brand (45)


When it comes to branding, many people think big brand advertising: Apple, Starbucks and Nike - it's often thought of in terms of companies spending, but dollars, however in the small and independent industry, building a personal brand is just as important for survival. 

Surprisingly,  personal branding is one of those things that is extremely crucial to success in a small industry, but ironically often overlooked.

Listed below are 4 Benefits of building a personal brand in a targeted niche. 

1. Become the Expertise in Your Niche 

Once you've been marketing for a while, producing valuable blog posts, videos, and other content,  before a potential client/prospect even contacts you they will have already been to your website, and all of your social media pages. 

Because information sis so readily available, they'll already have an opinion about you, good or bad, what the potential client/prospect believes depends on how well you've developed you personal brand. 

In other words, your brand can have a huge impact on your conversions, so make sure you  build strong and packed full of value. 

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Building a brand is all about consistency. Your customers expect to have the same (or darn close to the same) experience whenever they come in contact with your brand.  After all, consistency leads to reliability and trust.

Since I've been doing a lot with visual maps these days, I've really gotten into studying how visual schemes impact your brand.  Here are a few tips that might help you.

Design Schemes and Associations

Think about this - what if you bought one of those red cola cans at a convenience store only to find when you drank it, something orange came out of the can.  That's pretty crazy, right?  You'd probably storm back into the store and confront the cashier at the counter with your red can.  The experience would make you second guess ever buying another from that store, or possibly, ever again.

In fact, that actually happened...sorta. Remember when they came out with clear cola?  It crashed and burned badly...why? Because we expect cola to be dark brown.  And when a very popular condiment maker came out with green ketchup, it ended up making appearances as a collectible on eBay, not on kitchen tables.

Something very similar happens with brands online.  Certain colors and design schemes are associated with certain products. If the product has the wrong color or design, it's off-putting to potential customers.

An important part of creating a consistent brand image is to choose a visual scheme that will always be associated with your name or your company’s name.

Visual Brand Soda

Your Visual Brand Language

To create a design and color scheme for your brand, you need to create a visual brand language, or VBL.

So what's that? A VBL incorporates design elements such as shape, color, materials, finish, typography and composition. All of these items together should work smoothly to communicate your company's values and personality.

For a good example, take BMW's front grill. When you see it on an advertisement or website, you automatically think of BMW and all the qualities associated with this luxury car designer. This distinct design feature is used as a visual marketing tool by the company to trigger feelings and associations in the minds of its target market.

An important key to creating a VBL is to remember that it isn't static, but something can be changed and used in different ways.

Think about Google's logo - basic letters on a clean white background. During different times of year or during promotions,  incremental changes are made to this basic design theme. Your VBL can be something flexible as well.

Visuals for Your Niche

Your own images need to create a brand personality that fits with your niche. Think about your target market and what they like. Consider your products and look at how other companies in your expert niche create their brand personality.

For example, some niches tend to showcase stark, hard line visuals, while others use soft, curvy lines. Each image a company uses fits with its personality to create a sense of consistency across all of its marketing and content creation.

Your Brand's Logo

The single most important visual element is your logo.  Recently, I went to my friends over at Logo Nerds to come up with a new design for me.  I knew the one I had was not fitting well with my niche and I wanted it to make a stronger connection with my brand.

To create a logo, you need to go back to your brand's unique selling proposition. What is your brand's promise and personality? These should be communicated through your brand's logo. Your logo should be based on this foundation and it should harmonize well with your other design elements.

The best practice when designing a logo is to start by choosing a primary and secondary color. The primary color is for your symbol, icon, or lettering. The secondary color is for the background. Take advantage of color meanings and associations when choosing colors.

The Importance of Visual Branding

A common business mistake is to bring in outside visual experts as an afterthought rather than a central part of your business's initial planning.  Remember when I mentioned redesigning my logo?  I have seen people make the mistake of trying to design their own, but that sometimes doesn't send a clear message about who you are and your professionalism.

Here's another resource for you.  Pam Wilson has an amazing blog that teaches a lot about visual branding.  Be sure to check out her Big Brand System here for great tips.

Remember - your brand's visual plan is just as important as your unique selling proposition or your products: it's part of your company's basic image and it can help you communicate clearly about who you are and what you do for your target market.



You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it...

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative online business strategist and coach specializing in showing independent service providers how to simplify, save time & stand out with simple strategies that engage more quality leads and clients. Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market. Get free tools to simplify and stand out online at:

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....Branded-but Broke! 


Tending to your Self-Image so You Can Implement & Skyrocket Your Income

Let's tell the truth and shame the devil.


You have done everything right! 


You picked a program.


You invested in yourself.


You showed up for the training.


But--you are not taking action.


No action = no results.


You feel broke and a little broken...


Branding is all about being seen-but you are hiding via no action.


You know what to do but you just can't seem to get yourself in gear and simply do the darn thing.


It's not your fault.


Consider this: as a Black Woman in business, the residue of slavery shapes your current self-image and your financial future.


So let's talk.


Join us for an authentic conversation about setting yourself free to soar and be seen.


Open Q&A and lazor coaching to get you back in the game tonight!  



Sign up at now. Teleclass is at 9pm EST Tonight.

To your Superstar Success,

Pam Perry

You are one click away from your breakthrough

P.S.  Each class just $7 bucks. Ask us anything.  NO replays. sorry.

It's time to get it out on the table

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Who or What has Branded You?

10744090452?profile=originalWe hear a lot about branding -- personal branding, entrepreneurial branding -- how you show up; your logo, your colors, your message, and this month we will address branding in those arenas in other posts.  But, first, as this month is International Boost Self Esteem Month, we want to touch on branding from a self esteem stand point.  

In our life's travel, we go through different stages, and frequently before we come to know who we are, we allow others (and sometimes, circumstances) to label us -- branding in a different sense.Some of the labels I suffered and maybe you did too, include insecure, co-dependent, being the yes-person; circumstances included teen pregnancy, unemployment, underemployment, abuse -- physical, emotional, mental.  What or who has branded you?

For those of you on the journey of discovering self, use these in your travels:

The Stubborn Warriorette.  The inner warrior, whether she's standing tall, on her knees or wounded in a fetal position, she's there.  Her mindset is:

  • I WILL do my purpose;
  • This is NOT the end;
  • I refuse to allow a temporal reality to be a permanent life sentence;
  • I must see what's on the other side of this thing.

She has stubborn, bulldog faith and she refuses to die. She finds and learns the lessons presented along the way and chooses not to allow bitterness to take up residence.

The Other Side.  Once you come to yourself -- once you're healed and have successfully filled the internal voids . . .

  • You shed the former labels;
  • Step into your true identity; and
  • Redefine and affirm the real you.   

Some will be shocked and even disappointed at the real you saying, "no" and setting boundaries -- 'who does she think she is?!'  Don't despair.  The opinions of other people don't matter so much any more. You've now created your own stage and some (naysayers and dream killers) might just need to vacate your space -- exit stage left!

Two nuggets to remember:

  1. Labels can't keep the REAL you bound.
  2. Your current circumstance may be part of your story, but is not your final destination.


Latifah Abdullah is founder of Tibay International.  Using optimism, forward thinking, and passion for a woman’s well being, the Tibay Community provides tools, how to’s, and candid conversation on legacy wealth, business, finance, faith, fashion, and health -- empowering women and women entrepreneurs to live a full, authentic life.

The community  uses a ‘whole person’ approach to provide business and personal resources to women and women business owners.

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In this 20 minute interview, I'm speaking with Attorney Aurelia Mitchell-Durant of AMD Law Group ( about Pinterest and the key issues service providers need to be aware of when using this social tool. Aurelia is an expert in international branding for businesses, as well as brand protection. Some good stuff here.

Catch the interview audio here

Here's a few of the tips shared during the interview:

  1. Keep the images you use intact in their original format (i.e. don't make the mistake of claiming something is yours when it's not)
  2. Look for signs on the site where you're pulling images from that it's acceptable for you to post the image (i.e. is there a "pin it" button?)
  3. Remember you can always  ...

Check it out and let me know what you think. Anything else to add to the list?

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Be Famous Online Too

Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all have had thoughts about being famous or popular for something (whether business-wise or talent-wise. I will be focusing on business). Hence why you started a business or why you are thinking of starting a business. That does not make you narcissistic at all, it actually shows how selfless you are. Because businesses always provide a NEED for people and you are helping them in one way or the other. However, as we all start out in business the goal is for people to flock to our website and to become...FAMOUS! We want to become famous for our services or our products or our blogging content, our brand! Unfortunately, it does not always come as fast as it did for Justin Bieber via YouTube or Mark Zuckerberg via Facebook or even within 6 months of blogging like Perez Hilton. So sometimes we have to take matters into our own hands. Below are a few tips on how to become famous online too, like these people did.

Step 1: Figure out what you want to be famous for

Whether it is for your business services, products or content, make it a goal to be the best. Another way to put this, is to find your niche and create a brand. If you want to be famous for creating great websites, figure out who you are selling websites to? What age group? What type of businesses? Why should they work with you? You need to make sure that however you are presenting your website brand, it is more creative and better than anyone else that is selling websites. You should try your best to come up with ideas that APPEAL to the people you are trying to reach.

Also, define what being famous online means to you. Do you want to be famous online for having a great company? Do you want to be famous online for having the best coaching services and products? Do you want to be famous online for making money from being the best blogger on business matters or women's fashion? Do you want to be famous online for a great personality and creative website?  Do you want to be famous online for being the best video creator of advertisements? Do you want to be famous online for being the best short story writer? First you have to decide how you will be famous so you can stay focused on your online journey to fame.

Step 2: Get to know your computer

There are SO many programs, some FREE, that can help you accomplish ANYTHING you want online. Whether it is to create your own website, get a domain name, create a logo, create an ecommerce site, or blog (, you can do it all online. You can find customers or leads, do lots of social networking, learn how to create your own autoresponder and advertisements. There is a lot of information on the internet. Just go to GOOGLE.COM and find the answers to ANYTHING you are looking for.

Step 3: Do your research

You should be familiar with the saying, "You don't have to reinvent the wheel". In some form or other, what you are looking to do has been done. Research people that have done it, or close to doing what you are interested in doing to become famous online. Find people you like or you feel are competition and start your own imaginery competition against them. Always keep watch of what they are doing so you can avoid it and do something greater. Find out what didn't work for people. Read books about people who are doing what you are interested in doing and how they got famous. Email people you are interested in knowing more about and ask them questions about what they went through to get famous online. This all helps you from going into your project blindly and to be aware of all of the obstacles you have to face.

Step 4: Market yourself

Facebook. Twitter. Youtube. Just to name a few. All great starts to getting your brand out there and finding your road to becoming famous online too. Also look into paid advertisements like Google ads and Facebook ads.

Step 5: Spend the time

Let's get serious here. Although the people above appear to have come out of nowhere, they did A LOT to get to where they are now. And they have to continue to fight to stay relevant and fresh. Think about it, overnight, Justin Bieber's voice changed and all of a sudden he's crooning like Barry White and STILL famous. Mark Zuckerburg has had so many rumors spread about him and people disappointed in the Facebook changes etc., but you don't see too many people deleting their pages. And Perez Hilton has to make cameos here and there just so we'll remember he is still around. My Point? Is that you are going to have to spend a lot of time building your brand and keeping it a brand. Please do not be alarmed by any of the following conditions:

  • Sleepless nights because of all of the ideas swirling in  your head
  • Late nights UP on the computer, writing content or editing websites (what do you think I am doing right now), preparing for interviews, photo shoots, etc.
  • Taking your computer everywhere so you can work when you have a free second
  • Constantly researching for new ways to market yourself, trying them all and only finding a few that really work for you. (results will vary)
  • Sharing your ideas with people you think are as excited as you are, only to be disappointed by their response (WARNING: Do not pay attention to the reaction of those in family, spousal or amicable roles. They do not know your vision or have the same passion. And you cannot make them. Keep following your dreams and hit them up AFTER the first $million$ They'll really want to listen then!)

Make sure to be consistent. Give yourself a deadline for putting your ALL into your brand building towards being famous. 90 days is ideal. If you work really hard you may begin to see the BEGINNING fruits of your labor within 90 days. However, your hard work does not stop after the 90 days. You have to keep working towards your dream. Show off your writing skills, services or products. Be nice to everyone that communicates with you. Remember to be creative. Lastly, stay motivated and focused on your goal to be famous online too, today!

Tamara Garrison-Thomas

P.S. If you are still looking for a way to Be Famous Online Too with blogging, get access to this video. You'll see actual stories of real people (previously struggling to be famous online) who are well.... let's just say.... famous now!  (before you click this link, make sure to grab a piece of paper to take notes after you have access)

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pinterest-webinar1-300x203.gif?width=300Pinterest is the latest social networking craze, but not only that - it has some potential to be a useful tool that drives traffic to your website. For example, you can add pins to your boards that link back to your website.

Need a little help? Here are a few simple steps you can take to increase pins and links to your blog or website.

#1 Pin Using the Bookmarklet Tool
If you’ve installed the Bookmarklet tool onto your browser then simply visit your blog or website and click the button to “Pin This.” It automatically includes the link with the image you’ve pinned so that if anyone clicks on the image or pin in Pinterest they’ll be taken to your website.

#2 Add a “Pin This” Button to Your Website or Blog
There are a few ways you can add a “Pin This” button to your site. You can use the code provided in the “About” menu under “Help.” Choose “Goodies” ( and you’ll see a few options to add buttons to your site. If you have a WordPress blog there are also a few handy plug-ins that do the trick. Once the button is on your site, then you simply visit the page you want to pin and “Pin it” to your board.

#3 Use the Add+ Feature
You can also use the Add+ button located at the top right of your Pinterest page. Click it and you’ll get a drop down menu with a few choices. Enter your URL, click “Find Images” and choose from the selection of images shown. You’ll notice one image is displayed with the words “Prev” and “Next” underneath. Click “Next” to scroll through your images until you find the one that you want to pin.

#4 Write a Clear Pin Description
If you prefer, simply type the link you want people to visit in the description area of your Pin. The thing to remember here is that when people repin your image, they can and probably will change the text in the description area to match their own purposes. The link and description will remain intact only on your boards. Depending on your goals this may be okay.

#5 Make Your Site Pinterest Friendly
As my recent post about the 80/20 rule of content sharingsaid, you shouldn't be adding Pins from your own site too often. Remember, the point is that others will be motivated to pin images from your site onto their boards. That's a much more organic, less pushyway to get links to your site.

The more Pinterest-friendly your site, the better. That means making it visually interesting and adding “Pin This” buttons to your site.

You can build your Pinterest followers by becoming active on the site. Comment, “like” other pins, create boards and repin – USE the site. And remember to spend time integrating your activities on Facebook and/or Twitter to grow a larger following.

Want to know more about using Pinterest for your business? Check out my latest webinar: 4 Myths About Pinterest for Business, Tuesday, 6/12/12. Replay will be available for a limited time!

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pinterest-300x168.png?width=300If you've been hearing a lot about Pinterest, it's because it has caught on like a really catchy almost seems as though it just came out of nowhere and now it's breaking record speed for popularity, length of time on site (average? 90 mins+!), and more.

If you are a business owner, chances are you have not yet figured out how Pinterest could be used in your marketing strategy. Sure, you have established goals for each of your individual marketing tactics, like your content marketing. You have even created a step by step plan to achieve those goals, possibly with the incorporation of social media (why not, everyone else is). But I bet you didn't think that posting pictures could be much of a marketing boost, right?

Pinterest is boasting faster growth numbers than some of the more popular social networks when they first started out - i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc. At my last reading, they had nearly 12 million monthly unique visitors and it hasn't even in existence very long. Creating a Pinterest profile could very well help you be exposed to new leads, drive traffic and boost your business growth.

Pinterest is actually catching on so fast, I suspect, because it's heralding the next social media phase - visual imagery. Remember when it was all about written content? Then we heard video? Pictures and visual imagery are hot right now because they speak to people emotionally. Visual aspects of how you market are becoming more and more important. And it would be very smart to develop an image sharing strategy to tell your story, to convey your branding, to make faster connections.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started using Pinterest in your marketing approach:

#1 Blog PlugIns

Blog plugins are one of the easiest ways to integrate Pinterest into your existing marketing tactics and strategy. There are several Pinterest plugins and more are being added as the site continues to grow and develop. In addition to “Pin This” and “Follow” buttons on your blog you can add plugins that allows you to share your most recent pins. This could be a way to motivate visitors to pin your images and also follow you on Pinterest.

#2 Content Marketing

Consider taking a look at your existing content marketing plan. Evaluate how you can add more visual interest to your blog or website. For example, can you add more images to your blog posts? Can you convert some of your content into short videos? You can pin videos on Pinterest. Do any topics lend themselves to infographics that you can share on Pinterest?

#3 Social Networking

Pinterest is intimately connected with Facebook and Twitter. In fact, if you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account you can’t get a Pinterest account. And you can post any pin onto your Facebook or Twitter profile. You can also add buttons to your Pinterest profile so Pinterest followers can find you on Facebook or Twitter. Take a look at your existing Facebook and/or Twitter marketing tactics. How can you enhance them with Pinterest?

Remember to test and track your efforts. Add Pinterest to your analytics. Pay attention to who is pinning your content and repinning your pins. Track your Pinterest traffic and integrate your efforts with other traffic generation strategies you're using.

By the way, you have to be invited in order to set up an account. If you need an invite, simply visit me on Facebook and let me know you need an invitation. You'll be able to view my Pinterest tab there also (remember? integration :) ).


WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist and coach specializing in showing independent service providers how to simplify, save time & stand out with simple strategies that engage more quality leads and clients.  Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market.  For instant access to your free 7 secrets to online time management report, visit us at:


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How To Create the Perfect Spicy Sales Cycle

dreamstimefree_2204450-150x150.jpg?width=150I am such an impatient person. I can admit it right out of the gate, but one thing I've learned after a number of business "beat-downs" is that planning is priceless.

One of the steps often forgotten in the excitement of creating a new business that you're going to market is the planning phase. But this is particularly important when you're creating your sales and marketing strategy.

You have got to spend some time mapping out how your content, products and services, and marketing are all going to work together to build a profitable online business.

To help you out, I'm going to share a few key steps - all of which I'll be talking about in my brand new coaching program that launches in a few weeks - Spicy Hot Systems That Sell (SPICY = simple, profitable, impactful, convenient, and getting your buyers to YES!):

Step One: Develop high quality offerings. Starting off on the right foot with your customer service approach is very important for the livelihood of your online business. Quality products, from the very first freebie to your largest ticket item, will help you gradually build a positive reputation for yourself. Any future dealings you have where you can do repeat business with your customer should leave them feeling as if they were treated as well if not better than the first time around.

Step Two: Create your product line. A sales funnel is a series of incrementally more valuable, and perhaps more expensive, products or services to offer your customers. However, people are going to enter your funnel at various stages. Some may begin by taking advantage of your free offer while some may jump right in and buy a product or service. Create a plan for each type of customer. Set the stage for the next level of products you have available. Figure out which ones might be of interest to your clients, or which ones could be useful. Help them to see just how they can be helpful and how to implement them effectively into their present business or organization.

Step Three: Maintain the Communication. In addition to creating a line of high quality products and services, you’ll also want to establish consistent communication with your prospects and customers. Accomplish this by continuing the flow of valuable information in the form of blog posts, email messages and perhaps a newsletter.

Maintaining the flow of valuable information makes it easier for your customers to confidently pass your information on to others. You could soon find yourself starting the process all over again with new referrals, or other people you have found on your own who have become customers.

Planning is the key to online business success. Create your sales funnel plan, marketing plan and content plan and work to integrate the three into a seamless and efficient system. Consistency is the key, and by using the same plan over and over again with each new person, your online business will grow. And everyone will be receiving the same great quality products and services you have to offer.

Now that's SPICY!
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This is part 2 of a 4 part series where I'm sharing the essential systems entrepreneurs must have in place to support a solid brand.

System #1: Customer engagement

iStock_000007773142Medium-150x150.jpg?width=150Brand support system number one is about the way in which you engage your customers. This is the process by which you create a path of attraction to your business. It's the way that you make it easy for prospects to meet you, to love what you do, to test drive your services. This might look like your current opt-in strategy. Or it may even be the type of events you host that attract people to your business.

Creating an easy path for prospects to engage is critical to building your pool of interested buyers. As a system, this path should be outlined in such a way that you can powerfully reflect your brand with ease. The goal is to create a connection between you as a solution provider and the potential client, or prospect.

What is evident when you view an entrepreneur’s website is whether or not there is an easy way to determine your next step. Successful entrepreneurs are clear in the single action they would like for a viewer to take when visiting their website the first time. But unfortunately too many business owners fail to streamline the instruction for their prospect. There is no opt-in form. There is nothing “sticky" about the page that keeps a person there, so viewers leave after only visiting a few seconds.

One example of a way to engage customers that capitalizes on the way they first interacted with you is to create a social media landing page. This blog post by visibility guru Nancy Marmalejo tells you how to do this:

There are other ways to engage your customer or prospect. One of the most widely used ways is to develop a strong opt in form. A blog post by marketing diva Ali Brown shares great insight into how to make this work for you:

The key to customer engagement is to entice prospective buyers within the first few seconds so they can receive your valuable information.


You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing coaches, consultants and freelancers how to spend more time making money with simple, yet profitable marketing systems. Her company Be Promotable provides clients with fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote their small businesses as power players in their market. Claim your instant access to a free 10 part ecourse, 10 Ways To Grow Your List at:
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Small businesses and start-ups put forth great effort to appear stable and established.  But often times they have a 'tell'.  Business cards printed at home, an AOL email address or ...a tri-fold brochure.  No matter how great your company/ service may be, you simply sell yourself short with these marketing flubs.

Marketing Faux Pas

While the tri-fold format in printed collateral has long been a a staple in marketing, in recent years the layout style has become a faux pas.  We live in the age of 'instant' success, consumers want to get information at a glance. That means they are looking for a Visual Snapshot. Its a big risk to assume that someone will take the time to comb through the folds of a page just to find out what you do, and how it will benefit them.

The Visual Snapshot

If you are wondering what a Visual Snapshot is, then imagine yourself in line at the supermarket.  When you glance at the magazines on the shelf you make a decision on whether or not to buy, just by looking at the cover.  The same thing happens when  a person looks at your marketing collateral.  I mean we don't want to have to read the

entire magazine to determine if we should buy it.

The first page of your brochure should state the following (very obviously):

  • Who are you?
  • What do you offer?
  • What is unique about your product or service?

I'm not saying that the triple dipper doesn't have its effective uses.  It can be quite helpful as a pamphlet and its a wonderful tool in the health care industry.  But for small businesses, it just makes you LOOK small time.


I have included an example of a Sell Sheet.  Whether single or double sided, its a sure fire way to impress prospects.

Happy Branding Everyone! ( or @brandcoachllc)

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tacky head shot

Let me start with a disclaimer. Tacky photos are my pet peeve, so I'm going to be really blunt about this subject. So here it is in a nutshell, if you want to be taken seriously then present yourself seriously!  Honestly, if you don't care enough to invest in professional photos, then don't expect potential clients to invest in your product/ service.

Every week I get at least a dozen so called professionals that want to elevate their personal brand.  When I look at their marketing materials I am often appalled at the quality of the personal photos. I see pictures that were clearly taken by 'cousin alex' at a birthday party, then cropped to only show their face.  I witness images that are grainy, hazy or at least 15 years old.   Did I mention photos taken with a cell phone? All I can say is TACKY , TACKY, TACKY!! If you want to establish yourself as a brand to be reckoned with, then start simply with professional photos.

Now I know what you are thinking...the last thing you want is to have some high fa looting photographer slap a bunch of make-up on you and take some pictures that look NOTHING like you.  Don't worry your little head about that, there are many ways to showcase yourself in a flattering and authentic light.  So here are the rules for choosing a photographer.

1. Choose your style: By this I mean style of photography.  Do you want Glamor Head Shots, Lifestyle/ Portrait Shots, Editorial Photos (don't worry I will describe the difference a little later in this post)? Being clear about how you want to be showcased is very important.

2. Personal referral: Only use a photographer that has photographed someone you know.  Just because they showcase good photos on their website, doesn't mean they are a good photographer. It is easier to judge a photographer if he has photographed someone you know. It gives you a gauge for how well he/ she can capture authenticity.

3. Its ALL about the makeup: Many photographers like to work with specific make up artists.  Try to have a conversation with the makeup artist in advance.  Explain the look you are trying to accomplish, even show photos of yourself or others that you like.  NOTE: its important to know that you will most certainly look like a drag queen after the makeup is applied, but photo lights are harsh, the make up helps with deflecting the light correctly.

4. RELAX: Its important to be relaxed when you take your photos.  Don't be so preoccupied with posing.  Just be yourself and let the photographer do the rest.

Types of Photos

photo styles

Earlier, I mentioned 3 types of photography. They are all good for different reasons.  I personally have all three types.
  1. Glamour Head Shots:  Ideal for presenting a professional presence.  Great for bios, personal appearances and media photos.
  2. Lifestyle/ Portrait Shots:  Perfect to communicate your personal brand. These images are not staged (unlike Glamor and Editorial), and they should reflect you in your natural habitat doing what comes naturally.
  3. Editorial Photos:  Usually reserved for appearances in media where you are a feature story.  Should have a personal touch with a professional flare.
Still think professional photos are a waste of money? Ask yourself this question. If  I had a chance to win a million dollars based on my photo alone, would I win?

Happy Branding Everyone...

Photo Credits: Jai Stone Glamor (pic by Reggie Anderson/ Makeup by Linda Dupree); Jai Stone Editorial (pic by Derek Blanks/ Makeup by Saisha Beechum); Jai Stone Lifestyle (pic by MilesCoaltrain)

You can continue this conversation on Twitter @brandcoachllc or on
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I've been studying copy quite a bit lately because I want to improve my own business brand and make sure my stuff gets more eyes on it! What about you? Doesn't that matter to your business? Writing good copy is actually ESSENTIAL to your success, so even if you choose to outsource your writing, you should be familiar with at least the basics.Study and save this simple list of words you can use to attract more views.
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System #2: Customer Relationship Management

The customer relationship management system refers to the way you take care of your current customers. It may be the way that you process their intake into doing new business with you. It's about how you provide here and service once your clients have already paid or invested in your services. Ultimately the goal is for prospects to become clients and eventually to become raving fans for your business. This happens when you treat current clients or fans very well.

How do you deliver on the promises that you make in your brand. Does it require a lot of manual labor? Can you automate delivery of your services? Can you set up systems with the click of a button that will accept payment and deliver on the promise? If you're conducting a coaching group is there self-service function word new clients can go and access their profiles, pay an invoice, create a support case? This is all part of delivering on your brand promises.
When you have easy tools and systems in place it's much easier for your clients to rave about your services and to refer others to them as well. A great service experience can immediately expand your level of influence and authority.

I am a huge fan of Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM). CRMs were like a dream come true because I was tired of manually tracking loose pieces of paper, sticky notes, e-mails that flooded my inbox from people I worked with. A solid CRM can manage projects, automate your billing, and make it easy for you to find essential correspondence between you and the customer. Examples of great CRMs to research for your business include BaseCamp, Salesforce, Capsule CRM, and WorkEtc.

Another part of the relationship management, however, involves your approach to follow-up. Send Out Cards is a simple but highly distinctive way to show your clients you care. I purchased an account with the company years ago but did not realize the power of the program until I used it to mail personalized postcards to members of a course I was teaching online. It really made an impact with my clients to receive a special thank you from the right at their doorstep.

Trust me, in this age of Internet marketing a postcard or greeting card will help you stand out from the crowd. It will also help to solidify the emotional connection with your customer, which has the potential to generate more sales. Besides, sales are really about creating a personal experience for the buyer.


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About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing coaches, consultants and freelancers how to spend more time making money with simple, yet profitable marketing systems. Her company Be Promotable provides clients with fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote their small businesses as power players in their market. Claim your instant access to a free 10 part ecourse, 10 Ways To Grow Your List at:
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dreamstimefree_1333671-300x199.jpg?width=300Every solo business owner has a set of processes or systems that either promote their business very well or contribute to the business’ demise. There are really 3 essential systems that any successful business owner needs in place in order to automate the things they repetitively do over and over again, while adequately supporting the brand. These systems form the structure of success because they are the ways in which you continuously reinvigorate your business for expansion and growth.

What is a system?

For purposes of this article, we’re going to define a system as follows: a set of integrated, interdependent processes that can be replicated over and over again to produce similar results.

This article is designed to explain the 3 critical brand support systems for real breakthrough in your business. These essential systems are key to ensuring your success and creating a structure on which your brand can thrive.

It all starts with the BRAND

Before we cover these systems, let’s talk about brand first. As a solopreneur in the “entrepreneurial renaissance” age – a coin termed by business coach, Marcia Bench, you will have to compete against many people who claim expertise in the same field as you. Regardless of their level of experience or visibility, the sheer numbers require that you carve out a way to stand apart from the crowd. Your brand must be distinctive, powerful and recognizable.

The brand is the foundation of any effective marketing strategy. It is how people perceive you. The brand is YOU in a single owner business. If your brand is weak, the systems I will describe below will not operate to support your business. An analogy would be like building a new house, installing a beautiful kitchen, hardwood floors, and hiring a dynamic salesman to greet buyers at the door when the house has no walls yet.

The support systems we will talk about in this article will allow you to deliver great service, they will engage your customer base, and they will automate your delivery but only when you have taken the necessary steps to first put in place your brand strategy.

This means getting clear about what you do, the market you serve, and how you provide the service. Brand support is most connected to the latter – the “how”.

We will spend time outlining the 3 systems over the next group of articles in this series.


You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing coaches, consultants and freelancers how to spend more time making money with simple, yet profitable marketing systems. Her company Be Promotable provides clients with fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote their small businesses as power players in their market. Claim your instant access to a free 10 part ecourse, 10 Ways To Grow Your List at:
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graphorange-300x221.jpg?width=300Sticky notes are not the best way to keep track of a prospect you need to call. There is a better way - thankfully. It's called a CRM.

A CRM is a sales and marketing term for "customer relationship management". It's a system to keep track of important information about your clients, customers, sales prospects and a way to centralize your business communications and resources.

I love technology. You may already know that from some of the resources I share. But I really didn't discover the power of a CRM until I started realizing that I had too much paperwork floating around with my client's notes, names of people I needed to follow up with, and even keeping track of any missing payments to my client accounts.

So here are some benefits of using a CRM:

  • Organizes your business records
  • Creates a safeguard of all your key contacts
  • Automates your appointments
  • Helps you develop a "pipeline", which is the path you work each client or prospect through to work with you
  • Gives you an easier way to pay attention to your customers
  • Makes it easy for people to pay you
These are just a few of the things that I've learned a CRM can do for my business. And when you're a solopreneur, it helps to make your workflow as simple as possible.

Need a few ideas on CRMs to try?

I'm developing a video kit to help you use the simple, slick system I use, but for now here are some recommendations you can look into:,,,

Try one and let me know what you think in the comments below!

WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing coaches, consultants and freelancers how to spend more time making money with simple, yet profitable marketing systems. Her company Be Promotable provides clients with fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote their businesses as power players in their market. Claim your instant access to a free 10 part ecourse, 10 Ways To Grow Your List at:
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iStock_000007606415XSmall-150x150.jpg?width=150I had a dream last night. In the dream I invested in some type of postal supplies shop - you know, like the ones you see on every corner now? This guy from an office next door kept coming in to say he was there to help me. Seemed like a nice enough man. At first, he offered to lay a customized floor tile that looked like a stamp for me in front of the counter. He described how it would have my initials, my favorite colors, and it would really light up the place. I was convinced and I said, "sure, that would be nice". Then after he put it in and I realized it wasn't just one tile, it was half the floor. Cha-ching.

Next, he came in and offered to change the locks on my door. I said, "yes, that's probably a good idea". And of course, he upgraded the entire door. Cha-ching...again. After a series of these offers, I realized I'd drawn up quite a bill. That's when I finally sat down to look at the total costs of my initial investment, the add-ons, and the history of success the shop had before me. Guess what? The previous owner sold it because she hadn't made a profit.

It was a pretty dismal outlook. I had the same dream at least once more the same night. It was like I had to go through it all over again, even knowing what the end would be. Then I woke up.

I realized that this was a pretty accurate picture of some decisions I've made before as a business owner. Not researching the so-called investment first, saying yes to everything that looks short-term shiny, looking at the total profit/loss picture only after I've spent all the money...

Notice I didn't say anything about "adding value" or "profit generating" decisions? What investments are you making in yourself and in your business that will add long-term value and generate profit? Got the wake up call yet?


WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable is a premier personal branding & marketing coach. Her creative genius has unlocked the potential of many women solopreneurs, helping them to reinvent themselves as power players in their startup business. Claim your free instant access to a free video download, 5 Secrets to Developing Your Unique Brand Proposition at:

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