Join Change the Triangle and Live Work Play for a Valentine’s cocktail party complete with hors d’oeuvres, a DJ, a photo booth with a step-and-repeat, great raffle prizes, and a cash bar. This event is co-sponsored by The Glenwood Agency, Yelp, Eschelon Hospitality, and Zinda.
Bonus: Fit in Clouds will be donating a pair of rollable flats to the raffle, like these:
All tickets sales benefit Change the Triangle, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization provides young professionals with the opportunity to engage in the community through combined volunteer service projects and social events.
As you’ve read a few times now, I received the most amazing response when I was laid off- an influx of emails, tweets, and blog comments offering support and job opportunities. What could have been a rough time turned into a surprisingly fun, upbeat, chaotic time and I’m so so thankful for that!
I’m a person who believes that things happen for a reason- even if we can’t immediately see the reason.
So it felt far too fitting to be a pure coincidence when, in addition to hearing about full-time opportunities, I also received some part-time freelance opportunities out of the blue. People I had emailed referred me to people they’d met at networking events; one person referred me to her boyfriend’s mom; and I was contacted by one company on Twitter. Without me so much as mentioning that I might be interested in going the freelancing route.
Over the past few weeks, I have been working with several clients on establishing or expanding their online presences through social media, building partnerships, blogging, and more.
And I have decided to continue down this slightly scary but also very fitting road toward becoming a full-time freelancer. I formed a sole proprietorship called CMR Strategies and I will be taking on more clients over the next few months- and I would love your help spreading the word.
Here’s a sample tweet: Want to build your personal or professional online presence? @cmroman of CMR Strategies can help: cmrstrategies.com
Are you in need of help with your online presence for yourself or your business? Know someone else who could use an online boost? Visit me over at CMR Strategies, reach out via email, or join my email list.
We brought in Derrick Minor, who serves as the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager for the City of Raleigh. We like to call him Mr. Networker because he knows just about everyone in the downtown entrepreneurship community.
Derrick gave us some guidelines for networking, but before he launched into the lists, he made sure to reiterate a few points. Networking is not about immediate benefit, it’s about building relationships. Don’t go into a networking event expecting to walk away with clients- go expecting to meet interesting people and form relationships that may be valuable down the road. That massage therapist you meet? She may end up connecting you with your next big client (just ask Derrick). Now on to those lists!
9. Decide what type of event is the best fit for your business and schedule: When do “your people” network? Over breakfast, over coffee, over cocktails, or later in the evening? You can’t go to everything, so be selective with your time.
8. Find out who is attending and identify 3-5 who you want to meet: Search attendee lists (Eventbrite invites will often show the guest list) and find 3-5 people that you’ve heard of and would love to meet. Or do a quick Google search of names you don’t recognize and add them to your mental list if they look interesting!
7. Get involved by volunteering: Work the door- handle registration or pass out name tags. People have to interact with you! If you’re a nervous networker, having something to occupy you can prevent awkward conversations and give you an easy icebreaker. As Derrick points out, people will connect you with the cool event they’re attending, which has a positive psychological effect. But try to approach volunteering with a selfless attitude and don’t go into it expecting anything.
6. Utilize social media before, during, and after the event: Twitter, Twitter, Twitter Many events these days have a hashtag just for the event. Find it and use it! Search the hashtag before, during, and after to see who else is going or went. If you see someone interesting, tweet them to arrange a time and place to meet up during the event.
5. Don’t just hang out with your friends during events: Balance your time between making new connections and reinforcing current ones. Ask your friends to introduce you to new contacts. Peruse LinkedIn ahead of time to see if you have a connection to anyone you’re looking to meet- a warm introduction is better than just introducing yourself out of the blue (though don’t be afraid to do that too!). Also: I find that it’s better for me to pass on a networking event if I’m not in the mood to make small talk with strangers. Why waste my time and risk looking uninterested?
4. Don’t go with the “hand out as much business cards as possible” strategy: I’ve had a similar experience to Derrick: someone walked up to me and thrust their business card into my hand without saying a word. Whyyy? Avoid this strategy!
3. Introduce others (including those you have just met): Connect others, even if you’ve just met one or both of them. You’ll become known as a connector, which increases your social Klout clout. And a bonus? It’s a good way to get out of an awkward conversation
2. Become a leader by creating your own networking event or workshop: Don’t see an event out there that meets your needs? Create your own! Just like I did with the Triangle blog group…
1. Follow up is key: Set a brief email to everyone you meet to stay on their radar. If you have a pressing reason to set up a meeting, do so, but be mindful of your time. Perhaps a phone call would be sufficient?
The 2 Golden Rules of Networking
1. Be selfless, not selfish: Not “me, me, me.” Remember: networking is not a zero sum game.
2. Be authentic, be genuine, be yourself: Don’t be overly professional! People relate to real, genuine people.
And my own tip: Write down what you talked about with each person on the back of their business card. Later on, refer to these notes to remember what you spoke about. You can even follow up with the person with an interesting article that’s related to what you chatted about!
On January 8, The Raleigh Forum will be hosting another brown bag lunch at HUB Raleigh and I’m leading it! I’ll be discussing tips and tools for increasing your productivity online, which is perfect, because I am a self-proclaimed productivity junkie!
Want to know how to keep up with your contacts more efficiently? Or make the most of your Gmail account? How about keep track of everything you read? This brown bag will provide you with tips, tricks, and tools for becoming an online whiz.
Update: since being laid off, I have launched my own digital presence management company. I offer consulting and management for small businesses and individuals looking to establish or expand their online presences through social media, blogging, SEO, and online partnerships. For more on CMR Strategies, visit cmrstrategies.com.
It is with very mixed emotions that I write this post. On Wednesday I received a call from LivingSocial, letting me know that my position was being eliminated (along with about 399 other jobs). Effective almost immediately.
I felt and still feel a mix of things: sadness that I will no longer be with the company that I started with almost two years ago; sadness that I can’t maintain the projects I had been working on; and sadness that I won’t be able to represent the LivingSocial brand anymore. I feel nervousness as I head back out into the job search and sympathy for the other laid-off workers, many of whom may be in more difficult positions than me because of financial obligations or their families.
But I also feel gratitude to the company that let me move back to North Carolina, switch from being an intern to a full-time worker, and change departments to be in one that fit me better. I feel gratitude for the company that sent me to Raleigh and New York City for chaotic but fun-filled trips and trusted me enough to let me take over many aspects of the recruiting team’s social media. And I feel gratitude for the coworkers who sent me countless articles on how to improve my skills, taught me countless sourcing techniques, and supported my countless professional goals.
And perhaps most of all, I feel hope. I feel hope that I will end up in a career that makes me happy and in the meantime, I’ll find something (or somethings) that let me explore my passions.
I was hesitant to write this post, since being laid off is a very personal situation. I feel nervous that you, my readers, will think less of me. But in my everyday life, I work hard to cultivate relationships and build a network of contacts, both on and off-line, that I trust and value. It seems only fitting that I would let this support network in on such a big change in my life.
So I’d like to ask you for help! If you know of a job opportunity- either remote or in Raleigh- that you think might be suited for me, I would love to hear about it. My last position at LivingSocial was as a Junior Recruiting Coordinator, but I also have a strong interest in social media, professional development, cooking, blogging, event planning, women’s entrepreneurship, and more. If you would like a better understanding of my background, please feel free to look at my resume.
And as always, if you ever want to chat about professional development, career opportunities, or just grab a (gluten-free) beer with me, let me know Thanks for your support!
The other night my family and I ventured alllllll the way outside the beltline to try Bella Monica’s locally famous gluten-free menu items for the first time. With 4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp, Bella Monica seemed worth the trek to North Raleigh.
We didn’t realize that we should have made a reservation for a Tuesday night, but apparently they’re pretty tightly booked, even during the week. Luckily, there was a free table in outside seating, so we weren’t turned away.
Not one but two gluten-free menus. It’s gluten freak heaven! First up: warm gluten-free foccaia with olive oil and rosemary. The verdict was that you wouldn’t have been able to tell that it was gluten-free (which seems like a good test). Though I’m not much of a wine drinker, I gave in to the peer family pressure to share a bottle. Apparently Le Muraie means The Wall- named so because the area where the grapes grow is very steep, so they have to build stone walls to prevent erosion. I’m no wine connoisseur, but no complaints about this one! I made the fam pose with our wine glasses. I tried to make them feel better by reminding them that I’m not a full-time food blogger, so I don’t have to photograph every single thing I eat. I’m not sure if the reassurance worked.. I split gluten-free stuffed shells and gluten-free ravioli with my sister. She devoured all of hers; I hoarded mine for leftovers. They were kind enough to split both dishes, so we didn’t have to fight tooth-and-nail for exactly half of the meal (clearly we’re very grown-up). My favorite was definitely the ravioli because I liked the pasta to filling ratio (the filling of the stuffed shells was a bit overwhelming for me). The tomato sauce- or “gravy” as they call it- was great for both. Because it was our first time at Bella Monica, we had to treat ourselves to dessert- creme brulee from the special gluten-free dessert menu for me and my sister (this one we did share from one dish. No physical fights broke out).
At the end of the meal, the owner stopped by to say hello, which was a nice personal touch. I mentioned that one of our old coworkers from The Raleigh Forum knew him, so we had an even more personal connection!
Overall, our experience at Bella Monica was fantastic. Though not cheap, the prices were very decent for high-quality Italian food. The atmosphere was great as well- classy but not stuffy (our waitress was wearing jeans). It would be a perfect date spot, especially if you eat gluten-free (no need to ask the waitress a billion questions about which dishes may or may not contain gluten). Best of all, the dishes reheated very well, which is relatively rare for gluten-free pastas.
Myy friend Linsey, who works at the NC Museum of Art, recently asked if I would like to be part of a special media preview of the Edvard Munch exhibit at the museum. Though I’m not art aficionado, I do love activities that challenge me in different ways, so I jumped at the chance to get outside my art comfort zone.
My favorite part of the evening was a Pecha Kucha style talk given by Emily Kotecki, who runs the teen and college programs at the museum. Her presentation was about museum fatigue- essentially, when one burns out during a museum visit.
Emily began by asking the audience members to raise their hands if they had ever experienced museum fatigue and, unsurprisingly, most people had and did. My hand shot up pretty darn quickly.
Emily emphasized the three C’s of museum going: comfort, confidence, and choice. The concepts are pretty self-explanatory, but here are the points she emphasized, as well as a few of my own additions:
Comfort: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. Don’t go when you’re exhausted. Eat and hydrate ahead of time. Use the bathroom, but know where the museum bathroom is. Don’t bring a heavy purse. Put your cell phone on silent.
Confidence: Don’t let anyone make you feel insecure or inadequate at a museum. Understand that your interpretation of a piece of art is just as valid as someone else’s interpretation.
Choice: Take ownership of your museum experience. See the pieces and exhibits you want to see. Skip the ones that don’t interest you, but be willing to push your own boundaries slightly.
One of the deterrents to me visiting museums in the past has been a lack of comfort, choice, and confidence, so Emily’s talk really spoke to me. It was refreshing to hear a museum employee acknowledge that it’s not always a great experience, but there are ways to make it very enjoyable.
Later in the evening, one of our friends said that she goes to museums by herself sometimes. She can take as little or as long as she wants, she doesn’t have to feign interest in things that bore her, and she can duck out quickly if she feels inclined. Sounds like my ideal arrangement! The very few times I’ve seen a movie by myself, I felt liberated- I imagine it might be a similar experience going to a museum alone.
Now on to the actual exhibit: My press kit The entrance to the exhibit Don’t worry about it, I’m with the press… Intro information on Munch’s work
A bit of a haunting quote, huh? The rest of the media preview crew
Thank you so much to the NC Museum of Art for the chance to check out the Edvard Munch exhibit! As of yesterday, the exhibit is officially open to the public. You can buy tickets here.
Last week, the blog girls had another meet-up at a local business. This time we went to Videri, a chocolate factory in The Depot near downtown Raleigh. What better place to hang out with a group of girls than a chocolate factory (as long as it’s not Willy Wonka’s. That place is creepy)?!
Videri is a bean-to-bar factory, meaning they complete the whole process of sorting the beans, roasting them, and making the bars all in one place.
I got there a few minutes early and snapped some pictures of the space. It’s so cool! Bean-to-bar chocolate factory A picture of what The Depot used to look like Linnie, the organizer of the event, brought us wine! She also coordinated a little get to know each other activity. Please note my favorite of my blog topic hashtags- #everything. Haha! Bloggers always say to stick with one topic, but I can’t bring myself to do it Time for sampling- we tried dark milk chocolate bars, pink peppercorn, sea salt, and dark chocolate …and we did! Obviously the most important part Too bad we had already had our samples before the tour!
..and not so normal. Had to do the fake real laugh picture- it’s becoming a tradition!
Videri is a fun and unique place to gather with friends, made even better by the fact that you can BYOB. Tasty Beverage Co is in The Depot too, so you can grab beer (they have gluten-free options!) before heading to Videri. The chocolate itself is a bit pricey for me ($7.99 per package), especially since I’m no chocolate connoisseur. I did enjoy sampling the dark milk chocolate and the sea salt chocolate though. The pink peppercorn is a strange experience- you can’t tell if you like it but you want to keep trying it!
Shout-out to Jessica, who purchased a bar for all of us to split when they ran out of samples!
My favorite quote of the night: someone commented that it was a hospital pill line because we all had our hands out to get chocolate samples. Somebody else piped in with, “This is the best hospital ever!” Haha, girls and their chocolate…
Thank you to Linnie for organizing the event, all the girls for coming out, and Videri for hosting us!
Please feel free to use the photos from this post. Just link back to cmroman.com!
On Friday, August 31st, we cleaned out the remaining items from 208 S Wilmington St and turned our keys into the leasing office. The emotions of the transition hit us at different times.
Sara Rose felt it on Friday afternoon as we surveyed the empty space and thought back on the excitement we felt as we walked into the space for the first time as coworking space owners.
Cristina felt it on Saturday morning, as the reality sunk in that we could no longer say we owned a downtown coworking space.
The first time we walked into the space in May of 2011, it was unfinished but we could see its potential instantly. In our minds, we plotted where the white desks and comfy chairs would go, where we would put the kitchenette area, and which of the walls would be painted with whiteboard paint. We knew that if we were going to run a coworking space, it had to be out of this office.
We vividly remember the excitement of getting our keys, seeing the space painted green, and watching as our first coworker, Heather Allen, signed her coworking contract.
We remember realizing that our leasing document read “Roman-Empire” because we, Roman Co LLC, were renting space from Empire Properties.
We remember painting the whiteboard wall the night before we opened and laughing as Sara Rose’s head accidentally bumped the wet paint (her friends thought she was going grey but thankfully it’s back to normal now).
We remember our “Bring a Screwdriver, Get a Screwdriver” party, where friends and coworkers brought us a Philips head screwdriver, helped us assemble our furniture, and were rewarded with mimosas (almost like a screwdriver!).
We remember our open coworking day, where every seat in the house was filled. And wouldn’t you know, our fire alarm went off on our most crowded day.
We remember the ongoing battle over the Foursquare mayorship, which was awarded to J King White but ultimately stolen by Sara Rose.
We remember filming the #TRFLovesIt music video- a week and a half of lyric brainstorming, filming, and editing with Tyler Helikson, Heather Allen, J King White, Jon Leonardo, Derrick Minor, Corey Woodard, Bo Hargrove, Elisabeth Holby, and Travis Hager. It took Sara Rose and Cristina about 20 takes for their 20 second segment of the video, but the blooper reel is well worth the wasted time (though Tyler may not agree!).
We remember practicing our British accents with our token international coworker, David. We hope he still owns the Tea and Crumpets book we bought for him because we still have the postcards he mailed to us during his travels abroad.
We remember laughing over the hilarious and vulgar paragraph that Brad emailed to us when we asked our coworkers to submit bios. We’ll also never forget laughing of the pictures of him as a teenager or listening to his rap songs and quoting the lyrics to him in random conversations.
We’ll remember cracking up with Jamey and his wife about defining the relationship talks and telling Jamey we were leaving him in charge of the space when he was the only one there.
We remember countless visits to Wilmoore Cafe for coffee, Raleigh Times for PBR and pork nachos, and Spize Cafe to pick up brown bag lunches. We’ll always celebrating our six month anniversary happy hour at The Hive with several of our coworkers and friends.
And despite the alcohol that flowed, we’ll certainly never forget our red carpet themed Raleighwood party, our bigger-than-anticipated New Year’s Eve party (or the next day clean-up!), and our beer pong networking event.
We’ll never forget celebrating Sara Rose’s November birthday, complete with pumpkin whoopie pies, during a brown bag lunch or celebrating Cristina’s July birthday with charades one evening.
We’ll never forget watching Heather nap sitting upright at her desk with her turtleneck pulled over her face or joking that Cristina was the den mother for the 10 rowdy guys working from the space.
We’ll never forget Friday at 5, The Walter Lane Project, or meeting the many individuals who walked through our doors for a visit, a day pass, or an event.
We’ll never forget spinning in the desk chairs and then attempting to walk, nor will we forget the hilarity and strangeness that ensues when you sell 12 chairs and 12 desks to strangers on Craigslist.
These moments and many more made the past year an incredible one. We learned so much about ourselves and running a small business. We want to thank everyone who made it a tremendous year and stuck by our sides as as we learned the ins and outs of operating a coworking space.
We learned, we laughed, we cried, and oh yes- we worked too
We know working with HUB Raleigh will bring its own crazy, funny, and bittersweet moments with it, so we’re excited for what we call our “new year.”
Raleigh lover, Digital Strategist at CMR Strategies, former Junior Recruiting Coordinator. Obsessed with volunteerism, Twitter, and Starbucks. Love social enterprise, tennis, and cooking. Professional with a goofy streak.