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There’s a new bar in town that wants to cater to all. Keep reading for all the delicious details.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about Smoq & Water Barbeque!
Mark Koking, Co-Founder of Smoq & Water Barbeque: We are everyone’s bar. A unique neighborhood bar located in Norwood, Ohio. We serve affordable drinks, cocktails, and quality smoked bar food. Smoq & Water is “Your Bar.” We encourage everyone to come check us out.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Koking: Our inspiration is our passion for people. Our place our emphasis on customer service and treating everyone who comes to Smoq & Water as if they were in our home. Those who visit Smoq & Water for the first time usually come back and become regulars. We have an owner, management team and bartenders who love people and can’t wait to serve you.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Smoq & Water Barbeque?
Koking: Myself and my son Derek Koking originally started Smoq & Water as a catering business in 2016. In the spring of 2020, Smoq & Water partnered with RJ Distillery and Bob Slattery to open the bar.

Derek has 15 years of experience in restaurant management while I consider myself a 30 year bar connoisseur and enthusiast.

Cincy Chic: Where is Smoq & Water located?
Koking: Smoq & Water uniquely shares a building with RJ Distillery at 2810 Highland Avenue in Norwood, Ohio.

Cincy Chic: What makes Smoq & Water unique?
Koking: We are a place where everyone is welcome. We have great drink specials, high quality bar food, cornhole, shuffleboard, live music, karaoke and promotional events throughout the year. We feel like the best characteristic about Smoq & Water continues to be our customers and the environment.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for 2021?
Koking: We want to continue to promote our events and activities. We plan on initiating cornhole and shuffleboard tournaments. We also will be installing new dart boards and hope to begin dart leagues in the next few months. As we continue to navigate through Covid-19 restrictions, we look to bring back more live music performances and serve the community until 2 am.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Koking: We regularly post on our social media accounts. Readers can go to our Facebook page and Instagram.

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It’s natural to fear the unknown. But our life coach columnist shares how to turn fears into confidence, to start seeing a bright future ahead.

As you age you may recognize you are not as flexible, fit, or even look as you once did. When it comes to the quality of your life, although different, you can choose to see it moving in a positive direction and believe your future will always be bright.

Moving in a positive direction as you age is allowing yourself to take all those fears and shift them into confidence. Many of your fears are unnecessary, and oftentimes you may find you go to a fear state of mind because you are not able to process a better understanding. These patterns of negative thinking oftentimes result in the feeling of being discontent with your life and not seeing a bright future.

Here’s how you can make it happen. 

Go inward and think about those times you were a winner, or the times that you did something that you were really proud of, or even little things, those feelings are what brings you closer to joy and confidence.

You’ve heard people ask what’s your five-year plan? The question at first can seem a bit fearful, and yet if you are doing things now that fulfill you, creating that future of making your life better and being able to see it bright will come with ease and flow.

It’s never too late my friend, you can always dream and set those big goals. It is those dreams and goals that really keep you young at heart and interested in your life. 

So instead of getting old and giving up, use the wisdom that you have at this point in your life, so that you can start creating a future based on your confidence and not your fear. 

For more motivation, Google search those individuals whose lives didn’t even start until the second half of life (over 50+), you might be surprised and inspired.

Start now. Stop talking about what didn’t work out, or how you’re unhealthy, or you could have done things differently, and start making contributions into what you see that can improve your current situation and allow you to move confidently into the next season of your bright future. 

And as always, the most positive changes can begin with simple affirmations. Create those positive statements that consciously reprogram your mind so that you can accept this new belief. 

Allow me to start by offering you this affirmation: “I have my whole life ahead of me! I am young and beautiful…at every age. I greet each new day with energy and joy. I live every day to the fullest. All is well.”

Use the affirmations first thing in the morning and the last thing before you go to bed.  Begin and end each day on a positive noteand your future will always be bright.

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Make celebrating the little things a little easier on your busy schedule this year!

Lifestyles are busy and as we start to get back on our feet following the shut downs and stay-at-home orders caused by COVID-19, the last thing many people have time for is party planning. 

That’s where Confetti Caddy comes in. 

“Confetti Caddy is boutique party rental company that originated around the idea of themed party box rentals for busy families,” explains Confetti Caddy Founder Jenae Jacobson. “We wanted to make it easy for you to create a party with more style, more fun, and a lot less stress.” 

Jacobson says she, alongside her co-founder Mia, found the inspiration to launch Confetti Caddy from their shared love of throwing parties for their own children. 

“We love throwing parties and entertaining, but hate all of the excess items leftover that we will never use again,” she says. “We also wanted to eliminate unnecessary plastics, waste, and overspending – it’s easy to get carried away when buying for your kids.”

Trying to find a solution to this problem, the idea of renting these often wasted items seemed like a no brainer, and thus Confetti Caddy was born.

Confetti Caddy launched nearly 6 months ago and they’re already in the process of adding more rental box themes to their lineup.

Currently, you can choose from six core options: Farm, Country, Princess Swan, Construction, Donut Rainbow, and Donut Brunch.

“Each box includes serving pieces, cake stands, tabletop decor, accessories, and a linen,” says Jacobsen. “We provide you with suggested images on how to setup your table but in the end, it’s up to you!”

Those interested in throwing a party with Confetti Caddy can send an email to confetticaddy@gmail.com or send a message on social media. There, you can let the team know which theme you are interested in and on what date. “We coordinate pick-up and drop-off dates and times, and you are all set,” says Jacobsen. “If you need additional platters or cake stands just ask, we are always able to customize your order.”

Jacobsen is the looking forward to the future of Confetti Caddy, despite the toll COVID-19 has taken on the entertainment industry.

“It goes without saying that COVID has unfortunately taken a significant toll on the events industry in general,” says Jacobsen. “People have slowed down on having parties so we have pivoted to focus on COVID-friendly items like balloon displays and custom backdrops. Just because you aren’t having a party doesn’t mean you can’t surprise someone with something beautiful!”

To learn more about Confetti Caddy, visit confetticaddy.com. You can also find them on Instagram or Facebook.

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A love for creating and planning styled shoots inspired this local artist to launch her own online shop of digital downloads. Read on for more.

Cincy Chic: Tell us more about P + K Collective!
Peyton, Founder of P + K Collective: P + K Collective is an online shop that sells art via digital downloads. I always joke and use the phrase “this ain’t your momma’s cheesy wall art” in our descriptions. I truly like the items I’m posting, and they are designs I would like to print and put on my own wall. Upon purchase, the customer is able to download the files immediately and print them however many times they would like. If there is an issue, I will gladly re-size, change files, or update image quality if needed. We offer custom prints, quotes, lyrics, wedding signage, etc. We are in the process of also releasing blank digital mockups that can be purchased and used for other small businesses as well! We are brand new, so our shop isn’t as large as we would like, but we have a lot planned and ready to go. We offer discount codes to our returning customers to show our appreciation, and we are always doing sales.

In this process, I style a flat lay or a mockup, and other businesses can use my templates to market their products. I have experience in the wedding and event industry in styling, social media, and planning, so this is a really fun hobby for me!! It is actually very entertaining, I set up everything in our living room, in front of our huge window, and stand on our step ladder. I know the neighbors are confused, but the shots are gorgeous. Blasting music on Alexa, drinking coffee, and styling the mockups or editing prints that could be on someone’s wall one day truly makes me happy.

I also have a love for collecting vintage items, which will be posted in the shop too. We like a little bit of everything. More digital mockups, designs, and vintage items will be coming to our store this year. 

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Peyton: The inspiration comes from attending and planning many styled shoots, and for wanting to make art for social media and for my home that I enjoy seeing! No more staring at the dated wall art I got on clearance. 

No one knows your style as you do, and I wanted to offer products that are versatile enough to satisfy any aesthetic. It is very important to me to shop small and to support other businesses. I love being able to supply them with props for pop-ups, their storefront, or even just images that can boost their social media image.

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind P + K Collective?
Peyton: My name is Peyton or “P” from P + K Collective. I’m a local student, event coordinator, stylist, and now aspiring small business owner. 

Cincy Chic: What makes P + K Collective unique?
Peyton: P + K Collective has unique products because they are created by someone who has been on the styling side of things, and someone who knows how frustrating it is to want something for your home or business but the design is just a bit off. We want to help bridge this gap because we love making cool things and because we know how it feels.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Peyton: Our Instagram page and our Facebook page give updates about new arrivals. We are in the process of starting an email list soon!

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If your resolution is already on the struggle bus, our life coach columnist offers four tips to get back on the road to success.

Time to check in as you enter week two of the new year. Are you sticking to your resolution and goals with confidence and clarity to boldly move into the next level for business and life?

The struggle is real. 

The moment when you are crushing your goals, feeling the high energy and excitement for the outcome when out of the blue you hit a low, lose motivation and focus, and the progress slows down or comes to a halt.  

What can you do at that moment?

Give up seems like the convenient choice but you really want this year’s goals and resolution to stick!

Let’s get you set up with a plan to allow you to quickly get back to focus and release that feeling of throwing in the towel. Here are four tips for staying in alignment with your resolutions/goals:

1. Setting goals and getting results is about a series of choices. You have a choice in every moment. Even if you make a choice you can adjust or change it. Think of choices in a way that you are interrupting the old patterns and a new choice creates a new pattern.
2. If you are telling yourself, you can’t stick to the plan because it’s harder than you thought realize that those thoughts keeping it hard. To let go of that belief, use a mantra “I can do hard things” and identify the next logical step.
3. You feel like giving up but know you don’t want to fail.  When this feeling arises, focusing on your why and use the mantra “My desire is stronger than my excuses.”
4. Strengthening your why by tapping back into the day/moment when you set the goal and identify all those reasons you set it to begin with. A mantra that will also help is “things are always working out for me.”

For added support seek out someone who can be your accountability partner. Checking in daily keeps your goals/resolution top of mind. With accountability, you can also identify quickly any adjustments needing to be made or celebrating your successes.

You’ve got this! 

Here’s to creating the life you deserve,

Melissa

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Celebrating female leaders who have advanced in their careers because they have integrated work and life through whole-self wellness.

Womxn are leaving the workforce at an alarming rate due to challenges in integrating work and life due to family duties in the home. These challenges aren’t new, but they have been significantly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. When womxn lead through whole-self wellness, they integrate a healthy lifestyle with their career, and we’ve found a wellness role model in Jill McIntosh, CEO of JVM Ventures and Sr. Consultant of Simpactful Consulting.

McIntosh joins Dr. Oz

McIntosh has had an incredibly diverse, enjoyable and fulfilling career path- she has followed her passions and taken on new challenges at each step along the way. Jill’s began practicing law as a corporate attorney at several law firms until she landed the role of corporate counsel for one of nation’s largest retailers where she ventured into various impactful leadership roles. McIntosh now serves on boards, both profit and non-profit, and joined Simpactful Consulting where she works with emerging brands in the natural products space. 

What is she most proud of? “Lifting while I have climbed. I have led the Network of Executive Women, Cincinnati for the last 7 years with my executive co-chair Amy Eskoff Garrett (P&G) and our professional volunteers drive the advancement of women in our industry through leadership development, mentoring, and networking” said McIntosh. “I also serve on the boards of Xavier University, William’s College of Business, and ProKids of Hamilton county, court-appointed special advocates for our neglected and abused children.”

It is fair to say that Jill McIntosh is a powerhouse. She is a wife, a mother, coach, volunteer, an innovator, a mentor and role model. So, how has she avoided burnout while maintaining her incredibly demanding lifestyle?   Amidst notecards, sun protection and workout gear, you’ll most notably find a mound of healthy snacks in Jill’s “wellness survival bag” (something we ask all of our featured leaders to provide). 

“I never pick up a package now without checking the ingredient statement and the nutrition facts – it’s important to me what I am putting into my body” says McIntosh.  It was when Jill led natural foods merchandising for The Kroger, Co. that she became more educated on food ingredients, nutrition overall and began to think about food differently. “Having clean ingredients free from artificial colors, additives and preservatives was the standard for adding food products into our assortment but it was also about what benefits or attributes it would provide to the consumer.” 

Jill’s favorite snacks are Whisps® Cheese Crisps, Highkey® Mini Cookies and Crunchmaster® Crackers, all gluten-free, good-for-you options.

So what’s next? Jill finds joy in following emerging trends in the better-for-you product space as she finds that most of the meaningful innovation comes from new, upcoming brands. What drives her: working with brand creators in this space. “The people behind these brands are usually pretty cool and fun to work with.”   

In part 2 of this story we’ll share more about Jill’s areas of strengths and opportunity across the 8 pillars of wellness and unpack more of her wellness survival kit.  

To learn more about Jill McIntosh follow her on LinkedIn and explore https://simpactful.com/.

Bag spill content, left to right: WISe Wellness Guild glass waterbottle, Saucony running shoes, Xavier University facemask, Crunchmaster Crackers, Elta MD® Skincare Sunscreen, Network of Executive Women note cards, Highkey® Mini Cookies, Simple Truth Organic ™ Night Time Relaxation Herbal Tea, Whisps ® Cheese Crisps, goodr®  sunglasses, Mariemont lacrosse hat.

Glossary of terms: 

Womxn: noun, plural wom·xn [wim-in] /ˈwɪm ɪn/. a woman (used, especially in intersectional feminism, as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women)

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See how a small group is having a hugely positive impact on the restaurant industry and those who need meals the most.

The restaurant industry is the backbone of many small businesses in our communities. While they keep our bellies full, they are not without faults and struggles. 

That’s where The LEE Initiative comes in. “The LEE (Let’s Empower Employment) Initiative is a non-profit dedicated to providing creative and forward-thinking solutions to issues of diversity and equity in the restaurant industry, as well as providing work and mentorship opportunities in the industry,” says LEE Co-Founder Lindsey Ofcacek. 

The inspiration for The LEE Initiative came from the #MeToo movement, according to Ofcacek. 

“Chef Edward Lee and I spent many hours talking about how we could help the industry we love so much,” she explains. “Everything relies on women having the resources and support they need to thrive – this country, our communities, our families, the restaurant industry. Empowering women directly changes everything. We started our Women Chefs Program and have grown tremendously as we opened relief kitchens in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Since the relief kitchens were opened in mid-March with one relief kitchen in Louisville, Ofcacek says that they’ve grown to a total of 19 relief kitchens across the country. There is a program getting meals to families in Jefferson County, another program that helps support small farms and restaurants in the re-opening process, and now a series of relief kitchens for live music staff.

“Since March, we’ve given out over 1 million meals,” adds Ofcacek. 

The team behind The LEE Initiative includes Ofcacek, Lee, and a small, all-women team who are working hard to help the programs run. 

With the dawn of a new year finally here, Ofcacek says The LEE Initiative will focus on sustainable rebuilding in 2021. 

“You won’t be surprised to hear that as a restaurant industry veteran and former General Manager, I deal with uncertainty by throwing myself into my work,” she says. “ONone of us would ever have asked for this rupture, but now that it’s here, it is an opportunity to address so many issues that would have been ongoing problems.”

The mission at The LEE Initiative will continue to be focused on creating a more effective supply chain between small farms and restaurants, improving practices to support the future workers in the industry, and putting new energy behind the Women’s Chefs program.

Lindsey Ofcacek and Edward Lee, Founders of The LEE Initiative

“Thanks to our partners at Audi and Maker’s Mark, we’re dreaming huge,” says Ofcacek. “Our work in direct aid can be so difficult, and dreaming of the better future we’re going to build helps keep me motivated and sane.” 

Ofcacek says that while the work is hard, she finds her inspiration to keep going by watching the way the restaurant and food community has come together in the midst of the crisis.

“Every person in this industry was financially, emotionally, and often physically affected by this pandemic,” she says. “But every chef, cook, bartender, server, distributor, and farmer I know, and many that I don’t, reached out to help. Our nonprofit is very small, but we could have never fed a million people without our partners and community support. We all truly believe that programs are not solved by one sweeping motions, but by a million tiny acts and an army of people doing good. I have seen so much kindness over the last year. The beauty of something being broken is that we get to rebuild it the way we want to. I have so much faith that we will rebuild a more sustainable and equitable industry where people can thrive.”

As we head into 2021, Ofcacek says she’s looking forward to being able to safely take a road trip to meet all of the partner restaurants and farms. “These incredible folks are what made our mission possible and I have only met a handful of them in person despite the fact that we spoke on the phone 5 times a day for 9 months,” she says.

She’s also looking forward to long leisurely dinners, and says as a full-time working mom that she wouldn’t be upset if schools re-opened.

To learn more about The LEE Initiative, visit https://leeinitiative.org

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An online boutique is curating items and accessories for you and your home. Learn about their one-of-a-kind jewelry, accessories, and customized gift boxes.

Cincy Chic: What is Simply Refined Market?
Karla Fluder, Co-Founder of Simply Refined Market: We are an online boutique featuring expertly curated items and accessories for you and your home. We feature everything from trendy barware to one-of-a-kind jewelry, accessories and customized gift boxes. 

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Fluder: We were inspired by a desire to open up a path for other small businesses (mostly women owned) as well as local artisans.  

Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it?
Fluder: Kristin Duffy and Karla Fluder – We worked together years ago and became best friends. Not only did we love each other’s taste and style, but we also appreciated each other’s work ethic, values, sense of humor, and joy of living. We shared a dream of someday building our own successful business. A business we could feel passionate about, while supporting other like-minded entrepreneurs. We were finally able to make that dream come true. 

Cincy Chic: What types of items do you carry in your boutique?
Fluder: Candles, kitchen items, home decor, women’s accessories, jewelry, curated and customized gift boxes, and pop culture items such as Schitt’s Creek merchandise. 

Cincy Chic: What are some of your most popular products?
Fluder: “Live Simply” Jute Tote, Himalayan Salt Shot Glasses, Clear and Gold Crystal Wine Glasses, multicolor cutting board, soy candles, and goat’s milk soap gift sets are the most popular.

Cincy Chic: What makes Simply Refined Market unique?
Fluder: Every 2 months we feature a local female artist/business owner on the home page of our website. We sell their items on our site along with a write up about them and their business. This is so we can bring attention to other female owned small business owners and artisans.

Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for 2021?
Fluder: We plan on expanding our gift box business by offering more customized options for customers. We want to start curating personalized wedding/bridesmaid/groomsmen boxes and attend wedding expos to help grow that side of the business. Along with that, we plan on doing more community events and reaching out to local female business owners to try and help eachother grow our businesses. 

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Fluder: We’re on Instagram and Facebook! You can also check out our website at https://www.simplyrefinedmarket.com

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As you begin your first week of the new year, our life coach columnist shares the four questions that can change negative thoughts into positive.

Hallelujah! Welcome to 2021! 

The new year has arrived, and you are probably trying to balance the emotions after a year of uncertainty. As you seek to find clarity, and adapt to the “new normal,” the struggle between the sadness and frustrations to the moments of finding love and happiness are challenging. 

As you begin to create a new focus for 2021, I want to share with you a book that I revisited this year by Bryon Katie titled “Loving What Is.”

I was introduced to this book many years ago, to find myself deep into the reading again this past year only because I kept hearing a mantra in my head — “love what is…” and then I realized that’s a book title.  

Katie’s book is about a time when she is depressed and self-loathing and wanted to find a way out.  She had a life changing insight when she realized a simple truth: when she believed her thoughts, she suffered, and when she didn’t, she was happy.

I have realized on my journey “loving what is” comes when releasing some old beliefs and thoughts by applying Katie’s four key questions to a situation, circumstance, or something that does not bring joy and happiness. A simple but effective tool with these questions:

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?

By asking the four questions in order you can create what Katie calls a turnaround question that is the opposite of what you believe from those questions. 

For example – “she doesn’t understand me” becomes “I don’t understand myself.”

By capturing a stressful thoughts and applying the four questions you will begin to release the negative emotions and allowing your energy to shift to a higher frequency which is positive. 

It may be challenging at first but with practice you will discover how you can shift from suffering cognitive behavior to thriving and in all areas of your life. This tool can open your mind and expand your perspective. Give it a try.  

Here’s the link to learn more and practice the process https://thework.com/instruction-the-work-byron-katie/

Sending you Love and Light, 

Melissa

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A local finance guru has a passion in helping women succeed personally, professionally. Read on to learn more about her.

Cincy Chic: What is Swain Consulting LLC?
Stevie Swain, Founder of Swain Consulting LLC: Swain Consulting is a Financial Consulting Firm with an emphasis on the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit program. My staff helps clients reduce their annual tax liabilities who hire selected individuals who face significant barriers to employment. I also serve the Federal Government as a Federal Government Benefits Specialist leading a team of Specialists, assisting all branches of Federal Government employees across 28 states with their benefits and retirement planning.

Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind your business?
Swain: I have always felt the need to help others as they navigate through life, as many others have helped me. With my business, helping companies see the benefit of hiring those less fortunate who would otherwise have a hard time securing employment, while being rewarded for doing so by reducing their annual tax liability seems like a win-win for all. In addition, helping people understand their financial benefits and their own retirement options is another wonderful way for me to serve others. I get such joy when someone who has understood the importance of a retirement plan and worked the plan gets ready for a happy and secure retirement.

Cincy Chic: Can you share more on your work with the Cincinnati Collaborative Women’s Network?
Swain: I began this organization to educate women on topics that we as women need to understand in both work and in life. I wanted this organization to be a resource center for the women of Cincinnati to help them grow as a community to help others as well. 

Cincy Chic: What inspired your efforts there?
Swain: Our mission is to awaken the passion of aspiring women entrepreneurs and women in transition through strategic workshops and meaningful networking to achieve professional development and growth. This organization was created with five pillars in mind (Professional Development, Health, Lifestyle, Wealth and Special Needs) to form the whole career centered person. From understanding one’s own professional development and particular wealth strategies, to the importance of our health and taking time for creative lifestyle interests to finally understanding those with special needs in our lives. We ask every member to take part in a specific pillar and lend their talents, knowledge, and time to help others in the organization to grow and realize their full potential.

Cincy Chic: What keeps you motivated and inspired in your day-to-day work?
Swain: Knowing that every day is a fresh start full of opportunities to connect with someone who needs to know what I have to share, making an impact on someone’s life every day is my goal. To be a well-rounded servant!

Cincy Chic: What do you hope to accomplish through your work in 2021?
Swain: Like everyone in the world, I want to get back to some normalcy in 2021! I want to see hundreds of people who have been out of work to get hired by companies who use WOTC! I’d love to show more companies how hiring from certain target areas can help their bottom line, while they help those who might be needing a second chance. WOTC is one of the most under-used Federal programs available to both nonprofit and for-profit companies. It’s crazy!

In the Federal Government side, I want to make an impact on the employees we serve by making sure we are consistently educating them with the financial information they need to lead totally happy, comfortable lives during retirement. It thrills me to get that call from a soon-to-be-retired Federal employee who has consistently put money away and is looking forward to a stress-free retirement.

Cincy Chic: What are you looking forward to the most next year?
Swain: The ability to spend time with my family and people I love without the fear of COVID-19 being spread. Perhaps going out to eat, celebrating birthdays, and going on vacation. This year has truly been a trying time for a lot of people. Like many small business owners, however, I have been blessed to have the ability to pivot my business to another line of service. So, I’m looking forward to getting back to my core business next year with the new aptitude to brainstorm and create other avenues of business as needed.

Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Swain: Our website is www.swainconsultingllc.com & www.cincwn.com. We have a blog on our website that readers can follow, and we are also on Facebook and Linkedin.

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