How to build a business you love, that loves you back, with Jacky Clarke

How to build a business you love, that loves you back, with Jacky Clarke

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Jacky Clarke – an online strategy business coach. She shares how her experiences with burnout lead to her starting a business that gave her the freedom to live a life she loves. Katie and Jacky talk about the importance of figuring out what you want out of your business, focusing on tasks you enjoy and ways to align your business and marketing strategy.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Build a business you love, and it will love you back.

Jacky helps business owners to take their confused, burn-out causing strategies and make them much simpler so people can earn good money in a way that’s aligned with your life.

Jacky started working with small business clients after a double whammy of redundancy from her Director role in a global corporation and total burnout from contracting with huge organisations.

In her Director role, she lead a team of 50 people, all working to the same goals. When she jumped to contracting, she worked to achieve the same results for her client, as a team of 1. Months of working longer hours on stressful projects, with less support and higher standards, quickly took Jacky to a place in her career where she was miserable.

But, as the saying goes – you can’t keep a good woman down! After some reflection time, she realised she could start her own business teaching people the exact strategies she used with global organisations. She decided to start small with a relatively simple online course to test the water and has never looked back. 

“I think aligning your business with your life is important, and not the other way round. People think about the need to make money, but they don’t think, ‘what is the life I’m trying to create.” – Jacky

The importance of believing in your own advice

Jacky’s is very clear on the importance of small businesses practising what they preach. For Jacky, that means taking her business through every step of her strategy process with no excuses. 

The main focus of Jacky’s work is centred around the 12-week programme she hosts three times a year. She works on a cyclical nature of fine-tuning activities, researching her strategy and implementing it and often works through the programme modules alongside her programme participants. 

This means her business strategy is ongoing proof of how her way works. 

“The world changes so rapidly, regardless of what you’re teaching, something will have shifted so thinking anything is permanent and will make passive income, it’s naive thinking.” – Jacky

Figure out what you love to do – and then do it.

Jacky’s favourite thing about running a business is freedom. Being able to decide who she works with, when and where is so important to her, and she’s hyper-aware this comes from her experience of burnout and overwhelm. 

Jacky and Katie talk about creating a business that centres around a few packages or offerings that you love to do, rather than being all things to all people. 

The reason being, if you enjoy what the work – and the people you do it for – you’re already closer to the freedom most of us crave as business owners. 

Katie shared her experience of taking every task available when she first set up because she was focused on keeping afloat. 

Jacky’s advice to anyone starting now is to work out ahead of time how to start your business doing the tasks you enjoy first, so you can avoid the need to transition out of anything in the first place. 

“When you start, you have the mindset of ‘whatever anybody wants, I’ll figure out how to do it for them’. You have to transition out of it and do it pretty quickly.” – Katie

Advice for structuring your business around your zone of genius

Jacky and Katie talk about the perils and pitfalls of doing too-many conflicting tasks and services for too-many different types of customers.

Get selective with who you serve and how you serve them

Jacky shared a statistic around the concept of multitasking and how it takes 23 minutes for the human brain to settle into a new task after bouncing around. She highlights how much harder it is to reach our goals if we bounce from wildly different clients and different activities.

Choosing a set of services you enjoy will not only make you more productive but help shape a business you love.

Look at the whole picture of your business

Ask yourself if you like the shape of your business based on the tasks you love. You can enjoy doing a task (like designing websites), but do you want to run a web design business and all that goes with it? This was Katie’s exact experience when she was offering services designing websites AND doing Instagram training. 

Figure it out by trying it out

If you don’t know what you want to do or how you want to shape your business, Jacky’s advice is to get started and try it out. She highlights the perils of waiting to find the tasks you enjoy rather than trying lots of things out to figure it out.

Set up containers your customers can pay you

Everything you talk about should point to one of these containers. Make it easy for people to figure out how they want to work with you, and then set your business and marketing strategy around that.

“I had created a business monster. I earned six figures every year, and so many people aim for, so many people define as success, but I was never home. I couldn’t do the things I loved. Once I got to breaking point, my whole purpose was to have freedom.” – Jacky

Setting healthy boundaries around marketing. 

Building workable models is what Jacky does best, so no surprises here, she’s made an easy model for her business marketing, too:

She starts with a bare minimum marketing plan

  • Put up a blog each Tuesday
  • Put out mailing list on Thursday 
  • Post at least three times to Instagram 
  • Show up in Stories every day Mon-Fri

The content ideas then fit around what’s going on in Jacky’s week. Jacky did a masterclass session that looked at ideal customer avatars. She used the content from her work in the masterclass as an Instagram carousel.

Jacky’s primary strategy is Instagram. She posts there and cross-posts everything to Facebook. Despite knowing it’s not the best strategy for the Facebook algorithm, she doesn’t care. For Jacky, this is where the boundaries come in. 

“As a business owner, I can try to have all the things in place, a pristine model of how it should be, OR I can do some of the things and go and go and live a life I frigging love. I can’t have both.” – Jacky

What’s on Jacky’s bookshelf? 

*First Sh!t Version by Lisa Bean 

Read this book if you don’t know what to do. The book has loads of activities to help you get clarity. Top of the list! 

* Do Less by Kate Northrup

Do less is Jacky’s tagline how women are cyclical beings and work within our cycle. The book shows how to align our business with our energy, step away from the hustle, and still make money, especially if you’re a mum in business. 

*Rise Sister, Rise by Rebecca Campbell

This book is about moving away from the masculine space of planning, productivity and strategy, and more into alignment with plans and ideas and asking if you’re showing up authentically.  


5 things dream clients will never say 

Jacky’s website (scroll to bottom to sign up to newsletter)

Lisa Bean’s First Sh!t Version review on IGTV

Jacky on Instagram

* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to 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!

The Instagram Rule Book

The Instagram Rule Book

Do you ever feel like everyone’s playing the Instagram game, but nobody’s explained the rules to you? This is episode 70 of The Whin Big Podcast, where Katie runs through the four aspects of Instagram marketing. Consider this your very own Instagram rule book!

We look at how to apply some core marketing principles to your Instagram strategy, and cover growth, connection, sales and planning to make sure your strategy covers all the bases. 

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

The customer journey & the Instagram MOT

Any marketing strategy has to reflect the customer journey, and we’ve put it at the heart of our new and improved Instagram MOT.

Not sure what the customer journey is? Here’s a quick rundown – and even if you have heard this phrase (sometimes called the buyer’s journey or your sales funnel), it’s always a good idea to check your marketing activities are in alignment. 

A simple process for your customers

The customer journey is the name for the psychological journey each person goes through a 3-step process before they buy from you. 

  1. Awareness. This is where they first discover your business (or product, or service)
  2. Consideration. At this point, they’re learning about you and your business. They use this time to work out if what you offer meets their needs.
  3. Decision. Not everyone makes it to this stage where they are on the cusp of buying from you.

“The journey from awareness, through consideration to decision making, is just as important for Instagram marketing as it is for your overall marketing strategy.”

The four rules of Instagram Marketing

We’ve rewritten our popular Instagram MOT to reflect the customer journey. Each part looks at the foundations you need to nurture your customers (past, present and future) through the process. It might be easier to download the checklist so you can look through it as we take you through our favourite free resource. 

Part 1: Grow your Instagram audience

Specifically, your follower numbers and the reach of your posts. It’s important that you work to bring new people into your audience. The people who connect with you won’t always buy from you, nor will they all be your ideal customers. By focussing on growing your audience, you won’t have to rely on repeat business month after month. 

You’ll learn all the rules in the Instagram MOT, but here’s a few you can get started on straight away. 

★ Growth rule: Hashtags

Make sure you’re using the right Instagram hashtags for your business.

Why it’s important:

Hashtags help categorise your posts to your customer’s feed. Lots of users browse hashtag galleries or follow hashtags so they won’t miss this content. Missing out on hashtags means you miss out on opportunities to show up in new places.

★ Growth rule: Instagram Reels

Spend time creating Reels as part of the content you share on Instagram

Why it’s important:

The new layout of the Instagram app gives Reels a priority position, so users spend less time in hashtag galleries or explore page because they watch Reels instead. Again, you’re missing out on opportunities if you don’t create Reels.

★ Growth rule: Connect with people who share similar audiences

Reach out to service providers who have a similar audience group to you. Go live together, or swap Instagram Story takeovers so you can get to know their followers, and vice versa. 

Why it’s important

If you listened to episode 66 of The Whin Big Podcast, you’d remember the algorithm’s primary role is to keep users on Instagram for as long as possible. Research shows that users prefer familiar faces and connect with accounts they’ve personally selected, so the algorithm shows them more of that content than content from brand new accounts. 

Bypassing the algorithm means you’re taking some control into your own hands! 

Don’t forget…

To promote your Instagram account wherever you are outside of the app. Blog posts, podcast interviews on your website. It’s a sensible thing to get in the habit (and helps with SEO too!)

What to do if your growth won’t budge

If you’ve sorted out your hashtags, created Reels and made amazing connections, and you’re still not growing, download the Instagram MOT for more rules for growing your audience and reach. 

Part 2: Creating connection with your audience

Connection shows up as comments, saves, shares, website visits, replies and DMs (as well as lots of behaviours you’ll never know about – like thinking about your post while emptying the dishwasher or telling a friend about your account). 

★ Connection rule: Share helpful information

Create content that solves problems or helps your audience reach their own goals with tips, hacks and secrets from your insider knowledge. Try: 

  • IGTV videos
  • Reels
  • Slide shows for your feed
  • Post a selfie with useful information in the caption

Why it’s important:

People love getting value, and what’s more valuable than following an account on Instagram that genuinely helps you grow or develop in a way you need? Not much.

★ Connection rule: Entertain your audience

Find ways to be creative, inspiring, soothing or just plain funny. Give these ideas a go: 

  • Lip-synching Reels
  • Memes
  • Timelapses
  • Outtakes 
  • Familiar rituals 

Why it’s important:

If you give someone a feel-good moment, you’ll be remembered for it. And that all works towards the know, like and trust factor. 

★ Connection rule: Share personal insight and stories

You don’t have to bare your soul every time you post or share endless photos of your kids to make your connections more personal. Think about your identities and how they’re relevant to your audience.

  • Find ways to thread your interests (plants, dogs, sea swimming, running) into your feed and relate it to your audience. 
  • Katie shared a post that did just that. She connected being self-conscious about her features with the importance of finding the confidence to create videos. Have a look at the post for a great example of sharing personal insight and shared experiences. 

Why it’s important:

Before people buy from you, they have to know you, like you and trust you. Sharing personal experiences give people an idea about you as a human being which goes a long way to building trust. 

Connection is everything

You’ll find all of the step-by-step instructions for creating strong connections, as well as how to make the most of Instagram insights when you download the Instagram MOT checklist and watch the training

“You follow someone on Instagram, and they immediately send you a message with a copy & paste sales pitch before you get comfortable? No, thank you!”

Part 3: Invite the sale

How do you encourage people to buy? You might be great at inviting sales, but it’s more common to struggle with sales content then going a long time without posting any and then feel stressed when the sales don’t come through.

Here’s a few quick wins to get your sales invitations back on track.

★ Sales rule: Refresh the link in your bio

If the link in your bio only goes to your website homepage, you can make your link much harder for you by following these steps:

  • Create a new page on your website (no fancy layouts) and add 3 – 5 buttons or links to key places:
    • Shop
    • Sales pages (or services page)
    • Your enquiry form
  • If you can’t create a webpage, use a service like Linktree or
    • You don’t need technical knowledge to set these up

Why it’s important:

Don’t expect people to browse through your website to find the information they need. Make it easy for them to find your shop or details for working with you and is much more precise than saying ‘browse my website.’

★ Sales rule: Experiment with the sales content ratios

You might spend four weeks in growth and connection mode and a 5th week where you only post content about sales. If you’re in e-commerce, you will want to change those ratios because people will expect you to show up with new products to sell and want to see what you have to offer.

Why it’s important:

Getting the balance right makes the difference between people being excited by your content and keen to buy from you when the time is right and people who scroll past because they haven’t had a chance to connect with you before you sell to them.

You need to experiment to find the right formula for you, but this is an excellent place to start.

You won’t make sales if you aren’t selling

Make sure to go and get your Instagram MOT for the six checks and lots of tips to get the balance right.

“Posting specifically to sell, to invite people to buy, to encourage sales conversations – that’s all essential to your Instagram strategy.”

Part 4: Planning your Instagram strategy

In the first three parts of the strategy, you’ll have lots of tasks to work on—everything from hashtag research, finding people to collaborate with and creating great content.

Most of that won’t happen unless you plan for it to happen.

★ Planning rule: Think about your content

First: Make a list of the types of content you want to create. There’s a lot of options with Instagram:

  • Reels
  • IGTV
  • Photos
  • Stories
  • Carousels
  • Lives
  • Graphics
  • Videos

Second: think about the role of each post. Which stage of the strategy (growth, connection, sales) does it align with?

Finally: Prioritise your content list. What are your goals?

A boost in sales: focus on feed posts and stories about what you sell.

Grow your audience: Reels videos, appealing photos and the right hashtags

★ Planning rule: Content ideas for your posts

Your posts should mostly have an overarching theme or topic which link your posts together.

This should be based on what your audience is interested in or something you want to market.

Katie shares her whole launch strategy and content planning in the episode, so make sure you listen to the podcast, so you don’t miss out.

“Without a little bit of planning and left floundering around in the dark, I’m making sales by accident. Not an easy thing to sustain!”

Instagram marketing – the next steps

Once you’ve completed the Instagram MOT and found the changes you need to make for your growth, connections and sales, you might be hungry for more!

If that’s the case, the natural next step is to join our Instagram Masterclass. If you’re trying to make more sales on Instagram and you keep getting stuck, this course will walk you through each part of the strategy with concrete examples and exercises so that you can take and implement your own Instagram strategy. 

It’s just £97 till the end of March. In April, we’re adding heaps of new content to make your Instagram strategy even more solid, and if you buy the masterclass now, you’ll get free access to all the latest juicy stuff. 

After 31 March, the price goes up to £147, so you know it makes sense! 

Resources in this week’s episode

Whin Big Podcast: Instagram Algorithm – what is it, and can I beat it?


Instagram MOT

Instagram Masterclass

The Life-Changing Magic of Sorting Out your Marketing

Why does it feel so hard to sell your products and services online? Are you fed up with learning all the little things so you can start making sales? Why can’t it feel easy, or enjoyable? If you’re getting fed up with the complexities of online marketing, then...

4 marketing mistakes I wish I’d sorted sooner

Most business owners make mistakes when they first start their business. Many of us start without much training or experience in the nuances of business, marketing, finance and other key ideas. When I first became self employed in 2016 (two full years before founding The Whin), I mostly bumbled along...

Business lessons from the sex education industry, with Cameron Glover

Business lessons from the sex education industry, with Cameron Glover

Ever feel like giving up trying to market your business altogether? Then spare a thought for professionals in the sexuality industry, where marketing challenges are an everyday occurrence. Welcome to Episode 69 of The Whin Big Podcast with this week’s guest Cameron Glover, a sex education business coach and founder of Successful Sex Ed.

Katie and Cameron (both she/her) discuss the unique challenges that face business owners in the sexuality field and show us how we can all take lessons from this important industry to add value to our audience. Her insight in creating a premium experience for her communities and finding ways to have fun with marketing and relationship building is relevant to business owners across every industry and sector.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Successful Sex Ed – Cameron’s business journey

Cameron (she/her) is a Sex Ed business coach based outside of New York City. In her company, Successful Sex Ed, Cameron and her team provide professional development for the industry.

After college and a planned career in academia, Cameron found herself in the space of uncertainty, a sort of decision-limbo, working out what her next steps would be. One area that interested her was sex education, so in 2015 began researching her options and signed up for a certification programme. Despite enjoying the programme, she was frustrated that the business support was centred around practitioners finding a job and getting hired.

“I had a lightbulb moment. I realised I don’t want to be the person who gets hired; I wanted to be the person hiring.” – Cameron

She realised that many of her colleagues had the same questions and issues around setting up in business, that there was a need for this kind of support. From here, she took her knowledge and experience of sex education and pivoted to business and marketing solutions for the industry.

Let’s talk about sex money, baby

Cameron started her business from the perspective of helping people. She concentrated less on making money and more on what sex educators needed to break the barrier and belief that a career in sex education can’t be sustainable and long-term.

There’s a stigma around talking about money and wanting to be successful. It was Cameron’s mission to shine a light on the fact that this work is important and deserves to be paid well, with premium professional development to support the work.

“Talking about money is deeply uncomfortable; talking about sex is deeply uncomfortable. When you mix the two, how do you even start the conversation?” – Cameron

The challenges facing sex education business professionals

While so much business advice can be adapted and tailored to suit specific industries and sectors, there are a few challenges unique to those working in the sex education industry those other business owners don’t face.

Those working in the sexuality industry have to face challenges around censorship, misinformation, shame and judgement. The result is that the perception of sex education professionals can be tainted from the outset.

Censorship and marketing

Misinformation and perception play a large part in the struggles that sex education professionals face when promoting the work they do. While online marketing is an essential part of today’s business professionals, it’s steeped in challenges for those working in this area.

Cameron believes that censorship can harm everyone as more and more topics become unacceptable to discuss openly and maturely online. As a result, creating a safe space with a trusted community is an essential part of business development. 

The importance of inclusivity in online spaces and communities

With so much misconception around the sexuality industry, finding resources and support can be problematic. Business owners in this space require the same access to help and information as any other business owner. It can be hard to find the right professionals – for example, tax consultants, legal professionals and finance experts – who are willing to work with their industry. 

For sexuality professionals, traditional resources open to business owners, such as joining networking groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, can come loaded with shame and judgement, closing down opportunities.

“You end up creating a business where your ideal customer avatar is someone who looks like you, thinks like you, has the same life experiences as you do. And that excludes people with different life experiences who could still benefit from your help and expertise.” – Katie

Building a person-centred business with accessibility and inclusivity at the fore

In this week’s episode of the podcast, Cameron and Katie dive deep into the subject of threading accessibility and inclusivity into everything you do.

It’s a weighty topic for all business owners, so make sure you listen to the episode to get the whole conversation loaded with ideas for how you can add value to your services and offers by normalising inclusivity.

Topics covered:

  • Adapting resources for accessibility needs
  • Incorporating different learning styles
  • Planning for people to access the proper support for their needs, versus having to request it after the fact
  • Keeping integrity at the heart of your activities
  • Ways to avoid overwhelm and take small steps toward inclusivity
  • The importance of sharing your pronouns to normalise gender expression

“No-one wants to feel like they’re an afterthought. I feel strongly about approaching business growth not just from the bottom line, but from a human-first perspective…I think there’s room for both.” – Cameron

Marketing: creating a premium experience for your audience

Due to platform restrictions and ever-changing terms and conditions, Cameron’s marketing efforts centre around creating a premium experience for the Successful Sex Ed’s community.

Part of that will include developing a more enhanced and sustainable relationship with people through email marketing. Cameron wants her email list to feel like an exclusive club, so she will send fresh content to subscribers first, rather than repurposing content from other marketing platforms.

Where you can start adding value to your email list: 

  • Regular weekly email newsletters
  • Segmented top-up emails with audience-specific content
  • Monthly live stream for subscribers only
  • Exclusives or surprises for people in the private community 

“If we rethink the way we look at what it means to create a premium experience, there’s so many different ideas that don’t take much time and effort. It’s so worth it when growing a community of people who are invested in what it is you’re doing and what you stand for.” – Cameron

Marketing: Make it fun! 

Katie and Cameron talk about how impossible it is to turn the algorithm to your advantage – especially in an industry where talking about what your business is (sex education) is likely to get your account closed down. 

The conclusion is to take on activities that make you happy, that is fun and will connect people to your activities because of that, rather than trying to be clever to beat the algorithm. Cameron believes in getting excited and getting creative is more important than falling into a rhythm and creating content as a process. 

“How can you make it fun, so you want to show up? We feel like we have to post four times a week and engage in a certain way; it becomes stale and robotic. Our audiences are very smart. People are very smart and can pick up on that.” – Cameron

Next marketing steps for Cameron and Successful Sex Ed

Email marketing: The main focus for Successful Sex Ed this week is revamping her email marketing strategy, so most of the activity this week centres around that.

Freebies: Cameron plans to launch new freebies and will add these into her marketing activities.

Welcome sequence refresh: It’s been a while since the welcome sequence was updated, so Cameron will work on this and will look at a few freebies that add value and creates a high-quality experience

Mini-Course launch: Cameron will launch a mini-course called ‘Becoming a Sexuality Professional’ for aspiring sex education professionals. It contains six different modules around networking and figuring out your niche and tech and digital marketing advice for running a business in this space.

What’s on Cameron’s bookshelf?

Every fortnight, we ask guests to share their favourite business and self-development books. Here are Cameron’s current top picks:

I am my brand* by Kubi Springer
This is great for breaking down branding from a top-down perspective. This looks at the brand from a practical standpoint.

Juliet takes a breath* by Gabby Rivera
This is a book of fiction, written in the first person and gives you insight into the character as she works out who she is and what she’s all about.

Keep in touch with Cameron and Successful Sex Ed

Cameron Glover website
Cameron Glover on Instagram


* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to 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!

5 ways to do market research and better understand your customer

5 ways to do market research and better understand your customer

How well do you know your customers? Understanding your ideal clients and customers is the foundation of all great marketing, so it’s important to do some work in this area. Ready to learn more?

In this week’s episode of The Whin Big Podcast, we cover everything you need to get to know your customers – and potential customers – better. Katie covers everything from what questions to ask yourself, how to create your ideal customer avatar, what research to carry out, and so much more.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Knowing who your customers are

In The Whin Big Podcasts, Katie often talks about the importance of knowing as much about your customer as possible. Still, the topic is usually part of a larger conversation about marketing strategy and planning and can get lost in the bigger picture.

This week’s episode is an excellent opportunity to get stuck in and understand it in a significant way. Some business owners find this task easy. For others, it’s a tricky concept to get right.

“If you’re listening out there and you have no idea of your niche, or you’ve got too many different customer groups to pick just one, I know how you feel – and this podcast is for you.”

What is an ideal customer persona or avatar?

The idea is that we create a characterisation (or imaginary person) who represents your customer. Some people take a real customer they currently work with and use much of their persona as a base to get started. Others fill out a template from scratch, which is pretty standard when you work through a traditional business start-up process.

However you go about it, the aim is to develop a vivid picture of who you’re trying to market and sell to.

What is the best Customer Persona Template?

Generic, cookie-cutter templates designed to help any (and every) business with customer profiling often cause more problems than they solve. Business owners can spend unnecessary time and energy working out an aspect of their customer base that isn’t relevant (such as age or income). 

But if that’s all you’ve got to work with, or you want to start from scratch, here’s how to get results in a way that suits your business, and most importantly – your goals.

  • Start with the result in mind. This is where you decide on the marketing activity for your business goals. (e.g., create an audience for a FB advert, you’re trying to add more value to your newsletter, making Reels that reach more people on Instagram, or designing a website that will appeal to your customer). 
  • Track the information you need to know to get to the result. These examples – and every other marketing decision – require certain pieces of information to make them work. Once you’ve worked out what information you need to track, you’ll be able to build your ideal customer template. 

We listed four examples of an end result marketing decision, so let’s look at them in more detail so you can get a clearer idea of what info you need to track. 

Marketing Activity 1: Facebook Adverts

Setting up an advert on Facebook means creating an audience to target.  Choosing the right audience takes you through both generic and specific characteristics such as: 

  • Demographics like: Location (from a 1-mile radius to global options), Gender, Age
  • Interests and characteristics like; Parents, Business owners, Getting married, Authors they like, Accounts they follow

You need to know what’s relevant to your business, so it’s essential to consider all the details. This means the persona questions should include all of the points that make sense. 

Marketing Activity 2: Improving your newsletter

How do you know what your subscribers do and don’t want to read about? To meet your subscribers’ needs, you’ll want to compile a strong list of topics that will help them with their problems. Think about: 

  • What your customers struggle with
  • What questions do they ask you (or Google)? 
  • What words or phrases do they use in Amazon book reviews? 
  • What reviews do they leave on TripAdvisor, Amazon, or even your platforms?
  • What articles do they share on social media or send to their friends or colleagues?

These topics give you clues about what they need but can’t find. Or what they’ve read but don’t understand – and this will help you come up with ideas for great newsletters. 

Marketing Activity 3: Making Reels that reach more people

To get this right, you need to explore what’s already working on Reels. Think about things like: 

  • What’s attention-grabbing?
  • What’s trending?
  • What’s easy to digest and share?
  • What hashtags do people follow? 
  • What makes people laugh? 

Marketing example 4: Designing a website that appeals to your customers 

For this, you have to get specific rather than generic. You’ll want to focus on things like: 

  • What device they use most online (phones, tablets, desktop)
  • How do they respond to colours you use?
  • Do they have access needs like larger fonts or graphic elements? 
  • Do they want tutorial videos or printed instructions? 
  • Video testimonials or a link to Trust pilot? 
  • Contact form or a phone number? 

The better you know your customers, the easier it will be to adapt your choices to appeal to them. 

5 ways to research your ideal customer

Now you’ve got a mini customer persona template; you need to do some research so you can start filling it in. Here are five different research activities to work through, but you’ll likely need a combination of two or three to complete the picture.

As with every episode of The Whin Big Podcast, the episode goes into more detail than the show notes, so don’t forget to listen to the episode to get clear on the instructions.

  • Desk Research Part 1: Google it.  You’ll find white papers, reports, research articles, peer-reviewed data. This is where you can start finding out about trends, accessibility, colour theory, or any number of topics to help you with the data you need.
  • Desk Research Part 2: Snooping.  This is where we look for the online places where our ideal customers hang out. Think of sites your customers will communicate in the public space: competitor reviews, comments on news articles, or Facebook posts. Instagram is a fantastic resource for research. Check out who your competitors follow on Instagram and who’s following them. From there, you can read some post discussions to get a feel for what’s important to people.
  • Interview potential customers.  This will give you detailed, specific answers, and you can ask follow-up questions. If you’re about to launch an expensive or time-consuming project – like redoing your website or launching a new product. Ask concrete questions as well as specific or generic themes.
  • Customer survey.  These work best when you have a large, engaged audience. They’re good for simple questions. Katie uses them to get clearer on ideas and themes that come out of her customer interviews.  They’re also useful for looking at demographic trends and finding which marketing activities are working best for you, and so much more. Just don’t expect your participants to do all the work for you. If you’re thinking of running a survey, Google forms and Survey Monkey work well and for a really quick snapshot, try using the poll stickers, sliders, and question boxes in Instagram Stories.
  • Try it and see.  If you want to know what type of content your audience values or likes, create a few versions. Write more than one newsletter, make a couple of different Reels. You can experiment within a new website design too – which call to action buttons get the most clicks? What colour of call to action button works best? These all make great experiments, and it’s hard to find out the answer to these questions in advance.

The truth about customer profile research

No one research type will get you all the answers to all of your questions, and some might be almost impossible to find.

How to turn your customer persona into a successful marketing strategy

If you want to grow your business by making strong connections with your customers, understanding everything you can about who they are, what they want, and how you help will give you a solid foundation to build a marketing strategy. 

But it’s only the start of it, so where do you go from here?

If you’re someone who wants to improve your Instagram marketing strategy, but don’t have the time, or desire, to DIY a strategy by yourself, then a logical next step is our Instagram Masterclass.

At just £97*, it covers the four vital elements of Instagram strategy. 

  • Growth 
  • Engagement
  • Sales
  • Planning

Everything you need is in one place, with practical training videos and a helpful workbook.

Coming Soon: We’re adding an update to the course very soon, with new content on Instagram Reels. When it lands, the price of the Masterclass will go up. But the great news is, if you buy the Masterclass now, you’ll get FREE access to the new content when it drops.

You can’t say fairer than that!

Resources from episode 68 of The Whin Big Podcast 

[Podcast] How to use Instagram Stories

Google Forms

Survey Monkey

The Life-Changing Magic of Sorting Out your Marketing

Why does it feel so hard to sell your products and services online? Are you fed up with learning all the little things so you can start making sales? Why can’t it feel easy, or enjoyable? If you’re getting fed up with the complexities of online marketing, then...

4 marketing mistakes I wish I’d sorted sooner

Most business owners make mistakes when they first start their business. Many of us start without much training or experience in the nuances of business, marketing, finance and other key ideas. When I first became self employed in 2016 (two full years before founding The Whin), I mostly bumbled along...

“Wealth is so much more than money,” with Heena Thaker

“Wealth is so much more than money,” with Heena Thaker

Ever get the feeling you’re getting in the way of your business financial success?

This week’s guest – Heena Thaker from Intentional Wealth Creation – shares tips on how to get out of your way so you can move toward wealth with ease and grace. She shares the necessary steps to take to wealth and tips on living more abundantly.

Katie and Heena talk about their favourite business books, the power behind recognising your zone of genius, and how great it feels to outsource and seek advice from the right experts.

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.

Intentional Wealth Creation – Heena’s business journey

After working for decades as an optician business owner, Heena sold her practices to move into coaching and mentoring business owners on their way to wealth and financial success in their businesses.

Heena coaches 1:1 mentoring and coaching and pre-Covid, hosted in-person masterclasses to help clients deal with mindset and skillset around financial wealth for their business – with the end goal being financial wealth and success. Heena’s dual skill set of coaching and being a business owner gives her a well-grounded knowledge of what kind of support clients need.

Your Personal Wealth Code

Heena believes that our way to wealth is as unique as our DNA is. Skillset and mindset come together to create your personal wealth code. When you work out what that code is unique to you, then you can truly fly. This is the content of her programme – The Personal Wealth Code Masterclass.

“Business owners often carry out their due diligence on practical elements of setting up in business for success, but they often don’t do due diligence on preparing their mindset for achieving financial success.” – Heena

What money stories mean for your business

Heena works to unpick the negative or restrictive stories that hold business owners back from the success they’re capable of. Blocked mindsets can lead to restrictive behaviour patterns around areas such as income ceilings and lack of clarity around planning, strategy, and decision making.

Most of us have read a couple of money story personal development books or blogs to help us with our money mindset. Heena points out that the reality of money stories and blocks goes deeper than the traditional 7 or 8 featured in most books.

Katie shared some of her own money block stories from her past with Heena, who explains how money stories are often limiting or restrictive, but you can change your money story to be expansive and limitless.

How investments can grow your business growth – and stall it

In Katie’s business journey, she knows that paying for products and outsourcing services is a way for her to level up in business. It allows her more time to focus on business development. Does Heena agree with this as a strategy?

“Paying and investing in stuff is a way to level up, but you can be savvy about what you invest in.” – Heena

According to Heena, business owners run into financial issues by paying for stuff they can’t afford, and they don’t have a repayment plan.

In the world of accounting, we’re trained to know that:

Income (minus) Expenses = Profit

Heena likes to flip this traditional concept to look like this:

Income (minus) Owner’s Pay = Expenses

This way, you’ll only spend money you know you have planned for, and it’s in the budget. By doing it this way, you’ll start to grow.

The eight aspects of wealth

For Heena, the best way for business owners to reach financial and wealth success is to set the intention to do so. It’s precisely why she named her business Intentional Wealth Creation.

She explains it further by looking into the meaning of the word ‘wealth,’ which comes from the Middle English word ‘weal,’ which means ‘wellbeing.’ The addition of the ‘th’ makes it the condition of wellbeing.

“Wealth is so much more than money. True wealth is everything that makes us feel well. It’s part of our wellbeing – relationships, work, our mission or purpose.” – Heena

Heena points out that to be truly wealthy, we need to set an intention to become wealthy in 8 areas: If one or more of the following aspects have slipped for you, then you might want to spend time digging deeper into one or more of the following areas:

  • Relationships
  • Career
  • Fame
  • Connection to Source
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Health and nourishment
  • Money

Living month to month, paycheck to paycheck

If monthly outgoings and cash flow are an issue for you, try this simple yet effective exercise.

  • Go through the last three months of your bank statements
  • Divide your spending into three columns – wants, needs and luxuries
  • Assess where your spending goes, and make different choices so you can siphon off some money and reallocate it into a savings or cushion pot

How Heena markets Intentional Wealth Creation

For Heena, this is an area for improvement.

Heena’s main source of clients has been word of mouth, but she’s now setting her digital marketing intentions to continue to grow. 


Heena has an active account on Instagram. She’s outsourced social media management to a perfectly named expert called ‘Rich.’ Heena is a huge fan of outsourcing for expertise when you want to focus on other areas of business development. 

Newsletter Marketing 

While Heena’s been pulling together her online courses and developing her digital marketing, she’s grown an email list through an online money quiz. The quiz helps you identify what ‘type’ of money mindset and money skillset personality you are. 

The next stage is to begin her email marketing plan – sending out short, bite-sized videos to share insight on business growth, business development, and strategy. 

Heena’s limiting beliefs around online visibility

When pivoting her work from business owner to mentor, Heena struggled with the idea of getting visible online. Her own limiting beliefs – carried through from her childhood experiences – stopped her from standing up in the online space and positioning herself as a leader.

“With marketing, when you know what you’re talking about, when it’s your thing, what you were meant to do – all the superficial stuff falls by the wayside. You just want to talk; you want to let people know. There’s no BS.” – Heena

Your eight steps to wealth

If finding the right path to wealth is at the forefront of your mind, have a look at the eight steps to get you on your way. You’ll find the guide in the resources section of the show notes, but here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Set the intention to be wealthy
  2. Know your money in, money out story
  3. Look at your habits and change the ones that don’t help you.
  4. Create a realistic budget
  5. Educate yourself on wealth
  6. Let go of beliefs that don’t serve you anymore.
  7. Have a clear plan to get rid of debt
  8. Separate your assets from your liabilities

What’s on Heena’s bookshelf?

Every fortnight, we ask guests to share their favourite business and self-development books. Here are Heena’s favourites:

The Richest Man in Babylon* by George S Clason

Set in ancient times, it’s a moralistic tale around asking the right person, the right expert, for advice.

Who, Not How: The formula to achieving bigger goals through accelerated teamwork* by Dan Sullivan

This is a book about collaboration, the fact that we all have our zone of genius, and we should embrace that fact.

Rocket Fuel* by Gino Wickman & Mark C. Winters

Every business needs a visionary to get it off the ground; it’s liberating to appreciate that you need a ‘who’ in your business, not a ‘how can I do all of this myself?’


Intentional Wealth Creation Website

Intentional Wealth Creation Instagram

Heena Thaker on LinkedIn

The money quiz

Rich Steel’s website: Stargazy Solutions

Steps to Wealth PDF (immediate download, 184kb)

* Links marked with a star are affliate links to 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!

The Instagram Algorithm – What is it, and can I ‘beat’ it?

The Instagram Algorithm – What is it, and can I ‘beat’ it?

Do you have any idea what really goes on with the Instagram algorithm? Nope? Didn’t think so! All of that is about to change in episode 66 of the Whin Big Podcast. This week, Katie shares the plain English explanation of all things Instagram algorithm and 3 key points to focus on and get your content in front of more people of the right people.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Everyone says ‘Let’s beat the Instagram algorithm!’

Have you ever been invited into an Instagram follow loop? The posts usually go something like this:

“Hi, let’s beat the algorithm and get more followers. Join the follow loop for more followers and instant success”.

Whenever Katie sees one of these posts, her heart sinks.

“The thing is…that’s not how the Instagram algorithm actually works. So let’s find out how it does work.” – Katie

Katie’s seen one too many of these posts recently. As these misguided messages grow in popularity, it’s becoming clear that the Instagram algorithm is something we understand less as time goes on. Until now, that is.

Confusion around what the algorithm is – and is not – pushes us into a place where we have the wrong marketing priorities and output.

What does the Instagram algorithm do?

It’s a complex computer programme that decides what type of content each of us sees on Instagram
It tracks millions of pieces of information to help it understand more about posts, user preferences and user behaviours.
It’s designed solely to help Instagram make more money – for users to stay on the app longer, and see more ads
This is why you waste time on the app – it changes what you see to keep you engaged. The more interesting the content, the more likely you’ll stay on the app.

Katie shares working examples of her own experiences the main podcast episode, so don’t forget to tune in to this week’s Whin Big Podcast.

Look at your existing skills, and what you do right now. Then look at businesses that do something similar to you and ask ‘what are they doing differently? What can I do to move into that space?” – Sarah

Myths about the Instagram algorithm

What interactions are most important on Instagram?

A common misconception of the algorithm is that it’s based on a points system. The idea is that it tallies up the likes, comments, shares and saves on each of your posts, decides which of your posts is ‘best’ and shows that content to most people.

That’s not the case. What the algorithm cares about is:

What is the best thing to show to each individual user at any given moment?”

The algorithm is constantly checking in on the behaviours and activities of users and adapting tools to keep people on the platform for longer. Even tools that seem helpful to us as individuals – like saves and shares – were developed to keep people engaged, longer. 

Should I get Saves instead of Likes on Instagram?

Asking someone to save your post does not have the same effect as that same person choosing to save your post because they find it useful. We might be happy with our ‘saves’ insights but Instagram has way more data on that user’s behaviour and will know if it’s an engaged, useful save, or a ‘help someone out without being interested’ save. 

“Instagram doesn’t want you to tell people to save it for YOUR benefit, it wants them to care enough about the post to save it for their OWN benefit.” – Katie

3 ways to ‘beat’ the Instagram algorithm

1. Focus on talking to your IDEAL customer instead of to ‘everyone’

It’s not about getting a little bit of engagement from as many people as possible. You want to be focussed on attracting on the people who LOVE your stuff. As much as they love their family posts. You want people to hope you’ve posted and be pleased you have.

You’ll never be that person for everyone, but you want to be that person for your ideal customer.

“It’s far better to have 500 followers who think everything you post is the best thing on Instagram that day, rather than 5000 followers who barely notice you as they scroll past.” – Katie

2. Encourage interactions where they help your customer

So your call to action on posts isn’t about asking for help or algorithm points, but more about encouraging your readers to behave in a way that the algorithm takes notice of. So your call to action has to be about genuine engagement.

Don’t say: help me out by saving this post

Do say: ‘if you found this useful, save this for future reference’ or ‘share this with a business pal that needs to hear this today.

3. Don’t waste any energy trying to ‘beat’ or ‘trick’ the algorithm

It’s too sophisticated, smart, secret and focussed on making money for Instagram. Instead of trying to beat the algorithm, why not work with the algorithm. How can you create content that is so engaging people literally want to open your Instagram app to see if you’ve posted anything? 

That is your goal here. 

“It’s much easier to think about the algorithm as tally marks and points, but that’s not how the algorithm works. Get your audience to think, laugh and feel something to work with the system, not against it.” – Katie

Instagram support and training for small business owners

The Whin offers three different options for upskilling your Instagram know-how and strategy.

Instagram MOT checklist and training video

It takes you through the 20 key elements to get your Instagram moving in the right direction, without relying on quick fixes and outdated (or inaccurate) ideas. Watch the video.

Hashtag research spreadsheet

Hashtags are the best way to work with the algorithm to get your content in front of more of the right people. Use our free template to research and itemise the best hashtags for your business. Download the spreadsheet.

Instagram Masterclass Training

This is the best way to figure out a strategy to grow your audience, get better engagement and keep it all organised. Katie’s working on new content to include Reels, Guides and so much more, but while we work away on that, the course is still just £97. The updates will come to you as part of your £97 payment. If you wait till the updates are ready, the price will go up to £147. It’s a no brainer! Learn more about the training.

The Instagram Rule Book

Do you ever feel like everyone’s playing the Instagram game, but nobody’s explained the rules to you? This is episode 70 of The Whin Big Podcast, where Katie runs through the four aspects of Instagram marketing. Consider this your very own Instagram rule book!

We look at how to apply...

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,...