I have a problem. Professionally, I want to do it all. Sometimes, that makes branding myself and my business, as well as maintaining a somewhat sane life, challenging. What you see below is the definition of a brain dump: “…the transfer of a large quantity of information from one person…to a piece of paper…” I literally wrote the following without stopping to edit it or think about it (though I did go back to add links), which means it is my honest, (almost) complete assession of my current interests and desires:

I want to…
…edit resumes and give career feedback to women of all socioeconomic backgrounds
…write inspirational pieces for career-minded women, freelancers, and those in search of more productive lives
…run online productivity seminars for individuals, groups, and corporations
…use the skills I learned in recruiting to teach others how to hack their lives
…run seminars where women can build on or off-line portfolios showcasing their skills and experience
…teach individuals and small business owners the wonderful world of social media
….connect and share blog posts with like-minded individuals who love career development, productivity, and gluten-free cooking
…empower small business owners to take control of their online presences
…try my hand in marketing for different industries like fashion, social entrepreneurship, law, and recruiting
…help individuals brand themselves online and dominate the front page of Google
…run a group for young entrepreneurial women in Raleigh to share openly, give feedback, and have fun
…continue building brown bag lunch sessions to equip entrepreneurs in the Triangle with important business information
Is that so much to ask?!

If you’re close to me, you probably know my politic leanings. If you’re don’t know me well, you may be in the dark. For now, I’m going to keep it that way- I hope that not knowing which side I actually support will encourage you to keep an open mind as you read. I think it’s important to play devil’s advocate when addressing political and social issues, so hopefully I veiled my actual opinion well enough :)

For some people, business and politics are like oil and water- they can’t mix. For others, the two naturally go hand-in-hand.

Take Chick-Fil-A for instance. Many people don’t know that they routinely donate to anti-gay organizations like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

Whether you believe these organizations are worthwhile or not is your choice. But the fact is that Chick-Fil-A is using revenue generated through their successful business model to support an agenda that they believe in.

I have to write a blog post about this because my sister is sick of hearing me talk about it (seriously, just ask her).

Dear Starbucks Corporate (Panera Corporate- please take note):

I love you. You know I do. But I have to bring this up because it’s really bothering me.

I co-own a business. It is legally set up as an LLC but I wholeheartedly believe that it contributes social value to the Raleigh community. There is no doubt it that provides economic value as well: through taxes, as well as the fact that it provides a place for small business owners to grow their businesses so that they, in turn, can provide value to the community.

You may wonder where I’m going with this seemingly obvious clarification.

Could we have been set up as a 501c3? Absolutely. Some coworking spaces are. We chose not to be. Not because we are profit-mongering bloodsuckers, but because it was the right decision for us. If we were a non-profit, would we have been paid a salary? Yes. Would our fundamental model have changed? Almost certainly not. We would still have charged the exact same fees-for-service in order to pay said salary in order to continue building our coworking space in order to continue adding social value to the community. 501c3 or not, they would have been the same fees because our expenses are the same.

So why can’t I hang a flyer on your community board?

If you stand by your decision to only support non-profits, help me clarify another issue I have. Upon seeking clarification of your flyer-hanging policy, I was told by one of your employees that I could only hang a flyer for something where there was no charge.

Wait a minute. Do I have to be a non-profit or do I have to be offering free products and services? These are not the same.

Yes, non-profits often offer things for free. But non-profits also often charge for their products and services. They have earned income streams. They charge fees-for-services. They sell tickets to galas, block parties, and fashion shows. VisionSpring sells eyeglasses. The SPCA sells items emblazoned with the SPCA logo.

And yes, businesses generally charge for things. But they also often offer free things. They offer happy hours, seminars, and workshops.

Before college, I had a very primitive view of social good: non-profits promoted social good; corporations did not. As a Human Services, I became intrigued by the idea of social enterprise, which I saw as a potential “solution” (I use that term loosely) to the apparent disconnect between “good” (promoting social change) and “evil” (making money).

But I am also an advocate for a strict definition of social enterprise, so where does that leave businesses like The Raleigh Forum, our new coworking space? I wouldn’t characterize us as a social enterprise, but I certainly think we contribute social value to the community.

We provide a hub for collaboration and community. We provide a much-needed alternative to working from home or coffee shops. We stimulate the local economy by bringing 20+ individuals downtown. We will recycle, use reusable water bottles, and conserve electricity when possible. We will make an in-kind contribution (desk space + meeting space) to Change the Triangle.

We’re not ending poverty or curing any diseases. And yes, we’re an LLC. But we are actively empowering individuals and groups so that they can make their own mark on the community.

Which makes me wonder how valuable labels like “social value” are if they have the potential to lead to confusion, disagreement, and disillusionment.

I’m not going to lie to you. I scheduled this post. I’m writing it at 9:13pm on Thursday, but you won’t see it until Friday morning. I want to make sure everything is 100% official before I announce it.

So what’s the big deal?

You are looking at the proud co-owner of a coworking space! It’s true. My sister and I- hereforth referred to as the Roman Sisters- are partners of Roman Co, LLC, which operates a Downtown Raleigh coworking space!

I have to pinch myself to be sure this is real.

Stay tuned for many, many updates, pictures, stories…and possibly freak-outs!

And if you’re in the Raleigh area, follow @raleighcowork for updates. We’ll be holding open hours in the space ASAP!

P.S. It was just May 2

I was chatting with a co-worker recently about how we both wanted to start businesses with our sisters.

“Sister entrepreneurship” is all the rage right now: Katherine and Sophie, the “sister-owners” of Georgetown Cupcake now have their own TV show, called DC Cupcakes. The Kardashian sisters co-own Dash, a line of clothing stores. Apparently the rollable footwear line FootzyRolls was started by sisters Sarah and Jenifer.

Who better to start a company with than your sister? In the case of me and my sister, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we push each other in a positive way, we’re more productive when we can bounce ideas off each other..and we have an absolute blast together.

We’ve talked about a promotion company, which would leverage both our shared strengths and our unique skill sets. For example, we are both very capable in terms of promoting, but I am more experienced with social media, while she is great at interpersonal communication.

Sure, there are risks involved. There have been many times that my sister has helped me out financially or I’ve fronted money for our phone bill. Having both of our assets wrapped up in the same company is more financially risky. Most importantly, there is always the possibility that a work issue will affect personal relationships.

Should we decide to move forward with our venture idea, I’d insist on a “sister contract.” This document would essentially say that, if push came to shove, our relationship would take precedence over our business. Also, it sounds incredibly silly, but we take pinky promises very seriously. They basically constitute a sisterhood pact; they are never

Today GW Bites was featured on

I mentioned that I worked on creating my new website this weekend. While, the first post is live- check it out!

Visit the site on Friday, April 15 for our big launch!

Until then, stay tuned for hints.

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Interested in submitting food or home decor photographs to be featured on the site? Interested in becoming a Harmonized Living contributor? Email harmonizedliving@gmail.com!

For students: buying personal business cards (is that an oxymoron?!) is a small investment that could pay off big time. They make you stand out from the crowd of other not-as-prepared students during networking events, meetings, and random everyday run-ins.

Mine are simple: just a monogram, my name, my phone number, and my email address.

But a word of warning: don’t just throw your card around. I’ve had people shake my hand and hand me a business card. Unless we’ve had a meaningful conversation and I know that we can benefit each other mutually, chances are I’m not going to take your card and follow up with you.

Coincidentally (yeah, right haha), LivingSocial is offering $50 to use on Vistaprint.com for only $10! Get it here.

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+Cristina Roman