not yet an expert

When I look around at different blogs and Twitter accounts, it seems like everyone is an expert at something.

I have a lot of interests that pull me in different directions. I love to cook but I’m not a trained chef like Jenna and I’m not dedicated enough to log my daily food intake like Kath.

I run a coworking space but I’m not as knowledgeable as Angel or the folks at Shareable.

I own a business with my sister but I don’t have as much experience in sister entrepreneurship as Katherine and Sophie or Sarah and Jenifer or Sabina and Lorraine or Kate and her sister.

I love social enterprise but I don’t stay quite as up-to-date on the field as Grant or Ryan.

I’m immersed in the recruiting field but I don’t understand the ins and outs like Amybeth or Laurie.

But you know what? That’s all okay. Because I’m 22 and I don’t need to be an expert in anything yet. But more importantly, I never need to be an expert in any one thing.

top 10 lists: songs, recipes, & inspiration!

Here are some funny, intriguing, and creative top 10 lists to start your weekend off on a good note:

10 Words for Intriguing Concepts via Merriam Webster

10 Insights on Rethinking Work via The99Percent.com

10 Things to Add to Your Bucket List via Mainstreet.com

The 10 Hottest Jewish Women Drake Can Take Home To His Momma via Bossip.com {wish I was on that list, he’s my favorite rapper}

10 Young Entrepreneur Blogs you Should be Following

Top 10 Kugel Recipes

My 10 Favorite Songs of the Week

my seven future careers

Someone wise recently told me that research finds that it takes 10 years to become an expert at something. And new studies show that we can live to be about 90. And most people want to try 6-7 careers in their lifetime. Which means we can do it all.

So what would will might I do?

  • Life coach: empower individuals to be happy and fulfilled in all areas of their lives, from fitness to career. Which leads me to…
  • Career counselor: From writing resumes and cover letters to compiling a career portfolio to dressing properly for interviews, self-confidence is an essential trait. I want to empower individuals to feel as confident as I do while job searching because they know that they are equipped with the necessary tools.
  • Business development consultant: My sister and I always speak of how empowering it is to start a business. I would love to share this feeling with other individuals (particularly women). Best of all, I could contribute to the creation and growth of a company (my strength) without having to sustain it (not as much my strength)!
  • Professional blogger: Get paid to write down my random musings? Yes please!
  • Motivational speaker: Get paid to speak about my random musings? Yes please!
  • Women’s entrepreneurship professor: My two entrepreneurship classes were- at the risk of sounding trite- life-changing. A class of just women creates an inspiring, comfortable atmosphere that can be hugely beneficial in sparking creative, innovative ideas.
  • Editor-in-chief of a home magazine: Working at Martha Stewart Living or Better Homes and Gardens would be absolutely incredible. I’ve shared my philosophy on comfortable, welcoming homes and I’m obviously very interested in creating healthy, fresh recipes. Do I sound like a 50s housewife when I say “A happy home makes a happy life”? Well, I believe it 🙂

The most visible common thread here? Empowering others, especially women.

the value of social value

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.

we haven’t strangled each other yet

As you all know, I’m very interested in the idea of sister entrepreneurship, especially given that my sister and I just started a business together.

Today, my sister cc’ed me on a tweet in reference to an Inc Magazine article, entitled “Sister Act.” The tweet read: “Can you go into business with your sibling without strangling them?” A very loaded but extremely relevant question!

The article outlines advice from two pairs of sibling business owners. Interestingly enough, I had addressed several of their points in my original blog post on sister entrepreneurship.

  • Have things in writing: our “sister contract”
  • Address problems immediately: we’ve already dealt with this when handling miscommunications or frustrations. In general, I tend to operate this way, but I think it’s especially helpful in a business arrangement
  • Know each other’s strengths: I stated that this was one benefit of working together in the first place, but it is also a very important factor for being successful in a joint business. For example, I design our flyers (thank you Pages for Mac!) and organize our Gmail account, while she handles things like dealing with our accountant.
  • Don’t make it all business all the time: We’ve already made an agreement to have designated times where we don’t talk about business. For example, when we walk my sister’s dogs, it’s generally a “no work zone.”
So thank you to Sabina & Lorraine Belkin and Leo & Oliver Kremer for reiterating what we’re quickly learning!

does this mean i can call myself an entrepreneur?

 Kirk: Are you kidding me, Marnie? That guy?!
    Marnie: That guy is an en-tre-pre-neur.
    Kirk: Well, Ron owns a Pizza Hut.
    Marnie: That’s a business.
    Kirk: It’s not even a real Pizza Hut! It’s a Pizza Hut Express!

-She’s Out of My League

In some segments of society, the term “entrepreneur” is a not-so-discreet code for drug-dealer or, apparently, a Pizza Hut Express owner. Despite this, it seems that everyone wants to call themselves an entrepreneur- or better yet, a social entrepreneur.

In my opinion (and Mr. Webster’s), you can’t call yourself an entrepreneur unless you actually own and operate a business (whether it’s legal or not is a different question!). Having a great idea does not make you an entrepreneur. Supporting other entrepreneurs (well a very good thing to do) does not make you an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial, perhaps.

But now that I do co-own and co-operate a business, can I call myself one?!

i co-own a business?!

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  that I wrote a blog post on sister entrepreneurship. So much can happen in just 3 months! As we always say, our best decisions happen quickly.

and also…

{aka “my new life, continued”}

browsing home decor stores

finding out about a youth entrepreneurship camp…maybe they need volunteers?!

whipping up an amazing sun-dried tomato sausage pasta (recipe to come)

finding this $20 steal, soon to be painted white or stained brown

losing several items when the back of my uhaul popped open mid-drive

an evening of tennis

a new friend to bike with

ridiculously hilarious moments with my sister

proactive vs interactive: which is more valuable?

According to my WordPress stats, someone arrived to my blog by googling “entrepreneuring is about being interactive, not being proactive.” 

I’m really curious about this individual now. Were they looking for a famous quote? Do they believe this and want to find someone who agrees with them?

When asked my best professional quality or the top characteristic that I look for in candidates I’m interviewing, I always say “proactivity.” I wholeheartedly believe that it- along with confidence- is one of the most important traits, especially for entrepreneurs.

My computer’s dictionary says that to be proactive means “creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.”

Without proactivity, I wouldn’t have gotten a job at The Washington Diplomat. I wouldn’t have created GW Bites. My sister and I wouldn’t be in talks with individuals in Raleigh about a co-working space.

Undoubtedly, being interactive is equally as important. I’m the first to speak about the benefits of networking and the importance of fostering community (Community Building Community, The GW Social Enterprise Forum, etc).

I think these values go hand in hand. When I thought more about which one was more important to me, I found that it was nearly impossible for me to separate the two or place one above the other. What are your thoughts? Do you believe that “entrepreneuring is about being interactive, not being proactive”? 

sister entrepreneurship

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 to be broken. A pinky promise about family over business would definitely be in order!

Any other “sister-owners” you know of out there (famous or not)?