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15/03/2021
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Shaheen is an inspiring Mama and writer of the Heavenly Path series of books (Selecting a Spouse, From Marriage to Parenthood and A Successful Relationship). Shaheen also conducts workshops on Spouse Selection, Marriage, Young Parenting and Teen Parenting in various parts of the world. She has a BSc in Psychology, a Diploma in Montessori Education, and is a certified Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor, a method of parenting which she feels is very much in line with Islamic teachings. As well as running parenting classes, Shaheen also runs a business called Buzz Ideazz, which seeks to help our children love their faith from an early age, through products and a sharing of ideas through the blog. She has also co-published a children’s book, Adventures of a Quranic Family. 

We sat down (virtually) with Shaheen for a chat and to learn more about her journey as a Mumpreneur. Despite all of her ventures, Shaheen is the epitome of calm and cool and so we asked her some questions on what it’s like balancing so many things on one plate.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself? 

I have two kids, Husayn Yahya and Zainab Fatima who are 15 and 13 years old. I I like to call myself an international citizen having lived in Dubai, Austin, London and Qum in Iran. I’ve always had an interest in working with kids, having grown up as the third of 6 siblings and teaching throughout my life whether it be in Madrasah or as a montessori teacher. 

  1. How did you get to this point of becoming a writer, parenting coach and businesswoman?

To be honest, I didn’t set out to do any of these things, I truly believe they just fell into my lap, but I think this stems from my belief in being a doer – I strongly feel that if you see something and you feel like it’s not right or there is something missing, rather than complaining get up and do something about it.

The books came about when I was expecting my son, feeling unwell in my pregnancy, I was spending a lot of time at home and reading and translating. There was nothing cohesive available and eventually soon after he was born, I put it all together to create my first book.

Buzz Ideazz started when I identified a need when my son was at school and became interested in Christmas. I truly believe in celebrating our own occasions and I really wanted to find a way to make Eid a big deal for my kids and it all stemmed from a small idea of creating Eid cards he could distribute to his classmates similar to the tradition of Christmas cards. 

I discovered Hand in Hand parenting through my own experiences as a mother and my interest in this grew and stemmed so I became an instructor and then have developed my own courses around parenting. 

Related: Review: Hand in Hand Parenting Starter Course

  1. Tell us about Buzz Ideazz? What is it? 

It’s a place to go for ideas and products with the ethos being to help raise a generation of enthusiastic and dedicated young Muslims, Inshallah.

One of the things I really believe is that we all do such amazing things with our kids, but we are often really isolated. So through Buzz, I started sharing what other people were doing to make islam fun and relatable for our kids. It started with ideas to celebrate Eid and now it’s things like marking buloogh. Product creation stemmed from this, I was looking for things that didn’t exist for example I created a baby book which incorporates islam e.g my first day at Madrasah, the walima etc.  

Image credit www.buzzideazz.com
  1. What is it like to be a mum and also have your own business?

Right now it’s very doable as they are both in school, but thinking back to when they were young and things were more challenging time wise. When they were young, I would take it slow. Everything I did, I did it for them. Time management and organisation was essential – I remember working late into the night – but because I enjoyed it and it was a passion it didn’t feel like a burden. When things got tough, I slowed down. 

  1. What was your first step in starting your business?

I spoke to someone with the right skills, a friend of mine Aaliya Sheriff – she is a designer. She created the logo and created the first product. She gave me the push and the support when I needed it. With Aaliya, she just gets my ideas Alhamdullillah and really brings them to life. We think alike so it’s easy to bounce off one another too. 

  1. What tools, resources, advice did you use when starting your business?

I probably didn’t ask as many people as I should have, but back then there wasn’t really anyone to ask about this type of business. Now there is a huge array of content out there. The first tool and resource I invested in was someone to help me with the website.

One piece of advice was to  take it one step at a time – it will grow eventually if you’re doing it for the right reasons. There was a period of time, when I was on social media watching the likes and it was the worst period because the more I tried to post to reach people, the less it happened and the more stressful it was. This was also coincidentally the same time when other people started doing the same thing – and they were getting a further reach, but as soon as I stopped looking for likes it became enjoyable again. 

  1. What have been your biggest challenges of starting your own business whilst caring for your children?

Time was always the biggest struggle, especially when they were young. To help with this, I didn’t give myself deadlines. When our kids are young we feel like this phase where they need us is going to last forever, but very quickly it is gone. It really doesn’t take that long, I know it feels long in the moment, but very soon you’ll be able to do all these things that you dream about. If it doesn’t get done now, it’s okay. Take it at your own pace. Start to set up the foundations. Don’t put pressure on yourself, it’s not worth it. 

  1. How do you balance being a mother and all of your ventures?

Prioritising what needs to be done across everything I do. Also,  I break my work down into manageable chunks so that I don’t get overwhelmed. 

  1. What help do you rely on, and is it important for the mothers-entrepreneurs to have support?

It’s 100% necessary to have support, for me it’s my husband. He has always supported me with looking after the kids when I wanted time to progress my career. I strongly believe, if you have a supportive spouse you can do anything. My husband also doesn’t just support me physically, but he is there for me as a sounding board and to ground me and to remind me why I started this and what my ultimate aim is in this. 

  1. What do you find the most rewarding about being a Mumpreneur?

Two things – firstly, being able to offer my kids these products that I’ve created – which was my initial aim. Also knowing that people are able to access things that they may not have been able to otherwise. Secondly,  getting feedback on who the website and ideas are reaching. When people share activities they’ve done or how they’ve loved using a certain product it is really rewarding.

  1. What do you find most difficult about being a Mumpreneur?

I sometimes  find it difficult to switch off – because once you finish one thing you automatically move on to the next. Working from home is also difficult to not get distracted, until my kids grew older, I could only really work when they were at school.

  1. Do you have/make any time for yourself? What do you do? Is it important to do this?

Definitely – if I’m working in the evening I won’t push myself to be constantly on the go in the day.  I will make time to relax in the day. This in itself has been a journey for me and I’ve come to understand its importance  – I used to feel guilty if I took a nap in the afternoon or if I didn’t get much done. I used to feel bad for not constantly doing something, but I’ve come to realise the importance of this and doing things such as watching tv, relaxing or going for a walk. 

  1. What is your biggest business achievement to date?

Within product creation for Buzz,  ‘The Baby Book’ is one of the products I’m most proud of and the recent ‘Mum and Me Journal’ –  I love it, I love how it looks and how it’s turned out and how islam is woven in to every part of it. 

Hand in Hand – when I’m teaching and when people go home and use the tools and then come back and share how it has helped them. Seeing the lightbulb moment or hearing how their child has responded or how they see a shift in themselves. That is 100% my biggest achievement.     

Image credit: www.buzzideazz.com
  1. What have you got planned for Buzz Ideazz in the future?

Keep doing what we are doing, but now I want to focus on teens – I think there is a lot out there for younger kids now but not so much for teens. As always my kids are my focus – so I want to create products for them making the more complex aspects and areas of our religion accessible to them.

  1. What 3 pieces of advice would you give to new mums out there who want to start a business?
  • Start small
  • Don’t worry if it takes time 
  • Make the right intention – inshA it will happen. 
  1. What has this journey taught you?

Patience – usually my character is to think of something and want it done there and then. With every aspect of my work, I’ve learnt that this just doesn’t happen, because there are so many factors involved and so many other people who I am relying on. So I’ve learnt to slow down. I now have faith that things won’t necessarily happen on my time, but they will happen eventually.  

Also, I’ve learnt to leave things in Allah’s (SWT) hands completely. Whenever something doesn’t go my way for example, recently there was a delay with one of my products, our Buzz Calendar and it never arrived, so I had to think on my feet and offer it as a download instead. I’ve learnt to not get too disheartened and remember that as long as I’m trying my best I’ve done my part and if it doesn’t happen then I remember Allah and accept that perhaps that wasn’t good for me. 

For those of you out there who are itching to get back in the game after having a baby or those who are just craving to start something new, there you have all the ins and outs from Shaheen. We’d like to thank Shaheen for taking time out to talk to us and to help us give our readers so many pearls of wisdom for starting a business whilst being a Mama. Check out her website here: https://www.buzzideazz.com

Instagram: @buzzideazz

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