Hawa Camara – You need to keep going. And one day you’ll understand why you kept going

podcast episode art featuring hawa camara

Today on Tech Sisters Stories we’re excited to have Hawa Camara

Hawa is a freelance Copywriter working with the Brandz Bee on the Tech Sisters rebranding project.

She loves to write personality-filled copy that goes right to the heart and boosts conversions.

Listen To Hawa’s Story

Key Lessons from this Episode

  • Why Hawa feels her ADHD is a blessing and a curse (11:39)
  • “Good copywriting is when you understand what people want, how they want it, and when they want it” (14:53)
  • “No one can touch me because I’m comfortable with who I am” (21:50)
  • Find a way to keep going. Even if I fall, I have to get up and figure it out, even if I don’t know how. (27:50)
  • “If someone doesn’t like you, it doesn’t matter. They don’t pay your bills, and they never will!” (45:47)

Transcript

[00:00:00] Grace Witter: As Salaam-Alaikum, you’re listening to tech sisters stories. tech sisters is a community that connects you with other Muslim women in tech who share your story experiences and goals. So you no longer have to feel like the only one like you and your team. My name is grace and I get to interview the amazing women in our community, share their stories and the lessons they learned.

On today’s episode, we have Hawa and mashAllah. This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had recording. Any episode on this podcast. Uh, and you’ll probably hear it.

In the episode. Um, mashallah Hawa is amazing. She’s so much fun to talk to an incredible person. Incredible story. And I’m so happy to have met her, so happy to know her and so happy to have her on the podcast. alhamdulillah Uh, just a quick announcement before we get onto her story. There’s no new episode next week.

I’m on vacation. So taking a little break.

um, but we’ll be back the week after that. Inshallah. So use that time to catch up on any episodes that you might have missed or listen to your favorite one again, I don’t know, whatever you like, yeah, we’ll be back the week after. inshallah say, I enjoy hawa’s story.

[00:01:18] Grace: as salaamu alikum today on tech sisters stories, we’re super excited and very happy to have hawa camera. mashAllah Hawa is a freelance copywriter, and she’s currently working with Brandz Bee, Ruqqayah, on the Tech Sisters series rebranding project.

She has been so much fun to work with, and I’m so happy that she’s joining us for the interview today. mashAllah hawa loves to write personality filled copy. That goes right to the heart and boost conversions, and mashAllah she is very good at going deep, and getting right to the truth.

mashAllah thank you, Hawa for coming today.

[00:01:50] Hawa: okay. Your I come, but grace, did you invite me to make me cry?

[00:01:54] Grace: Not this early on.

[00:01:56] Hawa: Because if that’s the case, I’m just going to leave. Like like at top, it’s going to be fun. But if it’s just that like, uh, it’s it’s no, thank you so much for inviting to me. It’s my first So I’m kind of nervous, like, um, and I’m French.

I want people to know I’m French. So if they’re like, uh, English

[00:02:16] Grace: That’s what that accent is.

[00:02:17] Hawa: Yeah. That’s, that’s the accent, you know, that’s a sexy accent that everybody’s loving every time. I love Paris, but that is Paris. Paris came to you in your ears. So thank you so much.

[00:02:31] Grace: okay. hawa how did you first get into copywriting? How’d this all start?

[00:02:35] Hawa: I love to say like, that’s a long story, but every time I make it shorter and shorter and shorter. So I’m going to give you the middle grant.

[00:02:43] Grace: the middle story?

[00:02:44] Hawa: at first you, you have to know that I started with, um, project based business. So I had my own business. It was called Arab, African me Western in power.

She’s not there anymore. And I was selling mugs. I was selling posters. I was selling tea, coffee, you know, and , my goal with this brand was to celebrate African culture. That was the number one goal. And everybody was like, you are doing it. It’s so good. Stuff like that, but I don’t know why. Um for a minute I didn’t click with it.

So I was like, I need something to be better. Like Arab, African needs to be better. And I met when, uh, Arab African was, uh, at the beginning I met a girl named Alexander Batist and you know, she was a marketing student and she came to me and she was like, ah, I need, to work with the brand.

And I choose yours because, I mean, the course, and I was like, but she’s talking about that. Maybe she’s a liar. She wasn’t a liar. She, she told the truth because I, uh, superior, like I found the number. I was like, there is ex telling me this and she was like, she’s real exist.

[00:03:56] Grace: Identity

[00:03:56] Hawa: Yeah. I was little bit wary because, you know, on internet people, they love to scam, you know?

And I’m always on my guard, like, uh, I don’t trust people easily. And I was like, okay, she legit. So we start working together and she taught me a lot of stuff about marketing some stuff. I knew like CEO, because I had the blog. I like to say I’m like a cat. I had many life blog, uh, teaching us so many stuff.

And I was like, mm, marketing is interesting. I’m going to put it, you know, in the corner. And I remember one day I made the joke with my little sister because my family, they are always asking me to write stuff, like, write this for us and this and this. And I was like, you know, one day I’m going to make you pay. Like money from your pocket in my pocket because I’m tired, but because I’m the world girl, you know, I have blood and words in my vein, so they they’re always asking me stuff, you know, with word and stuff like that. And I was like, maybe this joke can be my reality. Like, uh, I can make it real, like being paid for writing.

I know there is a stuff calling writer, like, uh, people write book and get paid, but it wasn’t really like that. I was like, I need to save back again and I need to do something I love. And this is when I knew about copywriting. It was a mix of marketing and writing. And I was like, ding, ding, ding, jackpot. I found it. And I was making, you know, research research and I was like, I love it. I love it. I love copywriting that’s for me.

[00:05:29] Grace: mashAllah. So you had this great experience with her and she exposed you to marketing and you had that history of really loving to do writing, and these things are coming together for you. and you can see the application of doing copywriting to help your business, so how are you taking that from your own business and then spreading it around and really wanting to help other business owners, other people find their unique voice.

[00:05:50] Hawa: I think it’s like, because I know what they’re going through. I know it. I know when you are looking at what you are writing and be like, mm, it will be so much more like it doesn’t translate what I want to translate because. We love our business. It’s like our new baby, you know, and we want to describe our baby the best way possible.

Like, we want people to love our baby. Like, we love them and you are like, my baby is the best. And people are like, okay, everybody say that about the baby,

[00:06:22] Grace: babies look the same.

[00:06:23] Hawa: older baby. Exactly. What is so special about this baby? And yeah, because it’s mine. Okay. So I think it’s little bit sad when you love your, um, your business and you are in your bubble and you don’t know how to translate that to people.

You have to transmit of all of this love because you, you need them to love your business. Like you. You love it, you know, because you are alone in your bubble. And the thing is when copywriting come in, the picture, copywriting is telling you, okay, you have to leave this bubble. You have to leave it. And you have to understand the point of view of your customer.

Maybe your audience, maybe people are reading what you’re writing. They’re not feeling it because you don’t know how to do it. And copywriting is here for that. And I was like, I was lost. I was kinda bit of, you know, uh, I want to give up, uh, like something is missing. Like I, I’m not attracting people understand me, but I feel like I am.

And it’s frustrating when you are doing all the effort, but there is like no rewards because the effort you are doing, they’re fruitless. They’re not going to give anything because this is not the effort. You have to put your energy time, money in it. And I was like, I need to not save those people. But, um, I need to give them what I, I wanted to give myself because I feel like it’s G little bit of, you know, it’s ego.

It was selfish for me to keep all of this. Because I love win-win situation. I want everybody to win.

If I win you win. If you win, I win. It’s my mantra. Like, this is how, uh, I am. And , this is the day I decided you know what? I’m not moved by Arab, African anymore. I’m not moved by all of those projects I’m selling. I want to, to be behind the scenes. I want to be not the person you don’t know about, but who is making a lot of money to, uh, my client, but they don’t know my name.

You know, they don’t know that it’s me write this, this copy on the website. They don’t know it’s me writing the image. They love so much. They think it’s the, it’s the brand owner, but it’s not. So I’m going to be, you know, in the, a web, the spotlight, you know, but I’m going to make it shine, you know? So that’s why

[00:08:43] Grace: you work is speaking for itself for itself.

[00:08:44] Hawa: Yeah, exactly. That that’s the moment I decide to just, you know, no, I don’t want to do African. I want to be a copywriter and I’m going to do it with a bang.

[00:08:55] Grace: So mashAllah, so there’s two bits that really stuck out there. So you’re really empathizing with your clients because you were in that position, you were the business owner who really was struggling to get people. And so, you know what they’re going through. You can really feel it deep inside mashAllah and then I really liked, but you said that you, that your businesses didn’t move you anymore.

And so it’s okay to move on to something else that you do feel moved by. Did you have a hard time transitioning between the two of those?

[00:09:23] Hawa: I want to say no, because the thing is, uh, I have what, uh, we call ADHD and

the problem with ADHD is this thing we call, hyper focus it’s when you are into something like you are so into it, you talk about it every day. It’s your life. It’s, it’s an obsession, like it’s obsession. But, uh, I did another level.

You’ll see, but there you decide you are finished with it. You are finished with it. It’s done. It’s like, it never exists. Like sometimes I don’t even want to talk about Africa. Like she needs to stay in the corner where she belongs, you know?

[00:10:02] Grace: Oh, no,

[00:10:03] Hawa: yeah, I know it’s, it’s harsh, but this is how, you know, my brain was.

So I was like, my new life is this like the hour from the future. I. See her not being a business, uh, project based business owner. I can see her teaching copywriting, you know, so this is the moment I knew that I had to leave everything behind and it wasn’t that difficult to transition because I was like, I had issue with our African, I don’t have the money to make it work because something people don’t tell you is that, is that it takes money to make money.

[00:10:41] Grace: what.

[00:10:43] Hawa: Yeah. Either shocking, shocking, shocking. And, you know, I thought I could get into the business, the project beds business with a little bit of money. Like it’s okay, I’m going to, you know, do money and stuff like that because I was wronged by the wrong people. And, uh, when I transitioned, I was like, it’s going to be easier because it’s, it’s different.

It was different. And it was easier for me to be a service based business. It’s easier for me.

[00:11:10] Grace: mashAllah. So I also really like how you brought up the ADHD. Cause I think we’ve talked about this in one of our other talks where that is actually one of your superpowers, that outlook that you have, the way that your brain works is something that’s really unique to you and is an advantage. I think for a lot of people, if they’re transitioning between different businesses, there’s like this sunk cost idea where you spend so much time on one idea, that’s hard to move on to something else, but this is something that you, , don’t really have to deal with.

[00:11:37] Hawa: Yeah, exactly. But I love to say a ADHD is a blessing and a curse at the same time, because there is a lot of, , bad side, lot of difficulties, but I feel like, , it’s truly helping with the creative side, but also, like you said, the fact that, , when it’s done. it’s done. Like I did everything I had to do at this moment because I wanted to do it and I just did it.

And I know sometimes my family, they love to make fun of it because they’re like, okay, what is your new hobby? What’s your obsessed with like, what’s the new thing, like what’s happening now? And I’m like, at least I can say I tried it and nobody can tell me, uh, something else I did. I tried it. I gave everything I had, I bought the stuff I was there.

I did, I did it. And now I have so many, you know, information in my brain from so many stuff I did because I went through Arab, African, and I, I learned so many, like I met so many people that I’m still talking with, like Alexander and, uh, the guy i met was Jose Vincent. So. I’m so glad for that. I’m so glad that our from ZPA did that because today our, the present hour, she can, you know, live with that and she can, she can use everything.

I, uh, I learned at this moment, so this is why I say it’s a blessing because I know a lot of stuff, like it’s insane sometimes. Like how do I know that? Oh yeah,

[00:13:12] Grace: You’re just like really smart. Yeah.

[00:13:14] Hawa: It was my previous obsession. Like, you know, so I had an obsession with that. Oh yeah. It’s from that island. So I’m glad I did everything I did.

I’m not glad I didn’t went, you know, through it, you know, it was a pass. It was a, I’m not glad about that, you know, but I’m glad I did it because I tried and nobody can tell me otherwise,

[00:13:36] Grace: mashAllah. That’s beautiful. I think that this is something that ties enough. A lot of people have said that there really aren’t any regrets. You know, there’s nothing really negative that happens in our journey.

When you see it from enough of a distance, right? Everything is contributing to who you are today and, and the things that you learn and that, you know, subhanAllah so Hawa today is an amazing copywriter, mashAllah,

[00:13:57] Hawa: Oh, thank you.

[00:13:58] Grace: the, the best. Um, so what so what is next for you? What do you hope to achieve next

[00:14:06] Hawa: oh, teaching

[00:14:07] Grace: teaching? Hmm. That would be great.

[00:14:10] Hawa: Yeah. Thank you. Because I, I, I used to teach, yeah. It in my many life, I was a teacher. I was an Arabic teacher and, uh, I love it. I always dreamed to be a teacher when I was little people were like, what do you want to be? I wanted to be so many stuff, but teaching was always coming back, you know?

So I know I’m going to teach because I want people to. See to live. What true copywriting is because I’m tired. Grace. I’m I’m I came to you. Tired, tired. Okay.

[00:14:46] Grace: yeah,

[00:14:47] Hawa: I’m of the fake copy writing

[00:14:49] Grace: I was gonna bring this up. Yeah. There are so many copywriting courses.

[00:14:53] Hawa: I’m tired of the copywriting tips, the copywriting tricks, the acts, everything I’m ed of seeing always are E they are AE. They, you know, stuff like that. I’m tired of those framework. Like people, they are going to give you a title, like use the, they are in your copy, but they don’t really teach how to use it.

It’s just surface level, like, uh, do that and say that and do it like that. And instead of saying this, say that, you know, and I feel like they don’t teach you how to connect with your audience in a deeper way, because you know, I’m the, I’m the, you say yourself, I’m the deep girl. I always ask why? Like, you’re going to tell me my project is beautiful.

Okay. Why? Like, why do I, why do I care seriously? Uh, because people love beautiful. OK. Why people love. Why they love beautiful. Maybe people, some people love ugly. You don’t know that. And uh, I know people they’re like, oh, oh, you know, the, the is like, oh my God, what, what I’m supposed to say, because I want people to see beyond their own product Because when you did the product you made it, you are so proud of it. But you see stuff with, with your own point of view, with your own eyes and people, they didn’t get through the same process. So they need to understand why they should care. Like why I was in my bed laying. And you came to me with you and telling me, uh, it deals a new, uh, thing I did for you again, like give me a reason to get up and go seek my, you know, the card and, uh, you know, pay you my money.

Like. Why should I do that? And this is what I want people to understand. So that’s why I’m like, I need to teach because I love copywriting. I truly love it for me. Copywriting is the, is like psychology. I love to learn about people. I love to see how they, their brain works, like why they decide to do, what they do.

I love the why question. Like I’m, I’m like a kid. Why, why, why? You know, when kid they do that, why phrase? And I feel like we should be all kids and always asking why, you know, because kids, they need to understand. So we need to understand too. It’s not just saying something. Why are you saying it? Why are you saying like that?

Why does, what, why you say new? Why you didn’t say something else? You know, why is the color blue? Why not red? You know, so I want people to have those tools, this understanding to go deeper because good copywriting is copywriting, where you understand what people want and how they want it, and when they want it.

[00:17:42] Grace: mashAllah. So I, I, I love what you said, mashAllah, hundred percent, there are lots of AI copywriting tools now where you just kind of put in something and then it’ll say, this is how you could have it on a landing page. This is how you could have it on Instagram ad. And so it sounds like what you’re saying is what really makes you different?

What makes copywriting more complete? Isn’t just the literal words and putting it together, but it’s going right into the why and why this thing matters. And you can’t really get that through the AI tool.

[00:18:10] Hawa: Yeah. I feel like I’m human driven. because I’m fascinated by human I don’t know why since I’m little, I feel like maybe it’s because I read a lot of books and, uh, you know, writer, they have to, they have to research. So they, they go to talk to a lot of different people. Like sometimes they go to talk with, uh, you know, people in jail.

They talk in with people who have, you know, certain condition of life. And it’s always about what happened to these people. What happened to them? The decision they make, why they, why they making it? And sometimes we are like, we don’t understand because it’s not our place to understand.

Or maybe we, it’s not us, you know, it’s not our way of, of life. So I’m always like, how can you connect that? With helping them, you know, because when you are selling something, you are helping people, you are serving them, you know, but you have to understand those people first, before understanding why you project matter to them.

So I’m, I’m all about human. I’m all about that. I know some, some, some AI tools they help, they help, but I feel like if you want to go further,

[00:19:30] Grace: Mm-hmm

[00:19:31] Hawa: now you have to be one on one, do a one on one, go. Search people talk to them, be with them, uh, you know, asking question like we did, uh, you and me, grace, like for two hours, we were talking,

[00:19:46] Grace: it was more than two hours.

[00:19:47] Hawa: Yeah. More. I try to, you know, I don’t frighten people because they’re like, oh, to work with her. I have to like you have to talk. And the, I think the worst part is I keep asking question, even after I ask 47 question, I keep asking question and I say that to people, if you wanna work with me, you have to answer question, because I feel like the answer I need, they are deep inside you, but you don’t know it yet.

I’m here, you know, with my shovel and I’m just going to dig and, and, and sometimes you’re like, she’s done no,

[00:20:24] Grace: no.

[00:20:27] Hawa: all about a human. You have to care make people care.

[00:20:31] Grace: yeah. mashAllah, I love how you brought the example of books, because I think that is so comically clear when you read a book and the author hasn’t really talked to anybody, um, and you , the book is terrible. Like there’s, there’s a whole trope of like men writing women where. They, they don’t know how we think especially Muslim women.

You know, if a book is written about Muslim women or has a Muslim character, it’s not gonna be good.

[00:20:59] Hawa: Yeah. You can, you can see it in the show. Like you can be like, I know you didn’t

[00:21:04] Grace: yeah. If you didn’t research this.

[00:21:06] Hawa: exactly Muslim woman in their shows and the Muslim woman, she has no Muslim friends, not one, not one. She doesn’t, you know, have SMS or message called, you know, to be like, do you wanna go to the masjid today?

[00:21:24] Grace: Nothing.

[00:21:25] Hawa: And I know that they don’t talk with Muslim women because we are together. You

[00:21:30] Grace: We talk all the time.

[00:21:32] Hawa: We talk a lot. Every time we talk and there is none like she, and I’m like, I’m tired.

[00:21:39] Grace: lonely girls

[00:21:40] Hawa: yes, she, so, and the parents they’re always mean, and they don’t support her on the dreams that not, that’s not true. Like they need to meet my mom.

[00:21:50] Grace: Yeah, mashAllah. So that’s a good transition. So you in France as a copywriter, as a Muslim woman, how has your experience been?

[00:22:00] Hawa: experience has been so good that I feel like I’m the, I’m not a good example if I can say that.

[00:22:07] Grace: Any experiences? That’s your true experience?

[00:22:10] Hawa: because I feel like me, uh, I’m a Muslim and I’m black and I don’t care if people don’t like, like it. Like, I truly don’t. I don’t like, you know, I know my father, he said that to help me because, uh, he wants his daughter to succeed and he told me, do you think like with you, hijab, people will want to hire you.

Like you, they’re not frightening and all. And I was like, listen here, dad. Yes. I talk like that to my dad. and I was like, I didn’t, I’m not a natural planner. I’m not on my own for people to tell me what to do. They don’t wanna see my hijab. They don’t wanna see my black skin. They can go.

No problem. I don’t care.

I don’t care. You can be racist. You can be, I don’t care. Like you cannot touch me. You cannot like, there is this, you know, this shield I have for myself, you cannot touch me because I’m comfortable where I am. Like I’m comfortable. I know who I am. I know what I bring on the table. I don’t need no one coming to me and being like, mm, maybe you should get right off your hijab.

No, maybe you, you should get rid of your brain because you don’t use it. Like leave me alone. this? I feel like, I dunno, like what can you, can you do against me? You can do none. Like you, nothing. You can do nothing against me about that because I don’t care. I feel powerful. I’m good where I’m at. And I feel like since I have this whole vibe, people can, they can feel it.

So I’m not going to attract people who are afraid of that because I have no problem. Telling you, like, no problem. We’re going to have a discussion and I’m going to educate you. Like, I can say it in French, in English. Maybe I can try to tell you in your Arabic, like, you know, I’m going to call my mom and be like, how do you say that in Sony came your mother tongue.

No problem at all. Like, uh, so, but I understand my, my dad, he was, you know, he was worried because my dad is, uh, you know, last generation and they came in France and they had

[00:24:25] Grace: they had a hard.

[00:24:26] Hawa: they had, you know, to be a little because, uh, they wanted the, the children, you know, to, to be good in France. And, you know, they didn’t want spotlight on them.

They didn’t want all of that. So they didn’t fight. Like we do the new generation, we fight, we fight back. Like if there is racism, we are going to be like you racist.

[00:24:47] Grace: yeah.

[00:24:47] Hawa: And they don’t like, they don’t like that. They don’t because we talk and we are not afraid. And I feel like I’m a good project of this generation.

And I’m grateful to my parents for that, but I’m not my parent.

[00:25:02] Grace: mashAllah. that’s a good one. That’s a good

[00:25:09] Hawa: And.

[00:25:12] Grace: mashAllah.

hawa.

[00:25:14] Hawa: Yeah, I see.

[00:25:18] Grace: Um, right. Okay. So in, in all of this what has been the thing that you are most proud of? So you’ve accomplished so much marsh, but what’s something that you just feel really, really special about. And why is it so special to you?

[00:25:33] Hawa: woo.

[00:25:34] Grace: The, I can, I can do why too

[00:25:36] Hawa: you? Yeah, you good? Eddie? you, you got me at my own games. Uh, woo. That’s a good one. I feel like I’m proud of so many stuff. I want to say I’m pride, uh, of the fact that I did everything I, I did and, uh, everything I’m doing, while being weird? I’m going to explain, because saying like that is like, uh, she’s talking about. She was so good previously, like.

[00:26:14] Grace: Are you sure? She has a way with words

[00:26:17] Hawa: She’s a copywriter.

[00:26:19] Grace: but know about this.

[00:26:20] Hawa: I don’t think so, but being weird because all my life, all my life, I was like, there is something wrong with me all my life. I was like, I’m weird. I always tell people I’m weird. I’m weird. I’m weird are, and I know that I didn’t grew up with a lot of, you know, uplifting word and it was on this uplift, uplifting, you know, environment.

[00:26:47] Grace: Mm-hmm

[00:26:47] Hawa: So I had to find a way to keep going. I had to find a way to be like, if I fall, I have to get up,

even if I don’t know. I’m going to figure it out. And I was like, you weird, you know? And on, on all of these world, people were telling me because I had this ADHD and nobody knew about it and something was different about me, but I, I just kept going and I kept going and sometimes I’m like, I got children, there are two, two of them.

Like they are good alhamdulillah. They’re good children. And they’re well behaved. And so every time, um, people are like, how do you do with your kids? I’m like, I don’t know. I just do,

because I, I have to, to, to learn how to do. I just have to learn how to do, being weird, being the way I was, I had to, to learn like, just, just keep going, just keep going and keep going.

And one day you are going to understand why you kept going. Even if, sometimes you were like crying and you know, you were overwhelmed and you were like, I don’t know how to do it. And you know, um, I, I have depression. I have to deal with depression. I have anxiety. Uh, I, unfortunately I had like a suicidal to, you know, like very, very hard stuff.

Like when people, they see me, they don’t think that, but I went, I went through a lot mentally. It was very, very, very difficult for me. It is sometimes, uh, today, but every time I was like at the bottom being weirdest, like, I love to say, I just knew I had to keep going.

[00:28:31] Grace: Yeah.

[00:28:32] Hawa: This is the thing I’m most proud of the fact that I just kept going, because sometimes I, I think about what a friend, uh, quote on quote friend because, uh, I know today

[00:28:44] Grace: audio. It

[00:28:44] Hawa: yeah, it’s a no joke.

I forget. It’s no joke. So I did the quote stuff, you know, because I know today, she wasn’t a true friend, you know, and, but she, she said me something, she said, it’s weird when you want to give up, because you are a fighter. And I was like, I’m not, what are you talking about? And today I think about that and I’m like, she’s right.

Like, I fought hard. I had no one helping me. Sometimes I was alone. Like I was alone and lonely and that’s the worst feeling, but aand, now I have a village helping me. But yeah, when I was little, it was, it was hard. I was just like, Why I, why like Allah made me that way. I don’t understand. I need answer like Allah.

Why? Like, uh, let’s talk, you know, and now I understand it’s because I feel like I’m one of those person who has to keep going. I have to keep going. Like I have to it’s just that every day, keep going, keep going, keep going. And I know my father, one day, he said that too. He said, I’m proud of my kids because you just keep going.

[00:29:57] Grace: Hmm.

[00:29:58] Hawa: And I was like, you, so right, daddy, like, say that again.

[00:30:01] Grace: mashAllah.

[00:30:02] Hawa: and you know, I was like, yeah, if my dad can see it, it’s it’s it means that it’s true. Like it’s, it’s in myself and my kids they are the same I did it and I want my kids to see that I want my kids to see that you have to keep going. They have, they, they, they have a weird mom, even she’s a weirdest like you can think about, but she’s keep, she just keep going. Like she, she doesn’t stop. She doesn’t stop.

So I think like that, the, the thing I’m most proud of, I know if, uh, little hawa will see me today, she’s going to be like, whoa, how did you do that? I’m going to be like, listen, hawa? I don’t know. I just did.

[00:30:50] Grace: It’s one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.

[00:30:54] Hawa: the time, every day I had to, to be compassionate toward myself and be like it’s one day at the time.

And it’s okay if today you want to lay down and just be, just be. Tomorrow you are going

[00:31:08] Grace: You get up.

[00:31:09] Hawa: Yeah, exactly. You will see one day you are going to just get up and do like, just do like you always do. And the day you stop is the day death stop at you. Like basically you keep going, like if you dead you, if you alive, you have to live.

[00:31:31] Grace: mashAllah. So there was, that was a beautiful, beautiful response. And there’s a lot that I want kind of pick out there. And you said that there is that time when you felt alone and at your very bottom and how you were talking to Allah. So I wanna focus on that because I think so many people go through that and because of the nature of that feeling, a lot of people don’t really realize that so many people have felt

[00:31:53] Hawa: yeah. Yeah. I feel like being alone is a choice because sometimes I love being alone. Oh, leave me alone. Like, woo. It’s a, it’s the best my husband, he can feel it. And it’s like, kids let’s go outside. Mommy, listen silly, you know? Yeah. But being lonely, you don’t choose it. It just choose you. And when he does, it’s so violent.

You don’t see it because you know, you have people around you and you are like, why I don’t belong. I, I always had this feeling, you know, I was around friends, but there is always a moment where I’m like, what, what, what I’m doing here. Like why I’m here. I feel, I feel so lonely and I know that they can, they cannot understand me if I’m like, okay guys, I need to talk to you about something.

They’re going to be like, you’re tripping. Right. You’re tripping. And I feel like this is the moment. You know, you are lonely when you can, you can’t be your true self. You, you cannot. And you are like, if I cannot be my true self, that means I’m selling a life. I’m being someone I’m not supposed to be. And now I’m leaving my true self.

. It’s you, if you cannot be yourself, this is the moment your lonely, because no, they have to see it.

And talking with allah really, really helped me because I was like, Allah made me.

[00:33:25] Grace: mm-hmm

[00:33:26] Hawa: He made me, so he knows me better than I know myself. And I was like, I need to talk to Allah. You know, being like trying to understand, you know, crying. I love crying. Oh, oh, crying. This is just, you know, to wash my soul, oh, it’s like, no, you have a new soul. And. I love it. And it just, you know, it’s to purge and I, you need to purge all of that. And I was like, yeah, a life is so lonely. Like I Al I was always like, put people on my path, people who are going to help me for real, like, I need this. I’m so tired to, to always be like, I’m alone.

People they’re around me, but they don’t get me. But it, I think the first problem was me, meaning that I didn’t get me myself, how I was supposed to tell people, uh, I’m like this. So accept me as I am, because I didn’t accept me myself. Yes, exactly. And I think it was 2019. I feel like it was my worst year ever. One of the worst. It was so sad, but it’s also the year I met, Ruqqayah. through the brandz bee and I felt like it was the first person who got me, she was the first I will never forget that. And I feel like I will always be grateful because sometimes Ruqqayah was like, Ruqqayah I, I feel bad.

I feel this. I feel, she was like, okay, so let’s, um, let’s plan. Let’s uh, think about it. Let’s brainstorm. And

I was like, she’s crazy. I’m telling you feeling bad. You’re talking about plan. Like, what is wrong with you? And she’s like, maybe you’re feeling bad because. Maybe because, and she was always, you know, trying to find something, not pinpoint the problem.

And I did, I did not want that. Like I wanted to mop. I wanted to be sad. I wanted to. And she was like, no. And every time I was like, you know what, I’m not talking to you. And every time I was coming back, every time she was doing the same, every time I was cussing out, every time I was going back, it was a circle and circle.

And one day I was, it, it happened. And it was like, you were right Ruqqayah. And she didn’t, she, she wasn’t like smug telling knew. I told you. So she was like, yeah, about what? And, you know, just listening. And when I met her, I lost some friend, but they were toxic. You know, I was toxic. They were toxic. And the day I decided to just focus on me being alone.

Because I needed to cure my loneliness and I feel like the loneliness doesn’t doesn’t cure my, at least mine couldn’t, you know, be, uh, healed. I couldn’t heal my loneliness around people. I couldn’t, I needed to be with myself to talk with myself, to see exactly what was wrong, what I needed to change made the change.

And after that, meet people who will get me and I will be never be lonely again. And, you know, doing that, helping my relationship with myself, with my husband, with my kids, with everybody around me, and it was the dead, I was like, no, I’m not going to let you talk to me like that. You know, my mother, sometimes she says stuff.

I’m like, no, you can, you cannot say that. I don’t accept my sister. Sometimes I don’t accept. Don’t treat me like that. My husband is the same. Everybody around me is the same me with myself. Even more sometimes, you know, I’m mean to myself and I have to change the way I talk, talk to myself, you know, because ruqqayah told me to, and she thinks she’s my boss, or I let her. But, uh, she, she truly helped me. I feel like it was my, the most healthiest relationship I got in my life. The first time I got someone truly having my back.

Yeah. It was ruqqayah. Yeah, it was it. So when I ask Allah to giving me people that will help me, it was ruqqayah

[00:37:38] Grace: It was her.

I wanna talk a little bit more, uh, I feel , there’s so much we can talk about. Um, and one of our other talks, you, you mentioned your outlook for being happy and how, even though we have, you know, things happen, but our life is so short. And so we should always try to be happy and, and look for these. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

[00:37:59] Hawa: Yeah. Um, uh, you know, trying to be happy. It’s it’s so like, uh, I’m going to say it’s overrated

[00:38:11] Grace: Mm. Okay.

[00:38:12] Hawa: at least for me, because I feel like being at peace. It’s what I want the most, you know?

[00:38:23] Grace: there’s a difference between happy and inner peace. Right? So one is very superficial and you could fake it and one comes from inside and it can lead to that other thing.

[00:38:35] Hawa: Exactly. Because you see some people, they they’re happy, at least it’s look like it, but they’re not at peace. And when you are not at peace, you can make decision or that are going to make your hand unhappy. So it’s, so it’s not stagnant. It’s going up, it’s going down. It’s going up.

And you know, when you are someone who suffer from depression, anxiety, and all of this kind of stuff, you know that happiness is overrated because what you are, you are looking. It’s peace because when you are not at peace in your own head, this is something you are going to search and search and search because you need peace here because it’s always wow.

When you are, you know, depression, depression, mood, it’s war. Against yourself. It’s war against everything you are living.

[00:39:35] Grace: Hmm.

[00:39:35] Hawa: And when you are at peace, this is the moment you are. Like, I can breathe. I can make good decision because I’m good with myself. Like, I’m good. If I’m alone, I love to be alone. You have to see me years ago.

I couldn’t be alone. Like not a minute. I could not. I had to talk to people, call people, talk with now. Now not anymore. I can like stay a. Like alone and I’m going to be good. Like, I’m good because I’m at peace. I want peace. I always say that to, uh, people. I want peace. If someone is threatening my peace, no, you have to get out.

I don’t care. You have to get out like, uh, take the door. Don’t forget to go. When you leave. I don’t care. Find a way the door, the window, anything you have to leave because my peace is so important. I felt like years and years and years to finally say, I’m at peace. I am. And when I’m at peace, this, there is this feeling that’s so super to happiness.

Like I can test it. I can feel it. I can smell it. Uh, it, you know, it just shine on your face. Like even when the, you are going through hard stuff, you are still at peace because you, you know, you made the, the good decision and that. Like when you are peace, it’s like, I can’t even describe it, but, um,

[00:41:05] Grace: It’s the nur it’s the nur from Allah.

[00:41:08] Hawa: yeah, you

[00:41:09] Grace: it? So it it’s it’s that peace comes from Allah and it’s always inside you. And then when we kind of unblock it and let’s the stuff that we put in there, get out of the way, then that’s shining. And so when we really strengthen that connection with Allah and we have our hearts clean and pure that we’re letting that piece shine through

[00:41:27] Hawa: Yeah. It’s exactly that

[00:41:28] Grace: this is the last question I have for you today. What is a person? Somebody, something that you’re most grateful for and why?

[00:41:37] Hawa: So I’m going to say in my personal life, my husband,

because, uh, he is, he always, uh, got my back. Like always I know, uh, I can count on him. I know it like, uh, I’m so grateful. He’s here. Please. Don’t tell, tell him that, but he doesn’t understand English, so it’s okay. I can say everything I want about him. I don’t care but my personal life, my husband, like, uh, thank, thanks a lot. Like, uh, I want to thank my mother-in-law for that day.

She did what she had to do and my husband came like, thank you, Natalie. But in my professional life, I’m going to say PBA. I only have one name, my mentor PBE he doesn’t love the PBA.

So PE. Like the, is a French name I ever heard in my life. So yeah. PBE, he understand English, so I, I have to be careful. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. But I’m so grateful for him because what, the day I met PBE it’s funny because the day I saw pay was on Instagram. Like, you know, I had, uh, ads or stuff like that. And it was like, is this scam, like, he’s such a scam.

Like, why is weird? Like it’s so, mm, no, I don’t want this man in my life. Like, he’s so weird. And I heard a podcast of him,

and it was so brilliant. Oh, I was like, this man is amazing. Uh, this is the same scam. Like, no, it’s not the scam.

So I had to join his new later. I swear, Allah my witness, one week later, I both his membership, I was

[00:43:20] Grace: you’re hooked.

[00:43:21] Hawa: I was hooked. I sent him an email. He replied to my, email, I said in email and we were just talking email to email too. And what I love about PB is like, is taking copywriting. In the same, way at me like it’s human, it’s all about what people want.

It’s uh, and he helped me with my confidence. Like when I met PBE, uh, I had the client, she was so bad. It was my first client. First six months. It was like, lame, I hated it. And I, then you, I didn’t want to go through that again. So I knew I needed a motto because for me in this world, you cannot do it alone.

You cannot, and you shouldn’t do it alone. You need someone, you need several people or at least one person you cannot do it alone. I need to say it like a lot. You cannot do it alone. Don’t do it. don’t do it. And when I met PBE I was like, this bad stuff cannot happen again.

And it didn’t happen because when I had, uh, another bad experience, I knew how to say stop. like, no, I don’t want to work with you anymore. I, I need you to go

[00:44:31] Grace: it’s having boundaries.

[00:44:32] Hawa: yes, exactly. And it just, you know, helping me how to gain confidence, but in the good way, because sometimes you have mental, they’re going to tell you, yeah, do this, do this, do this, you do it for a few months.

And after that, it just gone. You it’s over, you have to take another mentor, but with people it’s like, it’s giving you the right tools the right way, because it is not going to be like with me, you are going to be to do this and do that and do that. It’s not false promise it, promise nothing, but it do it.

And it, it gave me confidence. Now I’m better at what I’m doing. Like, uh, I know I’m a better copywriter. I know I’m a better entrepreneur because of PBE like, I cannot say it enough, but he knows that in like, PBE, you have to know you are not get getting right of me. I’m a fan.

Like, uh, I love everything he’s doing every time he’s doing security. I I’m like, sometimes he’s just breathe and I’m like, I know nobody else breathe like that, like teach me how to breathe, but that you, you see how I’m, uh, I’m with PBE. I need people who are listening to me to be the same way. Like they want the same way with their audience.

So yeah. Be like, PBE like for real, we need more pay, uh, in this world we need it.

[00:45:53] Grace: Definitely.

[00:45:54] Hawa: I’m sorry. Oh, I just talking about P more than I talking

[00:45:57] Grace: Yeah, I was gonna say he way more than your husband

[00:46:02] Hawa: but yeah, but you know, since we’re talking about tech and that’s it, and I want sister, like sister come in the copywriting game, like, uh, when there is like, uh, a lot of copywriter, but not all of them are good. So come, we have so much fun. We cry. We, you know, but it’s fun. It’s fun.

[00:46:29] Grace: Absolutely. hawa is there anything else that you wanna say? Any last words?

[00:46:35] Hawa: My advice is, uh, uh, find someone, find a mentor, find a group, find a community because, uh, it’s very tough out there. Um, like meet people, don’t be afraid. If someone doesn’t like you, you don’t care, they don’t pay you bills and they never will.

And that’s OK. that? That’s OK. Like, uh, this is what I love to say. I’m going to mind the business that pay me.

[00:47:03] Grace: mm-hmm

[00:47:03] Hawa: Someone doesn’t like me.

[00:47:05] Grace: Yeah.

[00:47:06] Hawa: Like I should care. You see the number of people Allah created and every, there is a new baby on earth and I’m supposed to care about one human being that doesn’t love what I’m doing.

No. Do you do what you have to do as long? I always say, as long as it’s not haram, it’s not illegal. I’m not going to jail. I’m doing it. I’m doing it. So just do it. You are scared. No problem. Do it. Find a way you are always going to find a way and I’m poor. I don’t have money and I do stuff without money because I know that the day I’m going to have money.

People, they not ready. So if you are, you can ask for advice, you can ask for help. , don’t be so afraid to ask for help because I assure you there is like many people that going to help you like, um, you see me the way I am. So if I can accept myself where I am, you can also like it’s, it’s it’s, it’s like so hard some days.

I hate myself some days I’m like, I’m the best. It just, you know, like this, but you have to keep going. You have to keep going. And I know what’s helping me the most is my, of course my children they’re the, the future, but also my parents, because I’m like all the , sacrifice, they did. They came in France, my mother, she didn’t use the language.

She had to leave a family behind. She was like, scared she had three little children like this. And she did it.

[00:48:39] Grace: she kept

[00:48:39] Hawa: did it. She kept going, you know, so do it. Like I do it for the black womens, the Muslim women out there. I do it for them because I wish someone did it for me. So you have to do it for someone.

You have to do it for you first and foremost, you have to do it. And then, you know, for this legacy, like I said, but this legacy is for my children. Because even if my children, they don’t go in the, the same path that I did. I want them to, you know, have this, the mindset, the mentality. I want them to uplift people, be kind, be good.

So they have to see me do it so basically be a person that you wish you had when you started

[00:49:26] Grace: Mm.

[00:49:26] Hawa: be this person. And if you cannot, that’s okay at at least try, you know, try fell, try, fell, try . So it’s, my life is like this.

Oh, I fell to the, you know, the number of time I said, I’m going to quit. Oh, the number of time I say that,

[00:49:46] Grace: yeah, me too.

[00:49:48] Hawa: And I’m like, okay, that’s okay. I give up it’s a last time. And my husband is like, oh, that was shame. I’m like, you don’t understand like, OK. You and other them, like, no, I’m never going to quit. I’m too good at it.

I cannot quit. You know? So that’s it. And if you want to quit, because you know, you, you can feel like it’s not moving you. Like you, you are not into it anymore. You, you can like, just give up, you know, on this. It’s okay to do it again. Like I, I saw my mother do it again. Like my mother, she went through so many stuff, divorced.

She’s uh, she, her family is away. Uh, she saw my, uh, grandmother. She, she became blind. Uh, so there is a lot of many hardship, you know, in my family, but my mother is it’s just like that. We have to do it again. Like if you fail once. You are going to do it again twice, you know, and we are doing again and again, it’s all about again again, like, uh, because when I say again, it’s because you are going to do it and you are going to fail, you know?

And when you fail, you feel like you have to keep going on the failure, but I don’t feel it like that. I feel like, no, we are going to stop, look at the failure and do it again, but differently. You know, this is why, like you said, there is no regret because you are here, like here today because of every bad stuff every, , mistake you did, you are here today because of that, you know, and the most important of course say, trust, Allah, trust, Allah, talk to Allah.

That’s the, like the number one it’s so important that sometimes like, It’s so like it’s evident, you know, so yeah, that, that will be my also track your time, track your time, like to see how many time you beat in top, because sometimes you’re like, I did nothing today and you see three hours of work and you’re like, no, I did. So yeah. Be compassionate with the other. And most importantly with you.

[00:51:58] Grace: mm-hmm

[00:51:59] Hawa: Yeah. I think that’s it. You

[00:52:00] Grace: I think that covers everything.

[00:52:01] Hawa: that covers everything. So I need to shut it because whoa.

[00:52:08] Grace: you? You did it. You nailed it. mashAllah. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for coming on. And for doing this interview, it has been a joy

[00:52:18] Hawa: It, no, thank you, grace. And thank you to, everybody’s going to listen to it. Like each one of you, you are the best,

[00:52:28] Grace Witter: Like Hawa said, thank you for taking the time to listen to this story. You’re all amazing. You’re the best. mashAllah. If you liked this episode, and if you like what we’re doing at tech sisters,

You can support us by following us or leaving reviews. Sharing the content with your communities. A really huge way of helping us. We also have a patreon. If that’s something you might be interested in. tech sisters is always completely free to join. Free to participate in and things like the Patrion, help cover operational costs. So it is really helpful. Uh, and if you are a Muslim woman in tech, and if you’re interested in joining tech sisters,

You can find a membership form on our website tech-sisters.com. Like I said, it’s always free. It’s fun. Supportive. You can ask questions, get answers. It’s really nice over there. And really fun. And that’s all for me. No episodes next week. And I’ll see you the week after.

inshAllah

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Hawa. Jazakallahu Khair! You can connect with Hawa and follow her on LinkedIn and subscribe to her newsletter
If you liked this story, be sure to check our other Tech Sisters Stories and get to know the amazing talent we have in our community.

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