The Entrepreneurial You

Entrepreneurship makes the world go around. In this issue, GLM decided to highlight a couple of entrepreneurs that are making an impact with their small business. Check out their feature below:

I am a serial entrepreneur, author, fashion designer, speaker, and podcaster. Currently, my home is in Jamaica, where I live with my husband Adolph. My personal journey is a testament to the power of self-belief, determination, resilience and the miracles of God.

GLM: How and when did you get started with your business?

Watkis-Porter: I started the business in 2007. I’ve always wanted to own my own business. For years I agonized over what it would be. The ideas ranged from restaurant to spa, salon and a host of others in between. I’ve even had my practice selling apples at the front of my childhood home in Highgate, St. Mary in Jamaica. But one morning, after giving the agonizing thought some rest, it resurfaced all on its own – well not quite, it was triggered by a programme I was watching on television. I can’t quite recall what the interview was about but all I know it sparked something in me to jump out of bed knowing exactly what my business would be. Did I say jump? Yes, I did, even though I was home recovering from a minor operation I had done at the hospital the day before. This was supposed to be a time of rest – but I just couldn’t anymore, my adrenaline just wouldn’t let me. I began calling around a number of colleagues from past and current job. I wanted to get a name for my clothing brand which was to represent Jamaica in no uncertain way. I knew the power of brand Jamaica and I wanted to leverage that in my new business venture.

Within 2 weeks after scouting around for a name, I came up with Patwa Apparel and the rest, as they say, is history. I started as Patwa Apparel out of my love for the Jamaican culture, particularly our language. It is about making Jamaican messages making you smile. The truth is, I recognize that this business has been the launch pad for I’m doing today. It has opened the doors to many speaking engagements, expanded my network way beyond the shores of Jamaica and opened my eyes to what’s possible.  At this point, we are in transition and are looking for interested parties to become partners while I pursue my purpose in ‘life transformation through inspiration’.

GLM: What inspires you as an entrepreneur? Why?

Watkis-Porter: Every day I am motivated to do what I do. When I see the impact that I’ve had on others, inspiring my community to live transformed lives, that gives me life. As I live my purpose of ‘life transformation through inspiration’, I am forced to ensure that everything I do and communicate to others meet this criterion. The numerous times I’ve had persons shared with me whether in person or via messaging about how I’ve inspired them to level up mean so much to me.

GLM:  If you could sit with anyone to learn about business and life, who would it be?

Watkis-Porter: As the host of The Entrepreneurial You podcast, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to speak to some of the most amazing thought leaders and entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Les Brown and Seth Godin. I’ve gained so much wisdom from these remarkable individuals. With that said, I desire to sit with Oprah Winfrey and just gain her perspective on navigating life. That would be amazing.

GLM: What was your first entrepreneurial endeavor and how much has it changed from where you are today?

Watkis-Porter: As mentioned earlier, I started out doing Patwa Apparel. Along the way, I’ve experimented with a number of projects and business ventures, some of which failed miserably for one reason or another. Suffice it to say, Patwa Apparel has been a launching pad, propelling me into my true passion and purpose as an inspirational leader and podcast advocate. My first initiative opened the door for me to travel the world, speak to different audiences about my entrepreneurial journey and met individuals that I wouldn’t have had under normal circumstance. Today my focus is on speaking, podcasting, writing books/blogging and hosting events mainly Leadercast Kingston and Leadercast Women.

GLM: What one thing that “you know now” as an entrepreneur that you wish you know before you started?

Watkis-Porter: Earlier when I started I was easily distracted. I didn’t know how to focus, that is, follow one course until success. What I now know is that when you are hyper-focused, you get the results that you need and deserve. Additionally, I would have embraced the journey and its accompanying challenges and victories much more than I do now.

GLM: What plans do you have for your business’ expansion?

Watkis-Porter: I am always looking for ways to impact more people. I particularly enjoy working in the online space. I plan to develop online courses and webinars which allow my services to extend beyond the borders of Jamaica. I enjoy teaching others about podcasting and working online so that will be my focus.

GLM: How can people stay up-to-date with your product/service offers?

Watkis-Porter: I can be reached at henekawatkisporter.com; email: henekawatkisporter@gmail.com; Instagram: @heneka_watkis_porter; Twitter: @TheEntrepYou; Facebook: Heneka Watkis-Porter

GLM: What accomplishments are you the proudest of since you began your business?

Watkis-Porter: Since my journey as an entrepreneur began, I’ve had several proud moments. Launching Patwa Apparel and other products; launching my first book, “15 Hints to Entrepreneurial Success: Lessons from a Caribbean Business Woman”, launching my radio-show-tunred podcast, ‘The Entrepreneurial You”, have been a few. To date though, hosting Leadercast Kingston in May 2018 has been my proudest. I select this because the outcome of the conference belie the seemingly insurmountable challenges that I faced leading up to the day of the event.

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