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Category : Caribbean Entrepreneurs

Caribbean Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship

Diaspora Marketing- Unleashing the Power of the Diaspora for Building Caribbean Economies and Businesses

I was recently having a conversation with some friends from the Caribbean, and the topic of brain drain arose. We were all university graduates who had migrated from the Caribbean, now living in Canada, with strong connections to our respective islands and a desire to make a difference in those islands. This started us thinking; why aren’t Caribbean countries tapping into the nationals living in different parts of the world?

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship Social Media

My Thoughts On The 4 Reason For The Rise of the Side Hustle

As I look back on my working life, whether it was working as the Officer in Charge at Grenada Public Service Credit Union now called Ariza Credit Union or later in financial services in Canada. I have always had a side hustle. During those times, I was just making some extra money, either writing business plans or social media marketing. I did my undergraduate degree in Economics; I never thought I’d now be working in digital media, much less doing a Master of Digital Media. However, my love for digital media grew as I got deeper into my side hustle. Now my side hustle has taken over my life.

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Content Creation Creative Entrepreneurial Stories Ryerson MDM Social Media Storytelling

How Tamarind Balls, White Envelopes, and Art will Create a Successful Storytelling Entrepreneur in 2017

My life’s ultimate goal is to become a very successful storytelling entrepreneur, which I am currently preparing myself for. In my small digital marketing hustle, I assist small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs with innovative digital strategies that lure and satisfy potential and returning clients. In addition, I am currently working on honing my storytelling skills, and by December 2017, at the end of my Master of Digital Media Programme, I will create a storytelling journal. The journal will include the different structures for telling stories in a digital world and demonstrate how to engineer those stories for spreadability.

From my interaction with many successful entrepreneurs, many of them share common stories about hustling and starting businesses as children such running lemonade stands and servicing paper routes. Consequently, I decided to look at my past to see if I was entrepreneurial back in the day. I started thinking about my days in Grenada when I attended St. Andrew’s Anglican Primary School. Did I do anything that was entrepreneurial there? I certainly didn’t have a lemonade stand; however, I remember my tamarind ball hustle. When I was young, I remember seeing vendors in the town of Grenville selling tamarind balls to passersby and thought to myself, what if I took the same concept but sold tamarind balls in my school? I already had access to the main ingredient because there was a huge tamarind tree next to my house, but the startup capital came in the form of a dollar I borrowed from my mom to buy the sugar for my business venture. Once everything was in place, I started making and selling tamarind balls to my schoolmates. I remember the first day I sold out. I couldn’t believe it; the feeling was indescribable. Admittedly, while writing this piece, the nostalgia reignited that said feeling, and I started smiling ridiculously.

Soon, tamarind went out of season; however, because of my initial experience, I somehow caught the entrepreneurial bug and moved on to another venture, an envelope hustle. Put simply; I sold white envelopes to my classmates. Up to this day, I can’t remember where I got the envelopes from, nor do I know why my classmates were buying them in the first place since they had no need for them. As a matter of fact, upon reflection, I now feel bad about this, but the envelope hustle didn’t last long. Firstly, before going further, however, I must admit that my next venture was the epitome of plagiarism. However, in my defense, I had no idea about that concept back then. Secondly, I must apologize to my friend Amwell for using his brother’s art for financial gains since my next business involved selling copied work. Sometimes when Amwell brought his brother’s art at school, which was generally drawings of popular cartoon characters and superheroes, I traced over his drawings then sold the duplicates to my schoolmates for 25 cents. Therefore, Amwell if you ever read this, forgive me for my ignorance. Since my conscience is now clear, I can now elaborate on the other legal businesses I later ran.

As time went on, the symptoms of the entrepreneurial bug were still evident. When I attended secondary school, I joined the Junior Achievers programme. I was the president of my company which was called “Noix de Coco Ltd”. The company was made up of students from St Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School, Grenville Secondary School, and St Joseph Convent Grenville. Our company made and sold local coconut products to the general public. The little company gave me a true sense of what entrepreneurship was all about since I experienced all of the facets of running a business such as marketing, production, book keeping, management, etc. firsthand.

Related Article- Do this in 2017 to Grow

Admittedly, there was a period when I believe the drive to enter business went away for a while, but fortunately, I got it back in my last year of university while living in Mexico. Consequently, to further assist me in my entrepreneurial journey, I am currently pursuing a Master of Digital Media degree at Ryerson University. My Major Research Project is all about storytelling and getting stories to spread from a business perspective. I want to help businesses tell their stories because I think it’s one of the most underrated skills in entrepreneurship. I am currently storytelling for small clients and the #IamGrenadian project, and so far, the result has been great. I aim to document and blog my progress as I become a master storytelling entrepreneur, and I am glad to have you along for the journey.

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Facebook Facebook Advertising Social Media

Every Caribbean Business Needs to Start This Now if They Want to Grow in 2017

As a digital media enthusiast, there are two people I look to. One is Gary Vaynerchuk, the ultimate hustler, and the other is Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist whom I had the pleasure of meeting on his visit to Ryerson University. Both men are accomplished authors. Gary’s books include, “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook”, “Crush It”, “#AskGaryVee”, and “Thank You Economy”, and Rushkoff authored “Programme or be Programmed” and “Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus”. I see Gary as the practical industry practitioner and Rushkoff as the academic. However, both men agree with me on one thing, and that is, we live in an attention economy. The ultimate asset in business today is attention. Businesses are all vying for our attention and he who knows where to find the attention will win. I believe Caribbean businesses can find attention everywhere, but the variable of success could be much more valuable if underpriced or cheap attention is found.

Many Caribbean businesses invest a large part of their budget in radio and television advertising which often times does not pay the dividends that entrepreneurs envision. Admittedly, it would be irresponsible to declare that mass media advertising doesn’t work; however, much better ways to spend your advertising dollars exist. Let’s take Grenada for instance. As a business, you could advertise your products or services on Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN) or Maitland Television (MTV) at premium cost. With such an investment especially for prime time programming, I am sure you would be able to reach the people you intend to. However, I think there are more effective ways to spend your money, reach the same or possibly more people when compared to television but at much lower costs, and that is using Facebook advertising.

The cheapest form of advertising right now and entering 2017 is Facebook advertising, and it will be the case for a while until everyone jumps on board which would most likely drive the cost up. Therefore, now is the time to start putting some of your advertising dollars into Facebook ads. Facebook is the most powerful social media platform in the world, outside countries like China. With 1.6 billion monthly active users and the ability to get as targeted as you desire, how could you lose? With Facebook ads, you could probably reach most in your country that are interested in a particular product, between a certain age, and of a particular gender. Let’s say, for instance; you have a product for women between the ages of 25 and 40. When you advertise on TV, do you have any guarantee that only women in the aforementioned age range would see your product? No, you don’t, but with Facebook ads you could. Now analyze your personal television watching habits. When you watch TV and the program breaks for advertisements, do you sit and intently watch all the ads, grab your phone to tweet or post on Facebook about what you’re watching, or do you use the time to get a glass of water or go to the restroom? Based on your personal admission, you may see why television advertisements may not be as effective even though it is costly.

Additionally, if you are an advertising or marketing agency, adding Facebook advertising to your services will be a huge boost for your business. One of the excuses I always hear is that people do not understand Facebook ads, but I have a secret weapon for you to learn about Facebook advertising. It’s called Google. You can learn anything from Google and Facebook advertising is no exception. Unfortunately, some persons falsely claim that Facebook ads do not work when they have never tried them. However, I challenge you to give it a shot because I have been running ads for the last two years, and I have been getting positive results. Therefore, try it and tell me how it goes.

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Facebook Social Media

5 Reasons Why Buying Facebook Likes Is a Waste of Time and Money for Your Business

I recently had a client who I was consulting and one of the things he was working on was setting up his Facebook page and generating traffic. He decided that in order to generate some likes for his new Facebook page, he would purchase a couple thousand likes for his page. I have never been a fan of buying likes or any kind of audience on social media for that matter, but I was interested to see what would happen.

After the order for likes was made, I decided to check out the page and look at the persons who liked, and when the likes were coming in steady. I started noticing something weird. The persons who were liking his page: 1- Were not the target market of his business, 2- These persons all had different profile pictures but the exact same post, 3- maximum number of post on the page was three. Basically the profiles were all fake and to me that was a complete waste of time. Why would anyone want likes from fake profiles? My client immediately stopped, but here are 5 reasons buying likes is a waste of time.

1. Poor or No engagement: If the majority of fans are fake, then when you publish your best content you will hardly be reaching anyone. When offers are published in your business, it will be a waste of time and there will be no true engagement and no one to reach.

2. It will mess up your EDGERANK: Your EDGERANK score is based on the amount of visits to your page, your comments, likes on contents and how much time it is shared. If you purchased fans and the people on your page are fake and not interacting with your brand then your EDGERANK score will be very low, and Facebook will see your page as unimportant.

3. You may lose future prospective real fans: If someone stumbles upon your page and realize that no one is talking about this or there is absolutely no interaction, they may perceive that what you’re doing is unimportant and just move away without becoming a fan.

4. It’s a waste of money: Normally in business whenever you purchase something, it should be something of value. In the case of buying fans, there is no value there, you are basically buying something or someone that doesn’t exist that will add absolutely no value to your brand.

5. Unable to generate leads and sales: True Facebook marketers use Facebook as a means of generating leads and then sales. So unless you are purchasing adds which can reach real people, then marketing to your “purchased” fan base and trying to get them off Facebook and unto your website, landing or sales pages will be futile since that may not be real.

There are alternatives to purchasing fake fans or fake likes; one can ask friends on their personal page to like their page and invite their friends to like it. They can put their Facebook page in their email signature, create valuable contents that will attract people and promote them, and place their fan page in the persona description on their personal page. One can also simply purchase adds which can generate likes, leads and sales. There is no shortcut to marketing in general, the same goes for Facebook marketing. Take your time and grow your fan base, there are amazing programs and people that can teach you how to do so such as Amy Porterfield and Brian Moran. Just stop wasting your company’s time and money.

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship Social Media

Why Destra Garcia Is Dominating Social Media And Music While Staying True To The Caribbean

I spent 5 years in Mexico, and one of my fondest memories was the occasional “Fiesta Caribeña” my friends and I organized. We mainly planned and executed the event to maintain our Caribbean identity and culture as well as to help our Mexican friends experience our different countries through us without actually going there. With that said, it then begs the question, how can the average Caribbean national or even better those in privileged positions like entertainers play their part by painting pictures of the Caribbean to others who are not as privileged to be there? My last two articles on the Huffington Post dealt with the responsibility Caribbean natives have to help control the narrative about our respective countries in the media and how Caribbean soca artists can use social media to build their brands worldwide. Those topics are very important to me, and I also think they go hand in hand since Caribbean artists and well-known personalities can make a significant contribution by promoting themselves while eliminating some of the misconceptions people may have about the Caribbean.

Often times, saying what should or needs to be done is easy but actually following through is most times where the difficulty lies. I firmly believe that action is the only true agent of change, so I thought the best way to strengthen my points was to follow up with an article highlighting someone of reputable standing that is practicing exactly what I outlined in my first two pieces. I thought who better to feature than the Caribbean Queen of Bacchanal herself Destra Garcia. In my opinion, Destra does a great job with social media and have built a raving community around her brand online. She uses her music to give people in different cities around the world a view of Caribbean, especially her home country Trinidad and Tobago, without really being there.

Her latest single, “Luv with the Riddim“, which is a cross between soca and pop, is a classic example of how she is able to infuse a Caribbean flavor into everything she does. While it is easy for me to provide my opinion on why Destra perfectly epitomises what I spoke about in my last two articles, I thought it would better to get the views directly from The Queen of Bacchanal herself. So I spoke with Destra, and I was absolutely blown away. Blown away not only because she is awesome, and I am a fan, but by the fact that she embodies everything I have been speaking about. Caribbean artists, especially those on the rise, should definitely take a page from her book to see that what I have been writing about is indeed possible.

In terms of helping shape and control the image and reputation of Caribbean countries, Destra indicated that whenever she goes to any country to perform, she does not tailor her performances to suit the country. Although she is blessed with the unique ability of versatility with many different musical genres such as reggae and the likes, she is primarily known as a soca artist, as evidenced by her eleven captivating albums. Consequently, when she performs, it’s authentically Caribbean. She brings a colourful display, energy, and plain fun to her performances which are all synonymous with soca and by extension the Caribbean.

In all fairness, a number of other artists carry the Caribbean with them wherever they go and try to help control its image. For instance, I clearly remember when the regrettable death of a tourist occurred in Grenada, Hollice “Mr. Killa” Mapp, one of Grenada’s cultural ambassadors, took to Facebook to address the issue and tried to dispel some of the rumours that were circulating at the time. However, not all Caribbean nationals and entertainers, particularly soca artists, take advantage of social media in that way to help shape their country’s image and build their brands.

Additionally, as a digital marketing strategist, one of the things I enjoyed most about my talk with Destra was how active she is on social media where she has cultivated a huge community around her music. While many popular figures have social media managers, Destra sees things differently. Therefore, to build a level of authenticity, she believes that it is imperative that she does it herself. Just like Gary Vaynerchuk, a social media mogul and chief advocate of its use, she is very engaging with her online community. Every tweet, mention, comment, like, retweet, and reply all come directly from The Queen of Bacchanal herself and not someone acting on her behalf like most people of her caliber do.

I believe that the Caribbean has a lot to offer and not only where music is concerned. For instance, if most Caribbean nationals, regardless the number of followers they have on Instagram or social media on a whole, decided to take matters into their own hands and not let the media houses in the large countries shape people’s perception of the Caribbean, huge changes may result. I also believe that Caribbean soca artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, and others need to use social media to build their brands and communities around their brands. Consequently, social media is certainly the way to go.

At the end of my talk with Destra, I was left with an interesting tidbit however. I asked her to name one thing a lot of people do not know about her, and she responded that many people do not know that she speaks three languages namely English, French, and Spanish. This was rather interesting to me since, I speak the same three languages. Well in all honesty, my French is terrible, but soon it will be as fluent as hers. More importantly, I even thought to myself that with her ability to speak multiple languages she is in a privileged position and has greater potential to share the Caribbean even further with foreign audiences if she so chooses.

I will keep advocating for Caribbean nationals and entertainers to help shape their countries’ brands online, and with renewed vigour after my conversation with Destra, The Queen of Bacchanal, who is a chief proponent of my belief, I will continue to encourage Caribbean people to use social media, the fastest, easiest, and off course the cheapest way, to build their communities around their brands. Why is Destra able to dominate social media and build a thriving community around her brand? It is because she stays true to herself and not afraid to help shape the narrative of the Caribbean wherever she goes.

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship

3 Words That Will Make You Change Your Behaviors Right Now

According to Gary Vaynerchuk “If you really understand the meaning of those 3 words I truly believe most of you will change your behavior right now !!”

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship

To my Grenadian and Caribbean Entrepreneurs; Stop Disrespecting the Hustle

This morning casually having a conversation and just chatting, something came to my attention that angered me greatly; I had to write this. Someone mentioned that one of Grenada’s top photographers got an opportunity to go further his skills in China and another person who thought he shouldn’t have gotten that opportunity started raising hell. One of the statements that was made was that he just came on the scene two years ago more or less, so why is he getting that opportunity when there are people on the photography scene longer.  Frankly I do not know any of the parties personally, however I had to address this because of the level of disrespect towards the hustle and towards the market.

Let’s get this clear, it doesn’t matter if you are black, white, Asian, 70 years old, 10 years old, if you had a business for the past 50 years or if you started 4 weeks ago. If you have the balls to put in the work necessary to build your brand and take your business to the next level the market will reward you. The most important word in business is hustle. You cannot and will not build a business or build your brand if you live for weekends, if as soon as 4pm you are done for the day and you go home to watch TV and go hang out with your boys. The market will respect and reward you when you put in the work necessary.

There are many talented photographers in Grenada and around the world for that matter, but talent is not enough, you have to put in the work. If you are sitting down at home with your talent while someone else is out there putting in the work to build their brand, that person will beat you every time. It is too easy today to market yourself and build your brand for free to waste your time trying to shit on someone else’s hustle when the market reward them with a win. The mere fact that someone was able to start their business 2 years ago and become one of the most successful and known personality in the industry means that everyone that was there before him sat back and let that shit happen. Being a great photographer is not enough, you need to have a business mindset and if you don’t know about marketing and branding then team up with someone who does, business is a team sport.

Entrepreneurs in Grenada and the Caribbean need to realize that they are not entitled to anything, so first of all get rid of this entitlement mentality.  Your age does not entitle you to anything in business, the amount of time you have been in business does not entitle you to anything. You have to work, when everyone else is having fun, you should be working, you should be honing your craft. Hustle will always beat talent when talent doesn’t hustle. If you are complaining and going all out to degrade someone and belittle your competitors proves you have absolutely no idea about how business operates. Instead of complaining, focus on your shit, go out there and put in the work. If you want to get the opportunity to go China, put in the work, if you want more clients, put in the work, if you want to be well known in a particular industry, put in the work.

If you are not going to put in the work, if you are not going to hustle, if you prefer to watch Game of Throne, if you prefer to be out partying hard and having fun instead of working on your business then you have absolutely no right to talk and try badmouth someone who is doing it and being rewarded by the market. And the market consists of people, just in case you guys were thinking it’s some big bubble out there. If you disagree with all that I said no problem, take me up on it and I will take you to Hustle School Kimron Corion style!

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship

Top 10 Inspirational Quotes for Caribbean Businesses’ Success

Today I want to share some of the quotes I use to stay motivated in all aspects of business. Check them out and get inspired.

  • Steve Jobs- When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

 

  •  Young Jeezy- I just think a hustler’s ambition is that I never stop. I start off hustling and said I’ll never stop hustling. An ambitious hustler is the one to hustle the hustlers. When I grew up, my heroes were hustlers. Now I’m their hero.

 

  • Jim Rohn- Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.

 

  • Conrad Hilton- Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.

 

  • Sam Walton- There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

 

  • Harold Geneen- In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.

 

  • Kim Garst- Legendary service is one of the criteria that sets one company apart from its competitors. It’s the mark of a truly authentic company – you just can’t fake caring!

 

  • Aaron Lee- These days, social media waits for no one. If you’re LATE for the party, you’ll probably be covered by all the noise and you might not be able to get your voice across. It could only mean that if you want to be heard by the crowd, you have to be fast; and on social media, that means you have to be REALLY fast.

 

  • Mark Zuckerberg- In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

 

  • Bill Gates- Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

 

 

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Caribbean Entrepreneurs Social Media The Beyond the hustle show

Growing a Business with Social Media, Ideas vs Execution, and When I Started Hustling

Beyond the Hustle

These are some of the questions I am frequently asked while conducting my show Beyond the Hustle for Caribbean and Aspiring Entrepreneurs. Subscribe to the show here 

How do you use Social Media to Grow a Business?

My answer stems from what I learned while working as a digital marketing strategist as well as something Gary Vee said to Larry King.

Respect Social Media– Firstly, you need to understand that social media is real, and it should be respected. Do not be like the strict radio listeners that didn’t respect the television when it first came onto the scene. Know that attention is one of the major currencies used in marketing, and in this day and age, the internet owns everyone’s attention so respect social media.

Respect the Context of Each Platform– When you attend church, your conversations are generally way different than those you hold with your friends at dinner. Similarly, social media platforms differ in context, effectiveness, applications, and use. Therefore, understand that Facebook is different from twitter and Instagram. So avoid automatically sharing replica posts to multiple platforms ASAP. Instead, present the same message in ways that best suits the context of what works best on that platform.

Provide Value– I recently had a client that hired me to run some Facebook ads, but the individual managed the business’ page. However, the person’s management approach was flawed since the individual was practically only posting content to get people to buy the product. Therefore, don’t be like this person. Instead, provide value to your community through simple, effective initiatives like free giveaways, useful tips, advice, etc. Once you have given enough value, you will earn the right to ask people to buy.

Which is More Important, Ideas or Execution? 

You may have hundreds of ideas in one week, but for success, they cannot stand alone since action is the only true agent of change. Consequently, without proper execution, your ideas are practically worthless, so although coming across workable ideas is an important step, execution is more essential.

How did you Get Interested in Business and Hustling?

When I was in younger, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in my village was a gentleman by the name of Oscar “Chest” Andall. At times, I hung out at his sports store looking at the products. More often than not, I didn’t buy anything, but he didn’t mind and would allow me to hang around. On one occasion, he had some beach balls he was selling for $5. He asked me to get some of the balls pumped for him because he didn’t have a pump at the time. I agreed. I filled a net with about 10 or 15 balls and carried them to a nearby location to fill them with air. After inflating the beach balls, someone saw them and asked me the price. I replied $5 then proceeded to ask if buying a ball would be of interest. Surprisingly, my sales pitch was on point because I was able to sell one of the balls on the spot. I felt good about the sale, and I decided to challenge myself to sell them all in 10 minutes, the time it took to walk back to the store. My prowess as a salesman was impeccable because when I returned, all I had were the empty net and the money from the sale of the balls. Chest was elated, and immediately hired me as a balls salesman. At one point, I was selling so many, and the market was so good that Chest increased his orders and even hired a number of my friends to help with the demand.

My friends and I sold balls every summer vacation period for many years. Admittedly, when I got to high school, I was showing more serious interest in girls, so my pride got the best of me, and I discontinued selling for Chest. However, years after stopping, some the younger guys in the village continued the venture. Upon reflection, my entrepreneurial spirit was alive even before my summer job. When I  attended primary school, I sold empty envelopes to my classmates. Quite frankly, to this day, I have no idea why they bought the envelopes since they had no use for them. However, one day my envelope hustle was stopped dead in its tracks because my supplier, a classmate, refused to restock my supply when I ran out. I didn’t make that situation deter me; instead, I moved on to another venture.  One of my friend’s brothers was an artist. He would occasionally bring his brother’s art at school, and I noticed how students, including myself, were captivated by his creations. He couldn’t give away the artwork nor sell them because they weren’t his. So one day I took a blank sheet of paper, placed it over a drawing, and traced it. After duplicating the image, I returned the original to my friend, made several copies with the copied version, and sold them to my classmates and anyone in the school who was interested. Further, at one point, I even made tamarind balls and sold them during break time. From those experiences, my hustling and business flames were ignited and continue to burn brightly to this day.

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