Author Archives: Angie Weinberger
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As the world changes and goes through transition it is important to move with it on every level, as each passing moment brings new and improved methods/practices to sustain oneself. Similarly, becoming a Global Digital Nomad requires a person to be more social, adaptive and flexible to accommodate for the learning curve. Travelling to work in various and sometimes remote locations may make you a Digital Nomad, but how to make a successful career out of it is another story. Much like any other field, it requires prior knowledge to understand the core meaning of being a digital expert. So stick around as we delve into the digital world and the key platforms you’ll want to establish yourself on, all while working as a nomad!

YouTube

Top of the digital food chain when it comes to video-based content, a vital form of media in the modern world. Although reading content and gaining knowledge from articles and such is a key component, video content adds a whole new flair to the debate. It is easier to demonstrate a topic as a coach and it is much easier to understand with the help of visual aids on the user’s end. As we’re inclined to gain knowledge in the most efficient way possible, YouTube offers a host of content creators and trainers ready to breakdown topics for your understanding.

YouTube receives millions of views on a daily basis and gaining a small traction with your content eventually leads to a mass following. The platform allows for the users to interact with the content by Liking, Commenting, Sharing and even disliking (Something which other platforms lack). YouTube allows monetization for channels when they reach a certain subscriber count and watch-time, making it a perfect source of passive income.

Dishing out the right content for your audience may seem daunting, especially from a business standpoint. But it is important to understand the audience is built and studied, therefore presenting the key components of say Digital Marketing will always attract the people willing to gain knowledge and enhance their skill set. Style of content is completely up to you and how you wish to present yourself, people may come for the learning-aspect but may stay because of your training style.

If nothing else, watching a few videos on how to establish a new channel from YouTube itself may just do the trick! That’s the versatility it offers, we are all familiar with using google to search our queries away yet YouTube tutorials allow for a more practical learning experience.

Newsletters 

Definitely a mode of media and content sharing that flows under the radar, but it is still so important that it makes the top of this list. Email communication remains one of the most direct ways for companies, brands and professionals to communicate with their customers. There are no social platform restrictions (such as the word count on Twitter, the necessity of visuals on Instagram and so on), so you can really experiment with your branding, and hone it exactly to what works for you as a professional, or for the clients that you are representing.

Whether you’re running a retail brand or providing training or coaching services, having a planned newsletter not only gives your audience regular updates and reminders, but it also adds a layer of professionalism to your operations. Haphazard, untimely communication can sour the audience to your communications very quickly.

Newsletters involve sending members or subscribers news updates regarding the brand, events, and giveaways. They’re versatile and can be used to share a variety of different material, for example, sending a link to new content on your website or an update to your services.

Newsletters in theory may seem daunting and a tedious process, however with the use of online tools such as MailChimp, it is actually a breeze! MailChimp is an automation platform as well as an email marketing service. Exactly the tool you should have under your belt! Using the platform is fairly simple as well, you can assign email recipients into groups and categories if you wish to supply niche content separately. 

Thanks to the latest applications available for creating and sending newsletters, you can even analyze insight of how your email marketing is performing. This insight provides a clear understanding of what type of content is clicked more often – including the frequency of clicks and views emails are yielding. 

Zoom (Ideal for meetings, workshops as well as training)

A relative unknown before 2020, Zoom blew up beyond their wildest imaginations at the start of the pandemic and resulting global quarantines last year. Zoom is a video conferencing software available on almost all major operating systems and capable of handling 100 users on one video call or even 1000 with the paid add-on. The benefits are plenty with the software and the user count is still growing as it is a free and simple to use service compared to the competitors who often had restrictions and limits – people being stuck inside their houses and working and socialising digitally through Zoom helped!

It’s not hyperbole to say that Zoom has in great part changed how we work remotely, with teaching, workshops and training moving almost entirely to that platform. While large corporations and universities paid for the premium features to host large classrooms, Zoom’s free features are enough for you to establish video conferencing, meeting clients online or even conducting your services through the platform.

Zoom integrates smoothly with online calendars such as Google Calendar which is a great reminder of meetings and makes collaboration easy with the team. Please note that Zoom is my personal favorite but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have more options. If it doesn’t suit you, you can try Google Meet which is a tad bit less complicated than Zoom. Just remember to not pay hefty amounts on any video call subscription before checking a trial version first, especially when we’ve such amazing free options available.

CLUBHOUSE 

Remote Working requires you to stay connected to the world and your social network, yet maintaining the connectivity can be a hassle more times than not. Clubhouse is a new platform on the conferencing and connectivity scene but its simplicity is what makes it stand out! With the emphasis put into having quality options rather than quantity, the audio based platform provides blazing speeds compared to the market! By keeping their focus on audio based communication, the value of words outweigh the visuals.

Clubhouse provides a platform to manage work without being bombarded with a host of customization and saturated features that go unnoticed. It’s a complete tool, packed with the essentials so a solid one stop shop with great performance. It’s still in beta- version and invite based only so I would suggest you get in now before they start charging for membership.

Clubhouse provides you access to team and classic company management, the integrated API option allows for a seamless connection when needed. The company iterates on its blazing fast performance, which is a result of removing the bulky optionals and optimizing the necessities. The audio calling and conferencing takes place without lag which is a common theme with most platforms, and acts as the perfect tool for not only business discussion but workshops as well as creative sessions!

Users are able to join into the main workshop and later subside into smaller group conversations or teams to work seamlessly. You’re able to visit the participants profile and learn more about them, which makes the smaller group division even more practical, this exclusive feeling is similar to that of a real Clubhouse which acts as the main appeal!

The platform is built with travelling and ease of access in mind with its easy to use features and fast loading speeds even on the go! Creating, joining and hosting sessions are a few easy clicks away, and Clubhouse offers a secure server with only invited members given access to the audio chat! A key addition to any Nomad’s arsenal.You can join a room based on your interests and simply listen to amazing conversations happening around the globe. If you ever decide to talk on a topic of expertise (or anything random), make sure that you get co-hosts on board so that you don’t have to carry the entire session alone. Remember it’s a conversation based tool so try to build an audience by providing meaningful audio content in the panel discussion sort of format. If any audience member wants to join, they get an option to raise their hand and you can let them in for questions or exercises.

As a Digital Nomad adapting to new platforms and their changes is key to staying relevant, so implementing these techniques with a combination of tactical strategies and straight-up hard work might just land you on that beach in the Bahamas – once the COVID-19 pandemic is finally contained.

Nabeha
Social Media Guru Nabeha Larif

About the Author

Nabeha Latif is a Digital Media Consultant since the last eight years all while being a prominent influencer! Her vast experience in the digital hemisphere has cemented her as the go to Digital Guru. A major in Digital Marketing, She pushed herself onto the scene with a host of varying micro and macro projects, she is also actively involved in providing business development services related with marketing. A few key names which have grown onto new heights with Nabeha’s expertise include the likes of UNICEF Pakistan, Cesvi, Ali baba Inc, Nescafe Basement, NBC, EuroVillage. 

Nabeha has worked with Global People Transitions and Angie Weinberger from the early days and is an estimated member of our team.


Do you feel the first attempts of spring to lure us into this illusion that everything will be fine shortly? It’s heartwarming when you get outside these days, sunshine in your face, birds chirping and first flowers jumping out of earth as if we never even had a winter…or a pandemic…or something weird going on in the world.

Spring is my favorite time of the year and you might already know that this is also the time for deep cleaning. And as you know that I am not the best “hausfrau” of Switzerland and won’t ever win a gold medal for the cleanest house (that one will go to my auntie A.), you probably understand that I am talking about a different kind of cleaning. I am talking about inner and outer order and I would again like to take you by the hand so we can start this journey together. 

What a better way to start with updating your resume and online profiles? 

Offline and Online Presence is the Way Forward

These days, if you’re not on LinkedIn or any equivalent jobs platform, you’re either sitting on a large inheritance, or seriously out of touch with the industry. For freelancers in particular and job seekers in general, having a digital presence is now perhaps as essential as being qualified to work to begin with.

A network of peers and industry members is something that was essential in the offline era, does it not make sense that professional networking would be equally, if not more important in the digital age? I remember starting online networking in 2004, a move that was particularly helpful for me – as I moved cities and countries, I was able to remain in constant touch with my established network, able to leverage it for various purposes as the need arose.

For a Global Mobility Professional, a network that travels everywhere with them is priceless.

Looking back at that time and analysing the power that was afforded to me by my digital professional network, I got to thinking about how this could be used to empower job seekers everywhere. That is how the offline HireMeGroup was set up: allowing professionals to hack the Swiss Job Market with strong business connections, both offline and online.

Pinpoint the platform where you will find Hiring Managers and Clients for your industry


LinkedIn may be the ‘de facto’ professional networking platform for the masses, but certain industries are known to frequent alternative digital platforms. The publishing and writing industry, for instance, can be found on Twitter and Goodreads. Photographers and videographers have made their home on Vimeo, YouTube and Instagram. The bottom line: Inhabit the right digital spaces so you can make the right connections.

Understand that a digital presence takes longer to pay dividends.


The internet era is the era of scams and fake profiles. It takes longer to build trust with a stranger than it would through only real-world meets. You can speed the process along by building your digital home, ideally a blog that acts as a thorough resume for visitors. Once you’ve interacted with someone online, directing them to your blog would allow them to access not only your professional biography but a way to contact you. Remember to use blog tools to set up a sign-up form so you can start building your list.

Support and develop the community.


Self-promotion is a big turn-off, you should instead focus on promoting other people’s work. A great way to be a positive influence in your network is to endorse other people’s work (on LinkedIn or otherwise). It is especially helpful for people who are modest or doubt their own achievements (a condition known as “imposter syndrome”). By fostering a communal and supportive network, you can create goodwill among colleagues and with peers in general. It is essential to creating the right image online.

Be genuine when you meet people IRL (In Real Life).


A general assumption about digital presences is that they are heavily curated, that is, they contain cherry-picked information that may not be representative of the entire picture. By showing that you’re as nice, if not nicer, in real life will be a pleasant and welcome surprise to all who meet you. Be genuine in providing help, be genuine in general and good things will happen to you.

You will eventually generate an income
We developed our #HireMeExpress program so that we can help expats and digital nomads with a minority background in the new country to generate an income. 

The HireMeExpress program gives you immediate access to a trusted circle of like-minded professionals. We can help you expand your networks faster! In any group, shared experiences are the key to building relationships and trust, while also providing growth opportunities through feedback from the group and the coach. The group gives you accountability and paces your efforts at the same time. Sometimes, especially when you would like to give up, the group carries you to the next step.

I hope the tips above can help you identify and maximize your digital presence. We would also like to invite you to join our preparatory free workshops starting on 16 March 2021. 

If you’re ready to join the HireMeExpress you should let me know asap. We also offer a special deal to members of the Global People Club until 15 March 2021 only.

We look forward to zooming with you shortly.


By Nabeha Latif, Digital Media Guru

Traveling the world with your laptop and setting up temporary offices in foreign coffee shops or on exotic beaches sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how easy being a digital nomad is depicted to be! The position, although flexible, requires some serious hard work and dedication to the craft. Experienced workers earn a hefty income and with a flexible work ethic, it’s the ideal job for some. For newcomers, however, the going is a bit tough when they’re starting off, they definitely need the right sort of advice that accelerates rather than hurts their futures. Let’s look at some essentials of being a Global Digital Coach and successfully clearing those early hurdles to cement your presence in the field.

What is a Global Digital Coach and what do they do?

A Global Digital Coach by definition is known to be a tech-savvy individual who works in a nomadic or remote environment, not an avid traveler going around putting scenic stories on their socials while barely doing any work.  Typically, you have a variety of skills embedded into their arsenal, beyond just having the ability to work in almost any environment. Such professionals provide digital services from their advanced skill set and work as independent entities. To become a successful Global Digital Coach, you’ll need to polish some essential digital skills. With the world rapidly advancing and social media being an intuitive and exciting platform, there is no base as solid or versatile, or as essential to being a Digital Nomad. 

A digital presence isn’t optional anymore.

Marketing in today’s day and age requires you to go digital. Whether you’re building visual heavy content for the likes of Instagram or Snapchat, or focusing on a balance of visuals and text for Facebook and LinkedIn, you need in-depth knowledge of the platform and how its algorithms and functions work. More importantly, however, you need your own presence online where you can showcase your knowledge of platforms, tools and your specialist skills. That means a website. 

Websites are still essential

With the increasing dependence on social media platforms, one would think that there is no need to have a website when you could just list your business details in the profile section of your social channels. However, websites allow you to set up your online office front and create, so to say, a place where prospective customers can come and browse through your wares. That makes them essential to establishing a foothold in digital work spaces.

Thanks to platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix and more, building your own website has never been easier and requires little to no prior coding knowledge, though that always helps! A basic website should consist of contact information, skill and work showcases and a payment gateway, if applicable. The aforementioned tools can also integrate with website metric tools which will help you understand what visitors to your website like or dislike about how you have presented your virtual place of business, allowing you to improve and refine the user experience. As in marketing, websites require iteration, improvement and further iterations to keep you competitive in the industry.

Demystifying Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms have a plethora of tools to manage ads, content creation and customization to help you target your desired audience smoothly. It can be daunting to be handed all those tools and being told to grow your brand, so we are breaking down the critical features of the major social platforms that will let you hit the ground running.

Why LinkedIn (LI Pulse)?

LinkedIn’s reputation as the more ‘formal’ social network makes it quite underrated when compared to the other networks. Its versatility as a platform, however, is what provides a gripping edge for marketing. LinkedIn is primarily used to connect a user with business partners and other similar field workers to grow their PR (Personal Reputation), and having a transparent connection with a brand through such a platform provides quality engagement.

Setting up your brand page with as much detail possible is a solid first step, whilst keeping your page banner (cover) as well as display (profile) picture up to date. Much like the other networks, boosting your content is fairly similar but there are a few key differences. LinkedIn offers a few ad types for you to select from, the simpler being a Sponsored Post that appears on your audience’s feed at set intervals. Then we have Sponsored Messaging, which, unlike the sponsored post is much more personal. It allows you to market and message your target audience directly without hoping that your content appears on their algorithmic feeds.

There are further options within this method but the core usage is the same. A user or face of the company is utilized to send these messages, this will benefit the theme of LinkedIn as a platform and keeps a healthy professional conversation for you to benefit off of. If going directly with your customers isn’t your brand image, keeping it on the lighter side of things, Text Ads might just be your solution.

Launching this campaign requires the least effort, but the right placements and wording could have the most benefit! This method works on creating new leads and works on the base of PPC or Pay Per Click which allows you to have further control over the ad. 

Finally, we have Dynamic Ads. This offers a unique ad and placement style that is not commonly available on other platforms. Dynamic Ads showcase your brand page to those who share similarities in job description, title, location, and other profile data. This ad shows up amidst your feed and showcases any fellow associates following the page you might be interested in. These can be customized according to your need whether it’s brand awareness, recruitment, or highlighting a specific service you offer. It is highly effective so tweaking it to the right audience will provide the results you need!

LinkedIn provides a campaign manager that allows you to manage your ads from one central hub, altering anything necessary and providing key insights with its open kanban view. The campaign manager is utilized to oversee ad performances and analytics to narrow down your desired results. But this isn’t the only way to boost your brand or monitor its performances. 

LinkedIn Pulse is a key example here. Unlike traditional ad methods, Pulse allows you to publish larger amounts of text in the form of articles. The inclusion of more data from a single post is a huge benefit, which allows you more space to hook your audience and convert their interest into business. Pulse articles have an advantage over other posts as it is known to stay on newsfeed longer and even appear on Google search results. Users can also find any of these articles on your company page. This is especially useful for B2B purposes but is versatile to be molded into any form you wish.

Joining relevant social groups to chat and learn about the community is also a great option. Posting surveys and asking for other’s views on a subject can surely benefit the brand growth, so don’t be shy to start a conversation in groups.

Instagram (Live and Stories)

Though a Facebook subsidiary, Instagram’s platform couldn’t be more different. With an emphasis on visual content (pictures, Instagram Live, Stories and Reels), Instagram focuses on appealing to its audience’s sense of aesthetic and it’s really paying off – Instagram is one of the most popular platforms right now!

Instagram is open to many popular brands, as engaging with customers and users directly on this platform is very easy. The image-based scheme truly lets the brand show its true colors, but how do you target the audience you want? Here are a few key tips you’ll need to boost your brand image.

Instagram offers a few options when it comes to ads, which mainly consist of the format whether it is a picture or video and whether you’d place it in the feed, explore, or story. Let’s go through the simplest way you’d opt for after your page has been set up. You have the ability to boost posts from your page directly, this is especially helpful if you wish to boost your followers. 

Since Instagram has a few key ad placements let’s talk about those, starting off with the stories. While swiping through stories and advertisements is seen to pop up, this ad can be image, text, or video-based with the option to swipe up and direct the user to the website/store. As for uploading a direct link to any comment section or story that won’t hyperlink itself, this is a sure way to do so. However, you can upload links to your page bio. Other ads include the main news feed posts, much like your normal feed, an ad can be presented in the signature box or 1:1 ratio format. These can contain carousel ads that let you post multiple pictures in a single post or a single video. The caption or text on these posts is substantially more considered to a story but you’ll miss out on the variety of colors and widgets a story offers. Collection ads also fit into this segment, which acts as a collage of images on one frame which allows the user to grasp more detail in one glance. The explore page shows the trending side of Instagram mixed with your personal interests, ads on here are similar to that of the newsfeed.

Though social platforms thrive on ad spend to help brands reach audiences and grow, certain organic methods are fairly common and useful as well. Instagram Live is an excellent example. You can broadcast events, Q & A’s, quizzes, discussion, and much much more from just one feature! This also allows you to go live with another user or brand to collaborate. Engagement can be boosted through the poll and slider options on Instagram Stories, which act as a fun medium for discussion. Similarly, the Ask Questions widget can be used for Q & A’s as well. Most influencers and accounts use stories as their daily mode of interaction between followers, reserving the posts for more priority content.

Facebook (Groups)

The reigning king when it comes to online connectivity and social media. Facebook practically coined the terminology used by current platforms and its early rise to its current peak is unmatched. Over the years Facebook has received multiple updates, often revamping the entire layout and introducing various tools as well as options to make itself more than just a fun way to talk to friends. Let’s dive in to see how Facebook works behind the curtain, and how you can market yourself or any brand using it.

For starters, you need to set up your page with all the necessary details – profile images and essential details about your services and availability are essential. This will help you present your page, and get an easy start with the marketing tips ahead. Facebook has several options when it comes to advertisements, so let’s get to them.

While posting on your page you’ll notice an option to boost that post. From there you can set the target audience, budget, and other details to get the most out of your spending. Similarly, videos and multiple groups of pictures can be boosted. Pre-existing posts will also have the option to boost or you could opt to boost a newly made one. 

Similarly, there are other ways to set up ads or boost your brand in general. In terms of ads, you can define a set audience or experiment with changes to see what sticks better. From there you can use ads to get likes, engagement, messages, and even direct leads, there’s essentially a model for each company type. Facebook ads can be narrowed down to very specific targets which isa big bonus, as you’ll be targeting those who matter most. Not only can you select your audience based on age, gender and location, but you can also shortlist them based on their interests, habits, likes and even the time they log onto Facebook.

With share options, you’re able to connect other social media networks from Facebook and post to your accounts seamlessly. This works especially well in coordination with Instagram and its stories, so you’re essentially getting the best of both! 

If it’s only increasing the number of likes that entices you, Facebook conveniently has an option for that as well. To manage all these ads and their varieties, the platform offers extensive analytics, and reports to oversee your growth. Also, not only is the network completely capable of advertisements and its management on its own but with the monstrous number of online tools and APIs available to link with Facebook, it completely raises the bar to another level!

With so much available under Facebook’s hood, that’s only a part of the whole story. A series of campaigns can be run without you having to spend a penny! These do however involve strategic planning and effort, yet the results are totally worth it. Like LinkedIn, Facebook has multiple groups that you can target based on location or type. These groups are a solid way to engage with the masses directly, posting regularly and keeping tabs could help you build a following that is completely organic. 

If you’re selling products, for instance, Facebook Marketplace and Buy/Sell groups could be targeted directly with Facebook being so populous and receiving billions of users each month, it comes as no surprise such techniques work out to be fruitful.

About the Author

Nabeha Latif

Digital Media Marketing Consultant

SparkZing.Net

Nabeha Latif is a Digital Media Consultant since the last eight years all while being a prominent influencer! Her vast experience in the digital hemisphere has cemented her as the go to Digital Guru. A major in Digital Marketing, She pushed herself onto the scene with a host of varying micro and macro projects, she is also actively involved in providing business development services related with marketing. A few key names which have grown onto new heights with Nabeha’s expertise include the likes of UNICEF Pakistan, Cesvi, Ali baba Inc, Nescafe Basement, NBC, EuroVillage. Nabeha has worked with Global People Transitions and Angie Weinberger from the early days and is an estimated member of our team.


Female Entrepreneurs and Finance

It’s 50 years ago that women in Switzerland were granted the right to vote and while this might seem like a reason to celebrate it is also scary. Unlike in other countries in Europe women in Switzerland had to fight for a long time to be granted this right. You would think gender equality is self-evident here but it is not. Reality is still that many women earn less than their male counterparts, that having a career as a woman is rather unusual and being a female breadwinner is still an exception. And while I always worked or had my own money since I left high school, money and I have never been great friends. Money is a source of stress for me that I either avoid completely or obsess over. In an attempt at healing my relationship with money many years ago I first had to learn a few basics and make some key mistakes. I want to encourage you to learn more about finance and money and become financially independent.

I repeatedly asked myself three questions when I started my own business in Switzerland:

  • Will I ever get my head around the financial side of the business?
  • Will I ever get better at managing the cash flow?
  • Will I ever make enough income to not feel stressed and under pressure?

Cash flow did not make sense to me. 

I am really good at computing cost projections and balance sheets for expats. I can explain the difference between purchasing power parity and cost-of-living index. I can tell you how COLA relates to foreign exchange rates. I was excellent in Math as a student. So it’s NOT that I don’t like numbers or that I am not a “numbers” person (which unfortunately a lot of women attribute themselves with). I like math and numbers but I missed something else.

My issue was more that I lacked the practical understanding of a “good housewife”. I didn’t know how much a liter of milk would normally cost in the supermarket. I didn’t know those little secrets of saving money in Switzerland such as the fact that Migros and Denner are essentially under the same corporate umbrella but you can buy twice as much food at Denner.

When I was working as a Global Mobility Leader, I had a good paycheck. In Germany, I would even go grocery shopping in the “bio” shop Alnatura. My mother would say that I might as well go shopping in a pharmacy. For me, this meant “quality of life”. It meant that I would not be stressed at the cashier on Saturday because five other people were in line behind me like in the other supermarket. And I had the idea that I was eating healthy and helping the environment by buying “bio”.

There was another issue why I stopped learning more about finance, investments, saving money when I was employed: I had a bad relationship with money. Money stinks. Money doesn’t make you happy. When you have money, you don’t talk about it. I had all sorts of relationship issues with money. Money reminded me of scams or bad deals my mother and I had gotten into because we were naive and believed a banker would know what they were doing.

This article is for you if you started out as a business owner or if you feel that you need to heal your relationship to money. And if you are not a female but you feel you need to get better with money, you may read this article as well. Let’s try to understand a few basics of finance and financial independence.

Maintain a Cash Flow Plan

If you want to run a sustainable business, work with a cash flow plan. It can be a simple one, but you need to have your finances in order. In the early days of my business, I asked my BFF (who is a Finance guru) to review my business plan. She explained that I would just need to ensure that there is a cash flow in and that this is bigger than cash flow out. Easier said than done, but I still use that same plan a decade later.

Move from Fixed Income to Fluctuating Income

When you are used to a certain lifestyle with a fixed monthly income you rely on that paycheck a lot because you tend to tailor your lifestyle around your consistent monthly income. If you are unemployed or if you start out as a freelancer you have to get used to a fluctuating income. 

A starting capital and cash reserve are important. If you are responsible for rent, health insurance, phone bills, transportation, food and other necessities you need to ensure that you can cover your basic needs for several slow months. In the first five years you might make a lot less than you are used to. You will need to change your lifestyle significantly.

Ideally, you have a reserve for a year in your bank account or someone who would help you out such as a parent or friend. Don’t bring your partner or spouse into your business. This can weigh heavily on your relationship and you also have to consider what it means in case of them facing unemployment, serious disease or death. Before you start a business in Switzerland, you should understand what this would mean for a (married) spouse. The legislation is not always logical, hence you need professional advice before you stir yourself and your partner into a dead end.

Read Finance Information with Different Angles

It is challenge to read finance information when it is written in a bad way and often directed at bankers or industry professionals rather than the “simple user”. I have addressed communication with bankers several times already. Most financial information is written in a way that no one wants to read it. Some of it does not even make a lot of sense. I received a weird letter the other day and sent it back with edits and side comments. The main message was: We could not deduct money from your account but there was a lot of fluff around it. It took me a while to understand why this company wrote to me. 

Also, I was very happy when a few years ago for the first time the bank gave me two female relationship managers: One for my personal account and one for my business account and we immediately noticed that we had a lot in common.

I have started to read the Cash Guru and I also find the LGT Navigator helpful. If you like “Gossip Girl” you probably enjoy “Inside Paradeplatz”. Another good resource is Finews.ch

Learn Vocabulary and Budgeting

If you want to appear financially competent when talking to your bank manager, financial advisors, insurance brokers, mortgage providers, or lawyers, you need to know a few basics and speak their language. For example, you need to understand interest and how it works. Also negative interest, debt, and how you get into debt. What is an advantage of a mortgage versus paying rent? How do open and closed investment funds actually work?

In the early years and even before I launched GPT, I used to spend more than I earned. I applied “Reaganomics”. What works in politics, does not really work for a small business. At the time, I did not really understand that this investment could hinder my potential for getting out of the red figures in the long term.

I made bad financial decisions. For example, I started to pay myself a salary too early. I listened to an advisor and should have listened to my gut feeling. Remember that other people’s experiences in the business world could be biased. They have opened their business many years before. Switzerland has also suffered from the global economic crisis.  Often the Swiss have access to networks that foreigners will not really get into. Depending on your type of business, you should have a current account, which balances your company and your personal investments. I would advise that you separate your private and company accounts.

Split Larger Invoices

My business is cyclical and once I understood the cost and earning cycle, I could prepare myself better for the downtimes. For example, I have a lot of annual invoices in January but January is often a slow month. You can ask to split invoices into smaller payment plans. Often, when you ask the insurance provider they are willing to support you on a payment plan. If you want to be ahead of your costs, you should ask for larger invoices and pay them as soon as you possibly can. You can ask for an extension of a payment deadline and mainly you have to know that you need to be in contact with the company who raised the invoice to you. They don’t like it if you ghost on them.

Pay Vendors and Freelancers in Advance

When I can I pay all my freelancers in advance so that they would always get their money. It means that I have to budget their quarterly invoices too and it happened once or twice that I had to put a service on hold because of lack of funding. 

Another principle I have developed is to check my account twice or thrice a week, sometimes even daily. I issue an invoice as soon as the service has been delivered or as soon as the booking has been confirmed.

Many large relocation companies and training agencies have very long payment periods. I suffered greatly from these in the early years of my business. I had delivered a service but sometimes was only paid 60 to 90 days later. In some instances, invoices got lost in cost center discussions and bad processes. Once I got paid two years later only. Now, I am more careful about the agreements in the contracts and I follow up on outstanding invoices faster. This doesn’t always guarantee that all invoices are paid on time but companies sometimes agree to advance payments and you can always decide to stop working with a client if their payments take too long. However, with private clients you should always agree to a full payment in advance or a payment plan.

At the moment you might still try to find a job in your new country and you hesitate about working as a freelancer or starting a side gig. The good news is that the steps for both are pretty similar. We will be happy to give you further guidance and inspiration through our HireMeExpress program starting again in April. Sign up here to find out everything you need to know in order to earn an income in a new market. 

Angie Weinberger

HireMeExpress

HireMeExpress is the online course that will get you from desperate to carving out an income and feeling at home in your new country. Sign up here to find out everything you need to know in order to land a job in Switzerland or another market you are not familiar with. We will shortly give you access to videos, live workshops and add you to our waiting list for when HireMeExpress opens again in April 2021.


I have this tendency to not want to work with Germans who have just arrived in Switzerland. I end up seeing too many of my own mishaps and small failures back when I was a newbie in Switzerland. Instead of reminiscing about my failures however, l would like you to meet Dr. Rainer Schulz.

This German leader from one of the cases from The Global Mobility Workbook (2019) has never done any intercultural training. He manages a global team which is mainly based in Switzerland exactly like he manages everybody in Frankfurt. Tom Jones, the main character in this case study challenges a lot of his assumptions about hierarchy and collaboration.

At the age of 55, Dr. Schulz cannot get over the fact that everyone in Switzerland goes to first name and “Du” in no time. Even his children call him stuck up and old-fashioned. Dr. Schulz is a typical example of someone stuck in their own cultural preferences. He could have made an effort and offered Tom the first name basis. He could have tried to build trust when they began working together. Instead, he just cannot get out of his comfort zone, hides behind his intellectual competence, relationship to the Management Board and his assistant. 

Tom on the other hand, is a little naive and not even aware of intercultural differences. He made an effort to learn German but he is still depressed. He attributes his issues to others. His weakness in this situation is that he does not take responsibility for his learning and progress. Tom also limits himself and could have done more to work better with Rainer. Tom quits the company, an assignment failed, the retention score is down and people are even more convinced that working with people from other cultures is just too hard. No happily ever after.

Having lived here in Zurich for over 10 years now, I also prefer to run my life Swiss-style. Despite considering myself open and tolerant, I still mess up intercultural communication. I’m not always understood and sometimes I’m just wrong. I recently got into a long discussion about left and right and I know that I have a weakness there. At the end I had to find out that I muddled up left and right (again!).

Communication across Cultures is a Challenge

My team members sometimes don’t do what I thought I had asked them to do. Then there is the occasional issue where I thought I had sent an email with a spreadsheet attachment but the person at the other end never received it. We hop on a conference call to discuss a topic with the assumption that the other person has the spreadsheet in front of them but IT Security blocked it. The whole conversation goes in circles. (Remind me to explain the “Asian Loop” to you sometime.) 

And yes, there could be plenty of reasons behind these issues. Maybe it’s “not my fault” or “not my responsibility”.

Do you also in such situations then tend to take control and do everything yourself?

And does that then lead you to burnout, depression or anger?

Does your partnership or family life suffer?

I have had to learn to accept the fact that people are as diverse as sand corns or snow flakes. You can learn to improve your leadership style but it is a never ending story of continued failures. Eventually you’ll get the swing and then you are asked to retire from the working world…

(Isn’t it crazy that our society doesn’t value the experience of our elders? Personally I intend to work until the day I die… hopefully with a nicely branded fountain pen in my hand.)

With this post I would like to give you an intercultural explanation to these phenomena and help you get out of your cultural comfort zone.

What is Global Competency in Global Mobility?

Global Competency is the ability to work effectively in a global, complex environment with a high level of stress, while achieving goals sustainably and in accordance with your own resources”. (Weinberger, 2019)

One of the major themes in my work with clients is on how they can improve their relationships at work. In order to find a new role in the Swiss market a number of trusted relationships are required. Relationships are usually built through a third-party introduction, at events and through long-lasting cooperation. And while this is similar in Germany, the German approach to building relationships always has a hierarchical component. Usually, the younger or newer members of the crew are treated with a little less respect. Globally competent leaders know how to gauge the hierarchy level and address the person according to status and seniority. However, in Switzerland where 70% of your interactions are with other expats it is trickier than in Germany.

You can almost assume that everyone is on your experience and intellectual level. And most locals are modest, so they could easily be underestimated.

Five Reasons why You might find it hard

  1. You are shy, introverted or not convinced that they are good enough to deserve success. Many partners suffer from the “impostor syndrome”, a psychological state of mind where people doubt their own accomplishments or consider themselves frauds just about to be exposed, especially if their career-driving partner just got another promotion in another country.
  2. You are embarrassed and ashamed of being “unemployed” in a society where most of your self-worth is driven by your career and how busy you are.
  3. You come from a culture where achievement is overly emphasized and ascription is considered an unfair privilege while at the same time they are blindsided by the fact that they had an ascribed status in their home turf.  Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner used to associate the achievement dimension with mainly protestant work ethic and belief. However, even if Switzerland is the home of Zwingli and Calvin, we have catholic cantons as well and status is often equal with family name, wealth and also how many generations you have already been a member of this society. So, there is still a strong ascription component that is not so obvious to outsiders. you don’t recognize that you have been in the out-group until you join the “Circle of Trust”.
  4. You are not aware of how they come across in person and assume that your style and behavior is “normal”. You have not yet learned to read the cultural cues that would indicate to them that they might be too pushy or even rude. A common example in Switzerland is that expats tend to overstretch a time commitment. For a society that runs on the clock and is a role model of the sequential time approach according to E.T. Hall’s time dimensions, this is often creating a lot of stress for the other person.
  5. You are sending messages with which in your home turf you would mark  your status such as the “Dr.” title in Germany or a certain seniority by name-dropping the influential VIP’s you used to hang out with but in Switzerland for example this is either not understood or considered boasting, egocentric and merely annoying. 

Over the years of running my own business and projects I often noticed that all the tools I tested to maintain a strategic approach to networking failed miserably with the extensive network that I’ve built over my professional life. 

So, I decided to let go of “strategy” and follow my gut and memory. I realized that the best idea is not to worry too much about “contact segmentation”. We Germans love the word “Begriffsabgrenzung”, so we also do this to our social life (“Bekannter, Kollege, Freund, Verwandter, Familie, Partner, Ehepartner…”). It’s a step-by-step approach showing how much you trust the other person.

The same segmentation exists in Switzerland, but there are “false friends”, e.g. the word “Kollege” means “Work Colleague” in High German and “Friend” in Swiss German. The meaning of the informal way of addressing a person with “Du” has a different meaning in Switzerland than in Germany.

Without intercultural training a German manager will behave like a bull in a China shop in Switzerland – completely unintentionally. Hence, working with German managers in the “honeymoon phase” is a lot of work for the trainer or coach. I prefer to work with you when you are beyond the honeymoon phase and you understand that you might not function in Switzerland like you are used to.

My approach after 10 years in Zurich

Some of my colleagues in the #GlobalMobility world have become friends over the years and some of my best friends from the university days or early career are colleagues or clients now. Some of my team members have almost become family and some of my family members work in the same field or closely related ones. And some friends will never pay you while others will insist on giving back. The world is colorful and so are people.

While saying this, I don’t want to imply that you have to like everybody you work with and everybody you network with. However, it’s another atmosphere for collaboration and innovation when you can fully trust the other person without a doubt.

When you know in your head and in your heart, that this person would never talk badly about you behind your back and would not spill your secrets with your competitors. I thrive in safe and collaborative environments but these require “relationship work”.

Let me know what you are doing today to work on your business relationships.

The Expat Experience (XX): Walking alone at the shores of lake Zurich on a rainy Sunday morning.