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Adventures in Ex-Pat Marketing

Posted by Ilise Benun on

TriciaOkin_EuropeanCommissionBy Tricia Okin (

Hello, I’m Tricia and I’ll be writing a few posts here about my journey as an ex-pat marketing my services. Here’s a quick background on me: I’m what is called user experience (UX) designer, product designer (apps) and web designer. I lived in NYC from August 2001 until November 2014 when I jumped across the pond to live in London. I’m currently in Brussels and will be settling here for at least a few years.

Marketing as an expat has me worried. How will people back “home” remember me?! How will the people in the new location get to know me? A lot of times getting work is very much about being seen and heard while battling the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that most everyday folks naturally have.

The Long View

Figuring out that mess above is for another blog post. For now, I’m going to focus on some of my goals for this year and new habits I’m moving toward to make life easier.

  • Get over fear. Hoo boy. Which ones? Fear of reaching out to people. Fear of contacting people that I don’t know. Fear that I’ve waited too long to contact people again. Fear that something I do will be wrong. Fear that I won’t be able to pay bills because people don’t know me here. (That’s not really true! Lots of folks know me here.)
  • Creating systems. Why? Because I want to be less stressed and do not want to expend mental energy thinking of what I have to do. Hello check lists and templates in Marketing Mentor’s 30-Minutes A Day Marketing Plan! This also means creating an Admin Monday routine. I’ve already started planning my week on Sundays which has helped immensely in seeing what I really have time to do and what needs rejiggering.
  • Less consumption and more doing. I’ve ingested so much information over the last few years — now it’s time to take some action. I am ready to start implementing these nifty tactics and actions.
  • Understand who my audiences are and develop services and packages that serve them as well as my business. I’ve spent the last few months testing different package ideas and theories while exploring new services. The services I’ll begin offering this year will help to diversify the kind of work I do and the different income streams available to me. This feels like an exciting adventure beginning and a new phase in my career. (Stay tuned…more on this soon.)
  • Redesign my website to be a marketing machine. A main goal in the next two months is to finally redo my web site after leaving it alone for so long. The poor thing is so old it has internet arthritis. Somehow it’s still working and bringing work to me but it is now time to make the site work harder as a true marketing tool and not just as a portfolio showcase. I want to be able to make my site both generate positive leads and be a repository of information for others. Which leads me to the last goal…
  • Be the resource that people are asking me to be. I have had tons of people ask me for references about design, UX, working abroad, etc. and I would like to create a few guides to just send over whenever people ask me question. However, keeping this manageable would be great. We’re all overloaded with information right now and I don’t want to force others into more than they can handle.

This list above feels a bit overwhelming but — for possibly the first time ever –it also feels surmountable. The prospect of working on marketing this year feels fun as well as petrifying. I keep turning it around in my head and reflecting the positive possibilities. That feels like a nice way to start the adventure this year.


  • More in: marketing plan, Marketing Plan in Action

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