The 3 Skills That Will Help You Survive Your First Year of Entrepreneurship


This month, we (my wife and I) complete 15 months into our entrepreneurial journey. During this period, we have learnt a lot, but there are three skillsets in particular that have been extremely helpful. In this post, I will describe what these 3… Click To Tweet

In December 2015, I left my job with Amazon, and left behind a life of a steady paycheck. We (my wife and I) launched Kamakshi Media, our venture in podcasting, a month later. What I did not realize at that time was that I would have to unlearn and re-learn a lot of skills that I had acquired during my Corporate career. On the plus side, if you have a co-founder, they may have skills that compliment yours very well. I would consider operations, planning, budgeting and setting up systems and processes as my strengths. Mrunal, my wife and co-founder, has worked in customer facing roles including sales and account management. Then there are some skills that we have acquired: audio recording and editing and social media marketing. But there are three specific skills that I believe have helped me (and us) survive the first year of entrepreneurship.

Related Post: Start a Podcast

  1. Have Patience

We did not get tens of thousands of listens for our podcast from day one like many podcasters do. There have been days when we have received single digit listens for MyKitaab Podcast, and it was very frustrating. The story was quite similar for the four other podcasts we launched in 2016. But being patient has helped- every single listener and every listen counts. Today we have over 200,000 listens for all our shows combined. This did not happen overnight.

In the first few months, a lot of things move at snail’s pace. Creating content is a long-term play, and it takes time to see large number of listeners for your podcast (or visitors to your blog, or viewers for YouTube Channel…). For example, it took us about five months to see tens of thousands of listeners for Baalgatha, our podcast of Children’s Bedtime Stories. Imagine how frustrating it can be, when you live in a country of 1.3 billion people, with over 400 million children who are your target listeners. But, you get only 3,000 listens in the first month.

The story is no different when it comes to getting reviews on iTunes. Sometimes, we literally had to beg people to leave a review, and we got poor results. Our lives are busy, and sometimes we have other compelling priorities. And leaving a review may not be a priority for the listeners. That is when you learn to develop your patience levels further. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath. And another, and another….

Last but not the least, talking to advertisers really tests your patience. First of all, podcasting is quite new to India, and as a result, most media buyers and advertisers are not familiar with it. Those that are, are not able to determine whether podcasting is an above the line or below the line activity. Secondly, the listener numbers for podcasts are a fraction of what a web series on YouTube can offer. Even though the engagement level is higher in podcasts, since the base is small, advertisers are not particularly keen at this point in time. Which again brings us to listener numbers, which of course takes time.
I have worked in construction projects that had a long gestation period- sometimes running into years. Mrunal is aware of long sales cycles for B2B sales. Thus, we may have a higher threshold for patience, her more than I. But several times in the past several years, our patience has been tested to the limit.

  1. Be Rigorous

The hard part began when I actually started working on our first show, MyKitaab Podcast. Developing the theme for the show, creating the list of questions, finding a media host, cold calling the guests for interviews, setting up time for interviews, recording, editing, preparing the show notes, and finally, marketing are some of the activities in a workflow for a podcast. Some of them take time, a lot of time. My first episode took me about 10 hours just to edit, because I wanted to learn ‘on the job’. I spent two days finalizing it, and it was tiring, unsexy, and at times, boring. I often wondered,” Where is the glamor in this?” But having worked in construction, I knew that I was creating the foundation for the business. That is, setting up the systems, and developing the blueprint for future shows.

So if you find something boring, tiring or even overwhelming, just keep going at it. Over a period of time, you will get better. It still takes me an hour to edit a 45-minute episode, but I am learning to edit at 2X the speed (I heard recently on Mixergy Podcast that Alex Blumberg from Gimlet Media is really good at it). John Lee Dumas, the host of Entrepreneur On Fire, can do so in a matter of minutes. Heneka Watkis-Porter of The Entrepreneurial You Podcast is also learning to edit in a matter of minutes. On a lighter note, they say that misery loves company. As a podcaster, I was lucky to be in the company of so many awesome podcasters!

Standardizing the process and setting up systems will help in determining the time it takes for each task. In the long run, whether you hire someone full time, or hire freelancers, the amount of money you pay them will essentially depend on the amount of time they take to perform a task. This is Project Management 101. But this also helps you to determine whether the persons you have hired to do the job are doing it right, or they are taking you for a ride.

At first, I did it all by myself: I believe it is important to learn the entire workflow. Once I had that figured out, I began to delegate. Delegating can yield mixed results, by the way. For example, we failed miserably when we had hired a virtual assistant last year, but we found amazing translators, narrators and sound editors. Albert, the editor we work with, edits sound for Bollywood movies and has won National Level Awards.

  1. Network, Network, Network

I consider this quality as a work in progress for me. Networking does not mean only going to professional events such as seminars, or connecting with hundreds of people on LinkedIn. At the same time, it is not my natural instinct to be the first to introduce myself, or to reach out to people, or to call unknown persons. Over the past year, I have worked really hard to reach out to people, be it in the neighborhood, alumni meets, or simply talk to strangers about my work.

It was one such conversation last year that helped us find Sheerali, our narrator for Baalgatha Podcast. Biju, her husband, and I go for a run a couple of days every week. Last April, I told him

that we were planning a new podcast of Children’s Bedtime stories. “why don’t you talk to my wife?” He asked me. Sheerali had recorded audiobooks for children’s’ stories in the past. As a primary school teacher and mother of two young boys, she had the perfect background: and just like that, we found our narrator. We have recorded over 200 stories with her till date, and the listeners love her narration!

I won our first paid assignment through networking. I had known the management team of a nonprofit for several years, and they responded positively when I suggested to them that we should start an audio series for the nonprofit. This assignment led to the next one, and a third. This went on the time we decided that we needed to give our full attention to Baalgatha and other shows in the gaatha series. Networking is playing a key role in talking to investors- as many of you may know, angel investors do not respond to you unless you are referred to by somebody. So every day, I am logged on to LinkedIn, alumni portals and other sites from where I can find common connections, followed by phone calls, emails and finally a handful of meetings. This works just like a typical sales funnel. Networking has helped us in finding talent, customers, investors and listeners alike.

Not An Exhaustive List 

Like an arsenal of weapons that a warrior carries (think Aronld Schwarzenegger in Commando), an entrepreneur has to carry their arsenal of skills at all times. In my case, three of them helped me significantly in the first year. The three new ones I am working on this year are sales, perseverance and recruitment. Talking about them is a conversation for another day. But let me conclude with an example to show why I need to work on my sales skills: Last month, Mrunal and I went to an event in a school to promote Baalgatha. We had carried a few hundred handbills with us to give to parents. While I only managed to hand over about 100 of them over 3 hours, she had achieved 3X the number. This includes the time she spent engaging with parents.

Amar Vyas. Co-Founder, Kamakshi Media
e:   Instagram: @gaathastory_podcast         web:

Oh, There’s An App For That!

In this ‘microwave’ society, we cannot deny that everything needs to be so much faster, easier and without cost in order to, not just get our attention but to keep it. Click To Tweet

This is in large part attributable to the ease of access to information literally at our fingertips made possible by the world wide web. It begs the question, though, how did we survive without the advent of the internet? It’s almost impossible to imagine. Since its onslaught in the mid-1990s, the Internet has had a more than a radical impact on culture and norms; commerce and trade; and technology and innovation, including the rise of near-instant communication. One of the reasons our lives have become so much easier is because there is an application program (application or app for short) for just about everything. For quick reference, an app is a computer program having the objective of performing a group of systematic functions with the specific needs of the end user in mind.

Related Post: 10 Industry Experts Share Their Favourite Tool

Notwithstanding the ease of access to information, there are many persons who may be unaware that there exists myriad of digital tools to make their jobs and daily tasks even easier. One only has to take a cursory scroll through the Google’s App Marketplace ranging from business to mindfulness, to health and wellness, project management and the list goes on, to realize that our already simplified lives can yet be made even more simple.

If you’re looking for a cloud-based all-in-one document and Portable Document Format (PDF) viewer and markup tool for example, oh, there’s an app for that. Let me introduce you to Kami, one of the most popular and highly rated document apps in the market. Available in the Google Marketplace, Kami works with Google Drive. If you don’t have access to the internet when you need to work on a project via the app, no need to worry as it can also run offline – all you need to do is to have it downloaded ahead of time and you can work offline at a later date.

It allows you to view, comment, share and collaborate on your files on Chrome. This is of great value especially if you have a team working with on a particular project. It works well too with Google Classroom, sending individual feedbacks to students or to collaborate as an entire classroom.

The product is poised to be the number one go-to option for persons looking to move their work to the cloud, “Kami will be the best alternative to traditional Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Reader applications”, says the Developers. Publishers give it the thumbs up too…”Kami is an affordable solution that makes collaborating on publishing materials viable within a national or international team” says Justin Steiner of Dirt Rag Magazine.

As alluded to earlier, one of the greatest benefits of this app is that it allows for collaboration with other users. The key features include: Highlighting, Adding, Underlining and Striking-through text; Adding comment; Voice annotation; Freehand drawing; Inserting Image, shapes and signatures; viewing PDF and documents, real-time collaboration; split and merge files; Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for scanned PDF files (detect text on scanned files) and Offline support.

There is a free 14-day evaluation where you can try the app to see how best it suits your need. After that, there are a variety of paid package options available depending on your need and budget. They offer 24/7 customer service support to paying customers and if you have a feature request they may also consider it. As of September 2016, they have rated the number 1 PDF tool on the Chrome Web Store.

As mentioned earlier it supports PDF; Documents (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, RTF); Powerpoint (Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Slides); Sheets (Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets); Images (.jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif).

You never have to worry about your selected browser either as it works on all types.

So the next time you have a project that requires a remote team interaction, you might want to consider Kami as a viable alternative.

Heneka Watkis-Porter is a serial-entrepreneur, IBI Ambassador, cultural ambassador, sociologist, author, speaker, fashion designer and podcaster.  She wakes up every day with a grateful heart as she lives her purpose of “life transformation through inspiration”. She is the leading lady behind Patwa Culcha International, the company that owns the authentic Jamaica clothing brand, Patwa Apparel.

Twitter: @TheEntrepYou

Your Posture Determines Your Position: 3 Things you Should Know that will Change Your Outcome

Lately, every opportunity to visit the friendly island of St. Maarten/St. Martin brings with it a level of excitement that is only surpassed by that of a kid in candy store. Click To Tweet

The middle of November 2016 was no different for me. My visit on this occasion which I dubbed ‘work-cation’ was two-fold; it was work mixed with vacation.

I presented at an annual conference, Dominate 360 – led and organized by Ife Badejo where other high profile speakers from the Caribbean, the United States and other parts of the world were brought in to provide fodder in the form of inspiration, motivation and best practices to a captive audience of entrepreneurs, prospective entrepreneurs and executives.

I established some business contacts and strengthened others among other things business related. This was expected, as any serial-entrepreneur does, I look for opportunities to pursue everywhere I go.

My business that I run full-time, Patwa Culcha International ran from beaches, poolside, restaurants, the homes of families and friends, in cafes and so many other places in my absence from Jamaica. Wherever there was the internet, I was doing business – my computer and smartphone went with me almost everywhere I went.

Amidst all of that work (writing proposals, sending and responding to emails, meeting with business prospects, etc), which really didn’t feel like work anyway, I threw in some well-needed vacation time. With that comes more freedom to get out of bed, eat and shower when I wanted, if I wanted. It was great spending time with friends and family, meeting new people, going new places and soaking up the environment of the Dutch and French island. It was the best work-cation ever, Caribbean style.

It was a welcome break, all seven weeks of it.

But I’m back and need to switch into full work mode. I must confess, it has not been so easy. I found myself waking up later than normal as though I’m still on vacation; feelings of lethargy when it’s time to rise and shine have come to the fore at a time where I should be productive and should have put in hours of work; I’m laying in bed completing tasks on my computer. My whole modus operandi has been shifted.

On one of the mornings whilst I laid in attempting to do work on my computer, I felt as though I was hit with a ton of bricks. Immediately it dawned on me that my posture determines my position. I was feeling this way simply because I was in a laying position attempting to do something that requires much brain power, concentration, and a fully engaged mind.

Without any further ado, I got out of bed, took a shower, went downstairs, made breakfast and on my verandah I went in a sitting position and began working. My thinking shifted; I no longer felt lethargic; I could concentrate much more which made doing tasks much easier.

Our posture is an unconscious expression of who we are. Any change we make in this area can have a positive impact on our lives to shape our positions for the future. In 2012 Amy Cuddy did a Ted Talk encouraging us to Assume a “power posture” at least two minutes each day to improve our destiny or ‘position’. Open postures, those with our arms open, signify high power; closed postures denotes low power.

My light bulb moment forced me into research mode on the subject of posture. Here are 3 things I found and want to share:

Posture and Mood:

In an experiment, Dr. Erik Peper, San Francisco State University, tested subjects swinging their arms in an upward motion as they walked versus those who slouched. Most of the participants who walked upright reported feeling more energetic, happier, and positive. On the other hand, the ones who slouched reported opposite emotions such as feeling isolated, sleepy, sad, lonely and “zombie-like.”

Posture and Memory:

Memory recall is also affected by our posture. Subjects in a study also done by Peper, found it easier to recall situations of hopelessness, being helpless and powerless when sitting in a collapsed position and looking downward. Conversely, an upright posture improved memory in general. Maybe it is because of the increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Posture and Confidence

Another study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University in 2009 found that sitting up straight reinforced confidence. In this study, 71 students were divided into two groups and instructed to maintain opposite postures while answering prompts in a business questionnaire. Those who held the upright posture had confidence in their thoughts. -(Medical Daily).

It is clear that in order to get ahead we must assume the right posture, not only is it healthy, it puts us in the frame of mind to dominate every sphere of our lives. A good posture helps us gain control of our thoughts and emotions. The things we do on a regular basis quickly becomes habits. The habits we form determine our destiny. A good posture is necessary for our positions to be shifted to the next level. Our posture, therefore determines our position.

Heneka Watkis-Porter is a serial-entrepreneur, IBI Ambassador, cultural ambassador, sociologist, author, speaker, fashion designer and podcaster.  She wakes up every day with a grateful heart as she lives her purpose of “life transformation through inspiration”. She is the leading lady behind Patwa Culcha International, the company that owns the authentic Jamaica clothing brand, Patwa Apparel.


002 – Blazing the Tech trail in the Caribbean, with Ingrid Riley

Ingrid Riley is a trailblazer in the field of tech. An Award-winning Blogger, she is the founder of Silicon Caribe and Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at getCONNECTID. She is also the leading lady behind many Meetups+ Pitch events, 3 Caribbean Tech Conferences, 3 Caribbean-wide Hackathons, a few Mobile App Competitions, Online Twitter Chats and  Startup Weekends.

#PeakPerformers, @IngridRiley shares her awesome journey on #TEY #Podcast today! Click To Tweet

Show Notes:


If you were really hungry and really, really sleepy and you had to choose only one, which would you choose? Would it be sleep or would it food?

I’ll definitely do the food. Because the food would probably help me to sleep better because you can’t really sleep well if you’re hungry if your belly is like rumbling.

Who is Ingrid Riley?

Just somebody who is curious, love to experiment, love to get to know people, love to read, love to observe individuals, love to travel. I definitely have a thing for travelling. If I don’t travel, my skin starts to itch.

So now, let’s get a little digital. How were you able to get started in this somewhat predominantly male-oriented field?

I never thought that would—I have no other intention just to simply follow what I was curious and passionate about. I was an investigative journalist. And when I kind of reached as far as I could and having been surrounded by technology. And I just kind of fell in love and fell really hard. Coming from that thought tradition and media background, I was looking at online media. Because of all of that exposure, I started my first company, which was called Maverik Media. 

What were some of the bumps in the road that you encountered?

I’ll choose one from the early days. Because I had this internet guide, it was my then business partner, I said, “Hey, I don’t know how to do this. Can you help me? Let’s put it together.” Because of that, she was also part of Maverick Media and we like doing things like email, newsletters or stuff that we are learning and sending out to people that we knew. We were recruited by this American dot-com called And so we put Maverick Media on ice to go and join this team in the hope of, you know, the whole thing of you joining a team. You get shares. We’re going to go IPO, you know, instant millionaire, right? The dot-com bubble popped. I led myself to be fired and went back to Maverick Media afterwards.

The thing that I learned from that is never put your own company on hold to go and work for somebody else unless you were at the centre of negotiating and really negotiate terms that are actually really good for you. I think we’re just kind of happy to be there, happy to learn, happy to be part of this thing without actually thinking about the business aspect of it carefully and recognise when a shark comes and knock on your door. Don’t put your company on the ice. Learn how to negotiate better. Don’t do things that are against your value system because it’s always going to come and bite you.

The second lesson I’ve learned recently is in this whole process of being involved in kick-starting the Jamaican tech entrepreneurship and startup ecosystem here and the Caribbean as well, I learnt to say no and always take care of myself.

How important is it for entrepreneurs and even persons who are considering entering entrepreneurship to follow their instinct?

It is the number one thing. It comes down to trusting yourself as an entrepreneur who tends to see things differently, tends to see things before others.

Well, let’s look at the flipside note, alright? When you create a product or a service or whatever it is, you become so intimately attached to it and you take it too personal to the extent that you refuse to listen to others. I know what is best for me. That’s the flipside. What do you say to that?

No. I believe that there’s always value in that—success always leaves clues. If you see somebody, you know…is like I keep telling people that I do not take financial or money advice from anybody who isn’t richer than me.

We are living in such an awesome time right now. It’s amazing, the opportunities that are available and sometimes we are looking around waiting for persons to come and present stuff on a platter.

Exactly! We are waiting for someone to hand us when it’s there right in front of us. We have the connection. Now, what do we do with it? How do we spend our time? What are we going to create? What are we going to do with others? How do we want to express ourselves in this world? You have access to this internet through your phone, through a laptop to whatever it is.

Persons may be listening in our community now and are wondering how are some of the ways in which I can monetize online, what are some options?

What are you willing to spend a lot of time on getting to be really really great at. You could say, for instance, somebody is passionate about beaches. That’s all played out. Where can you find a list of a map of top 500 beaches in the Caribbean? What do they look like? What are they? Who goes there? What happens there. You become an authority on these beaches. You have your videos, you have your text, you have your photos. There’s a way to monetize that. 

So as an award-winning blogger for Is it only just tech that you blog about?

It’s a technology and digital lifestyle blog. I blog about the people, the product, the places and what we’re doing. We’re embracing technology in the Caribbean and how we are positioning ourselves to be successful in the global digital economy. 

Main Take-Aways:

  • Don’t do things that are against your value system because it’s always going to come and bite you.
  • Find a way to monetize what you’re really good at.
  • never put your own company on hold to go and work for somebody else.



Resources to #PeakYourPerformance:

Connect with Ingrid Riley


Question of the Day:

How involved are you with technology? Do leave a comment below.

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001 – Master Discipline, Focus & Productivity John Lee Dumas

John Lee Dumas is the host of EOFire, an award-winning Podcast where today’s most successful Entrepreneurs are interviewed 7-days a week. He is undisputedly the heavyweight champion in the ring of Podcasting, interviewing over 1400 Entrepreneurs. EOFire has over 1 million monthly listens.

#PeakPerformers, @JohnLeeDumas shares his awesome journey on #TEY #Podcast today! Click To Tweet

Show Notes:

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?

Lay by my pool and read a fiction novel

What problem did you want to solve when you began your podcasting journey?

I love listening to podcasts; the medium of being able to press play when I want to, have targeted On Demand free contents being piped through my ear-buds at any time of the day was just awesome for me. A lightbulb went off for me and I said well I wanted to have a daily show that goes out and interview successful entrepreneurs and tell their stories that I can learn from them. I wanted to find a daily show and that did not exist.   I said wow that’s a huge void in the marketplace. Why don’t I step into that void and create that Daily Show? That was almost five years ago. We are approaching 1600 episodes to date over 45 million listens and it’s a multimillion-dollar year business net profit.

Many persons in the Caribbean are still unsure of what a Podcast is…What is a Podcast?

I’m excited to bring me a little more awareness of this great medium of podcasting to the Caribbean and other countries that may not be quite as aware of this form of audio content as other places so for me you know podcast is just in the audio format as core is a way that you can get out there and find shows that are very targeted.

What is the Freedom Journal and what gap did you identify in the market?

It’s exactly one year ago to the day we launched the Freedom Journal on Kickstarter and what the Freedom Journal is it was basically a solution to a problem that my listeners of EOFire. My listeners are saying John, we see that you’re interviewing a successful entrepreneur every single day what do these words have in common that makes them so successful and doing a lot of thinking I realised know how to set an accomplished. They all know how to do that and are struggling are struggling with that very thing so I took the year was all of 2015 to sit down and study goal setting and everything in between until I mastered that created step by step resource to accomplish that 100 days we can start a chain reaction of awesome and amazing.

If you were supposed to share one point so when we to consider when you’re setting a goal, what would that be?

When it comes to setting a goal it has to be SMART i.e Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time-bound so I teach you at the beginning of the journal how to set a smart goal and for a lot of us at the first time that we’ve ever set a smart go on our allies and already you’re ahead of 99 percent of goal setters out there that don’t even know what is or never really sat down at the 100-day step-by-step plan to accomplish that SMART goal.

And you followed up with the Mastery Journal for productivity, discipline and focus?

The Mastery Journal which is all about you the individual mastering productivity mastering discipline and mastering focus in 100 days and that’s what the journal is – a system and every single day you’ll learn how to master these three skills; you’ll get more done in one day then you use to get done all week just simply by following the system because again I took an entire year all of 2016 this time to become a master myself within these three skills now I know how to be productive I know how to be disciplined I know how to be focused.

What would you say to creatives who just can’t seem to stay focus for extended periods of time on any one project?

Don’t be hard on yourself, don’t think there’s something wrong with you. You are a human being you have faults and flaws like all of us. All you need to do is step up and follow the system that I’ve created to make the most out of these flaws.

Crowdfunding is still a relatively new phenomenon in the Caribbean, I launched one recently and with all the preparation I did, it wasn’t the success that I hoped for…what are some of the key considerations when going that route?

You never know until people actually take out their wallets and their purses and hand over money that’s something we’ll work. In the real world if you are willing to support me now you’re going to get this product down the road but unless you are willing to support this product and enough people are willing to join you in this then I’m not going to create it because it’s a big enough pain point that you are willing to part with your hard-earned dollars now for something that doesn’t even exist yet.

That’s why I went down this road with these journals because I know that my time is incredibly valuable and I wanted proof before I went and found a manufacturer and China to produce thousands and thousands of these hardcover journals only to find out down the road oh my God nobody wants these. I was not going to go down that road so I was able to pre-sell over 9,000 Freedom journals at over $453,000 and guess what I knew going into production that I have these people there already given me

Main Take-Aways:

  • When we set and work towards that one goal, we can set a chain reaction of awesome in our lives
  • A lot of people fail because they set multiple goals and they don’t specific timelines to accomplish these goals.
  • If we are able to be productive, disciplined and focused every day we win an even higher level

Resources to #PeakYourPerformance:

Connect with John Lee Dumas

Question of the Day:

What are you doing to master productivity, discipline and focus? Do leave a comment below.

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000 – About Me

Host of The Entrepreneurial You, Heneka Watkis-Porter talks about the show and tells her story about why she started the Podcast.

Peak Performers, Heneka shares in the ‘About Me’ episode on TheEntrepYou today! Click To Tweet

Show  Notes:

Hey, everyone, I’m Heneka Watkis-Porter, and I want to thank you for joining me for the very first episode of The Entrepreneurial You Podcast. In 2014, I started out with a 15 minutes radio edition of this show and started building a community of entrepreneurs using traditional media. Starting this Podcast is a big deal for me. Every Wednesday, I will be interviewing the most dedicated and passionate Entrepreneurs of our time. Each interview will tell a little bit of the entrepreneur’s life with the aim of inspiring you, our wonderful community of #PeakPerformers. They will also share cutting edge tools to get you propelled to a higher level of performance.

I’m over the moon with excitement as I look forward to producing a new 30-minute episode once weekly. I know you are busy so I created this Podcast with in mind so that you will be able to download at your convenience to get inspired anytime you need that extra push. The format is pretty simple; I’ll discuss, with my guests their upbringing; how and why they started business; what challenges they experienced and how they overcame; what pitfalls to avoid; their definition of success will be shared and they will leave with you, our community; one piece of advice to motivate and inspire you. As you learn from their experience, you will feel more confident and encouraged to pursue SMART goals.

Interested so far? Keep going so you may get to learn more about the flow of the show; I’m also going to tell you more about the host…oh, that’s me, Heneka Watkis-Porter.

Each episode I will ask our featured guest one a random fun question to get to know about their fun side. I will ask them to tell us a little something about themselves. The questions that follow depends on what the featured guest would have revealed about themselves. I will delve as deeply as possible to get to their ‘why’ for starting a business.  As we know there is no journey without a challenge we will explore what it is for the Entrepreneur and how they overcame this major challenge faced.

Success means different things to different people so the Entrepreneur will give their definition which gives us an insight into the philosophy they live by.

They leave us with a very insightful piece of advice to encourage and motivate us.

Some of the questions may include:

Who is your biggest motivator?

What has been your worst moment as an entrepreneur?

What lesson did you learn from that moment?

The guests are inspiring and are not afraid to share their soul. You will feel more confident and encouraged at the end of each episode.

Now that I’ve shared a little bit about the show with you, I want to let you know why I created The Entrepreneurial You Podcast. Since 2014, I started a radio feature of the same name. I started because I recognised that the Caribbean is full of talented, bright and intelligent young people with great prospects for the future. However, the economy does not and cannot afford to adequately cater to the needs of these individuals where infrastructure is concerned. The only viable alternative is for these persons to create opportunities for themselves.

In the Caribbean, our social upbringing to a large extent inhibits the development of a naturally occurring entrepreneurial mind.  We have been socialised to go to school and get a good education so that we can graduate with enough qualifications to subsequently get a ‘good job’. This kind of thinking and culture in many ways hinder rather than facilitate growth.  We become destabilised when we are unable to land this ‘good job’.  When we eventually find one, the vicious cycle starts all over again as we are never satisfied with the salary, terms and conditions of employment and a host of other accompanying issues.

Within the Caribbean, many are turning to their own innovation and ingenuity to satisfy that gaping void. We are finding creative ways to chart a path for our future via the challenging yet rewarding route of entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneurial You was created to highlight these entrepreneurs whilst sharing tips and ideas to get ahead from experienced successful global high profile entrepreneurs.

Fast track to 2016. I attended a workshop for entrepreneurs where Ingrid Riley, a very accomplished entrepreneur in her field, was a Presenter. At the ‘Question and Answer’ segment I asked of Ingrid how it is that she has managed to garner the seemingly elusive necessity of sponsorship. She gave me some general advice about going digital and pushing it online to gain a following that may be necessary to attract sponsors who are advertising via the traditional media. She went further by sharing her contact details with me. I quickly made contact; I told her that a participant I met at the same function mentioned Podcasting as an option.

It was during that one on one that she talked passionately about two of the Podcasts that she listens to daily, & She was totally sold on Entrepreneur On Fire. I started listening and became hooked. John Lee Dumas is on fire! I subscribed to the training videos on how to create a Podcast. I even got John Lee Dumas to do a free, yes free audio bomber. Now, this is a big deal. We are talking about the person who has the number 1 Podcast in the world of podcasting. How cool is that?

I decided Podcasting it would be. The show is created for dedicated and passionate Caribbean Entrepreneurs seeking daily inspiration. Persons within the Caribbean are now exploring their entrepreneurial potential and need that extra motivation to make the leap of faith. For existing entrepreneurs, the road can be a very lonely one, and so having that extra support I believe is priceless. Those who have no interest in becoming entrepreneurs are still encouraged to listen for the inspiration they will draw as the entrepreneurs share their life lessons which provide teachable moments.

There is a great need to connect Caribbean people; we are small with big dreams and need to be supportive of each other. One of the ways in which we can be connected is through entrepreneurship. The symbiotic relationships that are possible can take us through many a hoops and boundaries. Each island has its own natural endowment of the resource; the resilience of its people? Immeasurable? This augurs well for the region. This alone is enough motivation for me to do The Entrepreneurial You Podcast.

And so I decided to create a conduit that would allow people around the region to have access to the stories, lessons, and concepts of others.  My goal is to create a platform where the persons within the Caribbean have at their fingertips, cutting edge ideas to fuel the brilliance that lies deep within them.

I’ve talked about The Entrepreneurial You and my ‘Why’ for creating it. Let me now jump into a little about my background. I’m Heneka Watkis-Porter born and raised in the rural Agriculture parish of St. Mary, Jamaica by my grandfather and adopted grandmother. I graduated the sixth form at St. Mary High School. Thereafter, I went to work with the Government for a short while as an Accounting Clerk given there were no funds available to go directly to University.

Later, when I could afford to, I attended the University of the West Indies where I studied Sociology and Management Studies, graduating with BSc. (Upper Second Class Hons.). I really wanted to do media and communications but I was never accepted when I submitted an application for that area. It’s funny how life has seemingly come full circle as in addition to this Podcast, I also host programs on radio, not just in Jamaica on Power 106 FM but at the time of recording in St. Kitts on Sugar City 90.3 FM and on Voice of the Caribbean Radio at

I’ve always had a desire to own and run my own business; On August 7, 2007, the aha moment came and so my business baby, Patwa Apparel was born. This is a clothing line which speaks a fashionable Jamaican language by putting Jamaican expressions on clothing. When you’re finished here you may run over to to see what I’m talking about. As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to pivot a few times and I guarantee you that you will hear some of my guests talking about times when they too have had to switch direction in their businesses. The ability to adapt, be flexible and to have an open mind is part and parcel of the business environment.

I have taken my company, now Patwa Culcha International to receiving numerous accolades. The vision for this company is to be the ‘go-to’ company to commemorate and celebrate Jamaican heritage worldwide by creating products and services inspiring Jamaican pride worldwide.

By 2013 I started a sauce line; I realise that I could now do anything that I wanted to do. I was inspired, motivated and driven to do all the things I never thought possible when I was a child of humble means. I started to have a deep desire to help others as I strongly believe that to whom much is given much is expected. I try to live my life like a river rather than a reservoir. I began sharing my story with audiences that were hungry for motivation; I wrote my first book, “15 Hints to Entrepreneurial Success: Lessons From a Caribbean Business Woman”, published in 2014; I also started the radio version of this Podcast with the same name, “The Entrepreneurial You” in that same year. I’ve since published a second book and am working on 3 and 4 simultaneously. As an entrepreneur and a serial one at that, I’m all about creating a platform for you to be inspired and motivated weekly as you unleash your entrepreneurial spirit. I know what it is like to not know what move to make next, who to turn to for help or simply just have someone to listen to when you need that extra push.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to you once again for joining me here at The Entrepreneurial You.  It is my deepest hope that the episodes will help you find your mojo or simply help to further nourish your already burning fire.  If you find value in this podcast and the message we’re trying to spread at The Entrepreneurial You, then click the subscribe button below, and give my show a review and (hopefully!) 5star rating.  This level of support will allow my show to gain the recognition it needs to reach as many people as possible. In turn, we’ll be able to share this incredible free medium of knowledge and experience with the world.

You are absolutely going to love the next episode with John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire. His journey as a world re-known Podcaster is simply amazing. I know it will inspire you as it did me. I’m super excited for you to listen, and I’m even more excited for you to begin your journey and for those already on it, to grow it beyond your wildest imagination.  So let’s get the party started…

Remember in the words, of Zig Ziglar, you were born to win but to be a winner you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win. Walk good!

Resources to #PeakYourPerformance:

15 Hints to Entrepreneurial Success: Lesson From A Caribbean Business Woman
Sermon Notes: A 52-Week Devotional for Quiet Meditation

Connect with Heneka Watkis-Porter

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7 Hindrances to Growth in the Caribbean and How to Overcome Them

In the words of the English Poet, John Donne, “No man is an island no man stands alone”. Click To Tweet

There couldn’t be a statement more on point as it relates to building successful relations in business and in life generally.

Yet sometimes we allow our very delicate egos to get the better of us. These egos, when left uncontrolled, have a tendency to play deceive us into thinking we can accomplish mighty feats without the help of others. This is a lie – and I’ll add, as we say in church circles, ‘from the pit of hell”. Statements such as “we are stronger together”“unity is strength” and “together everyone achieves more” are not just fancy sounding and over-used cliches. Entrepreneurs must be in constant awareness of this to allow for excellence in the pursuit of our passion.

I’ve had several opportunities to work with a number of individuals from within the Caribbean as well as the developed world. While there are no perfect relationships – they are all works in progress -, and that working with persons in the developed world has its fair share of challenges, I’ve witnessed some unfortunate success-inhibiting traits that are evident whilst doing business with some of my Caribbean counterparts.

Suffice it to say, defining the Caribbean in and of itself is a challenge. Although not widely used as a definition, in some instances it is based on geology (Caribbean Plate) i.e. structural features and commonalities which allow for similar tectonic, seismic and volcanic features and processes.

The Caribbean is also defined in terms of geographical location which is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and is called the Caribbean Basin. This includes most of the islands in the Lesser and Greater Antilles as well mainland Central and North South America such as Venezuela and Colombia.

Then there is the Historical Caribbean which saw the impact of slavery, colonisation by the English, French, Dutch and the Spanish, indentureship and the plantation system. The commonality in this instance is the historical or cultural experiences that these territories shared at one time or another.

Politics also has its say in defining the Caribbean. Some nations are now independent – former colonies that are self-governing, some are Associated states – not independent and enjoy all the rights and privileges of the country that governs it.   Some are still colonial dependencies, governed by other countries but do not enjoy the rights and privileges of those in an Associated state. For the purpose of this discourse, the Caribbean takes into consideration all the factors that help to define it, making it unique relative to the other parts of the world.

To continue, the gains made by Caribbean nationals overtime in our outlook and approach to building effective working relationships should not be discounted. However, there are much more grounds to cover. I am positive we will be able to overcome any remaining barriers to growth, leaving selfishness behind.

Our success-inhibiting traits are sometimes subtle but in some instances, the ‘small island mentality’ is quite overt. If we are not careful, realising our full potential will be an impossible task if we do not take the necessary steps to shift our thought process to get to maturity.

While my observations are not scientific and may very well be applicable to other business folks outside of the Caribbean, for the benefit of this article, I will hold all other factors constant.

Here are 7 of my observations and possible recommendations for dealing with them:

The crab in a barrel phenomenon

Many times I’ve seen where persons could assist others in getting to their next level yet they refused to do so for a number of reasons. One is that they would rather keep that individual where they are thinking if I can’t have it, neither should you. The thought process may very well be that if they help them achieve success then said person receiving assistance may outshine them. Like crabs in a barrel, with every attempt someone makes to move forward, they are being pulled down by others who view them as a threat.

We need to begin to see others as partners rather than competitors. When we start doing this we work to collaborate rather than compete.

Lack of Transparency/Lack of Trust

As Caribbean folks, we tend to keep our ideas close to our chests in the initial stage for fear that someone will steal it. We want to wait until we have attained perfection before making a move. We must remember that ideas are a dime a dozen and it’s the execution that makes the difference.

In order to gain the trust of others, we must be willing to expose ourselves and become vulnerable. There is nothing wrong in making that first move to be transparent and open with others. The liberation that accompanies this action is worth the exposure.

This is how I’ve always done it

The theory of Relativity developed by German Physicist, Albert Einstein has changed life as we know it. But probably the most profound impact he’s had is to posit that “insanity is doing the same thing over and again expecting different results”. Yet so many Caribbean folks are unwilling to unlearn their way of doing things to in order to learn a better way even when their way has not proved any form of fertility. In theory, many persons agree with this but what they practice when the rubber hits the road is another matter.

I like Abraham Maslow’s ‘4 stages of learning’ theory. Unbeknownst to us, many of us are at stage 1 in the learning process unconscious incompetence’. This is where we have no idea that we don’t know. Next is the conscious incompetence were we become aware that we don’t know it all. Then there is the conscious competence where we have become more consciously adept at doing things. It is the fourth and final stage that we aim to reach – the unconscious competence.

In order to get to this stage of second-nature capability, we must have an open mind. It is very liberating when we are at the growth level where we can humbly accept that someone’s idea may be more effective in attaining the desired result than our own.

Superiority Complex

I’ve watched with intrigue how some Caribbean nationals from some countries operate with a preconceived notion that because we are from a particular territory then we are superior to others. This is usually accompanied by a feeling of rights and entitlement.

While some Caribbean countries may have more notoriety than others because of their size, economy, culture or other factors, in the grand scale of things the islands in the Caribbean are just a dot on the globe when compared to the rest of the world.

When we think of competing on a global scale, each country cannot depend on trade within itself to achieve above average level of success.

We must think bigger than we actually are; we must recognise that on our own we can’t make it very far.

Threat of Another Successful Person

Someone once said that “if you are the brightest person in the room then you are in the wrong room”. Yet for some of us, the moment we realise that another person is as equally or more talented than us, we quickly begin to strategize how to victimise and sideline that person.

Each of us is uniquely gifted; there is no need to be jealousy of others, we only need to stay in our individual lanes and watch the magic happens.

This issue is deeply rooted in insecurity. Daily affirmations can serve as confidence boosters. This allows us to channel that energy in affirming who we are rather than spend time feeling threatened by the strengths of others. Do this for a number of days consecutively and watch how a shift in mindset takes place.

Opportunistic/Parasitic Behaviour

This is evident in the way some of us network at business events. The minute we get connected to others, our main interest becomes what can they do for us.

We should consider networking akin to going on a date. Just as there are things you wouldn’t do on a first date, apply this same principle to networking.

We want to aim to find ways to provide value to others. It really is more blessed to give than receive. When we extend our hands to others, they will feel the need to reciprocate.

Let’s aim to become a river rather than a reservoir.

Burning Bridges

Physical bridges are built to facilitate passing over an obstacle with success. We sometimes treat others as bridges to aid in the achievement of our goal. No sooner than they’ve become accomplished, the bridges are burnt.

Before we burn bridges, we must consider that we may want to cross over again. Let’s instead aim to enhance our relationships with others through careful nurturing and sensitivity.

We must make a conscious effort to esteem others as we value ourselves. As we begin to do this, we will also begin to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

In the final analysis, there is no perfect human being but we must make every effort to be our best selves. As we consciously seek growth, not just in terms of our economic pursuits but in who we are deep inside, our productivity will increase. It is possible for all of us to collaborate and achieve much more than we could ever do on our own.

After the Caribbean is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people which are our greatest asset.

Let’s do it!

Heneka Watkis-Porter is a serial-entrepreneur, IBI Ambassador, cultural ambassador, sociologist, author, speaker, fashion designer and podcaster.  She wakes up every day with a grateful heart as she lives her purpose of “life transformation through inspiration”. She is the leading lady behind Patwa Culcha International, the company that owns the authentic Jamaica clothing brand, Patwa Apparel.