Influencer Jean-Pierre Doran
Interview February 2023
Could you share with us some information about your family life?
I was born in Curaçao and I have 7 other brothers and sisters. We have over the years grown to be very close to one another, especially due to the efforts of my father that functions as a kind of glue to the family. My siblings all have their specific talents, like Softball, Musician, Finance, Legal issues, and Entrepreneurship. What they have in common is, all of them strive for excellence and we are all supportive of one another.
I am a divorced father of two children children (16 and 19), both are living in Holland and I have a significant other. We have been living in Curaçao for two years now, but we might leave back for Holland soon.
My parents both were very supportive of who I am at this moment. My mother and my grandmother both have been encouraging me since I was 9 years old I expressed my wish to become an entrepreneur. My mother used to have her own business. I have never been in what is called a mental comfort zone, so I don’t know how it feels to be in a comfort zone. I loved reading and I take action, which I have done since early on. My father influenced me differently as he would always tell me to study, which at times created some tension. Like when I decided to start a company, a barbershop after not finalizing my University studies in Finance. In the end, it worked out well between us. My father is a more financial and analytical person and he would always tell me to take good care of my finances. So my mother and grandmother on the one hand and my father’s influence on the other hand had taught me to create a balance between these two poles on a spectrum. Both my parents are very proud of whom I have become.
Could you share something about your educational background and your experience?
I have been a good student over the years from the secondary school level at the MAVO, I graduated as the best student, and at the HAVO, I graduated as the second-best student. But I was a naughty child growing up.
In Holland, I graduated from HBO with a specialization in Bio-Medical and I stopped with my Master’s in Finance, with only my thesis that I had to write, but I was one of the best students. The reason I never wrote my thesis was I wanted to start a business.
In business, I have gained a lot of different experiences as I started different companies. Once I start a business I am very focused on it. People tell me that I communicate very well, I focus well and I am very good at marketing and investments. I inform people well and I consider myself to be more of a storyteller and not a good salesperson per se. I have done a lot of studying I have studied psychology, to understand the psychology of investments and marketing. I have studied the history of money since 1650 and I have given lots of presentations over the years and also in Curaçao until I have mastered how money developed itself and still is developing itself. It is a complicated subject matter. At this specific moment in time, I have three companies all under one Holding company.
We know you to be an author, financial advisor, and serial entrepreneur. Can you tell us more about how this started and how you started as a barber?
My business history is that I first started “ForWorth” in 2011 and in 2012 I started a barbershop, then opened a hair extension salon, then we worked on a sponsor partnership with the RaboBank on developing an E-learning platform consisting of 5 to 6 programmers and 3 Business Partners, I started an accountants office which still exists, an antique shop, and an IT/ web design company, a publishing company as I also was an author writing different books. Most of the companies I started with one or two business partners. I learned a lot as not all went well. The E-learning platform failed as there were differences of opinion among the partners on the vision of this platform and the investments it required, as I foresaw the importance of this platform before social media exploded and gained dominance. Those have been valuable lessons learned and all these I carry over to “ForWorth” the company that I still have.
As I was finalizing my Master’s study I decided to start a company, at the time it didn’t matter what kind of business. In Emmen, I started a Barbershop. In the beginning, I had no knowledge or experience at all. So I hired experienced barbers and after two months they left. I looked for another barber and he left after 1,5 months. From 1-2-2012 till 1-8-2012 there were at least 3 months that the shop was closed while I still had the monthly fixed costs that I needed to pay. Then one of my siblings told me that owners need to know all the ins and outs of the business they are running and that triggered me, although people around me were telling me that I needed to quit, and need to find something else to do as I tried it didn’t work. By September 2012, I started to watch and study YouTube on hair cutting and as I have an almost photographic memory I mastered the theory but I had no practical experience as yet. By January 2013 a barber from Eritrea joined me and he helped me set up the business we hired 5 employees, but the momentum was created and even after he left for Amsterdam after a while, the business took off. By 2015 I had 11 employees working and basically, I reached my goal to become an entrepreneur and start my own business.
Of late I have taken notice of your increased efforts to make people financially aware, literate, and financially independent. As someone who has been writing inspirational books and an owner of Barbershops and other enterprises, why are you so driven to promote this theme?
Financial literacy is very important to me, as my main motivation early on in my career was never to experience the financial stress I experienced as a child growing up at times, although I did experience financial stress some years ago. I was financially conscious at an early age. And I wanted to teach others how to prevent them from experiencing this.
From 2014 and 2015 I came to understand that most people live in a cycle, in a comfort zone, and on automatic pilot.
Big companies understand the psychology of people that people long to walk a straight line conditioned by their parents, school system, etc, as the straight line is a safe path. This straight line is in some way a kind of mental slavery, as people are working a job that they don’t like, making them unhappy and burned out.
I am a tenacious reader of books. Up to now, I have read about 600 books. I became aware that one can liberate oneself from this system, but still, the majority of people prefer that comfort zone.
What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be who you are right now?
My BIG WHY is to enable people to become completely free so that they can do what they were meant to do in this world. I have chosen to help other people to emancipate themselves from the system and improve the quality of their lives.
I have learned over the years, as I was offering presentations on “mindset” to people, that most didn’t change. I have come to learn that people don’t change if their finances are not changed. So I started to consult businesses and give business seminars to help entrepreneurs become financially free. This also changed, because I wanted to help not only a group of entrepreneurs. In 2019 I decided to focus back full-time on investments to help all the people that I can, to build wealth and/or become financially free. Early on in 2010, I offered presentations on investments and financial freedom. But I evolved to focusing on presentations on “mindset”, then business, and now I am back to focusing on investments and finance for almost 90 % of my time. The other 10% of my time I consult businesses.
I realized that although mindset is a problem, if people are not financially free they can’t work on changing their mindset. They need peace of mind to be able to work on their mindset and change who they are.
What are your plans for the coming years and when do you consider that you have been successful in your personal and business/professional life, let us say 5 years from now?
I am already successful for some years. I have made many in Emmen a millionaire through my investment consulting. I feel fulfilled and happy. But I want to do so much more. Right at this moment,I am working on starting a Private Equity Fund, in which everybody can invest, not only those who already have financial security. The challenge here is that there are restrictions in Holland, where only 149 people are allowed to participate. I am in consultation with a fiscal and legal expert, to discuss how to make what I want legally possible within the local jurisdiction so that we can also allow those who have only 100 Euro of Ang 100,- to invest and become an investor in the Private Investment Fund. By doing this we break a cycle where only rich people can invest. I know it is possible because, for an informal investment club that we started, we managed to raise over Ang 1 million within 6 months, so the market is there, but now we are working on how to make this equity fund also available for the smaller investors. With my experience in investments, I have been in the investment world since 2005. For the past three years the idea of this Fund, after working 10 years on this, is starting to get in a positive flow.
What are the challenges that you are dealing with? And how are you dealing with these different challenges you confront?
I know people well, but I also have my weak points. I live for people and to be able to help people. But I want to do it my way and not their way, I am unable to discern this at times. I am very stubborn, as I have read so many books and gathered so much knowledge over the years. This makes it hard for me to change the strong opinions I have on certain subject matters. I would require clear proof and strong arguments so that I can be convinced to change my opinions. My father told me once: “Never give up, but don’t hold on too long”.
If something bothers me and needs a solution, I would start at 9 am and get it solved by 1 am. Sometimes I go 2 or 3 days without sleep, this often impresses my clients, but I know it is not good for my health. I don’t do it to impress anyone, it just happens because I can not let go. Because of my analytical mind, I tend to do a lot of explanations.
How do you deal with challenges?
I deal with these differences of opinion with my business clients, for example, I would look first at myself. Because of my enthusiasm, it is easy for me to fall into this behavior. I am aware of this usually after it has happened, so as I become aware of this, I would redress the issue.
After a discussion, I would call the person and offer my apologies and change the way I explain certain things to the clients.
Do you use your inner voice to evaluate when dilemmas show up? How does that work for you?
I have read books on intuition. We all have it. When a challenge shows, we have to deal with two signals, the feeling, and the intuition signal. The feeling is the cousin of intuition. Our thoughts create feelings and our thoughts tend to be more negative. Intuition is what we call gut feeling and comes from our subconscious mind. For me the challenge is the moment I feel something I don’t react to, I just rationalize the issue to calculate the risks and rewards.
I do want to use my intuition more, but it is tricky because it is not easy to distinguish feeling from intuition Most of the time when people think they have an intuition, it is gut feeling. Intuition tends to be good because it works like an inner guide. Feeling tends to be negative because our mind focuses on the negative and tries to protect us always (also from the good). Spiritually developed people can distinguish this, and as I understand it, I must be honest that I can not distinguish them well. Therefore, I choose to rationalize.
Do you use your intuition?
I have read books on intuition. We all have it. When a challenge shows, we have to deal with two signals, the feeling, and the intuition signal. Intuition is the cousin of our thoughts, and our thoughts tend to be more negative. For me the challenge is the moment I feel something I don’t react to, I just rationalize the issue to calculate the risks and rewards. I do want to use my intuition more.
How are you trying also to keep up with your knowledge and skill levels?
I read a lot, I follow webinars on themes that have my interest. Through my work as an entrepreneur, I am learning so much more.
What are your strengths?
My analytical ability. I can read three books and see the links between the subject matters. For example, I can find a link between things or themes which most people can’t see. I think that this makes me good at business analyses. I know myself and I know people well.
Do you have hobbies or interests that you are also passionate about?
Analyzing companies. Explain and teach people about different subject matters. I have always done this since was at the MAVO. I live a very focused life, but once in a while, I will watch a soccer game. Or I will sit behind my computer and test things out. My work is my hobby.
If you as Jean-Pierre would meet a stranger on the bus (let’s say in New York or Bogota Columbia) and they would ask you to introduce yourself, what would you answer?
I don’t know. I have an issue with titles and statuses. But if I sit beside someone on an airplane, I will give explanations of finance and companies.
How would you describe Jean-Pierre in one word or one sentence?
Always ready to help everybody, at times even to my own detriment.
Who are the persons that have inspired you the most in your career and on a personal level?
In business: Warren Buffet, Richard van Ark my business partner, Brian Tracey and Robert Kiyosaki. In Emmen: Hans ten Cate, owner of the Ten Cate hotel. The owners of submersion containers are more spiritual than I thought at first. Tony Robinson, Gary Vaynerchuk is a great inspiration to me, he is a little crazy. An uncle of mine Jurgen Lebacs, has built his business imperium.
On a personal level: My mother and grandmother and one of my siblings. Clarck Zalm, my uncle. My father, Mercée Doran, my aunt and Marleen Hillebrand.
Personal inspiration: My partner Lotte Duursma. She was the only person that kept supporting me when I fell into that deep hole back in 2017, the most challenging period of my life. She was there for me and
kept pushing me to climb out of that deep hole, without her support this saga in my life would
have been more difficult for me. To this day, she believes 100 % in what I do and does whatever
it takes to support the manifestation of my vision.
What is a trait that is still a work in progress?
I need to become a little more balanced in taking risks. Three times in my life I have lost large amounts of funds. Become better aware of who is in front of you when I teach or mentor. Everybody learns differently.
What was a defining moment in your life?
In 2015 the government started an investigation into all my businesses. These investigations were illegal (proved). But it did disrupt my business. I was involved in multiple court cases, they de-registered me, my wife, and my children so we were illegally in Holland, but this was also against the law. By 2017 I and my ex-wife divorced, and I lost all my businesses, family, and my money. 2015 to 2017 were the toughest years for me I have ever gone through.
In the end, I won all the court cases, but I had nothing. It hurt me but based on the lessons I learned, I transformed to become much bigger than before all of this happened. And I showed my resilience and came back stronger as a person and businessman.
In hindsight, I think that it has to do with jealousy. As I was the first black person in Emmen that started a company, and that had so many businesses and was so successful within only three years.
The judges understood what has happened. One day I will write a whole book on the subject so that people can learn that success can also ignite its own problems. Maybe I can help people act in such a way that they can avoid these.
Because of this, I have made some choices as I will never get involved in politics. I almost got involved in politics in Emmen and even in Curaçao. I have also become a wiser person.
Where do you want to be 10 years from now with your career?
10 to 20 years from now the Private Equity Funds that I helped build are accessible to everybody wanting to invest. I would still be offering a presentation and seminars. I would have created another Equity Fund and the returns of that Fund would be used to help the poor.
What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends, and others to say about you let’s say 20 years from now?
They would say thank you Jean Pierre, because of you I am where I am now in life, business, financially, emotionally, and in other areas of their lives. That will be my biggest fulfillment.
What makes you stay optimistic about the future of Curaçao as we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, recession, and the middle of growing environmental challenges because of the global warming consequences?
We have so many opportunities and so much talent on the island. What lacks is education. I have been here for almost two years now and I have been teaching people so they become more aware. More people need to become aware so that we can grow just like Holland is growing. The number of people when I started teaching and presenting investments and the number of attendance now is so much bigger. This makes me feel optimistic that things will become better.
Furthermore, there are so many opportunities that people either don’t see or don’t want to see. I have jumped into some of these opportunities. What we also need is more courage and we need to look further because we have the talents.
Some tell me the reason why people don’t jump into opportunities is related to granting others success. I disagree with that. Why? Because people come to me on my courses and for advice. They grant me my success.
More info or connect
One of the 250 Influencers
Jean Pierre Doran is a driven, courageous, strong-opinionated, well-read, multi-faceted, energetic, innovative, investment expert, author, family-centered man, and entrepreneur “pure sang” with a “big caring” heart. Supported by his upbringing early on -from the 9th year he wanted to be an entrepreneur – and used to living outside of his comfort zone, made him a successful businessman. Having read over 600 books, and having experienced highs and lows in his relatively short career, has made him a more well-rounded and knowledgeable investment expert. After losing everything, his multiple businesses, being divorced, and ending up being broke in 2017, he re-invented himself and has come out a better version of himself, personally and business-wise. What stands out is his drive to enable people to become completely free. Based on one important lesson he has learned and that is “People don’t change their mindset if they are not financially free”, he is now working on starting a Private Equity Fund Plan, in which everybody can invest, also those who can afford only 100 Euro of Ang 100,- to invest. The big challenge is that legal restrictions need to be overcome. Considering his drive, resilience, and focus we are convinced that this will be solved soon. Because of all this, we consider Jean Pierre one of the 250 Influencers of Curaçao, representing the Financial sector. Look at the list of the Influencers we have interviewed or reported on, up to now.
The goal of the core group of Share2Uplift for 2022
The goal of the Share2Uplift movement is to: “Identify 250 leaders from all walks of life to connect, align and create impactful changes in all walks of life, which includes intergenerational collaboration by the end of 2022.” We will use interviewing Influencers, meet-and-greet events, “train-the-trainers”-programs on “Emotional Mastery” and “Intentionality “as national intervention strategies, to reach this goal on top of our goal to scale up the possibilities to connect, align and create impact via a virtual platform. We believe that by collaborating with Miguel Goede on the virtual Vision 2030 platform, we will accelerate the possibilities to connect the diaspora and others elsewhere in the world and on the island willing to constructively create impactful changes in Curaçao, to join.
As Share2Uplift, we are fully trying to align with this thinking of Center for Curriculum Redesign to promote this agenda in our educational systems and workplace. So, in that sense, we fully support any initiative to make our educational system 21st-century proof.
Share2Uplift aligners are those that:
– Create an inspiring vision of the future;
– Motivate and inspire people to engage with that vision;
– Manage the delivery of the vision;
– Coach and build a team, so that it is more effective at achieving the vision. These criteria are now being polished.
We also consider these 5 values the most important ones for Share2Uplift aligners. They are:
• Peace from within;
As we will progress towards this goal, we will update you on the progress.
Personal coaching tips
This week we will share some short videos on Mindset and Universal Basic Income. We will upload one of these videos every day on our facebook.com/share2uplift page.
The Mindset – Motivational Video – YouTube
Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash | Rutger Bregman – YouTube
Universal basic income is a brilliant idea’. Here’s why. | Yanis Varoufakis | Big Think – YouTube
How his life changed | Tony Robinson |Mindset kingdom – YouTube
The Power of the Human Mind – Motivational Video by Eddie Pinero – YouTube
Universal Basic Income: Free Money – Economic Theory Series| Academy 4 Social Change – YouTube