Starting a business can be overwhelming! There are so many thoughts that swirl around in our heads that can keep us from getting started.
On this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast, I came clean with my own thoughts that were preventing me from achieving success in the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey. My hope is that by sharing my own mental obstacles you will feel empowered to challenge your own! barriers to sucess
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: I am back on the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast — alone, for the second time ever — today to discuss the top three barriers to my own success, then and now. I think that when people are getting started in entrepreneurship, there are so many different things that can get in the way of them being successful.
Frankly, there are so many things that can get in the way of somebody even getting started. So, they don’t even have a chance to be successful because they’re too scared to try. Because if they try, they might not make it. Failing feels bad, right? So, I thought I would come on and honestly share the three things that were sort of hardest for me when I was getting started in my business.
The first thing that felt like a huge mountain to climb when I started my own business was all of the tech stuff. This may seem sort of silly to other people who are listening. But for me, this was a really big deal. I had been out of the work world for, I think, about six years when I started Snooze Fest.
I was a stay-at-home mom prior to starting my own business and stay at home momming. I worked for a catering company. I sat at a desk all day, and I used a computer. So, it’s not like I didn’t have computer skills. But frankly, it was never one of my strengths.
fI’ll actually never forget. I was working at Occasions Caterers. It’s a big, fancy catering company in Washington, D.C. A good friend of mine at work — I’m going to name her just in case she’s listening — Christine Skiles, one of my old work BFFs, she came to sit down at my desk to help me with something. She saw the way that I was. Like when I read an email, I just deleted it afterwards. I didn’t file it.
She was so completely horrified that I was just deleting important emails. She’s like, “What if you need that later? What if you need that?” I was like, “I don’t know. I’ll just search my deleted folder.” She’s like, “That’s totally insane, Jayne. You need to have a filing system.” She just sat down at my desk, and she made an entire filing system. And my mind was blown. I think I was probably like — I was several years into working professionally before anybody told me that I should have an email filing system.
Okay. So, I am not a tech-savvy person. But now I take that skill that she taught me many years ago, and I still use it in my business today. I’m very grateful that she taught me how to be organized in my emails. But I literally am the least tech-savvy person there is. When I started my business, I wasn’t even using a computer. At the time, we have computers in our house, but I was just using my iPad. To connect with various people for my business, I would just — I don’t know. I just hop on my iPad and send emails.
Even when I took the sleep consultant certification course that I took to become certified, I did it on an iPad. I didn’t even have a computer to use. When I started writing sleep plans, I literally would send sleep plans in the body of an email. I didn’t create a document. I had no pretty header on the top of my documents. It was literally just a subject line in an email, and then the body of the email was the sleep plan.
Looking back on it, it’s a little funny that that’s how I used to run my business. But I actually did that for several years, and built a very successful sleep consulting business without doing anything in any sort of entirely professional manner. Nobody seemed bothered by it because I was giving really good advice, and I was providing a really high level of support. It really didn’t matter that I wasn’t creating this pretty document that could be printed out. I mean, it could be printed out. It just wasn’t beautiful.
Anyway, the tech stuff totally overwhelmed me. Using tools like Acuity, for example. Acuity is this calendar app that I use to schedule my calls. Creating the systems in Acuity was really complicated for me. The idea of setting up an email marketing system, I use ActiveCampaign for that. The idea of setting up all the automation so that people could get regular emails from me, totally over my head in the beginning.
I’ll never forget my very first Mother’s Day in business. I started my business in December. I think it was 2018. That Mother’s Day, I wanted to send an email out to all of my clients who I had helped thus far. I literally sent an email with all of their names in the BCC subject line and sent them a Happy Mother’s Day email. It wasn’t like a professional email from an email marketing system with a graphic and sent it all out to each one of them the way that I would now. All of that stuff felt so scary, so overwhelming.
What I will tell you, the way that I’ve gotten over all of that is, honestly, just to hire out. I have had several virtual assistants over the course of my career in sleep consulting. It’s funny. When you hire a virtual assistant, they all have different strengths and weaknesses. So, I would have to find different people to help with different skills. I have virtual assistants that help with creating graphics. I have other people that help me with techy stuff, back-end help with my website, email, automations, all of that stuff.
If I had let the tech stuff get in the way, I think I would have quit a long time ago. Hiring out and asking for help when you need it is super, super important. So, that’s the first thing. It’s all the tech stuff. Super scary for me back in the day, and it still is for me today.
Number two, I think one of the hardest things for me when I was getting started was admitting that I was craving something beyond what I already had. I was a stay-at-home mom at the time when I started my sleep consulting business. And I was really wrapped up in being the best mom that I possibly could be to my son and my newborn daughter. My entire identity was entangled with them. I didn’t have my own thing. I was literally Sid and Ivy’s mom. That was it.
I enjoyed parenting. I loved being a stay-at-home mom, at least for a few years. But it was really hard to admit, both to myself and to those around me, that I wanted something more. It felt like I was almost rejecting my children by saying that I wanted to go back to work. Now I know that that’s not true. Of course, I wasn’t rejecting my children. But that’s the inner struggle that I was facing in my own heart and in my own brain.
It almost felt embarrassing. It’s weird to say that, but I’m just being really truthful. It felt embarrassing to say that I wanted to go back to work. I don’t know. I guess, I could unpack that further. I don’t even know where to go with that. But it really is how I felt.
I felt embarrassed to admit that I was creating a business and that I was going to have a side hustle, or a passion project, or that I wanted to do something that was beyond the walls of my own home, my own kitchen, my own living room. I wanted to do something for other people and not just entirely focused on serving my own family.
That was something I had to get over. I don’t struggle with that anymore at all. I actually love that my children are watching me grow something that I’m really proud of. My daughter, Ivy, talks about how she’s a sleep consultant, and she’s going to be a sleep consultant one day.
I hope that one day maybe this is a family business, and she’ll take over the family business. I’m super proud to be working hard and caring for them at the highest level. I love that they see that I can do both. I can be their mom, and I can be present. I can do all the things with them and for them. But I also can work and have something that’s for myself. I can grow this thriving business, and I can model for them that you can work hard, and love your children hard at the same time.
The third thing that I would say is still really, really hard for me — this hasn’t really changed. A lot of people talk about fear of failure. I think I struggle with fear of growth. This is something that my business strategist, Nas, pointed out to me. If she’s listening, you’re getting a shout out. She pointed out that I am scared to grow. It’s hard for me to explain because I don’t fully understand it myself. But whenever I am speaking with her about things in my business, she always points it out. So, she must be right.
I think that sometimes I feel like doing big things is out of my own league. Like, who am I to run this big successful company? Who am I to be the owner and founder of Center for Pediatric Sleep Management? Why are all of these people trusting me to train them? I have these feelings.
Then I think back to all of the people that I train inside of the program, and I know that a lot of them struggle with those same feelings. Like, who am I to be the expert that coaches parents through sleep training? Who am I to give them the ideal schedule that will work for their child? Who am I to help them set these boundaries with their children and their family and their home?
I think, to some degree, this is something that all of us struggle with. We talk a lot about fear of failure and impostor syndrome. But really, sometimes the real fear comes from the fear of success. Because what does that mean? What does it mean to be successful? What is the top? Where are we going? What’s the next step?
Sometimes when you’re growing your business, and you’re having success, you start to worry about like, “Okay. So, what am I supposed to do next? What comes next?” I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out. I definitely struggle with this.
I definitely struggle with the idea of like, “Can this continue forever? Is this just part-time success? Am I having a moment? Am I on a winning streak? Then next week, I’m going to flop. Or next year, I’m going to flop. Or in a few years from now, my business is going to crash and burn.” I think that these feelings that I’m having are feelings that probably all entrepreneurs have. That’s why I’m sharing this. Because I’m really hoping that something that I share will resonate with all of you that are listening.
If you are thinking about starting a business, or perhaps you already have a business, and you can wrap your head around the fact that it might get some traction at some point. But what really feels scary is how are you going to keep that going long term. If that’s how you’re feeling, I totally identify with that. I have that.
I wonder, long term, how am I going to be successful forever? Is this really going to be a thing in years and years and decades to come, or is it just a moment? If I think about those who are enrolled in Center for Pediatric Sleep Management, I know this is something that goes through their minds, because we talk about it.
For those that are listening and wondering, am I cut out for entrepreneurship, can I become a sleep consultant, is this something that really would work for me? I don’t know. All I can say is that in order to do anything worth doing, you got to try. You have to put one foot in front of the other. When things feel hard, it’s okay to take a pause and take a deep breath, and stop for a moment and reflect. But then, you have to keep moving.
That is something that I am fully committed to in my business. I have ebbs and flows, highs and lows, wins and losses. Sometimes it just feels like you want to throw your hands up and say, “This is not for me anymore.” But in those moments, I think you just have to take a few deep breaths, and then gather yourself and get back to work.
Today’s podcast episode was another sort of push forward for me. I mentioned on the first episode that I did solo that this was something that is out of my comfort zone. It’s scary. It’s hard. It’s new. And I am committed to growing and doing new big things on the regular. What that means is that I need to show up on my podcast solo more than once. So, that was this number two. I hope you enjoyed.
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.