Jody-Anne Lawrence, Gleaner Writer
Everyone can be an entrepreneur once they utilise the right tools, and have the desire and drive to do so. This are what Alicia and her sister Lorette Lyttle have come to learn and are now sharing with people across the world.
With a degree in geology and environmental science from Tulane University and a Masters of Science degree in public health and tropical medicine, Alicia found herself in the corporate world, but just for a little while. She worked for an environmental law clinic. But something happened while she was pursuing her PHd in environmental policy at the University of Michigan. While 'dabbling' in Internet marketing, she found out that she had a love for entrepreneurship. She then started an online marketing company which her sister later joined. "I now do more hours than I would for a regular 9 to 5 but it is more fulfilling spiritually and emotionally," Lyttle told Flair.
The sisters became a strong team and in 2010, they started doing their Help-Internet Income Bootcamps equipping 'want-to-be' online entrepreneurs with the resources that they need to be successful in their online businesses. They also show persons how to do web design and develop ebooks.
The boot camp came out of the sisters' desire to give back to the country where their father was born - their father is Jamaican and their mother is Guyanese. "My father always told me that we were going to do great thing for Jamaica and that we should give back, and I felt like this is a good way to do so," said Lyttle.
After examining the Jamaican economy and the number of youth that were unemployed, they developed their boot camp. She explains that if persons in Jamaican can earn an income online, it would boost the local economy. As an example, she uses a colleague who has been able to earn US$5,500 from June to October. "Now if 10 Jamaicans earn that amount of money and spend it locally, just imagine how that will not only help the individual, but also help the Jamaican economy," Lyttle said enthusiastically.
The boot camps are hands-on training, where they show participants how to use the tools that they already have at their fingertips, to earn an income. During the workshop, participants actually start the online project they are interested in. Therefore, they are not left to figure things out on their own.
But Lyttle does not want persons to have a false impression of entrepreneurship, believing that success comes without very hard work.
"It is easy to start an online business because there is little overhead cost - if you have Internet and a laptop - then you can get started," explains Lyttle.
When it comes to the actual work, she notes that it takes dedication. What she believes contributed to her success is her ambition, and the fact that she was always trying to learn something new and improve her skills.
The first step that she believes people should take, is to accept that their online job is like a business. "You need to understand that it is a business. Don't treat it any differently than you would do any other job," she explains.
She notes that individuals should not take the laptop lifestyle [this means wherever my laptop is that is where my job is] for granted. They need to keep abreast of what is happening around them and note that as technology changes, there are always new opportunities, therefore, to be successful, individuals have to be constantly learning.
"The saying goes, 'if you stop learning you die' right? So you need to be learning and working so that you can make use of what are the best opportunities for you."
Lyttle is a firm believer that being an entrepreneur is about doing what you love and using what you have to be the best that you can be. She notes that she has worked with everyone - from non-college grads to persons with their doctorates. "The education does not matter, people just need to find out what they are truly good at and work hard and hone those skills."
She notes that her job does spill over into most of her life as she uses her social networking sites to not only build clientele but also to form a community of individuals that can help her learn as well.
Lyttle admits that sometimes she does get too caught up in her job because of her love for it as she sees it as fun and exciting because it is not monotonous.
"Sometimes my friends have to say Alicia enough," she revealed to Flair.
But she still manages to have fun, however, with her love for reading and fishing. But one thing is for sure, there is no turning back for Lyttle. She cannot picture ever returning to 9 to 5. She did it and so can you.
Her workshop dates are available at http://www.internetincomejamaica.com.