Intro: Welcome to Becoming a Sleep Consultant! I’m your host Jayne Havens, a certified sleep consultant and founder of both Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. On this podcast, I’ll be discussing the business side of sleep consulting. You’ll have an insider’s view on launching, growing, and even scaling a sleep consulting business. This is not a podcast about sleep training. This is a podcast about business building and entrepreneurship.
Jayne Havens: Lucia is a Certified Sleep Consultant through the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management and the founder of Dreaming of Lulubies. She is also a master Bar Method instructor. Lucia is originally from Portugal but is now living in New Jersey with her husband and two-year-old son Gabriel. She particularly enjoys working with first-time moms, helping them to navigate out of the stress and anxiety that comes along with those sleepless nights. Lucia describes her approach as both empowering and mindful, and it is her mission to take families from sleep deprivation to sleep rejuvenation. I love that. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for being on today.
Lucia Oliveira: Thanks, Jayne. Thanks for having me. I’m super excited to connect with you.
Jayne Havens: Before we get started, I would love for you to share your story. Tell us a little bit about your former business and also your journey through parenting.
Lucia Oliveira: Do you want the short version or the long version?
Jayne Havens: Whatever. Whatever you have.
Lucia Oliveira: I’ll try to make this short as much as possible, but I feel like there’s a lot to unpack. I’m a former Bar Method studio owner, believe it or not. That was my passion, or I thought it was my passion. I absolutely loved what I did. I opened my studio in 2015. I created this beautiful community of women. For those who don’t know the Bar Method, you definitely should check it out. It’s an amazing workout. I had a really successful studio. I had 20 plus employees. It was pretty amazing, what we created. The thing that I loved about it was the community of women that we got together. It wasn’t just about the workout. It was about just being with other women and just inspiring one another.
Of course, 2019, the tail end of 2019, we started to hear about the pandemic and all that good stuff. At the time, I was also pregnant with my son Gabriel. Then 2020, we ended up having to close for several months because of the pandemic. It was a really challenging time of my life. Being pregnant and navigating through being a first-time mom — when I had Gabrielle in May — was a lot. I tried to manage a business that was slowly declining. Because where I had my studio, it was like an urban market where a lot of people left that area and move to the suburbs or even out of state. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep my studio alive, unfortunately. So, I ended up having to close it in December of 2021. That was really hard for me.
I’ve always been someone where I’m like, “This is what I’m going to be doing. This is my long-term plan.” I guess the universe had something else planned for me. There’s always a silver lining behind certain things that are challenging. Sometimes we want to see them, and sometimes we don’t. I’m finally seeing those silver linings right now. So, I’m happy that I enrolled in your course. At the time when I knew my studio was closing, I was like, “Well, what am I going to do with my life?” I’ve always been a planner. I’m like, “I have no idea what I’m going to do.” I think I connected with you on Facebook about what other moms were doing. I definitely didn’t see myself working in corporate, which I did prior to owning my studio. But once you’re a business owner, it’s really hard to navigate back to the corporate world. So, that’s when I connected with you. I was like, “Okay. Well, I think this is something I can totally do right now.”
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I remember connecting with you. We connected in a mom’s Facebook group. I think somebody had asked who here has an interesting side hustle, and I shared what I do. You were like, “Oh, I would like to learn more about that,” and we started talking. I remember being so enamored with the way that you spoke about your business, and this whole thing and community that you had built, and that you are now looking for something else.
In my mind, I was thinking, “Wow. I bet this person can do anything.” But also like, “Why does she want to do sleep consulting?” Sleep consulting wasn’t — When we first connected, correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think that you had really much of any idea. I’m sure maybe you had heard of a sleep consultant, but it wasn’t like you were reaching out to me interested because you had this strong passion for sleep consulting. It was like you were looking for some other business to start. It wasn’t that it was sleep that you were interested in. It was like you were losing your business, and you wanted to have another one. You just happened to connect with me. So, it was a little bit of an interesting situation. Because most people reach out to me because they actually want to be a sleep consultant. But you really taken to the whole thing amazingly well, really, in an impressive way.
Lucia Oliveira: I also think, in addition to that, just wanting to do something else that I could do. I knew that deep down inside, I still wanted to help women. I knew in my business, in my studio, I was helping women more physically and, obviously, mentally. But I think if I could help other moms, especially with my son who was such an awful sleeper, I honestly didn’t even know sleep consulting or sleep coaches were out there. Had I known, I would have totally have hired one. Because having a child in the middle of a pandemic, losing a business, feeling completely isolated, I really didn’t have much support, I could have used some help.
I’m someone who has a really hard time asking for help because I’m someone who’s like — sorry, my dogs are barking. I was like, well, I could totally do this. I don’t need any help. I’m “Superwoman.” It really isn’t. So, the fact that I’m able to help another woman, especially a first-time mom, navigate through their sleep journey with their child is so rewarding. That was, I think, the missing component that I think I impact those women in a different way than when I had my studio.
Jayne Havens: Yeah. So, you really actually led me perfectly into the next question that I wanted to ask you. I wanted to ask you to unpack your ‘why,’ which I think you touched on a little bit. But I’d love to hear you speak to that a little bit more. I think when you’re starting a business, you have to figure out your why behind it. If you don’t have that heart in it, if you don’t have a mission beyond just like I want to make some dollars, I think it’s really hard to be successful in business if you don’t have some bigger feeling driving that effort.
Then I also would love to hear a little bit about — I know that you work with your clients to hone in on their ‘why’ — why are they seeking out this support. Why do they want to make a change the way that their children sleep? What are their goals? I’d love for you to talk a little bit about all of that, if you’re willing.
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah, of course. I think the most important thing when you own a business or whatever you do in life, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about making the money. Yeah, it is a very important part. But I think the most crucial element is having passion. Because that really drives, and it really is a way that you can connect with clients. When you’re so passionate about something, it really shows the way that you communicate with clients. It’s how you show up in your community. I think that is the number one thing.
To cut to your point, when you mentioned when I was seeking out what I was going to do, I will say that I was trying to find something that I can do. I didn’t realize my ‘why’ at that moment. My ‘why’ has definitely changed. Because in this line of work that we do, it’s something that a lot of first-time moms don’t even know about. There’s so much effort or emphasis on when you’re pregnant, taking care of yourself, about labor. People always tell you if you’re nursing, maybe hire a lactation consultant. But no one really talks about sleep and the importance of it. I feel like people are just like, well, it comes with the territory of being a parent. It really isn’t.
There’s so much noise out there that people talk about sleep training. A lot of people think it’s the cry it out method. It’s really educating mom or families but particularly moms that that’s not the case. I feel that once I started diving into being a sleep coach and seeing how many moms need the help, that became my number one why. It’s to really help moms not go through what I went through with my son, but to make them feel more empowered and confident.
A lot of these moms come to me, that they’re not feeling confident at all. They’re overwhelmed, they’re anxious, they’re not sleeping well. It’s so important for them to feel confident. Because I always tell my client I can always give you what I would do in your shoes, but your instinct and your gut as a mom is going to be your North Star. I think that is so important to share that with moms, because that also may makes them feel a little bit more at ease when they work with me where it’s not like black and white. There’s so much variation in so many things that you can do differently, but it’s really about finding and going with your gut.
When I start working with moms, I always attract first-time moms that are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and I love it. The reason is because I was one of them. I still am, to be honest with you. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes my anxiety with my two year old — I mean, I’m a first-time mom. I’m like, “Am I doing this right? Am I doing this wrong?” When I start working with moms, I always take the approach of finding the reason as to why they’re doing this.
In the questionnaire that I send, where I get an overview of what’s going on with their little one’s sleep, I always ask them a couple of questions of, how is this impacting your life? What it would feel like if you could just get longer stretches of sleep? What would that look like for you, and your partner, and for your child, for your whole family? I think once they have that, I make them write this down in a piece of paper. Our first kickoff call, I have them write their ‘whys’ which are in the questionnaire. I have them put this piece of paper where they could see it every day, and it’s top of mind. When those moments of feeling anxious — the crying is a big trigger for moms — I want them to look at that piece of paper so that they can remind themselves of why they’re doing this. Because then, they’ll be able to feel a little bit more grounded and reset a bit.
Because when you’re in the mix of having your child crying, or their naps didn’t go so well, or you’re feeling defeated, or whatever the case, it doesn’t even have to be sleep, that they’re able to come back to their reason so that they can figure and say, “Well, this is for a bigger reason. It’s not because I’m just tired. This is going to impact how I show up as a mom, how I am as a mom, how I’m going to be present, how I’m going to be at work.” It really impacts their whole life. So, it is so important for them to know why they’re doing this so that in those moments that seem challenging, they can come back to that and feel a little bit more grounded.
Jayne Havens: That’s crazy impressive. It’s really amazing. I would imagine that you, this whole method that you have is leading to a whole lot of success. Because if we take it back to our businesses and when you have this really strong ‘why,’ this motivation, this reason behind why you’re working for something so hard, that’s what keeps you going. That’s what keeps you putting one foot in front of the other. I think that what you’re doing for your clients is exactly what we do in entrepreneurship. It’s forming that big hunk of why it matters, right? When you put that right in front of somebody’s face, it makes it easier to take those baby steps in the direction of achieving their goals, which I just think is magical.
Lucia Oliveira: Well, thank you. I also think it’s also reminding moms, especially with the families that I work with, maybe a nap didn’t go so well. It’s reminding them not just to focus on the negative. Because we can quickly focus on the negative and forget about all these amazing wins that their child did the night before or even that day. It’s just reminding them that it’s okay. It’s part of the journey. It’s part of the process, and to give themselves permission to just let go a little bit. Sometimes we’re so tied down on the naps didn’t go so well, or they didn’t eat enough, or whatever it is. I feel like if they just take that step back, remind themselves of their why so that they can let go of that negativity or that anxious feeling, that they can always try again the next step, or tomorrow’s another day. It’s like hitting the reset button.
So, it’s just reminding parents, especially moms. I always say parents but I really want to hone in with really speaking to moms, especially, that it’s so important to just remind them that it’s okay. We can try again. Next snap. No big deal. Let go of that. Let go of the first, second nap that didn’t go so well. Let’s focus on the next nap.
Jayne Havens: I think you’re right to focus on the big picture. I’m actually dealing with this with a specific client that I’m working with right now who is having so much forward progress, and yet she feels so down in the dumps still. She’s hanging on to little things that are still hard. But if you look at the big picture of where we’ve come in just four or five days, I, as an outsider, see it as such amazing progress. She’s not there yet.
A lot of my work right now is more about building her up and helping her to realize that she’s doing okay. It’s not even about the baby. The baby is doing great. It’s more about how is mom doing right now, and how can I support her so that she has a more positive experience during all of this. Because it’s hard, right? Making changes is hard.
I keep saying to her that, your baby was doing sleep one way for six months. We’re five days in. Now he’s doing it another way. He’s actually doing great. But it’s been six months of the first way. Old habits are hard to break. It’s okay for everybody to be feeling a little bit stressed about the changes that we’re making. It’s hard.
Lucia Oliveira: 100%. I think it’s our jobs, as sleep coaches, to remind the moms of where they were, where they are now, and just remind them to celebrate the big wins. Because I think when you’re in it as a mom, you sometimes don’t get to see the outside from a different perspective. When you come in to support moms, you know where they were. You can see the amazing progress that they’ve made even within a day or two.
I always tell my client, it’s not about perfection. It’s about progress. It’s like, okay, well, she slept maybe a little longer in this nap. Amazing. Let’s celebrate that, instead of talking about how short this nap was. Because then, you come in it with a different energy with your child, where they feel it from you. If you’re feeling anxious and stressed out, overwhelmed, and if you’re not feeling grounded in a good place, your child is going to feel that 100%. So, you have to lead with confidence. Yeah, that nap wasn’t as long as we want it to. But hey, it was five minutes longer. Hey, we’ll take that as one today. So, it’s always reminding the moms of that.
Jayne Havens: Do you ever find that the parents that you’re working with — moms, specifically — have a hard time identifying their ‘why?’ They’re just so tired, and they’re just so stressed and miserable. They can’t really think big picture beyond the fact that just like I’m so tired. I’m so done. Do you ever find that sometimes parents struggle with this exercise?
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah, I think sometimes it is. Most of the times, I feel like they’re pretty good at finding their why. Because in the questionnaire that I send them, I really talk to them about how it impacts their life if they’re not sleeping, regardless of them being tired, and imagining what it would look like if they could only sleep longer. How would they feel? It’s about a feeling. So, sometimes it might be the tired component, but I think layering in the tiredness of I don’t have enough time for myself where I’m able to carve out a workout, whatever that is of going back to pre having a baby, that life of freedom and all that stuff. I think it’s also so important for them to remind themselves that they could still have that in a different way. So, I think it’s easy for them to kind of tap into that pretty quickly.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, it’s amazing. I’m taking so much from this conversation. I feel like I’m going to be implementing some of this in my own business. I’m actually really excited to hear you talk about all of this stuff. Let’s go back to your own why. You’re so good at getting your clients to hone in on theirs. Are you able to practice what you preach in your own business, and really sort of take your why and allow that to drive you to be more successful in your business?
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah, I think so. I mean, there’s days. Believe me, as a business owner, we have our ups and downs like anything. There’s days that I feel sometimes a little defeated. But there’s a lot of times when I do find myself in that moment of feeling not defeated but things didn’t go the way that I had planned or had envisioned. I always find that it’s so important for us to come back to our why, and remind ourselves in that moment.
Because we can go down a pretty dark rabbit hole if we start to say, “Well, I didn’t meet my goal clients this month. I only made this amount of money. I only have x amount of followers on my Instagram, and no one’s taking a bite on this new program thing that I just launched.” I catch myself in that moment. As soon as I do, I snap out of it. I focus on the positive thing.
I found this analogy that I think is such a cool thing. That reminds me that I’m like a rock. If a rock falls in an ocean, let’s say, it creates a ripple effect. So, my energy is floating out. At some point, it’s going to attract someone. That ripple effect is going to hit someone, or it’s going to connect with someone. I meant to connect with certain people. If that didn’t work out, that’s totally fine. I think there’s going to be another great connection that I’ll make in a month, or two months, or whatever it is. I am not really—
Before, when I first launched my business, I was all about setting goals. I got to do this, and I got to do that. The moment that I just gave myself breathing room of just like, “Okay. I’m going to show up fully, but I’m not going to obsess over how many clients I have, or whatnot,” my whole business changed.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that’s amazing.
Lucia Oliveira: We’re always in a hustle, do, do mode. Yeah, it is. But sometimes when you break out of just having fun, it really changes everything. Because in those moments, when you’re having fun, it’s when those big ideas come into mind. I think we have to be more playful in a sense and have more fun than sometimes always doing a to-do list or checking things off our to-do list. Sometimes we just need to be. Be in flow state is what I call it.
Jayne Havens: That’s really beautiful. Are you willing to share a little bit about where you are in your business right now? I think you only launched your business, what, like four or five months ago.
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: So, you’re still pretty green. How many clients are you supporting at a time? Are you working on anything interesting? Have you hit any big milestones that you’d like to share in your business?
Lucia Oliveira: Sure. Yeah, I’m very green. I’m only a few months in. I have to say I’m loving it. I did a lot of work, pre-work, before I launched. I did a lot of making sure my website was ready to launch when I was almost certified to become a sleep coach. I did a lot of pro bono work prior to that. I did a lot of behind the scenes so that when I was ready to launch, everything was pretty good. Then I tweaked a little bit as I went of seeing, okay, this work. This doesn’t work.
Right now, I’m supporting about an average of three to four clients a month. I hold their hands very much. I don’t know how many more clients I can actually support with the service or program that I do. Because I’m a little bit of a stalker, where I’ll check in with the mom and make sure that — especially when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, I want to make sure that they know that they can count on me for the support. So, it’s a lot of hold handing. I actually love that.
Right now, I’m supporting an average between three to four clients. It works really well because I do that but I also teach, which is a big part of my day-to-day life. So, I think that’s where I find the balance right now.
I’m actually just enrolled to become a breathwork facilitator. So, I’m actually starting in October. There was something that was missing from my program. It’s a little bit more mindfulness, even though I do take that approach right now. But I think breathwork for moms, especially when they’re in the heat of the moment, if they can just catch their breath and really focus on their breath, it can make them feel more grounded. So, I’m hoping to incorporate some of that breathwork into my coaching program for moms.
Jayne Havens: Amazing. Do you think that, at some point, you’ll want to increase your caseload? Do you think this is the right amount of clients, maybe whether it’s you increase your pricing, or you just say, like, I’m really happy with both the way I’m supporting families and the income that I’m generating, and I feel really at peace with the status quo? Because I think there’s a lot of pressure to always grow.
I had this conversation with Kelly Knoll a couple of weeks ago on the podcast. Sometimes, we don’t have to grow. Sometimes, we can just feel really good where we are, just supporting families at a really high level, and doing the work we love, and making the money that we’re making. That’s good enough. So, I’m wondering what your feeling is there.
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah, I would love to see, for sure, an increase in terms of how many more clients I can take on. Definitely, from a financial point, I would love to see that grow a little bit more. So, I’m definitely open to having a couple more clients. Seeing some moms need more hold handing, some less, it’s finding that balance between. It’s where I’m trying to still figuring that out. It also is dependent on the mom, too. Some moms are okay, maybe check in with me several times during the day for the first five days or whatever, and then lessened. So, I have to figure out how to find that balance if I was to increase my clients a little bit more, so I’m able to still deliver that white glove service for them.
Jayne Havens: Especially if that’s making you happy, right?
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: When I first started supporting families in this line of work, I definitely was more in touch than I think I am now. I’ve learned how to give space while still providing what I think is a really high level of support. They just have learned to come to me rather than me checking in with them all of the time. So that way, if they don’t need me, then I don’t have to be texting with them all day long. But I think it takes a while to figure out where the pulse is on that, because it’s different for every family. You have to figure out both what the family needs, but then also what you need to do to provide the level of support that you’re selling as your service.
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah, definitely. I still haven’t found that sweet spot yet. With the client load that I have, it works out just well right now. But if I was to have a couple more clients, I would have to figure out how to balance that instead of being attached to my phone pretty much all day.
Jayne Havens: Well, considering you’re just getting started, you’re four or five months in, I would say you’re doing great. You’ll figure it out in time. You’ll figure out a way to either support families being in touch a little bit less, or you’ll get some systems in place so that you don’t feel like you need to be talking to them all day. Or maybe you will talk to them all day, and you’ll just raise your prices.
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah, actually, I just raised my prices not too long ago.
Jayne Havens: Good for you.
Lucia Oliveira: I was doing a two-week program. Now I’m doing a three-week program. I’m trying to figure out if that’s still a good fit for three weeks. Because I do see a lot of my families that I work with don’t need those three weeks, because their baby catches on pretty quickly. I think two weeks is — between two and three weeks is a sweet spot for my family is right now. It’s just trying to figure out. Because sometimes three weeks ends up being a little too much on the longer side. So, I have to still figure that out a little bit more.
Jayne Havens: I love all of this. I feel like I should have been taking notes. I’m going to go back and listen after I released this episode. Before we wrap up, where can everybody find you? Share your website, social media, whatever you are willing and excited to share.
Lucia Oliveira: Yeah, thank you for the opportunity. So, they can find me basically on Instagram @dreamingoflulubies. I didn’t misspell it. It’s a take on my name. The same thing with my website, it’s dreamingoflulubies.com. I’m also on Facebook. That’s the same name. Dreaming of Lulubies is where people can find me.
Jayne Havens: Perfect. I’ll put all of that information in the show notes so that people can find you and check you out. Thank you so much for chatting with me today. This was a great conversation. I loved it. I have to tell everybody that this was your first podcast interview. I know you’re a little nervous about it, but I feel like you nailed it. It was fabulous. I can’t wait for everybody to hear your story.
Lucia Oliveira: Thanks, Jayne, for the opportunity. It was so great to be here.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support. If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode.Lucia