How to Get an Appointment
with the Briarpatch Consulting Team

Appointments with the Briarpatch Consulting Team are a benefit of membership. To learn or be reminded about how to become a member, keep reading.

Join the Briarpatch (new members) or
Pay Your Dues (old members)

  1. If you’re new to Briarpatch, check out the Home page, About page, and any other pages you’re drawn to, to see if you identify, mostly, with what we say we believe in, value, or practice. (You can find a list of all the pages on the Sitemap.) 

  2. Visit the Briarpatch virtual community and answer the membership questions or refresh your previous answers.

  3. New or old member, write a one-page letter telling: who you are and what you’re up to in “business” (as defined by Briarpatch *), three or four major questions or concerns you hope to discuss at your consultation session.

    • (* In Briarpatch, whether creative, cause-based, or commerce-driven, every project is considered a business).

  4. Email your letter to or mail it to Briarpatch, c/o Claude Whitmyer, 601 Van Ness Avenue, Suite E433, San Francisco, CA 94102-3200

  5. If you mail your letter, you may enclose a check for your voluntary dues amount.

  6. If you email your letter, you may use the link below to pay your dues.

Learn more about Briarpatch membership and dues.

Click on one of these links to pay your dues online (uses PayPal).

Alternatively, you may donate whatever amount you like by check payable to Claude Whitmyer.

You may send the check by mail to:

Claude Whitmyer
601 Van Ness Avenue, Suite E, Box 433
San Francisco, CA 94102

Don’t need a full-fledged consultation right now? Do have a single, focused question you’d like to ask, instead? 

Check out the Briarpatch Mini-Consultations:
15 minutes free for members or $25 for non-members (may be applied toward dues if you’d like to become a member).


Dues are voluntary.

Whatever dues amount you choose will cover 6 months. The range has been from $25 (that’s what they could afford) to $250 (they were really generous and/or happy with our advice or other experience). (Note: That would be from $80 to $800 in today’s dollars when adjusted for inflation.)

$100 is a nice moderate amount if you can afford it. $50 is a commonly donated amount.

You should only join if you identify fairly strongly the various principles, practices, and values described on this website.

We’ve found in the past that we can be helpful for a wide variety of issues. We’ve also found that we’ve had limited success with people who don’t really identify with our values and principles. Because they don’t believe in the same things, they don’t put our advice to work in the same way.

Regarding Help With Business Start-Up Ideas

Sad to say, we are not very good at helping evaluate new ideas for whether they will work.

Four Things to Successfully Launch a New Project

It takes four things in just the right balance to launch a new project with a chance of succeeding beyond an initial flurry of excitement and spending:

  • The right people
  • The right amount of capital
  • Tradeskill
  • Detailed financial records

We’ve seen people with all kinds of combinations of these four. We have seen good ideas fail and terrible ideas succeed. Just as many over-capitalized ones failed as those with too little capital. We’ve seen some businesses live on longer than expected because of the high degree of tradeskill behaviors from key players. We’ve never seen a project of any kind succeed for long without financial records.

On the other hand, if you get to the point where you have a track record, especially detailed financial information, we have seen our advice be powerfully helpful in growing, right-sizing, and sunsetting all sorts of projects.

What Happens Next?

After we receive your dues payment and letter, we will email or call you to make an appointment (so be sure to include your email address and phone number in your letter). If you live at a distance, appointments will be by web conference or phone, whichever you prefer.

We will usually ask you to send us certain key information to prepare, including, in order of importance:

  • Financial Reports
  • Educational Offerings
  • Marketing Collateral
  • Website Presence
  • Social Media Presence

Financial Reports

Financial reports are the heart of a business.

Financial reports provide detailed maps of the past or snapshots of the present.

Financial reports are the foundation of planning the future.

Our preferred reports (at least to start with) are: 

Balance Sheet Report

  • Most current Balance Sheet Report
    • What you own and what you owe
      • Category level: major assets and major liabilities

Revenue and Expenses Reports

At least one of the following:

  • Income Statement (also known as Profit and Loss Statement)
  • Cash Flow Statement
    • Money In and Out
      • Organized like an Income Statement, but including all “cash in: and “cash out.” For example, cash in as loans or investments and cash out as loan payments or dividends. 

The more detail you can provide in these reports, the more helpful we can be.

We prefer to see financial reports for a minimum of three to five years. If this level of detail is not available, reports for more recent periods are acceptable. Here’s a list of reports in order of our preferences.

  • Three to Five Years
    • Major categories only
  • Most recent year
    • Months or Quarters. Detailed to major account groupings.
  • Most recent quarter
    • Detailed to major account groupings
  • Most recent month
    • Full chart of accounts

Educational Offerings

  • Product brochures
  • Demos
  • Tutorials
  • Courses/Workshops/Webinars
  • Any educational opportunity that is part of each transaction

Marketing Collateral

  • Brand standards (look and feel, logos, color schemes, etc.)
  • Brochures, fliers, broadsides, infographics
  • Advertisements (both print and online)
  • Listings (directories, other people’s resource lists, printed and online Yellow Pages, printed and online White Pages, online review sites, and so on.)

Website Presence

  • URL (web address)
  • Brand standards (look and feel, logos, color schemes, etc.)
  • Primary product/service offers
  • Lead Magnet/Content Upgrade landing pages
  • Sample bonuses
  • Pop-Ups (triggered or otherwise)

Social Media Presence


  • Personal profile
  • Testimonials
  • Expertise endorsements


  • Sample graphics
  • Personal profile


  • Handle
  • Personal profile


  • Personal profile
  • group pages (groups you manage that specifically support your business)
  • business page


For example:


Other Stuff

Please include any other item or element of your brand, offers, and/or services that you think differentiates you in your  market niche.

For the member who can provide all of this information, congratulations! You’re well on the way to finding solutions to any challenge you may be facing, whether or not you get help from us.

For those that find these reports to be a challenge, let’s talk well in advance of your appointment to figure out what information you can share and whether that will be enough for us to be helpful.

For more information or if you have any questions, use our contact form to make a request or start a conversation.