Interested in becoming a sleep consultant? 

Jayne Havens is a certified sleep consultant and the founder of Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. As a leader in the industry, Jayne advocates for healthy sleep hygiene for children of all ages. Jayne launched her comprehensive sleep consultant certification course so she could train and mentor others to work in this emerging industry.

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Celebrating One Year in Business with Liza Montanino

Celebrating One Year in Business with Liza Montanino

Liza is the founder and owner of Rock-a-Bye Baby Sleep, and a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. She is also a Sleep Health Expert with TintoApp, a newborn care professional, a trained lactation educator, and a proud member of CAPPA and HVBN. Passionate about the power of books to inspire, enlighten, and entertain, Liza has a background of 15 years in children’s book publishing.

On this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant podcast, Liza reflects on one year in business. She shares:

  • Some of her biggest learning lessons from launching her own small business
  • How she managed to grow a successful sleep consulting business while also juggling her full-time job and family responsibilities
  • Her goals for next year and beyond!


If you would like to learn more about Becoming a Sleep Consultant, please join our free Facebook Group or check out our CPSM Website.


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.

Liza is the founder and owner of Rock-a-Bye Baby Sleep, and a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. She is also a Sleep Health Expert with TintoApp, a newborn care professional, a trained lactation educator, and a proud member of CAPPA and HVBN. Passionate about the power of books to inspire, enlighten, and entertain, Liza has a background of 15 years in children’s book publishing.

When not helping families get the sleep support they need, Liza can be found chasing her kids listening to musical theater, eating too much ice cream binging Netflix and dreaming about her next visit to Disney World. A Maryland native and NYC transplant. Liza now lives with her family in Westchester, New York.

Jayne Havens: Liza, welcome to the show. So excited to have you here today.

Liza Montanino: Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.

Jayne Havens: I wanted to bring you back on to the podcast for two reasons. One, you recently celebrated your one year in business. Two, you also decided to leave your nine-to-five job so that you could focus on your sleep consulting business full time. Hurray for both. I’m really excited for you in both aspects.

Liza Montanino: Thank you.

Jayne Havens: It’s super exciting. Take us back to your very first month in business, if you’re willing. I know you’re a total go-getter, and you strike me as a pretty competent person. But I’m wondering what was going on in your head and in your mind as you were first getting started? Were you nervous, anxious, scared, all the things that come along with starting something new? Or were you just really excited and ready for the ride?

Liza Montanino: That’s such a good question. No, I had so many fears and anxieties. I know that some people have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I never had that drive. That was never an ambition or a road that I set out to be on.

For many, many years, I felt really safe working for a big corporation, I liked being like a little cog in a much larger wheel and feeling like I didn’t have to make life altering decisions when it came to my work. Because I had enough of those to make in my personal life when it comes to parenting. So, I was very excited and really enjoyed sleep consulting.

But I had total impostor syndrome when I first began. I really did just intend for it to be a side hustle, because I knew nothing about running a business. I had a lot of self doubt, really, until a few months in when I had more clients under my belt who were seeing positive results. That’s when I felt like, okay, maybe I can really do this.

Jayne Havens: What was it that took you from having no clients, just starting to having a few clients under your belt? What did that look like for you? What was your process for growing your business in the first couple of months?

Liza Montanino: A lot of networking. I have never really been afraid of starting the conversation with a total stranger or asking questions. I think, in general, I have a background in theater so I’m just naturally an outgoing type of person. I think that served me well, in that I didn’t really feel I had anything to lose by asking questions and talking to people about what I was doing. That kind of networking plus word of mouth, I really started to see things shift.

Jayne Havens: I know you’ve done some group coaching. I don’t know what you call them. I would call them group coaching calls, like trainings where you’re meeting with a handful of parents at once. Is that something that you were doing in the beginning of your career, or is that something that you brought on a little bit later?

Liza Montanino: I probably brought that on, I want to say, maybe four to six months in. I really just wanted to expand my network and also flex some of those sleep skill muscles, that I wasn’t able to flex if I was just working with three families who all had like six to eight month olds.

So, by offering up these free workshops — I did some that were connected with preschools. I did one in conjunction with PJ library. Again, this was just me reaching out to people in mind at work, either like my son’s school or a friend of a friend. A lot of my private clients came from those group trainings. Because then, they were getting to know me and trust me and see that I actually could offer them something.

Jayne Havens: So, you did them all for free. You weren’t charging for these group training sessions?

Liza Montanino: Nope, I did them all for free. I still do them for free. Because in having people sign up, I get people on my email list. They start hearing from me on a regular basis. It’s just like that ‘know and trust factor’ that then eventually will hopefully lead to a real paying client.

Jayne Havens: I love it. I wanted to bring it up because actually I rarely do that type of stuff. But I did one yesterday for the first time in years. I actually went back to my kid’s preschool. I did a little group coaching session for parents of preschoolers. It was so invigorating to sit around a room with them.

I know you do a lot of them on Zoom. I’ve done that in the past as well. But it was so invigorating to be in a room with 12 or 15 parents who are all so tired, and to give them really great advice. They left, I think, so excited and empowered by the information that I’ve shared. They all asked me for a business card. I’m not sure if it’ll turn into paying clients or not. Honestly, that wasn’t the point. That wasn’t why I was there.

It just lit me up to be able to sit in a room with these parents for an hour and really give them hope that yes, your three-year-old is capable of sleeping through the night. It’s the best.

Liza Montanino: It is. That’s awesome.

Jayne Havens: At what point would you say that you really started to believe that this could become a full-time gig? You were sort of dabbling for a little bit, right? You had your full-time job, and you were doing this as a bit of a side hustle or a passion project. At what point did you feel like, “I can do this. I don’t need my full time job”?

Liza Montanino: It was probably around late winter, early spring, which wasn’t that far into the process. Probably, six months or so. But I’ve had a couple of really good months, client-wise. I just turned 40. I think those two things, combined with all of the change that we all have as the world had gone through in the past two and a half years. I was just doing a lot of self-reflection.

Someone once told me years ago this saying that I absolutely love. A friend should be a fountain, not a drain. Isn’t that a good one? I started thinking about my career through that same lens. Because I had been growing less and less fulfilled and upset by my nine to five. I just did not feel good about myself overall.

I started to think about why. I have a great husband. I have a great family. I have all these great friends. Why am I not feeling better in general? When I thought about it, the answer was so simple that I think I just overlooked it. It’s just like, we define ourselves by what we do. At least, in this country.

It’s like if someone says, what do you do for a living, I now answer, “I’m a sleep consultant.” I don’t say, “I own a sleep consulting agency, or I work in sleep consulting.” I say, “I am a sleep consultant.” Our identity is so enmeshed with our work that if one is suffering, they both are.

There was really this aha moment for me when I realized that the cost of my nine-to-five had basically become my self-concept and my self-worth. This career that I never ever imagined leaving and which used to bring me so much joy and fulfillment just wasn’t doing it anymore. It was depleting me. So, I had to make room for something new, and take a big leap. Not only to feel good about what I was doing, but to feel good about who I was as a human being.

So, I pulled back substantially from my nine-to-five. I stopped working the extra hours in the evenings that I had been, and took that time to put into my business and my family. I found that the harder I worked on my business, the better I felt about myself. I was able to show up as a better parent and a better partner physically and emotionally.

I felt so fulfilled by those things. I stopped feeling guilty about working on my own business during the nine-to-five hours. It’s not the best corporate example. But it is what it is.

Jayne Havens: You were ‘quiet quitting.’ Right?

Liza Montanino: It was.

Jayne Havens: Isn’t that what you call it now? You were ‘quiet quitting.’

Liza Montanino: Totally. Yeah, my husband and I just agreed that we would have to make some major sacrifices to make this work. We gave up our childcare. We have no childcare anymore. But it has given me the space to work towards something that we all knew would be better for our family in the long run.

Jayne Havens: So let’s talk about that, giving up childcare piece. One thing I wanted to ask you, anyway, is how were you juggling — which you just sort of talked about — your full-time job, growing a business, managing your kids.

Okay. You sort of gave us a picture of what that looked like. But what about once you decided to go all in on your business, and you made that sacrifice to give up child care? What does that look like to grow a business that you want to be like a full-time business with a full-time income, when you don’t have so much help with your kids?

Liza Montanino: It looks like a lot of blocking out time on my calendar, and managing myself in a new way. I had never been someone who really blocked out hour by hour of how I was going to delegate my time to certain tasks. But I’ve been doing that now, and I find that works really, really well.

So, I have set hours that I’m open for calls. I will look at every day and block out my day into the few main to-do items that I need to get done. Then I will steal time here and there when I’m with my kids, if I’m driving them to an activity. I’ll park the car, and maybe I’ll answer some texts while they go into their activity for a little bit.

It has definitely divided my day very differently. I have the morning, which is my time for all of my work. Then in the afternoon, I feel like I’m an Uber driver. I’m constantly taking my son to his therapies. I’m taking my daughter to her activities.

So, I’m carving out time in between things in the afternoon when I can, but I also like that I’m doing it for me. I don’t mind having to reply to an email because it’s a client that I know I’m helping by. It’s so rewarding, because — it’s just so rewarding. I can’t even say it in any other broader terms.

Jayne Havens: Now when I listen to you talk, you know your stuff. You’re confident. You’re living it. You’re breathing it. It’s, like, this is yours. You fully own this. But in the beginning, I would imagine you didn’t feel that way.

What about when you were first starting — discovery calls, landing those clients, how to coach them through the process — did you know what you were doing? Did you figure it out along the way? How did you get through the mental gymnastics of the beginning stages of figuring all that out?

Liza Montanino: I think I definitely started with a lot of nerves, with a lot of, honestly, acting chops. I think some of my previous experience really helped me. Because my background in performing, I have always been very comfortable speaking in front of groups. My career, my nine-to-five was constantly managing personalities, helping deliver bad news in not a terrible way and helping to massage egos so that I could get the best results from my authors.

In terms of developing these one to ones, that is something I have been doing for years and years and years. The message that I’m delivering as a sleep consultant is completely different. But the person ability that I think you need to connect with the mom who needs your help is something that, I think, I guess, I’ve been honing that skill in other ways for years to come. So, it all served me in this new role.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I feel that way, too. I worked in catering sales before I became a sleep consultant. I would support anxious brides through the wedding planning process. It’s so different, but it’s also very similar. When I think about how I juggle all the details in my head of all the different babies and toddlers, their names, what they sleep in — one is in a SNOO, one is in a crib, in a Merlin suit. One is in a toddler bed.

Everybody has different stories and different details. One is bottle fed, one is breastfed. One uses a pacifier, one doesn’t. I always think all of that is really easy for me to keep straight because I was an event planner.

So, I took all of those skills from my old career and apply them to this work that I’m doing now. I think we all, to some degree, have a bit of that. We pull from our expertise in other areas, and we make it useful in what we’re doing now. I don’t know. I love that you said that, because I was, like, “Oh my gosh. That’s exactly what I do.”

I think all of us that are entrepreneurs, most of us didn’t start this way, right? You didn’t, I didn’t. Most of us are used to working for the man — for lack of a better way of saying it. It’s totally crazy to get out there and do something completely new, but it’s also not as foreign.

I guess, what I want to say is that it’s not as foreign as it feels. We all pull from our past experiences to achieve success in what we’re up to now, I think.

Liza Montanino: Absolutely.

Jayne Havens: Be real with me a little bit for a second. What would you say is your favorite thing about this work that we do as sleep consultants, and what could you do without? Maybe start with the bad thing first, so that we end on a better note.

Liza Montanino: Okay. Sure. Honestly, I think just the instability. There is that sense of, okay, where’s my next client going to come from? That, I think, is just the roller coaster of being in the business of serving people. But I have worked my way around that by trying to create collaborations with other business owners and referral partners and things like that, so that I’m getting more of a steady stream of word of mouth.

Because the other thing I could do without is really social media. I just hate it. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I have outsourced a lot of it to someone who is fabulous and really helpful. I’m never going to be the sleep consultant who has like 50,000 followers on Instagram, and is getting all of her clients through social media.

That’s just not who I am. I have to own that. I am. I’m just trying to find my own way forward. Hopefully, that will serve me better in the long run when I’m doing something that I feel like is actually in my wheelhouse.

Jayne Havens: Okay. What do you love the most?

Liza Montanino: Getting those morning updates from clients saying how amazing the night was, and just all of that immediate feedback that leads to the testimonials. Then just things spiral in a positive way from there. That’s the best thing.

Jayne Havens: I love that, too. What would you say is your biggest learning lesson from your first year in business?

Liza Montanino: Probably, that you will fail at 100% of the things that you don’t try. Even though there’s always the risk of taking that leap and falling, what if you fly instead? I feel like every decision that you make in business and every outcome is either a lesson that you’ve learned along the way, or it’s a step in the right direction.

So, I’m trying to train my brain to view everything that happens — whether it’s a win or a setback — as an opportunity to learn something so then I don’t feel like I’m either wasting my time or energy on the wrong things.

Jayne Havens: Fabulous. I love that. Do you have any goals for your next year in business, whether they be financial goals or just things that you want to do in your business? Anything you’re sort of aiming to do next year?

Liza Montanino: Yes, I have two very big goals. It’s a little bit scary. They’re so big. But I feel like if I don’t put them out there, then they will never manifest. The first is, I want to hit six figures. So, that’s my financial goal. The second is really expanding the way that I serve moms and the web of impact that I am able to achieve.

I’m actually in the process of launching a new platform that is specifically for postpartum moms. I am unbelievably excited about it. The idea actually came to me from sleep consulting and working with moms one on one. Because I would end up talking to moms who would cry during our discovery calls about how frustrated they were and how hopeless and desperate.

I also had a really tough postpartum after my son was born. I just started thinking about the lack of support in this country for women postpartum, and how we’re really not meant to do it alone. There’s a reason. There’s that saying: it takes a village. I just kept thinking why isn’t it there, like a system in place to support women postpartum? There’s so much help that we need.

Then I was just, like, wait a minute. Maybe I can create this. So, that’s what I’m doing. It’s called Mother Good. It is a virtual village and physical, emotional and mental health support system for women postpartum. Tons of evidence-based information and resources. We will have expert led workshops, trainings, downloadables. I’m going to do weekly support group meetups.

The whole goal is to really help moms prioritize self-care and overcome self-doubt as they navigate the transition to motherhood and the first few years beyond. The whole idea is like putting on your own oxygen mask first. So, we are centering women, giving them the support and knowledge of postpartum professionals, alongside the community and connection and care of other women so that everyone in this community has the opportunity and the tools to become the best versions of themselves. Then take on the role of mother, partner, whatever it is, and soar.

Jayne Havens: I can’t wait. I literally have the chills listening to you say all of this. Do you have a launch date or like a projected launch date?

Liza Montanino: Yes, April 1.

Jayne Havens: Okay. Soon, soon, soon. I would love to share any resources that you have, even just if you have a landing page to opt in? Do you have an email? Do you have a landing page where you’re gathering emails for this yet or not yet?

Liza Montanino: Not yet. I have a web designer who’s working on setting everything up. I have a logo that is like, I love it so much. What I can do is, everyone who is on my email list at Rock-a-Bye Baby Sleep — a client or a connection — will be getting an email about this. I will be teasing it each month in the months to come. Yeah, I will work on getting that landing page up sooner rather than later.

Jayne Havens: Okay. Perfect. I’ll make sure to leave your current information in the show notes. Then we can always update it as you get your stuff together. Because I think this is so important. So many of our listeners are going to want access to this platform. It sounds fabulous.

Last thing I want to ask you is, if you can think about maybe those that are just getting started in this field — whether they are newly certified sleep consultants or perhaps people listening to this podcast that are thinking about starting on this journey — do you have any words of wisdom to share? What would you say to the newbies?

Liza Montanino: Yes, there are two main things, I think, to keep in mind. The first is really just that confidence is everything. We think we’re nervous, but the mom who is on the other end of that call is looking at us with so much hope. We are the ones who have the expertise to share. She’s there because she needs and wants your help.

So, if you can try to put yourself in the shoes of your prospective client, and remind yourself that you actually have the solution that this person needs, lean into that. Let that fuel you through your conversation, as you share your offer and talk about the transformation that you can give them.

I think projecting that you are the answer to their struggles is so, so powerful. It’s that fake it till you make it. But truly, we are what they’re looking for. Or they wouldn’t be on the other end of the phone. That’s number one.

Then number two would really be to broaden your definition of success. We tend to think pretty narrowly about that. I do it, too, thinking that success just means making money. Obviously, that makes sense. We’re talking about running a business here. You want to be profitable.

But if you can reframe success as more of a destination, then I think it puts a lot less pressure on each individual step that you take along your journey. It gives you the space to view many more things as wins along the way, whether it’s connecting with someone in a Facebook group, or finding a referral partner, or doing a collaboration, or having a booth at a vendor showcase.

Those things don’t necessarily mean you’re going to see the numbers in your bank account rise the very next day. But if you can focus on each of those connections as a win, then you’ll feel more invested in what you’re doing, more rewarded by the process itself.

Then if you’re committed to what you’re doing, and you’re consistent about putting work into your business, it’s literally what we tell our families, right? You have to be committed and consistent if you want to see results. It’s about progress over time, not overnight. If you do those things, I think that improves the likelihood of reaching that ultimate place of financial success that we are all aiming for.

Obviously, I don’t mean to dismiss how hard it is to do that mindset work. I think it’s very hard. I’m not drowning in clients every month. I have good months, and I have slower months. But I am trying to challenge myself to remember that if I keep at it, then everything that doesn’t work is an opportunity to bounce back and build up that resilience muscle, which is just as important, I think, in being a small business owner as it is putting in the time and the work along the way.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, it’s so powerful. I think it’s so important. A coach recently said to me — I can’t remember who said it to me. Was it a coach who said to me? Coach or therapist, not sure.

Liza Montanino: They’re the same thing.

Jayne Havens: Rather than saying it’s not working, you can say it’s not working yet. I think that that’s really powerful. Because all the work that we do — to lay the foundation, to have a thriving, successful growing business — it doesn’t happen overnight.

Just to use the example of the little preschool meetup that I did the other day, I did that yesterday. Nobody called me today. That doesn’t mean that it was a failure. That’s not why it was there. But hypothetically speaking, one of those families might call me three months from now.

Or what happens actually more often is that those families, they came for the free advice. But they may have a friend that’s struggling, and they’d say, “Oh, I went to this presentation with a sleep consultant. She was fabulous. Let me pull up her information.” Then they share it with somebody else. Then that’s a win. That could happen three days later, three months later. It could happen three years later.

Laying that foundation and taking each little step, as you said, as a little, mini micro win towards your larger goal, I think is fabulous. It’s fire. I love that.

Before we wrap up, tell everybody where they can find you. I want to make sure I leave all of this good stuff in the show notes so that everybody can track you down, especially come April.

Liza Montanino: Sure. On Instagram, I’m liza_rockabyebabysleep. My email is liza@rockabyebabysleep.com. I have a new Facebook group that is also called Rock-a-Bye Baby Sleep. So, lots of places to find me.

Jayne Havens: Perfect. Liza, thank you so much for having this conversation with me. I can’t wait to check in with you maybe six months to a year down the road.

Liza Montanino: Thanks so much for having me.

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.

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