Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

Do you have children? Maybe you already know that in research they are often called Third Culture Kids (TCKs). The term means that they come from a different culture than both their parents. (It is not accumulative.) I thought the post was really informative.

http://www.expatnest.com/10-things-might-known-third-culture-kids-tcks/

 

 

One of the challenges when you start up a company is how to finance yourself especially if you need investments to do what you plan to do. Have you considered starting a company but you are not sure how to finance your life when you are not having a regular income. Are you worried about burning too much of your reserves and capital before you actually will see a profit.

I started my business with a car. That was thinking out of the box. Instead of providing the cash that is needed in Switzerland to fund a Limited Liability Company we used our Audi to start a business. Later we pumped a lot of personal savings into the company and also had to sustain a certain lifestyle (in one of the top most expensive cities in the world.) Believe me, I understand what it means when you cannot pay your rent or when all of your former colleagues go out for a fancy concert / dinner and you have to come up with an excuse so you don’t have to tell them that you cannot afford this anymore. When you are 40+ it’s kind of embarrassing.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding platforms emerged to help great ideas to evolve faster by bringing a lot of small investors to the financing process faster. You need to tell your story to potential investors so you better have it ready.

https://www.seedmatch.de/

https://www.kickstarter.com/

http://www.projektstarter.ch/

http://www.100-days.net/en

Competitions

There are companies in Switzerland offering support and advice to start up entrepreneurs. They often have competitions sponsored by companies.

http://startups.ch/

http://www.startzentrum.ch/

http://www.gruenden.ch/en/

Bank Loan

You need a very good business plan and “security” (such as a private investment portfolio) in order to apply for a bank loan. Before you apply for a bank loan, think about whether you really want to be in a position where you have to answer to someone else. In Switzerland (and most other countries) you can start a small business without a lot of capital. You might need savings for the first years.

Tip: Start to apply for a loan with a smaller bank.

Angel Investors

An angel investor is an affluent person who invests capital in start-up companies and other investments usually in exchange for a “convertible bond”. A convertible bond is basically the agreement that the equivalent of the invested capital can be transferred into a predefined number of shares of the future company. I understand that angel investors do not consider themselves venture capitalist so they see their investment a bit more idealistic and not only under profit considerations.

https://angel.co/zurich/investors

http://startangels.ch/

Learn the Basics

I find it very important is that we learn the basics of budgeting. Even if there is a general movement against budgeting I learnt that it is critical in the first two years at least. I think in hindsight that I wasted a lot of money and made the start harder for my business. (It’s like the real life.)

http://www.investopedia.com/university/budgeting/basics1.asp

Networks for entrepreneurial women in Switzerland

There are networks geared towards supporting women to start a business. You might find funding opportunities there as well.

http://www.nefu.ch/

http://www.frauenunternehmen.ch/

http://womenexpo.ch/

Check for Governmental Support

In Switzerland like many other countries the government supports entrepreneurs especially when you are unemployed. The Swiss government has a lot of great programmes in place. There are two conditions that have to be met in order to qualify.

1) You have to be eligible for unemployment benefit.

2) You have to have a valid work and residence permit.

http://www.awa.zh.ch/internet/volkswirtschaftsdirektion/awa/de/arbeitsmarkt/beratung_im_rav/selbstaendigkeit.html

 

 

Even if you’re super excited about the new position or company, moving or relocating is still complicated. Potential obstacles to international assignment success are almost innumerable: tax complications, cultural incompatibility, economic crises, security concerns and political unrest. With all of this, what remains the biggest threat to assignment success? It comes not from external forces, but from within. Study after study shows that family concerns are the leading cause of failure among expatriate employees.

So here you are, settled in Switzerland and ready to start looking for a job. Your spouse, whose international assignment led you here, in the first place, is trying to adjust to his/her new job. The children are feeling comfortable in their new school and your house finally feels like home. Eager to re-establish your professional self, you prep your résumé, send it out and wait for the interview invitations to roll in. After all, you’ve been working in your field for 15 years in a well-known company. So what’s with all the rejection emails you’re getting?
When a dual-career family accepts an international assignment, it’s likely that the trailing spouse will be left with the challenge of finding a new professional identity. In many cases the visa issued to the non-working partner limits the kind of contracted employment they can accept, the type of work that existed back home doesn’t necessarily exist in Switzerland or requires speaking the local language plus one of the other three official languages, and sometimes it’s a simple matter of adapting your résumé to Swiss standards. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable and expected to include your picture, birth date, marital status, citizenship and visa type in your résumé.0010044439P-849x565
An experienced international career consultant can be an essential ingredient to the success of an overseas assignment, helping the accompanying partner to avoid the pitfalls of an interrupted career, even if employment is not an available option. If an organization wants to protect and capitalize on its investment in global assignments, it needs to address the needs of the whole family in its international relocation policy. And in today’s world, this includes offering assistance that addresses the career aspirations of the accompanying partner.
Expat spouses who are in search of new employment, is a common theme for many coaching sessions. Giving up your career for the sake of your partner’s means you’ve lost an important part of yourself and often feel lost. While the assigned partner starts a new career and receives career coaching from his/her company, the non-working partner is on his/her own, feeling alone and depressed. This inevitably leads to frustrations in the relationship.

What can you do, when you are in such a situation?
1. Gather as much information about your host labour market as possible.
2. Take time to get to know your new environment before you decide to get employed.
3. Find professional advice on how to adapt your résumé to the local market.
4. Define your transferrable and global skills.
5. Discuss freelancing with your former employer before you quit.
6. Get a “return ticket” to your former employer.
7. Choose volunteer services that would enhance your resume.
8. If not employed immediately, use the time to further your education or diploma.
9. Discuss with your spouse how your career, not just theirs, will benefit from the move.
10. Agree on a long-term vision of both of your careers and how they will fit in your life plan.

Relocation itself could be one of the most stressful changes in life but these tips and advices will not only help during your time in Switzerland, but also prepare you for the next time you move to a new place.

Tell us about challenges that you’ve faced during your transition!

Because of information overload, our attention span has decreased drastically. This is why marketers like Seth Godin, are going creative about moving strangers into fans and one day into clients. Seth coined the term “Permission Marketing” in contrast to “classical Marketing” where we just blasted the product or service information out there – without the permission and often to the annoyance of the viewer or reader.

Permission marketing means that you have been given the privilege of delivering messages to those who actually want to get them.

In return, you get their attention. Attention is the key to unlocking the mystery of permission marketing. Permission marketers are well aware of its value and they know that they can’t get it back once people stop giving attention to them.

They focus on the concept of acquiring “Real Permission” which is based on your friend or customer or lead to give you their email ID voluntarily.When you have permission your potential clients will  want your message. They will except and wait for your updates and news.

Methods for Successful Permission Marketing

...readers will love your stuff...
If you have permission…

Now there are many creative ways to conduct Permission Marketing. Below are few which we found useful:

1) Subscription

The easiest way is to make people subscribe to your content. It is an act which people do by their own will, not forcefully, thus they are more interested in reading or watching it. Like if you subscribed to a health magazine, don’t you love it when you get it every month? Once you have successfully established your content with your readers or viewers you might be able to charge BUT be careful. You might lose trust if you raise a fee without a good explanation.

2) Free Trial

Another thing that can be done is to show others that it works for free! Find a way to show people exactly what the product do for free. Many products are promoted this way online. Haven’t you tried a free trial of something and ended up buying it because you loved it? Giving free trials do increase the cost of marketing so make sure you are doing it to only your target market.

3) Good Cause

Give your clients something to be proud of! If you can link your product or services to a good cause they will feel like they are contributing positively to the society. It is good for your promotion as well because then selling things doesn’t look like you are bragging. However, your good cause has to be genuine.

4) Blogging by using 80/20 Rule

Create a way of giving away 80% of what others want to read with 20% of your own marketing. This way the content you share gets more shares and it keeps circulating into different circle. But yes, don’t forget to add 20% of your marketing into blogs so that you can overall benefit through it. Here it depends what you “sell”. If you sell your expertise you might not even need to market. You can just shine by showing your expertise in your blog and adding real value to the knowledge of your readers.

5) Ask your Fans for Help and Support

Try to take help of your friends. By friends I mean all those prospects who gave you permission. Give them incentive to spread your information on to their friends so that they also start feeling like a part of what you are selling. Sense of ownership and incentive creates awesome marketing.

Homework: Please work on your marketing and communications plan and tell us what your experience with permission marketing is. What are your struggles?

►Shipping unfinished work

Artists are never satisfied with their work.
Feedback…not always easy to take.

Recently I published a book chapter to a circle of clients before official publication mainly to help one or two people in the group for whom I thought it could be helpful. What happened next is that I got a message from an old friend. He offered his feedback on the chapter.

I immediately felt discouraged, knew that everything was wrong and wished I had never put the document out there. I quickly skimmed through the document. “What has he found? Structure, spelling, grammar, meaningless content, wrong entry into the topic…” I had the full horror scenario in my mind. I was about to hit reply “Thank you but the document was already edited professionally. I did not ask for feedback.” I was angry and emotional.

Then I read the comment again with which I published the document and noticed that I might have solicited the feedback. Was I even fishing for compliments? Did I not ask people to tell me if they found the chapter helpful?

I muttered that my friend should not have given me feedback on my work. I did not ask him for a proofread. I did not want to have a Skype conversation with him.

Then I remembered my words from a training I recently gave. Most people give feedback and advice without permission. I advise clients to assume positive intentions. I thanked my friend for the offer and pushed the date for the Skype conversation. I wanted to hear his ideas but only when I feel secure, professional and ready. I almost asked him to send the feedback in writing. Then I remembered that he was not paid for it. I remembered that he is in fact a great logical thinker and proofreader and that I might be able to get a perspective that only he can provide.

►Ignoring critical feedback or waiting until you are ready

Being ready for critical feedback is the key. I am a sensitive person. I have a very high standard for my work. I do not like criticism. I only like appreciation. I do not like to read seminar feedbacks. Even if the feedback is positive I “hear” the negative feedback more. Most of it is positive and constructive. I get great advice from clients and seminar participants.

However, my own insecurities get in my way.

Recently I heard a podcast. One very successful writer said he never reads reviews from readers because all that does is asking for permission. He says, that critical reviews often gives you a reason to procrastinate. It is one of the most common reasons not to ship your work. As an artist or writer it is essential though that you ship. You have to publish in order to be heard and in order for your products to be recognized as your work.

It’s one reason why I keep postponing the publication of my workbook for Global Mobility Professionals. I am genuinely worried that the content is not good enough.

I already procrastinated the reviews for months. The feedback I received is generally positive and appreciative. The suggestions for improvement were helping me to put a better structure to my work. Writing a book is humbling already but self-publishing a book gets me close to wanting to live in a psychiatric clinic (i.e. it drives me nuts). As a publisher you have to consider everything from layout to editing to the right pricing.

►Maybe it is time to let go of an old belief

In  order to make progress I needed to hear what my friend had to say. So, a few weeks later we finally had a call. I tried to keep calm and professional but I also told him that I was quite anxious about what he had to say. At the end of the call I seem to have looked shattered and tired. It was tough to listen. I knew I could do better. I knew I had to improve the work but I felt sincerely demotivated.

►Taking the lessons from feedback

The feedback actually was helpful but it also reinforced my belief that nothing I will ever do will be good enough for the world to see. I will always find a flaw or a chapter that could be written better. Also it is a lot easier to use a handout in a coaching session and give a lot of background information orally than it is to write a workbook where all the instruction should be self-explanatory. Keeping a reader engaged in self-study in our current times of constant distraction is near to impossible. I believe I will go back to classroom training. I want to be old-fashioned about everything I do. I want to stay in my comfort zone.

Assuming positive intentions...
Assuming positive intentions…

►Feeling the fear, staying humble and doing it anyway

As I am writing this I am one month away from publishing the workbook without the help of a big publishing company. While I feel that we did well there is still a doubt about the project. But then I read an article about how great artists were and are never happy with their work. Some were even poor during their lifetime. I guess it’s the way it is with art.

 

Does this resonate with you? Are you procrastinating to show your art out of fear of failure? Tell us about it in the comments.