Man oh man, branding as a multipassionate is a constant struggle! I’ve toyed with the idea of merging cmroman.com and cmrstrategies.com together for awhile now and am finally taking the plunge. No promises I won’t end up back here though :)

In the meantime, visit me on the CMR Strategies blog or over on One Woman Shop!

CMR Strategies Blog // One Woman Shop

 

I am so excited to partner with Vicki- also known as The Rockin’ Career Coach- to bring you some insights on creativity, fear, and your dream career. In this post, Vicki echoes a lot of my own sentiments about career paths:

“Whether you are just starting out or have been working for two, five or ten+ years, it’s YOU and only you, who actively STEERS your own career.”

Amen! I love the way that Vicki talks about eliminating fear from our career decisions so that we can be more effective and fulfilled. For example, my reaction to being laid off could have been anxiety, but instead I saw it as a chance to carve a new path and, in Vicki’s words, still get to my intended destination (a career full of fulfillment (pun intended), autonomy, and flexibility).

Another way to steer away from fear? Fill your metaphorical toolbox with plenty of tools that allow you to make clear decisions (like this worksheet for deciding between two job offers).

Be sure to jump over to The Rockin’ Career Coach to read Vicki’s whole post on creativity and fear and weigh in with your response to Vicki’s questions: 1) on how you creatively steered the fear out of your dream career, or 2) how you plan to do so, using the new strategies and tools she mentions.

Good morning kids! I’ve been MIA for a few weeks as I do some serious restructuring and revamping behind the scenes. Oh, and I also am starting a little website called One Woman Shop in case you haven’t seen! Jump on the launch list here:


Anyway, in my free time, I’ve been reading The Four Hour Workweek. I didn’t read it when it was first published- admittedly, I did think it was probably a bit overrated, but mostly, I just…didn’t read it. But oh wow! I am a full fledged cult member of Timothy Ferriss now.**

**Okay, not entirely true. I do take issue with some of his points (which I’ll address below), but overall, I think he has some pretty darn sound strategies, tips, and tools.

So what’s a perpetual self-improver (me, in case you didn’t get that) supposed to do when confronted with new ideas? Obviously make up a challenge and implement it! Which brings me to my Four Hour Workweek Challenge- I won’t be working just four hours or even really trying to, but I will be following some of his sage advice: automating, cleaning up processes, and outsourcing.

Some thoughts as I prepare for the month-long challenge:

  • One big point Tim makes is that outsourcing a bad system amplifies its issues, while outsourcing a good system magnifies its brilliance. Agreed! I spent a fair amount of time this weekend prepping for my challenge- organizing my Evernote notes, writing down all possible things I could outsource, writing templates, writing down my passwords, unsubscribing from email lists, etc. Remember that there is a ramp up period and you will have to invest your time in cleaning house before things start going smoothly (well, we hope they will at least!).

  • One thing I came up with all on my own was the idea that if you would never consider outsourcing something, think about whether you should be doing it. Obviously, that comes with a ton of caveats (like showering or using the restroom, for example) but consider this example: I obsessively check my site stats on my blog. Why? No reason really. I would never ask a Virtual Assistant to obsessively check them on my behalf, so why am I still doing it? Eliminated (well, it’s a work in progress at least)!

  • These days, a lot of VAs advertise their marketing and social media skills. I’m still trying to figure out the fine line between marketing assistant and VA…any insights?

  • I’ve decided to start with things I deem low risk to get comfortable with outsourcing some of my tasks. On my low risk list: research, brainstorming social media content, etc. On the higher risk side: actually posting social media updates, managing email..

As I mentioned, there are definitely a few things in the book that I don’t necessarily agree with. Tim focuses on encouraging people to build a “muse,” which is a low touch, high income generating business. The idea is appealing financially and I would love to do it for added financial security, but I genuinely enjoy work and am not just looking to automate everything and then jet set around the world indefinitely.*

*I would be open to occasional jet setting. But I like work and I really like Raleigh.

For me, this challenge is about increasing my effectiveness (not just my “productivity,” which is often code for things that are not in fact beneficial or time-saving), opening my time up for more high-impact projects, and honestly, getting some of the monotonous parts of business ownership that I don’t enjoy or always stall on off my plate.

Hereeeee we go!

Questions, comments, advice? Let me know!

perfect work dayPhoto credit

I always have trouble answering the question “What does your ideal work day look like?” because my perfect work days look pretty varied- hence the “work day(s)” part of this blog title! One day I might be absolutely content working in pajamas all day, one day I might want to get out and about, one day I might be fine working until 2am, and another day I might want to be networking all day.

So let’s assume you have complete flexibility over your schedule (let me tell you- it’s both a blessing and a curse!).

What time would you go to bed and wake up?

fire in the triangle little hen v 518 west

I scored a pretty interesting gig recently- managing social media during Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triangle nights!

The gist: chefs from local restaurants are pitted against each other. Each chef has to prepare 3 dishes using a secret ingredient (which they find out at noon on the day of the battle!). “Pros” (expert judges) and “Joes” (everyone who buys a ticket to the event) rank the dishes based on presentation, taste, and more.

So my role? Well, it involves food photography, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and a few other pieces. My friend Corey and I are splitting up the nights, so we’ll be both be managing the social media at 7 of the events. It’s an absolute whirlwind, but so much fun.

My favorite parts- meeting the chefs (they’re a wild bunch) and watching them plate and of course, tasting the food! The secret ingredient of the night was Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which hurt my little gluten-free soul, but I snuck bites that didn’t have doughnut in them :)

Ready for some mouth-watering photos from Krispy Kreme and Joe Van Gogh Coffee Battle between Little Hen and 518 West? If you’re gluten-free, avert your eyes!

first course competition dining
Joe Van Gogh

It's my birthday!

starting and maintaing a gluten free lifestyle

When I started eating gluten-free about a year and a half ago, I discovered how much I had to learn about starting and maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle. Over the past year and a half, I’ve packed my little brain full of tips and strategies for simplifying gluten-free life- and I want to pass my tips on to you through a seminar! If you’re interested, just sign up below!

Topics we’ll cover:

  • Why people shouldn’t pull a Miley Cyrus and jump on the gluten-free bandwagon because it’s popular right now
  • What the heck gluten is and where it’s hiding
  • Awesome online resources you should be reading
  • Phone apps to help you when you’re out and about
  • Easy and delicious recipe substitutions
  • Navigating the grocery store and product labels
  • Local and chain restaurants with gluten-free menus and options
  • Products that don’t taste too “gluten-freey”
  • How to ensure that your social life doesn’t go downhill (navigating potlucks, gluten-free beers, etc)
  • Helpful tips for saving money as a “gluten freak”
* indicates required



summer salad roundup

I am utterly obsessed with cold summer salads- and I’m not just talking about some vegetables plopped on top of iceberg lettuce (although I find iceberg lettuce oddly satisfying sometimes). Nope- we’re talking salads with quinoa, beans, rice noodles, and more.

Luckily, salad is defined very loosely so I’m taking advantage of that! According to Wikipedia, they are usually cold (but can be warm), they usually use raw ingredients (but can used cooked ones), and they usually use vegetables (but can incorporate fruits). One strict factor: they have more than three ingredients. Duly noted. Now onward!

Corn Quinoa Black Bean

Corn + quinoa + black beans + tomatoes + cilantro + red onions + spices + lots of vinegar and hot sauce!

corn quinoa black salad

Cool as a Cucumber

Cucumbers + rice vinegar + sesame oil + salt + sugar

cool as a cucumber salad

Cucumber Dill

Cucumber + tomatoes + red onions + spices + dill + lemon juice

cucumber dill salad

Thai-Inspired Hydrating Cucumber Salad with Roasted Spiced Chickpeas

Cucumbers + red onion + red pepper + cilantro + peanuts + chickpeas + more

thai cucumber salad

Cold Sesame Asian Noodles with Tomatoes & Cucumbers

Rice noodles + tomatoes + cucumbers + chicken or tofu + sesame oil + sriracha + more

sesame rice noodle cucumber salad

Peach & Tomato Salad

how to be a good guest blogger

As a blogger, you probably know about the benefits of guest blogging for other sites- it boosts your blog’s SEO, you build strategic partnerships, and you get your content and ideas in front of new eyes.

I recently wrote about best practices for hosting guest bloggers, but now I’m flipping it around to show you how to be a good guest blogger. Not surprisingly, a lot of my suggestions are the same on both sides. If all host bloggers and guest bloggers followed them, the process would be flawless ;)

The following practices show that you respect the blogger you’re partnering with and value their time- it minimizes the amount of time that they have to format your post, search for your Twitter handle, find your bio online, and figure out alt tags for your photos…just to name a few.

Suggest topics: Feel free to ask the host blogger if they have topics they would love to have written (for example, I have well over 100 blog post ideas that I just haven’t gotten around to that I would LOVE to have someone write for me!) but always have a few ideas to pitch as well to save the back-and-forth of figuring out a potential topic. A good practice: keep an internal Google doc of possible topics that you can refer to when you find a blog you want to guest post on.

Set a deadline- and stick to it:

I was recently chatting with a client about her email inbox (and the several thousand emails in it!). She commented that she had a system for organizing her snail mail that had worked for her for years, to which I immediately responded “Great! Now let’s use that same system for your emails!”

If you’re not accustomed to the chaos of the online world- emails from coworkers and friends, newsletters, tweets, blog comments, and more- it can definitely be overwhelming! Heck, it can be overwhelming even if you did grow up tweeting and emailing (even if it was on Earthlink or Mindspring…). But chances are, you have some “real world” systems and strategies that you can easily put into place online.

For example, let’s say that- like my client- you pick up your mail and immediately sort it: trash, file away, respond to immediately (like for bills), or respond to later (like letters from friends). Use the same system for your email: immediately delete an email, archive it, respond, or boomerang it away until later.

Or let’s say that you keep all of your tax receipts and necessary paperwork neatly sorted in a filing cabinet in your home office. Consider using Evernote

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+Cristina Roman