Tara Ağacayak

How To Become Your Own North Star On The Internet

We're all digital strategists now.

 

In fact, if you aren't thinking deeply about how and where and with whom you appear and interact on the web, you need to start.

Today. You can and should be using your online presence as a 21st century life & work skill to connect with relevant people, information you need and enriching opportunities. I'm going to help, so you can get started today. (And the resources I'm sharing with you are completely free, so if you want to buy something you'll have to go find a different post.) I've been saying all of this for years. Doing it for years. As a content and digital publishing specialist, I've been showing people how to use their own content to connect purpose and action in digital spaces, for 5 years, both in private and group coaching environments. Along with Tara Agacayak and Tanya Monsef Bunger, I built a curriculum at GlobalNiche, a social web training company that's now shifting into an empowered digital life movement, so you can do it on your own, or in groups, wherever you are and whoever you are and whatever you do. If you are a person active online, this training will ask you the strategic questions you need to be thinking about. If you're not yet active or don't love being online, this will help you figure out what makes sense for you. Our combined 25 years of experience, including major expatriate life and work challenges, forced us to tap our backgrounds in culture, info tech, media & psychology to create this network-activating system using the backbone of the social web. We've used this method to survive. No matter who or where you are, you can use it to thrive.

I'm now making that training perfectly free, so you can take advantage of all our guidance immediately.

 

Want to learn how? It's my gift to you! Start by downloading the handbook

 

  When you download this powerful free handbook you're going to start to transform what you do, how you do it and with whom. This repeatable, dynamic six-step method will help you become your own North Star on the Internet and bring you closer to the people and things you care about. You'll emerge with inspiration, direction and confidence:

    • a vision that lights you up and goals you can measure
  • a do-able plan and digital skills you need
  • and a practice and peer group you can rely on to keep going

 

 

Here's what people who've done it say:

    • "I felt I couldn’t catch up. The way GlobalNiche describes social media – it’s about using technology to communicate naturally – clicked for me." ~ paralegal
  • “Opened my eyes to my own assets. It has given me the confidence to bet on myself.” ~ work-at-home parent
  • “I doubled my Twitter presence just by learning about good Twitter etiquette.” ~ scriptwriter
  • “I’m blown away by the possibilities. I now have an action plan. I feel a huge shift in my life." ~ academic
  • "For people who are wondering if what they have to say is valuable.” ~ financial officer
  • "Helped me to recognize and own how I am being virtually “seen” and make positive and educated changes." ~ landscape contractor

 

With this non-dogmatic foundational method you'll:

    • uncover the real value you've already created: by taking inventory of what you've been doing, detecting the patterns in your activities, gaining insight into what you're drawn to
  • put your mountain of natural resources to work for you: by acknowledging all that you’ve created and use it to gain insight into who you are and who you want to be
  • show the world how you make sense: by linking what you've done in the past & are doing today with your wider goals
  • recognize that you need to become visible to meet people you want to collaborate with, work for, hire
  • combine who you are and where you want to go with the tools available to express yourself
  • make empowered, focused decisions about how to operate online
  • go beyond managing your reputation online to using social media to represent your best self
  • meet and enter conversations with your peers, mentors and customers on the web
  • get recognized by authorities & peers in your field, recruiters, the media
  • identify how to use existing materials as building blocks for future projects
  • identify new ways to use social media, which platforms work for you (and which do not), and how to use those platforms to your advantage
  • express yourself with the best social web tools available, including how to use Google+, Quora, ScoopIt and Storify to your benefit
  • gain a new understanding of the best social media and content management and strategy tools, formats, methods to try
  • establish an interactive calling card at a site like About.me
  • learn best practices for blogging frameworks like WordPress and Thesis, blogging services like Twitter and Tumblr, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram
  • learn best uses of video and slideshow sites like Animoto, YouTube, Vimeo, Slideshare, email service providers
  • grasp a new perspective on yourself as a content creator, realize the energy you generate around your interests IS content
  • publish, record, remix, repackage, reformat your content
  • design and implement a do-able plan with small steps to get your creations into global circulation in alignment with your larger goals

 

Want more?

If you want more guidance, get the free multimedia curriculum which expands on the handbook with video coaching and other materials. You'll have lifetime access to the self-paced course, 24/7, on all your devices. I'm making that entire program perfectly free for you, so join with a friend and do it together! 4,700 people already cashed in this free coupon to get connected & effective. Did you? Let me know how you're liking it!

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.

GlobalNiche's Winning Strategy For Building A Global Platform For 5 Million Women

GlobalNiche wins Global Women's Leadership Network Brainstorm Challenge

My global community building-tech-women-leadership work of the past four years with GlobalNiche and my partner Tara Agacayak has been recognized as helpful to 5 million women worldwide.

GlobalNiche wins the Global Women's Leadership Alliance InnoCentive Brainstorm Challenge sponsored by  Global Fund for WomenGlobal Leadership Advancement Center at San Jose State University, Mills CollegeMonterey Institute of International StudiesPublic Health InstituteWorld Pulse, and Salzburg Global Seminar at San Jose State University.

What we've learned about building and managing global community with social web technology:

"Global Niche partners Tara and Anastasia have learned several important lessons in their work to build a global community over the last four years. In their opinion, 'people need both synchronous and asynchronous ways to gather, they need prompting and encouragement to do so and they need a common purpose for gathering. An active community doesn’t just need a place to gather, it also needs community leadership and active moderation to stay relevant and vital.'  Tara and Anastasia recommend using Google Plus Communities as the primary platform for establishing the virtual community space and provided many specific examples of how to leverage this platform."

Read the full proposal for GlobalNiche's winning strategy for building a global platform for 5 million women change agents in the next five years.

Entrepreneurship & Social Media As The New Women's Movement

I'm seeing mainstream articles tackling my topics, especially at the intersections of women/invisible groups, entrepreneurship, platform-building, work/life and social media.

Like this "social media is the new women's movement" at the New York Times, last week's "entrepreneurship is the new women's movement" at Forbes.com, and the power of networked reality at The Atlantic last month.

As Tara Agacayak says, "What I'm seeing is the trend toward more customized, flexible, personally fulfilling work with the technology to facilitate it."

There's this "Why work-life balance is a crock" at CBSNews.com: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500395_162-57342505/why-work-life-balance-is-a-crock/

Women leaving mismatched corporate culture for work on their own terms:http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/06/08/entrepreneurship-is-the-new-womens-movement/

Seth Godin calls platform building "a longterm shortcut": http://archive.feedblitz.com/720389/~4194314

Microsoft buys Yammer for $1.2B for the same reason GlobalNiche urges us to enter the conversation on our topics:

"You cannot underestimate the power of "working out loud" with social tools. So many conversations get trapped in the one on one world of email and instant messaging. With open sharing, new ideas emerge, experts are found, and teams are formed from the groundswell. Serendipity happens when conversations become public and others are encouraged to listen and contribute their ideas, all within the safety of the company walls."

http://socialmediatoday.com/jimworth/559907/why-yammer-worth-12b-microsoft

people "who reluctantly socialize via online methods due to skill or cost or personal disposition may well find themselves *left out* of conversation." http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/social-medias-small-positive-role-in-human-relationships/256346/

Plug in better (includes "unplug from disconnection"):http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/plug-in-better-a-manifesto/252873/

(altho the below link is hardly mainstream, it's exactly what GlobalNiche is all about): "disadvantaged groups have tools to reach out and organize across geographic boundaries" http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2012/04/23/sherry-turkles-chronic-digital-dualism-problem/

And thanks to global women's health doctor Nassim Assefi for noting that the forward-looking approach to life and "the American Dream" mentioned in this article is what I show people how to do in my GlobalNiche program and in general! We are way on the cutting-edge. http://www.more.com/women-new-american-dream

Gauging My Team's Working Style & Ambitions With Camille Smith

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 9.35.03 PMGreat Google Hangout session today with Santa Cruz-based Camille Smith from WORK IN PROGRESS COACHING and the GlobalNiche team. Camille's our September 2012 guest in the GlobalNiche video chatroom, and will be offering a special performance, possibilities & authentic relationships program for our community.

We were guinea pigs today so we can demonstrate in September how Camille’s assessment and counseling has revealed our own diverse working styles and ambitions and shown how we can work best together.

Archiving expat+HAREM

After two magical years, we’ve amassed 175 neoculture discussions and 2,800 insightful, funny, poignant comments from globalists, culturati and hybrid lifestylers like you. Can you believe it? Please accept a huge round of thanks: to our generous guest posters, our lively blog participants, our loyal audience. As expat+HAREM's founder, I recognize the culture and identity issues we’ve tackled at expat+HAREM are evergreen. So I'll be keeping them live and available for you here at expatharem.com during my transition to GlobalNiche.net.

By now you probably have a clue what GlobalNiche.net is going to be. Here’s more.

This hands-on venture is my new life-work initiative to put into practice expat+HAREM theories. I'm calling what we'll be practicing "creative self enterprise for the global soul."

Global Niche is a practical evolution for expat+HAREM and I hope you feel the next step on this journey holds relevance to the life you lead, too.

We’ve identified ourselves and found resonance with each other. Common ground, ways to talk about our lives and experiences with meaning and precision. Now how do we transform?

How do we do whatever we’ve somehow felt geographically or culturally disadvantaged to fully do

It’s time for action.

I'll be partnering with creative enterprise consultant Tara Agacayak to explore with you (and other mobile progressives, cultural creatives, indie pros and displaced people of all kinds) exactly how to build a micro-yet-global base of operation -- a global niche. I'll also be a guinea pig and sharing my own global microbrand-building results and revelations along the way [eek!]

I hope you’ll  choose to stick with us for this exciting evolution. Our approach is going to be email blogging -- that means we'll be contacting you through email, not at a blog on the open web. The best way to stay in touch is to join the Global Niche list. If you're on the expat+HAREM mailing list already, you're covered.

Thanks for your time and your community, I cherish it.

My Global Niche: An Interview With Today's Zaman Newspaper

American reporter in Turkey Brooks Emerson asked me about the foreign edge, and the challenges of finding my niche in Turkey for his series on expat success stories in national English-language newspaper Today's Zaman. In the far-ranging interview, Emerson asks me what the initial impetus for my success as an expat was, and how I've evolved.

No surprise to those who know me, foreign language adoption has not played much of a role -- once I realized that taking business meetings and doing live television interviews in Turkish literally was rendering me mute! But mentoring in all realms of my personal and professional life has been a "secret weapon" in the creative entrepreneurship of self that I aim to practice.

Emerson asks me how the environment affects the outcome of an expat's endeavors. I tell him how sense of place can inspire a sense of self.

"Anastasia says that she has always been attracted to places with an amalgamation of people and cultures. However, the biggest pull is “the idea of crossroads … like Rome, where [she] studied in college … and now here on the Bosporus,” where she senses a positive energy and vibration for self-discovery and reinvention.

"Anastasia believes that working and living abroad is an excellent way to discover new self-potential."

Read Emerson's entire July 2011 interview "The global niche of Anastasia Ashman" online.

Masterminding An Expat's Reluctant Entrepreneurism

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Each participant presents her case study and we brainstorm next steps.

Here are some of my thoughts on an expatriate writer's mention that if she weren't an expat and forced to find ways to make a living outside the norm, she wouldn't be an entrepreneur.

It reminds me of the Dialogue2010 conversations at expat+HAREM, and how our hybrid lives have *forced* us to be flexible about a lot of things most people (especially those in our 'previous lives' if we're living outside an original territory, including who we might have been if we'd stayed) never have to deal with. Our careers are one of those things.

The beauty of being a creative entrepreneur is that it's about making your work type and situation *work* for you, for the type of person you are, and the situation you face. That doesn't mean it's the easy choice, just that it has the potential to deliver much more than you'd get from being a cog in someone else's wheel.

Was also reading something the other day about how we don't have to make money from everything we produce (or even try to sell it), but if we're professionals (or hope to be, that is, we're not hobbyists) earning money for the work we do has to be part of the larger plan.

Writing ONLY for money is different type of job than writing what you want to write and receiving money for it (at some point on the journey, and maybe not directly from the writing).

If your interest in writing dries up at the prospect of selling it, or using it as a form of content marketing for something else you are selling, then maybe writing is not an element of the paid work you want to do. Maybe you want to keep it as a hobby, a special form of personal entertainment. That's totally cool.

But, if you harbor dreams of yourself as a professional writer, not only sharing your work widely but receiving compensation for it, then writing *is* an element of your livelihood. If you have the luxury of already knowing what you want to write, and already writing what you want to write (some people are on a different carousel, where they write for hire and dream of writing from the heart and soul and it's hard to get off that carousel for the very reason that it's scary and hard) then all you have to add to your picture is a strategy to get paid for what you are already doing.

Will you have to make changes in your plans, will you have to improve to be competitive, will you have to be sensitive to your readership? Will you have to be aware of the market and how it works and what the shifts are in publishing? Will you see clearly whether you have achieved your professional writing goals or not? Yes.

In fact, writing might suddenly seem like a different kind of work if all that stuff I just mentioned has previously been kept separate from your writing life. I think this might be the key for you. Integrating in small steps your writing as professional, and with a market purpose.

++

Another participant of the group points out this post by creativity coach Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action that if Shakespeare had continued to work for a patron, we may never have heard of him.

Masterminding A Membership Site

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it's a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Once a week someone steps into the center and asks for feedback and suggestions on their next steps. A week of discussion ensues. Here's my prompt about what I'm thinking of doing.

Hey all! Besides the in-progress shift at expat+HAREM (which includes among many other changes, making the content evergreen and getting off the feed the beast with original content every week treadmill), with Miss Tara I am working on creating a spin-off community.

Globalniche.net. GN will be a private and paid membership site for the same global citizen/multiculti/expat audience, but focused on solutions rather than simply discussion and entertainment. Adding practice to the theory.

In many ways Globalniche.net will reflect what we’ve seen at ThirdTribe.com this past year: bulletin boards for discussion of numerous topics, regular hosted seminars, audio and video interviews with experts and fellow seekers, custom-created educational material and special offers from solutions providers, and a support community to enact the things being discussed. It will be an actionable space, and since it will be shielded from public view, it will also have an intimacy we can’t experience on the open web.

Everyone in this mastermind group (along with some other solid members of our current eH and creative entrepreneur community) will be invited to join as founding members. When we’re ready to launch a monthly membership option will open more widely.

When we get started (date not set but within 6 months) we’ll be asking the below kind of questions to our founding members. It would be great if you could get the ball rolling, tell us what would make this a VERY valuable community for you, as well as throw out your own questions about the plan, or what we might also want to ask our founding members.

What is your biggest pain in finding your place in the world outside of your culture and comfort zone, and operating to your true potential both professionally and personally?

What is your biggest pain embracing all the worlds you love to belong to?

What drew you to e+H (and kept you coming back)?

What improvements to e+H’s brand and offerings would you like to see in a membership community at globalniche.net?

What tutorials, resources and educational material would you want from GN? What do you want to learn how to do? What do you need support for?

What kind of people would you want us to interview and make accessible to the community (by name if you know them)?

 

++++

Here are some of my responses to the feedback I received (I'm not sharing the direct feedback since the group is private). Five people participated (thanks to Catherine Bayar, Catherine Yigit, Sezin Koehler, Jessica Lutz, and Tara Agacayak!) and contributed 34 comments:

Thanks all, keep it coming! Characteristically, I have so many other deadlines this week I am practically missing my own party.

Thanks for the broader view of who might be of interest to hear from. Yes, futurists. In particular, may be able to address the tensions of living ahead of our time...because that certainly encapsulates a lot of the issues we face. It's coming for many others too, but we happen to be dealing with it all now.  Agree, Global Niche is a widening of the Expat Harem window, and I'm looking forward to transitioning to it, as well as bringing in new people for whom expat+HAREM may have seemed too 'niche'. Glad that the questions feel deep to you, and thanks so much for plumbing them. The deeper we can go here, the better we can start off the block. It's heartwarming to be able to trace where we came into each other's lives -- and so far back, too. Want to hear the revolutions the link has caused in your life, because it's a natural path to where we are taking this -- together.

Ooh yes I like the idea of being able to discuss whatever topics of the day that people are interested in (like art and culture and world affairs)....that would be possible in the bulletin board area where anyone could start a thread of their choice. Definitely on my list of interviewees are Amna Ahmad and Justine Musk!

You guys are really giving me some good direction here, about bringing my own worlds together. Being that bridge to make sense of how different communities and the leaders in them are informing who we are, and what our issues are. In particular, you're giving me some very clear ideas about how GN.net can synthesize all the best elements of what we know to be happening out there (rather than cover the same ground other expat or travel sites do and in the same way...because frankly, if those other sites were speaking completely to what I/we need, we wouldn't even be talking about this right now.) <- Exciting, challenging!

Thanks for your words about the newsletter, and the type of people and ventures mentioned in it. The newsletter can be a bridge between expat+HAREM and the GlobalNiche, and be a way to transition those who are interested into GN.  I'm also thinking about upgrading the newsletter to be more graphic...will need some tutoring please. Yes to the real-world meetings as often as possible (Tara and I've been making plans for a recurring Istanbul gathering) and I think we could also use a freaking major retreat on a regular basis.

This is really great feedback, thank you!

$$$ >> ONE LAST QUESTION << $$$

if you have any thoughts on it: price range. What would membership in this private community be worth to you?

Could be a range of prices...from the most basic offerings we talked about to more intensive and developed services.

Like Third Tribe -- the early adopters pay very little, and were part of the growth of the community. Now, they've just capped the community at a much higher rate and when they reopen, it will be still higher. All the while they've improved their offerings and built a year's worth of equity that new members can tap into from the very first day. So, can you share some comparable prices for memberships you have paid for, or know about?

Yes, the target market is a widening of the demographics attracted by eH material. Expanding to everyone who finds themselves geographically disadvantaged (could be and American in Kansas), culturally fragmented, etc. The idea is that this notion of a global niche may have come from our own need to find solutions but it can be applied to many other life situations too that may not seem so extreme in their disconnection.

Third Tribe is an example of an educational support community. It happens to be for online marketing. That does intersect with part of our interests at eh/GN but I don't mean that GN = internet marketing community. The model is instructive. As for cost, they opened the community at $27/month. I found that easy to sign on for, even though I'd never been part of a paid online community before. I think one of the reasons is that they had done a good job of letting me know what I'd be getting, and how I needed it.

I agree it would be great to have a resource area of best links on different useful topics...and self-help/self-improvement experts too. The counseling leads: There's a newish website of counselors globally (ExpatExpert.com was passing it around), as well as whole organizations for online counseling. Things have really changed, and it would be good to be on top of what's available.

Today we wrap up...thanks again to everyone for your fantastic comments and food for thought. (And excitement at the prospect of GN.net!)

FYI, we've got a Global Niche Facebook page as of today, and are collecting interested parties over there -- so head on over and like up. Thanks again for a terrific week of masterminding. You are all wonderful.

Custom Creative: The Making Of An Authentic Indie Life

Happy blizzard -- or dense fog in the morning! We've got entrepreneurial social media life/work things to do in the low-visibility season ahead. BTW here's an overview never before available: If you're at all interested you can now peek behind-the-scenes of my top five cultural producing projects related to but not strictly expat+HAREM. Hint: Family culture clashes! Art historic soap operas of imperial proportion! [link removed, no longer available]

+++++ AT expat+HAREM

Our shiny new Facebook page replaces a group set to retire one random day. Don't want to lose you in the shuffle. Please post on our FB wall any kind of culturati link you're liking today.

Do we look older more experienced? We just celebrated our first full year of bloghood! 23 guest bloggers to thank, we're also grateful for 2300 comments which took us to surprising intersections of culture and identity. Here we all weigh in on the posts which affected us the most.

2011 starts with the editor of Matador Life Leigh Shulman contrasting the peregrinations of a fictional exile with her own rolling stone life. Why do we leave the places we know, and is the melancholy of disconnect any different if it's elective or imposed on us?

YOUR PRO GLOBAL NICHE IS A WEB PLATFORM...

Not just a dreamy concept of world citizenship, your global niche is about "blooming where you're planted" in a holistic way, being creative and entrepreneurial to find happiness, growth and success wherever you are and in all your aspects.

In conjunction with creative biz consultancy Turquoise Poppy, expat+HAREM is excited to lead a January 22 demonstration of how to build your global niche through social media.

Not geographically convenient, or complete newbie? Cultural creatives and mobile progressives everywhere can now start learning the web tools, techniques and technology: our new mailing list will get you started with free tutorials and keep you posted about next steps, like our upcoming mastermind program for creative entrepreneurs.

That's a high-impact online course where a supportive set of your international, creative peers will help you build your global niche on the web. +++++ AROUND THE WORLD & AROUND THE WEB

We loved Dr. Brene Brown's recent TEDxHouston talk on  wholeheartedness and its root in expressing our vulnerability.

But the blog of longtime expat Diana Baur and majorly creative entrepreneur (the American potter is an innkeeper in Italy) sharpens the point for identity adventurers and global nomads like us. "Wholehearted people don't have an externally-driven directive about living correctly."

To live authentically individual lives we need to embrace the parts of ourselves that don't fit anywhere.

Publication to watch --> BETA is an about-to-be-released quarterly print mag from the global online travel network Matador. All about motion, journey and place, apparently the cheeky thing subtitled the topography of living will be sold at "some of our favorite camel markets and opium dens worldwide."

+++++ YOUR THOUGHTS

In the new year we're looking at where others end and we begin. "What are you redefining?" we asked.

Beth Wettergreen, the new liaison between a private university in Istanbul and U of Maryland, is struggling with the concept of 'private life' in Turkey. "Here, one is almost never unobserved. I have a feeling that the notion of a truly private life is reserved for the upper middle class and upper class."

Meanwhile another expat is facing the boundaries of a life vision at odds with cultural expectations of a woman who 'works' from home yet is not a traditional housewife.

"I risk appearing rude and living up to the stereotypes of the self-centered American in order to further myself along the path that feels right to me - even if others can't see it or understand it."

What creative, custom life/work solution are you looking for?

Masterminding A Writer, Artist & Cultural Curator Platform

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Once a week someone steps into the center with a case study and asks for feedback and suggestions on their next steps. Here are my thoughts on building out a writing and artist platform:

I use Wordpress and Tumblr (simply as a feed of my blog, microblog and Delicious activities). It seems moving to Tumblr or Posterous might make things much simpler for you as a blogger-- they seem easy/breezy as blogging platforms -- whereas Wordpress's wider capabilities will encourage building a bigger site with more going on. So, since you're talking growth and not just 'make it easier' then I'd say Wordpress.

As for platform building, where are you meeting and engaging with potential readers of your novel (besides Twitter, SheWrites, Facebook, LI, your blog)? Any communities out there specific to the topics in your novel? Taking part in reader-based litchats on Twitter would be another way to start being known as the woman behind the voice that people will be able to read when your book comes out. (Consider posting small excerpts of the book so we know what it's about and grow connected to it?)

Maybe someone here can share leads to artists, writers, cultural curators that you are aware of online -- if you know of them, they're doing something right to get your attention.

As for making the hybrid nature of your work clearer through your platform, I'm reminded of the blog convention of another multifaceted woman: Ruth Harnisch.  She breaks down the different channels of her being and lets that be the structure of her site. "The Maker of Mistakes". "The Philanthropist". "The Catalyst". "The Recovering Journalist". Perhaps something like this might allow you to indulge your interests and help a visitor to your site/blog comprehend your better?

The expatharem site has sold books through its Amazon link -- in the first couple of years of the site. The #s since I relaunched the blog are too tiny to count for anything and that may be a result of the maturity of the book or the fact that I don't push it much on the site, and/or people aren't coming to the blog to buy the book or learn more about it. However, yes, making things available to our interested parties is part of making what we do a business. We have to make the offer. It's relevant. However, I also know being on twitter has sold books. People I met there, people who found out about the book on twitter (like during #litchat on expat lit).

Also: here's a great interview with a 'unmarketing' book author about how he built both a support system and a target audience on Twitter and presold 3,000 copies of his book. Good lessons there about how to engage and when to sell. 

In response to your question about using your own name as a brand, an SEO specialist I know from ThirdTribe (@CraigFifield) just offered an impromptu SEO consult on Twitter before the end of his workday/workweek. I took the liberty to ask him for an opinion on this, in general terms. Here’re the tweets (which overlap, as Twitter does)....

CF: i have 15min before I quit for the day -- how can I help you with SEO or your Blog?

AA: wd someone's name be a better blog name for SEO than tagline about art and the creative life?

CF: in terms of SEO I would use a keyword that people are searching for. Or, I would go for branding and ignore SEO

AA: that is, are proper names SEO at all? and generally used words and phrases amount to very little in SEO world?

AA: so in researching keywords "creative life" what result would prompt good use of that phrase in blog title?

CF: depends how your audience uses those words. I would do some keyword research to decide. do you have an example?

AA: ok think i got it! (branding with a proper name means SEO considerations unnecessary)

CF: well, unless your brand will eventually be big enough to be searched on :) make your brand name unique to win there

Masterminding A Grant-Writing Consulting Biz

Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group).

Here are my thoughts from one of those sessions, on the topic of a grant-writing consulting biz:

 

If you were to create a blog to sell this skill I imagine you sharing resources, techniques, news about the grant writing process and opportunities. Examples and lessons drawn from your own experiences consulting others. Taking questions from your readers and addressing the answers in a post, all the while very clearly offering your consulting services -- more of the same high value understanding of the field, and personalized attention for the client -- at the end of each post, in the side bar. Offering a teleclass on the basics of grant writing. selling small ebooks with up-to-date resources and your guidance on various elements of grantwriting, and considerations for different sectors.

I bet you could knock out 20 topics you'd want to cover in a blog series, and that would get you very well started. try making a list of catchy headlines to peg the subject matter... "Grants, in this economy?!" "The secret of getting a grant" etc.

I'm not familiar with the territory but you might like to distinguish yourself from the other grant writing consultants out there -- so a bit of research to see what they're doing and how you might like to approach it differently. what you know/care about that they don't. personally, i'd love to see you bring a little of your personality to this business -- if it's at all possible. Who needs dry info when they can get a little zing with solid advice? It could be simply in the language you use to talk to your readers about what might be a dry subject.

I would love to learn more about grants *I* could get! Bet we all would. You could be the cool educator of your audience. How about targeting the audience you already have -- and help them find grants to do the work they love -- rather than splitting off to service a different group of people?

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:

 

 

Social Media As Self Actualization: How Has It Launched You?

I'll be speaking with creative entrepreneur Tara Agacayak on a panel about social media for the International Professional Women of Istanbul Network (IPWIN). The happy trends of Web 2.0 online networking, collaborating, and user-generated content seem tailor-made for pro women like us who often face a more difficult career path abroad. Whether "trailing spouses" lacking a local work permit like Jo Parfitt recounts here or in some other way being at a geographic or cultural disadvantage is a common expat woman experience.

IN AN ATTENTION ECONOMY WE'RE NO LONGER OUT OF SIGHT We're used to relying on technology to fill the gaps in our expat operations so social media has the potential to level the playing field for the most far-flung female professionals:

  • Social media works best the way women work best: it's about making and tending personal connections
  • Social media supports and consolidates the spread-out personal networks expats and global citizens have already initiated in their mobile lives
  • Social media provides access to state-of-the-industry practices, trending thought, and leading players in our professions

So, as social networking renders overseas women like us visible and relevant, it's a powerful tool of self-actualization. Our presence online becomes an advance calling card in life and work. We're driven to fine-tune who we say we are, and how we behave, and where we appear online and who we choose to interact with, who our target audience is and how we do business. If we commit to social media, we evolve.

How has social media launched you?

++++

On another network an expat woman writer asked me what the benefit of social media is besides meeting other writers. She also wondered why she might need it before she has a book to sell.

Social media networking is something you can do long before you have something 'to sell' -- in fact, 3 years in advance of a product is the period I hear from the kind of people whose book goes straight to the top of bestseller lists. It takes that long to get a meaningful network in place before you really 'need' it. Building trust, credibility, presenting yourself authentically, being generous and helpful. That takes time.

I agree meeting other writers is an important component of online networking for women like us scattered around the globe, living among people who may not speak, let alone read or write, in our language. However, there are so many more people you can meet. Taking the writing professional as an example: Potential readers, agents and editors and publishers -- and with the massive upheaval in publishing right now being able to follow developments is more important than ever-- people in related fields. Living abroad, we can attend conferences virtually, or take part in live chats on women's issues, cultural concerns, literature, branding, social media, bookselling, marketing, etc. I wrote about many of these issues last April in "How This Author Uses Twitter". Becoming visible to the people in your niche -- finding out who works in your niche, that's priceless legwork.

How it helps me now: Social media has helped bring me up to speed on the trending/cutting edge thought in a variety of areas that affect what I do, as well as put me in touch with people I want to work with. It's like continuing education, cultivating a professional peer group, professional development.

+++

Here's a slideshow based on our presentation, including links to scores of the below resources we discussed during the event:

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?

TOP WOMEN IN SOCIAL MEDIA 2008 & 2009

TIPS & TOOLS TO GET STARTEDOPTIMIZE & IMPROVE YOUR PRACTICES

DOs AND DON’TS

BLOGS AND SITES OF PANELISTS ANASTASIA (microblogindividual bloggroup blogFacebook groupLinkedIn profile,Delicious bookmarksNing writers' network)

TARA (individual blogmicroblogLinkedIn profile, Facebook profileLadiesWhoLaunch profile, artisan training site-blog-microblog-Facebook page, bazaar tourssite-blog-microblog-Facebook page, web consulting site-microblog-Facebook page,women's microcredit site)