When we hear business success stories, it’s easy to feel like everyone else’s path was so simple and straightforward (and nothing but up, right?!) Well… that’s rarely true, and in today’s interview with Medina King, I love how open and honest she is about her setbacks and struggles to grow her Interior Design business.
Medina first grew her business as a side hustle — taking consultation calls in the bathroom while working her day job, and working late into the night too!
Then she had a baby, and she felt so discouraged at her lack of clients that she considered working for someone else instead.
Thankfully, she received several important signs that she should keep going, and she did!
You’ll love hearing Medina’s story, and her advice on using content marketing to build your business. EVERYONE should be creating blog content to help build their business — even if you don’t consider yourself a blogger.
Take it from Medina — creating helpful, interesting blog content has brought her a steady stream of interior design clients.
Press play on the podcast player below to hear Medina’s story.
Mompreneur of the Week:
Hey friends, welcome back! On today's episode, I'm chatting with Medina King, founder of MK Kids Interiors. She's an interior designer in the UK, but she has a very focused niche. She works on little kid spaces and she will often work with kids who have special needs, like a sensory processing disorder or autism.
Medina designs the most incredible spaces and her clients love the results.
Medina's path to success wasn't straight up. She had a lot of struggles in her business early on, but I love the way she kept going and how she uses platforms like Pinterest to drive extra traffic and clients to her business.
She has so many great content marketing ideas for you, you're going to love it!
Get your FREE Brilliant Marketing Plan
With that in mind, if you'd like a free, brilliant marketing plan for your business, I have one for you! Head to brilliantbusinessmoms.com/marketingplan to get your hands on my 20-page guide that will show you the five key things you have to do to pull off a brilliant marketing plan.
Medina King Has Been Obsessed with Interior Design Since She Was 13
Medina King is a children's interior designer in the UK (she's been a listener of this podcast for several years!). Since age 13 she has had a passion for art and design, and she knew she wanted to work in the field of art.
During lunchtime one day in high school, Medina went to the library and decided to pick a career out of one of the career books. Because she liked art, she checked out fashion designer first. In that description it said, “Must have an eye for detail.” Because Medina wears glasses, she thought, “Oh no, I don't have good vision! I can't apply to be a fashion designer. What's the next best option?”
Then she came across interior design and decided to pursue classes that would lead her into that industry. Medina graduated with a bachelor's degree in interior design in 2009 and she's been doing interior design ever since (as well as side hustles)!
Medina went back to Jamaica (she grew up there with her grandma, who was foundational in her early years) after graduation to see what job opportunities were available there. She tried to apply for the field of interior design, which she says was really challenging, because people kept telling her she needed experience. “How am I going to get experience if nobody wants to give me experience?” she asks.
Chasing Her Dream While Working Full-Time
Medina eventually landed two work placements, both at interior design companies. In her job at a high-end furniture shop, she was so bored that she started writing her elevator pitch on the shop floor and practicing with all her colleagues! She called potential clients on the shop floor, ran off to the toilet to answer and return calls, and told everyone about what she wanted to do.
She eventually wrote an interior design proposal for the store and it got the attention of the store manager as well as the managerial director of the company! Medina had a meeting with them and they decided to give her proposal a trial run.
In the meantime, Medina was just trying to get clients interested in her interior design service (it wasn't official, but she says it certainly was in her head!). One of her colleagues actually referred a client to her who was interested in buying a couch but needed an interior designer to help her.
The manager of Medina's department allowed her to do a consultation with that client, and then she actually did the work. She sketched the drawings by hand on her own time (outside of work hours!) and then did the presentation.
The client absolutely loved it, and because she was an older lady, she had an appreciation for Medina's hand drawings. Through that, the client bought the sofa and the shelving unit that Medina proposed.
A few months later, after Medina left the company, the woman contacted her again to consult on another piece of furniture! Through those interactions, she became one of Medina's first interior design clients.
Medina left the furniture company to focus more on her business during the day and then work night shifts at a probation hostel for high risk offenders. Even while she was working night shifts, there were quiet moments where she could blog, tweet, and do anything she could to grow her business. She wasn't a mom then, she says, so it was a lot easier for her to take a higher-risk job.
(Medina says not to worry, she stayed safe throughout her time at the probation hostel!)
Niching Down by Designing Kids’ Spaces
Medina wanted to find a niche in the interior design industry, so she attended a few business seminars. She was also toying with the idea of offering a creative consultation service, where she involved children in the design process and get them to do like a masterpiece that would go on their wall when the room design was finalized.
This idea helped Medina realize how much she needed to refine what she was doing. She turned up with paints and nothing for the children to cover themselves with. She also lacked a vision for the children and allowed them to do what they wanted, which sometimes works, but other times the kids would get stuck and the final product wouldn't come out quite right!
Medina says the idea of children's interiors came about because she loves color, and nobody was doing colorful spaces at the time. In England, people prefer the monochrome, muted, neutral look, and they shy away from color. So Medina thought that her style would suit children better than adults. She also felt that it's more fun to work with children than adults!
MK Kids Interiors Caters to the Individual Child’s Vision
Medina launched her website, MK Kids Interiors, at the end of 2013. It features designs for nurseries, bedrooms, and playrooms for children of all ages. If a child is older than 4, that's when Medina creates a masterpiece with the child that forms a focal point of their space.
Medina also gets kids involved by asking questions (if she has the opportunity to meet with them) about what they would like to have in their room. Sometimes parents speak to their children and then let Medina know what they want, because it makes sense for them to have something that they're actually proud of and to say, “Oh, I chose that!”
I love this! Why shouldn't kids have a say in their spaces? You can see some of Medina’s fun, creative designs throughout this post. Incredible, right?
Brilliant Business Moms (Like You!) Care Deeply About Their Customers
Recently I ran across Medina's Instagram story where she was sharing about a recent client she had and how excited the child was for their new space. She got really emotional talking about it, because she was just so thrilled at how excited the child and parent were about their new space, and I thought to myself, “This is what being a Brilliant Business Mom all about!”
For this particular client and her son, Medina designed a room that had a bed with a slide, a stepladder, and a blackboard on the side. (People in the UK don't usually have big rooms, so she tries to make or source things that have multiple uses.)
When the bed arrived and was set up, the client called Medina and said, “He loves the bed so much, Medina. He loves it so much. He loves his new room.” In the photos the client sent, Medina was able to see the child in every picture and how happy he was, and it made her cry!
“I was overwhelmed with happiness, overwhelmed with all these good feelings to know that…what I'm doing isn't in vain. There have been many times I wanted to just give up, throw in the towel and I didn't, and then it's come to a point where I see the reaction of children in the spaces that I design, and that's just amazing,” Medina says.
“This is what excites me and encourages me to keep going. The journey isn't always smooth getting there, but at the end the clients are usually smiling and happy and just really satisfied with what we've done.”
Using Instagram Live to Create Business Opportunities
A lot of people have reached out to Medina asking her how she’s grown her business and how to get into interior design. Since she doesn't have the time to respond to people individually, she decided to communicate with her followers via Instagram Live videos.
At first it was scary for her, because she's not used to talking to a camera, but people reached out to her after the video and were interested in learning more. She inspired some people to start their business and others to continue on with their endeavors. One woman reached out and offered to write a blog post about Medina's story.
“I find that when I share a part of me, that's when people really connect and reach out,” Medina says.
Using SEO to Find Clients in Your Niche
Medina has taken courses to help her optimize her SEO. She says that once she learns a concept, she applies it to her business right away, and that helped improve her SEO.
Medina thinks that because she’s in a more narrow niche of children's interior design, that helps with her Google ranking (she's on the first page of Google results for children's interior design!). She also uses the hashtag #childrensinteriors on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to connect with potential clients.
I love that Medina focuses on creating great content that helps people to find her. She has a narrow niche, so that helps a ton that she's known for something. That is one thing I think new business owners really struggle with: They're scared to narrow in because they think that's going to limit their customer base. But if you're known for something, then you can stand out and be found!
How Blogging as a Service-Based Business Owner Can Help You Attract More Customers
I think many business owners outside of the blogging space tend to discount how powerful blogging and content creation can be for growth. Blogging gives you the opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your field, and it can help people find you way more often!
Medina does an excellent job of not just using her website as a portfolio to showcase her work, but also as a place to share incredibly helpful content that her ideal customers are searching for. If she helps them with some aspect of children’s design and kids’ spaces, they’re way more likely to want to hire her to complete an entire room for them.
Here are some examples of posts that Medina has written that can help people to find her.
And then there's how to design a hammock floor, which is totally cool!
For every project Medina finishes, she publishes a blog post with pictures and shares where the idea came from and what she did to make it a reality. Her goal with her blog is to market content that brings her the right customers.
An SEO trick that Medina has learned is to not give your blog post a super boring title that no one would ever search for. For example, a recent project was on the Miller's playroom, but she wouldn't title her blog post “The Miller's Playroom.” That would be silly!
Instead, use something like “Six Top Tips on Creating the Perfect Workspace for Homeschooling and Tutoring.” That’s a great title with so many helpful keywords that people are searching for.
And then, of course, at the end of the post it says, “We will be happy to help you design your playroom” with contact information for MK Kids Interiors.
Medina says she wouldn't consider herself a good salesperson, but she's able to sell her product through her blog without feeling pushy about it. One of the most successful sales strategies she's found is sharing her story and sharing her customers' stories.
Medina hasn't blogged much recently, but it's OK, because blog posts from the past are still bringing her great Google traffic and new clients. She's achieved her goal of obtaining a steady stream of clients with her blog content.
Medina Invests in a Photographer to Help Her Business Stand Out on Pinterest
“Pinterest is an amazing tool. I mean, when I say amazing, it's just like you cannot have a blog without using Pinterest,” Medina says.
One pin of white dotted curtains caused so many people to contact Medina to ask where she got her fabric. She booked a project that grew out of an inquiry of her pin of a pom-pom rug. Her use of bright colors helps her pins stick out and attract traffic.
Medina says she doesn't spend a lot of time formatting pins and writing the perfect description. She just makes sure she uses the right keywords that are relevant to the pin.
She also uses images that are light and bright so they stand out in the Pinterest feed. “Definitely invest in photography so that you have the right images to pin,” she says.
Hiring a professional photographer is one way Medina advertises her business and brings in new clients.
Signs That You Should Keep Going in Your Business
Medina says that it took some time and struggle to get her business to the place where it is today, and she's thought about quitting a time or two. All along the way, though, she’s had encouragement and confirmation to keep moving forward.
Before MK Kids Interiors even kicked off, Medina found out she was pregnant. The doctor had put her on bedrest and she was really sick during the first trimester. She was really discouraged, and didn't think she would be able to take care of her business baby now that a real baby was on the way.
When she started to feel better, she reached out to a client and said she wanted to finish their nursery before she gave birth. The client responded straight away and got the ball rolling for the project, and Medina got it done!
Another time, Medina reluctantly went to an interview for an interior design job because her husband encouraged her to, not because she wanted to. She wanted to contribute to the family, and didn't feel like she could do that by pursuing her own company.
When she went to the interview, the guy looked at her portfolio and said, “You have a good niche. Why do you want to give this up to come and work for me? You need to go home and work on your business.” (I just love it when business owners a few steps ahead of us can see our brilliance and encourage us to keep going!)
Just before the job interview, Medina decided to fast and pray for 3 days about whether she should continue with the business and ask God what He wanted her to do.
The day after the interview, when Medina went to church, one of the elders told her she was doing a fantastic job with her business and that he really liked what she was putting on Facebook. That was confirmation for Medina that she should continue working on her business!
I love that. I love when it seems like God just puts the right people in our paths and little signals that say, “Hey, this is the direction that I'm wanting you to go in.” I'm so glad that Medina didn't give up!
Connect with Medina Online
Medina is so creative with the types of blog posts that she creates to draw in her ideal customer. I love that!
If you're not sure what kind of content you should be creating to draw in your ideal customer, well, that's actually something I cover inside my Brilliant Marketing Plan. It's yours free when you head to brilliantbusinessmoms.com/marketingplan.
And, of course, now it's your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!
– Beth Anne