origin Fine Foods took £4.70 for a whole day’s takings. She posted on Instagram “£4.70 worth of sales today. 2 lattes. 2 tearful owners”.

    She knew then that something had to change if the business was to survive. Shifting the business model. Jenni’s feeling is that shifting the business online was the essential step to survival and they plan to do so much more in the online space. Starting with a brand new website and a nationwide hamper service.

    This is the output of the coaching and training programmes Jenni’s joined since the pandemic hit.

    Business coaching and support 

    During such challenging times, many businesses in the hospitality and catering industries looked inward, to protect their resources and finances. Jenni’s approach was different. She used the time to connect with business coaches, join business groups and take part in challenges and programmes that could support her growth – despite Covid.

    She shares the best with us in the podcast. Including:

    The Whin Instagram Masterclass (obviously the best!) 

    When a regular customer advised Jenni to look into using Hashtags in a more strategic way, Jenni signed up for our Instagram Masterclass (£97 till the end of the year). She’s currently working her way through the 4 part training and has noticed an improvement in engagement already.

    “The Whin Instagram Masterclass has changed my whole Instagram game completely. I’ve only just got on to unit 2, and I’ve found the Hashtag tasks so useful. Every time you said ‘pause the video and do this activity’ I’ve been strict with myself and done it. It’s been so useful.” – Jenni

    Jenni’s book recommendations

    Jenni’s accepted she doesn’t have the time or energy to read physical books (plus they make her sleepy!), so she’s a big fan of Audible.

    E Myth by Michael Gerber*
    Talks about how to scale a business. He looks at the franchise model and makes the case that even if you don’t want to franchise, so long as it’s at the point where the systems are in place so it could be franchised, then it’s running in a successful way.

    Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! by Denise Duffield-Thomas*
    This is all about uncovering your money blocks and your relationship with money. Jenni’s listened to this 3 times and is still unpacking money blocks. When you’re running a business, money is important. Exploring your relationship with money is so important for Jenni.

    Everything is Figure Outable by Marie Forleo*
    An excellent resource for figureing out what your goals are and how to reach them.

    Do you want to grow your audience and sales using Instagram?

    Jenni’s Instagram account is growing steadily as a direct result of following the guided steps in The Whin’s Instagram Masterclass.

    A 4 part, 4 week course designed specifically to help you:

    • Grow your audience
    • Make stronger connections
    • Make sales
    • Find a strategy and plan that works best for you

    It’s only £97 until the end of 2020 so if you want to see growth in all the best places on Instagram, now is the time to buy.

    Resources and links discussed in this week’s episode

    The Whin’s Instagram Masterclass

    [Podcast] 4 Easy Steps to Instagram Reels

    Dare to Grow: How to make your first Reels video

    Lisa Bean: Expansion Business School

    Jacky Clarke: Blueprint to Business

    Modern Storyteller: PS Club

    * Links marked with a star are affliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to supporting your local bookshop, and a small portion comes to The Whin. The books won’t cost you any extra!

    More of your Instagram questions answered

    Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

    This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...

    Getting the most out of Canva – yes even the free version, with Thea Newcomb

    Getting the most out of Canva – yes even the free version, with Thea Newcomb

    This week Katie talks to Thea Newcomb, founder of Thea Newcomb Training & Consulting. This week’s guest is one of only 2 Canva ambassadors in Scotland. They talked a lot about Canva where Thea shared her incredible tips for getting the most out of Canva and using it to create amazing images and videos for your online blogs and social media content. They also talk about the bare minimum of digital marketing planning, raising your prices and designing and publishing your own books on Amazon.

    This is another jam packed Whin Big Podcast, so be sure to tune into the episode itself to get all the insight and details – and information on Thea’s special offer on Canva training especially for Whin Big Podcast listeners.

    Finding joy in radio and podcasting

    Thea moved to Scotland in 1992 and started working in radio. She moved away from that industry as a career, but still dips in and out hosting shows on a station called Radio 6 International. For Thea, radio is a complete joy so it was an easy decision to get into podcasting. A subject close to Katie’s heart!

    The podcast Thea hosts has a strong positivity message around ageing and female empowerment and it’s a passion project that she enjoys so much. In fact, her love of podcasting and hosting radio is so strong she wishes she’d gone into it years ago, but didn’t because she didn’t have the skills or confidence to give it a shot.

    Life after radio

    Leaving radio behind for passion projects only, Thea moved into website design, where she was encouraged to run training workshops for Business Gateway. Despite having reservations, she’s never looked back!  

    Making the Covid pivot 

    Similarly, Thea had no desire to make the leap to online training and webinars – despite being encouraged to by her clients through her Business Gateway training. She’d been encouraged by clients to run her Canva training courses online, but felt there was enough online training already available and was happy to keep up the face to face sessions.

    Until of course, March 2020. When Covid changed everything. In almost no time she’d gone from never running a webinar in her life to running all of her sessions online.

    “Lockdown has pressed everything forward for us and pushed us out of our comfort zones.” – Thea

    Recognising your limits as an employee

    Thea loves the flexibility and diversity of being her own boss. She can pick and choose the projects and activities on a daily basis, based on what she loves to do. For Thea, being self-employed isn’t the easiest way to make a living – it can be feast or famine, but it’s certainly interesting. 

    “Being self employed is not for the faint hearted. I’ve always run my own businesses because I’m a terrible employee. I couldn’t work for someone else, I made my own career.” – Thea

    Marketing on social media – the Thea way

    Despite giving training on digital marketing, Thea’s not a huge fan of marketing on social media. In a dream world, she would either outsource all forms of social media, or be in a place where her business doesn’t need it.

    In reality, a lot of her clients are referred to her through Business Gateway so there’s less pressure to take part in digital marketing activities, but she understands the need for social proof and will post tips and links to her workshops. Albeit in a sporadic way!

    “On social media: I am not as consistent as I would recommend to people I work with. It’s a case of do as I say, not as I do.” – Thea

    Thea’s recommendations for online marketing: 

    Whilst her social media marketing might not be as watertight as she’d like, Thea does stick to a few rules around online marketing and always recommends these activities to her own clients:

    • Consistency across all channels
      • The same two or three fonts, colours, templates so there’s branding consistency all the time.
    • Experimenting about what marketing works for your business rather than generic businesses
      • “I’ve noticed if I post too late, I get very few likes. You have to figure out when your audience is online, look at the insights and figure out how it fits together”.

    “In everything I do I say there’s no cookie cutter solution. I tell people – try a few things, check the insights. It might not work for your business just because it’s worked for another.” – Thea

    Thea’s Things own marketing activities 

    Thea tends to work her digital marketing on an adhoc basis, rather than plan or schedule her content. When she does plan out her social media she uses Hootsuite and Twitter directly.

    •  Twitter
      • Daily tweets & retweets, sharing something people will enjoy.
    • Facebook groups & pages
      • Canva group for previous training clients – 3 posts per week
      • Thea’s Things business page – weekly posts
    • Instagram
      • Thea has a few personal profiles on Instagram – a business page for Canva related posts and one for her website building business
    • Blogging
      • Posts an article every Monday

    Get the most out of Canva (yes, even the free version)

    Katie asked Thea to share her essential tips for using Canva as a marketing tool.

    1. Set up your brand kit for consistency
      • If you use the free version, you can choose up to 3 colours from your logo or site to use in everything you design. This keeps your branding consistent across all platforms and is a great way to access your brand elements quickly
      • Canva Pro users can choose more colours, and upload fonts (although there are so many fonts in Canva, it’s hard to see why you would need to!)
    2. Blog post headers
      • If you’re blogging, create header graphics with the title of your blog post designed in the header. This makes it easier to see the title (and who wrote it) if people share it
      • Create a pinterest sized post with a link to the blog and post on Pinterest
    3. Create the right sized templates for each platform you use
      • Instagram will have Stories & Post stories
      • Facebook templates should be kept in the middle as Canva doesn’t always get the sizing right
      • Linked in – use 1200 x 628 for text based posts
        • Keep in mind this template isn’t available for Canva
    4. Canva Video
      • Thea recommends posting video on all channels as this format gets the most engagement
      • She recommends spending time making sure there’s value in your video, rather than posting it just for the ‘likes’
      • For anyone struggling with the Reels function on Instagram, Katie highly recommends using the video function on Canva. Recently she created a slideshow video to advertise her Instagram course. She made a slide for each video clip and added text and effects to it. She added music and photos and Canva laced it together to create a short video.

    Become a publishing success – a special offer for Whin Big Podcast listeners

    Using Canva, Thea has designed hundreds of planners and journals and sells them on the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

    Now Thea wants to teach you how to design and publish your own paperback book.
    In just one 90 minute 1:1 session, with Thea you’ll design the cover of your book, design the interior and then upload the whole manuscript to Amazon to sell.

    By the end of the session you’ll know how to publish your own books on Amazon. With this option you could design and sell:

    • Line journals
    • Workbooks for clients
    • Social media planners and so many more options!

    Once you know how to do one, you can make many.

    Normally this (amazing) workshop is £150, but Whin Big Podcast listeners get a 20% discount! Just mention the podcast when you get in touch with Thea.

    Thea’s book recommendations

    Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!* by Denise Duffield Thomas
    Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age* by Jonah Berger

    Connect with Thea





    Thea’s website

    * Links marked with a star are affliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to supporting your local bookshop, and a small portion comes to The Whin. The books won’t cost you any extra!

    More of your Instagram questions answered

    Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

    This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...

    Your Instagram questions – answered

    Your Instagram questions – answered

    Ever wondered how to build your brand identity on Instagram? Or how to find Instagram success when you’re technically challenged? When it comes to Instagram, you’ve got the questions – and we’ve got the answers!

    Welcome to this week’s Whin Big Podcast, episode 54 and this week Katie answers listener questions around the mighty Instagram. Grab a notebook because this week’s episode is packed with useful info on getting Instagram right for your marketing.


    Missed your chance to ask a question?

    If you missed sending in a question for this Q&A episode, join Katie over on Instagram or sign up to the mailing list so you can get involved next time.

    Joining the mailing list comes with an added bonus as you’ll get instant access to The Whin’s Instagram MOT, a 20 point checklist to get you back on track with your Instagram Marketing. What’s not to love?

    Show notes for the Whin-win!

    Before kicking off today – you do not want to miss the resources section at the bottom of the show notes. They are jam-packed (more so than usual) with every possible resource, link, freebie and insight on moving you along the Instagram for business road.

    Onto your questions!

    Q1: How do I choose a colour scheme for my instagram page?

    Chloe told us her last Instagram page was messy and had no consistency. She wants to know how to organise your grid into something with order and balance to reflect branding.

    A: A balanced, on-brand grid is easy to create – but there are a few things worth thinking about before you go all in…

    As with most things on Instagram, there’s a bit of pre-posting thinking you should do before adding more posts to your grid. If you want to design your grid so it has more branding personality and style.

    If you already have a main colour that runs through your business (The Whin’s is yellow, you may have noticed!), then look for ways you can bring that colour through to your grid. Try:

    • Using images that have objects, people or details that contain the same colour, to create a consistent colour theme.
    • Use Instagram filters that have a similar tone or feel to your colour so every image you post takes on the theme, even if the image itself doesn’t.
    • Buy some presets on Adobe lightroom or other photo editing software, to create your own filters. This makes them slightly less ‘off-the-peg’ than Instagram filters, which personalises your look
    • Create Canva templates for a consistent, on-brand look.

    Finding the right colour if you don’t have one

    If budget allows, Katie recommends hiring a brand expert or branding graphic designer to help with colours, fonts and logo.

    For something a little more DIY’d look into colour theory so you can choose a colour based on the feelings it evokes. E.g:

    Blue – is associated with trust, dependable or reliable.
    Yellow – makes you think of the warmth of summer, daffodils in the Spring. It’s a positive colour that inspires open-ness
    Purple – is often linked with serenity, balance and calm so you might use this if you’re healing or guiding people, or want them to feel relaxed and grounded when they interact with you.

    Whatever colour you choose, make sure the feelings you want to evoke run through more than your logo and instagram grid.

    What if you don’t want to commit to just one colour? 

    You can be very clever with your grid and change colours, but it looks better if it looks intentional so planning is a great way to make sure it looks thought through rather than chaotic and unorganised. 

    Q2: Do you have tips on using Instagram when you’re technically challenged?

    Kelly and Debbie asked for steer on beginner-level Instagram tactics and strategy. Debbie actually asked for an ‘idiot’s guide’ but as Katie points out – there’s no idiots round these parts! 

    A: Start small and avoid overwhelm

    Beginner or learner Instagram guides are usually full of great ideas, but so many of them it’s overwhelming.

    Katie recommends her simplified strategy for busy business owners which she featured in episode 42 of The Whin Big Podcast. It’s worth a listen as it gives you all the insight you need for the 3 step starter plan: :

    • Choosing great pictures
    • Captions that add value to your posts
    • Learning how to use hashtags so more people see your posts

    Of course, there’s so much more when it comes to Instagram, so we’ve linked below, extra Whin Big Podcast episodes (in the best order to approach them) to give you more support if you’re ready for more help with:

    More support for marketing on Instagram

    You know you want to use Instagram to grow your business, and it feels overwhelming. Or you have started to use it, but haven’t worked out the best way for you and your business.

    Sound familiar? The Instagram MOT is right for you.

    “The Whin’s Instagram MOT has been designed especially for you if you’re looking to get started, or need a refresh on your Instagram business account.” – Katie

    Download your FREE Instagram MOT today and work your way easily through the checklist. It has everything you need to get moving.

    Ready for growth level 

    You know the basics, you’ve got a small following, and you know there’s more you can do to grow your audience and make more sales. 

    If this is you, congratulations! You’re ready for the next level and our Instagram Masterclass is for you.

    4 weeks of straight forward, no nonsense training across 4 fundamentals pillars of Instagram. By the time you’ve completed this you’ll have learned everything you need to build a solid Instagram strategy that’s perfect for you and your business.

    Q3: How do I grow my followers on Instagram?

    Asked by Zoe and Fiona.

    Episode 52 looks into growth strategies for 2020 and it looks at all the ways to take advantage of the tools built into Instagram right now, designed to grow your audience.

    To summaries:

    • Hashtags are important
    • Reels are new and the algorithms love them
    • Create shareable content that people love

    “It doesn’t matter if you have 300 followers or 300,000 followers. What matters is getting enough customers from Instagram to pay for the time you’re spending marketing there.” – Katie

    Katie recommends asking a different question. So instead of ‘how do I get more followers’, for better results it’s better to think in a more strategic way and ask:

    • How do I get more sales from Instagram?
    • How do I get more engagement from followers on Instagram?

    The answers to those questions will inform a different way of marketing to get the answers you really want. And Katie goes over all of that (and so much more) in episode 52. As always, all links included in the episode are in the resources section below.

    Get YOUR questions answered

    Don’t forget, you’ve got lots of time to get your own questions in ahead of the next Q&A episode, so if you don’t already – join Katie over on Instagram or sign up to the mailing list so you don’t miss out! 

    Resources and links

    The Whin’s Instagram MOT

    The Whin Instagram Masterclass

    Episode 42: A simplified Instagram Strategy (for busy business owners)

    Episode 52 – 3 essential strategies for Instagram

    After you’ve mastered pictures, captions and hashtags, you can then start to tackle the following list (with links to podcasts)

    More of your Instagram questions answered

    Have you got questions about Instagram? Don’t worry - we’ve got the answers! Well, Katie does!

    This week, Katie does a deep dive on YOUR Instagram questions. For episode 80 of The Whin Big Podcast, we’ve chosen three of the most asked listener questions to help you...