Archive for the ‘Branding for solopreneurs and small business’ Category

Case study: Debbie Leonard, Employee Engagement NOW

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum 1 Comment


Debbie Leonard--EmpEngagementNOW--mid size


An accomplished businesswoman, Debbie Leonard owned and managed a multimillion-dollar shopping village in New England, which specialized in custom furniture and home decor.

Backed by decades of hands-on leadership, Debbie decided to take a big step in her career – and a big leap of faith. She leveraged her expertise to step into a new role: Business consultant and speaker.

To pivot into her new career, Debbie had developed a big-picture vision of her consulting business, and she had acquired impressive business-coaching certifications. However, she was not 100% clear about her target audience. She was uncertain about her specialty or area of emphasis (her niche). And she lacked a crystal-clear benefit message or tagline.

From A to Z: Branding, logo, photo, website, and more

Debbie came to our team eager to create a solid foundation – or springboard – to launch her consulting and speaking business. We guided her through our processes to clarify her brand, design a beautiful and unique logo, and create impactful photos. In other words, important components, or Brand Elements™, required to create her marketing toolkit.

We leveraged all components to write, design, and program her new website and create her professional stationery package (business card, notecard, and envelope). Next, we will write and design her speaker one-sheet, also a key tool in her marketing toolkit.

Leaping forward with a professional, on-target marketing toolkit

An incredibly positive and powerful business advisor and visionary, Debbie Leonard has launched her consulting firm: Employee Engagement NOW. She is actively consulting with business owners and leaders to prepare for future workforce changes by sparking productivity today. Her specialty is guiding small to mid-size companies through proven steps to ignite employee engagement, create effective multigenerational teams, and develop next-generation leaders.

Debbie Leonard is fearless, focused, and armed with on-target marketing tools. I’m confident she can conquer any challenge as she grows her new consulting and speaking business!

Visit Debbie Leonard’s new website at



Eric Chester: “Become the definitive expert in your category”

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum

Eric Chester presents 10-13--small


Eric Chester – author of Generation Why? – shared sage advice with attendees at NSA/Colorado’s October program. A long-time member of the Colorado chapter, Eric has risen to the top as a professional speaker.

It wasn’t by accident. Or luck. Or happenstance.

Over the decades, Eric Chester has worked hard, focused on being strategic, and invested much time and money into his career and expertise – and he still does. Eric’s frank keynote was refreshing. But it was less “keynote presentation” and more straight-talk, no bull.

Here’s what I LOVED: He emphasized the importance of becoming an expert

Eric showed 4 buckets and, with the group, brainstormed well-known speakers who fall into each bucket.
As a professional speaker (or corporate consultant, business coach, or other solopreneur), you do not want to live in the Miscellaneous bucket! He urged every person in the room to become the definitive expert in their category.

Here’s Eric’s full statement: “You can learn to juggle chainsaws or climb Mt. Everest – or you can become the definitive expert in your category.”

And more: He underscored the importance of branding

Yay! Eric Chester was singing my favorite tune. His specific advice included:

  • “Get clear about what you bring to the marketplace.” – This speaks to clarifying your expertise. Personally, I believe that, if you’re a serious small business owner who has acquired decades of life and business experience, you can stake a claim to a tightly defined niche.
  • “Does your brand require a lot of explanation? You only have 8 seconds, or less, to say it.” – This speaks to having a clear, on-target message, not simply crafting a clever elevator pitch. I believe a clear brand enables you to quickly communicate (1) who you are, (2) what you do, and (3) what THEY get – the benefits and results your clients and audience members receive.
  • “If someone picks up your business card, will they know exactly what you do?” – This speaks to my belief that a clear brand is the foundation (or launchpad!) for a hardworking marketing toolkit: website, speaker one-sheet, and stationery package (business card, letterhead, and envelope). Clarify your brand, and your marketing tools will be clear, compelling and consistent.

Eric Chester’s sage advice – hard won from decades of hard work – resonated for me and, I believe, everyone in the room that day.



Stake a claim – and own your niche

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum


"Angel's Leap," painting by Michael Baum

“Angel’s Leap,” by Michael Baum


When teaming with new clients or presenting a workshop, I’m often surprised how many people insist they are not experts, despite their decades of career experience or intense life experience.

It’s as if they look at their feet, kick the dirt, and say, “Gee, I guess I’m pretty good at such-and-such, but I’m not an expert.”

I was raised in the Midwest, and I believe humility is a precious personality trait. However, something odd happens as you create and build a business.

You don’t want to set aside that precious humility, yet you need to embrace – and clarify – your expertise.

If you don’t, it’s virtually impossible to move forward with clear, compelling marketing tools, including your website and speaker one-sheet.

So, are you an expert? Here’s a quick quiz:

  • Are you a professional speaker, corporate consultant, business coach, or other solopreneur/infopreneur?
  • Do you have many years – or many decades – of experience?
  • Have you developed your own, unique approach, philosophy, or system based on your experience? (This could be to solve a problem, improve a situation, address an industry challenge, advise clients, or inspire audiences to take action.)

If you answered “yes,” congratulations! You’re an expert.

“I agree that I’m an expert; now what?”
Now it’s time to clarify your specific area of expertise – your niche – and proclaim it to the world. I encourage you to tightly define your topic and your target market to claim a narrow (but deep) niche. For example, my niche is branding for solopreneurs, because I truly believe I have “cracked the code” for this specific type of business owner.

Claim your niche, and be the best at it.

Here’s a way to visualize your niche
You are standing at the edge of a gorge; it’s quite narrow yet incredibly deep. And it’s YOURS.

Now get your message out there in a big way, and tell the world you have staked your claim.

Your expertise will shine, and you alone will own that specific niche.



Nail your brand. Get clear. Get moving. Feed your family.

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum
Patrice presents at NSA Convention in Philadelphia, 2013

Patrice presents at NSA Convention in Philadelphia, 2013


At this year’s NSA Convention in Philadelphia, one theme truly resonated: As business owners, we need to get energized, get clear, and get moving to take our business to the next level.

In fact, I stressed this point in my “Nail Your Brand” presentation at the NSA Convention: “Clarify your brand, and get your business moving forward. You have a family to feed.”

I didn’t rehearse this phrase; I say it naturally, because I thoroughly believe it.

Remarkably, the presenter who stepped onto the stage immediately after me emphasized this exact point as well! He spoke on marketing activities that get speakers booked. He underscored that you need to focus on what works, adding: You have a family to feed.

Whether it’s clarifying your brand, updating or revamping your website, polishing your speaker one-sheet, identifying specific marketing strategies to pursue, or other activities for your small business, it always comes down to this:

Gain clarity. Move forward. Feed your family. 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I believe when you clarify your brand, you build the foundation — or launchpad! — to create a strategic website and marketing toolkit. Armed with this hardworking toolkit, you can implement key promotion/outreach strategies. You can literally REACH OUT to your ideal clients.

You will move forward, grow your business, and feed your family.



How to select the right photo, logo or cover design: A case study

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum


The challenge:

  • Your designer gave you 12 logos – you need to pick ONE.
  • Your photographer gave you 50 photos – you need to choose ONE.
  • Your book designer gave you 3 different cover designs – you need to select ONE.

How do you choose the best one – the right one?

The solution: Start by clarifying the communication goals

When selecting a graphic of any kind, don’t simply judge it by “like” or “dislike.” If you do, everyone you ask could choose a different image – it’s human nature. Instead, start by clarifying the communication goals. Then select the image that best supports the goals.

Let’s look at a case study

My good friend Barbara McNichol needed a photo for marketing materials for her “How to Strengthen Everything You Write” Wordshops™. She and the photographer narrowed the shots to 8 finalists. Barbara asked friends to vote on their favorite – nearly everyone chose a different photo!

Barbara and I decided we needed an objective (not subjective) approach. We followed 3 simple steps:

Step 1. Clarify the communication goals

We agreed the selected photo must present Barbara as:

  • A savvy business expert
  • A confident guide and mentor
  • Approachable, warm, friendly, and personable

Barbara--with book

Step 2. Identify the images that don’t fully support the goals

For example, this photo of Barbara says quiet, introverted, and distant. (She is looking away, into the distance.) In addition, the cool, concrete wall doesn’t convey warmth. Finally, I believe the book implies librarian or college professor, not savvy business expert. While this is a very nice picture, it doesn’t fully support the communication goals.


Barbara--looking at viewer

Step 3. Select the image that best meets the goals

In this photo, Barbara’s pose is strong, her gaze is direct, and her facial expression is warm, friendly, and sparkling with personality. Plus, the background is colorful, inviting, and contemporary. This photo says dynamic, confident business expert.



It’s not about “like” or “dislike” – it’s about supporting the goals

Keep in mind, we liked both photos. After spelling out the communication goals, the best photo – the right photo – was easy to choose.


Thanks to Barbara McNichol for allowing me to share her experience, Photography by Purple Nickel Studio,



Case Study:

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum


On New Year’s Day, I resolved that 2013 would be my LEAP Year! By teaming with small business owners for 8 years, I have “cracked the code” on micro-biz branding. My goal is to step up as the Thought Leader on branding for solopreneurs.

The first order of business?
My website needed a significant update and facelift. 

To ensure a solid foundation – or a launchpad! – I stepped through my Nail Your Brand™ system, just as I do when guiding clients to clarify their brand.

Here are my Brand Elements 

Before: Patrice Rhoades-Baum, Branding & Website Expert
After: Patrice Rhoades-Baum, Marketing Consultant & Branding Expert

Before: Let Your Expertise Shine!™
After: Shine as an Expert. Step up as a Thought Leader.™

Before & After:

Patrice Rhoades-Baum

Patrice Rhoades-Baum

The result?

Yours truly believes this new website is more strategic, on-target and dynamic, thanks to starting with a clear brand. What do you think? CLICK TO VISIT.

Before & After:




Solopreneur: What does your photo say about you? About your brand?

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum


Put thought into your photo — it’s a vital Brand Element.

Is your photo fabulous? Does it convey confidence and sparkle with personality?

Or is it a basic headshot? Does it simply portray you as a nice person?

Hands-down, a powerful photo taken by a professional photographer is critical for your business and your brand. If you’re a professional speaker, business coach, life coach, corporate consultant, or other infopreneur, your photo should be featured prominently on your website’s Home page, your speaker one-sheet, and even your business card.

Why? Because YOU are your business. You bring your unique skills, philosophy, expertise, depth of experience, education, and track record to solve your clients’ challenges.

Pictures speak louder than words, so let’s look at examples!

~ BEFORE ~                        ~ AFTER ~

Suzanne Smith, owner of Pilates With Suzanne, personally teaches every class with enthusiasm and expertise. Can you tell?

Frances Rios, Professional Speaker and Communication Expert, empowers companies to grow by transforming their employees into Influential Communicators.

John J. Hall, Author & Speaker, presents his “Do What You Can!” 6-step system, empowering audiences and readers to achieve extraordinary results in their business and personal life.

Yours truly, Patrice Rhoades-Baum, Marketing Consultant & Branding Expert, guides solopreneurs to create a clear brand, strategic website, and polished one-sheet, so you can shine as an expert — and step up as a thought leader.

Before you update your website or one-sheet, put thought into your professional photo. Remember, it’s so much more than a simple headshot!



WIFM drives all your marketing activities, including branding your business

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum


Tip: Read the following with an announcer’s voice: 

Your clients are always tuned in to radio station WIFM: “What’s In it For Me?”

Over 3WIFM important to branding decades ago, I received this timeless marketing advice — the single most important advice in my marketing career.

In marketing, WIFM is your touchstone. Do not lose sight of this.

When I presented my “Nail Your Brand!” workshop for NSA’s Colorado Speakers Academy a few weeks ago, we started the workshop by discussing, and underscoring, the importance of WIFM in all aspects of marketing your business.

Obviously, you use a WIFM approach in advertisements. Plus, it’s the approach to use for website copy, your speaker one-sheet or company brochure, and even your brand.

When clarifying your brand, it’s important to communicate who you are and what you do. And it’s critical to convey what THEY get — the benefits and results your clients, customers, and audience members receive.

No matter what type of marketing activity you’re working on, including clarifying the brand for your small business, keep this in mind: Your clients are always listening to radio station WIFM: “What’s In it For Me?”


Take 5 minutes to protect your brand

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum


Purchase critical domain names — right now — to protect your brand!

Your website address is vital to your brand — and your business. I encourage you to research and purchase a variety of domain names to protect your brand. Do it right now, if you can. Domain names are ephemeral: here today, gone tomorrow!

1. Buy your name, if you don’t own it

  • True story: One of my clients (a consultant and professional speaker) Googled her unusual name and discovered that a woman with the identical name was wanted by the police! What if the “other woman” had purchased that domain name and set up a website? Talk about brand confusion!

2. Buy common misspellings 

  • Example: and
  • Ask your developer to set up redirects. This way, someone who misspells the website address will arrive at your website, seamlessly.

3. Buy your book title, product title, your tagline, and other brand phrases

  • If you’re writing a book or creating a product, purchase the working title(s) right now. Domain names are here today, gone tomorrow.
  • Your tagline is a particularly important Brand Element. Purchase the phrase, so you own it — and no one else will.

4. Buy variations and extensions such as .net, .co, .info, and .biz

  • True story: My husband, Michael Baum, is an artist. His website address is One day a man called and said, “My name is also Michael Baum, and I’m an artist too … I’ve been thinking about setting up a website at” We immediately snapped up that domain name, along with and other variations, to protect his brand.
  • Purchasing multiple variations of your main domain name(s) can be costly, so do what you can.
  • In addition, purchase your main domain name for at least 5 years, since this is critical to your business and you don’t want it to slip away. In addition, “amount of time owned” is a data point that search-engine robots use when rating your site. (This is logical, since a fly-by-night website operator would probably only purchase a domain name for 1 year.)

Nuts-and-bolts advice:

  • In all marketing materials (including your business card), always capitalize the letters in each word in your website address to help readers quickly read and comprehend the words. Example: versus
  • Your email address should correspond with your website address for professionalism, consistency, and to further support your brand. If you’re using, consider switching to
  • I purchase my domain names from, because I appreciate their prices and their customer service.

Branding advice: Your website address is a Brand Element™

I consider the website address to be an important Brand Element, because it conveys critical information about your business. Your website address supports your brand by communicating:

  • Who you are and what you do
    ~ OR~
  • What your clients get

Follow the steps above to research and purchase a variety of domain names — right now — to protect your brand and your business!




Take 1 minute to clarify your brand — Identify your Brand Elements

Posted by Patrice Rhoades-Baum


To me, branding is simple. It’s discovering the gems about your business to distill these concepts: (1) who you are, (2) what you do, and (3) what your customers get (including audience members if you’re a speaker).

When I team with my clients, we first identify these “ooshy-gooshy” concepts, then turn our attention to what I have dubbed the Brand Elements™. Working in concert, your Brand Elements tell the story of who you are, what you do, and what your clients get. When you clarify your Brand Elements, your marketing efforts can be clear, consistent, and compelling — both in messaging and design.

I’ve identified the following as Brand Elements™:

  • Your name and title or your company name
    (If you’re a solopreneur, your name is most likely your most important Brand Element, not your company name.)
  • A unique, benefit-oriented tagline
    (This is not a phrase that describes your business — this is your TOP benefit message.)
  • Your professionally designed logo
  • Your professional photo (if you’re a solopreneur)
  • Your website address

Take a minute right now to complete the following. Make sure every Brand Element is hardworking and helps to tell your story. For example, if the title you use is CEO and President, could something like Speaker & Author convey more information?

Also, ensure each Brand Element “fits” with the others. For example, let’s say you’re a corporate consultant and speaker who specializes in wellness. You might use a professional photo that shows you are active and fit, instead of a posed, stuffed-shirt portrait.

Your name
Your title
Company name
Website address
Your photo

If you need help determining the perfect benefit-oriented tagline or refining any of these Brand Elements, give me a call. I love to help solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small business owners clarify their brands. It’s surprisingly simple — and fun!