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 am now three months into my new job, what someone would call my first real job, and my student life seems so far behind. The truth is that less than a year has gone by since I finished writing my thesis and my student ID expired just four months ago.

Fortunately and unpredictably, 2020 was for me a rather eventful year despite what could be common assumptions. In particular, one event at the very beginning of the year marked a great part of the months that followed: in January, I happily signed my six months’ internship agreement at Global People Transitions. Only one condition initially made me doubtful about embarking on this challenge: working from home. Was I going to get the real work experience feeling? Was I going to be able to bond with my colleagues? Was I going to feel isolated or lonely?  

I look back and smile at this thought as, ironically, that was the very factor that made my internship possible at a time the world was shaken by the current global pandemic.

I started off my internship on April 1st, when some governments had already adopted heavy restrictions for containing the spread of the virus, while others still thought there wasn’t really much to worry about…things have changed so much that perhaps that’s also why it feels so long ago.

The internship at GPT kept me busy for a great part of 2020 and, in hindsight, I can see how it brought good things and concrete perspectives in 2021 as well. I feel lucky because I know that many others out there probably share opposite feelings.

The 6 months’ experience at GPT shaped me both at a professional and at a personal level. Being trained, supervised, and coached directly by the founder and Managing Director Angie Weinberger provided me with concrete tools, useful to face the upcoming work challenges with a down-to-earth approach.

Today, I would like to share with you the seven reasons, though not the only ones, why I think that interested candidates should consider an internship at GPT:

1. You Learn an Awful Lot About Global Mobility

Angie Weinberger is a renown professional with decades of experience as a Global Mobility Manager, Lecturer, Trainer and Coach. Being her right hand for six months meant earning an incredible amount of knowledge in the field of Global Mobility and being able to get a first-hand experience in the buzzing Expat World.

From the most administrative and practical aspects of setting up an international assignment to the most hidden and psychological facets of family relocation and culture shock, I learnt that being a Global Mobility expert means much more than getting the conversion rate right.

2. You get the international vibe

This might sound very much predictable – after all expats are international – however, not all internships in the Global Mobility sector offer you this opportunity. At Global People Transitions, I regularly and directly handled communications with many clients from different cultural, professional, and educational backgrounds, some of them living in Switzerland, and many others in more or less far away countries. But it’s more than that: you get to exchange with stakeholders and partners all over the world and have the opportunity to experience first-hand how things are done differently elsewhere.

The best aspect, however, is being part of a vibrant international team and this is not a foregone conclusion. At GPT I had the pleasure to work with a small though strong team of global professionals with considerable intercultural experience. Currently, GTP team counts six components spread across four different countries, three continents and four different time zones. Where else do you find these perks?

3. You Expand Your Professional Network

Something an internship should definitely give you is good prospects for the future career you want to embark on. It should build that last layer of foundations that you’ve been constantly growing with dedication and hard work through your studies and potentially, previous internships.

Now, creating a professional network for yourself is one of the most fundamental steps you take early in your career. And as an intern at GPT you are served this very opportunity on a plate. You handle communications with important partners, you participate in webinars, you set up interviews and podcast recordings with experienced professionals of various fields…you even might be invited to take part in in-person workshops with Angie’s clients!

And if this was not enough to expand your network of professional contacts, you’re given even more tools during the coaching (more about it at point 5) to help you enhance your professional presence both face-to-face and online.

4. You Boost Your Entire Skill Set

Before starting my internship at GPT I found it hard to believe I was even going to learn some basic programming and help out with graphic design. But it happened, I took the opportunity, made the most out of it and today I know a little more than I did before this challenge.

This is to say that even if officially an “academic internship”, the experience gives you the chance to strengthen skills you already have and for which you were probably selected, but also to test abilities you didn’t even know you had in you.

What I personally feel I became stronger at are interpersonal and intercultural communication, organizational, problem-solving, research, and analytical as well as digital skills. But I also definitely improved my time management skills and became a more resourceful professional, which is one of the most important teachings I take away from working in a start-up environment.

5. You are supported by an experienced coach

While you’re working hard on all those activities and putting an effort in all the tasks that are assigned to you, you’re not always aware of all the learning that happens in the background. But it’s important that you acknowledge it and that you’re able to convert it in words and facts when you face a recruiter or are discussing a promotion with your boss.

You also might have your ups and downs and obviously might find some projects more challenging to manage than others. You might be in the middle of a relocation yourself, or you might come to clash with cultural aspects of your environment that you find hard to cope with.

Among the benefits of an internship at GPT, the par excellence benefit if you ask me, is the coaching you receive from Coach Angie. Having her as a supervisor throughout the six months spent at GPT  was already a blessing and an opportunity for growth that I will always be thankful for. Having her as a personal coach was an emotional and eye-opener experience that made me more aware of who I am, what I need and how I can achieve it. I especially took to heart her charisma and down-to-earth approach.

As I anticipated, these are not the only aspects I praise with regards to my internship at GPT. In fact, the list is still long and if you’re curious to know more about it you can reach out to me personally and I’d be happy to give you more insights.

In a sentence, the experience made me ready to enter the job market with a certain awareness, strengthened competencies and a more well-rounded profile for a junior professional like me.

 

 

Sara
Sara Micacchioni

About the Author

Sara Micacchioni is currently working in the customer care sector where she gets the chance to continue improving her skills as a people’s person in four different languages. She also works as a freelancer in digital marketing for a small start-up specialized in unbiased recruiting and diversity and inclusion projects. As a graduate in Intercultural Management, those are, in fact, topics that Sara keeps close to her heart.

In the past, she also carried out several short-term and long-term voluntary work projects in Europe and South America.

Sara lived, studied, and worked in seven European countries and speaks four foreign languages. She considers herself an interculturalist with a real passion for globetrotting. In her mission to travel the world, she has now ticked off 30 countries globally.

Connect with Sara on LinkedIn

In 2018 I wrote an article called “Digitizing Your Intercultural Coaching Practice – Ten Steps to a Digital, Global Coaching Practice” which was published in in the SIETAR Europa Journal. Since the publication, I have made further progress and hope to be able to answer your questions on how to deliver digital, intercultural coaching and what it actually means for your business model as a coach, trainer or consultant. Many of the lessons learned work for consulting as well. You probably don’t know this but I spend a large junk of my week working as a Global Mobility Project Manager inside companies. Due to the Pandemic I currently work from home and only go to the client when it is absolutely necessary. Our living room has been converted into a spaceship that could easily compete with the Millenium Falcon. We divided the space in three sections: Eat, Work, Play. Who would have thought that I could convert my “practice” into a fully digital operation in just two years. The only issue I am still struggling with today is that I am using the printer too much. 

Most executive and business coaches I know prefer to work face-to-face with their clients. This is usually possible because classical coaching happens within the same city and like with a therapist a client builds a relationship with a coach over a relatively short period of time to follow certain goals. However, a lot of coaches are passed on between clients based on good old word of mouth. It’s not really a topic you openly write a review about on LinkedIn. Hence, I find it hard to ask my clients to write an honest review. I feel it breaches our confidentiality agreement. 

Digital Intercultural Coaching still is new in the Swiss market. I’ve been running a coaching practice since 2012. My clients are all international and they are all busy global people.

In the early days of my business, I used to travel to a client in Basel for two hours for a 1.5-hour coaching session. I sometimes coached up to 15 clients in one week. That was the maximum I could manage with a good distribution of hours, without exhausting myself completely and with a good quality for the clients. Despite having a 60-hour workweek my income had dropped to one-third of what I had made as a Global Mobility Leader earlier. I know that you have to accept a loss of income in your first two years as a founder but I was not making enough money to survive. I am the breadwinner in the family and Zurich is one of the most expensive cities in the world. The cost of running a physical practice was eating up a lot of the earnings so in 2018 together with my wise accountant we decided to digitalize as much as possible.

In addition to corporate seminars, I offer a job search support group through HireMeExpress and the one-week RockMeRetreat. (Before Corona this was all possible offline, now we needed to reconsider and we offer many programs online via Zoom as well.)

If you want to build a coaching model with potential to scale you need to adopt digital practices in order to serve more clients in a shorter time frame. I had experimented with Skype coaching and other online methods already and I figured out that a lot of my methods would work online too.

The 10-Step Plan to a sustainable Digital, Global Coaching Practice

Step 1: Understand Your Ideal Client

You are not in business for yourself. If you don’t work with a client as in a person who is willing to pay for your services you probably have a hobby. Before you think about your positioning in the market, you should know what your ideal client looks like and how she or he lives and works. It’s a good idea to write a story about your ideal client.

Step 2: Have a Profile on LinkedIn

You need to have an authentic online presence. Even if you work as a freelancer you need to be able to show your qualification and approach online, you need to be able to connect with clients and potential colleagues online. At a minimum you should have a good and solid LinkedIn profile. We have several articles on how to improve this and LinkedIn has courses on it as well. 

Step 3: Own a Mobile-Friendly Website

If your website dates back to 1990 and is not mobile-friendly you should invest in making it mobile friendly. You could easily have a WordPress or google site without investing a lot of money.

Step 4: Work from Home

One advantage of a digital coaching practice is that your practice becomes location-independent. If you now think that you can work from coffee shops and the beach I would say that yes, in principle that is possible. You will still want to take calls from clients but you might be able to have those during specific hours of the day when you are in a disturbance-free area.

If you can work from home without feeling distracted this is your chance to move to the mountain hut you had dreamed about. However, in my experience, you can get lonely quite easily. I prefer to work in the city of Zurich so I can engage in offline networking and still offer physical meetings with my clients when they are close to my office.

You will need a reliable Internet connection in order to hold Skype or Zoom calls. It’s worthwhile to invest in good headsets and a comfortable office chair.

Step 5: Work with an Email Marketing Provider

It took me a long time to figure out the best tools and media for sharing my messages with my clients and readers. I read a lot of blogs and reports and I curate content and events for my readers. They spend time reading interesting posts or watching relevant videos instead of digging through the social media circus. I always enjoyed sharing interesting content and now I use this skill professionally. 

It’s important to understand that despite social media marketing you still need to build an email list with your own clients and prospects. I recommend a two-list approach. One list is for everyone who is vaguely interested in what you do. This is the where you let people join when they sign up on your website for free. In my view, it is mandatory that you have such a sign-up option. In WordPress, you could start with Magic Action Box for example.

You should also have a list of paying clients. This list is important for your targeted marketing campaigns. It’s also possible to “segment” lists if you have several programs to advertise.

Step 6: Invest in tech and your user platform

We developed our own web application called RockMeApp so we could run sessions without the use of paper and in parallel to an online session. Clients can enter their coaching targets and I can follow their weekly progress. There are platforms out there offering similar options but you can obviously not influence their layout and design. If you are just starting you might want to work as a sub-provider first and invest in your own technology later, when you have a better understanding what is out there.

Step 7: Focus on Selected Social Media Channels

I could spend all day on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube. So, I have hired a DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER to help me. The main reason is that I want to focus on writing content and creating rather than sharing and discussing. With good organization I believe you can spend less than two hours a day on social media.

My advice is that you focus on the channel that speaks to your ideal client the most. I assume that most of my clients hang out on LinkedIn and this platform also serves for connecting clients and contacts with each other. Also, I often find inspiring articles there by following the hashtags I work with. 

Step 8: Organize with a Shared Cloud Drive and Master Sheets

One of the challenges of today is that we all share everything. It is more difficult to find what you need especially if the documents are not tagged correctly. I use a system where I try to sort all my work according to event date because I have a lot of events. I also use names and tags on my documents.

As a shared drive, I work with Google Drive because it allows me to share work with my global, virtual team without having to send emails back and forth. It also works with corporate clients if they use Google Drive. In order to keep overviews of projects and tasks, I developed very simple master sheets in Google Sheets. I like to use sheets as I can post a link (URL) to the relevant document or website there.

We are also using SLACK for our team to message each other and keep track of progress. However, for me (probably because I am Gen X) a simple spreadsheet is a lot easier to work with.

Step 9: Clarify your Purpose and Pivot

One of my main enjoyments in having my own company next to working with incredible Expats, Expat Spouses and Global Mobility Managers is the fact that I have the time and capacity to write and edit. I have been pretty good at maintaining a weekly blog called the “Global People Club Sandwich”. I regularly get requests for guest posts and together with collaborators my company has published two workbooks in different formats and editions. A third workbook “The Global Rockstar Workbook” is in the making.

I am considering a pivot for Global People Transitions into a publishing company, which will develop digital tools for global people in intercultural transitions. However, at the moment I still have a lot to do to fulfil my mission to “bring the Human Touch back into Global Mobility”. Hence, the publishing company probably has to remain a side business in 2021 as well.

Step 10: Use Paper as a Strategy

As mentioned my final step to full digitalisation will be to reduce all the paper in the office. In order to do that, I do not allow myself a large quantity of printing paper in the office. I try to have flyers and seminar presentations and folders printed by professional printing companies in order to be more environmentally conscious.

One of the issues is that I seem to need paper to remember information better. So now I use paper as a strategy, for example, to write “morning pages” or “have-done-lists”. I use paper to write my coaching notes.

To avoid printing, I use “print to .pdf” as a default on my printer and I work on a big screen in my home office so I can reduce the necessity to print.

I have noticed that if I cannot read a document online it might be because they were formatted for print. In that case, it helps to go back to the original source and check if the same article has an online version.

Kind regards

Angie Weinberger

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