BSR Wisdom

  • Solo Business Story: Patty Bennett’s Thriving at Home aging in place business is thriving

    Thriving at Home LLC fulfills service gaps needed by older adults.  And Patty Bennett credits Jackie B. Peterson’s Unique Value Proposition technique with strengthening her business message.

    Patty Bennett and her mother.

    Patty Bennett and her mother Marianne.  Patty started Thriving At Home to empower older adults who choose to stay in their home safely.

    The path that led Patty to establish Thriving at Home LLC:

    “In 2005, when my children were in school all day, I decided to head out and get back into the workforce,” Patty writes.  “I took a career test at Rock Creek PCC.  It said should I look at careers in Geriatric Social Work. Hmm, I thought. That makes sense as I always loved being around my grandparents and my 20 great aunts and uncles.”

    Patty continues, “That same week my neighbor Allen’s dog showed up at my door and led me back to his house where Allen was close to going into a diabetic coma. That day led to 4 years of managing his 24/7 home-care as Allen’s family lived far away. Allen did not want to go to a senior living community, so I created a home environment that was safe for him, created a daily activity program for him that included physical activities inside and out of the home—he loved to swim so we found local pools that he could swim at.  I learned so much in those 4 years, especially what ‘was not available for him’.”

    Sadly Allen passed away.  A few months after that Laurel Parc Senior Living Community Center opened.  Patty checked it out. “On that day began a wonderful seven year journey of working all aspects in a Senior Community Living. I drove the bus, I worked the reception area, I was an Activity Director and Event Coordinator, and finally Director of Resident Experiences.

    “During this time, I also took care of my mom in her last years. I was one of those that they are labeling as the ‘Sandwich’ generation: taking care of both my mother, children and working full time.

    “My ‘journey’ has given me so much insight to what seniors and their families are facing today when they begin their journey of ‘aging.’ By circumstance I have become a specialist in the process of aging, and have chosen to ‘Pay it Forward’.”

    What’s working now?  Patty her elevator pitch and with Jackie’s help turned it into a Unique Value Proposition. She now calls herself a specialist which makes it easy to communicate her business message.  She can now network with confidence.

    Lessons learned/take away/advice:  “Jackie helped me zero in on my specialty and how to communicate it to my target market,” Patty says.  “She helped me define my pricing and structure my service levels.”  Patty said she now knows how to differentiate her business from other businesses.  Lastly she says she feels strongly motivated to build her solo business.

    Final thoughts: “Don’t give up. Continue to use all the resources you can from the SBA, Score and Climb. They will help motivate you and help you believe in your vision and yourself.”

    Want Jackie’s valuable help?  She is teaching classes at the Encorepreneur Cafe in November. Learn more and sign up for classes here.





  • Solo Business Success: Painter Nancy Klos talks about the ups, downs being a working artist

    Artist Nancy Klos

    Artist Nancy Klos

    Name of Business: Atelier NAN of Klos Studios…est. 1990

    What the Business Does:  Create original works of art for a national clientele:  Paintings, drawings done En Plein Air, Alla Prima.  Commissions welcome.

    Currently teaches adult classes and workshops, private and semi-private lessons are available, including Individual Study.

    How long have you been doing this? “Since 1990…27 years!”

    When did you start creating art?  “I have always studied and created art. My degree is

    in Fine Art, Art History and French. I have designed, knitwear, created large scale tapestries and now produce paintings in ink and oils. I have created for as long as I can remember!”

    What’s working now?  Nancy is constantly entering her artwork in shows, loading artwork onto Facebook and Instagram.  She knows how important it is to market her wares everyday.  She has been on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat three times: 2002, 2004, 2006.  HGTV featured her in 2000.  Nancy was recently contacted by Southwest Art magazine, for an article titled “Women in Art.”  But, despite all the pay off promotion yields, more promotion goes on top of that.  “Even with an article in this magazine, I still have to get the word out.”

    Nancy has taught art for years, because she loves teaching the “language of art.”  “I love helping people find their voice.”  She teaches kindergarten through adult levels.

    “I have a website set up by collections.  I also practice Sumi-E which has influenced the way I paint and see the design and com-positional elements.”

    “Now I find it very challenging to sell my paintings.  I am currently looking for a gallery to represent my work.  I am also trying to be better at selling online/directly from my studio.”

    “Try to paint everyday in some small way and in larger parts of the day. En Plein AIr is usually a three to four hour commitment. Alla Prima in the studio can be in smaller time frames with works over time. Teaching refreshes me.”

    BSR Take Away:  Nancy knows the importance of getting out there.  Online and in person.  Artists and all solos have to publicize what they do.  Even when national media profiles you, don’t sit back, share the media and let everyone know. It is important to take advantage of any publicity that comes your way.  

    Nancy took Jackie’s Encore Entrepreneur class recently.  You can too by checking the events link on this web site.

    Note: Translation of her studio’s name: “Atelier” is French for studio.  “NAN” is the Chinese version of her name.

  • Solo Business Stories: Polly Bangs creates Urban Excursions providing elderly activities

    Polly Bangs and her dad. Her dad was the inspiration for Urban Excursians.

    Polly Bangs saw a need for socialization for seniors who may be otherwise isolated. So, she launched Urban Excursions. Pictured here with her father Cameron.

    Polly Bangs has a history of creating social ventures that help people.  Urban Excursions is her latest, providing the elderly with social activities.

    Name of business: Urban Excursions.  It celebrates its five year anniversary November 2017.

    What the business does: Seven years ago, Polly Bangs moved her father to live with her.  Despite his dementia,

    he still had a positive outlook on life.  Polly looked for activities for her dad, but most services offered bingo or trips to the grocery store.  “Basic needs are covered, but not more than that,” she says.  Polly’s dad wanted to go on outings.

    What was the path that led to this venture? A trained social worker, Polly ran Pasta Bangs, an eatery that employed as risk youth.  She did this for a few years prior to founding Urban Excursions.

    What’s working now: Urban Excursions offers two kinds of outings: low key get togethers for those who are looking for social interaction.  Plus, there is an exploratory group that is more involved.  Outings can be purchased online.

    Polly gets the word out using all forms of media: including television ads, presentations, events

    Urban Excursions at Blue Lake.

    Urban Excursions at Blue Lake.

    .  Now word of mouth is working quite well.

    Take Away:  “I wish I had done this earlier.”

    Polly took an advanced business course from Jackie, helping guide her through this process.  You too can contact Jackie to learn about upcoming courses and the support she offers to growing businesses. Jackie’s work always aims at helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and goals. Call her! 503-224-5910








  • Encore Entrepreneur Stories: Jeannie Chapman’s re-branding her venture 45 Degree Branding

    Jeannie Chapman of 45 Degrees Branding

    Jeannie Chapman of 45 Degrees Branding

    Jackie B. Peterson helped Jeannie Chapman narrow her focus to draw out her true calling: branding.

    Name of Business: “45 Degrees Branding has a different perspective, based on my 2 decades in
    branding. It symbolizes an oblique view that sees beyond the face value of your business, into the heart of what makes it unique.
    And it’s a nod to our beautiful Portland, at 45 degrees nw.”

    Established: Originally in 2000.

    Journey of  re-visioning, re-creating, re-imagining:  “This is a re-brand, based on Jackie’s recommendation to focus solely on my strength and talent as a brand expert.”

    What’s working now?  “This is a complete joy and a very different approach for me. Typically in my
    industry, you never reference work older than 2-3 years because it makes you look
    dated. The inability to show older work (and some of what I think is my best work)
    always made me feel uncomfortable because I wasn’t showing my real
    capabilities. Now, with this re-brand, what I’m doing is showing the strength of
    Branding projects still going strong after 15-20 years. What’s traditionally seen as
    the weakness of having older work has been turned into a strength. I am able to
    be my whole, unique self. This is all based on Jackie’s recommendation for my

    Take away/advice/lessons learned: “Taking Jackie’s class and consulting with
    her is the best business decision I’ve ever made. Dive deep and create a truly
    unique niche where there’s no competition. Be brave and confident and charge
    what you’re worth so you can live your passion.”

    Find out how Jackie can help you find your focus here.



  • Encore Entrepreneur Stories: Miyoko Fuse uses Feng Shui for Home Esteem business

    Miyoko Fuse combines her interest in gerontology and Feng-Shui to create positive home environments.

    Business name: Home Esteem

    What the business does: Home environment design with Feng-Shui considerations. Her specialization is helping older adults stay in their homes as they age.

    Origin Story: Thirteen years ago Miyoko started her business with a very small step.  “Everything was a fresh start. No business experience.  No budgets.  I did not borrow any money from any financial institution.  I fed my business from my other work that was translation and editing.”

    Miyoko Fuse, owner of Healthy Home for Healthy Aging

    Miyoko Fuse, owner of Healthy Home for Healthy Aging.

    Miyoko differentiated her approach to home design in three areas: Japanese design, Feng-Shui, and helping older adults stay in their homes. Ten years ago, “aging in place” was not a priority with many designers.  She established her niche early.

    She balanced her lack of experience by having a Master’s degree in Communication. She enrolled in a gerontology program, and an interior design program to learn about American housing systems.  Miyoko earned a Certified Aging in Place designation from the National Home Builders Association.  Now Miyoko is both a certified Aging-in-Place Specialist and a certified green professional.

    Journey of re-invention, re-creation:  Miyoko writes, “I was in the translation industry, translating  from English to Japanese, mainly huge documents. The Japanese economy went down a slippery slope, and the translation company that I used to work for could not get Japanese projects for me any longer.  I got laid off. I was in my early 50s.  Is was time for me to think how I would support myself for the rest of my life.  I thought that my last career (as translator) would not be affected by the world economy.”  Miyoko then asked herself “what is stable?  Homes!”  A home is a basic need.  I live with an American husband in a U.S. constructed house, and  I will continue to live in the same house, says Miyoko. I would like my home to be a happy, peaceful place to live longer.  Many others would wish for the same situation, wouldn’t they?” Turns out, they do.

    What makes your business work?  “My credibility.  A Japanese person learns and uses the discipline of Feng-Shui.  My personality: patience, active listening to other’s needs, and sincerity.”  Being a published author of Healthy Home for Healthy Aging with Feng Shui helps.   Marketing happens largely via word of mouth.

    Jackie teaches many classes to help you get started with your solo business or refine the entrepreneurial idea you have.  You can learn these ideas also by reading and doing the exercises in her book, Better, Smarter, Richer here.