Author Archives: Aunti Cindi

Word of the Year – 2018

Word of the Year – 2018

Every year – for years – I’ve had a motto for my business, many times two mottos. I believe that an overarching theme for the year is a great way to focus when it comes to shiny objects. It’s easy to ask yourself, does it fit with my goals? Can I wholeheartedly state that this will make my business stronger in my preferred direction? Is it just a distraction?

And, to keep myself in check, I would add the mottos to my calendar every single day, so when I turned on my computer or checked my calendar, they were there, in front of me, reminding me of the big picture for the year.

But, I’ve decided to take a different approach to 2018. The year of this or that just doesn’t seem to resonate with me, much as it did in the past. I’ve noticed a lot of people are now choosing a word of the year, often in retrospect, but still, one word that defines the year. And, I’m on board!

However, I wish I had waited a bit before I selected my word. I still love it – but I’ll explain as I go along.

These last few years have been difficult in many ways, as I lost my brother just over a year ago plus I was a full time caregiver to my Mom for several years. She passed away in December, and I’m just finally coming up for some air. I loved taking care of my Mom, and it was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. However, it took its toll. Lots of stress, decisions, anxiety, lack of sleep – you get the picture. (Book in development – stay tuned!)

So, when it came time to choose my word for 2018, I decided on Celebrate. I want 2018 to be the year when I find many things in my life and business to celebrate, injecting joy along the way. I even created a small binder to track my progress throughout the year, and I’m excited to fill the pages.

However, the Chinese New Year is approaching, and it’s the Year of the Dog, the earth dog. As it happens, I’m an earth dog. I didn’t realize the year comes with its own word – Action! That sounds like a pretty good word, too!

I was a bit flummoxed as to which word to use after reading that, but then I decided that by taking action I would have much to celebrate. So, not a bad combination!

I think I’m off to a good start, working through the grief yet checking things off my ever-growing list. I have books to write, blogs to post, courses to create, clients to coach – and I hope you’re along with me for the ride.

We all face challenges in our lives, but being part of a supportive and inspired community helps us to keep moving forward.

I’m excited to share so much with you this year! Let me know what your plans are and how I can help! I’d also like to know what your word or motto is for the year.

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Sparkle on!

Aunti Cindi 

Tame Those Pesky Goals!

Tame Those Pesky Goals!

Many studies show that when you write down your goals, you have a much better chance of accomplishing them. So, then, why do so many people avoid setting and accomplishing goals?

Aside from the stress and anxiety of potentially feeling like a failure when you can’t cross an item off your list, I think there are three key areas that people struggle with when it comes to goals:

  1. When to set them
  2. How to define them
  3. How to track them

So, let’s look at each of these topics.

  1. When to set goals
    The logical time to set a goal is when you are ready to go after it! Traditionally, goals are set at the very end of the year or beginning of the New  Year. But, things change over 12 months and you might change your course of action, have a life-changing event, or discover something that absolutely needs to be accomplished right now! Limiting yourself to setting goals just once a year can impede your progress. I suggest setting them, but reviewing them on a regular basis – weekly or monthly – to make sure they still align to you. Having two or three umbrella goals like achieving financial independence, becoming the next best technology company or balancing your work/home life dynamic, will probably remain the same, with the subgoals and projects emanating from that.
  2. How to define goals
    Ah, this one is a bit tricky, as is the next. The best way to define the goal is in a way that you understand and will motivate you to achieve it. I know, that sounds like a cop out, but it truly makes sense. Giving you hard and fast rules as to how to define your goals might dissuade you from setting them. You know yourself best and how you like to see things – vision boards, colored markers, spreadsheets, pie charts, essays – whatever works for you is how you should do it. My one caution here is that if you like to do vision boards to also have something in writing so you can identify accomplishment, or have a way to mark the item off on the board, like a big gold star.
    As I stated above, I would start with a couple of umbrella goals, sometimes referred to as your WHY. What is the main reason you want to improve yourself/your business? Once you have the WHY identified, you can create subgoals and projects/action items related to each. As each action item gets crossed off the list, you’ll be that much closer to achieving your goal.
  3. How to track goals
    Again, tracking is as personal as you are. Some people are reluctant to set goals because they’ve tried it in the past and were not able to cross everything off their list by the end of the year. Well, guess what? That’s normal! Many goals take longer than a year to achieve, but as long as you’re making progress, that’s all that matters. I like to identify a highlighter color for each year – either a digital highlighter or a physical one – so I can see very clearly what was accomplished each year and how many years it took. I highlight and date as each action item or goal is accomplished. As you see accomplishment, your confidence grows and you want to achieve even more!

I hope these tidbits help you to begin or renew a process of goal setting and tracking. I talk a bit about goals in my book, Tame Those Pesky Details. I’m also working on an online course that will show different ways to identify and track your goals. Like my Facebook page to be the first to know! Sometimes you just need to find a new way of doing things!

How do you set and track your goals? What might be keeping you from accomplishing more? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave your comments below.

Sparkle on!

Aunti Cindi 

5 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

5 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read

I love to read – as well as write! I’m amazed how many people do not read! As they say in school, reading is fundamental! Sure, you might spend hours each day scouring Twitter, Facebook or even blog posts, but a book allows an author the opportunity to go into far more detail on a given topic than any blog or tweet.

I always have something interesting on my night stand or desk, and although I do read fiction, I generally read more nonfiction. Business books and biographies or motivational books top my list. 

Here are five books that I think every entrepreneur or small business owner would enjoy – and learn from! And – they make great gifts!

Finding My Virginity by Sir Richard Branson

I love Sir Richard Branson! I must have read or listened to his first autobiography, Losing My Virginity, at least five or six times. He’s very open and honest about struggles he’s gone through in building his business.  Plus, he’s an amazing adventurer and holds several world records. Talk about living a full life! I’m always very envious that he has such a simple but multi-use global brand. I’m not good at headlines or product names like Sir Richard! He is also very giving of those in need. The books are quite detailed and long but worth every second of your time.

Inventing Joy by Joy Mangano

I’m a huge fan of Joy Mangano. If you watch the movie, Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, you’ll get a bit of background on this lovely lady. Both she and Sir Richard came from humble beginnings and built gigantic businesses. She, too, looks at things and always tries to improve on them. I have a number of Joy items in my home and I’m very pleased and impressed that she created so many different products. Building a business is a lot of hard work and struggle while finding the best path for you. This interesting but quick read will lift your spirits and know that it’s possible to overcome obstacles.

Your Right to be Rich by Napoleon Hill

This audio CD set is very hard to find, but if you can locate it, you must have it! Napoleon Hill is best known for his book, Think and Grow Rich, but this CD series is audio recordings of seminars he taught many years ago. Hearing him speak rather than just reading his words will give you goose bumps and get your mind moving forward. I wish someone would re-release them. An absolute must-have!

The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone

Just 10 pages into this book and my mind was racing a mile a minute! I’d never read anything by Grant Cardone, but this book is truly motivating. We all have gifts and talents and it’s up to us to share them with the world. Not only does our work help others, it inspires others to use their gifts and talents, too. Again, nothing is easy; it takes a lot of effort – maybe a bit too much effort in Cardone’s case – but you will definitely find cherished nuggets in this book.

How To Screw Up A Good Idea

Aunti Cindi Presents: How to Screw Up a Good Idea by Cindi R. Maciolek

Seriously, did you think I’d create a list and leave off one of my books? Having worked with numerous startups over the years, I’ve seen repeated mistakes made by both seasoned executives and newcomers. In this book, I detail a number of common faults that cause businesses to fail. Do you see yourself falling into any of these traps? Better check it out before you are doomed to repeat other people’s mistakes.

That’s it for this list! I’d love to hear your thoughts, and to find out some of your favorite books. Be sure to leave a comment down below.

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Sparkle on!

Aunti Cindi 

This post contains affiliate links.

Gift Guide for Entrepreneurs

Gift Guide for Entrepreneurs

Greetings Sparklers!

The holidays are not the only time of year when we worry about buying the right gift. There are birthdays, anniversaries and thank you gifts, just to name a few. We want to purchase something that is both useful and memorable – more than a gift card but less than the food and alcohol options which might not be anxiously received. Then there’s that whole budget issue…

Here are a few gifts sure to please!

VuPoint Magic Wand Portable Scanner

I first bought this scanner to scan all the family photos I have, but it does so much more than that! It will scan contracts, receipts, and anything else that can slide through the scanner. There are two main reasons I really like this product. First, it scans at 1200 dpi in the dock. That’s awesome! Second, the wand can be removed from the dock and scanned over anything from images to articles to fabrics to pretty much anything your heart desires! It’s super easy to use, a great price, and if you do a lot of scanning, it won’t wear out your printer/scanner combo that most people have nowadays.

Bell and Howell Tac-Bat

I’m really into emergency preparedness, and preparation for small business must be on the list! This Tac-Bat is a five-way light source (low, medium, high, strobe, SOS), a weapon and an escape hammer. So, in addition to helping you see when the power goes out, you can use it to knock out a window – or an assailant – if need be. It’s super heavy duty and operates on just three AA batteries. It comes in a variety of colors and a great deal at less than $20 (as of this writing). Buy a few for yourself while you’re at it!

Nate Berkus Gold Scissors

Nate Berkus Gold Swingline Stapler

I came across these at Target when I was redoing my office, with gold and rose gold accents. I absolutely L-O-V-E both! The scissors are the best I’ve ever had and so chic in gold. The stapler is made by Swingline and we know those staplers last forever! I had a trusty old black Swingline but fell in love with this gold one. Again, great gifts are great prices and so contemporary. Target seems to have the best prices on these.

Himalayan Salt Lamp

Pink Himalayan salt is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It’s supposed to clean the air and provide positive health benefits. Plus, these lamps are really cool to look at. Salt rooms are popping up all around the country. Be a hero and buy one for your favorite entrepreneur! Again, these are quite affordable – generally under $30 – and will be both useful and memorable to the gift recipient.

AA Batteries

Now, you  might think this is the strangest gift, but I guarantee you every time the recipient needs a battery, they will think of you as they go to their stockpile. Wrap it pretty. Put a giant bow on it. It is both useful and memorable and works within your budget. You can purchase any quantity you like, but this lot of 100 will be used up just in time for you to purchase another package in a year!

What are your favorite gifts for entrepreneurs? I’d love to hear! 

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Sparkle On!

Aunti Cindi

Four Perfect Briefcase Options

 

Four Perfect Briefcase Options

Greetings Sparklers!

Finding the right briefcase that works for you and your business can be almost as exhausting as buying a new pair of jeans!

Some people work from home nearly 100 percent of the time and really don’t need anything more than a laptop case. Some have events around town or make day trips and need room for clothing and supplies. Others have large client files or lots of product samples and need something a bit roomier. Quite frankly, over the years I’ve accumulated a variety of briefcases, and use them at different times.

Here are some options for your consideration.

1. Leather duffle.

A leather duffle is timeless and long lasting. If you’re a speaker, presenter or have need to carry a lot of stuff with you, get one with wheels. I have this particular one from Joy Mangano (sorry, it’s no longer available) and it’s great if I’m at an all-day event where I need my business resources as well as a change of clothing for an evening event. It’s simple and classic and works for both men and women.

2. Laptop case.

Sometimes all you need is your laptop and a file or two. I’m totally obsessed with this one on Amazon in the beautiful rose print! I seem to be in a pink/rose gold mood at the moment, so I’m sure I’ll add it to my collection. It comes in a variety of prints, so you’ll be sure to find one that fits your taste.

3. The weekender/underseater

This option is great if you need to make a day trip or overnighter out of town. I have this bag and it’s great because it fits under the seat in front of you on an airplane. There’s room for your laptop, files, product samples, clothing, shoes, large water bottle and grooming items. This bag is by Samantha Brown but Lori Greiner also makes one that is very similar. Works great for both men and women.

4. The Wheelie

The ultimate rolling briefcase here is by Joy Mangano. I’m a huge Joy Mangano fan, have you noticed? This bag has room for a laptop, tablet, separate compartment for files, plus room for either product samples or clothing. Color options will suit both men and women. I own the taupe which is like a nice khaki.

You might have noticed that three of the four options I’ve shown have wheels. Yep! I feel that we put enough stress on our backs and lugging heavy briefcases will not make you wealthier.

Joy Mangano and Samantha Brown products are sold on HSN. Lori Greiner works with QVC. But, you can always check eBay for these items or something similar. Sometimes sellers have the same items at good prices, or even out of production items such as my duffle.

Owning a business is stressful enough without hauling multiple bags or boxes of equipment, files and product. If you have a briefcase that suits your taste and needs, you’ll show up at a meeting looking relaxed and refreshed, and most of all, professional and pulled together.

What are your preferred briefcase options? I’d love to hear! Please share!

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Sparkle on!

Aunti Cindi

May is Education Month

 

Aunti Cindi Presents

May is Education Month!

Greetings Sparklers!

We’re up to May as we follow along with the book, Tame Those Pesky Details: 12 months of business tips and tasks (Aunti Cindi Presents). May is the month for education.

I put education into this month because we’re finally past the craziness of the New Year, past tax season and before the summer heat makes us not want to work at all! However, we have to take the opportunities when they arise.

I had a number of items on my list to learn this year (yes, even Aunti Cindi needs to grow some new synapses), and when February arrived, my inbox received emails from several different webinar providers that really looked interesting. All of the webinars were free, and in all cases, once I registered, I would have access to the replay to listen on my own time. This was really important to me as I was not available for the live webinars.

Now, February isn’t Education month, but I took advantage of the webinars and I am now extremely grateful that I did. Each one got my mind functioning in an enhanced direction. Now that May is here, I’m working hard to implement many of the concepts and tools that I learned in February.

Some things to consider when it comes to education:

  1. Education doesn’t always come in the form of a formal classroom setting. You can learn a lot on the web on your own time and often for free or low cost.
  2. The same topics may be offered several times a year, so if you’re unable to attend a particular session and a replay isn’t offered, check with the provider to see when they’ll offer it again.
  3. Free webinars do come with a sales pitch at the end, but generally there is enough information provided during the free webinar that you may not need to sign up for more. It also gives you a chance to see the presenter’s style and see if it works for you.
  4. The sales discounts can be well worth the listening effort and generally bonuses are included. I took five free webinars, and purchased from three of them. The discounts were exceptional for the material received. I purchased one set of follow-on materials for only $17! Yes, that’s correct, $17! Many pitches will require hundreds or thousands of dollars for their material so be sure to do your research and know that that’s the best way to spend your money.
  5. Most purchases allow you unlimited access to the materials for as long as that person or company is in business. Many times it will include add-ons or upgrades in the future. I would access the contents as soon as you can in the event things change.
  6. Don’t feel that you have to follow everything to the letter when you sign up for a program or take a webinar. You have to apply the information to your business and how you work. Start with the program then adapt.
  7. There will likely be more educational opportunities as the year progresses. Don’t ignore them simply because they didn’t occur during May. The focus this month is really to determine what you need to learn and to find ways to do just that. And, sometimes you discover that there’s something you needed to learn that wasn’t even on your radar!

Learning helps us to respond to market changes but also to create new opportunities for our businesses. The more we know, the stronger we can grow.

Sparkle On!

Aunti Cindi

This post contains affiliate links. However, all opinions are our own.

Planning – What is your motto for the year?

Many people this time of year are focused on New Year’s resolutions or setting up a few goals for the coming new year. I’ve been a big goal setter for several years. I like to remind myself what I want to accomplish during these 12 short months as well as celebrate all that I’ve accomplished at the end of the year.

Over time, the way I set goals has evolved and I’m sure it will continue to evolve. I change. The world changes. Technology changes. Many different things influence my methods to achievement.

In my book, Tame Those Pesky Details, I talk a bit about goal setting. However, the past few years I’ve added a twist. Before I begin my planning, I determine where I want to be at the end of the year and summarize in one or two short sentences, mottos or mantras, what is the theme for the year. Everything else falls in line behind that.

It’s often said, if you don’t know where you’re going, all the planning in the world won’t get you there. While setting goals is fantastic, I’ve found it’s become even more meaningful by having a motto or two as an umbrella of sorts to summarize and light my way.

Let me give you some examples. Perhaps, if you’ve been working on a project for a long time, this might be your Year of Manifestation, when you finally reach that major goal. Or, if if you’ve struggled financially but feel you have a gameplan for changing that, your motto might be the Year of Good Income and Good Savings.

Only you can decide what your motto will be. The first year I did this, I only had one motto. Now, I find that I like to have two. Why? I can’t exactly explain. If I had to deduce I’d say one has more of a personal slant and the other relates primarily to my business, but they intertwine. However, if there comes a year when I feel one will sum it up completely for me, I’ll do it.

I like to set up my motto as a daily appointment on my Outlook calendar, so every morning when I turn on my laptop I’m reminded and focused on making my year the best that it can be in the direction of my motto. Doing this definitely inspires me and keeps me on track. I’ve also written it into my planner (more on that later) but you could set it up on your phone or make a pretty screensaver image with it. Whatever works for you!

Most goals tend to be pretty specific, but I feel we need to be open to opportunities that arise that may be better than we ever imagined. Or, that are our dreams come to fruition! Working towards your goals but focusing on the big picture motto creates a perfect storm of positive energy. At the end of every year, I’ve realized my motto has been achieved even though it might not have played entirely with my goals. In a good way.

What are my mottos for 2016? Sorry, I share a lot but for me, that’s something I hold private. If you care to share, I welcome that. More importantly, I encourage you to think in higher-level terms when it comes to your goals and know that you have your destination, you just don’t always have your route!

Best Wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Sparkle on!

Aunti Cindi