What’s the definition of an ‘entrepreneur’?
Well, if you asked me, I’d say ‘An entrepreneur is an ordinary person doing extraordinary things’ because, let’s face it, you’re a superhuman in your own right.
But can I tell you….being an entrepreneur from the Caribbean is that much more difficult.
I feel like people don’t really get what we have to deal with everyday. All these gurus out here talking about how they came from nothing and now they’re making seven figures, and that’s great and all…..meanwhile we’re here trying to figure out something as simple as how to get paid in a currency that’s not our own.
History has done a number on us…..for real.
Back in the day, the Caribbean was so disjointed. Imagine an entire chain of small islands and we don’t talk to each other, we don’t collaborate let alone visit each other. Then we had to deal with the unspoken lessons passed onto us by the ‘so-called’ first world countries
- We should know our place and dare not even think about venturing out there.
- We don’t have common sense, let alone business sense
- We’re so primitive that we still swing from vines, live in mud huts and wear grass skirts
It got to the point where here in Trinidad some ‘proudly’ exclaim that “Trinidad is not a real place” as if to say that we’re not real people….we don’t exist. It’s like Kanye said “They make us hate ourselves and love their wealth”. Everything foreign became better and more desirable. ‘White’ was somehow right and we refused to support our own.
When I first started on my journey, I was outright told by my own people that I should not even bother because the industry is dominated by white males and that I should get someone ‘light skinned’ to be the face of my company if I’m ever going to succeed; to top it all off I was from a third world country aka a country that didn’t exist.
I tried to show up anyway but I had to make sure my hair was straightened, and whenever the camera would go on, my accent changed….I told myself that this was the only way I would have been taken seriously…….but it just wasn’t me.
*show your hand if that sounds at all like you*
Well hun, things have changed…..and changed for the better.
People want authenticity and they want the real you and, would you know that coming from somewhere as exotic as the Caribbean is literally in high demand? Yes, the thing that was supposed to work against us is the very thing that is being carved right now.
They want diversity, they want to hear your patois and your slang. They want to see your beautiful brown skin and a piece of our culture. Think about it….where you live is literally on someone’s bucket list so they want to see and experience the sights and sounds through you!
When I made the decision to be me, people loved my ‘Trini’ accent, my Caribbean life and did not see my skin color as negative. As a matter of fact, they wanted to know more about me, my business and my life…about doubles, about drinking a cold coconut water from around the savannah and heading to the beach in the middle of the week ‘just because’.
I started playing soca music and using (and explaining) Trini lingo on all my training sessions;
I started talking about the great food we have here, the holidays and traditions that make us unique;
I started taking my followers on a virtual tour with images and videos of different parts of the island
This was when business began to soar and I was being featured in local and international publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Huff Post, BuzzFeed and more.
Understand that just because you’re from a small country doesn’t mean that you do anything small. Island life doesn’t mean laid back, because I know a ton of other entrepreneurs across the Caribbean (including you) who are putting in the work and making a name for themselves.
I share this because for a long time I was made to believe that being a black female from the Caribbean would have held me back in business but once I embraced what made me unique, my entire life changed…so if you’re reading this and you feel like there’s no place for you, you’re wrong….you are powerful and you need to show up and showcase your brilliance to the world.
Speaking of which, I’d love to invite you to the Your Business in Digital Summit that’s coming up during Global Entrepreneurship Week. I’ll be teaming up with other West Indian hot shots who are taking the world by storm and we’ll be sharing actionable tips and strategies to help take your business to the global stage. Trust me, we know what you’re going through so if you are ready to take that step, then take advantage of this free summit; Register here: https://yourbusinessindigitalsummit.com/