My Muslim Mums in Business series focus’s on inspirational Muslim women, who are balancing the art of motherhood along with running businesses.
Please introduce yourself and your business.
I work as a consultant, and I am the co- founder of Celebrate Us- an events company that caters to Muslim women in the UK, and I am a business coach. I help Muslim Women start up their businesses by providing one-to-one coaching. I am also a writer. I write articles, ebooks & blogs on various issues that pertain to business start up for muslimahs.
What inspired you to start working from home? Did anyone in particular inspire you?
Although I work full time, I’ve been working from home for a good number of years. My first business was an abaya company called Lace & Gems, which I ran entirely from home. I started this business about 8 years ago when I spotted a gap in the market- I couldn’t find the type of abayas that I wished to wear and so began designing and getting my designs made. Soon after, I began receiving several requests for my my abayas- friends and family would ask if they could purchase my designs and thus my company was born.
Did you always want to be a coach and support women or was there a turning point that made you decide you wanted to do this?
No, I didn’t always want to be a coach. In fact, growing up I didn’t plan on getting into entrepreneurship. I got into coaching after I undertook a personal development course called Sisters Achieve, which enabled me to identity my core skills and strength. It helped me to realise that I had a natural knack for motivating, encouraging and helping Muslim women to achieve their dreams. It is something that I do naturally amongst my friends and people that I come in contact. I’m forever telling people to go for their dreams, to put a plan of action into place and to not let fear stifle their aspirations. People often tell me of the changes they have made and the action they have taken after brief conversations. After undertaking the course, I was able to identify this as a gift that Allah had given me. I decided to use it in helping Muslim women start their dream business because I found that this is something that so many desire but have held off doing. Having effortlessly started a business of my own, I felt this was something I was able to help with.
Are your family supportive of you being a working mother?
My family are incredibly supportive of me being a working mother. To be honest, I’d find it extremely difficult to do if they weren’t. My husband in particular is really supportive of all my dreams. He always encourages me in my business ventures. He’s an entrepreneur himself, and so understands the commitment and dedication it takes. That means that he is understanding on days when dinner is running a bit late or on days when I ask him to get us a takeout!
What are the main challenges you face as a mum and an entrepreneur?
The main challenge I face as a mum and an entrepreneur is with regards to managing my time effectively so that I am fulfilling all my obligations as a mother as well as giving my business the time it needs. I’m forever trying to find new ways to make sure that I achieve balance with regards to all my responsibilities, as I’m wary of letting anything lack.
Describe a typical working day. Are there specific times in the day that you work on your business?
Because I run more than one business and work full time, my days are usually quite varied. How I spend my day largely depends on the priorities & needs of my businesses. Typically though, I do my writing in the early mornings as I find it easiest to write at this time. Between 5am and 6am is the optimal time for getting my creative juices going. From 6am till 8am, I get myself and kids ready for work & school. I usually arrive at work at about 9am and arrive back home at about 5:30pm. I check and respond to urgent emails and messages on my commute to and fro work. I tend not to work on business related tasks while I’m at work unless it is absolutely necessary. In which case, I’ll do what I need to during my lunch break.
When I return home from work I see to my kids- homework, bath, story time etc. They are usually in bed by 8pm, after which I’ll usually spend about another hour or so working on my business- responding to enquiries, chasing up tasks, checking in with my team etc. After that it’s chill out and catchup with my husband. At the moment, I do my coaching in the mornings on the weekends. So I’ll jump on a coaching call anytime between the hours of 9am & 12pm. The rest of the day is spent with my family and/ or friends.
What are the pros and cons about being a working mum from home?
Aside from being able to do what I love- helping Muslim women achieve their dreams, being a mumpreneur is great because it allows me to work on my own terms. I work with who I want, where I want and during the hours that suit me. When my schedule is particularly busy for example, I don’t take on many clients. Irrespective of where I am in the world, I can work…as long as I have my laptop and access to the Internet. Flexibility is very important to me and I love that being my own boss enables me just that.I’d say that the cons pertain to self discipline and time management. You have to be disciplined with the way you spend your time, with making sure you don’t get distracted with unimportant matters and with ensuring that you balance your duties as a mum and entrepreneur effectively. If you struggle with such matters, then you may find it difficult working from home. It’s very easy, for example to get carried away with working non – stop on your business, especially in the early days when you are trying to get things off the ground. Some end up neglecting their other responsibilities, which is not encouraged or desirable. Your children, for example, should not suffer as a result of running your business.
On your toughest days, what helps keep you motivated?
My ‘why’ keeps me motivated. My intention is that my work with women will be a source of gaining Allah’s pleasure and that it will be a form of Sadaqah Jariyah- that keeps me going. On difficult days I remember the Hadith that your actions are rewarded by intention. That means that I’m not demotivated for example, if I land a client in a month, or not. Nor if my articles get read by thousands or not. I know that every single effort that I exert in my business does not go unnoticed by Allah, and as long as He is pleased with me, then I am successful, bi’ithnillah.
Where would you like to see your business in the future?
Currently I work on my business part- time as during the day, I work full time as a consultant. In the next few years, I want to be able to work full time on my business and not have to work for someone else. It is my vision to be able to help thousands of women in the pursuit of their dreams- helping them take the bold move from dreaming to turning their ideas into a reality.
What advice would you give to mums considering taking the step of being a working mum?
Just start! Failing to start is usually what prevents many people from making the move into entrepreneurship. The fear or failure, the fear of ridicule, feeling like one isn’t knowledgeable / skilled enough etc. The truth of the matter is that there will never be a time when you feel ready. You will never feel like you know enough or that you are skilled enough, so just start where you are and with what you have / know and the rest will follow. The key to success in all matters is hardwork and prayer. As long as you put in the work, as well as consult and beseech Allah throughout the journey, you will be successful.
JazakAllah Khair to sister Barakah for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions! In addition the website Barakah Hassan, you can find her on Instagram and on Facebook.
If you are a muslim mum with a business and would like to feature then drop me a message in sha Allah.