Kindle

2014 Marks 2 Years Of Offering The GlobalNiche Program: An Update & Shifting Of Gears

An update from me, my GlobalNiche cofounder Tara Agacayak, and our team member Tanya Monsef Bunger. 

Today over 3000 are taking the course, with 13 study group leaders working to bring the program to their own communities of artisans, expats, servant leaders, writers and academics, and women entrepreneurs.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.36.28 AMIt’s been a privilege and a pleasure to have worked full time on this endeavor for the past 24 months.Today we’re excited to share what we’ve achieved -- as well as how we’re shifting gears.

Back in 2009, we envisioned a professional alliance of people connected online sharing ideas and supporting each other’s work.

 

We began speaking to groups about how to use social media to develop professionally by building an online web platform. We conducted on and offline seminars and workshops, masterminds and community-building programs.

By committing to work in community, we evolved the GlobalNiche program as an easy, systematic, iterative way to build a platform for opportunity to happen. We realize that our individual platforms open us up to opportunity -- not by magic, but by connecting us with our global community via the social web.

In the past two years, we’ve won an award for our global community-building methodology, hosted 20+ live web conversations with emerging thought leaders on cutting edge GlobalNiche issues, designed, created and delivered email tutorials, program pilots, a self-study workbook, a high-touch 6-week coaching program, on-demand multimedia programs, 2 online study groups, a peer study group training, supported 3 peer study groups with more on the calendar and published a Kindle handbook. We’ve also provided our platform building tutorial to the Global Tech Women conference, become a LeanIn platform partner, spoken at numerous events and broadened the GlobalNiche network to include women leaders, content creators, social business people and entrepreneurs everywhere. We’re proud to have contributed to, participated in, and added GlobalNiche’s definition and practice to these global life/work movements:

  • every-day entrepreneurial thinking and acting, creative entrepreneurship as a solution for everyone
  • location independence and lifestyle design in populations beyond expats, travelers and life hackers
  • recognition of the importance of digital identity, personal branding, digital footprints and online social networking for personal and professional development
  • re-envisioning the future of work with online collaboration and co-creation
  • the adoption of global communication best practices
  • the tidal wave of online content marketing
  • the rise of the transformational consumer and transformational online communities

Working on GlobalNiche educated us in what it takes to build a business. We’ve gained a new appreciation for what we know, as well as identified gaps in our own knowledge, skills, abilities and experience.

Our early stage founder experience took us into the startup world. We opened and maintained profiles at accelerator and incubator application platforms like Gust.com, Angel.co, and F6s.  We attended founder events, applied to accelerators, got VC training for elevator pitches, learned the investment landscape. We learned about the role of mentors, advisors, and equity positions.

We tried our hand at investor presentations, worked toward that elusive thing called “product-market fit”, learned about choosing vendors, designed logos and website look & feel, investigated shopping cart and affiliate network solutions until we ran screaming in the other direction.

We worked on what seems like a lifetime about brand messaging - writing taglines and elevator pitches on a weekly basis (and still not there yet).

We discovered what it means to be a globally distributed team managing a variety of time zones, test driving collaboration software.

Looking back on all that we’ve achieved and learned, we realize that we’ve reached our 2009 goal of building an online global support alliance. More than that, we developed a curriculum that teaches people the skills they need to do this for themselves.

Now we’re turning the method over -- to you, and to your communities, and to people far beyond those in our current networks -- to let it grow.

2014’s shift toward a community-based movement not only makes the method available to more people but it also allows the founding team to focus on applying what we’ve learned, what we built, and the skills we developed on new projects and in ever wider communities. This is the next chapter for GlobalNiche thinking and methodology. Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 5.03.33 PM Tara is leaving her position with GlobalNiche. She is putting her strategy and analytical skills to work doing market research for a London-based company and she has been contracted as project manager on an upcoming socio-cultural book about Turkey.

Anastasia continues to lead the GlobalNiche movement by holding the vision and on-going operations. She has taken a community-building position in a new social storytelling startup being incubated at RocketSpace in San Francisco. As a speaker and consultant, this spring she’ll be talking about platform at the Exceptional Women In Publishing conference, and leading a workshop with Tanya about the GlobalNiche Method at Women’s Startup Lab.

Tanya is continuing business development related to the GlobalNiche movement. She is working with female founders/entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to accelerate their businesses and has also accepted a professorship at Santa Clara University where she’s exploring opportunities to use the GlobalNiche curriculum. She will act as director of the Global Fellows program.

As we shift gears, we’re grateful and proud of what we’ve created together, how the GlobalNiche movement continues to support our growth through the principles we’ve established in the program and using social technology.

And as ever, we appreciate being on this journey with you.

Solstice Reading: A Time For Vicarious Reconnoitering

Next Monday's the longest and shortest day of 2010. Northern or Southern hemisphere, somehow the midyear encourages us to slow down. Lazy days of summer, cozy nights of winter. No better time to explore the whole new world of a good book about the world. (Or a title about staying home -- 'the staycation' -- like this New York Times travel reads round-up suggests.)

We're pleased to feature a reader reply, the latest happenings at the site including a hybrid life reading list you can help build, and breath-taking sagas for Father's Day.

+++++ YOUR THOUGHTS

Let us know what you'd ask the expat+HAREM community.

A reader answers May's question:

Global values are intuitive human ethics, says Peter Adams, an energy worker and global nomad in Istanbul. Autonomy, community, divinity...plus shared explanations of suffering.

Yet interpretations of morality vary across culture, and fuel maddening conflicts like America's current culture war. See how.

Think you know your own moral foundation? Get a profile here (and donate your details to science).

+++++ AT expat+HAREM

Moving homebase: this month sees a new blog series called Founder's Desk. First entries are a year's worth of posts from my cultural producer blog on themes like culture and history, self-improvement and the struggle for identity -- from one family to entire hemispheres. So pleased to finally be in the company of expat+HAREM's guest bloggers, it's good to be home!

A new slideshow highlights our favorite (and wish-listed) titles about interaction with the world. Suggestions -- these are all about women -- come from the expat+HAREM community, and fans of expat, emigree and travel lit in our  hybrid life writing #LitChat on Twitter. Tell us your favorite titles.

In this post by "a former queen of multi-tasking", one woman aims to recreate a rural pace of life in a Turkish metropolis of 15 million. (We'll be watching this time-bending experiment closely!)

Tons of other new material at the site: defining the hybrid lifestyle and the release of our Dialogue2010 podcast, plus a whole summer of art love in the Istanbul culture capital web carnival.

Guess we're due for a vacation too!

+++++ AROUND THE WORLD & AROUND THE WEB

Reconnoiter like the ballsiest explorers. Oceans! Mountains! Poles! Experts in "natural and cultural destinations", Longitude booksellers curates a hardy list of new and classic adventure titles for Father's Day.

Creative Entrepreneurship Through Social Media: The Case Studies of Anastasia Ashman and Tara Lutman Agacayak

From Andrea Martins' ExpatWomen.com Creative Entrepreneurship Through Social Media: The Case Studies of Anastasia Ashman and Tara Lutman Agacayak

Anastasia and Tara are expat women entrepreneurs who have used social media to successfully grow their businesses and online profiles. We asked these two progressive business women to write an article for us, sharing their experiences and tips. 

Interestingly, whilst they both herald from the same part of Northern California and both currently live in Turkey, their paths did not cross until they met on Twitter.  

Creative entrepreneurship means thinking innovatively to both create a business and to promote it.  Expatriate women make ideal creative entrepreneurs because they usually require flexible and fluid work to fit their lifestyle (which typically means that they need to be creative in their business concept) and they are increasingly internet and social media savvy (which means that they are typically more willing to use social media creatively, to promote them themselves and their business).

Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, together with easy-to-use blogging systems remove many of the personal disempowerments far-flung expat women have traditionally experienced.  They can also be powerful professional tools, especially for expat entrepreneurs.  The niche nature and 24/7 cycle of the web can diminish cultural, linguistic, geographic and time zone disadvantages to both career development and entrepreneurial endeavours abroad.

Social media makes it easier to create these one-of-a-kind businesses by helping define and embody your brand, whether you are a writer, a coach, a consultant, a photographer or so on.  Applications and tools such as blogs, Twitter and YouTube enable you to extend your brand across the web and convey your multi-media message in text, video or graphics. You can monitor your brand, see how others connect with it, and evolve it as your expat journey transforms you. Well-curated Tweetdeck and Hootsuite columns and specialized LinkedIn groups provide access to state-of-the-industry practices, trending thought, and leading players in your field of business, as well as the opportunity to become known as the experts that you probably are.

 

How Do We Use Social Media?

The best way to explain how social media might be able to help you and/or your business, is to share with you our own real-life case studies…

Case Study One: Tara Lutman Agacayak

Anastasia: Tara, going online solved your information technology (IT) career disruption after accompanying your husband to a small town in Turkey. How?

Tara: I first started experimenting with online sales by offering trinkets on eBay. Shortly afterward I started Citara's, an online boutique selling handmade Turkish products with my husband. Setting up an independent retail site was entirely different than selling through a hosted site like eBay. Getting our products in front of the right people required a unique set of tactics on the web. In this new attention economy, social networking and content marketing became vital to our online business. Citara’s started as a static website, but the brand has extended to a Twitter handle and Facebook page. We have also partnered with a non-profit called Nest where we donate a portion of sales to their microloan program generating funds for women's craft-based businesses. The work we do is editorialized through our blog and disseminated through channels we have set up on Twitter, Facebook and Kirtsy.

After building an offline network of artisans in Turkey I partnered with my expat friend Figen Cakir to start Behind the Bazaar, a site promoting independent artists and designers in Istanbul. It relies solely on social networking for digital word of mouth marketing. Using our blog as a content hub we offer a unique perspective on the local creative community. Content is then re-broadcast and re-packaged through Twitter, LinkedIn groups, and our Facebook page. We also act as experts on Localyte providing – an alternative view of Istanbul through the eyes of its artists.

Last year, Figen and I also started Intarsia Concept (IC) as a place for people to congregate and share resources for building creative businesses. Many creative entrepreneurs are their own entities. They manage their own PR, define their brand, and handle their own marketing and customer service. We envisioned IC as a supportive and informative environment for those starting their own creative businesses. Using our blog to centralize content we extend conversations out to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and bookmarking sites like Kirtsy and Delicious. I monitor HARO (Help A Reporter Out) requests for press opportunities and respond to questions on LinkedIn and Twitter. I engage in forums and groups on Ladies Who Launch to look for opportunities to collaborate or barter services.

Social networking is not just about getting your message out, but about opening two-way channels of communication and listening as much as you speak. It is the opportunity to learn from the greater community and create win-win opportunities.

Case Study Two: Anastasia Ashman

Tara: Anastasia, your writing and cultural entertainment-producing career is built on the publishing world's "author platform".  What does this mean and how is it related to social media?

Anastasia: I have been location-independent for eleven years, arriving in Istanbul from New York City in 2003, after Southeast Asia in the ‘90s where internet access revolutionized my estranged life. I virtually compiled and edited the book Tales from the Expat Harem with Jennifer Gokmen,  through email with more than 40 people in four different time zones. My second book and cross-media projects like intellectual global nomad salons and screen development of Ottoman and Byzantine princess stories require a vast rebuild of web presence and activity.

The publishing concept for launching a career – the author platform –  is a good model for the globally mobile woman entrepreneur. In order to make sales, land assignments, get project funding, attract collaborators and partners, a professional needs to demonstrate her platform of influence and credibility. She needs to pinpoint her market, get substantial attention, deliver the goods, including: a targeted mailing list; an audience; and alliances with others with similar audiences; access to media outlets (generating her own newsletters, blogs, podcasts); making appearances; and other speaking engagements.

To this end, social media offers opportunities to build a more robust and far-reaching platform with fewer resources. I interact with readers, agents, marketers and publishers in live chats on Twitter, meet peers in networks like SheWrites, TravelBlogExchange and the small business community Biznik, while SocialMention and Google alert me to people discussing my subject matter so I can join the conversation. I share thought leadership with fellow writers, travelers, globalists and culturati by posting favorite web finds to Twitter and Facebook feeds, and bookmarking them at Delicious. I upload presentations to SlideShare, and contribute to LinkedIn groups for: filmmaking; my college alumnae; the expat life; Turkish business; blogging; and digital publishing.

On my main sites I develop my own material, community and skills. I revolve ideas about female identity, history and culture at my individual blog, and foster relationships with my global niche of Turkophiles, intentional travelers and hybrid lifestylers as founder of the expat+HAREM group blog. Technology helps me amplify with syndication to Networked Blogs at Facebook, to Kindle, my LinkedIn profile, and Amazon Author Central. My ultimate goal is to create viral events – a worldwide rave for my most shareable ideas and properties – where my network voluntarily distributes my digital content to their connections, deriving their own meaning and use, telling my story their way. As I locate, interact with and help interested parties across the web, I create my ideal word-of-mouth market worldwide.

 

Anastasia & Tara’s Social Media Tips

 

Do:

  • Present yourself thoughtfully, accurately and honestly;
  • Mind-cast, not life-cast: aim for a high signal versus noise ratio;
  • Provide value: offer your expertise and knowledge, solve problems, be generous, connect people, be authentic; and
  • Monitor who is following you (be aware of who you are congregating with).

Don’t:

  • Allow incriminating words and images to be attached to your name;
  • Believe get-rich-quick and get-followers-fast schemes;
  • Use your birth year or publish information people can use to find your physical location; and
  • Use copyrighted material without permission.

Think Long-Term

 

        • Social media is a way to carve out your niche and congregate with like-minded people. Whilst this can happen quickly, it usually does take time – so think long-term.
        • The good news is that if you are patient, dedicated, committed, giving and authentic, you

will 

          find allies in your field. Your networks

will 

          support and promote you. They

will 

        offer solutions and encouragement and challenge you to be better. And the best part is… just like your own ‘career in a suitcase’, your social media contacts are portable and they will go with you wherever you go.  So good luck and happy connecting!

 

 

Anastasia Ashman aims to further the worldwide cultural conversation, raising the feminine voice on issues of culture and history, self improvement and the struggle for identity – from one family to entire hemispheres.

Tara Lutman Agacayak works with creative entrepreneurs around the world in multiple facets to craft viable and lucrative businesses.

 

January 2010

 

Additional Resources: