My Food Job Rocks!
Ep. 241 – The Plant-based Influencer Dynamic Duo with Toni Okamoto and Michelle Cehn, authors of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook

Ep. 241 – The Plant-based Influencer Dynamic Duo with Toni Okamoto and Michelle Cehn, authors of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook

Today, I interview Toni Okamoto, founder of Plant-based on a Budget and Michele Cehn, founder of World of Vegan to talk about their new book and their journey in building their business.

Combined, they have over 1.5 million Instagram followers and numbers in the six figures on various platforms such as youtube, email lists, and everything else.

Toni and Michelle built their following from scratch and turned what they did from hobby to business. In this episode, you will learn the journey that Toni and Michelle took to get there as long as some really insightful tips on running an influencer company.

But most importantly, they’re a dynamic duo and an amazing case study of how collaboration amplifies everyone.

The funny story is that I’ve met them personally and have even playtested their recipe. Why Funny you should ask. Toni’s husband is Paul Shapiro, author of Clean Meat, and a popular interview in episode 102.

When I moved to Sacramento to start Better Meat Co, Toni was one of the first people I met in Sacramento and Michelle also lives there. Since they loved to cook, they would do a lot of fun parties and cook delicious food. One of my favorites is a chocolate pie made of silken tofu.

Toni and Michelle are probably the most down to Earth people I’ve ever met.  They are super authentic, super passionate in what they do, and they are just such nice, accommodating people who are just full of sunshine.

You can find their new, collaborative cookbook The Friendly Vegan Cookbook wherever you can find books, and we have a link to it in our shownotes!

About Toni

Toni Okamoto is the founder of Plant-Based on a Budget, the popular website and meal plan that shows you how to save dough by eating veggies. She’s also author of the Plant-Based on a Budget Cookbook, co-author of The Friendly Vegan Cookbook, and the co-host of The Plant-Powered People Podcast. Okamoto’s work has been profiled by NBC News, Parade Magazine, and she’s a regular presence on local and national morning shows across the country, where she teaches viewers how to break their meat habit without breaking their budget. She was also featured in the popular documentary What the Health. When she’s not cooking up a plant-based storm, she’s spending time with her husband and their rescued dog in Sacramento, CA.

About Michelle

Michelle Cehn is the founder of the popular food and lifestyle website World of Vegan and a YouTube personality who has reached millions through her creative and relatable videos. She is also co-host of the Plant-Powered People Podcast and co-creator of the 12-Day Dairy Detox, Plant Based on a Budget Meal Plans, and 7 Days documentary. Michelle has been on a lifelong mission to make kind and healthy living enticing, easy, and fun, ever since the age of eight when she first became a vegetarian. Also a passionate photographer and filmmaker, you can find her dishing out mouth-watering food photos and inspiration daily on Instagram, hanging with her pup Chance, and stepping into parenthood with her hubby Dan.

Show Notes

During the pandemic
Michelle now has a new baby
Toni now has a new dog. Pitbull handle - @eddiethepittie
Toni Okamoto – I’m an author
Michelle – I own the website World of Vegan
Toni’s Platform
Toni’s Instagram: 400,000 followers
E-newsletter: 60,000 followers
Website Plant-based on a budget: 15,000 users/day
Michelle’s Platform
Michelle’s Instagram: @vegan: 1.1 million people
Also do youtube videos
Toni’s audience is more budget friendly
Michelle’s audience is more focused on veganism
Over time, our audience blends
We chose the word The Friendly Vegan to promote the love of food
On our book, we look for cheaper ways and more available options for the world
What’s the most underrated plant-based protein?: Lentils
Lentil Shepard’s pie
Tuna Salad made of Chickpeas
How does the process work?: We started veganiging our family recipes and went from there
How did you find out about Veganism?
Toni Okamoto’s story: stopped eating meat at 16, then became full vegan in college and then with 11 years of experience, did animal advocacy. Plant-based on a budget is actually a side project
What the Health exposure exploded Toni’s career
Michelle Cehn’s story: I worked on world of vegan for a while and when I lost my job, I had a choice and ended up working my butt off and ended up getting much more money than I thought I could get
What were your metrics on going forward with your blogging projects?: I always had low expectations in terms of how much I need to survive. I would always review business goals
Toni Okamoto’s Story: I was always poor and to the point, I was always surviving. I had Paul Schwartz (friend of ours) help me push myself to make bigger goals. I found a $70k salary was an extremely ambitious goal
What was your first Sponsorship story?
Toni Okamoto: I did a sponsored post for a baby stroller and got $200 dollars. I had no kids and was transparent that I was doing this to keep the lights on
Michelle Cehn: I went to Natural Products Expo West and saw people paying social media influencers
I would give companies my media kit and charged $25 dollars per post. Every time I would communicate for a brand and they kept on saying yes so I double the price
As an Influencer, surprisingly the difference in success is price per user. If you charge more, you survive more
All big companies have a plant-based company now
There’s a lot of information, too much so a lot of our content is focused on recipe development and help lift that sector up
Vegan is generally a bad word. A lot of people who approach us love us because we’re friendly
What is one piece of advice about becoming a professional blogger?: Just do it. Know that there will be challenges and don’t try to focus on the competition
What was the make-or-break point that made you keep going?:
For Toni, she got an email that talked about this mother taking care of her family using plant-based on a budget
For Michelle, it’s every warm piece of feedback
Plant-powered People Podcast

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