Emily is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and birth doula helping families from pregnancy to preschool. She received her training through CPSM and DONA international.
Emily’s background is in education and has extensive experience with young children. After becoming a mom, her passion shifted from little ones to parents. As a mom who struggled in the postpartum period, she dove into researching ways to make pregnancy and parenthood empowering and positive.
Emily has now supported countless families through their parenthood experience, whether that be in birth or coaching parents through sleep struggles. She loves to partner alongside her clients and meet them where they’re at in their journey, knowing every child and every situation is totally unique.
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: Emily, welcome to the podcast. I’m so excited to be chatting with you today.
Emily Tingle: Yeah, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Jayne Havens: Before we get started, share a little bit about yourself. Maybe tell us about your background, and why you decided to become a certified sleep consultant.
Emily Tingle: My background is actually in education. I worked with special needs kiddos. I probably did that for about three years before I decided to stay home with my boys. So, I have two little boys. They are three and a half, and one and a half. I have another little boy on the way.
Jayne Havens: Congrats.
Emily Tingle: Thank you. When I had my first, I just found myself really struggling with mental health. When my husband went back to work, I felt like I was sitting in a rocking chair all day long. I loved holding my baby, but I felt like I was going crazy. I just really became passionate about sleep in that moment. I just started looking into stuff trying to find ways to really enjoy the moments that he was awake and be able to do things for myself.
Then with my second, I implemented all that stuff I learned. Then my friends started having babies, and people started reaching out to me. Okay. So, how do I get them to sleep? My husband was like, “Why don’t you do this?” I was like, “Is that a thing people do?” Then I just started researching.
I was interested in doula work as well. I found Jayne. She had also worked with a lot of doulas, so I decided to take the leap. Here I am. I’ve been doing this since March, I think, it’s when it started. I’ve helped so many families. It’s honestly just such a blessing to know that people feel confident in reaching out to me, and I feel confident in helping them.
Jayne Havens: I love that. I love that you took your personal experience and turned it into a business, right? You had your own experience with struggling in those early stages of motherhood. The idea that you were able to come to a place where you’re like, “I want to help other moms through this stuff” is just amazing. I think that when you have true passion and inspiration behind the work that you’re doing, that’s what ultimately leads to a thriving business.
Emily Tingle: Right. I totally agree. You want other moms to feel the freedom and motherhood that you feel. Because it isn’t just this exhausting, horrible thing with beautiful moments interwoven in. It really can be like a restful, fun experience.
Obviously, there are still many, many ups and downs, but just having people realize that it doesn’t have to be the way it was when you’re really struggling.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I totally agree. One thing I hear all the time from both prospective sleep consultants and those that are just getting started is that they have this really intense fear that they won’t be able to help their clients. I know this is something that you struggled with in the beginning. So, I want to unpack it with you today on the show. Can you walk us through your initial fear about this? Where was it coming from?
Emily Tingle: Just starting out, you just wonder if people are going to reach out to me with different scenarios, how am I going to be able to help? What if I’m not able to help? I think my fear stemmed from like, “Oh, I’m going to be charging for these services. What if I can’t deliver?” That just scared me, because my desire was to help.
Of course, making money is a wonderful thing that comes alongside it. But I was just so nervous about that. I was nervous about, what would I have to do if it didn’t work out? My ultimate goal was for the families to get better sleep. That’s what I wanted. But can I get there?
Jayne Havens: Hold on. Can I interrupt you for a second?
Emily Tingle: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: I love that your ultimate goal is just to get parents the help that they need. Because I think a lot of people get into business, and sleep consulting is a business. People reach out to me all the time in search of a side hustle, or in search of an entrepreneurial idea or journey. When you get into any line of work because you’re there to make the money, I think it’s a much more challenging journey, right?
Emily Tingle: Right.
Jayne Havens: But here you are, and all you’re worried about is not like, “Where am I going to make my next book?” but like, “How can I be sure that I’m 100% going to help this family?” That’s an awesome place to be, honestly. That’s where the success comes from, I think.
Emily Tingle: Yeah, I really do, too. I think the fact that my ultimate goal was to help the families really led me to helping more families. Because it really was not about the money. Obviously, that is awesome. I love that aspect of it. Now I’ve learned that value myself. But in the beginning, it was really finding that confidence to place value on what I was doing, and to realize that I was earning what I was doing.
Jayne Havens: I also think it positions you to take the best care of your clients. If all you want out of the situation is for your clients to have a win, then you’re going to show up at 100% and make sure that they get that win. When you do that, then they get the win. They’ll tell their friends, and then you get more clients, right? It’s sort of this snowball effect that really works to everybody’s advantage.
Emily Tingle: Exactly. You know I’m not really on social media much yet. I don’t have a website yet. But my number one way that I am growing my business is word of mouth. That’s exactly how it happens.
Jayne Havens: Right. Because you’re doing a good job. You’re actually helping people. You’re actually changing lives. When you do that, people tell the world. They sing your name from the rooftops because you’re out there making a difference in their life, which is huge.
Now it all makes sense if I think about it why you were so scared to not be able to help them. Because your entire business is thriving based on the fact that you’re helping these families. I love it.
One thing that I think is really unique about the work that we do is that every single situation is actually really similar, and yet each case has its own unique idiosyncrasies. I’m wondering if you remember the first case that ever really threw you for a loop? Was there something that you got a call and you’re like, ugh, this is not something I typically help with, or this feels a little out of my wheelhouse, or I haven’t had this type of case yet? Has that ever happened to you? How did you handle it mentally?
Emily Tingle: In the beginning, when people reached out to me about older children, that was something that threw me for a loop. Simply because I had sleep trained my oldest when he was little, so we had never had issues with sleep. I just haven’t personally experienced issues with sleep at that age.
For me, I had the knowledge. I had learned about it. I knew what to do. But it was just knowing that I hadn’t seen it firsthand, that made me nervous about approaching it. So, that was definitely the biggest little step back I would take when I would get a call about an older kid. Can I do this? How am I going to do this, and just figuring out how to navigate that. Also, my background is working with kindergarteners. I have so much experience with that age of children, so I should have felt confident in it. It was just that I hadn’t personally seen it firsthand.
Jayne Havens: You know, I had the exact same scenario come up when I started sleep consulting, also. My kids were sort of — they were younger when I started my business. I had established healthy sleep hygiene for them when they were three or four months old. I never had an 18-month-old climbing out of a crib. I never had a three-year-old that wouldn’t stay in bed. It was just nothing that I had any personal experience with.
My very first client that ever hired me was a six-and-a-half-year-old girl that wouldn’t stay in her own bed at night. I’m like, “What is this? This is totally outside of my wheelhouse.” I was scared out of my mind, but I also desperately wanted to help her. I desperately wanted to help this mom, and we did. We cracked the case. We made it happen, and we taught this little girl to sleep independently. I will never forget it because that gave me the guts to try new things and step outside of my comfort zone.
Then my second case was a little two-year-old that was climbing out of her crib. It was sort of like another — I was like, “Oh, when I first got into this line of work, I thought it was going to be sleep training infants.” Because that’s what I’m good at. I even thought about only working with infants. I thought maybe I’ll just brand myself to work with babies up to a year, and not even work with older kids. I’m so glad that I didn’t take that route, because now the older kids are my favorite. I love working with three, four, five, six-year-olds.
Emily Tingle: It’s really cool seeing the little kids build their confidence and their relationship with sleep. It’s a neat experience because the babies can’t talk about it. But the big kids, they can.
Jayne Havens: Another thing that I came up against in the beginning of my business was when I had sleep trained my own kids, I did it my way. I implemented a variation on the Ferber method. That’s what worked for me. That’s what worked for my kids. That’s what I was comfortable with.
But I recognized that not every family was going to be comfortable to sleep train the way that I did in my own home. I really wanted to be committed to supporting families in a way that aligned with their parenting style and felt safe and comfortable for them. That meant I was going to need to coach them through methods that fell outside of my comfort zone.
Did you experience that at all? Do you have your way of doing things in your own home, but then your clients maybe want something different? Are you comfortable coaching families using all different sorts of methods and techniques?
Emily Tingle: Absolutely. In the beginning, I always have this specific way that I want the parents to choose a specific path. Because the way I see it is like the end goal. I know what’s going to work the quickest, what’s going to get them to the result they want the fastest. Obviously, I always have this idea of the path I want them to take in my head but really just meeting parents where they’re at.
Because most parents come to me, and they don’t want to hear crying. It’s really not realistic. But I also understand their feelings and validate their feelings, but then manage their expectations. We talked about it a lot. Just supporting them and whatever the best route is for them.
Typically, when I outline something for a family, I’m like, “Both of these options will work. I’m telling you that I prefer this, but they will both work if you commit to it,” and just really championing the families into believing in what they choose no matter what it is, and giving them realistic expectations on what it’s going to take to get to their end goal.
So, I have had families take paths that I probably wouldn’t. But typically, they are very set up for success because they know what it’s going to look like. They know this is going to take a little bit longer because I chose this method, but this is what I’m comfortable with.
Jayne Havens: But you ultimately have gotten yourself to a place where you still feel confident. You said it with such conviction. It will work no matter what, right?
Emily Tingle: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: So, you’re at a place where you truly believe like, “I can help you regardless of how you choose to handle this. This may be faster. This may work. This may be a more smooth process, but I can help you either way.” I think that it’s an amazing thing to be able to get to that place. Because if you’re stuck in your own ways and you only feel confident helping people in one way, I think that you’re not really positioning yourself to support families in a way that they deserve to be supported.
Then when you’re coaching parents through methods that don’t align with their parenting style, they’re less likely to actually do the work. They’re less likely to be successful because they don’t feel comfortable. So, I think it’s so important to be able to get to a place where you feel comfortable even coaching parents through something that doesn’t feel super comfortable. Right?
Emily Tingle: Right. Because the big thing about this, in me having confidence, is I feel confident after I’ve talked to the family. If I don’t feel super confident after I’ve talked to the family, you have to step back and question if you’re the right person to work with them. Because, ultimately, them being committed and you being committed is what’s going to get you to a successful result at the end.
Jayne Havens: Love that. Now that you’re a bit more seasoned in your business, do you feel like this fear is dissipating when you get a new client inquiry or somebody signs on to work with you? Maybe it’s a little bit of a tricky situation, something that doesn’t quite fall in line with all the other cases that you work regularly? Do you still have that fear, anxiety, nervous sense around working with them? Are you really at a place where you’re feeling more confident, that you know you’ll be able to help?
Emily Tingle: I’m at a place where I feel really confident. I do have families reach out to me for more unique scenarios now. I’ve had a few special needs families reach out or just scenarios that weren’t stuff that I would be tackling in the beginning. When they reach out to me, I just feel really confident that even if we can’t get them to a “perfect place,” I know I can get things better for them. I know I can help them get to a place where things have greatly improved.
I always just tell families really straight up. “Okay. I feel really confident we can get to this place.” Is that something that they desire to get to that place? Then we work together. If I don’t feel as confident, I’m very straight up with them. I just tell them exactly how I feel we can work together.
Jayne Havens: How you see it playing together.
Emily Tingle: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: I love that. One thing that’s really helped me as I have taken on cases that feel outside of my comfort zone — I’m going to give an example that maybe people listening wouldn’t have thought of. Some people reach out to me, and their babies are sleeping through the night. I get hired by people who have four-month-old babies that are sleeping through the night, and naps are hard.
Part of me is like, but you have a four-month-old that’s sleeping through the night. You’re hiring me because naps are hard. But naps are developmentally appropriate. Short naps are developmentally appropriate. Four-month-olds don’t always take beautiful 60-to-90-minute naps all day long. Am I really going to be able to help them to reach their goals? That’s something that still I have fear about that, because I’m going up against something. Can I really fix this? This is what four-month-olds do.
So, I’ve sort of shifted my messaging, and I’ve shifted my mindset around this. What I will tell these parents is that, sometimes it’s less about fixing the problem and more about coming to terms with what it looks like to have a good day with your four-month-old.
What I will do is I’ll spend two weeks with these moms. Yes, we will work on naps. We’ll make sure that these babies are falling asleep independently. We’ll make sure that they’re at least trying to get back to sleep when they wake up 35 minutes into a nap. But we’re also going to talk about what it takes to make sure that that 12-hour span from seven o’clock in the morning until seven o’clock at night is a good day. Baby is happy. Mom is happy. Everybody is thriving.
Sometimes that means that we help them back to sleep mid that. I work really hard to show parents that, “You know what? Sometimes that’s okay. You don’t need to be a hardliner with your four-month-old at three o’clock in the afternoon. A pass is okay.”
Emily Tingle: Right. I really think sometimes parents just need somebody to tell them that what’s happening is really appropriate for their age, or whatever is going on is really not that big of a deal, and just to relax about it. Because I think we try to control every situation.
Because sometimes being a parent, it feels like we can’t control anything. So, I think it’s really helpful just for parents to know you’re not alone. It’s okay that things are going like this and just, again, managing what they expect their baby to do, what they expect to happen.
Jayne Havens: Right, I can think of a few families where I don’t even know that I made such a drastic change with regard to their infant sleep. But I do feel like I made a drastic change with regard to their mental health surrounding their infant sleep.
Sometimes a lot of what we do as sleep consultants is we provide empathy, support. We manage expectations. We’re just there to, as you said, show them that just because it seems hard, it doesn’t need to feel that hard. It’s okay to be okay with less than perfect sleep sometimes.
Emily Tingle: Yep, exactly.
Jayne Havens: I think that that’s huge. Because for somebody who’s thinking about getting into this line of work — let’s take our brains back to where we were before we got confident that we can actually help people. Sometimes it’s okay if you don’t fix things the way that they’re expecting you to fix them.
Rather than trying to fix everything, sometimes if we can look at it from the perspective of, “I’m just going to help you have a better day. I’m going to help you to enjoy your baby more,” that’s huge. I don’t think that’s what people think of when they think of sleep consultants. But I know that that’s how I approach it. I think that’s how you approach it, and so many other CPSM grads are approaching this. It’s from a really holistic approach of like, I’m just going to help you enjoy parenthood more. Hopefully, that’s going to involve some better sleep, but it’s also going to involve you just getting to a place where you’re okay with some variability to your day.
Emily Tingle: Exactly. When parents reach out to me, I always hate when they are like, “Well, do I have to follow the schedule like this, this, this, this?” I’m like, “Don’t stress so much about that.” I just want parents to realize it’s not all or nothing.
Every nap doesn’t have to be right on par with exactly what I typed out. It’s just like getting to a place where you can take a nap to, or you can watch a show, or you can get some work done, just getting to a place where you’re enjoying parenthood. Those moments that your baby is awake are happy for you and happy for them, because they’re well rested. That’s my ultimate goal.
Jayne Havens: Are there any cases that you’ve ever turned away because you just didn’t feel confident that you could help, or maybe you just weren’t the right person for the job?
Emily Tingle: Not necessarily. I’ve had parents reach out to me when I felt like it was too soon to sleep train, and they were already doing a lot of the right things. I just encouraged them in continuing the right things and reaching out to me when they did feel ready.
No, I have never turned anybody away. I feel like I’ve always felt confident that I could help in some way, and just being honest about that. Maybe we don’t get this to what you’re imagining, but we get this to a better place. So, that’s pretty much how it’s gone.
Jayne Havens: Sometimes I wonder if worrying about not being able to help solve a child’s problem should just be lumped with all other limiting beliefs that we face as entrepreneurs. We worry about, are we going to be able to help our clients? Are we going to be able to even find clients? Are we going to have time to work on our business? How am I going to be able to figure this all out? Would you agree? It’s sort of all the same, right? It’s no different.
Emily Tingle: Yeah, we could what if this experience to death. We just have to jump in at some point. I think jumping in is what does give you the confidence.
Jayne Havens: Right. If you never even try — I always say this. We’ll just use the example of becoming a sleep consultant. That’s what this is all about. People will come to me all the time. They will “what if” me all day long? What if this? What if that? I don’t think this or I don’t think that.
You know what? You’re never going to have even a chance if you’re saying no to yourself before you even get started. You’re counting yourself out before you even get in the game.
I think that that’s true with sleep training, and I think it’s true with entrepreneurship. We hear parents say all the time, “My baby can’t do this,” or, “My daughter won’t do this. She’ll cry for hours.” I can’t count how many times parents have told me that their children are going to cry for hours. Literally, they’re upset for eight minutes when they go to sleep. Does that not happen to you?
Emily Tingle: All the time.
Jayne Havens: It happens to me all the time.
Emily Tingle: I love it, honestly.
Jayne Havens: I love it, too. They’re like, “What kind of magic is this?” I’m like, “It’s not magic. It’s just like you sitting on your hands for eight minutes just listening, tuning in, and paying attention.” I think that there are so many parallels between sleep training and entrepreneurship.
For all those parents that are struggling, they don’t even give their children an opportunity to try, or they don’t even give themselves an opportunity to try. They’re just sunk into this deep, dark hole of things feeling really, really hard.
I think it’s the same for entrepreneurship. There are so many people out there that are wishing and wanting something better for themselves, and they’re just too scared to even try. The whole am I going to be able to help somebody, it’s just another — I don’t want to use the word excuse. It’s not that it’s an excuse. It’s a limiting belief. It’s just something that’s in your brain getting in the way of you getting out there and giving it your best shot.
Emily Tingle: Totally. I think people just need to, like, if you’re not feeling super confident, help a friend. If you know somebody that needs help, help them and watch it work. Then gain some confidence and help another family. Then find a paying client for the next time. You just have to find the confidence somewhere. Because if you have this knowledge, you can do it.
Jayne Havens: I love that. Do you lean on friends or colleagues — whether it be the CPSM community or people outside of our community — when you are struggling with limiting beliefs, whether it be about worrying that you’re not going to be able to help people or other things related to your business?
Emily Tingle: I definitely did early on the business when I was struggling with all these thoughts. I would read through our community and just see what other people were saying, typing keywords just to see how are other people feeling, how are other people tackling these situations.
It just really helped me get the ampft to go for it, and to really try this out. So, I definitely lean on other people. I think you have to at times. Then you feel the confidence to help other people when they have questions and whenever they’re just starting out and to give them the confidence. So, I think it’s a really beautiful thing to have a community around you.
Jayne Havens: What are your goals for the next — whether it be six months a year? Do you have big aspirations, or are you just sort of flying high, enjoying your work, and seeing where it takes you?
Emily Tingle: I think I am just enjoying the work. Since I am pregnant — I have a baby coming in March — so I don’t want to set too high of goals for myself. But I’m really happy with how things are going. Really, my goal is just to be a name in the community that people know they can reach out to.
People know they can tag me in a post when a mom is struggling, or moms know they can refer my name. That’s what I want. It’s for people to know that I am somebody in the community they can reach out to to help. So, that’s my goal over the next six months to a year just with everything going on in my life. Really, just to see things, continue in the way that they’re going.
Jayne Havens: I love that. Before we wrap up, I know you said you don’t have a website yet, which I’m so glad that you said that because that’s another thing that people worry about. It’s like, how am I going to make a website? Do I have to pay someone to make me a website? Here you are with a thriving business, and no website. So, good for you. Thank you for sharing.
Where can people find you if they do want to reach out to you? Are you on social media? Where are you on the internet?
Emily Tingle: Yes, I’m on social media. I’m on Instagram and Facebook @EmilyTingleLLC or just Emily Tingle – Pediatric Sleep Consulting on Facebook. You can definitely reach me there. I’d love to hear from anybody with questions about the business or just questions about sleep in general.
Jayne Havens: Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. Congrats on your early success in your business. I can’t wait to see where things turn out. I will be following closely and cheering you on.
Emily Tingle: Thank you so much, Jayne. It was 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.