Saloua Ibaline- Business Coach and Author Q&A
Diversity in Entrepreneurship
Meet Saloua Ibalíne, marketing expert, business coach, content creator, and she’s now adding author to her list of many titles. Her experience as an immigrant from Morocco, working for Google, and living the digital nomad life has left her with countless stories and wisdom to pass on to the next generation. However, her book doesn’t just highlight her life, but the lives of many other immigrant women entrepreneurs in the United States.
Two years ago, Saloua walked into CO+HOOTS with so much excitement and passion towards her fresh idea and now we get to hear her journey as an author and the heart behind her new book “The Stories of Immigrant Women Entrepreneurs In The United States of America”.
I want to hear the full story. How did you get inspired to do the book? What made you want to do this in the first place?
So, the book idea came to me in a dream, when I lived in Phoenix. I woke up in the middle of the night because it was so vivid and the voice or this dream was telling me, you need to put these stories into a book. I was fighting it because it didn’t feel like it was my mission then. So I woke up around three or four in the morning, and then I took my phone and I played YouTube.
I do that in the morning where I just play some inspirational things. And then Wayne Dyer, author, philosopher, a great guy, was talking in that video, and he was quoting, Rumi who is a poet from the 13th century and he was saying, “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the door sill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep”. So when I heard that I was like, “Oh, this is a sign. I have to do this!”
So I made coffee and I created a proposal in 1 hour, the ideas were flowing. Then I came to CO+HOOTS, the next day with my idea and I pitched it to everybody. I told them I wanted to write a book and I need help and I ended up finding my book designer here, Erica Brooks, she’s amazing.
And then a lot of people here gave me ideas and supported me. Jacob, who worked out of CO+HOOTS donated to the campaign because I didn’t have any money to get started. So I began a GoFundMe, and we managed to get a couple thousand dollars.
What is your personal story?
I was born in Morocco, but then my family immigrated to Belgium. We went through a lot of racism and I kind of lost my identity. I was ashamed to show that I was from Morocco and as an Arab and Muslim, at school I wasn’t welcomed. So I had to deal with all of that first and then the documentation part.
I also had a negative childhood where we ended up in a women’s shelter because my stepdad was abusive, my dad too, and then a foster family. So statistically, I’m not supposed to be successful. So I don’t know what happened in my young head, where I managed to keep my head above water. But what’s funny is that I didn’t know all of this was negative until way later in life. I thought this was normal.
When you’re used to surviving it becomes a part of you. And it’s only later when you connect with other people who think that you work way too hard or are doing things the hard way, when you start realizing, wait a minute, I don’t need to go through that to succeed.
What is a common misconception of immigrants?
One thing I found out when I was writing this book is that a lot of people put immigrants under the line of third world countries, poverty, people who come here illegally and seek American jobs. And that’s usually based upon the country they are from and their race. So they put black people and other people of color under immigrants and then put white people, which I love my people, but they put them under ex-pats, which are two different things. So in my book, you’ll see a lot of Caucasians coming from very wealthy countries some from Switzerland, France, and other countries that are not poor who all come here for the same mission: to start over in this country.
Now let me give you the difference between immigrants and ex-pat because a lot of people don’t know that immigrants are people leaving their home country to start over a new life in a new country long term. Expats are people who are hopping from country to country on a shorter-term contract. For example, if you’re in the army or a diplomat.
In my book, I specifically put a diverse group of women who are Asian, African, Latin, European, and Australian. So, there is a mix of everything and that’s why I’m really happy about this book.
Who is this book for?
This book is to educate and hopefully inspire Americans to learn more about us. They need to know our stories and not just view us as job seekers or people who are coming over illegally. I also want to inspire immigrants in America and have them see stories of other women who have paved the way.
So essentially, I looked at a younger version of myself and wrote for her.
What’s the biggest lesson that you learned about yourself in this process?
Without any money and any experience, I still did it. What’s most important, is to be willing to learn and figure out everything and put in the work. I think the biggest part of this project is actually starting right now, which is to market it. So photos, videos, and again, I don’t know how to do it, but I’ll look it up, I’ll research and then I’ll put it into action. If I can hire, I hire, if not, I’ll do the most of it myself. I wish people can take that as a lesson, not just for a book but for anything, because there is a way, always. You just have to dig and be willing to put in the time and the work. I always say if you don’t have the cash, then you have to put the time equity, you gotta hustle!
Meet and hear from the women who were highlighted in Saloua’s book and the author herself at the book launch event on Friday, October 15, 2021, at 6:00 pm MST. Register here.