Madison is the owner of Serene Moments where she provides support as a postpartum doula and sleep consultant. She is 22 years old and lives in northern Massachusetts. Madison has her BA in child and family studies, and as a prior nanny, infant teacher and daycare manager Madison decided to continue her love for supporting children and families by perusing a full time career as a postpartum doula and sleep consultant. As a young childless entrepreneur working closely with families, Madison strives to help these families through life transitions and position them to find the ‘Serene Moments’ in parenting.
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: Madison is the owner of Serene Moments where she provides support as a postpartum doula and sleep consultant. She is 22 years old and lives in northern Massachusetts. Madison has her BA in child and family studies.
As a prior nanny, infant teacher, and daycare manager, Madison decided to continue her love for supporting children and families by pursuing a full-time career as a postpartum doula and sleep consultant. As a young childless entrepreneur working closely with families, Madison strives to help these families through life transitions and position them to find the ‘Serene Moments’ in parenting.
Madison, welcome to the podcast. I’m so excited to be chatting with you today.
Madison Fugere: Thank you for having me. I’m super excited.
Jayne Havens: I wanted to have you on this podcast for a few reasons. One, because I think you’re a total star. But number two, because you’re just such an inspiration and a breath of fresh air. I’m so impressed by all that you’ve accomplished in your career.
I know you’re really just getting started. Because you’re so young, and you don’t have children of your own, I’m wondering if that has been a challenge or an asset when meeting with families to discuss how you can support them, or maybe it’s just a non-issue. I don’t know. I’d love to hear how you talk about this with families and how you pitch yourself to prospective clients.
Madison Fugere: Yeah, it’s definitely a bit of both. Being a childless entrepreneur who’s working with children, it’s definitely hard. There are times that I find myself having some hardcore impostor syndrome and times that I don’t think that I shouldn’t be working with children because I don’t have children of my own.
There’s been clients that asked. It typically is one of the most commonly asked questions when I do connection calls. Whether that be for postpartum support or sleep consulting, it has been, “Do you have kids of your own? Have you done this with your own kids?”
With the answer being no, sometimes that’s hard for people to understand how I can be in the field that I’m in. But I think it also brings a bit of a different point of view. I’m able to provide a point of view where it’s truly informational and supportive. It’s really about the parents supporting their child.
Because as a postpartum doula and a sleep consultant, my job is to really work myself out of a job. I don’t want my clients to need me. Being able to have them feeling confident enough to be able to implement everything on their own is truly the importance. So, not having kids of my own really reinforces them to have to think of their own points of view and to feel more confident in themselves and not ask me, “Well, what did you do with your kids?”
Jayne Havens: One thing that I noticed sometimes when CPSM students are submitting their final assignment to me — for those who are listening who are not a part of the CPSM community, the final assignment inside of the course is to submit two written sleep plans based on case studies. One of them is a little six-month-old little boy, and the other is a two-and-a-half-year-old little girl.
Oftentimes, when people submit these sleep plans that they write on their own, they’ll write like, “With my own kids, I did X, Y, and Z.” I always give them the feedback that I personally think that not only is that a little bit unprofessional, but it’s also just not relevant.
At the end of the day, we are experts. We are highly educated and highly skilled. Our knowledge and our experience needs to come from a place other than what we just did with our own kids.
Because every family is different. When I support families through sleep training, I often give two or three different sleep training options. If I give three options, two of them are ones that I would never ever implement in my own home. That doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what I would do in my home. It’s all about supporting families in a way that works for them. I sort of love that you don’t really have this whole, “Well, here’s what I did.” Because I sort of feel like that’s completely irrelevant.
Madison Fugere: Yeah, and I think there’s two parts that go with that. One is, even as a postpartum doula, one of the big parts of the training that I did with DONA is talking about how you’re not talking about yourself because it isn’t about you. Being able to be a huge active listener — I think I bring that into my sleep consulting stuff as well — you shouldn’t be talking about yourself. Yes, you do need your client to be able to relate to you and to connect with you.
I do have times when if they asked me a personal question, as long as it’s not too personal, I’ll often answer them. Sometimes they need a bit of distraction. Especially when it’s sleep training and I’m messaging somebody, and baby is crying and they need something to distract them, that’s a great conversation. Do you have siblings? Do you have this? Where did you go to school? Whatever it may be.
But at the end of the day, yeah, maybe bringing up personal information isn’t going to help anything. That’s the same thing that happened with my postpartum doula training. They said it’s not about you. It’s not. So, you’re really there to support them. Not having kids of my own eliminates that question of, “Well, what did you do, or what would you do with your kids?”
It’s so hard, because I think the second part of it is that every child and every family is so incredibly different. Kind of like how you guys have always said, and I find a lot of sleep consultants that have gone through your program have said, we’re meeting parents where they’re at.
Some parenting styles are different. Every child has a different personality. Every parent has a different personality. Every family’s needs and goals are different from one another. One size does not fit all when it comes to sleep training, for sure.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I totally agree. I wanted to bring up — we sort of touched on this already, but I wanted to bring it up. I don’t know if it was a few months ago. Maybe it was even longer than that at this point. I interviewed a CPSM graduate, Natalie Fay, who also doesn’t have children of her own. She’s a career nanny. We talked about this, like, “Do you come up against situations where parents are giving you pushback because you don’t have kids of your own?”
The way that she spoke about it, she spoke about it so eloquently. She talked about how she doesn’t lean on personal family experiences. She leans on her training, her education, her experience in working with each individual family, just like you said, and meeting them where they are. I don’t know. I just think it’s so spot on. I love that now the two of you have become good friends.
Madison Fugere: Yes, we’re working on a project together.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, talk about that a little bit, if you’re willing.
Madison Fugere: It’s been super nice with Natalie. You’re right. She said everything so perfectly on the podcast with you, that I’m like, oh, gosh. I don’t know. I’m going to compare. It’s true. I think that the imposter syndrome is real. But I have to reassure myself at times that I have a degree in this.
I have been in the field for forever. I was babysitting children when I was, I swear, like eight years old. I mean, I’ve been in the field with children for so long, that just because I don’t have my own child doesn’t mean that I don’t have the knowledge and the education to support people in the processes they’re going through.
Natalie and I have been working together. It’s really nice to have somebody who also doesn’t have children, because we can talk about the imposter syndrome moments, and we can talk about the wins and the losses and all the fun stuff.
We both are working together right now to launch a project for January. We’re offering this membership kind of thing where clients, especially post clients, will be able to sign up for a monthly fee, where they get to have access to our knowledge. Because that’s what we build our businesses off of. It’s our education and our knowledge.
Being able to support clients, whether it’s sleep related, talking about just anything that has to do with growth of children, and just to have a “professional” behind you to back you on what you need and what you’re thinking. So, we’re going to be offering that.
Included in that will be a newsletter that has tips and tricks based on the monthly theme. We’re going to do a Zoom. So, it’s going to be super fun to be able to collaborate together. We’ll be bringing them separately to our own platforms, but to kind of bounce ideas off each other for that. I’m super excited to launch that. So, it’ll be fun.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I can’t wait to see it come to fruition. I know that you are currently working for an agency with regard to your postpartum business. But I’d love for you to share, if you’re willing, where you found your first sleep consulting client, because it’s a really amazing story. I think it happened before you were even technically certified, right?
Madison Fugere: Yeah, I do. I work with an agency for postpartum stuff, but I also take on my own clients. Some of my clients have been coming from my own stuff as well. But yes, my first client was such a cool, wild experience. So, I was actually driving home. I was like, wow, I have a couple minutes before a client.
I actually need to kill some time. I ended up going into Marshalls. I was walking around. I had purchased a baby carrier myself from Marshalls the other day. It was on sale. I was like, I’m going to go check and see if they’ve got another one. So, I’m in the baby section. I’m walking around. I picked up this baby carrier.
This woman is standing next to me, and she has her baby in the cart. She’s like, “Oh my gosh. Yeah, I just picked one of those up. I can’t believe they’re on sale.” I said, “Yeah, I really love it. I’m a postpartum doula, actually. So, I use these with my newborns. I love them.” She’s like, “Oh, my gosh. No way.” She said, “Do you have any sleep tips?”
I said, “Actually, I’m actually a sleep consultant as well.” It was like this light went off in her head. Later, she told me that she was really having a hard time with his sleep and was really struggling. She had been praying and praying to have his sleep be better.
She told me that the night before she met me, she said he was up all night. She said, “I was praying to God that I was finding some way and something.” She was like, “I don’t know what it was. But next thing I know, you were there. You were telling me that you were a sleep consultant. I was like, all right, this is it.”
It ended up working out well, not only for her. But then, after we were able to find some success, and we finished working together, she’s now posted on her Instagram story about my services. Not only did I help her get to her goals, but her posting has also helped me to grow my business.
So, it’s truly this fate situation. I truly feel like it was such an amazing way to connect with people. Especially, finding somebody as just a sleep consultant client and not someone that came through my postpartum work was really kind of cool.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, and I think the reason that that happened for you is twofold. One, you’re just willing to talk about what you do with anybody who’s there and who will listen. That’s number one. I think that that’s super important.
Number two, I think it’s your energy. You showed up in Marshalls super confident as a postpartum doula. Then when she mentioned sleep, as a sleep consultant, I’m ready to help her. I’m ready to serve. I think when you show up with that sort of — I don’t know. You just have this aura about you, this confidence, that I think people feed off of that. I don’t know if that can be taught. But you definitely have it. Maybe it comes from experience, and maybe it just comes from loving what you do. I don’t know.
Madison Fugere: It’s definitely a loving-what-you-do thing. I think it’s also a fake-it-till-you-make-it thing. I definitely am confident in the moments that I’m confident, but there’s definitely times when I’m like, oh, I don’t know if I can handle this. Or, he’s really struggling with sleep. I don’t know if I can support them. Or most recently, oh, this is my first time working in sleep training twins. I don’t know how this is going to work.
But I think if you can truly put on the face that you know what you’re doing. Because deep down, I do know it’s going to end up happening. But you got to trick yourself into it, so that then you can come across more confident and come across as the boss person that you are.
Jayne Havens: Were you scared to add sleep consulting to your business? Was that a big leap for you, or was that just the natural next step?
Madison Fugere: Yeah, great question. So, when I trained as a postpartum doula, that was back in March of 2022 here. When I was doing that, I was really doing lots of research. The biggest jump for me was going from my salary position at the daycare to working for myself.
I had just purchased my own condo. I am, like you mentioned, 22. The idea of having a mortgage and working for my own LLC, and not having a consistent income was scary. I think that when I finally got into the postpartum work, I was like, “All right. Well, now I’m doing a lot of night shifts. Sleep consulting and just sleep training is really I wanted to just do a training on sleep. It was where my brain was first at.
I was like, I just want to make sure I know all the information. Because when you’re working nights, you get a lot of questions on sleep. Because that’s what we’re doing. It was on the back burner. It was something that I wanted to do, but I wasn’t really making a ton of income enough to throw money at something.
Then you popped up, and I was looking at different things. I was like, well, this really seems like it could be a really great investment. Because it’s not only educational investment. It’s going to be great for me to add to my overnight shifts for knowledge and things like that.
But you guys, when I watched the video that you were doing, we’re talking about the income possibilities that it has as well. It was really reassuring and what I needed to hear in the moment. Because I was working 80-hour weeks. I was making money. I was saving a lot of it, so that when I didn’t have those crazy amounts of clients, I would be okay.
But having the ability to work virtually and also be making some money was really, really — it felt like a safety net for me. It made me feel like okay, this really might be a good decision. Rather than just taking a class and making sure I know all this knowledge about sleep, why don’t I just teach people how to sleep?
I was like, “All right. Well, we just got to make the job.” So, I signed up. It’s been nerve wracking, but it’s also been so needed. I feel like I already knew some of it. My degree also. When I was at school, I was learning a lot about sleep and the psychology aspects of things. So, some of the stuff in the course I knew about. But then, there were so many things I didn’t know about and that I was able to bring to my postpartum clients and friends and now sleep clients. So, it’s been really cool. It was definitely nerve wracking, but it’s been really cool to be able to actually implement it. I think that it’s really helping my business grow a ton, too.
Jayne Havens: When you have these fears around taking a big leap, the way you said it, you were like, okay, I just took the big leap. I made the jump. For a lot of people, that’s really hard. I’m wondering if you can unpack what it takes to do that. Are you just a little impulsive? Are you just brave?
Because I’m like that, too. When I see something that I am attracted to, that I’m drawn to, whether it’s a training or some sort of support for my business, anything that I need, when I’m really drawn to something, and I have this gut feeling that this is going to help me get to the next level, I just go for it. You sort of make me feel like you do that too. But is there more thought that goes into it? Are you just like you know it when you see it, and you’re not afraid to say yes to yourself?
Madison Fugere: I think it’s a bit of that. But it’s also I’m very much like a research person. I will get all of the information on things, granted I do it extremely quickly. So, I do it. To the outside world, it looks like I jump really easily into new things. But I definitely look into things a lot. I knew that I wanted to do sleep of some kind — training, support, consulting, whatever it needed to be.
But I never thought about adding it to my offerings, because I didn’t think of the idea of, oh, it’s virtual support that it could be. At first, I was like, I don’t know. So, I was like really looking into it. But then, I was talking to one of my family members. I was talking to one of my friends about it. Really just talking about it really like yes, it’s a big jump.
For someone who had just started their own business and was trying to build up this savings account and trying to be conscious with my money, it was really scary to pay that fee up front. I remember talking to my dad about it and being, like, I really think this is going to be a really good addition to my offerings, but it’s a lot of money to junk.
He said, if you do this — we kind of do the math out. We’re like, okay, well, if this postpartum client signs on for this, it’s going to come back pretty quickly. You’re going to have so much more knowledge, and I’m going to have more, I say, letters after my name or certificates after my name. It’s going to make me just one step better and better for hiring, for postpartum, night support, for sleep support, for whatever.
There was definitely a lot of thought that went into it, granted that that happened, and probably 5, 6, 7 days. But it was ready to jump. He was like, “Get yourself one of those credit cards that you get a cool little discount on it or something.” I was like, “All right. Why not?” We did it. I jumped in.
Within, I think it was like two or three months, I had paid the course off between my postpartum support and the sleep stuff. It really paid off super quickly, and it was way faster than I expected for it to be. So, it was reassuring that I made the right choice. I think the more that I make choices that are “impulsive” like that, the more they go well, the more you want to make choices like that.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I totally agree. I think that every single time you invest in yourself, if you’re the type of person that’s committed to getting your own return on investment, then every single one of those investments is going to be worthwhile. So, I love that you have that approach. What about your postpartum work? Have you since raised your hourly rates as a post partum doula now that you’re a sleep consultant?
Madison Fugere: Yeah, that’s a great question. I have. It was kind of scary. I live in northern Massachusetts. I’m on the Southern New Hampshire line. It’s hard to come up with rates when you first are doing anything service-based, because you’re basically pricing yourself. That takes a lot of confidence to put a number next to your name.
So, I always had such a hard time with it. When I was first a postpartum doula, I was online, researching people around the area, figuring out what people were charging, and all of those things so you can get a basis on what should I be charging.
But the woman who did my certification for postpartum work, she also suggested writing out all of your bills, and finding out how many hours a week do you want to work and what you need to charge. Because at the end of the day, someone else might be charging less because they don’t need as much. Whereas I’m a single income household, I might need to charge more. I might have more. I might have more experience or whatever.
So, I owned it. I was like, all right, well, I’m just gonna charge what I’m going to charge. So, I was charging probably about $5 to $10 more than the average person in this area already. I think that my difference between daytime and nighttime rates was only $5.
When I officially got my certification from my postpartum certification from DONA, around the same time that I got my official certification from CPSM, I was like, I think it’s time to try to make that a little bit more of a difference. Because nighttime support is more sought after. I was finding that most people were coming to me for that. So, I ended up raising my rates. Now I have a $10 difference between days and nights, and they both went up a little bit.
So, I’m definitely still higher than the people in my area. But I’m finding that people are still reaching out. I think that was actually The Doula Darcy. She mentioned something online once before that hit me. She was saying, if you’re not charging enough, you’re not going to look like people want you. You want to be that top-shelf item because people want that top-shelf item.
So, I’m trying to own the pricing. Because I have to, at the end of the day, if I don’t believe I’m worth it, then no one’s going to believe I’m worth it. That’s really where the imposter syndrome kicks in. But we believe in good work. So, I have up my rates. It’s been really good so far.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I love that you’re doing that. I have raised my rates as a sleep consultant. Honestly, I do it every year, or sometimes even a couple times a year. I just creep it up little by little. I find that I actually have an easier time lending clients every single time I raise my rates. To your point that you already mentioned, I think that there’s psychology behind.
People perceive things that are more expensive to be better. Whether they are or they aren’t, that varies. But there’s a perception that when something’s more expensive, that it’s a better service or a better product, right? Every single time I raised my rates, I have an easier time.
I don’t spend time convincing people that I’m worth it, because my pricing reflects that I’m worth it. It sort of speaks for itself. Then I just get on a call on me, and I articulate how I can help them and how I can support them as they work towards a transformation. That’s it. It’s done.
Madison Fugere: Exactly. I think that the biggest part of it is, when people ask you what you’re charging, you need to say it with confidence. If you’re saying, “Oh, I charge $500,” it’s like, “Oh, but maybe I have this discount, or I have this or I have that,” it really makes your worth go down.
If you say, “My plan is two weeks of virtual support for $500, period, end of story,” people truly believe like you’re worth it, and I want you. They sign up faster. Like I said, they want you. It makes it so much easier to find those clients like you were mentioning.
Jayne Havens: Look, a lot of us get into this line of work, we don’t get into it for the money, right? I don’t think either one of us or anybody really that I know is getting into a service-based business where we’re supporting families for the money. That’s not the first intention.
That being said, it’s really hard to continue to support families at a high level if you don’t love the work that you do. When you’re not charging your worth, I think it’s really easy to start resenting the work. Especially, you’re working overnight. It’s grueling, right?
If you’re sitting there all night, and you’re awake because the baby’s awake, and you’re being underpaid, and you’re feeling undervalued, then you’re not going to like your job. You’re not going to hustle to get out there and find more clients.
The same thing I’ve noticed holds true for me and sleep consulting, and I’m sure you’re probably already experiencing this and you will even more as you grow this side of your business, we work hard for our clients. Not all of them are hard, but a lot of them really demand a certain level of attention and support and TLC, and empathy.
It really sometimes can feel a little bit draining, right? If we’re not earning money that makes us feel good about the work that we’re doing, it’s really, I think, very hard to continue to show up at the highest level.
Madison Fugere: Yeah, I think that’s spot on. I was working with that same client at one point. I was working a night shift, so I was happy to answer messages while I was awake. Because that’s kind of, I was there. Why wouldn’t I? But it made me realize after the end of working with them that I needed to set better boundaries for myself. That’s something that I struggle with and I’m still working on.
But you really recognize your worth. So, I ended up creating a separate higher-level package that involved longer hours’ worth of virtual support. That way I could hold tight to my nine to nine or whatever you choose to pick for virtual support. Because if I’m up at night and I’m responding to you, odds are you’re going to respond back and it’s going to turn into a 15-minute conversation.
It’s not as simple as send them one message and be done. At the end of the day, then I don’t mind it in the moment, But the next morning, I’m tired. Because then, I’m going to sleep thinking about your baby sleeping, and then I can’t fall asleep because your baby’s not sleeping. It becomes a whole loop.
Jayne Havens: Right. Let’s talk about just goals for 2023. We’re headed into a new year, and you have this new service that you are offering. I’m wondering if you have thought about goals for the New Year, whether they be big or small.
Madison Fugere: Yeah, I find that everybody has like their yearly goals that they typically put on. I’ve always shied away from them. I don’t know why I really never really made these yearly goals. But it was really my mind, every few months, when I’m like I’m launching something new, or I’m upping my rates, or I’m doing something, I’m like, okay, well, then I set a goal then.
I find that I do a lot of small, incremental goals throughout the year. But 2023, it’s going to be so different. I was working in a salaried position, managing a daycare, and living at home and going and working from 6:30 until 5:30 some days, with no overtime pay and exhausted.
So, to be able to now make my own schedule again, I’m offering postpartum day and night support, I am able to now add sleep consulting. I’m going to be adding this membership thing. I think my 2023 goal, overall, is to just try to enjoy it and try to love what I’m doing. Because I do.
Jayne Havens: You’re doing your way, right? Like, it’s on your terms. It’s your time. It’s your effort. You’re really setting yourself up to do it your way, which I think is so beautiful.
Madison Fugere: That’s exactly it, right? I mean, it’s so hard, and I’m definitely horrible at it. But to sit and enjoy the moment is so hard for so many people, including myself. But trying to enjoy the little wins and the little losses — because that’s where you grow — and not feeling like I have to make so many plans for the future constantly like I normally do, that’s something I want to work on in my business but also my personal life. Because they connect very, very seamlessly.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, perfect. Where can everybody find you if they want to connect with you? Maybe share your social media, your website, whatever you’d like to share.
Jayne Havens: Thank you, Madison. It was so great chatting with you, and I cannot wait to see all that you do in 2023 and beyond.
Madison Fugere: Thank you. Bye.
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.