DMV CEOI AM CEO PODCASTMarketingSocial Entrepreneurship

IAM1608 – Brand Strategist Helps Consultants Create More Impact through Photography

Podcast Interview with Melissa Henry

Why it was selected: Melissa gets what it means to have a brand and how it is a part of all aspects of the business. Having the strategy piece I think takes things to another level. For Melissa, it's not just being a photographer, it can often be the strategy that helps highlight your secret sauce. Also, how important it is to do the work and create the time to build that foundation with her framework.

Check out premium content in the CBNation Library at and pick up our eBook to hear some of the best lessons at

Previous Episode:


The full transcription is only available to CBNation Library Members. Sign up today!

Melissa Henry Teaser 0:00

Hire people that can do that other stuff, that's why that brand strategy is important. You get to say what is my next investment and that could be with a person coming into your business, it could be automating something, getting the help that you need to do that automation. You're a Mac, by the way you are a massive automation machine.

Intro 0:21

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview. If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkness values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of, this is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:48

Hello hello hello this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast I have a very special guest on the show today I have Melissa Henry of personal brandtography which also houses Melissa demple photography. Melissa excited to have you on the show.

Melissa Henry  1:01

Thank you excited to be here.

Gresham Harkless  1:03

Yeah super excited about all the awesome things that you're doing and of course before we jumped in I want to read a little bit more about Melissa so you can hear about some of those awesome things. Melissa Henry, Founder of Personal Brandtography™ and Melissa Demple Photography, helps female coaches and consultants strategically clarify and showcase their personal brands online, making their marketing WAY more effective, creating a bigger impact AND growing their business to multiple six and seven figures. With 13 years in the photography industry and over 4 years studying brand strategy while building her own personal brand, Melissa's uniqueness is in combining personal brand strategy with photography to create images that capture your personal brand AND powerfully connect you with your target audience. Unlike other brand photographers out there, with Melissa, you get BOTH brand strategy and professional brand imagery! Melissa excited again to have you on the show my friend are you raised me to the I am CEO community? 

Melissa Henry  1:57

Yes, I'm excited, this is great.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless  1:59

Let's get it started then. Yes, absolutely, so let's kick it off by rewinding the clock here a little bit more on how you got started what I call your CEO story.

Melissa Henry  2:07

I started off I was actually a CPA, I still am actually, but I was in a completely different industry for a very long time. About 13 years ago I started my photography business photographing maternity and newborn clients and I did that while I was holding down a full-time job. I'd always had this thing where I'm like, I'm gonna quit and I'm gonna do this full time but you know how we make all those mistakes and those excuses rather and it's like when there's enough money, when I have, when my daughter is after she's born, after we finish our house renovations etc. and I like to think that the Universe had gotten to a point where I was tired of hearing me say this and basically I got put on a job where it was a really toxic work environment. It was the client side, the clients were the issue not my company but the clients its in Government Contracting so I'm sure that anyone who's familiar with Government Contracting understands that relationship, so I was on the site and I was there until sometimes three in the morning I had an incident where the client came over to us and was like yelling at me in the middle like it's like 10:30 at night and I'm like oh my God and I had that moment where I was like I'm either going to just quit and race out the door like right then and there or turn around and punch this person in the face and I was like and this is not me right like I don't people don't take me there so that was kind of that moment where I said all right you know what like you've been saying this forever just like do this thing already and so I did and it wasn't right at that moment exactly but it was fairly soon after that and uh so when I got into uh being a full-time business owner I also at that very moment decided to switch my niche so instead of working with maternity and newborn clients suddenly I was like oh personal branding yes where have you been all my life you know something that I had actually done years prior that could have been considered that suddenly was coming up as as the thing that everybody was starting to do and I was like wait a minute this is it so I start off my new business without any clients without like without messaging without that kind of without a website that spoke to that it was crazy but here I am you know five minutes five years later it feels like five minutes but five years later and um yeah that I'm doing what I love and it's I mean that's kind of the short and sweet of it.

See also  IAM491- Entrepreneur and Digital Content Creator Runs a Designing eCommerce Business

Gresham Harkless  4:57

Nice well I definitely appreciate you sharing that and I think that you know I too have had you know when you feel like you're not in the right spot and you're like I really want to do this X Y and Z thing and then the kind of the it's like the burner on the oven it gets hotter and hotter and hotter there makes you leap out and you're almost like I don't want to do it I want to do it but I don't want to do it and then you know you feel like you can't but not do it and you know sometimes it's not done the prettiest way the perfect way but I think as I find most people that are the most successful there is no perfect or sometimes pretty way it's just a way and you just try to make it works as best as you can.

Melissa Henry 5:34

Yes exactly, exactly that and I think it is about that and even now like whenever there's the hard days you know I just think to myself yeah but I remember how hard that was and I will never put myself back in this situation like that again so that just gives me that motivation to just keep going.

Gresham Harkless  5:54

Yeah, absolutely and it sounds like it's very empowering as well too because you start to realize that you do have that opportunity to kind of you know redirect you know your life your mission your gifts on a deeper level to you know things that can really kind of help support yourself but also the community and world around.

Melissa Henry  6:11

Yeah and you know it's interesting too and we're probably going to get a little bit into this I suppose but I found during this past five years that what I was doing was deeper than just photos like it was like I started working with clients and realizing that oh my God like I can't separate the like the brand strategy side of things from the photos and I was finding that I would see other photographers go on groups and things and they'd be like well I don't have a session tomorrow but I don't even know what to photograph and I'm like going oh my God like how can you show up to someone's site and just treat it like it's a portrait session it's not this is really like this is someone's brand and you need to represent present it the right way so that they grow their influence in the way that they want to it's got to be an alignment so that's kind of why that sort of strategy piece started creeping in and now it's like this is all part of the whole process for me and you know I'm helping people build those the Strategic side as well as then subsequently representing it from a visual perspective.

Gresham Harkless  7:20

Absolutely absolutely so I wanted to drill down a little bit more I know we touched on it a little bit already but hear a little bit more on how you're serving your clients how you're making their impact on how you're helping them to show their brands and to be found.

Melissa Henry  7:33

So yeah the process that I use now I have a coaching strategy program and it walks people through these elements of their brand and something I want to kind of back up a little bit and explain to people if they're not really sure what brand means because a lot of people will say well brand is you know your logo and your graphics and your website etc. that's what I always tell to people it's a visual representation of your brand but the brand itself is the foundation underneath all of that and it's comprised of a lot of things namely I'll go through everything but basically you need to know your vision you got to be connected to that Vision you need to know your mission where are you headed like how are you getting there you have to and everybody's heard ICA you know ideal client Avatar or audience wherever you want to call the a but that part is important but it's also important to form the perspective of just understanding their pain points and there's more to it, there's more like components to it but those are kind of the I would say like the initial things that we walk through and then when we're as we're working through this we're creating a framework for them it's a blueprint is what I call it my God if you if you have this like blueprint over to your web design person or your graphic design person they're just going to go oh my God this is exactly what I need and they may have a few additional questions but literally they're getting this feeling about you from that blueprint and so then you're able to do the other things you know goout and get your photos taken go out and get video if that's the right thing for you but that's really where that all comes from and that's how that whole that bow gets tied together.  

See also  IAM238- Entrepreneur Offers Photography and Video Services in a Quick Turnaround

Gresham Harkless  9:15

Nice I love that visual with the bow and tying it together and I find and I'm sure you have found the same thing whether it be websites or photos I just need my photo done and you ask for that framework you ask those questions that you ask about your mission your vision your ICA and all those things and people probably don't have the answers to it it makes I imagine so much more difficult to not necessarily to do the work but to really I think Excel and go to an entirely different level with that you know client or person that you're working with if those things aren't kind of like in line so that that kind of brings me to what I like to ask for which is your secret sauce and this could be for yourself the brands the businesses the combination of both but what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

Melissa Henry  9:57

From the perspective of the photography side when I'm with clients what they've told me is that I don't know how you do this but you just you've got me like it's like it's you know captured me and really who I am and it's that comes super easy to me too it's just in the way that I work with them and it's kind of some of the things I do on set where it pulls that out of them setting a scene up where let's say they're working with a with a client and getting that sort of emotional interaction we might I might even say them well act as if you really are working with them like walk them through your process and talk and they start getting into that instead of there's a camera there when I'm working with someone in a coaching perspective what's going on there is a lot of like I just it's weird I can sit there and like listen to somebody and I can go oh my God that ties with this part of your brand do you see it so we were talking through it and what we realized for her she had all this stuff going on and then suddenly it was like boom you're a sleep expert because what do people need when they're new parents sleep everything else comes from that that's the spoke of your wheel like the center of your wheel.

Gresham Harkless  11:19

Absolutely, so absolutely appreciate all the awesome things that you're doing what I wanted to do now was switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack so this could be like an apple book or a habit that you have but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Melissa Henry  11:33

I have to be a steward of my business if you know that cash flow and revenue and clients are the things that run your business which they do that's number one if you know that and you structure your day around that concept then you will be able to be a good Steward for your business the other stuff like the higher people that can do that other stuff that's why that brand strategy is important by the way is like you get to like say what is my next investment and that could be with a person coming into your business it could be automating something getting the help that you need to do that automation you're a Mac by the way you are a massive automation machine I love how you set up your like everything it's all it's done you know but you know you invested in that and maybe it was your own time or whatever but you it might have a combination of whatever but it is an investment that is totally paying off for you now because you can stay in what you do the best same thing for me and that's where I'm that's what I think is the biggest hack.

Gresham Harkless  12:37

Absolutely so what would you consider to be what I like to call a CEO nugget you might have already special on this as well but it's a little bit more word of wisdom or piece of advice I like to say it might be something you would tell your favorite client or if you have to do a time machine you might tell your younger business self.

See also  IAM1562 - Coach Helps Clients Achieve Financial Fitness and Empowerment

Melissa Henry  12:51

So what that is like that's what it is getting super granular with who it is that you are going to work with the best and that starting with that like you're not going to know that right out of the gate by the way if you're just starting out you need to get your feet wet you need to go through the whole the pain of like working with all different kinds of people and figuring it out you get it you gotta go through that's like the everyone needs to when they're in like a coaching Consulting kind of business right when you start to do that you start to see who you can help the most you start to understand that and then like bring like let's Niche it down so don't be afraid of committing it doesn't mean you're not going to have plenty of clients you will you absolutely will.

Gresham Harkless 13:39

That's a mountain I love that nugget so I want to ask you now my absolute favorite question which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO we're hoping our different quote unquote CEOs on this show so Melissa what does being a CEO mean to you?

Melissa Henry  13:51

Someone who is standing in front of their business as the face of their business and as the steward of their business would you like me to expand on that?

Gresham Harkless 14:01

I would love to hear more if you have more.

Melissa Henry  14:04

We talked a little bit about already about the steward, being the steward of your business so I think we've kind of crushed that one but with being the face of that business what I think a lot of people feel like when they first start a business is that they should put the business out there right it's not really about me it's about my business and what's what's happened in the world over the past approximately 10 years or so is that that shifted and covet even made it go faster and that is that it's not like the business is there that is true but if you don't stand out in front of that business it's so much harder to grow it because people are more and more and more looking to individuals as that Authority that's why I say be if you're going to be the CEO be the face of your company and don't be like afraid of doing that like I think I oh my gosh I have so many people who say well I'm gonna Splash myself all over my website or something like okay but then how are you different unless you have a brand new thing or service that no one's ever seen before your uniqueness comes from within you.

Gresham Harkless 15:17

Awesome awesome, well Melissa truly appreciate that definition and of course I appreciate your time even more so what I want to do now is pass you the mic so to speak just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know and of course how best we will get a hold of you and find about all the awesome things that you're working on.

Melissa Henry  15:33

Connect with me on LinkedIn if you like it's under Melissa I think I have a Demple Henry because Demple is my maiden name but moreover, I do have a free gift for you I have what I'm calling the visibility plan master class so what that does for people is you get to look at where you are in your brand Journey like what have you identified right and where are you in business and then you get to figure out okay what should I do right now to become more visible so I can bring in more clients.

Gresham Harkless  16:05

Awesome awesome thank you so much again Melissa and like you mentioned to make it even easier we're going to have the links and information in the show notes LinkedIn the free gift all the awesome things that you're doing and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day yes it's a bumper sticker there you go.

Outro  16:21

Thank you for listening to me I am CEO podcast powered by CB nation and blue 16 media, tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO is not just a phrase It's a community check out the latest and greatest apps books and habits to level up your business at this has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button