Debra Cleveland Real Estate Article

Taking my conscious message of real estate investing and artistic approach to both my rental units and renovation project is my signature approach to the business.  I feel it is smart to put your hard earned money in real estate to create on-going cash-flow and future wealth.  This is what I did with the profits from a business that I owned for over 16 years.  Real Estate is what created my wealth not the business I owned.

Conveying this message with a heartfelt visual brand is what Chris Cooley from CMCreative Design did for me and does for his many clients.  Here is an interview we did for the Finger Lakes Women Magazine.

Finger Lakes Women Magazine Article

Chris Cooley is owner and creative conductor behind CMCreative Design, a personal visual branding firm in Rochester, New York. Chris has developed a FREE seven-step process called the B.E.S.T. (Branding. Education. System. Training.) program, which teaches the ins and outs of personal visual branding. These seven easy steps are directed (but not limited) to entrepreneurs who appreciate change and aren’t afraid to think differently.

After four years of being the top producer at a premium promotional company, Deb Cleveland got the itch to start her own business. It turned into a $1.8 million business within five years. During that time, Deb realized that the premium and promotional business was hard work and decided that investing in real estate would assure her long-term financial objectives. To Deb, real estate was a medium of artistic expression where The Queen of Investment Real Estate was able to create beautiful living spaces for her clients.

Hi, Deb. How are you?

This is the best time of my life.

I’d like to give our readers a little bit of your background. You created two multimillion dollar companies. Can you please describe them and give a little bit of their/your history?

Information about my current and past businesses are in my bio, but the topic I am asked about the most is what fueled my success. In the very beginning it was fear, and as I matured it became about creating beauty and feeling good about making a difference. My clients always loved working with me because I am a quick out-of-the-box thinker who cares. I would come up with marketing items and ideas that they were proud to put their brand on and would have a lasting impression on their clients.

So, with a premium promotional company such as yours, you must have worked with a lot of designers. Can you tell me what type of brand developers and graphic designers you’ve worked with in the past and what some of the pros and cons were?

Yes, Chris, I have worked with a range of corporate brand and marketing companies as well as the do-it-yourselfers. The big marketers played it safe, wanting mostly to keep things status quo, while the start-ups didn’t know what they wanted or needed, so they relied on me to help them pick out fonts, colors, slogans, copy, etcetera.

I’m curious what you think about my philosophies and process compared to your other experiences.

What I know after working with over a thousand businesses over the years is that those businesses would have done anything to have found what your business offers. Instead, what they were finding were very expensive branding/logo companies and, if they did find one that fit their budget, they weren’t allowed to give much input. Even if they could give their input, it was rarely considered.

Based on the time we’ve spent working together, how would you define a personal visual brand and what have I helped you realize about the process of creating/maintaining one?

Chris, you were willing to let me bring all of my creative ideas to you, no matter how ridiculous the ideas might have seemed to start. I remember bringing in paint chip samples, wallpaper books, crayon drawings, fabrics, photos, fonts I had researched, several “crown” ideas—all in a box that we spread out on your conference room table. With your artistic wizardry, you pulled together a few designs that encompassed all of the elements. You also wanted to know about my business and about the clients I was serving, which added to the outcome. The process was fun and exciting, to say the least. We are still having fun, like my latest idea about creating a character of “the goose that laid the golden egg.” Now that we have my branding set, you’ve developed this theme with fun drawings to expand my company’s ideas!

Here’s a good one: You say I look 20 years old, but I’m right on the edge of 30. I know I look like I’ve found the fountain of youth, but have my strapping young looks and youthful attitude ever been a problem?

No, your strapping young creative heart is what brought out the playful, creative and expressive branding that has come forth.

OK, since we do work so well together, let’s try this question: When we sit down to have a conversation, it always turns into a creative brainstorming session. Why do you think that is?

Chris, not many people can take an idea and expand upon it like you do. I have had a lot of practice being in a similar business for over 20 years, so I am used to being the one who does what you do for me.

You created a nickname for me, the Design Genius of the World. Although it sounds a bit extreme, where did the name come from?

Chris, you are a design genius. (See the definition below.) I have watched you grow and evolve into one of the most original and genuine designers I have ever met.

(genius(jnys) n. pl. genius·es a. Extraordinary intellectual and creative power.)

Alrighty, Deb. I create unique brands for people that really represent them in a visual way, and I am just starting to promote this expertise. You’ve been doing something important and special for a while now. What is it?

I figured out what most people who got into real estate investing didn’t realize. It is a BUSINESS! I was going to retire after I sold my primary business, so I liquidated my portfolio. I took a few years off to rest and reflect on my life. During that time, I was divinely directed to guide business people who wanted to invest their hard-earned money so that they would have the financial freedom that they, too, dreamed of. I am just starting to work with clients who are serious about building long-term wealth with real estate. I have also created a program that is my flagship program called Knowing Your GPS. This process is what I used for years to build two very successful businesses. I’ve created my first release specifically for real estate investors, although this process can be used for any area of your life where you need change, clarity and direction.

Well, I couldn’t have reached this point without your guidance and support. Now, because of your influence, my B.E.S.T. program is at the brink of exposing industry secrets to the masses and on the verge of ascending to the highest pinnacle. Do you feel somewhat responsible?

Chris, you make me proud. I believe in you. You did what it takes to be successful, dare I say a Purple Cow!

Until next time…

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