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: Jodi Congdon is the owner of Hip to Heart, a birth and postpartum doula agency in the Boston Area. She is also a postpartum doula and lactation educator trainer for CAPPA and the creator of the Birth Boss series of business courses for birth and postpartum professionals. She’s a girl mom times three. Two were home births. She has two cats, a dog, and shares it all with her fantastic husband. Jodi, welcome to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast.
Jodi Congdon: Hello. Thank you for having me. Always a pleasure.
Jayne Havens: When I think about the building blocks for a successful business, which is what I want to talk about with you today, I think about all of the layers that go into building something really special. Before we get into this conversation about what those layers are, I would love for you to share your story of how you got started in birth work, and how your business has evolved over the years.
Jodi Congdon: Yes, so, I think this is a very common answer to the question of your why or how you got started. 15 years ago, I had a baby and left thinking there has to be more. I didn’t do any prenatal education. I realized after that, that that was fairly foolish. But days just send you off. They’re like, goodbye, good luck. I guess, if you need us, come back. But who wants to come back? You’re already home. Through trial and error, obviously, it was fine. She’s 15 and driving. But I just thought to myself—
Also, my mother had died when I was younger, so I didn’t have that support. My friends were still puking in cabs. I was young. So, I just felt like I was doing it, sort of navigating this thing that I was not familiar with. I’d like to think of myself as fairly intelligent, fairly intuitive. So, we live through it. But it would have been nice to have someone like at my house saying, “Okay. Here’s a good spot to feed your baby. Here’s a good time to make lunch, then shower. Here’s how to get up and get out of the house. Breastfeeding is not going great. Try this.” I didn’t want to schlep her somewhere. I didn’t want it. I wanted to be home in my nest.
Three months later, I go back to work for a minute, and I get laid off. Then I was devastated for another minute. Then I was like, this is the greatest thing ever. Because you know what? This could be something. I’m passionate about this. Then I realized a good friend of mine from high school, her mother, I didn’t know it was called a postpartum doula. I’m like, oh, my God. I know someone I think who does this.
I asked her a few questions. I flew down to North Carolina. I took a training, and that was the beginning. You know me, I’m a hustler. I dove in, worked the hours that were good for me. Had a little bit more, maybe added a class, became a trainer. Through the years, I just figured out what my clients needed, and I added that to my business.
Then another layer is, as I’m training these doulas, I figured out what they needed past my training, and then added that into my business, too. I care for the new parent community, but I also care very much for the birth and postpartum professional community, and have built a business on really taking care of both of those sides.
Jayne Havens: So, I think what happened with you is like your first meeting your own needs, following your why, following your passion, and really leading with your heart. Then the next step was actually paying attention to what was going on, and then following the lead of your clients, and the women that you were supporting training to become postpartum doulas. I mean, those were the building blocks that led you to grow, which I think is probably the way that all businesses grow. We don’t just break it down and think about it too often, right? But I love this has worked for you.
Jodi Congdon: Right. I think the ones that don’t grow, they’re not paying attention to their audience. They’re not paying attention to the market, what the needs are. They’re not listening. They’re not looking to find out what the needs are. You have to be eyes open all the time and ears open because people ask questions. They talk, and they look for stuff especially on Facebook. Swoop in and be the person that fulfills that request. Or you think to yourself, I’ve seen this request come five times in the last month. There must not be this course, or there must not be this caretaker or whatever. Then I figure out a way to be that, add that to my business. Obviously, if five people need it, there’s 500 people that need it.
Jayne Havens: When we were coming up with the outline for this podcast, I was thinking about what the actual building blocks to a successful business are. I wrote down about seven of them. I’d love to break them down with you.
Jodi Congdon: Do it.
Jayne Havens: The first one that I came up with, which I feel like you’ve already addressed beautifully, is having your why. Maybe even more importantly, your story nailed it down, which I love that we just talked about that. Your story of why you get into the business that you’re in is so instrumental to how you present yourself to your ideal audience, right?
Jodi Congdon: Yeah. I mean, I was both of those people. I was that new parent that needed guidance. So, now I am taking care of other new parents. I have a team of other doulas who are doing that as well. Then I was also that doula or that birth professional who started a business, but then was like, “Okay. Where am I taking this? How am I utilizing the number of hours in the day that I’m available? How much money can I make in those hours? Okay. I really don’t like that number. It’s a little low. I need to pay my bills. My daughter needs to go to school. All these things. What else can I add in?” So, what I do now really started with my own needs. Then I realized there were so many more people out there that had those needs, whether it was a new parent or professional. So, yeah, it was a very organic start, actually. So, I fulfilled my needs, and then shouted out to the community.
Jayne Havens: Another one of the basic building blocks that I think of that are crucial to having a successful business is really understanding who is your ideal client. I think for a lot of new entrepreneurs, this feels really challenging. Because you want anybody who’s willing to pay you to be your client, right? You’re not looking to choosing.
Jodi Congdon: In the beginning, yes. In the beginning, I said yes, to every and all. Then as you start working with more and more people, you realize which clients are not going to be a good fit for you. It is easy to tell red flags in the beginning of a client that may not be your ideal client. But I think you can set out, write down the attributes of your ideal client. That’s the person that you’re going after. That’s the person you’re marketing to. That doesn’t mean you’re going to say no to everybody else, right? There’s so many other people that would be a good fit for your business. But you can’t speak to everyone. You can’t market to everyone. So, I think you have to pare it down to a very, very specific ideal person. But be open, obviously, to other people that are going to need your services and that are going to be a great fit.
Jayne Havens: I think you made a good point that I want to highlight, in case people didn’t realize how great of a point this is while they’re listening. The purpose of honing in on who your ideal client is, the purpose of that is not to say no to people that you don’t want to work with. The purpose is to really tailor your language so that you’re connecting with your ideal audience. If you’re speaking so broadly, it’s really hard for anybody to feel personally connected to your messaging.
But when you narrow down the way that you’re speaking to someone, because you’re speaking to someone very specific, those people are then attracted to your messaging. Then they come to you. That’s what I think people don’t understand in the beginning. It’s that, they just say, “Well, I’m willing to work with anyone.” Sure. We’re all willing to work with anyone, at least in the beginning of our careers. But how are you going to reach those people that you want to be working with? You have to speak to them, right?
Jodi Congdon: Right. I think our industry, specifically, our clients don’t really know what they need sometimes. So, if we’re throwing out 50 things that might be something that they might need, they’re going to be overwhelmed. They’re going to be like, “Is this for me? I don’t really know.” But if you’re very specific and they hear that, they’re like, “That is exactly what I’m looking for.” That’s where you need to focus. You need to be very specific.
A lot of times, clients will be like, “What’s the best thing for me?” They don’t want you to say like, “Whatever you need.” They want you to say, “I think A, B, and C would be exactly what you need to thrive.” Because they don’t know. They’ve never done this before. They’ve never needed a sleep consultant. They’ve never had a baby who needed a doula. So, they’re unsure. So, you have to present something to them that is exactly what will take them from where they are to where they want to be, without the confusion of having to choose too many things.
Jayne Havens: Let’s talk about how you actually market and connect with your ideal client. I guess, we should probably talk about where to do that and how to do that. For me, I’ve always connected with people online. That feels easiest for me, because the world is your oyster on the internet.
I always tell people, people who listen to this podcast or listen to me talk wherever — they will know I say this all the time — I think that social media is an amazing tool if you’re using it in the way that it was originally intended to be used, which is to make social connections. Like when I’m on Facebook, I’m not necessarily just blasting flyers of my services. I’m not just saying like, “Hey, hire me. Hire me.” What I’m doing is, I’m actually using Facebook to connect with people that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to connect with.
Jodi Congdon: Right. No one’s going to want you when you’re just selling, selling, selling, saying, “Hire me.” The hard sell like that is very unattractive. I think it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel genuine. Again, taking it back to our industry specific, people need personal recommendations. You are in their home. You are spending time with their baby. You are consulting them, whether it’s in person or not, about their most precious asset. So, they need to know you and trust you.
That does not come with a direct sale. That comes with the connection piece that you’re talking about. That’s really important. Because they will eventually get to know what you’re selling, get to know your services, your classes, your courses, whatever. But that takes a little bit of time and finesse, too.
Jayne Havens: One thing that I like to do for my Center for Pediatric Sleep Management graduates is, I like to recommend them in situations where I feel like they’re the best fit, or even if it’s just location specific. A lot of the ladies that take my program are postpartum doulas or newborn care specialists.
I’m in all of those Facebook groups for doulas and NCSs. I’ll see a post that will say, “looking for a postpartum doula in LA or whatever.” I have a spreadsheet of all of my students and graduates and where they live. I go to my spreadsheet. I’m like, who lives in LA? I tag them there. Because what I’m doing is I’m vouching for them. That happens because I’ve gotten to know them, and I trust them. I wouldn’t tag them if I didn’t think that they were going to do a good job, right?
Jodi Congdon: Right.
Jayne Havens: So, that’s what I’m always telling my students and graduates. Get out there and make those connections so that other people, besides me, will refer you and will tag you.
Jodi Congdon: Networking is everything.
Jayne Havens: Everything. So, I am constantly, constantly referring people in situations where I feel that they would benefit from that. What goes around comes around. I have people tagging me in Facebook groups for threads on people who are struggling with their kids’ sleep. The more people that I have relationships with and that I’m helping them, then the more that they help me. We get to know what sort of jobs people are looking for, what sort of jobs people would be a good fit for. We’re naturally supporting each other in our businesses. To me, that’s marketing. It is.
Jodi Congdon: Right. I think it all comes down to trust, too. What I love about networking and connecting with people is that when my chiropractor makes a referral to one of her patients for a postpartum doula, they already know they’re going to hire me. It’s just a matter of talking about the schedule and finding a fit. When I refer someone online, let’s say, it’s in LA — I’ve trained people all over the country — the person that I’m referring them to, they know me. They already trust me. They know that I would never throw a name out that I didn’t think would do like 110%. That, I think, is huge. Just the connections you make and those relationships that you grow over the years, the trust is already there.
They don’t need to really like get down the nitty gritty and interview them. You’ve done them a favor because you’ve saved that person time. They don’t need to post all over Facebook. They can say like, “Hey Jayne, what do you got in Chicago?” It’s so beneficial for you, for the person who’s asking, and for the sleep consultant that you’re referring. So, you’re just helping everyone.
Jayne Havens: Let’s talk about brand identity. This, I feel like we could talk about it on a really basic level, like having a brand name, a logo, some colors. But then brand identity is also bigger than that. If you have a really successful and well-positioned brand, I think through your branding, people start to understand your why, who you are, what you stand for, and how you support people.
How do you get there? How do you get from a logo to people understanding what you’re all about?
Jodi Congdon: I think you just have to be vocal. Blogs are great. Instagram posts are great. But you got to throw yourself on stories. You got to be a guest on a podcast. You got to go live. People need to see your face. We’re not like Amazon, right? We don’t have a thousand trillion workers. With Hip to Heart, this is all this. You guys can’t see me, but I’m like pointing to my face that I’m out there. That, for me, is brand recognition.
I’m connecting with people. I’m linking myself. You can see my logo. That’s great. I wear my Hip to Heart hoodie sometimes, and people comment on it in the grocery line. Your face is your business. That is your best asset, and the things that come out of your mouth. So, you got to just get out there. You got to connect with people. You have to be vocal. Talk about your why. Talk about your services. Talk about your clients, in a way. That’s obviously confidential, but I meant more like scenarios and things that you do.
I also love when you post your text threads, that is the face of your business. That is what is happening real time, so people get a feel for the work that you’re doing and how your clients respond to that. Your relationship with your clients is everything. You’re not just like boop, boop, boop. I’m going to type you up a sleep plan. It’s this constant back and forth. That is you. So, when someone wants to either take your course or hire you for their family, they’ve seen all that. They already have that level of comfort. That’s your brand. That’s your business. It’s not just your name and logo. It’s you.
Jayne Havens: It’s interesting. My sleep consulting business, it’s called Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens. People don’t say like, “You have to call Snooze Fest,” or, “You have to hire Snooze Fest.” People say, “Call Jayne.”
Jodi Congdon: You have to hire Jayne.
Jayne Havens: Yep, I hear that, actually, for Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. It has a similar vibe. I guess it’s because of the way that I market myself, and it’s the way that I connect with my ideal audience. People will say like, “You have to take Jayne’s course. You’ll love Jayne’s course.”
Jodi Congdon: Right. I never hear anyone say the name.
Jayne Havens: Right. That’s okay. I’m okay with that. Because I am the brand. I am the face. When you decide to hire me — whether it’s for one on one support through sleep training or whether to decide to take my course to get trained to become a sleep consultant — ultimately, people know that they’re going to be well taken care of by me, by Jayne. That’s sort of the whole vibe that I’ve worked very hard to create. That is the brand. The brand is, you’re going to be supported no matter what.
Jodi Congdon: That is so important. You are the face. You have a similar thing going on with me. We care for families, but we also work with professionals. So, your face is all over the place. That makes a huge, huge difference.
Jayne Havens: The next thing I had written down was customer service, which I think leads perfectly from our last point. You have to actually do a good job. You have to support people well and wholly. You have to make them feel that you are—
Jodi Congdon: I have a degree in hospitality.
Jayne Havens: So do I. Actually, no, I don’t. I just have a former career. I have a former career in hospitality. I never actually studied it.
Jodi Congdon: Didn’t we do the same thing? We were both event planners.
Jayne Havens: Yes, Jodi and I have talked about this. We’re both former event planners. I actually think that’s why we are good at what we do. Because it’s a combination of our hospitality mentality, and then also our attention to detail.
Jodi Congdon: Well, it’s also taking 50 things that are all over the place. Then at the end of the day, making one grand event. That is precisely what we both do in different scenarios. But hospitality, it comes in clutch, just knowing what to say, how to act, how to react. Because things aren’t always roses, right? How to connect with people, how to talk people off the ledge? All of those things are really important just in life, but also the clientele that we work with. They need that extra, extra.
Jayne Havens: Going back to our past in events, when I think about how to execute an event, I’m thinking about from beginning to end, and the entire experience being a positive one for the end client. You want them to feel comfortable, confident, secure, excited, all of those things. I feel like we’re doing the same thing — supporting families, and then also supporting those who go through our programming. We want the customer service experience to be top notch.
For those listening who are either wanting to become a sleep consultant, or are already a sleep consultant, or even this applies to those that are working, supporting families postpartum — whether they’re doulas, NCSs — you want them to have an incredible experience. Because when customer service is high, and when they have a good experience, that’s how you get referrals. That’s how your business grows.
Jodi Congdon: Right. That is the number one way your business will grow and thrive. It’s word of mouth, referrals from clients but also from other professionals that those clients are then going in talking to you about. One of our clients, let’s say, they go for their OB appointment, whatever. The OB says like, “How are things going?” Things are going phenomenal, because our postpartum doula, blah, blah, blah. Then the OB is intrigued like, “Oh, okay. I haven’t heard of her,” or, “Oh, I have heard of her. Yes, we have clients coming in all the time talking about her.”
That sparked something in that practitioner. “Oh, maybe I should reach out to Jodi, and connect. Because I would love to have someone that I know and trust to talk about to patients, when they don’t come in and say they’re having a great postpartum experience.” So, it’s all word of mouth. It will build really fast when your clients talk about you not just to their friends and co workers who are also pregnant or had babies, but to their practitioners who we know have a large captive audience of our ideal clients.
Jayne Havens: Those connections, you never know when somebody is going to refer you. Actually, my pediatrician has known that I’m a sleep consultant — I don’t know — since I told her, however many years ago. We’ve never really had a detailed conversation about it. She’s never seemed particularly over the top interested. It’s been fine. I haven’t needed her as a referral source, so it’s okay. I’ve never pushed it.
The other day, I just got an email from a local private preschool that wants to do a talk on toddler and preschool or sleep. She got my name from my pediatrician. I was like, okay, there you go. I didn’t think that my pediatrician was into this kind of stuff. Here she is referring me. So, just always making sure that your name is out there. Always making sure that you’re supporting families at a high level. I don’t know. I’m going to ask her when I go in for my daughter’s six-year well visit. I’m going to ask her. But maybe what happened is that I supported someone locally, who also goes to her, and maybe that family said like, “We were struggling with sleep. We hired this person. Her name’s Jayne Havens. She changed our lives.” Then maybe a bell went off in her head. Like, “Oh, my gosh. Her kids are my patients. She’s totally told me that she’s a sleep consultant. Now I actually know somebody.”
Jodi Congdon: You never know.
Jayne Havens: You never know. That’s why you always have to put your best foot forward. Because somebody who maybe wasn’t interested in you, for the past three years, now is hearing your name. They’re like, “Oh, who is this person? Maybe I should pay attention.”
Jodi Congdon: I know. Sometimes it just clicks. You don’t give it much thought for a year, or two, or three, and then it clicks. Then you are in a conversation where you’re like, “Oh, I do have a resource. I do have a name to give you.”
Jayne Havens: Let’s talk about systems. This is something that I’m not great with, admittedly.
Jodi Congdon: This is my favorite thing. It’s so good.
Jayne Havens: This is why you and I are a good match. I really struggle with systems. I just like to fly by the seat of my pants and just do the best I can every single day. I try to just fit it all in and make it work. But I recognize that that’s maybe not the best strategy.
For somebody that’s maybe just getting started in this line of work, what would you say are some really basic systems that you could put into place so that work feels more manageable?
Jodi Congdon: I think a good initial investment is some sort of client management software. I use Dubsado. Having all your clients in one place where you can look on your computer or look on your phone. There’s intake forms that I’ve integrated into that, my contracts, my invoices. Everything is through that. So, everything’s in one place. I don’t have papers flying everywhere, stuff I can’t find I posted here and there.
Jayne Havens: I’m waving papers around.
Jodi Congdon: I do have a lot of post-its here and there. I’m waving my post-it pad around, but that’s just stuff like day to day stuff. The core of my business is all easily accessible. What’s perfect is I can find stuff all the time. I can send things off to the doulas that are going to be caring for these families. They can’t lose it because they can access it at any time, or I can resend it. But it’s easy for the client. I have it set up where it’s automated. Once I personally chat with them — because none of that is automated — that has to be very personal. Because we talk about different things. I like to say in my thank you emails or follow-up emails, “It was lovely to talk about A, B and C.”
I was talking to someone last night. We had literally the same cat and the same dog. They’re rare-looking cats. I have a German Shepherd who is just like skinny and doesn’t have a lot of hair. It’s just crazy. I’m like, “Oh my god. we share pets.” That will be a connection point of ours. I might throw a picture in an email or just something that is super personal. So, that part is not automated. But once they want to move forward, I can send the contract with one press on my phone. They sign it all online. They don’t have to print anything out. As soon as that’s signed, I can go in and sign it. They get the invoice for deposit. Soon as that’s paid, they get the intake form. It’s all online.
It’s so easy for me, but it’s so user-friendly for them. They can do it also in the pickup line at preschool, while their baby is in the back. That, I think, is huge. It saves me time, energy, money. It’s easy for the client. They have a good experience. Before I even get to their house, they’ve had a really easy experience with me.
Jayne Havens: I think that automation is really important for you to be able to grow your business, to be organized. I think you raised a really good point that automation is also really good for our end clients. Because having systems in place where everything is just step-by-step-by-step-by step makes it just less stressful for them.
Jodi Congdon: And your clients are exhausted. They don’t want to be bingeing out stuff trying to find it, sign it. They want to take their finger and be like, sign it on, like that.
Jayne Havens: Totally.
Jodi Congdon: They want the easiest way to get to you starting the services.
Jayne Havens: Totally. For those who are listening who I say that I have no systems in place, I do. When somebody signs on to work with me as a sleep consultant, I actually electronically sign the contract right then and there. They click a little box, type their name in. It’s done. Upon them paying, a little pop up pops up with them to fill out the form. If they missed that pop up, it gets emailed to them. So, I do have some systems in place. But then probably not to the level that I should, considering where my business is operating. On the most basic level, I think systems are really beneficial — both for the business owner and for the end client, which, Jodi, you so smartly pointed out.
The last thing that I wanted to talk about, as far as the building blocks of a successful business, the last thing that I wrote down is investment, being willing to continue to invest in yourself. This is something that I find that a lot of brand new entrepreneurs are so scared to spend any money, before they’ve started really making any money, which is understandable.
I also see it from the other side. Every single time that I’ve ever made an investment in my business, it’s always been a huge return on investment for me. Even if not financially, it’s been such a huge learning lesson that I still consider it to be a win. Even if you don’t get financial gain from the investment, there’s some other win to be had somewhere. I think that that’s all really, really important. Would you agree?
Jodi Congdon: I do. I think investing in your business is investing in yourself, like you’re saying. I am taking stock in myself that I will do a good job and continue to grow my business the way I want to. If in the very beginning, someone doesn’t have any money to invest, that’s okay. I will say, then your very first investment has to be time. Because that is worth something. So, you need to invest however much time you can each week to start to think about the foundations of your business. Start to think about where you want it to go. A year from now, what are your goals? Where do you want to be? If your goal is just to have two clients every month, then we will figure out a way to to get you there. But you have to sit down. Take time out of working in your business, which is a little lost revenue. So, that is your investment to work on your business.
Now, for someone who has worked a little bit and saved a little bit, investing in a course, or a book, or hiring someone to consult with just so you can expedite the foundation piece, getting on the right path. You don’t have to trial and error.
I spent probably three or four years setting up my agency to where it runs like a well-oiled machine. I have figured out the best way to talk to clients, talk to doulas, invoice clients, get invoices from doulas, pay the doula. All the things that used to take me so much more time and energy, I had probably a solid three, maybe four years to perfect it all.
Again, my entrepreneurial mind was like, okay, I know a lot of other people who are thinking about starting agency, doing the same thing as me. I could take those four years of trial and error, learning, and failure and success, and blood, sweat, and tears and money, and create some sort of course. That’s like this neatly packaged with a bow done for you, so you can take the course and then fly out of the gate. The littlest investment — it could be time. But you have to invest in yourself. Otherwise, you’re not thinking like you’re going to succeed. If you’re not willing to even invest time, then what’s the point?
Jayne Havens: I think that’s exactly right. When you were talking about investing time, I was thinking about two Center for Pediatric Sleep Management grads. One of them invested a lot of money to start up her business. She paid somebody to create a beautiful website. She hired somebody separate to create this whole branding look for her. She really invested financially in herself and in her business to set herself up.
Then I’m thinking of somebody else who chose not to go that route, but she literally invests so much time. She’s on YouTube learning how to make a website. She’s on YouTube learning how to use her email marketing platform, figuring out how to make freebies and opt-ins, and this and that, and ebooks and guides. The end result is actually the same. They’re both really, really successful. One invested more money. One invested more time. But they both invested in themselves wholly.
Jodi Congdon: Which is an equal investment. I know you feel the same way. Here’s how I decide if I’m going to invest time or money. How much time is it going to take me? What am I worth per hour? If I’m trying to figure out something, it’s going to take me four hours. If someone’s going to charge me $500 bucks for it, I’m going to go with that because they know what they’re doing. They’re going to do it in a timely fashion.
Jayne Havens: And better than you, because you don’t know how to do it.
Jodi Congdon: And better than me. But if you take that four hours and try to watch some tutorials, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to come out right. Then I probably will have to eventually hire someone anyway. So, I always weigh the time versus monetary investment. Sometimes it’s time, because there are things that I’m passionate about that I love to learn and do for myself.
Then there are things like Dubsado setup where I looked at it for 10 seconds, and I was like this is beyond anything that I am capable of. I’m going to pay someone. But for something like that, I paid them, but I also sat next to them. I was like, I want you to do it. But I want to see what you’re doing. Because I don’t want to pay you every time I need to fix or update. So, that is, for me, the perfect combo. I want someone to do it, but I want to also learn so that I can do the upkeep piece.
Jayne Havens: I love that. Where do you find that entrepreneurs get the most stuck? Where do you see people getting held back?
Jodi Congdon: When they get to a certain point when they’re too busy for their own two hands, and they have no clue where to go. At first, they start saying no to a lot of business. Then they realize how terrible that feels because, A, they’re leaving money on the table. B, they’re missing out caring for clients and having their business attached to that. So, it’s either like a huge scale back or like a huge leap forward. But it takes them a bit of time to figure out which way it’s going to be. So, that’s usually. I think people are probably expecting me to say after they take a training, how do they start a business? You can Google a lot of that. There’s some easy ways to get yourself going. It could be just nothing formal, taking a client that takes two then taking three.
But it’s in the growth stage, where there’s a fork in the road. Do you take a leap of faith and know you’re going to kick butt? I don’t know if I can say a swear in your podcast. Or am I going to just scale back and think to myself, I’m only capable of this much, so we’re going to just only do this much?
Jayne Havens: What do you think? Can you share maybe a big do and a big don’t when it comes to entrepreneurship? If so, show the bad one first, so that we can end on a—
Jodi Congdon: Right. The bad one. I created this thing called lifestyle mapping. Basically what it is, is writing down or figuring out every obligation you have, and then only backfilling with business stuff. The purpose of that is backing down from obligations, never feeling like you’re too overwhelmed or too busy to fulfill business stuff. Because there are things, pick up, drop off, soccer, all the things that I have to do during the day are times where I have blocked off, I cannot be doing work stuff.
Right now, that takes me away from hands on care. So, I’m not going to book three births this month and a postpartum client. Because then I’m going to be stressed out about who’s picking up the kids. Am I going to get home in time? What’s going to be for dinner? Then I’m going to lose my mind, get burned out, and be like, “I’m done with all of this.”
Jayne Havens: So, the don’t is like—
Jodi Congdon: The don’t is put your business first on your schedule. If you’ve got nothing going on, then you can put your business first. But a lot of us have families and obligations and pets. Some of us have other jobs. Some people, this is like their side gig. So, they have to put their full time thing first. There are some doulas who also care for their parents or have other obligations not necessarily like a nine to five.
The don’t is bite off more than you can chew. But there’s a way that you can guarantee that that doesn’t happen. So, that’s important. Because you want this to be sustainable. Whether it’s your doula business or your sleep consulting business, you want it to be something that you can continue doing, that will ultimately grow, and you can keep doing.
I plan on doing this. I mean, what’s retirement? I can do this from Florida when I retire. That’s a long way away. But I can really do this from anywhere. So, it’s like I’ve created something that is very flexible. My kids might, at some point, start joining or whatever. But yeah, it’s because I’m very smart about the time that I’m able to dedicate.
So, if you have a crazy, busy schedule, the sleep consulting piece is genius, right? You are available via text for your clients during the day, but you can do all your sleep plans at night. My most productive time is 10 PM to 1 AM. Clearly, I’m not going to be caring for clients at that time. I’m not going to be talking to them, but I talk to my doulas at that time because they’re working overnight. I do all my contracts. I do all my scheduling, invoicing, payroll, everything at that time. So, I’ve created it where it’s the perfect time for me. Everyone else is sleeping. I don’t have to drop off and pickup. That’s it.
Jayne Havens: What’s the deal? What’s your number one do for new entrepreneurs?
Jodi Congdon: Do not doubt yourself.
Jayne Havens: Okay. I like that.
Jodi Congdon: I’m trying to think of another way to put it where it starts with do and does not have the ‘not’ in it?
Jayne Havens: How about just like, trust yourself?
Jodi Congdon: Yes, you can do this. If you want it, go for it. I think that people are more afraid of success than they are of failure.
Jayne Havens: You know, you’re the second person to say that to me.
Jodi Congdon: I’ll do something else. But like, what if I’m successful? What if this blows up? What if I have more clients coming in that I can take? They’re afraid to progress and move forward, because they don’t want to be overwhelmed.
There are ways that you can grow and scale and progress and do all those things and not feel overwhelmed. It doesn’t have to be taking on 50 more clients, or it doesn’t have to be saying no to clients either. So, there’s passive income, digital courses, creating an agency, having a contract.
There are all of these things we can do to grow our business, but not have to invest more of our time. Because that’s the one thing, I think, that we’re afraid of. It’s that we’re going to be pulled into those directions, and too busy for the obligations that we should have put first on our calendar. I like to be home making dinner, and I want to get takeout. Sometimes that’s 20 minutes of a box of mac and cheese. Sometimes it’s two hours of creating something better. That’s important to me. I want to be home at the table, eating something semi-healthy and delicious with my family. Not every single night, but most nights. But if I was working crazy hours, then I wouldn’t have that. They would resent me. I would resent the work. It’s just a lose-lose. So, do not be afraid of success. There are ways to navigate growth without the overwhelm.
Jayne Havens: So, wait a teeny up for my last question, which is why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on right now? I know that you have a program where you’re teaching people to start their own agency, right? I’m wondering if you’ve had anybody in the program who is creating a sleep consulting agency. If not, will the program be relevant for that?
Jodi Congdon: I have. I’ve had people, I think, that are your graduates that are also doing postpartum doula and sleep consulting. I’m trying to think off the top of my head if anyone is just doing sleep consulting. I have someone doing sleep consulting, and some other newborn and toddler stuff, not postpartum doula.
But absolutely, you can create an agency model with contractors for just sleep consulting. Because I’m sure you know, there is more than enough business to keep yourself busy but to also keep your business busy, which would be incorporating other contractors. So, that is a big part of my business. It’s helping people transition their solo business into an agency.
I’m about to launch the Birth Boss Academy. So, I’ve had two offers for a couple of years. One was just a membership. It was a 12-month membership of resources. The other was a six-week live, sort of like a Mastermind. It’s not for someone just starting out. It’s for someone who has gotten the ball rolling but needs to really level up a bit. It’s networking, it’s social media, it’s creating systems, it’s financials. It’s all of that. So, it’s really setting up your business for long-term success. What I did with Birth Boss Academy—
Because my biggest complaint was — this is where I’m listening to my audience — they don’t want to wait 12 months for something. They want all the resources now because they’re hustlers. They want to get their business rolling and just take off.
So, I’ve combined them. It’s called the Birth Boss Academy. It is six weeks of live education, training, but all the resources from the 12 months are divided up into the six weeks. So, it’s really accelerated, super deep, deep dive into all of these components of your business, with office hours and lots of time for Q&A and implementation. So, a little different than what I’ve been offering. But I’m just listening to what people are wanting, and just changed it up a little bit. I merged two of my best selling courses into one.
Jayne Havens: Perfect. Where can everybody find you? I know your website. Hiptoheart.com, right?
Jodi Congdon: Hiptoheart.com, yep. I’m on Instagram, Hip to Heart. I have an incredible Facebook group. It’s called Business for Birth and Postpartum for Professionals. It’s where most of my time is spent. That’s my community. Those are my birth and postpartum professionals that are looking for ways to start their business, grow their business, scale their business. It’s a great group. It’s a lot of me educating, but it’s a lot of people who have taken it upon themselves to comment on things, start some conversations. It’s a lot of giving and a lot of getting, too.
Jayne Havens: Awesome. Jodi, thank you so much for chatting with me today. I will leave all of your information in the show notes. It’s always a pleasure. It’s always fun.
Jodi Congdon: Thank you.
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.