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Interviews

Interview with Cyndee Harrison from Synaptic

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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!

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Interviews

Meet Andra Gogan; The Multi-talented Vlogger and Two Time World Record Holder

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What were you doing when you were around ten years old? Most of us at that age still had no idea of how the world works. Many still had no dream of whom they wanted to become, and those who did, dreamt of what they wanted to be when they become adults. Most of the dreams do not come true. Even so, there are a few individuals that take a different path. At only 11 years of age, Alexandra Gabriela Valentina Gogan, famously known as Andra Gogan, was already breaking world records and achieving the unthinkable.

Gogan is a young woman with many talents, which she discovered at a young age. She is a singer, actor, vlogger, and can play the guitar. Incredibly, she has excelled in all those fields and is continuing to do so. Gogan is achieving what no one else of her age before her have achieved. Gogan is setting the pace for others coming after her.

Breaking Two World Records with Music

Gogan is a 21-year-old YouTube star from Buzau, Romania. She started singing at the age of three. Together with her brother,  Răzvan Gogan, with whom they share the same talent, they went on to do things that were not done before by anyone in the music industry. They appear not once, but twice in the Guinness Book of World Records.

In 2009, Gogan and her brother broke the record for the longest live concert held by a child. The show lasted for three hours and 20 minutes after she performed 55 songs continuously. Gogan also broke the world record for the most CDs released by a child. She had released a total of 16 albums.

The world record was confirmed on September 15 of that year. 

Some of her music compilations include, Hallelujah (2013), Beautiful Sick (2014), See you in September (2017), What a Boy (2017), And you can be popular (2017), Your Eyes Speak When You Don’t (2017), Whatever Happened (2018), You Break a Generation (2018), Dislike (2018), Heart on Insta (2018), Christmas with  you (2018) among others.

Apart from her brother, her father, Florin Gogan has also appeared on one of her Instagram posts.

Going into Acting

Apart from breaking the two world records, Gogan has achieved more in the field of acting. She, however, did not start in front of a camera. Gogan’s first started as a voice-over actor. One of the first projects she did of that kind was when she did voice-overs for the animation Rise of the Guardians in the year 2012. 

Later on, she became famous after dubbing live-action animation shows like Doctorița Plușica, Ferb, Phineas, Dog with a Blog, Violet, and Jake and the Pirates Nowhere for Disney, and Come on, Young Titans! For Cartoon Network. Also, she did commercials and other voice-overs for secondary characters for Disney Junior, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon.

Her most significant success though was when she did the Romanian version of the animated princess in Sofia the First, Ariel Winter did the English version of the same animation movie. Gogan and her brother also participated in the 2016 Romanians Got Talent, a reality contest television program done by the British company, Simco Limited and featured on PRO TV.

What She’s up to Now 

Her journey as a vlogger started in 2016 when she launched the mini-series, How to Become Popular at High School. The mini-series went on for four seasons, from 2016 to 2018. Since then, she has accumulated a total of 780,000 YouTube subscribers, millions of views, and almost 700,000 followers on Instagram.

Currently, Gogan is still making music with her brother, choreography, influencing and vlogging on her Tik Tok. She has an audience of over 1.5 Million viewers in TikTok and is planning a music concert scheduled for September this year, Tickets for the Chisinau concert.

In conclusion, Andra Gogan’s success speaks for itself. She has conquered the entertainment world at such a young age, which is nothing short of incredible. That, demonstrating that it is possible to achieve one’s dreams no matter the age. After all, it is just a number. Don’t let it come between you and your dreams.

 

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Entrepreneurship

Judge Graham: The Man Behind Huge Digital Agency Exits

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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Judge Graham. Judge is a veteran in the digital marketing space and has exited from multiple agencies for hundreds of millions of dollars. We talked about how he got started, his experience, and more. 

 

 

  • Hey Judge, what does your experience in the digital marketing space look like? 

 

 

Judge: After making a high 8-Figure exit from one of my agencies, I moved on to another agency and replicated my processes and helped sell that agency for a 9-Figure exit.

 

 

  • How did you position your agencies to sell?

 

 

Judge: A few pivotal things I teach on were key to positioning to sell. The first is recurring revenue. If your business isn’t generating recurring revenue, you won’t be able to sell it for a lot of money. The second is culture, I worked relentlessly to build a rock-solid culture in every business that I am involved with.

 

 

  • Was selling your agency always the goal? 

 

 

Judge: It was always the original goal to make an exit from my agencies. When starting, your positioning is much different if your ultimate goal is to sell.

 

 

  • What shifts have you seen in digital marketing?

 

 

Judge: I tell all my consulting and mentorship clients this today. In 2019, digital marketing has progressed so much, that we live in the best time to start an agency. The marketplace has become much more educated, and the software has become much easier to use.

 

 

  • What would you tell an agency owner just starting out?

 

 

Judge: Find a good mentor, and position your agency to sell. 

 

 

  • If you were to start an agency today, what steps would you take to secure another big acquisition? 

 

 

Judge: The same process I took in the past, build recurring revenue and a great culture and stop selling tactics, sell revenue.

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Interviews

Meet the Girl behind One of Instagrams Most Prominent Photography Pages; Giulia Woergartner

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Giulia Woergartner is a travel and commercial photographer, based in northern Italy. Growing up in the heart of the Italian Alps, Giulia was surrounded by beauty, which helped shape her love for natural beauty and photography. Because of this, the Dolomites were the earliest subjects of her pictures, an opportunity many photographers can only dream of.

With her yellow jacket and a camera in her hand, she is always chasing the adventure and exploring beautiful corners of this world. Giulia is also very passionate about the environment, the protection and conservation of our planet.

Here are a few questions I asked her:

 

What is it exactly you do?

 

I am an artist working as a full-time photographer and filmmaker. My main audience is on Instagram and that is also where part of my income is coming from. As an outdoor photographer, I travel around the world working for lifestyle, outdoor and tourism companies, creating content but also promoting their services or products on my Instagram.

 

Why did you choose Photography?

 

Photography has been a doorway to appreciate the place I live in and sparked the curiosity to see the world. The love for photography has developed alongside my interest in the environment and the outdoor. I love having access to the memories I’ve lived through my photographs. Photographs are very powerful, they keep the memories forever even if things have changed over time. 

 

What is traveling the world as a photographer like?

 

Traveling around the world, meeting different people and getting to know different cultures is a dream of many. Traveling always brings a lot of challenges and puts you into uncomfortable situations sometimes, this could be a facing a flat tire on a road trip or losing your passport one day before leaving the country. However, I am grateful for making a living out of something I love and I wake up every day full of energy, ready for the next adventure! 

 

Best tips for someone looking to start their photography journey?

 

Go shoot as much as you can! I think with everything you need to put in the work and practice. So many people don’t want to put in the work because they just see the results of others without thinking about the path they have to take to get there. In our fast-paced society, I feel like no one has the patience anymore, good things take time and sometimes you just need a little bit of luck, dedication, and self-awareness to move closer to your goals.

 

What are your core principles?

 

Creativity, Curiosity, and Impact

 

What makes your work different than others? 

 

I was very fortunate to attend an art high school where very early, I developed a close understanding of colors, shape, and composition. My understanding of detail and the way I see subjects has advanced very quickly because of my wide knowledge of art in general. I think in photography there is more to than just going out and taking a photograph, somehow you always let a part of you into the pictures that can express emotions and it can be interpreted differently by any viewer and that is the great thing about art. I like to see myself as an artist rather than a photographer. 

 

What are your future plans?

 

One thing that I am definitely not is someone who is thinking too much about the future or projecting it. I like to live life one step at a time and I do not plan or think more than 1-2 months ahead. Life has a weird way of always trying to change the plans you are making and so I just stopped swimming against the current and just go with the flow. Of course, I have dreams and visions I’d like to accomplish but I prefer thinking about how to get there “one step at a time”! 

For now, I am road tripping on the West Coast of the USA, visiting serval national parks and beautiful landscapes I’ve been wanting to see since I was a little child. The best thing about living in an age where we share so much about ourselves on social media is that you can be a part of everyone’s story. So if you want to know what is next, you know where you can follow my adventures!

To keep up with Giulia’s journey you can follow her Instagram here.

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The Disrupt Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.

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