I believe that one of the first things any Muslimah who wants to start a business needs to do is find some time. Many women dream of waking up one day able to quit their jobs and start a business. For others, the kids have gone to school but they are still wondering how to find time for a business amongst all the tasks of running a household and family. I have been in both situations and in this article, I am going to share with you the things that I did in order to find time to start a business.
I believe that motivation (or lack of) is a key factor in determining the success of your business. Just as I was sitting down to write this article, my daughter came to me with a really complicated loomband bracelet, and I told her I didn’t believe that she had made it. Her very natural reply was “Mum, if you don’t try, you don’t know.” That statement made by an 11-year-old girl floored me because it summarised everything I teach my one-to-one coaching clients – you must try and believe you can do it. My daughter was so determined to make that bracelet that she completed all her secondary school work, her hifz studies and then found the time to watch the video several times before giving it a go. There are so many lessons in this for us.
Each person has a different level of productivity, but in my view that doesn’t matter because when you are determined and driven, you will find the time to do whatever you want to. For example, if you want something badly enough to ask Allah ta’ala at tahajjud, then you will wake up before Fajr and pray, even if you have to get up to take the kids to school or go to work or university. You want that thing badly enough so you adjust your day to wake up and ask Allah SWT for assistance, right?
I believe that if you can find five hours a week you can make huge progress in starting a business. Opening the door to discovering the time you need is the biggest challenge. There are five things you can do to find the time you need to start a business, or to start any project as it happens.
1. Organise by getting strategic
Remember, in everything you do it’s faith and family first. When you prioritise those then everything else will seem to fall into place because you will rethink your personal to-do list. How can you be the best Muslimah you want to be when you are not being 100% present with your prayers, sleeping well, exercising or eating properly? All of these things are strategic to the success of your business and self-care.
In addition, organise your day so that you take full advantage of every spare moment. For example, often when I am in the kitchen in the morning I am starting the prep for that day’s evening meal because it is a good use of my time. Yes, it requires me to be organised but it saves me 20-30 minutes a day. This is putting into action the Hadith narrated by Bayhaqi (Shu’ab al-iman) where the Prophet SAW said “There is no intelligence like planning.”
Ask yourself: What do you need to do to organise your day?
2. Utilise sacred time
We know from the business practices of early Muslims that they would conduct business in the hours after Fajr salah. Many non-Muslim successful entrepreneurs wake up at 5am to start work – it’s as if they know the secret of the blessed time. Yet, sadly, many Muslims wake up for Fajr and go back to bed. The solution to this is to sleep early (after ‘Isha) and then to wake up early and have a morning ritual of tahajjud, Fajr, adhkar and then work. Spending an hour working on the most important project or business will mean you can work on the most important thing at the most important time. This is part of the reason I do my one-to-one coaching calls after Fajr because I am able to serve my clients best at this time. This is where Allah’s barakah comes in.
Ask yourself: What is the ideal morning routine for you if you want to make your business a success?
3. Decide which tasks to delegate
One of the easiest ways to create extra time in your day is to delegate tasks, and I am not talking business tasks here! My first suggestion is to think about the people you live with and really consider whether everyone is pulling their weight in the household tasks. Children as young as four are able to do things such as put their dirty clothes in the right clothes basket, and a teenager should be able to cook a meal in the house (and if you are worried about the latter, then at least they can wash up!). By sharing tasks and delegating you are doing two things: creating time for your business, and also giving your children some responsibility and life skills. If you are able to, get some domestic help – especially with cleaning – it frees up a lot of time. If you are unable to, then before you start cleaning, have a list of things to think about as you clean. I find that some of my best internal brainstorming takes place when I clean. I know some sisters who find up to ten hours a week as a result of this step alone!
Ask yourself: What can I delegate?
4. When can you block time?
Blocking time is a ninja tactic when it comes to starting a business because we Muslim women say we do it but don’t really. Blocking time requires you to set aside at least two hours a week for you to plan, write, discover and work on your business. I would encourage you to have at least one of those sessions a week. Once a month find half a day (or a day if you can) and just work on your business. Even if you have nothing to do, block out the time because you will be amazed at how much you get done if you are determined to make your business work.
Ask yourself: When is my block time session?
5. Multi-task, well kind of
I do not believe that traditional multi-tasking works because our brain is only capable of doing so much and whilst you think you might be multi-tasking, in fact you are probably multi-failing because your attention span and brain power is being spread in lots of different directions. However, there are some things that you can do which will really help. For example, all those business books on your bookshelf that you want to read – get the audios and listen to them as you go about your daily life. You can save a few hours a week just from this task alone.
Finding the time to start your own business has its own blessings. I am reminded of the hadith narrated by Ibn Majah where the Prophet SAW said “There is no harm in wealth for the one who fears Allah, the Powerful, the Exalted.” (Ahmad) When we are looking to find time to start a business and fear Allah SWT then we are on the right path because not only are we bringing abundance to our lives, we are also inspiring the next generation, making the best use of the time and God-given skills and talents that we have, and also are striving to be the best Muslimah that we can be. Remember, if you don’t try, you don’t know.
Saiyyidah Zaidi is the Positive Psychologist and Expert Growth Coach at Millionaire Muslimah where we, with Allah’s help and guidance, are on a mission to create unlimited 10,000 Muslimah-owned businesses in the next five years and provide 10,000 halal microfinance loans to women in the developing world.
Saiyyidah is an international speaker and is known for her training and seminars on entrepreneurship, work faith balance, positive psychology, high performance and abundance. Saiyyidah is a regular guest on Islam Channel and has appeared on Channel 4, the BBC and written for Psychologies, OnIslam and other international magazines and blogs.
You can contact Saiyyidah and find out more about her work at www.MillionaireMuslimah.com