MWH 187 : Turning A Food Blog Into Her Business with Vanya Insull of VJ Cooks

Turning A Food Blog Into Her Business

Entrepreneurship should be fun! Can you imagine what would happen if we all took ourselves less seriously? What content would you put out into the world that you actually have fun creating? Would this lead you to turning your “hobby” or your blog into your actual business?

That's what happened for today's podcast guest who put a video onto her Facebook Page just for fun… It was only when she uploaded another recipe video that went viral with 50K views in just three days, that Vanya Insull, of VJ Cooks, knew she could monetise her recipes through a food blog.

“I kind of did the food blogging backwards because I had my Facebook Page first, then I had so much demand for the recipes that I had to create a website to store them on.”

This insane demand could be your reality, too, if you just had a little fun, put something out there, and saw if it stuck!

I have the pleasure of mentoring Vanya within my private academy The Social Method Society. She is a recipe queen who is always keen to explore new ways to market her business online. Vanya is a Kiwi mum of two young boys, living in NZ. She is an amazing food blogger who loves to share family friendly recipes with her social media following.

During this episode, Vanya is sharing with us how she has been able to grow such a loyal and engaged following on her blog, Facebook and Instagram. Plus, Vanya is a content goddess who is repurposing her blog content to save time and work efficiently!

Key Takeaways:

>> [3:02] Vanya is a food blogger who comes from the glam world of magazine design. She used to be an Art Director on Cleo and Good Health plus Taste magazine, which is where her passion for food comes from. Vanya's business VJ Cooks started from her making a little video on her phone making a recipe with veggies from her garden with her young son helping.

>> [5:41] As one of the go to food and recipe bloggers in NZ with a fun and engaged community, Vanya put up a recipe for Mango Pavlova just before Christmas 2016 and it got 50K views in 3 days. She had another video go viral with over 2 million views.

>> [7:26] Vanya didn't make any money from her business within the first year even though her videos went viral. However, Vanya invested time in creating such great content for her community that it became so much easier to monetise her food blog.

>> [09:06] It's amazing that Vanya did not delay getting a brand. You should always start where you're at!

>> [10:29] Vanya can actually tell if a video is going to convert well based on the reaction it receives within the first hour of posting it. She then knows which recipes she should immediately post on her blog.

>> [10:58] What differences do Vanya find in her audience between Facebook and Instagram?

>> [12:06] When Vanya began marketing on Instagram, she had to change her way of thinking as she used the platform.


  • Vanya is posting frequently.
  • She's including HERSELF in her IG marketing strategy.
  • On her Instagram account, Vanya is dedicated to keeping it authentic – especially in her IG Stories.

>> [14:30] Vanya knows exactly what core content converts – recipes! She's excited to share how she repurposes her content to re-use later.


  • Sometimes Vanya cooks a recipe on her IG Stories.
  • Then she will type up the recipe and share it as a post on her IG Feed with a call-to-action for her followers to Save it.
  • Next, Vanya will put the recipe on her website and then share it again.
  • Vanya also saves her whole IG Stories roll from the entire day, which she then trims to use to create evergreen IGTV content.
  • She shares each recipe as a post on Facebook with the image link.
  • During the recipe process, Vanya takes a lot of photos of the food during cooking and of the finished dish so that she can keep sharing it among all of her social channels.

>> [18:06] At this point in the conversation, I break down what some of the terms Vanya was using regarding Instagram. I also share a hot tip that you can create an IGTV cover image within your IG Stories! If you need more structure for your IG Stories. Grab my freebie HERE.

>> [21:09] If the recipe Vanya shares is well-received, she'll remake the recipe in a more professional manner for YouTube.

>> [22:01] Whenever you're starting out with anything new in your business, everything feels so hard and heavy in the beginning. The first time Vanya recorded herself on IG Stories, her hands were shaking – but now she has content everywhere!

>> [24:01] Vanya listened to MWH 169 : How She Built Her Brand With YouTube with Revie Jane and took so many notes that she's now implementing in her YouTube strategy.

>> [24:42] Vanya is seeing so much growth on Facebook, so I asked her to share her best tips to help Mums With Hustle Podcast listeners grow their own pages.


  • Make sure your name and profile clear as to what you are about.
  • Ensure your cover photo also represents what your page is about and that it looks good on both desktop and phone.
  • Share other peoples posts/videos as well as your own.
  • Vanya schedules 4 posts a day in batches.

>> [27:41] On Facebook, you are able to invite people to “Like” your page. Anyone who gives a reaction to your post, you can click on that to view who has engaged with your content. When you click on that, you can see who has liked your page and who hasn't. You'll be able to click the “Invite” button, so it encourages them to come back and like your page.

>> [29:25] I seriously love that Vanya is repurposing her content because you don't need to always be creating something new for your audience. If you only talk about something once, you're doing a disservice to your audience. Remember that you are not spamming your audience when you repurpose content!

>> [32:40] Vanya is definitely team Instagram at the moment because it's such a traffic driver to your website. She loves the engaged community on IG so much more than Facebook.

>> [33:34] Consistency with Facebook is one of the best things you could do because your content will be seen.

>> [33:34] There's no such thing as an overnight success. Vanya had to overcome several mindset blocks in order to get to where she is now in her business:

  • Be authentic, stay in your own lane.
  • Stop saying your business is a hobby.
  • The only thing unique about your blog is you!
  • Set goals and manifest them.
  • Have confidence in yourself to learn all the things.

>> [45:02] If you loved this episode, make sure you subscribe to the Mums With Hustle Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. If you're wondering what the Social Method Society is, it's my online marketing academy for female entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses using Instagram. Jump on our waitlist HERE. If you learned something new from this episode, I would love to hear from you. Remember when you tag me (@mumswithhustle) in your IG Stories, I get a DM. I love reposting as many of the Stories I get tagged in!


Vanya is hoping to have more viral videos, a ton of more cooking on IG, and she is looking to enter into brand partnerships with companies that align with VJ Cooks. She is also keen to set up an e-commerce option on her website with downloadable meal planners, shopping lists, etc.

Website: www.vjcooks.com
Instagram: @Vj_cooks
Facebook: @vjcooks


Web: www.mumswithhustle.com
Facebook: @Mumswithhustle
Instagram: @mumswithhustle
Twitter: @MumsWithHustle
Biz Club: MWH Biz Club


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About Tracy

As the founder and CEO of Mums With Hustle, I have the best day job in the world: teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their beautiful businesses online. When I started the business, that was everything I wanted, but since then, it has grown into something much bigger. Now, I get my joy from helping women find their zones of genius within a community that truly celebrates their success. I truly believe that when women choose to band together, we can do anything - and if you feel the same, there’s a place in the MWH community for you.

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