One thing I love to do with my students when they graduate from the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management is to set up a one-on-one strategy session. During this time, I ask my graduates to discuss whatever it is they might be nervous about when it comes to getting their business off the ground. A question that is most often asked on these calls is, “Now that I’ve graduated, what happens next? How do I actually start finding clients and launch my sleep consulting business?” I recently completed a live training on this exact topic in my Facebook group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant.
I started the Becoming a Sleep Consultant group to give those who are interested in becoming a certified sleep consultant an opportunity to ask questions and learn from other professionals. Since I’m in the group often welcoming new members and answering questions, I noticed that there were quite a few members who support families postpartum, either as a newborn care specialist or postpartum doula. Many of these professionals have asked about taking the leap to become a certified sleep consultant. Some of their most common questions revolve around adding sleep consulting services to their current repertoire and how to go about finding clients in this new line of work. Here’s what I recommend to get started.
Take a step back to reflect: you know more than you think! One of the most important things to remember is that as a postpartum doula you already know how to support families. Adding sleep consulting to your list of services is essentially just learning how to support these same families in a different way.
When I asked some of my graduates how they go about finding clients, almost all of them said it was through referrals. Families love the support and guidance they receive through working with their sleep consultant, so they tell their friends and families. This is exactly what it’s going to look like if you add sleep consulting to your postpartum doula or newborn care specialist services.
Families already know and trust you, so they’ll be willing to rehire you when the time is right. It’s also highly likely that they’ll recommend you to their friends and family, which means there’s an opportunity to work with new families as well.
The only thing you need to do is to communicate with your existing clients and let them know that you now support families through teaching independent sleep. If you’re working with families postpartum, you will typically be at home with a family in the first few weeks after they’ve come home from the hospital. At this time, it’s too early to start sleep training, but you can establish healthy hygiene from the very beginning.
You can start teaching the family how to properly swaddle, how to make sure the baby has full feedings, introduce them to a lighter version of the eat, play, sleep schedule, and start practicing napping flat on their back in a bassinet or crib rather than in a swing or always in someone’s arms. (Of course babies should be held for naps when they’re little, but practicing napping independently is one of my best tricks for new moms, because when babies sleep during the day flat on their back, they become much more comfortable doing so overnight.) Let your clients in on all of these tips and tricks, and tell them that you learned about them through your sleep consultant certification program. At that point, they are going to want to hear more and know exactly what you do in this new side of your business!
Once you’ve helped families navigate the first few weeks of newborn care and they already know and trust you, it will be a no-brainer for them to reach out to you once the time comes to start teaching their little ones to sleep through the night independently. A quick check in to see how they’re doing will go a long way, and more than likely you’re already on their list of people to reach out to.
Finding clients seems to be the one thing that everyone is most nervous about, but those of you who are already supporting families postpartum have a network of families that know, love and trust you. They will be eager to seek out your support through the sleep training process when they’re ready, and the wonderful thing is you won’t be building the relationship from scratch. These are families that you supported at home, in the earliest of days, during one of the most nerve-wracking and vulnerable times of their lives. They know you, trust you and love the help and reassurance that you provided them.
Sometimes it can feel scary to start something new, but the more and more I talk to postpartum professionals who enroll in the Center For Pediatric Sleep Management’s Sleep Consultant Certification Course, the more confident I am that they are in the right place.
You already have clients who know and trust you. Adding sleep consulting services to your current business will give you a new way to support your clients past the newborn days, whether that be in-person or virtually. Becoming a certified sleep consultant allows you to continue working in the field you love, while giving you even more options to set your own flexible schedule.
If you’re currently working as a postpartum doula or newborn care specialist and are considering adding sleep consulting services to your business by becoming a certified sleep consultant, I’d love to speak with you! You can schedule a time to speak with me here. If you’d like to get a behind-the-scenes look at what working as a certified sleep consultant entails, join the Facebook group. If this article resonates with you, and you’re ready to jump in and join our community of students and graduates, I’m looking forward to personally welcoming you into the group!