We want to talk about ourselves! We do lots of interviews with professionals and experts, but this time we wanted to talk about how America Josh got to where it is, what we have done, some features you might not know about, and most importantly: where we’re going in 2024 and beyond.
We would love to have you more involved, and if you’ve ever wanted to connect more closely with the community and America Josh – this is your chance to find out how! Julie and Josh chatted about everything America Josh and the exciting things we've got coming.
Highlights from 2023
- We continue to grow a community of over 20,000 expats in all 50 states of the US
- We've got over 700 articles of information relating to moving to the US and living in the US from not only Josh but dozens of guest writers with different and diverse backgrounds on a wide range of topics
- Josh has sent almost 300 weekly newsletters every Wednesday
- We've hosted over 100 online education and trivia webinars
- We’ve also built a number of tools and communities you might not know about like
Read the full transcript
Josh Pugh 00:00
All righty. We are about to go live I can see us on some different channels. Cool. This is working. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I can hear your Danny squeaking. And I'm going live on Instagram. There we go. Awesome. All righty. Hi, everyone. Oh, I've got a good echo gonna turn off watching the video at the same time. Hi, everyone. I'm America, Josh. And this is Danny, we've got a special guest for for this webinar is timed as his sleep perfectly for the next couple of seconds. I'm here with Julie, our head of events at America, Josh, we wanted to take this opportunity, we don't normally get the chance to sort of chat directly and update everyone about what we're up to. So we thought we'd first off wish you a Happy New Year, happy 2024 To all of you. Thank you for being a part of the America Josh community and for being a part of it for so long. I wanted to start by giving a quick snapshot about how we got here, what America Josh does. And then we can start to talk about what we've been doing over the last year and what we're planning on doing for 2024. Because we're very excited as Julie and I've gotten very excited about what we're planning and for both the website in person offline. All sorts of things going on. So thank you for for joining. Thanks for watching. America, Josh started in 2017. I moved here from Australia at the beginning of 2017. And I realized that while there was lots of information online, there were lots of resources, they I really wanted them to be in one spot. And I wanted to know which of the bits of information were accurate and which bits were less accurate. So I built America Josh, purely as an online website, so that we could connect not only you with the correct answers, but also professionals in spaces, and with each other was equally as important because the mission of America, Josh has always been around making the transition to the US annual life in the US better and easier. So we do that by connecting you with professionals providing professional advice from all sorts of resources across the internet, but also connecting you with each other. We also work really hard to partner with as many different organizations around the US and from overseas, so that we're not reinventing the wheel whenever we come up with an idea or whenever we want to host an event where we're reaching out to those organizations, and we're doing it with them. We're playing to everyone's strengths. We want everyone to be part of this big community and we want to support each other. So Julie has been a fantastic member of America, Josh, now for a few months. So Julie, you moved here much more recently than 2017. Tell us about how you found me how you found America, Josh, and how you got to the US. Thanks,
Julie Brock 02:53
Josh. Yeah, I came in October 2022. Now, which actually sounds a long time ago now. Yes, I think it's about 16 months. I initially came for a five week holiday or as I've learned, you know, vacations here. Yeah. And I loved it. And on my second day here, I'm very jet lagged. I attended the first coffee that I ever went to in this village. And I just It just felt amazing. I met some amazing people. I came here thinking I don't know anyone I was going to be lonely. What am I going to do? And from the day that I went to that first coffee, I just met some amazing friends. And yeah, we got together and we planned events the following week. And yeah, made some lifelong friends out of that. It was fantastic. And I think I've said to you many times, it's been one of the best things I've ever done. I think my life or time in New York City would have been completely different if I didn't go to that coffee, and I didn't meet all those people. And yeah, so the other like add those coffees. It's really great. Just sitting down meeting, we meet different people nearly every week and hearing their stories and you know, yeah, so that's, that's fantastic. So I would recommend to everyone, if you can get to a coffee coffee.
Josh Pugh 04:08
Yeah. No, it's I mean, you wouldn't be here. So we that coffee with new friends has worked out spectacularly for me. It's now that I've got you on board. So America, Josh. Yeah, we started in 2017. I was sort of making a bit of a list about what we've done in that time. And obviously, it's it's exciting. And there's lots of things but so we've built a community of over 20,000 expats across the US over the course of the last seven years. I've written myself, and what we've done is we've brought on a bunch of guest writers, I am one particular, you know, I've got a background, I've got a history, and I've got an experience, but we wanted to include as many as we could. So we've brought our new writers to hear their voices as well. But we've written over 700 articles, giving advice from literally how to how to order a sandwich at a bodega all the way through to you know getting passports getting visas. actually a three visa is obviously a hugely popular topic on our website, but a huge gamut of information on the website. I've sent a weekly newsletter almost every single Wednesday for since mid 2017. So it's over 300 newsletters. We've had over 100 online education and trivia events, we ran virtual trivia all through COVID. And then more so in also in recent months, as well, just because people like connecting not always in person, but also online. And then I wanted to quickly touch on We do also have some tools. And I've got my my trusty if this works, there we go. Got my trusty website right behind here, we have actually built some tools that some people might not know about. And I wanted to quickly highlight a couple, under the before you arrive section, we've got the Embassy and Consulate reviews. And what that is, is where to get a visa basically. Now these are just personal experiences. So obviously, things changed rapidly. And it can be different one day to the next. But we wanted to give a bit of a feel for how each of the consulates perform, or their difficulties in getting a visa at locations, just the personal experiences from people. So you can come here and you can see the aggregate scores of what everyone thought of all the places. And you can actually open them all up by clicking on them and read full reviews from people. So Olivia four months ago, maybe four months ago, Jackie four months ago, pairs five months ago, what they thought of the experience and what they like and how they did it. Because sometimes consulates have particular scenarios, particular custom ways of doing things, and it can be helpful to hear from others. The other thing I wanted to show you, while we have you all for a sec is the employers and visa data. This was something we put up a little over a year ago. But basically what it does is it it the Department of Labor actually shares all the information about LCA is and they they put all that up into this big resource. And it allows you to look through all of this information about other people who have got visas. So we basically compiled that into a table. And it goes all the way through from job titles to employers to the dates of employment, through all the way to zip codes, and then to how much the people are actually being paid. It doesn't name individuals. That's good. It's anonymized in that way. But it gives you a feel for industries how much you can be expected to pay, what kind of visas they what kind of LCA is they're getting approved for visa. So it's really important information. If you're at the very early stages, you've just come on to the website, you've had a bit of a read of so the E three visa page, you've read some LCA guides, get a bit of an idea for some of the information out there, have a look at the consulate reviews. And then in addition to that, we've also got a private Facebook group and private LinkedIn group so that if you want to connect with each other you can. So we'll go through at the end of this, how to connect on those two groups. But what started is basically just a blog, I was writing a, I didn't know how to do something, and I'd go get my social security number. And I would like write down at the end of the day, what I did, and step by step share that. So it's turned into 1000s of people sharing their knowledge, sharing their experiences. And we again, truly appreciate how much data and how much content people share about their personal experiences. And one thing that we didn't have a plan on at the beginning was events, which Julie being the head of events, obviously has now become a huge part of America, Josh, because people want to connect. Julie, do you want to let let everyone know what what kind of events we've run and yet what we've been doing?
julie brock 08:33
Yeah, I think that's an important part. So on your website, you know, you've got the living here and I think the the connections or just make the living here, wherever that is in the US so much nicer for for most people. So we've got a lot of events a lot in New York at the moment. So we have weekly coffee. We have brunches. We're trying to share those around the the borough's we have trivia events, some other sort of social outings, to some sporting events to plays that kind of thing. We are. We are working with a lot of other organizer like existing groups across the US. I think you said that earlier around having trying to create more events or partner with existing people in other areas. So we aren't just New York centric. So that's working really well. And I've spent probably every almost every day since I've been here making different people but it's been fantastic. I've met some amazing people. Everyone's always willing to partner. And yeah, just get more support for their local events or have us help promote it. And we jump in where we can and help out with that. So at the moment we we have coffee in I think over 10 locations, some of them be more successful than others just and we're learning from that all the time. So listening to locals, you know about where and when and all that sort of thing. So yeah, we'd really love to hear more from you. where you are and what you want and what what you think will work in your area. So otherwise, I come up with ideas, which
Josh Pugh 10:08
isn't a lot. And I think it's a, it's a really important one because not only have we partnered with lots of organizations, but we've also, like it's something once you've lived in a place for a little while you don't realize how much knowledge and this is the whole point. But you don't realize how much knowledge you pick up about, you know, we've had events around, there'll be nothing in Texas. And it's like I've not Texas, right? We've had events around the country where we've been told, like, oh, you can't have it in that location, because it's a Wednesday. And the traffic's really bad on that highway. And if you like little things that you would never know. And so that's why we found great benefit. You've been, as you said, every single day talking to different different partners and different organizations. I mean, we're finding, every time we sort of start shaking to look at a location, we're finding dozens of different, like, all the way to micro Facebook groups all the way out to like macro government, semi governmental organizations and all sorts, right?
Yeah, it's fantastic. It just shows how much the community really does want to get together and do things. So wherever we can support that, you know, we'd love to,
Josh Pugh 11:09
yeah, and I think over coffee with new friends, like it's something that I sort of hold very dear to my heart, because it's something that started in Australia and brought over here, because it's this idea that it doesn't have to be a big organized something, it can just be about hanging out having coffee, it can be about sharing, I think a lot of the time it's about sort of getting some pain off your chest. You know, you're telling some stories about like the, the annoying thing that happened last week, or the, you know, the pains that you're going through, and a lot of people hearing that other people have done that too. Like, you know, I'm sure that's what you heard at your first coffee. It's like, you feel good when you've sort of said like, Oh, my God, I'm not doing it wrong. Well,
Julie Brock 11:46
yeah. And I've learned so much like, I didn't know anything about visas. I was reading all this stuff on Facebook. But this was like another language to me. But sitting and listening and hearing people's experiences. I've learned so much. In the last, you know, like said 16 months, so it's been great.
Josh Pugh 12:01
Yeah, love it. What have we got coming up in like, I guess for the next couple of months, or the next couple of weeks? What have we got? Well, what's the aim for 2024 for events? Well,
Julie Brock 12:10
we we've got to have ongoing coffee. So like I said, every week, New York and monthly in lots of other areas, so and we've got new ones coming up all the time. So just keep an eye on the website. And if you want to host something locally in your area, get in contact and yeah, I'll definitely help get that up and going. So we try to work with Australian cafes where we can not always possible, but yeah, it's, that's that's a big one. We also organizing a brunch in New York this Saturday. And we're looking at doing one in Brooklyn. I think it's early February, but we'll look out for that one hasn't been locked in. We've got lots of online webinars coming up. I think there's another living schedule schedule for this year. And they cover all sorts of things from schooling in the US to tax to finance, buying property renting property. Yeah, it's it's great. And again, if you've got a particular topic that you think, you know, the audience audience would love, let us know. Or if you've got a contact also let us know. Because, you know, trying to connect people and get the right person for the right job. We often rely on your intel for that.
Josh Pugh 13:18
Yeah, absolutely. That is crucial. Yeah.
Julie Brock 13:21
Yeah. Yeah. We don't know everyone, because on YouTube.
Josh Pugh 13:25
We're trying No, we're trying to.
Julie Brock 13:28
Yes. And the big one is the barbecue in August. People might know we've run we've run two of those in the past few years. And that will be coming up again. So that's a big family day. And yeah, people look out for that. Yeah, 100. Yeah, hundreds of people. And again, if it's something that you think you'd like to be involved in, or know somebody get in contact, because that's a big event, and we rely on a lot of people and businesses to get that one off the ground. Yeah,
Josh Pugh 13:57
yeah, no, we do have to give a big shout out to the volunteers that we've had over last year and their previous years, because the amount of time and energy people are willing to put in to support the community. You know, America, Josh is not a not a huge business where you know, it's the two of us and where we're doing as much as we possibly can. But we do really rely on sort of the community helping us out and we do get people who put in amazing efforts. So we have to say thank you to all of the people that have helped us out over the last few years. As we saw as we go the events side of things we're also growing on the website and on the content side of things we know that people are always looking for new opportunities and new ways to find information. One of those ways is launched to America. So on the top of America Josh website now you will find launched to America and you can pre register for that. That is our online guide. So if you are not in the US yet and you want to move to the US and you don't really know at all what to do. If you don't want to have to do all the research piecemeal and find all yourself. You can subscribe and follow a step by step guide on how to move on We've got forms, we've got all sorts of information that will help you and explain to you what you need to know. So that you don't feel like there are things that you might not have even thought of. We're trying to list them all out. So you can just have checklists and work down the list. And the other thing we're really working on this year, is our x pack connector name to be decided. Julie, do you want to explain like what we're sort of thinking about on an offline Connection Tool?
Julie Brock 15:24
Yeah, sure. And yeah, come up with a good name.
Josh Pugh 15:28
Whoever called the expert connector will do better? Yes. Yeah. So
Julie Brock 15:31
it's along the lines of meeting people, but at a professional level, so not the personal side of things more professional, like, if you want to mentor business connections, professional friends, we found this, I mean, our community is full of amazing professional people across all sorts of industries and organizations. And often they love to share their knowledge. They're happy to make connections with people. You know, it's often you know, who you know, not what you know, and in a lot of these, so yeah, so if we can facilitate connecting the right people with the right people. That's, that's our goal. But yeah, so we're in the process of doing this. But we'd love any input from you, as our community as to Yeah, what you think would help make this better and work for you?
Josh Pugh 16:18
Yeah, no, we've like, I can't emphasize how much we've changed events, we've changed website content, we've changed all sorts of things, you know, we've got a good idea of what we think would work. But we're not always right. So we love hearing when people say, Hey, this is good. But if you made it XYZ different, it would be so much more helpful. Because when I first got here, now, this thing has changed, this process has changed. I just went to this office, and they told me this, like, the only way we find out like I'm not going and getting my social security number again, for the first time, I can never do that again. So I don't know unless people write in and we get again, I get 10s, if not dozens of emails a week from people saying, like some of them, a lot of them are questions, but a lot of them are just people providing like, hey, this link doesn't work anymore. And now it's this one or this process has been updated.
Julie Brock 17:06
Yeah. And you don't have to go into the DMV anymore to get your permit, you know, online. So just little things like that. Yeah, no,
Josh Pugh 17:12
absolutely. And yet, as Julie said, we are always looking for ways that if you've got a small organization, if you've got a little community group that would benefit from a, you know, we do have, we're growing our audience, and we're growing our loudspeaker. So if we can amplify your message, if you've got a small thing you want to run, come talk to us. We're not looking when we love partnering, we love working out ways that we can promote each other and get your message out. So let us know because we want to hear from you. Well, Smasher, this is great. This is good and efficient.
Julie Brock 17:47
I guess, Thunder Josh in saying that we want to hear from you. We've said I'm sorry. Okay?
Josh Pugh 17:54
We be I think the big thing is, if you're not already part of the America, Josh, you can and I've got one more go America josh.com Ford slash join. This gets you onto our weekly newsletter. So the weekly newsletter contains all of the updated events, all of the updated articles that we write all of the I had a funny joke every single week, which is worth laughing at every time. We do polls, we ask questions, we get feedback, join, because we'd love to hear from you. It's free to join, you get a whole bunch of benefits. You get special rates with our effects. You get discounts at different organizations, when you're moving, you're like, Yep, all sorts of things come with it. But most importantly, you get to be part of the community. And we get to make sure that you hear about what's happening next. So please do go to America. josh.com for slash join.
Julie Brock 18:42
Thanks, Josh. Thanks, Danny hasn't hasn't budged has been
Josh Pugh 18:45
great. I'm actually I'm going to cop it in a minute. But the last thing is if you want to contact either of us, we aren't. I'm pointing the wrong way. I can't work out how to point there we go. We we are very easy to contact. We want to hear from you. We're not you know, it's not too big of an operative words. It's literally the two of us. So if you email Josh at America josh.com It comes through to my inbox. And if you email Julian America josh.com. It goes through to her inbox. And the idea is like it has anything to do with events and you can do with community, email, Julie or myself, and we would really, truly love to hear from you. Yes. Awesome. Thanks, Julie. This was great. I want to do this. I think it helps we can chat to people. We'll have guests on we'll, we'll talk about what we're up to. And as new developments come through, we'll we'll be sure to connect again.
Julie Brock 19:36
Thanks, Josh. Thank you. Thanks, everyone for joining. Thanks, Danny.