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.
pODCAST #45 amira Azzouz - Egypt Based Entrepreneur. Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Fustany.com - A Lifestyle & Fashion Hub In the Middle East for Arab Women by Arab Women
The Learning Curve Podcast - THE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa Region: Nicholla had the opportunity to talk with Amira Azzouz, Founder and Chief Editor for Fustany.com. A leading fashion and lifestyle portal in the Middle East by Arab women for Arab Women. She is a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum. She a two-something ambitious young lady who has a great vision to make her portal a hub for all things empowering for women. This is her story and her insight into what has contributed to her success of Fustany and her advise for women wanting to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Read More Here ---->
Azza Al Mughairy is an Emirati Girl with a collection of accolades on her wall. She's the Ambassador of the Saadiyat Beach Club, a TV Reporter, Radio Host, MC and public speaker. She's used her skill of public speaking to develop her Ambassadorship and BE a recognised and respected person of the local media. She talks about her Journey and her ideas of what makes a success entrepreneurial woman.
Azza is a lady with a grand plan and ambition. She started her career in banking but quickly saw her way into the hospitality industry when she became the Ambassador of the Saadiyat Beach Club, Abu Dhabi. In this interview Azza talks about her Freelance journey, she shares with us how she manages her day as she still has her TV reporting and Radio Host commitments to attend too. She talks about building her credibility in her business and what she sees as the top 3 skills an Emirati women ... Read More & Listen
PODCAST EPISODE #39 - Manar Al Hinai - Emirati Woman Entrepreneur, Award Winning Writer & Communications Consultant. She says 'Narrow Your Focus & BE Excellent at One or Two Topics.
The Learning Curve Podcast - THE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa Region sat down with Manar Al Hinai who is award winning Emirati Writer and Communications Consultant from Abu Dhabi. She is the Founder of 'Move' Consultancy and has found her niche in bringing together international tastes with local culture through the medium she has loved since a child.
Manar and I were keen to get started as this was our first podcast together and her first podcast episode ever. She's a young dynamic women with great energy and know how. She's a firm believer in staying focused and being excellent and one or two things. And this attitude has been reflected in the awards and accolades she has received. In 2011 she was the Arab Woman of the Year in Abu Dhabi. In 2012 & 2014 she was included in the 100 most inspiring individuals in the UAE. She's a women on a mission. This is her interview have a listen
''I've got a confession to make. And I'm sure it's a confession many other entrepreneurs share with me (go on, admit it...).
I'm a complete control freak.
There, I said it.
Oh, and I like to think that I can do everything by myself from start to finish.
Before dedicating myself to building my own freelance writing business, my corporate career was plagued by my own obsession to have to control and do everything myself.
And while I was very successful, I was also incredibly stressed and not exactly the happiest person alive.
Now that I'm running my own show, I have a choice:
Choice 1: Continue on as a control freak and try to do everything myself. This could possibly lead to a breakdown at some point.
Choice 2: Accept that I don't have to do it all myself and allow others to help me on my entrepreneurial journey.
So far, just by surrounding myself with the right kind of people, I've learnt how much I can learn from others. And in particular, other women who have more life and business experience than I do.
Sometimes, opportunities come your way that are just too good to pass up.
So when women leadership mentor Anoushka Gungadin offered to work with me to help teach me how to run my business properly, I jumped at the chance.
One session in and Anoushka's guidance has already made a massive difference as to how I'm tackling my major goal at the moment: Publishing a kid's book.
I won't lie -- It's confronting to work with a leadership coach initially. The first thing Anoushka got me to do was to fill out a form rating myself on a number of topics.
While it wasn't hard for me to complete the questions that related to my career, it was really confronting to honestly rate myself in areas such as health, peace, fulfillment, fun... The personal stuff!
If you're anything like me, as an entrepreneur, 99 per cent of your time is now dedicated to achieving your goals. Work/life balance isn't really a factor anymore because I legitimately love what I do.
The great thing about working with Anoushka is that she asks me the hard questions.
The kind of things I might not stop to contemplate such as:
What are three things I'm tolerating or putting up with in my life?
Better still, she helps me to focus on one thing at a time as opposed to trying to do everything at once and spreading myself too thinly.
As they say, creative minds are rarely tidy.
Best of all, it's very reassuring to know that I'm not alone in what I'm doing. I've written a lot about being both excited and scared about the road ahead. And it all still applies as I tap away at my laptop now.
Deep down inside, I can feel a certain calmness where there probably should be a lot of stress.
I dream of the day I go to pick up a book off the bookshelf, turn it around and see my name on the cover. I can't think of a better moment as a writer.
I'm sure there will be failure, setbacks and so on, but that's all part of the ride.
And as long as I continue to surround myself with people such as Anoushka, I can't really go wrong.
If you are an entrepreneur and you don't have anyone guiding you and holding your hand, you could already be taking your first step in the wrong direction.
Be brave - It's okay to let go and allow others to help you.
Consider this line from the great T.S. Eliot: Do I dare disturb the universe? I do - How about you?''
If want to contact any of these ladies then please contact Sarah via her website www.sarahcannata.com.au and Caroline via her Website www.moneymindsetcoaching.co.uk
[entrepreneurial journey] aline kamakian - taking her armenian heritage and her passion for armenian food global
Meet Aline Kamakian - Owner of Fig Holding which has established: Mayrig, Batchig, Made by Mayrig, M Catering and K the kitchen. Re-capturing her grandmothers recipes she has carved a career spreading her Armenian heritage and the taste of Armenian food through the Armenian restaurant, Mayrig. She is also the co-Author of the book 'Armenian Cuisine' and now she is working to Franchise her Armenian restaurant and take it Global.
She is the co - owner of the first Armenian restaurant in Lebanon and Dubai called Mayrig. Which means 'little mother' in Armenian. Her Dubai restaurant in in Downtown Dubai opened on the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in 2013. Mayrig Beirut was established in 2003. She describes herself as a talker not a writer and is passionate about her Armenian Heritage and Armenian Food.
She's also made the short listed for the caterer awards 2015 . I hope she wins because someone like her leading a unique restaurant with her business acumen would be such a fantastic blend and inspiration for women out there that want to be restaurateurs like her.
click here to hear her interview
Rasha Hamdan - Founder of Yislamoo. embracing arabic culture and arabic language into greeting cards, e-cards, envelopes and more.
Rasha Hamdan, Founder of Yislamoo, really is a women entrepreneur on a mission. With a love for her culture and her Arabic language she has found a way to express Arabic catchphrases, sayings and styles through a medium that allows her language and her roots to be documented and flourish.
Her enlightening conversation showed me how traditions we hold and bond we create can be embraced and evolve as our cultures and ways of life change. We shouldn't fear these changes we should adapt and make new of what we know.
Rasha keeps her fingers on the pulse of the waves in Arabic culture and language by listening to her customers and researching what is trendy. She has spent the last few years of her business breaking down fear and being safe and really finding the words of the Arab world which can be built into greetings cards, e-cards and more.
She is making it her mission to make Yislamoo synonymous with Arabic greetings and through it she is breaking down barriers and misconceptions about Arabic culture, one cards at a time.
Check out her podcast, her entrepreneurial journey and what she believes are the success factors to being a women entrepreneur.
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.