Monthly Archives: August 2014

Dream big

Success in all forms

Success can be a funny thing – people measure it in all different ways. For some people, success comes quickly, and the loss of success can be devastating.

For young adults, graduating from college and landing that first real job can denote success. For a new mom, success can be getting her baby to sleep through the night, or breastfeeding. Success could be retiring – at any age – from a job and enjoying your ideal lifestyle.

I define success in terms of engagement instead of happiness. In my opinion, happiness is difficult to quantify. I seek out engagement and experiences that are so encompassing that I lose myself in them. To me, that means success.

Within Empower Network, where I am the CEO, I encourage our affiliates and remind them that their success is based on their willingness to learn, willingness to put in an effort and their own work ethic.

I am lucky, as I view myself as successful in my career. I’m the CEO of a growing company that is helping others change for the better and allowing them to live their lives as entrepreneurs. The industry is one in which I feel engaged and that I enjoy – sometimes too much, as it can be difficult to maintain a work/life balance. Overall, though, I have the privilege of seeing people grow and transform themselves as they become successful people who are more engaged than they may have been in their previous careers.

How do you define success? Are you engaged in your job or career path? If not, what change could you make that would allow you to be more successful?

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Ice Bucket Challenge: Getting cold for ALS

A new craze is sweeping Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. Even if you haven’t participated in the challenge, I’m sure you saw videos posted on social media. The “Ice Bucket Challenge” is an effort to raise money for The ALS Association. People from all over are challenging their friends, family and co-workers to pour ice water on themselves with a donation of $10 to The ALS Association. Those who don’t accept the challenge are supposed to donate $100 to the cause. Some people are even adding to their $10 donation by donating additional money to The ALS Association when the people they challenge also complete the challenge.

For those of you who don’t know, ALS, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. According to The ALS Association’s website there are approximately 5,600 people diagnosed with ALS in the United States each year and it can affect anyone. This is a lot of people that are directly impacted by the disease and doesn’t include the thousands of people indirectly impacted by knowing someone with the disease.

As of Tuesday, August 19 The ALS Association raised more than $22.9 million from previous and new donors, much of this can stem from the Ice Bucket Challenge. I, Jonathan Cronstedt, even participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was cold, but well worth it.

Check out my video here. I even rocked my Empower Network shirt and I thank Kevin Knecht for nominating me for the challenge.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a fun way to show others that you care and support a cause that, with research and money, seeks to create a world without ALS. Some videos are definitely entertaining like Chris Pratt’s video, which makes you want to think of the most creative way to dump ice water on your head.

Join in the fun on social media and by donating before another craze, which might be less beneficial to an organization, sweeps the social media realm.

Visit The ALS Association’s website for more information on ALS and to donate. http://www.alsa.org

All the best,

Jonathan Cronstedt

 

As the CEO of Empower Network, Jonathan Cronstedt is a frequent traveler to meet with executives, affiliates and attend events on behalf of Empower Network, a leader in the affiliate marketing and direct sales world.

 

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Protect yourself from hackers

How to safeguard your information online

Internet security breaches have occurred more frequently over the past few years, and it looks like it has happened yet again. This time, the hack has compromised more than 500 million email addresses and more than 1.2 billion username and password combinations! This is being regarded as one of the biggest and most dangerous informational breaches of all time.

It’s about time you changed your passwords and adapted some of the better password formulation techniques to avoid falling prey to these mischief mongers. While using the same password across several different sites is undoubtedly easier to remember, it puts you at elevated risk of exposure when and if any of your online accounts are compromised.

This time, more than 420,000 websites and their databases have been compromised. So if you’ve been using the same password for your “fun” accounts as for your bank accounts, you’re now financially exposed to people who would be more than willing to help themselves to a slice out of your savings.

Your online security depends on you. If you are hoping to keep your accounts secure, you need to make a conscious effort toward this goal. Yes, they’re much easier for you to remember, but keeping simple passwords doesn’t protect your privacy. Here are a few tips to help you construct better passwords:

  1. Mix it up: Use a mix of letters – both upper- and lower-case – numbers and special symbols (if allowed). The more difficult it is to type, the more protected you will be from someone accessing your accounts.
  2. Switch it up: Change your passwords often. Old passwords tend to get compromised easily.
  3. Don’t make it easy: Use different passwords for different accounts. And don’t keep that password log online or on your computer/gadget! Use traditional methods for keeping your passwords straight. This means not only writing it down on a piece of paper but also keeping that piece of paper safe and secret!
  4. Here, sharing isn’t caring: Don’t share your passwords with anyone. You might just be courting account misuse by sharing this kind of information with your family and/or friends!
  5. Stay on top of it: Make sure you’re updated with the latest news. Know when and if an informational breach has occurred. Also, know what you can do to find out if your online privacy has been compromised. If you stay ignorant about the situation for too long, it might just be a bit too late by the time you finally figure it out on your own.

A Russian cyber mob is known to be involved with this data breach. Click here to find out more about this story.

Jonathan Cronstedt is the CEO of Empower Network, a leading affiliate marketing and direct sales company. Jonathan enjoys new technology, traveling, spending time with his wife and red wine.

travel, health, jonathan cronstedt

Maintain your health while traveling

CEOs and entrepreneurs work hard. They move from meeting to meeting, city to city and event to event at a very fast pace and for more hours than what an average business person works. Sometimes it’s difficult to step away from it to get a deep breath and actually evaluate yourself, the company and your team. Maintaining your health while working long hours and traveling allows you the extra room to evaluate without worry.

I’m constantly reminding myself to take care of my health; when I’m healthy, the company is also healthy. I frequently travel between California and Florida and many other locations like Costa Rica and Europe. Enclosed spaces, like the cabin of a plane with hundreds of other passengers, are breeding grounds for disease, and moving from one climate to another also often causes illness. Throughout my travels I’m frequently asked how I stay healthy. I have a few tips that work for me, which may also work for you.

  • Stay hydrated – in the mind, spiritually and with water. I read business books to keep my mind fresh and help further my knowledge base; I maintain faith that there is something greater; and I stay hydrated with water to flush my system out.
  • Sleep schedule: Flights are an exceptional place to catch up on shut-eye; however, drooling on your neighbor is not ideal. If you are traveling to a different time zone, try to begin the transition to the new time zone the day you are set to travel.
  • Exercise: It isn’t always easy while traveling, but finding something local and fun helps get me the exercise I need while away from home. I especially like snowboarding.
  • Don’t overindulge. It might seem easy to enjoy the extras while traveling, especially as you hop from meeting to meeting at restaurants, bars or catered events. Be mindful of how much you indulge – which includes food and beverages – as it can leave you feeling lethargic for the next meeting or unable to fully participate.
  • Relax: Make sure you relax, whether you use music or take deep breaths throughout the day. Don’t forget that relaxation is a major part of staying healthy and stress-free.
  • Stay positive. Traveling has its hindrances and things we can’t always control. Remember to go with the flow and know that you can only control your own emotions.

While these tips aren’t the end-all, be-all of staying healthy while traveling, they are a few tricks that work well for me. Everyone is different – there are some people who get sick much more quickly than others and some always work through their illnesses. We each have our own ticks that seem to help us stay healthy. What are some tips that help you stay healthy while you travel?

Jonathan Cronstedt is the CEO of Empower Network, LLC. Empower Network is a leading affiliate marketing and direct sales company that’s helping tens of thousands enjoy the “Empowered Lifestyle.” Jonathan enjoys travel, spending time with his wife and red wine.

 

kulcar, Jonathan Cronstedt

Technology for your car

Kulcar, Jonathan Cronstedt, Empower Network

Many people seek out the newest technology to help them complete their work, accomplish their goals and enhance their lives; I’m one of those people. When I hear about a new tech product, I’m always eager to learn more and share with others to get the word out. One of the newer products I’ve heard about is a car-cooling device for when your car is off and parked in a lot: Kulcar.

Cooling parked cars from the inside out
There are a lot of products on the market for vehicles, and many of them assist with keeping the heat or sun out of the car. An option for helping to keep the sun from beating down and heating up your vehicle’s interior is a shade for your windshield. However, that doesn’t help remove the heat from the car; you’re still left with a stifling oven, which isn’t fun, especially in the summer when you live in California or work in Florida like I do. I’ve found Kulcar to be a balance between sunshades and keeping your car in a covered lot.

Cooling cars off with solar power
While not as simple as unfolding a sunshade when you park your car, the solar-powered system is easy to install. Kulcar attaches to any car window that rolls up and down. The solar-powered fan brings the cooler outside air into the vehicle and ventilates the air already in there. Kulcar isn’t a permanent fixture, either, so you can remove it during those cooler winter months if you need to.

Rolling down your windows and blasting the air might be more convenient for you, but it definitely isn’t more comfortable for those sitting and waiting for the car to cool down, especially for those with dark leather seats. Kulcar maintains a reasonable temperature in your parked car while you’re not in it.

It should be noted that using Kulcar doesn’t mean you can leave pets or children in locked vehicles in the sun.

10-year warranty and sustainable energy
One of the exceptional things about this new technology is that it’s backed by a 10-year warranty and uses only 100-percent sustainable, renewable energy. You’re not only going to reduce the need to blast your air conditioning unit right away, but your car will maintain a cooler temperature throughout the day.

The Kulcar difference
This technology for your vehicle is available now for about $100. I’m really not sure why someone didn’t think of this sooner. Whether you live or work in the south or just can’t stand the stifling summer heat in your car, Kulcar might be the best option for you. For the price, it definitely doesn’t hurt to try it. I know I’m eager to get my hands on this technology!

What new technology are you excited about?
Jonathan Cronstedt is the CEO of Empower Network, a leading affiliate marketing and direct sales company. Jonathan enjoys new technology, traveling, spending time with his wife and red wine.

jonathan cronstedt

How do you start a business relationship or meeting with people you’ve never met before?

Some people view small-talking women as Chatty Cathy’s and dismiss them. For some people, small talk can be one of the most difficult things to master in any setting, bringing on fear-induced sweats. Since initial small talk comes from first-time meetings, these situations can make people seem short, uninterested or unapproachable. Often it’s because people don’t know how to act in certain situations.

Through the years, I’ve met people who come across as cold and distant and others who share far more information than is deemed as small talk.

I began pondering the differences after reading a Wall Street Journal blog about a recent study on small talk in men and women in a business negotiation setting. The study and paper by co-authors at the University of Munich, American University’s Kogod School of Business and Technical University of Munich accumulated reactions from more than 170 individuals to transcripts of a negotiation scenario. Those involved read one of four different scenarios: a male negotiator who used small talk before starting the negotiation, a female negotiator who also used small talk and, lastly, transcripts where the negotiators began proceedings without chit-chat. The results were slightly unexpected, with men being more favored to gain the business or receive more from the other party.

The new study reminds me of a 2003 experiment that Sheryl Sandberg references in her book Lean In, regarding Heidi/Howard. A professor at Columbia Business School and one at New York University used a case study about a successful female (Heidi) venture capitalist. The professors changed the name between Heidi and Howard for the different groups and polled their students’ impressions of either persona. Based on the 2003 results, more people found Howard likable than Heidi. We see a similar situation with the current study.

Why is there such a discrepancy between genders when it comes to being assertive or even carrying on a conversation? Usually, I find that women have an easier time with small talk than men because women seem to be more eager to find common ground and relate to a person in order to create a more solid relationship. I urge women to continue to chat, and I urge men to engage, as well, because when men do it, it’s unexpected. Continue to seek and find the balance that allows for both men and women to succeed.

Jonathan Cronstedt is the CEO of Empower Network, an affiliate marketing, software and leadership training company. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter @thejcron.

Charlotte North Carolina Empower Network Jonathan Cronstedt

Don’t just plan a conference, plan to make a difference

Here’s the scenario: You are planning to attend a business or training conference; visions of workshops, speakers and socializing start dancing through your head. You will leave the event with dozens of contacts in your smart device and a reinvigorated attitude. But what does the city get from your visit?

Empower Network recently hosted its regional conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the event brought a total of $1.36 million to the city. Charlotte was a great location for us to hold an event: It’s a great travel hub with exceptional weather and activities for those who attended the Empower Network event to take advantage of.

When you attend a dinner party or gathering, it’s customary to bring a gift for the host/hostess and, afterward, express thanks and gratitude for a lovely time. If you are planning an event in a different city, you should consider doing the same for your host city. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  • Include the benefits of the host city in your promotional content about the event. When other companies see this, they may look more closely at the city for their own events or other initiatives, providing a significant boost in public perception of the city.
  • Plan an activity that directly affects the city, such as helping a local charity. In addition to the economic boost from your visit, this can help you leave a lasting feel-good impression on the city to linger long after your departure.
  • Ensure that your attendees understand what is expected of them as guests of the city. Nothing is worse than leaving a bad impression on your host city.
  • Do something unique. For example, instead of simply organizing a conference, make it memorable in some way, such as making it an environmentally sustainable event. This will help to position your host city as a go-to place for others considering something similar and allow the city to market itself the same way. Additionally, by demonstrating environmental leadership, you can garner positive media coverage for your organization and the host city. You can find lists of green conference venues online.
  • If you received particularly great service from a local company, such as a caterer or tour bus company, provide the company with a positive review it can use on its website or in publicity materials. You may also wish to encourage attendees to write about their opinions of the venue on travel or business review sites.
  • Organize an activity for local businesses or entrepreneurs. You may discover new affiliate marketing opportunities in your host city that you didn’t know about before.
  • Lastly, you can put your networking skills to good use by meeting with the Visitor’s Authority or Chamber of Commerce in your host city to find out specifically what they need and how your organization may be able to help.

These kinds of activities can help your host city improve its ranking on lists such as “best cities for business” or “most friendly places for tourists in America,” which in turn helps to attract additional conferences and revenue. That’s quite a gift.

Empower Network is hosting its next big event this year in Orlando, Florida. If you have discovered other ways to be a good corporate partner with host cities, I’d love to hear about them.

Best,
Jonathan Cronstedt

As the CEO of Empower Network, LLC. Jonathan is helping tens of thousands enjoy the “Empowered Lifestyle.” Empower Network is a leading affiliate marketing and direct sales company headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. Jonathan enjoys travelling, savoring red wine and spending quality time with his wife and puppy.