Elise Campbell Photography Brand

Create a Brand Your Ideal Clients Love with The Pumpkin Plan

When you know something has to change

It was the middle of the night and photographer Elise Campbell of Elise Campbell Photography was pouring her heart and soul into editing her client’s family photos. This particular client had begged Elise to lower her prices because she really wanted to hire her but couldn’t afford her rates. Elise had agreed.

Feeling like she needed a break from editing, Elise jumped on Facebook for a few minutes. She was shocked to see posts of her client, who claimed she couldn’t afford Elise’s photography rates, on a clearly expensive family vacation. In that moment, everything changed.

When Elise first started out as a photographer, she saw herself as a mom with a camera who could maybe turn her photography into a business. She would take photos and sell a bunch of digitals on a disc for a very low price to anyone who acted like they liked her. This unintentionally became her brand. Over time, she started to feel like she was over-giving, over-serving, and being taken advantage of.

Elise knew that something had to change. She started googling for help and she found The Pumpkin Plan book. As she read through the Pumpkin Plan, she had an “aha” moment. The clients who were hiring her, were hiring her for the wrong reasons. They were all looking for family photos as cheap as possible. They saw her as a commodity. The deciding factor had nothing to do with her skills and talents, her ability to beautifully capture the essence of her subjects, her ability to turn a photograph into a work of fine art. For those clients, it was all about her pricing. It was time to re-create her brand.

The Pumpkin Plan to the rescue

Elise decided in that moment that she would no longer compete on price. She knew how much of her love and attention she devoted to her clients’ photographs and producing art quality prints. She would only work with clients who valued her work enough to pay for it.

The first step in making this change to her brand was to find her special seed, her business Sweet Spot. Once Elise identified her Top Clients, those clients who truly appreciated her artistry, she was able to charge what she knew her services were worth. She could continue to devote her time, energy and love into creating truly special portraits for her clients without feeling resentful or having to reduce the quality of her work and the level of service to match their budgets. Elise wanted clients who wanted to work with HER, not clients who wanted cheap snapshots.

As she drilled down on who her Top Clients really were, she was able to determine what was truly important to them. Not surprisingly, they were not people who were looking for a bunch of digital photos that they could reproduce somewhere for a low price.

Create a brand that is aligned with your Top Clients

Elise’s Top Clients are busy women who want to be served well. They want a final piece hanging above the fireplace that features all the people they love, that is as beautiful as a painting. They don’t want to have to make decisions about what size the final piece should be or what kind of frame. They want Elise, the artist, to make those decisions for them.

Based on what she now knew about her very best clients, Elise developed a Unique Offering and put systems in place to deliver on that offering. She knew that her best clients didn’t want to have to make a million decisions or worry about how their children or grandchildren would behave during the photoshoot.

Elise’s solution: when she’s doing a shoot with toddlers, she brings in “child wranglers,” extra hands to help deal with the little ones. She takes care of all of the details, so the parents don’t have to stress.

Since Elise implemented The Pumpkin Plan into her business, her revenues have quadrupled. And even more importantly to her, she is known for what she does, for her artistry, for her level of service.

The impact on Elise personally has been huge. She has three children, and she is proud that they get to see their mom owning her worth. She now feels a strong sense of empowerment and freedom.

Through her own sense of empowerment, she has also started a project called “She is Love(d)™,” which is a combination of a photo shoot and words that help girls rely on their own inner knowing of themselves, as opposed to getting their self-worth from social media. According to Elise, “it’s like turning selfies into a soulful kind of thing.”

Today, after Pumpkin Planning her business, Elise Campbell has a business that she loves, that both rewards her financially and fulfills her artistic passion.

Would you like support and guidance using The Pumpkin Plan method to create YOUR client attracting brand? Go here to Hire a Certified Pumpkin Plan Strategist

Are you passionate about supporting small businesses to experience extraordinary success? Get certified as a Pumpkin Plan Strategist.

Download our FREE Pumpkin Plan Booster Pack for more business building resources!

adam mckee business owner grows with pumpkin plan

How Long it Takes to Build Consistent Growth with the Pumpkin Plan

It takes time to build your dream business, but consistent work pays off with consistent growth.

Just ask Adam McKee, owner of Contemporary Woods Furniture in Nebraska. Contemporary Woods provides custom woodworking for cabinetry and furniture. When he purchased the company, he thought he had a business that would grow without much work. Soon into his journey, he realized he was wrong. And he set to work trying to find the right process, coaching, framework, anything, that would help him grow.

That’s when Adam read The Pumpkin Plan, about 4 years ago. Adam was tired of doing business the way he had always done it before. He felt like his back was against the wall.


“There are many ways an entrepreneur can face poverty. It’s not just money. It’s emotions. It’s time. It’s family. It’s feeling beat down. It’s feeling like you’re not in control. Feeling like you’re held hostage by your work…Mike Michalowicz’s vision of eradicating entrepreneurial poverty spoke to all of those for me.” – Adam McKee, owner of Contemporary Woods Furniture


Watch our interview with Adam here.

The Resources

The Pumpkin Plan book provides so many resources for business owners to use. Adam loved the homework at the end of each chapter and still has those pages dog-earred.

However, after working on implementing The Pumpkin Plan on his own, he reached out to Pumpkin Plan Your Biz and downloaded the booster pack, plus found a Pumpkin Plan Strategist.

Adam said, “After he got all the resources he thought, ‘I should have started here first.’ I guess you could do it on your own, but it’s so much faster to do it with help.”

What were the resources that made the biggest impact on his business early-on?

Core Values and Defining Who You Are

Adam worked with his Pumpkin Plan Strategist through the vision process to create a clear vision of where his company is headed and what their mission is. Adam and Contemporary Woods are working to be the foremost maker in the region, inspiring the celebration of craft.

Defining his ideal clients also made a huge difference for Adam. His ideal clients give him great referrals to other ideal clients, and they’re easier to work with.

Defining your niche

The Top Client Wish List interviews provided powerful insights. Adam really enjoyed connecting with all of his best clients in these personal interviews. Not only did he learn a TON that he could use in his marketing, he also built long-lasting relationships that he enjoys.

Timeline – How Long Does it Take to achieve Consistent Growth?

Big changes just don’t happen overnight. Adam and team made a lot of changes during the first year. Many of them were foundational and inspiring.

But it took Adam about a year to see real traction in the process. “It’s all about the building blocks to get you where you want to go.”

With consistency and a plan, Adam says he was able to look back at his progress over multiple quarters and the year. There was real joy in seeing forward momentum!

Progress is always a process. Adam uses the Pumpkin Plan as a feedback loop that he monitors regularly to make sure he’s on track, and he’s getting it right.

Quick Wins From Implementing the Pumpkin Plan

If you’re looking for quick wins, you don’t have to look far. For Adam, the most immediate wins came with a change in mindset. For example, as he implemented the Pumpkin Plan he realized he didn’t have to be the victim in his client interactions.

He also felt immense confidence and personal gratification that he was leading his company on the right path.

Maybe the biggest wins during those first months came from teaching their clients how to work with them better. The communication increased. Boundaries were defined. And it all made everyone’s lives better.

Word of Advice From Adam – Get a Business Coach

“Talking to someone who has implemented the Pumpkin Plan with a lot of different businesses is when you get the big AHA! moments,” Adam said.

For example, the Vendor Well technique is a very powerful tool for generating referrals which Mike Michalowicz explains in the book. But Adam didn’t fully understand how to use it until he worked with a Pumpkin Plan strategist, enabling him to fully implement the strategy to generate ideal leads.  Having an outside perspective was a big game changer. And now he has partners in his industry that send him referrals all the time.

→ Hire a Strategist

Adam says Contemporary Woods is still working on the journey to their goals after 4 years. But they know where they are going, and they’re closer than ever before.

How can you use the Pumpkin Plan to Produce Consistent Business Growth?

If you’re a business owner who wants…

– personal gratification from your business
– to know you’re on the right path to growth
– to find clients that share your values
– to receive client feedback that makes you love your work again
– to experience aha moments that supercharge business success
– a vision that gets you out of bed in the morning

then 🌱 Download our FREE – Pumpkin Plan Booster Pack to receive all of the tools Adam mentions in his interview.

And take Adam’s Advice… 👉 Hire a Pumpkin Plan Strategist to Grow Further, Faster

Find Adam McKee at

Tina Smith Connect to Creative

Pumpkin Plan Your Business for Profit and Happiness: Tina’s Story

Tina Smith Connect to CreativeDoing it the Hard Way

Tina Smith of Creative, Inc. was building a successful small business the hard way. She was working long hours, providing a variety of great services to a variety of clients, but not getting the profitable growth and overall results she knew her business was capable of.  Her company’s finances were always tight and it felt like a huge struggle to make any progress towards greater profitability without working even longer and harder. As a result, she didn’t feel like she was always a very nice human being! And then she read The Pumpkin Plan.

“I was constantly trying to do a passion project alongside of work to make money because we are trying to make the world a better place. But I was so grumpy all the time because I didn’t have basic needs met.”

Creative, Inc. started out as a traditional marketing agency that offered a lot of different marketing services. They did everything – running ads – both online and print, social media marketing, website design and development, and more. Each of those services required specialized knowledge and specialized tools and resources.

The Change that Made the Biggest Difference

When Tina discovered The Pumpkin Plan, everything started to change. The first thing Tina did was the Top Client Assessment. As she put together her list of clients and started looking at their individual profitability, she realized that many of her most “difficult” clients were also paying her the least amount of money. Light bulb moment! Those unprofitable clients were the low hanging fruit, and she quickly off-boarded them by suggesting that they would be better off with a different agency.

Tina’s next step was to dive a little deeper into the services that she was offering and which of her clients were buying which services.

“Because we offered so many different services, we were attracting all sorts of different people. One of the things that I did was figure out what services we liked to provide and which ones we just hated.”

Tina was able to clearly and specifically define who her company serves and what services they provide to those clients. She eliminated the services that they no longer wanted to provide (such as social media marketing) and streamlined her operations to focus on website design, SEO and email marketing funnels. Tina was then able to eliminate the expenses and resources that were necessary for the services that she was no longer providing, leading to much greater profitability.

Once Tina narrowed her focus to a specific niche, growth also became easier and more profitable. Her marketing became much less costly:

  • She was marketing to a very specific group of people so she could be very targeted with her marketing dollars
  • She was speaking to a specific group so her message resonated extremely well
  • Her specific and targeted marketing lead to more word of mouth and more yeses

An Ongoing Process

Tina recognizes that The Pumpkin Plan is an ongoing process of refining your strategy and evaluating your results. After her initial success with her Top Client Assessment she decided to work with a Pumpkin Plan Strategist to guide her to amplify her results.

“You can read The Pumpkin Plan and do some things that will help you out immediately. But until you get an expert who’s seen this over and over with different businesses, and they can tell you which lever to pull at the right time, it’s hard to get as much out of it as possible.”

Working with a Certified Pumpkin Plan Strategist at Tap the Potential, Tina has continued to refine her strategy and create the processes that enable her to deliver her services efficiently and profitably, without having to work harder and longer hours.

“Every time I go through the process, whether it’s the Client Assessment or the Client Wish List or something else related to our Sweet Spot, we get better and more profitable.”

Taking the Leap

Many business owners are afraid to narrow their focus because they worry it will cause their business and their income to shrink. Tina initially had this same fear, so she took small steps in the beginning and built momentum. As she started focusing on a specific niche “something kind of magic happened.” As she started saying “no” to the less than ideal clients it opened up the possibilities for saying yes to the right clients. Tina experienced a dramatic improvement in her finances and her satisfaction with her business with much less effort. Her only regret is that she didn’t make these changes sooner!

Today, Tina says she is a much nicer person. Thanks to The Pumpkin Plan she is working with clients that she loves, she has a predictable income selling the services that she loves to offer, and she is happy instead of grumpy!

Are you passionate about supporting small businesses to grow and thrive? Become a Certified Pumpkin Plan Strategist

Would you like help and guidance to reach your business goals? Hire a Pumpkin Plan Strategist

Pumpkin Plan

The Business Strategy that Changes Lives

Successful but Miserable

Christeen Era was a successful business owner with a thriving business. And she was miserable. She had built her business from scratch. But there were elements of the business that she just hated. She had clients that made her life miserable on a regular basis. Sometimes she didn’t even want to answer the phones. She had employee headaches. She had no control over her time. Eventually, she realized that this was not how she wanted to live her life and something had to change. So she took that business apart and started over with a new business strategy.

As Christeen was building her new business and trying to stay on course, she discovered The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field, by Mike Michalowicz, and the light bulb went on for her.

The Pumpkin Plan is based on the idea that when you are operating in your Business Sweet Spot, business growth stops being hard.

The Sweet Spot is the place where 3 key elements of your business align: your Top Clients, your Unique Offering and your Systems and Processes.

Pumpkin Plan

When you have an identifiable Top Client Niche, a Unique Offering that your Top Clients want and need, and the Systems and Processes to deliver your Unique Offering to your Top Clients efficiently, effectively and profitably, you are in your Sweet Spot.

As Christeen read the book, she was able to identify the reasons why she so was unhappy in her first business, and make sure that she didn’t make the same mistakes again. The last time she was not operating in her Sweet Spot. This time would be different.

Life Changing Transformation

Christeen was so impressed with the power of the The Pumpkin Plan method, that she decided to become a Certified Pumpkin Plan Strategist so that she could help her clients undergo the life changing transformation that she was experiencing.

(Go HERE to watch a video of Christeen talking about the impact that becoming a Pumpkin Plan Strategist has had on her business).

For Christeen, that transformation started with the Mission, Vision,  and Purpose exercises from the Pumpkin Plan Program. Getting really clear on her long term vision and her business mission, as well as her core values, made a huge difference to the direction of the business. Putting these thoughts on paper enabled her to see how her business vision could enable her vision for her life.

She saw that she could have a profitable company, she could buy the house of her dreams, she could go on vacations with her family, and give herself space to not have to work around the clock to achieve her financial goals. According to Christeen: “I don’t think we would even be here where we’re at now, if we hadn’t applied the mission, vision and purpose exercises the way that we did.”

The Power of Niching

Christeen’s business, Core Growth Strategies, is a high end accounting and business growth consulting company. Initially they were serving a diverse group of small businesses. After doing the Top Client Assessment from the Pumpkin Plan, Christeen identified a niche client base – the Lawn Care and Landscape Industry. She recognized that she had a found a group of business owners that really needed her help, and she felt uniquely qualified to serve.

As she slowly started getting rid of the clients who were not ideal for her company, everything started operating more smoothly, efficiently and profitably.

Christeen saw such a big opportunity to go all-in serving her client niche that she started a separate business with a partner, Green Profit Academy, specifically focused on delivering profitable growth strategies to the Lawn Care industry. Because she knows the industry so well, and she knows their issues and challenges so well, she has been able to take a deep dive into finding solutions that are specific to their industry. She has created tools and processes, and customized the Pumpkin Plan and Profit First tools to meet the specific needs of her client niche.

Specialization has had many benefits for Christeen’s two businesses. Because they are serving a specific niche, she has been able to streamline her operations, making it easier to run her businesses.

Christeen’s team members know exactly what her clients need, and they have the systems to support that. Her employees don’t have to learn about or ask questions about many different types of businesses, because they are focused on serving one type of business.

Christeen and her companies have become known as the experts, the go-to accounting and coaching firms in the Lawn Care industry. The word has gotten out, and prospective clients are finding her. Her marketing has become highly streamlined and effective, as she can speak to the specific needs of her clients’ industry. The return on her marketing investment is high, creating higher profits in her business.

The Biggest Transformation

The biggest transformation for Christeen, however, has been how she feels about her business. She and her team members are really passionate about what they do. They know that they are making a real difference in the lives of their clients and that is very rewarding for them. Thanks to The Pumpkin Plan strategy, Christeen is bringing in the income that supports her lifestyle, she has control of her time, she is doing work she is passionate about, and she has fallen back in love with her business!

Are you passionate about supporting small businesses to grow and thrive? Become a Certified Pumpkin Plan Strategist

Would you like help and guidance to reach your business goals? Hire a Pumpkin Plan Strategist