Zoé is the third member of the TFC Crew. She has her own business focused on creating amazing dinner party experiences. She does kitchen demonstrations, designs dinner parties, cooks amazing-looking (and delicious) food, and helps you to host relaxing dinner parties in your own home. Her vision is to make hosting a dinner party a memorable experience for you, and to help you create special memories with your friends and loved ones.
I love her online presence, her gorgeous images, her taste for bright colours and her bubbly personality. She brings joy to her work and it’s immediately evident when you peruse her social media profiles.
Q: Briefly tell us about your business journey. (What helped you decide to start your own business? What did you do before working for yourself?)
A: Firstly, what helped me start my own business: I am the wife of a craft beer brewmaster and we moved to New York from the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico for his job pursuits. Because of this change of address, I was taking care of our daughter at home full-time, we barely knew anyone and we didn’t have a babysitter. So, to keep my career going, I decided to take it to a new stage and learn the online world to offer my services as a Personal Chef with Dinner Parties, Cooking Classes & Demo-kitchen Shows to share with others my passion for cooking, hosting and networking.
What I did before working for myself: Before chefzoerodz.com, I was working as an executive chef overseeing the kitchen of the Arecibo, P.R. Observatory cooking for all the scientists and all the Observatory staff. This experience was a wonderful opportunity. I was able to be around and cook for so many cultures at the same time, which is one of my favorite things to explore.
Q: What was the process you followed when starting to set up your brand?
A: Since I was new to the whole online businesses thing, the extensive research was the base of it all. I spent many hours reading and watched loads of videos. As I deepen my feet into the systems and how-to’s of online businesses, I fall in love with solving people’s problems in my niche around the web, and I felt more excited about the idea of moving forward with this new business adventure.
I spent time taking courses and picked up more knowledge about online businesses, graphic design, social media management, content creation, mindset, product creation, marketing, how to build my own website and business in general.
I wanted to know as much as I could know to run it all by myself.
I also found so much help in forums and private groups, but, the most value has come from a business mentor, which I found last year, and it’s amazing in all the ways.
Q: How do you manage your branding and make sure everything you do (from business cards, to packaging, to branding collateral) keeps in line with your brand?
A: I invested time into studying myself, who I am, what makes my soul smile, defining what I wanted to be, how I want my clients to feel, and what I wanted to project to others.
Doing this exercise was very important and the key to not feeling lost. This helped me to get clear on my voice. I think this is how I became consistent and always have the same vibe in my online presence.
I love to keep track of all my graphics and brand on the Canva platform and I also use Trello to make sure everything I do is consistent and on-brand.
Q: How do you manage your social media commitments?
A: I set aside 3 blocks of time during the day to be available for that. Usually, it’s one in the morning, one in the middle of the day and the last one before closing off my workday.
As for my social commitments, I schedule them in with Calendly and Google Calendar. I add deadlines to assignments in Trello prior to calls with clients. Making lists is very important for me to have a guide (I don’t live without lists) and to keep track easily without spinning in circles and not knowing what to do. I make sure also that my social commitments do not conflict with my family time to create a good balance.
Q: How do you motivate yourself to keep going when your inner critic’s voice gets a bit too loud?
A: When my mind gets too loud or I need to get a second opinion, I turn to online communities of other women in business. The Fempreneur Collective (a.k.a TFC) is one of my favorites. The host, Jakolien Sok, is my lovely mentor who keeps me going with her badass support and kind words. I also love to mingle with other local business owners to network and get support.
Q: What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned since you started your business?
A: Connections and networking are everything. Babysitting my daughter full-time before she began school made me rely just on online connections and social media engagement. I wasn’t able to go to places, attend conferences or anything business-related for connecting in person. I learned that you can make strong connections by networking online through social media. I put lots of effort into growing my network and it has paid off already.
Be visible as often as possible in a consistent way to help your audience to know like and trust you. If you have a good presence online, you can conquer anything. This also made me work more on the emotional part of my business and to pay so much attention to what my image is online, even on my personal profiles.
I love chatting to Zoe online. She has such a warm presence and I wish I could fly her to South Africa to create a dinner party experience for my family.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.