Students of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management (CPSM) come from all different backgrounds and walks of life. In this interview, I spoke with Natalie Fay, the owner and founder of Sound Sleepers by Natalie Fay. Natalie loves working with kids and families. She worked as a nanny and preschool teacher and had been helping families with sleep for years, yet she had no idea she could do this work professionally. Once she found out about becoming a certified sleep consultant, it felt like a sign from the universe, since it was a natural extension of what she already loved to do.
Jayne: Natalie, you don’t have kids of your own, but you always say that you sort of have a special thing with kids. You’re a nanny and you’ve been raising kids your whole professional career, right?
Natalie: Yes. I love working with families. As a preschool teacher, I would often help them with issues they had. Supporting families is something that I’ve loved to do. It feels natural to me. Even though I don’t have children of my own, I have always been very comfortable around children and supporting families with young kids.
Jayne: People reach out to me all the time, asking if they can do this work without having kids of their own or maybe their kids are grown. A lot of people think that sleep consulting is something that you do only when you have small kids at home. But there are actually three or four grandmothers enrolled in CPSM with grown kids! This work is flexible – it works for people of all ages and in different stages of their life. Right?
Natalie: It’s definitely something that you can integrate into your current role. I love that what you put into it is what you will get out of it. It’s so fulfilling.
Jayne: Didn’t you help the family that you’re working with now to get their son’s sleep on track?
Natalie: Yes. I started as a nanny for him when he was about a month and a half old. Both of his parents are surgeons, so they really need their sleep. At about four months old, there was a night where he was up all night and they both had six hour cases the next day. That night, we started sleep training and it was kind of perfect as I had just started the program. It was perfect timing. He was like my “practicum” baby. I was able to immediately put the knowledge to practice, which is really cool.
Jayne: I know that you were introduced to my program by another student, but did you feel inclined to explore other programs and see what else was out there or did you just decide to go with CPSM?
Natalie: I had been researching different ways that I could support families as a consultant, but I wasn’t completely sure of what that would look like. I wasn’t necessarily set on becoming a sleep consultant but I did know that this field was at least worth exploring further. I had stumbled upon another sleep consultant certification program, but it seemed kind of cold and like it was just hard facts so I wasn’t interested at the time. Later when I was recommended to your program and I hopped on a call with you, I was sold on it. The way you described it – there’s support and you said that you had been through it yourself. You were filling in gaps that you felt you didn’t have in your own education.
Jayne: The whole reason I created CPSM is that I really felt like the course that I took was lacking in support. There was no mentorship, leadership, or community. I really feel like it’s the missing link for my students to be successful. When women try to tackle entrepreneurship on their own, it’s scary and overwhelming. It’s lonely, it’s daunting. But when you have a whole community of people supporting you and cheering you on, it’s a totally different ballgame. Would you agree?
Natalie: Yeah, and I think one thing that’s been huge is that you bring in so many different perspectives, which just connects us all and it inspires me. Community is necessary in all areas of life, but especially for people that are starting a business for the first time.
Jayne: Yeah, I totally agree. And another thing I always say is that the CPSM community just keeps getting better as time goes on. Every single time a new person enrolls, it’s like, what are they going to bring to the conversation? What are they going to bring to the table that we can all learn from them and all grow? Every single person brings value, and it just keeps getting better and better every single time I welcome somebody new.
So besides the community, what would you say is your favorite part of the program? Was there a part of the curriculum or something that you learned that really stuck out for you?
Natalie: The fact that the program is self-guided and you can integrate it into your own life, to have it work with your schedule was actually really empowering for me, because I didn’t feel like I had to do something by a certain day (which kind of takes the fun and inspiration out of it). I’m also a very visual learner. There’s a lot of text, but you also include some videos of you kind of going through, for example, how to do a call with someone or a consultation. To read about something, I can kind of grasp it, but to actually see it is huge.
Jayne: That’s awesome. I wanted to make it feel like you didn’t have to figure it out on your own. I already figured it out myself, so I’ll just tell you how to do it. I hope it’s helpful for you guys. So I know you just launched your business, do you have any short term goals, long term goals? Like where do you see yourself in a couple months in a year or two?
Natalie: Like I said earlier, what you put into it is what you get out of it. Right now, I work as a nanny 50 hours a week so I don’t have much time for clients. My goal is to have my own family someday, and I don’t want to be a nanny when I do that. So when I’m ready to start a family, the goal is to transition into sleep consulting full time. My short term goal is to work with the couple clients I have right now and keep taking clients as I can. My long term goal would be to up the ante with the business and make it more full time when I envision transitioning out of being a nanny.
Jayne: I love that. Can I ask where you found your first client?
Natalie: The first client came from a connection in a Facebook group. But actually, the second client is more of an interesting story. The university where I live has a life coaching program. I was talking to an advisor for that, because I’m thinking of enrolling. I was telling her how I wanted to meld my sleep consulting with life coaching. And she told me that she had a four month old at home that wouldn’t sleep. So we connected and she hired me. It was just so perfect, like totally serendipitous.
Jayne: That’s amazing. And I think like the big lesson there is that you have to talk about your business, right? Everybody’s always so intimidated by the idea that they will have to find clients. Maybe they are scared because they don’t know how to use social media. You don’t need to be an influencer to be successful in this business. You just have to talk about your business, right? Like you were talking about your business to somebody. And they were like, I need that. And you know what, maybe she didn’t need it. But maybe her best friend needed it. Or maybe her sister in law needed it. You never know. So every single opportunity that you have to mention your business, you should mention it. I love that you share that because people are always saying to me that they’re so scared about finding clients. Literally all you have to do is talk about it.
What would you say to somebody that’s on the fence about enrolling in CPSM or becoming a sleep consultant?
Natalie: I would say I was totally that person. I’m a chronic overthinker myself. What helped me was talking. Talking to you, and then talking to other people in the group that finished the course or that were in the course. I had to get out of my own head and that was most effective when I talked to people that could give me a perspective for what I wanted my life to be. They say to surround yourself with people that you want to be like and that inspire you. And that’s what I did which really helped me get out of my own head.
Jayne: I think that’s awesome advice. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. I’m really glad we did.
Now that you’ve had a chance to see what business is like for one of CPSM’s recent graduates, could you see yourself becoming a certified sleep consultant? I’m always happy to chat and help you determine if it’s the right fit. I’ve been a certified sleep consultant for several years now, and love the flexibility that comes along with this rewarding work. You can join our Facebook group for more information, live Q&As and the opportunity to network with other like-minded professionals. Ready to get started on your journey? You can register here and begin receiving your course materials right away.