Tag Archives: Aunti Cindi Presents

Aunti Cindi

Aunti Cindi Presents

Aunti Cindi Presents

If you’re an entrepreneur, solopreneur, fempreneur, mompreneur or any other sort of -preneur, be sure to check out my Aunti Cindi site. I currently have books, a blog and consulting, with an upcoming podcast, more books, courses, workbooks, and more! Visit the site and join the mailing list to keep up-to-date with Aunti Cindi.

 

 

 

Tame Those Pesky Details – March – Are you making money while you sleep?

TTPD – March – Are you making money while you sleep?

Cha-ching!

Ah, the joy of waking in the morning to discover that money was deposited into your account while you were off in dream land.

I’m following along with my book, Tame Those Pesky Details (TTPD), where I focus on one specific item each month to keep your business in tip top shape. March is the month for Passive Income, the ability to make money while you sleep. As the Internet pervades our lives more each year, options for passive income become more readily available. Of course, it’s not as easy as waving a magic wand; there is much prep work to be done, but once you’ve put in the effort, you can reap financial rewards for some time to come.

I think it’s the ultimate goal of many online entrepreneurs to be able to work as few hours as possible while making as much money as they can. That’s not the only goal, mind you, but by creating a steady online income, you can do anything from quit your full-time job to plan extravagant vacations or donate to your favorite charity. Even if you have some other source of income that you’re content with, earning extra money online is still a good thing. It’s always great to have multiple streams of income.

So, where do you begin? Here are four options to help you build your bank account in your sleep.

  1. Affiliate links. Everyone has them. Why not you? If you reference any products in your blog posts, YouTube videos or elsewhere, it’s easy to direct people to the item you’re referring to by including an affiliate link. Your commission will vary depending on the agreement the company offers. Be sure to disclose your use of affiliate links, and check for broken links on your site on a regular basis. Broken links result in lost commission and can even impact your search engine ranking.
  2. Books. As a writer, this is one of my favorite ways to find money in my account! With POD (print on demand) and ebooks, there’s no inventory or shipping required. If you have a shop on your site, you can even include the books there, avoiding sharing the commission. Choose a topic – or three – that relate to your business and pound away on the keyboard. Of course, the book will need to be well-written and properly priced, but there are many ways to build a lasting income through the written word.
  3. Classes on demand. If you have an area of expertise, or if you can produce training classes that show how to use your products, then online classes might be a good option for you. You might need some technical guidance to put this all together, but once you’ve mastered the process, you can create one or two new classes each year to build your offerings. I’ve seen classes for free (particularly when purchasing a product) or for a wide variety of prices, from $19 to several hundred dollars.
  4. Online shop. Can you create digital downloads that complement your blog content, books or classes? Post them in your online shop. People are online 24/7 and a digital download is readily accessible with an easy shopping cart. It might even be the way to find customers for your other products – a digital download could lead to a book or class sale. Be sure to have a secure checkout and capture the buyer’s info to build your email list. One thing leads to another…

Don’t feel you have to do everything at once. Choose one method of passive income, make sure it works properly, then add another to the mix. Evaluate your income streams on an annual basis. If it requires too much work to maintain for too little return, consider dropping the stream or item and add or enhance another. Things are constantly changing on the Internet, so what works this year might be passé the next.

If you’d like to follow along through the year, purchase your copy of Tame Those Pesky Details. (link below) Print books will be available soon!

What are your favorite sources of passive income? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below.

I do hope you’ll enjoy my blog posts, Instagram photos and tweets on Twitter!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Tame Those Pesky Details – February – How well can your business run without you?

TTPD – February – How well can your business run without you?

If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, chances are you’re focused on growing your business. Or, at the very least, maintaining a smooth operation. A good mindset to have, but what happens when – Heaven forbid – something unexpected occurs and you’re unable to helm the day-to-day activities of your company?

If you were part of a large organization, there would be multiple people at the ready to take over in your absence. But, if you’re a one-person show, it’s very possible that no one else has a complete understanding of how your business is run. Every business has so many different facets that it’s more than just leaving passwords, mission statements and banking information for your temporary CEO; contracts, trademarks and even fonts and colors of your logo are all crucial information.

I’m following along with my book, Tame Those Pesky Details (TTPD), where I focus on one specific item each month to keep your business in tip top shape, February is Legalities and it covers a wide-range of issues. Having a way to provide a temporary – or even permanent – means of understanding and operating your business will bring peace of mind.

I’ve been busy updating a lot of personal and business items lately, and although I have binders and electronic and paper files filled with the proper data, I realized that it would take a concerted effort for someone to step into my shoes should that unexpected need arise. I also discovered that I was missing some crucial information because my business has been operating for so long and I’ve moved so many times, some things have gotten misplaced.

I also think in terms of emergency preparedness. I keep hearing stories of people who had to leave their homes with moments’ notice and left behind some key business info because they were unprepared and were worried about saving their lives, which, of course, is most important.

In addition, I’m looking forward to expanding my business in the foreseeable future. Parts of this data collection can easily be organized into an employee reference manual. A little extra work up front will pay big dividends down the line. Again, this is all normal in a larger organization, but smaller businesses might not view this as a high priority. I’m all about having a solid foundation to build upon so this data collection and coordination will benefit me greatly as I move forward. Having all my info at the ready will save me time and frustration and enable me to easily update any changes. Whew!

While you’re organizing your business, think about vendors or employees who perform key tasks that you personally don’t know how to do, for example, adding/deleting items from your online store. This may seem like a small item but your inability to make these simple changes can have an impact. That employee or vendor can disappear on a moment’s notice and your ability to run your business smoothly will be hampered until you either learn how to do it or find someone new to work with.

Aside from determining the safest place to keep this info, my next decision is whom to share it with. And, I’m even thinking about a permanent succession plan for down the road. If there’s someone in my family I’d like to groom to take over the business, one can never start the process too early!

It will take a couple of months to pull this all together, I suspect, but once I’ve completed it, I’ll post a free checklist in my store. I might even do another blog post with more details. So, keep your eyes on all my social media so you can access the information as soon as possible.

I do hope you’ll enjoy my blog posts, Instagram photos and tweets on Twitter!

If you’d like to follow along through the year, purchase your copy of Tame Those Pesky Details. (link below) Print books will be available soon!

How do you organize your business data? Do you have a plan for someone to take over in case of emergency? Have you ever experienced the need to have someone step in your shoes? I’d love to hear all about it. Please leave details in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Tame Those Pesky Details – January – It’s Time for a Corporate Image Makeover!

In my book, Tame Those Pesky Details (TTPD), where I focus on one specific item each month to keep your business in tip top shape, January is the month for Corporate Image. Your goals were set in December; part of achieving them will be to make sure you have the appropriate corporate image for your business.

This month, I’m going to use myself as a prime example. Toward the end of last year, I felt I finally had the vision I had been searching for regarding my online presence. And, I also knew that would require a lot of work!

I immediately looked at my website and all my social media accounts. It was time for a major makeover! My logos had been updated recently, so I was comfortable there, but my overall look didn’t scream ME!

The Internet has become more and more a place of images, so I concentrated on learning to take the right kind of photos. I spent hours scouring sites and bookmarking those whose photos really drew me in. I also took a wonderful online photography course through StrangeCharmed.com. It was extremely helpful to get my mind going in the right direction.

As for my website update, again I spent a ton of time looking at blogs I enjoyed. Usually at the bottom of the home page is a link to the company that designed the theme for the blog. There you can view the multitude of themes that company offers, generally for a reasonable price. I’d already decided I didn’t want to use a free WordPress theme for my update as they wouldn’t have the design elements I knew I needed. There are a surprising number of options available for paid themes.

I still wasn’t totally sure what I wanted my site to look like until one of my favorite blogs updated their site. Wow! I loved it!, It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I at least had an idea. I continued to view company theme offerings until I found a similar one that was a perfect fit.

Once my website is updated, my social media accounts will follow. Will I finish all of this in January? Probably not. I’m currently in the process of getting all my ebooks ready for print and releasing a new novel. I want to have the print books for photos so I’m expecting to wait until I have copies in hand, sometime in February. However, I will purchase the theme and get done whatever I can, including setting up the store which is a whole new element for my site. Some other tweaks will have to wait a few months but those should be secondary.

I’ll do a new blog post once I’ve launched everything. In the meantime, I do hope you’ll enjoy my blog posts, Instagram photos and tweets on Twitter!

If you’d like to follow along through the year, purchase your copy of Tame Those Pesky Details. (link below) Print books will be available soon!

What corporate image challenges do you face online and what are your plans to fix them? I’d love to hear. Leave a comment below.

Enjoy!

Cindi

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 3

Chic from Home: My 2017 Planner Setup Part 3

Once I saw the nude A5 Filofax original patent, I had to have it. I just didn’t know what to do with it. Then I watched an Alexis Giostra (aka Miss Trenchcoat) video on the 43 folder system.

I had no idea what the 43 folder system was until then, but it greatly intrigued me. For many years, I tried different ways of organizing my bills to pay, birthday cards to send, RSVP’s, registrations and so on, yet nothing seemed to work perfectly. Then, once I wrote my book Tame Those Pesky Details: 12 months of business tips and tasks (Aunti Cindi Presents), I added new folders to the system, to address the tasks needed to be done annually, month by month. I was searching for a way to make this all work together. Enter: Alexis.

Now, Alexis didn’t invent the 43 folder system. It’s referenced in a book by David Allen called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. However, I liked her approach and the size of the A5 planner seemed to be just as much as I needed.

I found this lovely preloved planner on eBay as the foundation for my system. However, as much as I love the 43 folder system concept, I’m not totally convinced it will work for me, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the setup. It consists of 12 folders (one for each month) and 31 dividers or tabs (one for each day of the month). Many people are crafty and create their own using card stock or file folders. I am not crafty. Crafty and Cindi are never used in the same sentence except to describe me as not being crafty.

So, I made my way to Target Dollar Spot (TSD, Bullseye Playground) and found packs of their mini planner pages. One pack included six dividers while the other had four folder/pockets. Of course I needed multiple packs, but at three dollars, each, it was very reasonable. I had a couple of five dollar gift cards I’d earned from previous purchases, so with my five percent off, the investment was pretty minor.

I did have to repunch the holes as you can see in the photo. Most people use washi to make it look pretty. I have only a few roles of washi (I know!) and I love them so much I didn’t want to use them on this. So, I had some old correction tape in my office goodies box and used that. It’s white and not so attractive, but it did the job perfectly and I’ll live with it for now. If I decide I want to upgrade, I can always do the washi thing.

On Instagram, I’ve posted a photo with the back of the dashboard, which is simply the 2017 year at a glance, and the first file folder/pocket. Alexis adds In and Out file pockets, but I don’t feel I need those now. What I did add was a clear envelope for each month to correlate to the tasks in my book, thus creating a 55 folder system. (Tame Those Pesky Details is currently only offered as an ebook but will soon be available in paperback.) I rarely need more than a place to put a business card, a note or a brochure for those tasks, so this works perfectly.

I turned to Jane’s Agenda on Etsy for the monthly tabs. They are awesome! She coats them so they are sturdier than normal, and so easy to use! I asked for a custom color combination and I think the black on ombre gold is just gorgeous! I had no idea this planner would turn out looking so pretty!

The other item I added in the pocket is the Celebrate Everyday calendar from my old Erin Condren Life Planner (ECLP). That way, I can check it out on a regular basis, buy birthday and anniversary cards as needed, and stay on track.

I plan to put each item in one week before its due date, so with mailing time (or shopping time), things should arrive as scheduled.

In more detail, here is how this planner is setup:

  1. Dashboard 2017 calendar
  2. January folder (because this is January)
  3. January clear pocket
  4. 31 dividers
  5. February – December folders, each followed by a clear pocket relating to the Tame Those Pesky Details task for that month

In a nutshell, the way this works is to rotate the current month to the front, keeping the daily dividers behind it. This system provides a perpetual way to keep on top of all your important dates!

Alexis does an awesome job of explaining the whole system, so I would refer you to her YouTube videos on the subject. In the meantime, I’m putting mine to work and excited to use it this year.

Have you tried a 43 folder system? What other ways do you handle this sort of deadline paperwork? Let me know!

Enjoy!

Cindi

Additional Links:

Filofax The Original Leather Organizer Agenda Calendar with DiLoro Jot Pad Refills (A5, Patent Nude 2017, 022387)

Avery Mini Heavyweight Sheet Protectors, 5.5 x 8.5 Inches, Pack of 25 (77004)

Please be advised that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

TTPD – June is for Vendor and Contractor Review

June is Vendor Contractor Month

Greetings Sparklers!

Summer is inching its way towards us, but work goes on year-round and it’s time to take another peek at our monthly topics. We’re up to June!

In my book, Tame Those Pesky Details: 12 months of business tips and tasks (Aunti Cindi Presents), June is devoted to vendors, contractors and consultants. Now is the time to double check all your current agreements to see that you’re getting the best service for the best price while considering which vendors you no longer need or others which you do.

This can be a tough month for some people while others enjoy the challenge. Some people like to negotiate. Others will pay full price no matter what. Some business owners will nickel and dime their suppliers to the tenth of a penny but balk at their own customers requesting a discount for early or all cash payment. Other business owners are afraid to call for service or necessary meetings because they know a sales pitch will accompany them, forgetting that their own businesses depend upon the same such sales calls. I think most of us fall somewhere in between.

Here are a few steps to getting through the month and hopefully saving some money.

  1. Review all current vendor/consultant agreements. Are you paying for something you don’t use? Are you unhappy with a particular supplier? Are you receiving the best price for what they have to offer? Make a list of questions for when you contact the vendor.
  2. Pull out your June folder and review others who have contacted you and piqued your interest. Is there someone in the folder you’d like to interview and request a quote?
  3. Pick up the phone and call all your current vendors. Tell them you’re doing your annual review and you’d just like a few minutes to chat. Then, ask all the questions you have and remember one of them should be, do you have any new services or packages that might better suit my needs?
  4. Gather the results of your research and decide who you plan to use for the next year and at what price.
  5. Work your new figures into your budget for the next 12 months, or the terms of the contract.

It doesn’t take much effort to save money. In the last few weeks, I received a sizeable credit from one vendor just for doing an annual review with them. I didn’t change my contract because they no longer offer the package I have and any changes would incur higher fees. However, just by calling them and doing a review, they give me an invoice credit for being a loyal customer.

Another vendor has reworked their offerings and, with a few minor tweaks on my part, I saved $50/month on my agreement. Might not seem like much, but it only took a few minutes and it resulted in saving $600/year. If I can do that with five vendors, that’s $3,000/year savings just for a few simple phone calls. It all adds up.

I’ve also replaced one vendor with another, finding one that does an excellent job for my needs at a lower price.

One of my pet peeves is not offering a discount or perk to a long-term, loyal customer. Many businesses only offer them to first time customers, hoping to build their clientele. While I think that’s a good strategy for them, there should also be some reward for those who stick around a long time, something like an Anniversary Discount. I talk about my own experiences in my book, How to Screw Up a Good Idea: Insights for Entrepreneurs (Aunti Cindi Presents). I’ve been on both sides of the equation and hopefully, I’ve learned.

It’s nearly impossible to be successful in business by yourself. Whether you have your own staff or a team of vendors, contractors and consultants, it’s important to have the right people at the right price providing exactly what you need.

Sparkle On!

Your Aunti Cindi

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

Emergency Preparedness: Backup Your Backup- 3 Tips to Keep Your Data Safe

Backup Your Backup

BACKUP YOUR BACKUP: 3 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR DATA SAFE

Greetings Sparklers!

Whether you own a business or keep a lot of personal data on your digital devices, the truth is, it can all be gone in a flash. After my own personal experience with a quickly dying computer about a year ago, I’ve been on my soapbox about reminding people to back up their data. The sad part is, I continue to find people who have never even thought about backing things up. And, once again, I had a weird technical event that reminded me to remind you to backup your backup.

There is nothing more frustrating than investing hours, days, months, years in creating a project and having it all disappear when your computer suddenly does a crash and burn. I had a situation recently where I was working on a document and when I went to save it, the program crashed and restarted but there was no autosave file to recover. I looked everywhere and even contacted a community forum where respondents were very kind but could not offer a solution for file recovery other than the steps I had already taken.

While the loss of a file in that manner is a bit unusual, the most common culprit is not backing up your devices. I feel I cannot remind people often enough. Every time I bring up the subject I meet people who lost some important part of their lives because they didn’t back up their stuff.

In the last few months alone, I’ve heard of someone who lost nearly 10,000 digital photos, an author who lost his entire novel, someone else who lost years of contacts and business data, another who kept everything on a portable drive until the drive died. I could go on, but you get the point.

In the IT world, there’s a belief in redundancy. In the prepper world, the saying is two is one and one is none. Whichever mantra you prefer doesn’t matter, as long as you’re taking the time to REGULARLY back up your digital devices.

Here are three tips to help you to keep your data safe and secure:

  1. Do your research.
    Take the time now to research and decide what is the best backup routine for you – and stick to it! I copy files every night to the cloud, then once a week copy to an external drive. I would recommend at least one external drive and a cloud backup of some sort. If you can do two external drives and keep them in different locations, one offsite, plus the cloud, that’s even better. Of course, it all depends on how much space you need.
  2. Back up all your devices.
    Desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, flash drives, memory cards – copy all of it. Check with your cellular service to see if there is a secondary way to backup your phone. You might also want to download your contacts from your phone on a regular basis…just in case.
  3. Don’t forget about your website.
    Check with your ISP/host company to verify that your entire website is backed up. In my case, the database is backed up but any external items I’ve added, such as images, videos and files are not. Twice in the last couple of months, I’ve updated my website and it completely crashed. It hadn’t happened in the previous decade but suddenly it happened twice in a short period of time. If something bad happens to your site, you want to have as little downtime as possible. I use FileZilla to transfer all my files monthly, then back them up to the cloud and on external drive.

Weird things happen when it comes to technology, so always, always, always be sure to backup your backup! I’d love to hear how you keep all your digital data safe. Please share in the comments below.

Sparkle On!

Your Aunti Cindi

Why Aunti Cindi Presents?

Aunti Cindi Presents

About a year ago I released my first books in the Aunti Cindi Presents series, including How to Screw Up a Good Idea: Insights for Entrepreneurs (Aunti Cindi Presents)
and Tame Those Pesky Details: 12 months of business tips and tasks (Aunti Cindi Presents). People have been asking me, Why Aunti Cindi Presents? So, I thought I’d give you a little background.

Over the years I’ve had several ideas for small non-fiction books that were not particularly related subject matter. I would jot thoughts down here and there but never took the time to write entire books because I felt if I released them individually, they might get lost in the vast universe of bookdom.

One day I was looking through my cache of domain names and realized I owned AuntiCindiPresents.com. I purchased it, along with AuntiCindi.com, long ago for one reason in particular. I’ve been called Aunti Cindi since I was a child, having been blessed with my first nephew when I was a mere eight-years-old. Even in business I used the name to differentiate myself from other Cindis, Cindys and Cyndees in a company. People would remember Aunti Cindi and actually got a kick out of calling me that. I felt, eventually I could put those domains to good use.

Aunti Cindi Presents opens up the opportunity to become a series of much shorter informational books than something like the Dummies, and potentially allow different authors to have books published in the series. In fact, I’ve been talking with two authors already who are interested in sharing their sage wisdom in such a manner.

The goal of the Aunti Cindi Presents series is to offer sage advice for a fulfilled life. Its tagline, Sparkle On! means to find your inner gem and shine it out to the world. Who could resist that?

The first two books in the series are business topics, but others will fall under a variety of subjects, even those I write myself. I’m busy working on two novels right now, so I’m not sure when the next in the series will debut, but keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.

Sparkle On!

Your Aunti Cindi

This post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own!

TTPD – May is Education Month

Aunti Cindi Presents

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!

Your Aunti Cindi

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

Cindi’s Thoughts – Where to find me in 2016

binoculars

I like to think that everything we do somehow sets a foundation for our future life. We might not always see an immediate correlation, but somewhere along the line, our decisions today will affect our future tomorrow.

in 2015, I decided to consolidate my websites and to be more active on social media. The websites were easy; social media I’m still working on, although I have improved.

Previously, I had a separate website for each project under my creative hand. It just got too unwieldy to maintain an ever-growing list of projects and their accompanying sites. I finally got things down to what I hope will be a manageable four.

I’ve also tied my blog posts to Facebook and Twitter, so every time I have a new post, you’ll be alerted if you follow me on either one. So, I wanted to provide a breakdown of what you can find on each site.

www.CindiMaciolek.com – This is my main blog site. Here, you’ll find out things about me, my KonMari journey notes, recipes, favorite things and so on. It’s an all-encompassing Cindi Maciolek overview.

www.GrandArborPress.com – This is my business site. Anything related to my books, CDs or products can be found here.

www.Divatiel.com – Anyone who knows me knows I loved my little birdie so much I wrote a book about her. I have plans to do a few things with this down the line, so I’ve decided to keep it a separate site. That may change in the future, but for now, blog posts will be updated on my Facebook page but on a different Twitter account.

www.AuntiCindiPresents.com – This site is dedicated to my latest non-fiction book series. You’ll find blog posts here related to topics in my Aunti Cindi Presents books including business, caregiving and emergency preparedness tips. Emergency Preparedness was originally on my CindiMaciolek.com site, but I’ll be transferring  the content here. As other books are added to the series either by myself or other authors, the subject matter will grow.

You can also join my email list. I currently do not send regular updates via email, but I welcome you to add your name to my list.

Social Media

As I said, I’m not a social media expert while I understand its significance. All my blog posts will also post on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, in the last year I’ve opened Pinterest and Instagram accounts, both of which I hope to build on during 2016. I’m also toying with the idea of YouTube. Maybe somewhere down the line.

So, there you have it! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be on my laptop, fingers traveling a mile a minute, keeping you posted on random thoughts and somewhat useful information while I continue to focus on my books and other outlets for my writing.

See you in cyberspace!

Cindi