Malin King is a Certified Sleep Consultant and doula. While nannying in the US, she fell in love and brought her American boyfriend back to Sweden to marry! She now has two kids, ages 3 and 1. Malin launched her sleep consulting business in Sweden less than six months ago and is already earning $20,000+ monthly! She is LOVING her journey through entrepreneurship.
On this episode we discuss:- Some of the cultural differences between life in Sweden and the US, and how these differences impact how babies and toddlers sleep- How sleep consulting has been received in Sweden; Malin is one of just two sleep consultants in the entire country!- How Malin successfully launched her sleep consulting business while juggling two young children at home- How mindset played a key role in her rapid success
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Jayne Havens: Malin King is a certified sleep consultant and doula. While nannying in the US, she fell in love and brought her American boyfriend back to Sweden to marry. She now has two kids, ages three and one. She is loving her journey through entrepreneurship. Malin, welcome to the podcast. I’m so excited to chat with you today.
Malin King: Oh, thank you so much for having me. I’m very excited too.
Jayne Havens: So before we get started, I would love for you to share your story. Tell us about you. Tell us a little bit about your life before getting into this line of work. And then your transition to becoming a sleep consultant.
Malin King: Yes. So when I had my son in 2018, I read the book babywise and I was just floored by how easy babyhood and the early time was with my son. And every time you know, there was an issue, we adjusted his schedule, according to the book, pretty much everything flowed from there. And in Sweden, there’s nothing like routines and schedules, you just don’t follow it. So I got a lot of hard criticism from you to midwives, the hospital, the doctors, like you can’t do this, it’s not gonna work out, you’re gonna lose your breast milk, everything’s gonna not work out pretty much. But it was amazing. And it was so easy. So from there on, my interest grew, and it just grew bigger and bigger until I decided, I am so passionate about this, I just gotta do something about it.
Jayne Havens: I was looking back, you enrolled in the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management in December of 2019. And you were actually one of my very, very first students. But then you didn’t actually launch your business until what was it almost two years later? What was getting in the way of you getting started?
Malin King: Yes, that is correct. So I was just going to do the final exam, and we were going on vacation. And that was the week Corona hit the world. So I figured, you know, I’ll take a little pause, and do it when I get back. And what happened when I got back was that Corona blossomed. So we were like, literally the last people landing back in Sweden, on their airplane, and I kind of kept this excuse, I’m gonna do it when Corona eases up. And then I had about 1000 different reasons why I wouldn’t do it. That was about the same time as my son got very, very hard to deal with. He was a year and a half. And from being like a very easy, happy child, he was getting a lot of struggles that we now know are ADHD and possibly autism, which I didn’t understand back then. But that was a big challenge for me. So I spent a lot of time doing activities and a lot of sensory activities with him. That was the only time he was still and calm. And, eventually, I came to the point where I cannot make excuses, and I need to move forward with my life and be happy. So I actually got going right before my daughter was born. So probably not the best time to launch your career. But I felt like it’s got to be about me. So like, and, I was finally feeling I was fulfilling that life that I’ve been chasing. And as soon as I started it, it was amazing.
Jayne Havens: Yes I saw it in your sort of like a light bulb went off. And from that very first moment that you decided to put yourself out there, I think for you, you started an Instagram account and you made a post if you wouldn’t mind sharing with everybody what that looks like. And I know you received such positive feedback. And that probably if I had to guess, gave you the courage to sort of go full force. Is that right?
Malin King: I mean, initially, it was maybe also holding me back that there was pretty much no one around me believing in me. It was you know, my parents didn’t really believe in this. And my friends didn’t believe in this, there were not a whole lot of people that thought I should go for it. So I felt like, maybe this is not what I shouldn’t be doing. But I eventually decided that if someone’s gonna believe in me, it’s got to be myself. Like, if no one else does it. Like I believe in this. That’s enough. And also my husband and I did a lot of planning like, what is our strongest interest and how does it benefit? And I really decided, like, all my positive sides are really good for sleep consultants. Or am I not as positive? You know, I’m really honest, which is really suitable. You have to be honest and be able to talk to your clients. But sorry, now I lost track of the original question…
Jayne Havens: I think that’s really helpful. I think that people can really relate to that right now. Actually I was just being interviewed for another podcast right before I hopped on to chat with you and one thing that came up in that time version is the like, the, that your community around, you can really squash your dreams if you let it And it’s really a shame because when you’re trying to launch something that you’re really excited about, and you’re really proud of, and then you have, whether it’s friends or family or your extended network, not supporting you and cheering you on, that can make it really hard to, to keep pushing forward and to find a way to be successful. So I appreciate you bringing that up. And, and being really honest about it. And I think it’s something that we as entrepreneurs have to do, we’re constantly coming up against that, right, because some people just don’t understand what we do. Some people, I think, are a little envious of what we do. The freedom that we have to have our own schedules and to make up our own rules in our work, right. That’s something that people who work a nine to five just don’t always have. So I really appreciate you bringing that up. But I’d love for you to talk about it if you don’t mind that first push that you made to get your business off the ground because I think it’s really exciting.
Malin King: Yes, sorry. So I made an original first post, or I made a few posts on my Instagram to get kick-started. And then I made a post I said, my company name is searching, I was searching for children, families that want sleep coaching, and that and I think I did a $10 ad on Instagram, and it was just like a shoot for the moon. But initially, I heard about this from another sleep consultant in our community. And she did it and she got 20 clients, and I thought, oh my goodness, 20 clients, what an awesome start, I think she offered half-price to the remaining, you know, seven that she didn’t coach or whatever. So I thought maybe I’ll coach three families. And you know, whoever will come and apply, I’ll give him some sort of a discount. And before that, I thought you know, 20 would be great. But come on Marlon, you can push it. What’s the next level? All right, what 50? Whatever. 50 would be amazing. But okay, Malin, I’m not the most modest person. So let’s shoot for the stars. 100? What do I need to do to get 100 people to apply? So I posted the ad, you know, I made a little $10 advertising on Instagram, and I sold it totally to all my friends. I send it everywhere, like on every Facebook, you know, the person I know that I don’t talk to anymore. I was like, I don’t care. This is weird, but I’m just gonna send it out. So my business name gets out there. And what I do gets out there quicker. And I got 250 Plus applicants in about six days. Wo!. So crazy.
Jayne Havens: Yeah. And I think just I think for you seeing that, yeah, yeah, there is actually an interest for this. My community does need this, which actually leads me to my next question. I know you’re in Sweden, where I think there’s only one other sleep consultant in the entire country, right? Besides you. So yes, you, you were literally introducing this type of support to an entire country, which is a unique situation to be in, but one that you capitalized on pretty well.
Malin King: Yes. I was terrified to start in Sweden, I felt like it was my biggest hurdle because people do not sleep train, you know, there are no schedules, and there are no doctors telling you the chance to sleep through the night. So it was definitely something I was very scared about doing. And I didn’t know if it was going to be received well. And he showed now after that, it’s been my biggest, you know, pro that, you know, so many people actually need because there are no help systems. So they are actually even more in need of help. So most of my clients don’t even know seed coaching exists. It’s like, you know, it’s like the rings on the water spreading out. I mean some people know this sleep consultancy works with one strategy. So she doesn’t work with so many different ones. It’s pretty, it’s pretty straightforward. Like your child has to, have a certain age and do one technique. So they find me a little bit more gentle in that way.
Jayne Havens: And what about those that maybe aren’t as open-minded about sleeping training as Sweden? Are you coming across? Are you coming up against a lot of pushback?
Malin King: I would say I’m finding more and more of my clientele right now, which honestly is the ones that can leave the room for a little bit of crying. And those clients are a lot easier for me to work with. And there is a very big resistance against any type of crying for your child where it’s really something I need to work on and you know, spreading the information on it’s not dangerous. It’s totally fine. But it’s definitely, you know, something growing every day.
Jayne Havens: Yes, and I would imagine you actually spend a lot of time coaching parents to understand that crying is communication and frustration, and sometimes that their babies are just tired and wishing they were asleep, right, and giving them that education is probably really, really helpful.
Malin King: Yes, and I got a lot of great tips from, you know, your other podcast interviews, and I’ve been listening to them like, Oh, this is great. I’m gonna bring this to my business. And so there’s been a few ones that I really liked that I’ve been taking on on my own little, you know, span. But there’s a lot to educate around here.
Jayne Havens: Yes, absolutely. So what are some of the cultural differences between Sweden and the US with respect to this work?
Malin King: So I guess the first thing is to have your child on a routine. It’s not common, the wake windows, it’s like people are blown away, I give them you know, a schedule for each proposed schedule, and the children are sleeping great. And they just can’t believe that they just needed a schedule, which is on every other, you know, how their sleep consultants site, but in Sweden, it just doesn’t make sense. So that is very unique here. And I think maybe it’s getting more eventually. But it’s just you just don’t keep your child on a routine. And then about the crying, we have a very low tolerance for any type of crying. And we have a method that is dreaded, it’s called the five-minute method. And it means that you leave the room for five minutes, and then you go back in and you repeat that. So a lot of people that I coach, ask, do you coach a five-minute method? I heard it’s horrible. I’m like, Yeah, I coach that and a little longer. But I also coach, you know, the inside of the room techniques, but so that is something that is, yeah, they’re really frightened of it’s really, it’s really blown up in social media over here. That is horrible to leave your child. Yeah.
Jayne Havens: And what about napping outside? That’s something that I think is very different from what goes on here in America, right? Like we’re not, we’re not taking our kids out in their bassinet strollers to take a nap like nobody does that here.
Malin King: Yeah, so it’s pretty funny. So Sweden has the longest paid maternity leave in the world, it’s about a year and a half paid. And people sometimes take longer because they saved days. And you see moms and dads, for kids, you know, from babies to a year and a half, walking around on stroller walks constantly to get your child to sleep, not because it’s cozy, because they have to because there’s no other way to put your child to sleep. But prior to that, also, a lot of people have their children sleep outside, specifically in the winter, when it’s really, really cold here. You bundle them up, you put their stroller outside, and you let them sleep. So in my coaching, you just, you know, you let them sleep outside. And that’s just how it goes. So you have to work with that. And it’s just about, you know, lessening the the amount of rolling the stroller because you don’t want to walk the child every time for an hour. You know, but that’s what people do.
Jayne Havens: Okay, yeah, I find that to be so interesting. You know, it’s funny to learn about the cultural differences between different countries and communities. You know, we as Americans, we’re always worried about our kids being so cold, right? Like, I feel like nobody would do that. Nobody would just park their stroller outside in the freezing cold and have their kids sleep. But, you know…
Malin King: Even daycares do it!
Jayne Havens: Yes, I think it’s super interesting. So are you working with your clients for an extended period of time, due to the fact that your clientele tends to want to take a more parent present or gradual approach to sleep training?
Malin King: So I found a really great middle of the approach that works for me. So what I do if they want to do that, you know, the more parent present approaches, I give them the sleep plan, we have this startup meeting, and then I’m telling you to work with these, you know, three or four points, by yourself for one to two weeks, there is no coaching, there’s no you know, check-ins. And then when you feel comfortable, if it’s two days, or if it’s two weeks, whatever, then you get that to me, and then we start coaching. So and that has been very, very great because it feels like the clients can do it at their own pace. And I mean, and there is like, you know, if you want to co-sleep after three in the morning, you can do so because everybody co-sleeps here. But eventually, I want everyone in their own bed, but I have to also be a little bit more flexible in that. Safe sleep guidelines that you guys have in the US also do not exist over here, which is another, you know, really interesting point.
Jayne Havens: Yes, so that’s really interesting. And you find that giving your clients a bit of space without your coaching ends up benefiting you because they can sort of work at it at their own pace without you pressuring them to move it along at your pace.
Malin King: So they feel like it’s a little slower, they make more exceptions if you want to pick the child up or, you know, whatever minutes they want to, they can do that. But I say when it comes to coaching it is going to be a little more strict. But it’s been, you know, I got a lot of good feedback from moms thag have been doing that technique and or like, you know, the slower approach. And I tell them, you know, if you want to check-in after a week, you know, and ask me a question, sure do that, I’m not so strict about my time always, I tried to be a little more generous to the people that go longer. But I initially tried a longer package that I recommended for these families, but no one was initially paid for the longer package. So then I figured just do it themselves. We got the plan to stick with and then I came back into the picture.
Jayne Havens: Yes, that’s really smart. So my next thought is, I’m wondering how you balance your own temperament and style toward sleep training against those who are clearly less comfortable with it than you are? Right? Yeah. How do you balance that, because if I’m putting myself in your shoes, I’m really attracting in my business, I’m attracting a clientele that is very similar to me, you know, I tend to coach most of my clients through the checking console, which is, you know, my own sort of spin on the Ferber method? And, you know, we’re operating usually in like 10-minute increments, which most of my clients are comfortable with. If they’re not, then we take another approach. But that’s what most of my clients do anyway, they’re just coming to me to make sure that they do it the right way. So I guess for you, it feels a little different, because maybe that’s what you would be doing in your own home. But that’s not what your clients want to do. So how are you balancing your own style with the needs of your clients? Is it just a whole lot of patience?
Malin King: It’s definitely more patience. My daughter, she’s a year old now, she was a screaming baby, like, she would not do anything at first, you know, until a few months. So I thought I was saying in our community, like, it probably takes a really hard baby for you to become a really good sleep consultant. And that showed to be so true. Because I went the most mellow ways you could do with her, it was a very, very slow sleep training. And after like four and a half months, when we finally pulled like a bigger trigger, she sleeps amazing. So for me having that in the background, I know we can go more softly. And that’s okay. If my clients want to do it is not my preferred technique, because it gets a little you know, you lose a little bit of the interest. And it’s really, really slow. But so I feel like I know, it’s possible. And it’s okay to coach through that. Even if they asked me what I prefer? I will always say a little bit of the quicker method.
Jayne Havens: So let’s get back to the business side of things because that’s really what this podcast is all about. Now that you’re up and running, and you’re doing great. By the way, how many families are you supporting a month? Would you mind sharing some of your income benchmarks?
Malin King: Yes. So I do about 20 to 30 families a month. I’ve been up and running for about five months. And I had one month off when I was on vacation in the US. And I was kind of nervous to take the vacation, you know, and shut down my entire business when it was so new. But I stuck to it. And when I came back, my first month was crazy. It was in such high demand. And that first month I made $21,000
Jayne Havens: Wow, that’s really impressive. And that was what you’re like your fourth or fifth month for in business. Yeah, that’s totally crazy and super impressive. And I’m just so proud of you. It’s so funny to me, well not that not funny, but just it’s something I don’t know what it is that for so long, you were so scared to get up and running and you sort of pumped the brakes on yourself for so long. And the second that you decided to roll with it. You’ve just been full steam ahead. And it’s been really exciting to watch you grow your business at such a rapid pace.
Malin King: Thank you. Yes, I mean, I feel like I’m living my dream, I almost sometimes can’t believe how good it is going. I didn’t expect I thought it was gonna feel good eventually, you know, but not this fast. So it’s obviously a clear, really big demand here in Sweden that has not been helped before. But I mean, my original plan was to help clients in the US because I didn’t think it was going to work out here. But yeah, it’s just, I’m much happier, my husband is happier, everybody’s happier. And this is still I mean, I’m still full-time on maternity leave. So I’m still caring for my daughter all day long. And I have meetings when she’s sleeping and sometimes in the evenings and I do classes in the evenings as well.
Jayne Havens: Lots of people who already sleep consultants are listening to this podcast right. And I know that people who are listening to this are thinking, okay, she started four months ago, she had a $21,000 month, which is totally insane. Like, how, what is your process? Would you mind sharing a little bit? Like, if somebody reaches out to you and they’re interested in hiring you? What does that look like? Do you get on a discovery call? What sort of conversation are you having with them that helps them to realize that working with you is going to be a major, major shift for the better in their life?
Malin King: Yes. So I only do discovery calls when I walk with my daughter over lunch. So I actually strictly only do it over the phone, because there’s just not enough time to do it. And then, you know, if they want to move forward, it’s really nice to be able to offer classes or some sort of group coaching for the clients that either you feel like you aren’t clicking with. After the call I have them fill out a Google Form. I do their sleep plan, I got super efficient and my sleep plans lately. I really got that down now, which is a lot nicer than I used to have it. And then we do the two, you know, we do the first call, then the two weeks, I do four to five-minute start call and two 15 minutes check-ins.
Jayne Havens: And what about before they hire you? Because I think that’s what all are wondering, like, how is she getting all of these clients? Why is everybody booking Malin? Right? So what is it that you’re saying on these calls?
Malin King: So I guess on the initial call, I always say, you know what, this sounds really tough. I can help you, we can fix this together, you do not have to accept if you’re not comfortable with where you are, please don’t stay there. Like, you can’t go your entire, you know, maternity leave and be miserable. That’s not fun, you should enjoy that. So. So I think it is to just like, reach out and tell them I’m here for you. And every time I get a client with a really specific request, or that feels really challenging, specifically early on, I always say yes, we can do this. And, and I say, you know, if we can’t or for some though, down the road, you won’t work out, I’ll give you some or all your money back. So I feel like I have a little bit of a guarantee because it’s quite new. The more I’m established, the fewer people ask for a guarantee. They’re like, Alright, I’m just gonna hire you. But I’m very, I guess I’m very, very confident that we’re going to fix that. So it’s kind of like the fake it to make it part.
Jayne Havens: Yes, well, I think I think maybe it was fake it till you make it in the beginning. But now I think you really are confident, right? I guess you really do fully believe that you can help these families.
Malin King: Yes. I mean, now, you know, you hear it is pretty much the same story almost every time it’s because of a few weeks. But it’s such a relief to know you can help them and you can hear how they like. You know, there’s a lot of moms crying when I talked to them. And they saw, you know, happy to hear that they never got Yes, we can do this from you know, the Swedish system is always this is normal children’s sleep suck is the response they always get. So just having someone that believes in it and tells you we can change this, I think it’s definitely a really big, big thing for them.
Jayne Havens: Yes. I think that’s exactly right. And then I’m also wondering if now that you’ve supported so many families if it’s shifting, and you’re seeing more referrals come in. So families that you’ve worked with in the past are sharing your name with their friends and their extended network.
Malin King: Yes. And those are sometimes the best families because they already know what I do. They kind of know my strategies, and they still want to hire me, which is really good. And actually, I added, like, I have five sleep training methods in my sleep plan. For every client pretty much. I just recently added the fifth, which is like a firmer version. And that’s when people start going a little harder. So when I only had one method to leave the room, they didn’t want to do it as much. But now when I have more options, they tend to be like, alright, we choose one of the two. So I Yeah, it’s definitely that those types of clients are a lot easier. And they were very, very pleased in the end.
Jayne Havens: Yes. So let’s talk about mindset a little bit for someone who’s struggling with a mindset and believing in themselves, which I think is a very common way to feel when you’re first starting your own business. Right? What would you say to them? I know it’s been a real journey for you. I’m so happy to see that you’re on the other side of it. Right? I think, in the beginning, you really struggled with a mindset and now you sort of went from one of the most nervous, timid, of our students like you were so scared to get started and now I see you as one of the most confident in our community. What would you say to somebody that’s struggling with their mindset and how to make that shift?
Malin King: I mean, I think it’s all about mapping out like what you want to do, like we do the five-year plan, like, where do we want to be in five years, what type of jobs we want, what flexibility if your personality suits the job you want to have. But then to put it, like, if you put it in writing, it’s 1000 times better. So I love, you know, putting your plan in writing because you see it and there’s a bigger chance to achieve it. So I tell this to my clients to you, you know, type down your dream for your child, put it on your wall, and you see it every day, there’s a higher chance you can achieve, you know, that they’re actually sleeping because you see it, and you want to work towards that. I think the to-do list is crucial. And when my daughter was sleeping early on when I was working on my company to get up and running, there were no household duties when she was sleeping, it was working. Like there was no exception. I’d put my phone away and I just like what is on my to-do list today. And you know, as soon as you start that it’s an amazing feeling to like, you feel like you’re doing something, maybe it’s boring, but it’s bringing you towards your goal where you want to be. Yeah when all that boring stuff is gone. You’re living that dream, which I feel like I mean right now.
Jayne Havens: I love that great answer. Well, thank you so much for having this conversation with me today. I’m so proud of you. And I love seeing your success. And I just can’t wait to see I feel like this is only the beginning for you. So who knows what your business is going to look like six months from now, a year from now. I really can’t wait to see, before we wrap up, tell everybody where they can find you. Whether it’s your website, your social media, or whatever you’d like to share.
Malin King: Alright, so you can find me on Instagram. It’s my biggest platform.
Jayne Havens: Can I put it in the show notes?
Malin King: And if you want to see my activities I do you know, the sensory activities are on Mommy Malin. And that’s all in English. But then the other part is all Swedish though. Yes.
Jayne Havens: So I will link all of that in the show notes. I have to say before we sign off, Malin’s account that she does in English that’s all about sensory activities for kids is fabulous. I follow and I constantly sort of borrow her ideas and use the activities that she’s doing with her own children as inspiration for mine. I’ve been following her for a few years there now. So I highly recommend that account and I will put your sleep account in the show notes so that people can find it more easily. Malin, thank you so much for chatting with me today. And congratulations on all of your success.
Malin King: Oh, thank you so much.