Cindy is a Bookkeeper & Disnerd
Cindy Schroeder returns to the podcast from episode 76 to update us on her Disney adventures and how it has influenced the experience she offers to her clients!
• Moved to Orlando near Disney
• How the Disney experience inspires her in the office
• Discovering other Disney fans through clients and colleagues
• Discovering a partner and client’s ties to Disney
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Welcome to Episode 266 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday Edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday, I’m following up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work and also to hear how this message might’ve impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book’s coming out very, very soon. It’ll be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So go to whatsyourand.com for all the details or sign up for my exclusive list and you’ll be the first to know when it’s coming out. And please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This Follow-up Friday is no different with my guest and friend, Cindy Schroeder. She’s the owner of Bright Bookkeeping in Orlando and the head of Bookkeeping Buds. Now, she’s with me here today. Cindy, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Cindy: Oh, absolutely. Thanks for having me.
John: Oh, This is going to be so great. It’s always so fun. I remember when I did a conference in Orlando. We were able to hang out there and go to dinner. It was so fun to see you. Yeah. Now, we get to hit record and let people hear what it’s like hanging out with us.
Cindy: Lucky though.
John: Yeah, exactly. So here we go. Rapid-fire questions right out of the gate. Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Cindy: Oh, neither.
John: Neither? Oh, boy.
Cindy: I’m sorry.
John: No, no. That works. That works. How about when you were a kid, favorite activity in gym class?
Cindy: I would say I liked climbing the rope.
John: Oh, yeah. That was always fun. Then did you get electrocuted when you got to the top or was that just my high school?
Cindy: I don’t think so. I think it was more of a, “Wow, I could actually do that.”
John: Right. “This is really high up here.”
Cindy: Now, what?
John: Yeah. And never again have you climbed a rope ever.
Cindy: Right. Exactly.
John: What’s a typical breakfast?
Cindy: Strawberry smoothie.
John: Oh, nice. I like that. How about more pens or pencils?
Cindy: Colored markers.
John: Ah, fancy. I like that. That’s even less mistakes. Do you prefer more hot or cold?
John: Hot. Yeah. Absolutely. How about favorite toppings on a pizza?
Cindy: I like garlic.
John: Really? So just cheese, sauce and garlic?
Cindy: I have a tomato allergy. So I get olive oil and garlic. And I usually put chicken and spinach on it.
John: There you go. No, that actually sounds pretty good. Okay. And the last one and maybe the most important one, toilet paper roll, over or under?
John: Over. Yeah. Every once in a while, you get an under. I almost ask the question again just to make sure they heard it properly. I’m teasing. But yeah, I mean Episode 76 when you were on. Three years ago, goodness. We talked about being a Disnerd, which was a word that I never heard of before. It’s a Disney fanatic, I guess, is the best way to put it.
Cindy: Yes, definitely, which is someone that full out loves Disney. Things have changed a lot in the last three years to totally embrace that Disney lifestyle. My husband and I have officially moved to Orlando. We live in Winter Garden, which is actually just 11 minutes from Disney property, just a little bit north of the castle. So yeah, it’s been really exciting. I think it was right — when we were filming last time or recording last time, we were just looking to buy a house out there. So things have changed a lot. We have fully embraced the Disney lifestyle and are just having fun.
John: That’s so great. So you’re just driving around and you see the castle. It’s right there.
Cindy: Yeah. The way the area where we live, a lot of times, we have to actually go through Disney property to get to where we need to go on the other side because there’s no — that’s the fastest way to get places.
John: That’s a happy accident.
Cindy: Exactly. You get to go through the gates of Disney lots of times. It’s just a normal day. We have annual passes and we tend to go to the parks probably at least, I would say, three times a week. When people hear us say that or they follow me on Facebook or on social media and they see my Disney Pictures, they’re like, “Is that all you do?” But I think for somebody who is coming to Disney just once in a lifetime, it’s a very different experience where we go in like we’ll just get maybe a FastPass for one ride or the Epcot always has some sort of festival going on, so we just finished Food and Wine. And at Food and Wine, they have tons of different food obviously and wine, but they also have fans that come in so they change bands every couple of days. They had Smash Mouth and Billy Ocean. It’s a lot of different bands. It’s like every couple of days, it’s somebody different. So we’ll work during the day and then — we live in Florida, so it’s beautiful outside — and then just go to Epcot and walk around, get in our steps, see a band and then go home. We don’t have to spend the whole day there.
John: That’s so awesome. And multitasking, getting your steps in.
Cindy: Yeah. Exactly.
John: Getting your Disney fix. Obviously, how we talked about last time, how much it helps, the marketing and creating that experience for your customers. You’re getting that. You’re getting music. You’re getting food and wine. It’s like, why not? Everything’s right here.
Cindy: Right. Yeah. Visiting the parks, I mean because the customer service at Disney is amazing. It may have slacked off a little bit from prior years but they’re getting better. But there’s still — there’s just so much magic at all the parks that all the details and things like that. So we definitely like to add that same type of magic and great customer service into our clients’ experience with Bright Bookkeeping.
Also, the other thing, too, which goes along with what you’re doing is with my Bookkeeping Buds group, which is a group for bookkeepers, for women who run a bookkeeping service, kind of a support group, I’ve created a new retreat, if you will, that includes different things that I’ve learned at Disney. And one of them is find your happy place. So it’s all about kind of the same thing you’re doing with your passion and why are you doing what you’re doing. So I’ve been able to take some of that same theories from Disney and put them into our new learnings that we have for bookkeepers.
John: That’s so fantastic. I mean it’s something where if you sat in a conference room and supposedly CPE credit and listen to someone read bullet points off of a PowerPoint slide of how to create customer experience, you’re not going to learn it. But going to Disney three times a week and being immersed in it and all that, I mean it’s next level. It truly is because I remember after we recorded last time, you shared some of that. You let me be a part of it for a bit. I was like, “This is amazing.” I don’t even need bookkeeping, but I would totally just hire you just to be a part of this. It’s really fantastic. Do you find that people are sharing their hobbies and passions more now? Or that you’re even looking for it maybe more?
Cindy: What was surprising — I did a kind of a class of building your dream bookkeeping firm. One of the exercises that we did, I just had them meditate for a couple of minutes. Then I handed out pieces of paper that said — it was a bunch of questions. And the reason for the meditation was so that they would just answer the questions and not think about it because as accountants and bookkeepers, we tend to get into our own head too much instead of our heart, right? So I just had them meditate and then answer a bunch of questions, which were all questions that were like, “What do you love? What are you passionate about,” all of these things. I wasn’t even quite sure how people would take it. And it went over really well. Yeah. So I think there’s definitely a need for people to figure out what that is that — what they’re not adding to their life that they love. I think sometimes, it just takes things like this podcast or different classes or different people to ask questions in different ways for them to realize that life is too short and they should be doing the things that they love.
John: Yeah. I mean because there’s so much more to who we are as people. Yeah, you’re a bookkeeper, but you’re so much more than that. And it’s so easy for us. I mean I did the same thing early on in my career. It’s just let that one thing define all of who we are. And we’re so much more than that. It’s cool that you’re also leading the way on that. So I appreciate that. I mean that means a lot, but also that you know how much it means to you and so reminding others the same that if you let it slide, it’s easy to forget these other things that we love to do.
John: Do you have any words of encouragement to others that are listening that think that, “I love Disney, but that has nothing to do with my career,” type of a thing or whatever their hobby is?
Cindy: I would just say — people say things to me like, “Why would you go to Disney?” It’s totally different to each person. What Disney means to me might mean something different to someone else. We don’t have kids, so people are like, “Well, why are you going there?” I always say, “The only thing wrong with Disney is all the dang kids there.”
Cindy: But whatever your passion is, I mean don’t let other people judge you. If it’s something that you love, you just have to figure out how to add it into your day. And even like for us, I mean we can’t necessarily go to the parks every day. This is probably an extreme example, but if we can’t go to the parks, we might go to Disney Springs for dinner or something like that. We try to find — we do something Disney every day or watch Disney+. We really are fans, I don’t know, to the fullest extent, but we are living our Disney lifestyle. It’s definitely a different kind of lifestyle. So whatever your passion is, you just have to find your people that — there’s people out there that will have the same passion and can support you, but I just think it’s really important to find some time in every day to do what you love.
John: Yeah, for sure. I mean even if it’s not every single day, at least monthly, quarterly, whatever it is. Just make time and be intentional with it because before you know it, that one day becomes one week, one month, six months, a year, five years, ten. All of a sudden, 15 years later, “You know what? We haven’t been to Disney in 15 years,” or something like that or, “I haven’t run a marathon,” or whatever your thing is. I mean it’s super fantastic that you guys can do it almost daily or at least weekly. It’s fantastic. It’s so great. And is this something that you talk about with clients?
Cindy: We do. It was funny. We just started working with a painting consultant. And he thought we were still in Chicago. Then he found out we were in Orlando. So he’s like, “Well, your website says you’re in Chicago.” He’s like, “Why did you move there?” We said, “Well, because we love Disney and we don’t want to be in your snow anymore.” Then we find out he’s a huge Disnerd as well, like a closet Disnerd. Yeah.
John: Nice. What? Yeah.
Cindy: Now, we talk all the time. And it’s like, “Oh, do you know so and so?” like all the different Disney podcasts and stuff.
John: You’re easily the coolest person he knows. And you’re his bookkeeper. I mean like, “What?”
John: That’s so great.
Cindy: Now, he has someone to talk Disney too. And he doesn’t have to be embarrassed by it.
John: Yeah. It goes both ways, right? Because he was probably feeling the same way. Like, “I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell people how crazy I am about Disney.” And it’s like, “No, you’re supposed to. I mean that’s your thing.” Because there’s a lot of them out there. I mean they’re not hurting for cash. That’s for sure. That’s really cool and such a great example for others to hear that it’s almost all in our own head why we hold back or don’t want to share. Then when we do, it’s always good. It’s not like you’re going to lose a client because of that. I mean, goodness.
Cindy: Totally. If you do, it’s not a client you want to work with anyway.
John: Exactly. This has been so much fun, Cindy. But before we wrap it up, it’s only fair that I turn the tables to let you question me. If you would like to fire away, I’m ready.
Cindy: I have a couple. You used to be a New York. What’s your favorite Broadway play?
John: Oh, favorite Broadway play? I’m going to have to say — I think I’m going to say Wicked. I just love how you go into the show thinking you know the story of the Wizard of Oz and you actually don’t like. You only know the spin that was put on it by whatever. There’s a whole other angle to things. And that’s what I really love about it. It’s just all of a sudden, you’re like, “Oh, well, what if something is a little bit different? What if bookkeepers were cool? What if lawyers were cool? What if people had hobbies and passions outside of their job?”
Cindy: Oh, I think that’s great.
John: Yeah. No, yeah. Wicked school. I mean Hamilton’s, of course, really good. I mean the writing on that is amazing. The Book of Mormon’s absolutely hysterical, but I’m not sure if I’ve laughed that hard for that long in a long time.
Cindy: Yeah. Okay. Summer or winter?
John: Oh, yeah. That’s tricky. Man, I’ll go winter. I just really don’t like — yeah, I mean it just grows hot where it’s just like ugh. Living in New York City waiting for the subway underground in the summer where there’s no wind and you’re just standing there and you just got to take it, it’s like, “Ugh, it’s gross, totally gross.”
Cindy: Which is why you live in winter now.
John: Yeah, exactly.
Cindy: Okay. And the last one, favorite Disney character?
John: Ah, favorite Disney character, that’s a good one. I think I’m going to go Goofy, I think. Just kind of old school, classic, very much right up my alley. Is he a cow? Is he a dog? I don’t know.
Cindy: Why is he on two legs?
John: Right. Why is he on two legs? I don’t know. Yeah, Goofy and Donald Duck’s pretty hilarious too, but yeah. So going in the old school realm. Great. Well, this is so much fun, Cindy. Thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Cindy: Thank you so much.
John: Absolutely. Everyone, if you want to see some pictures of Cindy at Disney or connect with her on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. While you’re on the page, please click that big green button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread that who you are is so much more than what you do.