The First Women Entrepreneur Podcast in the Middle East.
Over the last year I have spoken to 42 different women on the Learning Curve Podcast. From all walks of life across the Middle East. Each time they have shared their entrepreneurial story, their challenges, their successes, how they organize their day, how they see social media, where they seem themselves on their own learning curve and so much more. It’s been an amazing journey and I feel privileged that these ladies have opened up to me so that more women out their can take their own entrepreneurial journey. Their stories were all so different, so varied, so personal too yet there was a common pattern and this I feel came down to these 5 common traits.
I watched a video recently of Jada Pinkett Smith's answer to her daughter asking, "How hard is it being a wife and mother?" – And the message was pretty clear but there was one part that resonated with me. You have to take responsibility for your own happiness. It’s a crucial milestone and its key lies in recognizing your own attitude towards events and people. It’s all easy and clear in theory but in reality its pretty hard. We have to be personally responsible for our happiness not rely on someone else to make us happy. The big power house in the seeking of happiness is the influence our thoughts. How many of us can feel a negative thought pop up and it kicks your gut into butterfly central? Your brain then start to generate more negative thoughts and before you know it, you are angry, upset, and hostile even. All because we haven’t been able to control how our brain’s thought process. Negative thoughts are an evolutionary thing. They are there to protect us. The fight or flight approach. Negative thoughts curb our risk and keep us from harm.
From my prospective - all my guests found a way to be happy. They were passionate about what they did, constantly rebuilding their vision and adding more layers to their business. This constant cultivation of their passion meant their negative thoughts were probably there but they kept them at bay because they really loved what they did. Through my interviews I could see a constant positive mindset, a can-do attitude and taking responsibilities for their own lives and happiness.
The Middle East has in the news this year been a wave of disruption, discontent and deterioration with very little to see if it is going to be better. But I believe happiness starts with one person first and then it radiates. All these women, given the unhappiness that exists around us, continue to thrive and grow even in the face of adversity. Jody Ballard recently told me that ‘Women set the mood in the house… ‘, well if these women on the learning curve podcast are anything to go by then these women are setting the mood for the future and that is let’s find our passion, be happy and take action.
2. Get Out of your Comfort Zone
The comfort zone can really be a scary place. Yes it can. When you are in your comfort zone, you get soooo comfortable that you don’t want to move anymore, do anything different, you can’t see anything different or if anything is wrong. You keep everything the same and repeating what you are doing. Your own learning curve could be pretty flat in your comfort zone. Risk is minimal and you think everything is wonderful. But really it’s a scary, complacent place. How are you EVER supposed to grow and move forward if you are lounging around in your comfy chair? How are you ever supposed to grow if you do the same things over and over again? Are you in your comfort zone? Like Goldilocks, have you found that comfy chair and you are not moving from it??? Please move NOW. Please reflect on yourself for a moment and see how comfy you are and if it’s off the charts, please stand up and get ‘uncomfortable’!!! All my guests have gotten uncomfortable, and look how well it has served them. That shift has made each of them achieve amazing products and services, help them take their passion and their business to another level and serve the customers better. We can’t move on our learning curves until we seek the uncomfortable and make that the new norm.
3. Ask For Help
One of my own terrible traits, is the inability I don’t ask for help. It’s a life skill that we should all learn and one that we shouldn’t be ashamed to share. How many businesses do you know that have been successes because of one person and no one else helped. Hmm…. I’m struggling to think of one. Yes key trends in all my interviews was the importance of team work, collaboration or partnerships. Or my new favourite word, ‘Collapetition’. I learnt this word this year and I love it. When I was at business school, we were taught to understand the competition, learn its strategies so we could beat them, but we were never taught we could ‘work’ with them. The idea of working with your competition to benefit you both I think is a great idea and this year one of my goals is to be more open to asking for help and more collaborative.
All my guests have sought help. They all recognized that in order to be successful at what they do, they can’t do it alone and they have asked for help. Plus the fact we don’t all have the skills needed to make something amazing happen. Synergy is another great word I like to use and I have been able to make that happen when I have connected people I think would be a great fit for one another on a number of occasions. Asking for help will help you climb your learning curve one step at a step.
Don’ Listen to the Naysayers
When I first started podcasting, views were very black and white. You either were a podcast listener and loved podcasts or people were not into them because they really didn’t get them. And sometimes it was weird saying, ‘I’m a podcaster’ and then wait for the ‘oh I love podcasts’ or the complete opposite, ‘what’s a podcast?’. Personally I love the medium, I’m not a great reader and though I do love visual, you can listen to a podcast in your car, on the bus, when you are exercising, or at work even. Believe me I had my moments when I wanted to stop the show but I always found when I got to that point something would happen that would encourage me to continue the show. The show really has had its own learning curve, and it’s been one rollercoaster.
This brings me back to my guests. All of them at some point heard the negative comments but they have refused to listen. Refusing to let ‘you can’t’ be the heartbeat of their project. Their own self-determination which which was packed with motivation, good defiance and a ‘can do’ attitude pulled them through. We all create our own businesses to make money but sometimes passion does out ride money. I know we can always make money but we can’t always just create passion about a product or service that has to be grown with the right amount of love and care.
Failure is just a dip on the learning curve. All curves have an upswing. Where are you on your Learning Curve?
This is actually my bio line on my twitter profile and I really like it. Each time I read it, it makes me step back and see where I am on my own learning curve. I hope it has the same effect on other tweeters looking at my profile. I’ve also starting asking my guests as a way for them to take a look at themselves and allow them that moment to step back too. The answers have always been progressive, flowing and moving. They are not stagnant, which is a positive thing. But overall none are scared of the word ‘failure’. In fact most of them have faced failure in some way and have created a bridge to cross over it and take the lessons learnt. The one lesson I learnt this year from these ladies, is seeing failure as a ‘positive upset’ and one that you can grow from. Its feels like one of those things we anticipate to happen and then once we have done the mistake we are fine again. We got over that hurdle and now we are moving forward again. So like my twitter line, failure is just a dip. It’s how we react to it that makes all the difference.
So that concludes my 5 common traits from my guests this year. Next year’s guest line up is already exciting and I can’t wait to get Year 2 of the learning curve Podcast off the ground and growing again. This year I am hoping to collaborate with some great women building entrepreneur groups and find more amazing women to share on the show. I’m personally very thankful to all the ladies that shared their stories on my show, you were all amazing and I loved connecting with each and every one of you. This month of December has been my most successful download count ever, with over 5000 downloads from across the world. I remember in January 2015 my download was just 300. The show is definitely on an upswing. Onwards and upwards we go.
I wish all the podcast's listeners and readers a Happy & Prosperous 2016.
November has been the BEST month EVER for The Learning Curve Podcast. We had a total of 4600 downloads. This is a spectacular result and I'm so delighted the podcast is finally getting the hits it deserves. Most months I was seeing an average download of 800 - 900 downloads. We are only a week into December and Im already at 1300 downloads. WOW. Look at these stats for November 2015.
My target for December is to hit 5000 downloads. I really hope I make it! :) I could be adventures and aim to double that 4600 but christmas is upon us and people may be busier focused on family time and activities.
The breakdown of the geographic stats has also been interesting. My goal is to focus on the Women Entrepreneurs of the Middle East. Share their story, their success and obstacles and show the world that Women in this region are just as ambitious and driven as everywhere else. So my geographical results also show different countries taking an interest in the women entrepreneurs of this region.
Clearly the US has the largest share but that will be because of the growing podcast community that is there. My show is connecting with many different countries I didn't even think about. France, Singapore, Slovakia & United Kingdom are high downloads zones for the show.
These results are exciting and I can't wait to see where the show will be in 6 months from now. There is a strong interest in hearing about women entrepreneurs in the region and other women are keen to hear from more women taking the plunge and following their passion.
Watch this space. :) I'll let you know how my downloads are next month.
Onwards and upwards right? :)
[PODCAST #63] Persevere, because one day its great & Amazing; the next day you are thinking, 'what am i doing?, ' says Antoinette Chorlton, Fashion & Style Entrepreneur. (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
The Learning Curve Podcast - THE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East.
How many of you out there feel disconnected with the styles and fashions that you see on the run way? How many of you look at it and think, 'I could never wear that!'. Well my next guest, Antoinette Chorlton wants you to see how runway wear can be 'real wear'. She wants to help women reconnect with their love of fashion and style.
From a young age her dad indulged everything 'fashion'. She shopped with him, got creative and really connected with her style and what would become, 'Antoinette'. But as her working age got closer her dad wanted her to have a proper career and not go down the fashion route.
But Antoinette is a savvy, hard working and positive person, skills her father engrained in her. She did follow her dad's advise but her love of fashion remained. Today she is an international fashion stylist and the is the founder of 'Glamour on the Go', a style agency focused on fashion events and style presentations. She is also the co-founder of Moda Africa - an international fashion agency introducing and representing African Fashion Designers globally. And the founder of her newest endeavour - Shop My Closet. A fashion event for high end & designer pre-loved clothes.
A mum, wife, daughter, & thriving business owner, she is a making 'Glamour' easier to connect with and helping women find their own 'fashionista'. In this very open and sometimes 'laugh out loud' comical conversation, Antoinette shares her journey with us from her childhood to how she envisions 'Shop My Closet' being a household name in the Middle East. - Listen Now
'Its the Now, That Determines What Happens Tomorrow' says Anna.
In a world where inefficiency can be costly here is a lady who has built her business success of business outsourcing on great advise she received from her mum. Her mum said, 'success is built on systems, efficiency and economies'. This key advise has helped her and her partner build a group of businesses that focuses on scalability,creating efficiencies, streamlining processes and helping people save money.
Anna Heystek is a serial entrepreneur and a business enabler. She has the gift to see where there is a problem and when she sees it, she makes it her mission to fix the problem and make it an efficient working entity again. She loves everything to do with systems, processes, technology, people and people behaviour and loves to take away the pain from people's operational processes. But the journey there hasn't been smooth. She's made mistakes, and had failures but she gets up and does it all again, with all that knowledge and her learning curve tucked in her pocket.
Anna is an inquisitive and driven women who aspires to be a coach and empower people to reach their full potential. She reads lots and has been criticised for being too futuristic with things she wants to implement but like some of her business idols she is full throttle with her passion to build businesses that serve and focus on knowing now what we can do tomorrow. Listen Now
ABout the blog
Share interviews with Arab and Expat women entrepreneurs, sharing their entrepreneurial journey with their top business advise. We blog about knowledge, articles, FAQ on social media and share tools and resources to help us get going in our niche.