Episode 44: How Muslim women entrepreneurs can achieve financial independence with Sudduf Wyne (Salam Sudduf)
In today's episode we are glad to talk with Sudduf Wyne. Sudduf has an MBA and is now a successful business coach and brand strategist. Sudduf helps Muslim mom entrepreneurs achieve financial independence so that they can lead a happy and fulfilling life, while pleasing God, raising good children and helping community. She talks to us about her journey from a store owner to what she is now and shares tips on marketing, learning strategies and how to move forward towards our goals. we Covered so much in this epsiode
How Sudduf shifted from a store owner to a business strategist and coach
How Sudduf inspires and motivates Muslim women succeed in their businesses
Move forward by knowing your strengths and what you are good at
The power of networking
Sudduf’s Ramadan Market
Women’s mindset and thinking from a financial perspective and investing in themselves and in their business to support their family and community.
The importance of learning from people who already know.
Sudduf’s go to people for advice
Creating email lists for marketing compared to social media posts
Content planning and being consistent and organizing marketing tools
Making it easy for the other person to say YES
Website : http://salamsudduf.com/
Full Episode Transcription
Welcome to the Naptime Is Sacred Podcast where we share stories of muslim women doing amazing work. I’m Your host Fousia Abdullahi
FOUSIA: Hey guys. So on today's episode I'm super excited to have Sudduf Wyne. You guys know her as a Salam Sudduf. Sudduf was the founder of Salaam shop in Mississauga. She is a Muslim business coach and a brand strategist. Before all of this stuff educational background and her work background was in engineering as well as she has her MBA and did I mention Sudduf is the mom of triplets mashallah. I can not wait for her to talk about how she's been able to go through this journey and share her story with us and also talk about social media and branding and how Muslim women fit into this. I hope you guys enjoy today's episode. Let's get right into it. So welcome to the show.
Sudduf: Thank you so much for having me Asalaamu Alaykum everyone I'm so excited. This is actually my first podcast I've ever been on.
FOUSIA: Yay. That's so exciting. I'm glad you're able to come on this one.
Sudduf: I'm super excited about it. When you emailed me I was like wow I love the name and the branding of your show.
FOUSIA: Thank you. You know how it is it's the only time you can get anything done is when these kids are asleep.
Sudduf: Exactly and I feel like it's something only moms would really understand.
FOUSIA: For sure. So for those people who don't know you or your brand or the content that you create. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sudduf: OK. For sure. So my name is Sudduf and Fousia already introduced me. I have a blog and website called SalamSudduf.com where I share different business tips and advice on entrepreneurship and a couple of projects that I'm working on right now are the Muslim entrepreneur association or we call it MIA for short. So that's a membership club with female Muslim entrepreneurs where we share tips and masterclasses and tutorials on different business aspects. And then I'm also working on another project called Ramadan market which is a community market for Ramadan that brings our community together to welcome Ramadan and a really inspirational and love filled way.
FOUSIA: So tell us a little bit about how you got started in this whole content creation and everything that you've been working on so far. I feel like you've had your brick and mortar store which was an Islamic lifestyle store. You had a bunch of different companies that brought their stuff to you and you sold it. So tell us how you went from that to becoming I guess more of a content creator and being a brand strategist.
Sudduf: Yeah I think it's kind of with the trend of the way things are going so with my store... My vision was to spread the love and beauty of Islam and that was through product based business. And at the time I was also focusing on empowering women. So most of our products that we sold were women based businesses and this was kind of the start I want to say not really the start maybe the second wave of Muslim women getting into entrepreneurship and realizing that they could kind of incorporate all of their learnings from the corporate world and whatever they didn't undergrad into these home based businesses. So they're able to raise a good Muslim family while also making use of all those skills they learned and feeling financially stable and financially fulfilled as well. So that's kind of where my journey started and with the trends I mean obviously retail is now a lot of it is done online. So that was one of the things that was changing for us. And I had triplets at some point in their two years ago and I realized that I had to shift my goals so that I could really focus on raising my family but do it in a way where I was still feeling like I was fulfilling my hopes and dreams and passions on the business side. So with that I decided instead of while still promoting these female entrepreneurs and while still promoting their products and businesses I was going to be doing it on more of a teaching side. So that's what I do now with Mia and then Ramadan market kind of fulfills this alarm shop avenue of it where I bring everyone together in a space where they can sell their products and again promote the love and beauty of Islam. So it kind of came full circle there and now that I'm sharing it with you
FOUSIA: It sounds like it really did. So how did having the store and being I guess in contact with so many Muslim women who are creative and have their own products and their own businesses how does that help you when you're I guess coaching businesswoman now what kind of things have you been able to kind of knowledge rather have you been able to take from that experience and help them with what they're doing right now.
Sudduf: A lot of the experience is about word that you mentioned is a lot of what I coach on is is based on the experience that these other businesses have had and things that I've seen that you you wouldn't know about unless you've done it. But a lot of times it's a mindset shift so knowing that you know maybe you're an author and me being able to tell them why I worked with an author and you know this was her goal and I had her make her goal bigger and really push her to go towards her dreams and not shy away from what she wanted and she was able to do it and she had kids and she had a family and she had another job and so if she's able to do it you're absolutely going to be able to do it too and I find that that's been the sort of similarity with everyone I work with. With everyone I coach everyone in MIA It's really keeping us all in this positive mindset. In this mind frame that we can achieve these goals and that it's Allah's will. So we could do all the work and we may not achieve it this year but we will eventually get there if it's right for us. So I think just knowing that someone else has been able to succeed in that way or you know had all these struggles and they had kids as well I think kids is a big thing. Just knowing that like well she's a mom and she was able to do it and that inspires me and motivates me. And now I'm going to be able to do it too.
FOUSIA: Yes totally. It's awesome when you can see someone else who has like similar hopes and goals and dreams as you do be able to mashallah pull it off. It might not be instantaneous but to be able to do it is something that I found just from doing this podcast and speaking to so many different Muslim women that that has made a huge difference in their lives knowing that they can actually do it. And it's something that we've heard a lot for a long time from hearing about the story Khadija (ra) that she had like a family and she was a prophet's wife Mashallah Allah have mercy on her and you know make us like her Insha'Allah but like to see people in our lives now with how hectic things are for us in our families and a lot of us are doing school or work or we're staying home moms with so many kids and just things going on. I'm really glad that they're able to have women like you and the other sisters that have come on the show to see your journey and to be able to benefit from it. So I think one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about is coaching and being a brand strategist. What is that all about. Because I know there's a lot of sisters who are trying to do something similar as you who are content creators but they don't know how to make that next step from creating their own content to helping other people do theirs.
Sudduf: That's a great question and I think for me it's always changing as well. So what I would say is it's sometimes a natural progression. So I went from creating content to consulting which was still me creating some of the content and now more on the coaching side which is I'm not creating the content necessarily but I'm helping women with their business and with their own content or whatnot. And I feel like it was an easy transition for me because it was very natural. I just grew to a point where I realized that the work that I was doing was no longer challenging me. It was no longer motivating for me and I needed to grow but I would say just knowing your strengths knowing what you're really good at and what makes you unique. So for me that has always been the fact that I come from a very interesting background I'm an engineer and I got my master's in business and that combination has really prepared me for problem solving and there's not a problem that you can present to me that will really faze me. Sometimes I think that's why Allah gave me triplets because it was like you know if I give her one she's still going to work full time and she's still going to have a side hustle and probably more than one then you know so he's like let me just calm her down and give her three. But it's really just knowing your strengths and going with it. And for me I feel like a big part of my strength besides just that unique background is the ability to motivate and inspire others. It's really a reflection of the other person so they think I'm inspiring them and motivating them but really that's just me reflecting what they're doing for me. So I had someone a few weeks ago reach out and she wasn't sure if she should apply to be a vendor at the Ramadan market. And I was just so inspired by her business and her product and the story behind it that after chatting with her and motivating her to apply for the market I have this renewed energy to myself and my day was super productive and I thanked her for taking the time to chat with me because literally our conversation changed the course of my day and the course of my life. That's how I look at it. For me that really motivates me to keep going and I know all these women think that I'm inspiring them. But the fact is they're the ones inspiring me to keep going and any chance I get to get on a call with someone that is sure about their business and hear about their intention behind it and their story. It's just fueling my passion to keep doing what I'm doing. So that for me is kind of how I got into the coaching side and first for anyone else out there who's listening and they're thinking that they really connect and they really find joy in X Y and Z just really explore that and see how you can connect with others and use that as the progression of your business. And there's so much nowadays right there's so many avenues where you can go with content creation as your sort of start.
FOUSIA: That's amazing. I'm really glad that you brought that up kind of feeding off of each other's energy especially the positive energy and liking are helping each other and networking is all part of that we're as humans were all creatures who want to be around people want to socialize and get to know one another so I'm really glad that that's the experience that you've been having. And then you brought up the Ramadan market. Tell us a little bit about why you wanted to start that yes.
Sudduf: So Ramadan market was an idea that came to mind after closing Salaam shop and realizing that all of a sudden the Greater Toronto Area wouldn't have this hub. They wouldn't have Salaam shop to go to to fulfill their needs for and during Ramadan. And just to put things into context because for me I do run a business like a business and I hate to have to say that but I feel like a lot of women are still in the mindset of not thinking about the bottom line at the end of the day. But for me with Salaam shop the month before Ramadan and during Ramadan I made more money in that month than I did the entire year. So that showed me two things that it's very profitable A and B that there is a huge need in our community for this service or this you know these products that I'm providing. So that was kind of where the idea came from is to continue to fulfill this need and we thought about making it more of a pop up shop and whatnot and then I just kind of went back to my vision with Salaam shop of promoting the love and beauty of Islam and making it an inspirational experience and really just building upon those and creating this Ramadan market experience and I didn't clearly did not expect the response that we had like I knew it would do well but I didn't know that we would have lineups and that we would sell out of our tickets and that we would have no space for people to even walk outside. So yeah I mean it's a good problem to have but I mean it's hard to please our community sometimes. So after the first year which was last year like literally after the or maybe even during the event I said you know I'm never going to do this again. It was no longer worth it because of the way that you know maybe one interaction or two in action yet and all it took was feedback from moms and some little kids who had a really good experience or like stories saying that you know they just unpacked all of the things they bought it Ramadan market and they're wrapping gifts and we're decorating the house and me thinking like oh yeah this is why I do it yeah I do it for the families that are really joyful about this experience the ones who are really making this part and they want to make this part of their Ramadan experience in Canada. So yeah. And I decided I would do it again and I would hire a team this time and I would continue to push the envelope. And this year we're at one of Canada's biggest shopping malls as the second largest mall in Canada and there there's never been a Ramadan or either event in a Canadian mainstream mall or any mall before. So this is the first time that this is happening. And with it being some 40 days away I'm sitting here thinking oh my gosh what would I get myself into.
FOUSIA: I think that's how we all feel and we're like looking something right in the face and it's like a hurdle right. But it's a good hurdle. And I'm so glad that Toronto has this when I was in Toronto. I've been gone for like 14 years now but when I lived there there was nothing like that at all like what we had to make our own like Ramadan and decorations which is not bad. But at the same time we didn't have that experience of being able to go buy decorations and gifts like everyone else could for their own holidays.
Sudduf: Exactly and I I love the idea of these products being offered in these mainstream stores like that was even my goal with Salaam shop like my underlying goal was to make this something so attractive to these mainstream retailers and getting these product based businesses really up to par with whatever other brands that are being carried by Target and Wal-Mart and whatnot that we would easily just fall into their you know product lines for Ramadan and any time something that would happen and it will happen in the future Inshallah. And that it doesn't mean that we don't have a need for Ramadan market but it means that we've kind of succeeded and we've been able to be part of that decision as opposed to I know there's some companies that came up with their own Ramadan or product lines like some big mainstream companies and they didn't consult our community they didn't consult us and I don't want it to be like that I want it to be something that we're part of and I want to see you know Muslim women specifically I want their brands to be the ones that are being carried and I want them to say yep the store carries my brand and maybe they got their start at Ramadan market maybe they didn't but how proud would that make all of us.
FOUSIA: That would be amazing.
Sudduf: I feel like I got this banner from Target and it's made by like Miriam's whoever..
FOUSIA: That would be the most amazing thing. I mean everyone else has their products right out in the stores and they can have that sense of pride about it and that sense of accomplishment but also having everyone else realize that we are just like you we have our holidays we have our own needs and that to have needs be able to be carried by us and for us but still a I guess hating mainstream but mainstream stores where we would normally not find these kind of things.
Sudduf: Exactly. Yeah. And it would just be it's there's so many positives to it like our daughters just and sons going to these stores and being like oh yeah like yeah I'm going to get my Ramadan stuff from the store to get my mom a card for each other like something you know yeah that would be a pretty easy thing. Like I'm just gonna get some Christmas decor and repurpose a little too.
FOUSIA: I think we've all done that. All of us you know we talked about starting your own business and then helping women achieve their goals. One thing that I found that is a huge block for women and specifically Muslim women who are stay at home moms or who are still living at home with their families being their parents or siblings that they feel that they can't invest in themselves or that they shouldn't invest in themselves and that they should be taking care of everyone else. So tell me a little bit about how you help women cross that hurdle of thinking from a financial perspective and investing in themselves and in their business.
Sudduf: I'm always pretty honest and upfront because I think Instagram has created this false sense of success where it seems like if you work hard enough you will be successful and I don't think that's true. I think obviously everyone has their destiny and it is planned and you know some people won't reach there and it doesn't matter how much you invest in yourself or what you do you won't get there. But I'm pretty honest about the fact that if you have money to invest in learning then the best thing you can do is learn from professional who gets you and who gets your target market. And and it all kind of expedite your starting a business or your path to success. However not everyone has access to those financial resources. So that's where I'm honest and saying that like if you can't. Yeah there's a lot of free material online and it's going to take you longer to navigate it and it's going to take you longer to get to the same point as someone else who has the money to spend. So I think it's important to just be honest about it and say that like yeah if you're struggling then it might take you longer. It likely will take you longer but that's life. And everyone has different struggles so usually that's one thing I'm pretty upfront about. However I think there's a lot to be said of women who do invest in their own business or their own self care and you can spend you know the 50 dollars on eating out or you could forego that eating out for a month and join like the Muslim entrepreneur association or you could take a course with someone or go for a massage like you could do something that really fuels your fire and whether that's your business or other forms of self care and the results will not just be for you they're gonna be for your family as well whether that means you're happier or more fulfilled you're making more money and not these sorts of things. So I think that answers your question. For me the way I keep it in perspective is the more my business grows the more I feel like I help out with our financial situation and I'm able to get things for my kids that I wouldn't otherwise be able to get or I'm able to set aside certain things that I'm going to get to experience with my family that I wouldn't have been able to do and that kind of justifies it for me and also reminds me of why this is really an investment and it's not just selfish sort of spending which might have been a thought that I would have had years ago.
FOUSIA: Yeah totally. So I'm glad that you mentioned like spending in terms of learning how to do what you want to do and learning from someone who knows the type of business that you want to be in or who your customers are. So we know people come to you to learn and to get advice from and to be coached who Sudduf go to what kind of learning tools do you find most useful to you being at speakers or websites or things like that.
Sudduf: That's such a great question. As soon as you said it I pictured Fariha who I posted about a few days ago and she's a medical doctor actually here in Toronto and she's also involved in a lot of organizations and sits on the board for Islamic Relief and see how I help line and other organizations I've recently started going to her for general life advice. But also when I'm in any sort of ethical like if I have an ethical business question or it's not necessarily business but I feel like for life I go to her because she has a lot of experience and she comes from a very different background than me. So I love to hear her insight on someone else I go to is a Ustadha Shehnaz she's from Montreal and it's called I think it's called the Sanad collective is her organization and she's a teacher who learned under Anse Tamara Gray who's from Rabata.org and I go to Ustadha Shehnaz anytime I have any sort of religious question but also values based questions and again like with business there's so many grey areas and I always kind of like I wonder like you know this is my intention but I'm not sure. Or even when it comes to others and just the way that I word things if I'm you know influencing someone in a certain way I want to make sure I'm doing it in the proper way atomically. So she's the one I go to for that sort of advice. And then in terms of business advice. Tony Robbins is really cool. I like him. I like Jenna Kutcher I think everyone knows I love Jenna Kutcher. Melissa Griffin is great with her advice. James Webmore I've been more inclined to his style of teaching lately and there's someone named Rus Rufino and he's like a lesser known business guru I guess. And he has a program that I almost signed up for a couple months ago when I might sign up for in the future. But he's someone who I feel like he's kind of the person who's who I attribute a lot of my recent success to because I took one of his courses and I invested like a lot of money more money than I've invested in of course while beside my MBA obviously. But I invested a lot of money in a three hour course with him and it literally changed the way I conduct my business. And yes. So his name's Russ Ruffino. I don't know if there's a lot online about him but.
FOUSIA: I got that name down so I must look that up afterwards I hope you guys who are listening have as well inshallah. All this is going to be in the show notes you guys can go ahead and click on those links as well as where to find Sudduf. So if you mentioned something really interesting about the success that you've gotten recently from the advice or the courses that you've taken. One thing that I did notice from your social media is that you're not one of those like posts every day on your pages and like the rest of us out here we're constantly being told you got to post more and then things like Instagram go down Facebook goes down Twitter is out sometimes. And just recently that happened and I received one of your emails saying hey if you guys had an email list you wouldn't have to tell them right now you'd still be able to market. So tell us a little bit about how you did that pivot from posting regularly on social media to actually building closer relationships with the people on your email lists and creating a list to begin with.
Sudduf: Yeah that's such a great question. And when that happened last week it was a great reminder and I know some people are getting annoyed by that reminder. But it's it is what it is like you own your own your mailing list you own people's emails and when you send someone an email it's guaranteed to show up on their in their inbox. It's not like you know they might see it whereas Instagram and Facebook are like you know they might see it based on..
FOUSIA: If everything aligns..
Sudduf: If the stars align. So basically I think what changed for me actually was again last year and it was around the Ramadan time where I realized this was not even a business decision. It was more like a life decision in itself care decision. I just felt very overwhelmed by Instagram and I wasn't enjoying it I wasn't getting joy from posting every day and it was becoming I would share personal stories. And it was it was more of actually the responses to those or like the judgment and those sorts of things that would come from people. And I know some people can take that judgment and take those comments and be completely fine. Obviously people who have like millions of followers can do that very well otherwise they wouldn't be continuing doing what they're doing but personally for me it was just something that would really weigh me down and I can still remember like the handful of comments like I have the memorized I can remember like the mean things that people have said I don't blame them for it and I don't dislike them for it but I feel bad that something I said made them so upset that they would feel that it's OK to send a sort of message to someone from behind the screen. So that's really like truthfully and honestly I'm sharing that here. That's why I stopped posting so much. So I opposed stop posting about my kids. It's why I stopped posting certain aspects of my life and it wasn't a business decision. However in the little break that I took I realized that the people that I really looked up to from a business sense who I felt like I could relate to I realized that they didn't start with this massive Instagram following and their Instagram was kind of secondary to their actual business. And I don't know what James Wedmore is at right now but I think when I followed him he had like 15000 thousand followers maybe and I was like What...? This guy makes millions of dollars. He's not even having to leverage Instagram. So it just gave me the confidence to be like hey I don't need to post every day I can still make a million colors like you don't have to be doing everything you need to focus on what's making you the money if this is truly your business and it's meant to be profitable. Which obviously all businesses are. Then I realized I need to spend less time on the social media aspect and more time on building the actual content and the business.
FOUSIA: So when it comes to building the content and building your business I think something that a lot of a struggle with is consistency and having actual good information to share or good pictures of your products if that's what you're doing if you're selling. So how do we kind of overcome that consistency what kind of tools do you think are helpful that you use or that you might suggest people that you work with use.
Sudduf: Yeah. That's a great question. I've recently started using the content planner there on Instagram under that handle and it forces you to lay everything out for them. And if you have more than one business it's even more helpful because it really organizes things and it's really great for women it's got fun stickers and a pen and it's great. So that's one tool that I'm finding really helpful she has online downloads as well. And if you aren't looking to spend money you can print a simple free calendar online and I would say like that is the number one tool for content planning is some sort of calendar and you call it your content calendar and I would say if you are deciding to post every day or four times a week that you label those days of the week so you could say Monday is going to be my mom aspiration day where I talk about some sort of mom out there who's really inspiring. So every Monday this month I'm going to post about that every Wednesday. I mean for our modern market I posted Wednesday wisdom so I post something from Islam that will help people learn and inspire them and say Friday you could do something like fashion Friday. So let's say you're posting three times a week so all of a sudden that month you know exactly what you're posting on your three days a week. And now all you have to do is find some pictures and write some captions. So I find that that really takes out the thinking and the overwhelming feeling of Oh my God it's Tuesday and I don't know what to post. I know it can kind of take away the creative side but I always say that you plan and then you work around whatever is happening in the world and whatever is happening in your schedule so it doesn't mean everyone's day you have to post a Wednesday wisdom but it just so you don't have to think about it if you don't have anything else in mind. And the consistency is what your followers love. They're gonna start coming back to your page every Wednesday because they're like oh shoot like I didn't see her Wednesday wisdom posts show up on my feed like I need to learn something about Islam today so I'm going to go check out her feed and if you check out your favorite Instagram accounts you'll start to see a pattern and whether it's once a week they have a very similar post or every day of the week is very similar you'll see that there is a pattern and that's how they grow their page and keep going on with that consistency because once you taste that success then you see your follower account grow your sales growing you keep on doing lower.
FOUSIA: That's great advice. Thank you so much. So before we go because I know you're busy you've got the littles going on you have so much to do but when it comes to networking how do we network on social media whether it's through Instagram Facebook Twitter or like you who's doing more on an email list. How do we connect with people kind of not just from the perspective of this is how you can help me but more of this is how we can help each other and work together and have kind of like people that you have values aligned with.
Sudduf: Yeah I definitely like I think the way to do that is by being genuine and really just making it easy for the other person. And this is something I learned in my MBA and it's continued with kind of everything I learned now is always focusing on the service aspect and you providing a service to others so a great example is actually how you invited me to this podcast is you made it very hard for me to not say yes because it was perfectly organized in an email with like bold headings the links were there there was no reason why I wouldn't say yes because it was just perfectly organized so you want to make it really hard for someone to say no and then the way you do that is by doing your research and making sure that you're offering something that has a big benefit to them but also just so easy for them to say yeah let's do this let's work together and I find that that sounds simpler than it actually is because you know I get messages all the time about collaborating and whatnot and like a DM is a DM right but if you want to continue the conversation you need to be able to email someone and oftentimes the conversation just stops that like when they ask you what's your email you're just like it's my bio why are you mad at me. Just simple things like that. But yeah I would say in a nutshell just make it easy for the other person to say yes there should be no reason for them to say no. No spelling errors. None of that. And do your research. It goes such a long way when you say I know you're busy because you have kids or say like I want to take two minutes of your time. Can we get on a call just appreciating that the other person has a lot going on as well.
FOUSIA: Awesome. I'm so glad that that was easy for you to see and you couldn't say no JazakhaAllah Khair. So Sudduf where can we find you. Everything that you tell us we will put in the show notes for everyone so it's easily clickable and they can get to you and all the wealth of information that you have to share.
Sudduf: Awesome. So you guys can find me on Instagram at Salaam Sudduf and you can also go to my Website at SalamSudduf.com. For Ramadan market I talked a bit about that here. You can find us at Ramadanmarket.ca and for any questions about the Muslim entrepreneur Association and the courses we offer and the membership club. Right now I'm just sharing them on my own Website SalamSudduf.com until we launch that website soon which is another project.
FOUSIA: Also mashallah. So that is it you guys. We had Sudduf on this show MBA a former owner of Salam shop now a business coach and brand strategist said thank you so much for coming on the show and taking the time to speak with us. You're welcome.
Thank you so much for having me.