I had the pleasure of interviewing Cyndee Harrison, who recently launched Synaptic, a business consultancy that helps entrepreneurial leaders address their most common challenges–people, systems, and marketing.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Sure! My superpower is taking complex issues and breaking them down into smaller, more bite-sized pieces. This has helped me become successful as a trainer as well as a marketer.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
Launching Synaptic is a culmination of my last 20 years of training and experience, not only in Marketing but also in Operations and People Development. I’m confident in the training and initiatives that I’ve put together and I’m passionate about them.
Still, I think it’s always a little tricky to promote yourself since most of us suffer from imposter syndrome and have those moments of questioning why anyone in their right mind would listen to us. And so, it’s felt great to have so many people — some of whom I haven’t heard from in ages — who have stepped forward with words of encouragement and support. It’s been very humbling to realize the impact that I’ve made with different clients or projects or jobs that I’ve had along the way. So it’s been sincerely heartwarming to reconnect.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t know if it’s funny to anyone else, but I always find myself kinda chuckling when I hear one of my advisors telling me to refine my message or be more succinct. Over the years, I’ve coached dozens of clients on the importance of doing exactly that and boiling their messaging down, and yet it’s a real ongoing struggle for me. I think that there are a lot of entrepreneurs who run into this sort of thing in their own businesses, feeling like the cobbler’s children who have no shoes.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The marketplace is flooded with solutions that are aimed at entrepreneurial leaders. Business owners have countless books to read or webinars to watch or conferences to attend. But bringing that back to their brick-and-mortar business and successfully executing new strategies throughout the organization can be challenging and lonely work. The Synaptic Approach is different because we walk through new initiatives with every level of the organization. We not only work with the business owners and leaders but with front-line employees. This approach keeps everyone focused and accountable and it’s why I am comfortable guaranteeing my work — because this is how long-term success if built, from the ground up. It’s something that I’m really proud of.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
One of my favorite mantras is ‘Everything is Temporary’. I think that fatigue is a natural byproduct of passion. Being an entrepreneur can be exhausting, no question. Focusing on the long-term objective rather than short-term “over-this-ness” can help prevent fatigue from evolving into full-blown burnout.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There have been so many people who have helped me along the way, it’s difficult to pin down just one. I’m lucky to have a lot of people in my life who are very entrepreneurial-minded and hardworking, particularly my family. When I think of one person of influence, I would have to say that my last job involved a lot of exposure to new things because it was such a unique situation.
I worked for a family-owned business, a pawnshop, that was the subject of a really successful reality television show. I’m lucky that my boss, a fourth-generation pawnbroker, was really generous in letting me take on new challenges and try some pretty remarkable things such as dozens of national and international media tours, a Financial Literacy Class for our customers and a Workforce Diversity project that provided meaningful employment to individuals on the Autism spectrum. As a result, I ended up traveling all around the world as well as all over the country not only on media events but also working with other business owners. Ironically, it helped me have the confidence to launch out on my own.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As I look back over my career, I’ve been a part of some pretty cool things that brought significant change into the world. I briefly mentioned a couple of them before, like the Financial Literacy Course and Workforce Diversity. But there’s one that is remarkable to me just because I could have never anticipated its outcomes.
The economic downturn that began in 2008 impacted donations to arts and cultural organizations across the country and Metro Detroit was particularly hard hit. I was managing communications for the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan at the time and it was our job to help these hard hit organizations not only survive but thrive.
We knew that one of the key things that these nonprofits needed to ensure their survivability was an online presence, so we launched a one-day online giving challenge using a pretty significant grant as a matching fund. The caveat was that in order to be eligible to participate, these organizations were required to have an online presence, something that most of them sorely lacked.
It was one of the first endeavors of its kind in the world and we raised almost $5M in a single day, all in online gifts, surpassing our original goal by almost $2M. I still get goosebumps when I think of this, because it started with a few of us huddling around a table helping these organizations launch their first Facebook pages or websites and it ended up contributing to their survivability in ways that remain important to this day.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite quotes is “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” by poet Mary Oliver. It’s a simple reminder that we really only get one chance to design a life that we will be content to look back upon someday. I do my best to remember how wild and precious each and every day really is.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1-FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN ATTAIN: When I was first exploring the possibility of launching a business consultancy, I found that there are a LOT of gurus out there whose webinars and emails promise untold fortunes and followers when you follow their approach. When I applied their revenue goals to my own work, however, I ended up with the feeling that I was falling short even though I was successful by any measure of a business launch. Therefore, I had to take a look back and re-examine the goals and success measures that I had set for myself and align them with my mission which is what I would advise others to do from day one.
2-WE LIVE IN A GOLDEN AGE—AS LONG AS YOU SEE IT FOR WHAT IT IS: Never before in history have we had the access to information, communications, and connectedness that we now enjoy. This shows no signs of stopping or slowing down, but that doesn’t mean that we need to abandon the personal interactions that make us human. So keep posting, keep growing your online reach … but keep on showing up too. Keep lunching and coffee-ing and mentoring and volunteering and networking and writing personal notes. Because we can’t know what’s next, be we do know this — our ability to connect to one another shouldn’t depend exclusively on any one channel or medium. My business launch really only felt real when I started kicking myself off of my laptop and showing up at networking events and reaching out to set in-person meetings with people that I know.
3-NOISE ISN’T KNOWLEDGE: Before I started researching my launch, I don’t think I fully appreciated how much the term ‘entrepreneur’ has morphed over the past few years. I have a personal friend who went on a nutritional program a couple years ago who now sells these products for the company. She not only considers herself an entrepreneur, but also an influencer in the personal nutrition space, largely based on the quantity of content that she posts to her social media profiles about the topic. I also have countless other connections who promote themselves as beauty industry influencers because they post videos of makeup tutorials. All of us enjoy feeling like our opinions and viewpoints matter and we all do have a level of influence over others, but we need to stop kidding ourselves. Not everyone should be an influencer.
4-ACTION WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE PRODUCES FAILURE: About 15 years ago, I launched a business that was remarkably successful. My success in executing gave me a really false sense of confidence in my own ability to do everything involved in running a business. As a result, I attempted to handle my own bookkeeping and accounting. And I ended up in a big mess. Luckily, I had good resources to help me clean it up, but it was long, painful, and expensive. I’d had the best of intentions and certainly wanted what was best for this company that I owned, but I unintentionally derailed the success of the business. Similarly, there are well-intentioned and highly motivated employees who make critical errors in business every single day because they’re tasked with doing things for which they have a skills gap. Motivation and mindset are never enough. When you don’t know what you’re doing, stop and ask and get help.
5-BE NICE TO YOURSELF: I’m my own harshest critic which is something that I think is pretty common to entrepreneurs. This time around, though, I’m taking some steps back to remind myself that I’m doing my very best every day—days that I knock it out of the park or days that I strike out swinging—and I am making a more conscious effort to stop myself when I hear negative self-talk bouncing around in my head.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It sounds sappy, but I wish that there was more of an emphasis placed on the importance of self-awareness in our society. When we each understand our own needs, desires, strengths, and shortcomings, I think it makes us more empathetic to others. We start to see the need for surrounding ourselves with others who can offset our weaknesses.
We live in a world where there’s so little privacy, even for those of us who aren’t famous or well-known. This connectedness can breed judgment and toxicity, whereas it would be really nice if we could reverse that and instead begin to look at one another and seeing our imperfections and faults as opportunities to relate to one another and support one another.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I love connecting on Linkedin and I’m pretty easy to find because I spell my name so oddly (Cyndee Harrison).
My Synaptic channels are all listed at www.synapticapproach.com and I’d love to hear feedback from your readers!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Learn How Digital Nomad Ksaveras Jancauskas Is Disrupting The Instagram Marketing Industry
Ksaveras Jancauskas is a digital nomad who helps industry leaders and businesses, spanning different countries, to grow their online presence via Instagram and scale their brand.
So far, Ksaveras started and scaled his Instagram marketing agency to a 6-figure firm. The well-known brands and non-profits such as RepresentUS and GivePower Foundation been clients of Ksaveras. The biggest turning point for Ksaveras was when he was able to grow brands to over 221,000 real followers in just ten days!]
In this article, Ksaveras shares how he climbed up the industry ladder and became the successful digital marketer he is today.
If you’ve heard about Ksaveras before then you’ve probably heard of the Instagram Leverage Framework. The Instagram Leverage Framework is the brainchild of Ksaveras and is referred to as a system that helps anyone assert their authority in their industry.
With this system, Ksaveras has generated ten times return on investment (ROI) for different businesses on Instagram. This is why he’s one of the most sought after Instagram experts in the world.
At the start of his journey to success, Ksaveras faced a significant amount of challenges. His biggest challenge was that he trusted a lot of unqualified individuals to carry out his task. Slowly but surely, his brand was no longer sought after by prospects.
“I tried taking shortcuts by delegating my work to individuals who offered cheap prices, but in turn, they gave my clients a lot of substandard results.” -Ksaveras says.
In due time, he learned that trust is a belief that has to be built and that taking words for a fact without testing can prove detrimental to the status of a business. Ksaveras also shares that it’s important to test a product before you sell it. He’s acknowledged the fact that it’s better to employ individuals yearning to learn and improve on their craft every day than to outsource to a third party “professionals.”
Values and Principles
Ksaveras is a proud advocate of the “learn something new every day” movement. He never rests on his laurels and no matter the level of success he attains, he doesn’t get comfortable.
Everyone in his industry learns how to grow Instagram accounts and then complacency sets in. Instead of following the status quo, Ksaveras improves himself every day and according to him, he knows more about Instagram than Instagram knows about themselves.
Garrett Atkins- Making Use of Full-Service Digital Platforms to Serve Others
With the advent of the internet and advanced technologies, many business-minded people are investing in this sector. In fact, the number of people who have become reputed and wealthy online entrepreneurs has surged over the past 10 years. Among the reputed entrepreneurs who have stood out in the market, entrepreneur Garrett Atkins is a class above his peers.
At the age of 27 years, Garrett Atkins owns one of the successful full-service digital advertising companies. He is the Chief Executive Officer of VIE Media, a company based in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also the founder and a major stakeholder in St. Louis Podcast.com, the only and the most incredible podcast recording studio in the region.
What Does Garrett Atkins Advertising Business Focus On?
Through his VIE Media; Mr. Atkins has been working with many household brands that have also taken advantage of his full-service digital advertising platform. These labels include The UPS Store, Better Homes & Garden, Metro Powered by T-Mobile and Sansone Group. Other notable brands include Farmers Insurance and Arsenal Credit Union among others.
For small business owners, VIE Media has been a blessing. Thanks to incredible leadership and guidance of Garrett, the company has been working with numerous renowned start-ups as well as small to medium-sized businesses. The good news is that Garrett has been responsible for the establishment and growth of these relationships that have led to these incredible partnerships.
Significantly, through his podcast recording studio, Garrett Atkins has changed the livelihood of many people looking for a means to share and view content online. His podcast has been using advanced technology such as 4K video recording of the podcast.
Through his podcast, it has been easy for his clients content to be distributed to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and other incredible platforms. Luckily for most of his clients, the content is also perfect to distribute via social media.
The most common platforms many of his clients use are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. This has been possible due to the implementation of high-quality videos.
Garrett Atkins has been an Inspiration to Many People
It is not all about making money when it comes to Garrett Atkins’s endeavors. He is also a motivational public speaker who has inspired many people. He has been using social media, podcasting, and leadership to inspire many people not only in St. Louis but also in many other parts of the world.
Among the great event, he has graced as a keynote speaker is the St. Louis Live2Lead event, an event that focuses on leadership.
Garrett believes firmly that in life, those who do good things will then be rewarded down the road. Not because we live in some type of fantasy land but rather because people take notice of the good deeds you do and people to admire such things. They admire these things so much that they are also willing to work and provide a helping hand to those who are making a positive impact.
What More Garrett Atkins has to Offer?
Mr. Atkins believes in the mantra that; nothing feels better than helping another human being. He is a Board of Directors of KMA Foundation, a non-profit organization that works together with the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The main focus of the organization has been to identify roads where there is a high rate of fatalities and make necessary changes to reduce such deaths. Through this organization, Garrett Atkins and his team have been traveling to many high schools enlightening students about safe driving techniques and sensitizing the importance of safe driving.
The organization has also been offering a scholarship to needy students. Mr. Atkins has been a staunch believer of good relationships and he believes they are the best way to serve other peoples’ interests. He wants to always be recognized as a great content creator, entrepreneur, public speaker, and a devoted philanthropist.
How to Beat the Odds in Life with “Your Favorite Online Trapper” Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams’ success is a classic story of falling on hard times and rising back up by reinventing himself. Before finally realizing his potential. From getting caught in one of the biggest marijuana busts to becoming one of the most promising and successful young entrepreneurs and economists. This young man has come a long way. At 24, Anthony Williams has achieved more than many of his age. His life story has been awe-inspiring, and it was only his determination and perseverance that he has allowed him to overcome all the difficulties that came his way and has become the man of influence and substance that he is today. Let’s take a closer look at his life and the struggles that he had to go through in a little detail.
Anthony Williams – An Eventful Life full of Struggles
Born in the twin cities St Paul- Minneapolis, Anthony was abandoned by his parents while he was still a kid. Raised amidst immense hardships by his grandmother, “Nanny,” he had seen all sorts of eventualities and difficulties coming through. Anthony recalls a police raid at his mom’s residence as his first memory since he was born. He then later lived in a Public Housing Project, called “The Rose” with his Nanny and his other siblings.
The harsh reality of life hit him hard when he and his family were kicked out of the rose when he was 17 and was rendered homeless. This was just before he was about to enter his senior year at high school. He would have perhaps perished in oblivion had one of his best friends who co-coincidentally also goes by the name of Anthony would not have helped him. Anthony, then moved into his friend’s house and lived there for a good five years till the age of 23.
While living with his now extended family, he had too little money to afford to go to a community college and hence had to drop out in less than two months of attending St. Paul Community College. He was forced into the world of drug dealing to make ends meet while working a job, but even that was barely enough for him to survive alongside his newly found family. The worst was about to come in 2017 when a Minnesota Police Patrol team intercepted a truck full of marijuana and had charged Anthony for possessing 50 kgs (nearly $2M worth) of it since he was also in the pick-up truck. He went to jail as well and had to fight a legal battle to beat the case against him. His good friend and an exemplary lawyer Daniel Repka helped him to win the case.
Having seen his life and struggles, let’s look at his success story as well.
Successes and Achievements
Anthony started with day trading in the Foreign Exchange Market initially and kept digging in the world of finance and banking, and after acquiring enough knowledge, he helped his mentor with improving his credit so that he could qualify to buy a Lamborghini SVJ. Since then, there has been no looking back, and he has been named as “The Numbers Guy” or “Your Favorite Online Trapper.”
At the age of 24, he has achieved quite a lot for any 24-year old. He has been successful in creating the first-ever hybrid company involving Finance and Education in Minnesota. His expert knowledge about numbers, money, and the financial markets has made him a sought after name by many independent Financial and Banking institutions. He is an A-list Board Certified Credit Consultant and is FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), and FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) certified. Anthony has helped clients with institutions as well as the end customers with his expert consultant services. When wearing his suits, Anthony proudly wears his Star Achiever Award lapel pin that he received during his early days in business as a Network Marketer for his exemplary service.
Anthony Williams – The Man with a Vision
With all that said, Anthony makes it pretty clear that he is into this business to help others. Perhaps that is much to do with the deep-rooted pain he had gone through being financially weak in his teens. He envisions, creating a system where people understand finance and the importance of money and how to go about increasing one’s worth, value, and credit through means of teaching financial literacy and investing.
His vision is to continuously create a delightful client and student experience showing that human touch, love, and compassion towards people with their particular financial problems. His purpose is to not only provide solutions to them but also to make them feel the way nobody else can make them feel when handling the sensitive topic of money — your friend in the financial arena.
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