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.”

I just got back from a press conference with the mayor and I am so excited to write this post as the adrenaline dies down a bit!

Remember last May when I blogged about sister entrepreneurship? Later in May, my sister and I started discussing the possibility of opening a coworking space. We signed a lease and got our keys to the space at the beginning of August. We opened in September and met some of the coolest coworkers we could have imagined. And this May, we were approached about the possibility of collaborating in some capacity with a new coworking space. Given that our one year anniversary was approaching, we figured it was an ideal time to reassess our model and examine our strengths and limitations. After a lot of thought, we decided that we felt it was the right time for a big change.

And now it’s official! On Monday, my sister and I signed papers to join forces with HUB Raleigh, an awesome coworking space that is opening on September 15. We will be bringing our community to the new space, promoting The HUB through marketing initiatives, and running community-based events (remember our awesome Raleighwood party?!).

The timing of meeting the founders was strangely coincidental, but we believe that everything happens for a reason. We are so excited about the change and our new roles; it feels like the right move. Best of all, we’ll both be able to continue to balance our other jobs with our continued interest in promoting collaboration, community, and entrepreneurship in Raleigh.

Do you ever wonder if the people behind the blogs you read really disclose everything about their lives? I’d wager that nobody does completely. I was unable to tell you all about this transition (partly because we were instructed to keep it on the down low, but also because I wouldn’t want to announce something and then have it not pan out), but I’m glad it can be out in the open now!

I will do a more complete post about the space and its amenities (with pictures and the application in case you’re interested in joining!) in the next day or two, but in the meantime, check out HUB Raleigh on the following platforms:

Email //

I pretty much relate to every word in this post by Gen Y Girl, entitled “You Don’t Have to Have It All Figured Out.” Can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I graduated! P.S. I think Kayla and I could be good friends if we lived in the same city :)

I love the Oprah quote at the end of Elle’s post on being thankful.

Here’s a pretty crazy True Story from Yes and Yes: My Mom Made Me Smuggle Drugs.

I need to study these 6 Pro Tips for Tasting Wine

  • A Night in Raleighwood party. Step-and-repeat, twinkly lights, red carpet, beautiful dresses, oh my!
  • First trip to David’s Dumplings. David greeted us at the hostess stand; he was so welcoming! We got free samplers of carrot ginger soup (amaaazing), half-fried dumplings, ginger salad. For our entrees, Sara got the ginger eggplant (yum!) and I got pho (it came out with chicken the first time, so they sent it back and had David remake it). I also ordered a pot of the green tea, which I love on winter evenings. We will definitely be going back there because of the warm service, reasonable prices, and delicious food.
  • Cruise planning session with the girls at Raleigh Times. We planned our theme nights and back stories for prank night :)
  • A few cool people dropping into the office- one is brand new to Raleigh, so I shared a few of my Raleigh blog posts with him :)
  • Change the Triangle volunteer event with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. I didn’t get to meet any of the recipients of the food because I was the official delegator for our shift. Interestingly, Sara loves the hands-on aspect of volunteering, but I’ve always loved directing (like back when I was the Student Coordinator for a freshmen volunteer program at GW called CBC). Month after month, I’m blown away by the sheer positivity and warmness of the CTT volunteers; such an amazing vibe. P.S. At the social event, I went head-to-head with one of the guys on a hot sauce eating contest. I’ll give you one guess for who mopped up that competition ;)

I had two epiphanies this week that I wanted to share:

1) While I enjoy our social events at The Raleigh Forum, what I really love is the day-to-day moments

{Cross-posted from The Raleigh Forum blog}

Every ticket to A Night in Raleighwood includes one raffle ticket. Attendees will be able to choose which raffle to enter.

Congrats to Myra Huffman, who won the free ticket to A Night in Raleighwood! Her suggestion for an awards category was “Best in Local Art.”

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway. Keep visiting for more fun rewards :)

This week raced by! It’s been great but I’m excited for this weekend- skiing at

Check out the marketing video we made for The Raleigh Forum! #TRFLovesIt refers to our love of social media.

We had so much fun making the video and couldn’t have done it without all of our supporters! Stay tuned for the blooper reel :)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZ7U22i4P3A]

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.

Yesterday, Heather Reaves, a Financial Advocate at Navigon Financial Group, came to The Raleigh Forum to do a brown bag lunch session on financial planning for our coworkers. It was an informative and- dare I say?- fun way to tackle personal and professional financial question and issues.

I came away with a list of takeaways (both new and reinforced) and an action plan that I wanted to share!

  • Remember to think “What is the value of money to you?” Other than basic needs, what are your intentions and goals in making and spending money? For me, a big reason I want to make money is to reinvest it in other business ventures.
  • Heather compared a budget to a pair of jeans- you would never buy concrete jeans, so don’t try for a concrete budget. You need elasticity and flexibility! Income and spending ebbs and flows, so plan (or unplan, as the case may be) accordingly.
  • Be realistic- you may put a cap on how much you can spend on coffee each month, but if you reach your cap on the 20th of the month, will you not drink coffee for the rest of the month? For me, the answer is no, so I know I have to adjust other parts of my budget.
  • Always have fixed and discretionary categories on your budget. Fixed = rent, student loan payment, car insurance. Discretionary = eating out, entertainment, even gas (for me at least, since I live so close to most things and could walk/bike/take public transportation)
  • Making a budget is only the first step. Following through is obviously very important! Use tools like Mint.com to make it easy, efficient, and manageable.
  • Think of finances as a game (within reason!). Add a little bit of “play money” into your budget for when you’ve stuck to your budget. Reward yourself for proactive financial decisions.
  • Use silly money-saving techniques like putting $1 into a jar every time you bike or walk instead of taking your car.
  • Don’t worry too much about student loans. They are generally low-interest and they should be seen as assets, not debts.
  • The goal of credit is to show that you’re trustworthy. Credit bureaus look at income, debt, collection action, number and types of loans and accounts, and your credit card history.
  • With a credit card, always pay the minimum each month. Passing the 50% mark of your credit limit is not a good idea.
  • Just because you can have a higher credit limit doesn’t mean you should. Base your limit on your comfort level. Don’t trust yourself to carry $1000 limit? Start out with $500!
  • A good test: if you wouldn’t put it on a debit card, don’t put it on a credit card.
My action plan:
  • Update my Mint.com account and keep it up to date
  • Check my credit score and note areas of improvement
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+Cristina Roman