Once again, I’ve fallen behind on my weekly Empire Building Kit reviews.  Chris Guillebeau, the program’s author, cautions against falling too far behind in the daily Empire Building tasks.  I’ve experienced first hand why.  Cramming and trying to digest days of thoughtfully written posts and information, makes for far less retention, not to mention that it is easy to feel discouraged by the already daunting task of trying to buck convention and build your own lifestyle business.

But I do have a good excuse for falling behind this time.  The past two weeks have been taken with driving (yet again!) cross country to New York City, and then moving in (finally!) to our new apartment.  As you can see from the state of our kitchen below, preparing a meal, let alone eating regular meals (or having any kind of routine), over the past week was a challenge….Photo of our chaotic kitchen shortly after we moved by Joana MirandaLogging onto the computer to do actual business work was a luxury I simply didn’t have.

However, now that the boxes are more or less unpacked and I have a space to work, I’m getting more caught up.  These were the highlights for me of each week:

Week 24 –

In Week 24, Chris used the restaurant Chipotle Grill as an example of a company who is doing things right.  They aren’t doing a lot of things (customers aren’t inundated with choices), but what Chipotle does – burritos and tacos – they do to perfection.  I was so inspired by Chris’ description, that I checked out the Chipotle menu online.  As the popular phrase today goes…”I get it!”  In fact, the menu not only captivated the imagination of my taste buds, but it came across as a smart place to eat for its commitment to sustainably raised food, focus on nutrition, respect for animals and the environment, and value.  In fact, somewhere passing over the border from Michigan to Indiana as my husband and I drove cross country, I Googled “Chipotle Grill on I80”  to see if we could eat at one of their restaurants.  Alas, the only highway fare was the usual McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s, so we’ll have to seek out the nearest Chipotle Grill in Manhattan.

Another high point during Week 24, was a quote by Maya Angelou that Chris used as a point of departure for focusing on what is most important in your business.  Maya said…

“People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you make them feel.”

Week 25 –

Week 25 touched on targeting sales for holidays and popular seasonal buying weeks. Chris also compared the benefits of a Facebook Fan page to a Twitter account, and the “value” of a Facebook fan vs a Twitter follower.  Although I know from my own experience that Facebook can lead to more personal connections than I’ve found so far on Twitter, I confess that after having my Facebook account hacked, I’m leery of ever going back there.

For those of you who “do” Twitter and want to follow me there, follow @jlmstudiodesign (or click on the Twitter link in my blog sidebar.)  I’d love to hear from you!

By the way, if you are interested in finding more information about the Empire Building Kit, please take a look at the Unconventional Guides page on Chris’ Art of Non-Conformity website.


  1. Pamela Frame says:

    I love the kitchen! It looks just about right for anyone who has just moved in! Can you find a bowl and a spoon for cereal or yogurt? Those are the essentials.
    Congratulations, Joana!

    • Hi Pam,

      The kitchen, though small, works well since it has an outlet on each end. As to finding a bowl, spoon and cereal, we did even better and found the Whole Foods Market which is located oh-so- conveniently 1 block away;-) They were our “go-to” place in the first week. Now that things are more put away, its easier to be more frugal and prudent!


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