Marli is a certified pediatric sleep consultant through Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. After a successful 13 year career in retail management and human resources, she discovered the world of sleep consulting and immediately knew this was what she was meant to do with her life. As the owner of Your World In Color, she helps moms navigate the world of sleep training in a way that feels aligned with their parenting style while setting their child up for both short and long-term sleep success. entrepreneurial
Between a full-time career, growing a sleep consulting business, getting her real estate license, raising three kids under 7 and supporting other sleep consultants in growing their businesses, Marli is a strong believer that you have time for what you deem is worthy of your time. entrepreneurial
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.
Marli is a certified pediatric sleep consultant through the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. After a successful 13-year career in retail management and human resources, she discovered the world of sleep consulting and immediately knew this was what she was meant to do with her life.
As the owner of Your World In Color, she helps moms navigate the world of sleep training in a way that feels aligned with their parenting style while setting their child up for both short and long-term sleep success.
Between a full-time career, growing a sleep consulting business, getting her real estate license, raising three kids under 7 and supporting other sleep consultants in growing their businesses, Marli is a strong believer that you have time for what you decide is important enough to make time for.
Jayne Havens: Marli, I’m so excited to have you. Welcome to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast.
Marli Klaus: Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here.
Jayne Havens: Before we get started, would you please share a little bit about yourself, your professional background, as well as why you decided to become a certified sleep consultant?
Marli Klaus: Sure. So, I’m actually going to start at the beginning because I think it’s totally irrelevant. I, growing up, wanted to be a doctor. Basically, my entire life, I have a lot of doctors in my family. And so I was pre-med all through college. Then in my last year of college, I decided the last minute that I just couldn’t imagine being in school that much longer.
After taking the MCAT and all the prereqs and everything, I didn’t even apply. And so, I started out in my career in retail management and HR. As you mentioned in the bio, it’s been a successful career, but it never felt quite right. And there’s been multiple times throughout my career that I’ve really seriously thought about going back to med school.
But every time it’s just been difficult for me to wrap my head around that long of being away from working, that long in school, and everything like that. On top of that, I’ve also been really drawn to owning my own business, but could never figure out what felt right and what I could be really excited and passionate about doing.
Once I discovered sleep consulting, it was like it filled both of those for me. I was able to see how I could help other people in a way that didn’t require me to go to school for eight more years, and also be able to have a really successful business with sleep consulting. And so, it just felt like the natural fit. It was like the first time in my entire life that it felt like this was what I was meant to do.
It was just really exciting. I think I signed up for CPSM, maybe a week after I even knew that sleep consulting was the thing. So, I dove right in. And it’s been awesome so far.
Jayne Havens: Then you also, I think, completed the course in close to record time. I was looking back to prepare for this podcast episode. I think it was like 10 days or something like that, that you’ve completed the course. I think the fastest that we’ve ever really had somebody finish it was nine days. So, you were very, very determined, and you got through it in lightning speed.
Marli Klaus: Yeah, if I had known that there was a record of nine days, I probably would have pushed it. But I was really excited to get started. I think it definitely helped that I have three kids and I had read all of the books, except one. And so, I was able to quickly refresh my brain on all of the books that I had already read and get through it really fast.
Jayne Havens: I wanted to have you on the podcast because I think your entrepreneurial journey has taken a really interesting turn and one that’s perhaps different from others who have graduated from Center for Pediatric Sleep Management.
In addition to supporting families through sleep training, you’re also teaching other sleep consultants how to use Facebook and Instagram ads, which I just think is so cool because I have no idea how to do that. How did you learn how to do this?
Marli Klaus: In the very beginning, whenever I got my certification, I knew that I wanted to grow my business really quickly to be able to go full-time in sleep consulting. It felt like it made a lot of sense for me to run ads to be able to get my name out there really quickly.
I probably purchased 10 different courses and worked with multiple coaches to figure it out. Every single one of them taught things in a little bit of a different way. And so, it was super confusing in the beginning. I definitely wasted a ton of money on spending ads or spending money on ads that just weren’t working before I really had it figured out.
Finally, I think it was the very last course that I took. It all clicked. I was able to figure out a way to run ads that didn’t cost a lot of money but was also giving me a really good return on investment. It is definitely not the easiest thing to do. But once you figure it out, it becomes a lot easier for sure.
Jayne Havens: Are you willing to walk us through some of the best practices or basic tips for running ads? I guess, while I’m asking you this question, I’ll ask you to answer it in a way that’s helpful to sleep consultants. Because that’s who’s listening to this podcast.
Marli Klaus: Yeah, absolutely. In the beginning, I really naively thought that I could just run conversion ads, which is where you’re actually taking somebody to your website to purchase things. I thought that I could run that and just magically have people that were going to sign up and buy my programs and start working with me just from seeing an ad. But that’s really not how it works.
The best way to start is with lead ads where you are, basically, in exchange for a freebie or something like that, you are getting somebody to join your email list. And so, you’re able to spend not a lot of money because Facebook is happy. Because you’re keeping that person on Facebook, you’re not taking them away to a different website. You’re keeping them on Facebook. And so, they’re willing to let you run these ads for a lot less than you would if you were taking them away from Facebook. You’re able to build your email list really, really quickly.
The biggest thing for me that I found difficult, when I was going into all of these other courses that were not meant specifically for sleep consultants, is finding the right ad audience. It’s one of the most important things that you can do whenever you’re running ads. Because if you’re running an ad to the incorrect audience, you’re going to pay a lot more, because your ad is being shown to — maybe 80% of the people that it’s being shown to have no interest in what you’re doing. And so, it’s going to take a lot more money to find the right people to sign up for what you’re trying to give them.
That was one of the biggest learnings that I had. It’s that finding the right audience is super important. I think that’s why it took me so long. Because I couldn’t find anybody out there who knew what a right audience might look like for a sleep consultant. Because majority of them are focused on helping other coaches who are supporting other businesses or helping individuals who maybe have local service-based businesses. Nothing just really felt like it connected to what we do.
Once I found that right audience, it will really work for anyone. Kim, who joins my membership really quickly, was able to start running ads from day one, spending very minimal money and got, I think, 14 leads in two days. Whereas I probably spent $2,000 figuring out what the right audience was before it clicked.
Jayne Havens: Okay. You sort of answered my next question, which is our ads for beginners. Can brand new sleep consultants, who have really not really had too much time or experience in the field, successfully generate business using Facebook and Instagram ads?
Marli Klaus: Yeah, for sure. It’s about having some things that the other person wants. If you figure out, “A lot of my clients are trying to figure out a sleep schedule. I can put together some sort of guide that is helping walk them through how to create the right sleep schedule for their child,” then a lot of moms are going to want that. And so, they’re going to be willing to give you their email address to get that in exchange. And so, it really doesn’t matter if it’s your very first day being a certified sleep consultant, or if you’ve been doing it a really long time.
It’s just a way that you can build your list and your leads organic, or not organically — build your leads in a way that doesn’t take a ton of time. To me, the biggest thing is building the connection after you get that lead on your list. What I do and what I encourage others to do is to invite those leads to either join a Facebook group or go to your Instagram page and follow you. Then once they do that, we should be reaching out and making a true connection with them — thanking them for following us, building that relationship with them — so that it’s more than just, “Hey, you’re on my email address. Now I’m never going to talk to you again.” Because that’s not helpful to anybody.
Jayne Havens: I want to break this down or sort of recap it for people who are listening. Because I know I’ve been in this situation when I was brand new in entrepreneurship. People would talk about email opt-ins and freebies and funnels. I’m like, “What are all these words? I don’t even know what this stuff is.” I was there in my business, and I know you were too. I’m sure a lot of people are listening to this, and they’re like, “Okay, I sort of understand.”
But I just want to make sure I understand. I want people to understand that in order to successfully convert business from an ad, you need to have some infrastructure set up. You need to have an email marketing platform that you’re using. I use ActiveCampaign. I’m curious. What do you use to send mass emails?
Jayne Havens: Two?
Marli Klaus: Yes.
Jayne Havens: Okay. I encourage everybody, pick a platform. There’s MailChimp. There’s ConvertKit, Flodesk, ActiveCampaign. There’s all these different platforms that allow you to send mass emails, the way that Gap or Old Navy sends emails out to a bunch of people.
In order to successfully run ads, you want to have that set up so that you can have a freebie or freebies — in your case, you said, the schedules that you’re offering to tired moms. The ad is, “Do you want a free download of sample schedules for your child for the first year?” They say yes, and they put their name and their email. Then they get an email with a PDF. Something gets emailed to them, a PDF with whatever they were promised. That’s the first email that goes out to them.
Then I would imagine you also have some sort of nurture system, where after they get the first email, then maybe they get five or six or seven other emails that are pre-scheduled every few days. Is that what you’re doing?
Marli Klaus: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: Then in the meantime, you’re also inviting them to personally join. How do you invite them personally if they’re on your email list? Is it an email that says like, “Hey, join my Facebook group,” or, “Hey, follow me on Instagram”? Then once they do, then you’re connecting with them whether it be in DMa? Is that how you’re doing it?
Marli Klaus: Kind of. I get really excited to talk about this. It’s a lot of different steps. As you said, there’s a whole structure behind it. It starts with a freebie. They click on the link, and it opens up a box for them to fill out their email address. Then after they fill out their email address, it takes them to a second page on Facebook. It tells them either you can have them download the PDF right then and there, or you can choose to send them to a website.
Instead of having them download it right then and there — because you can only put one thing. You can’t do both — I choose to put something to the effect of, “I would love to have you join my Facebook group where I share free tips all the time,” or whatever it is. I don’t know exactly what I have in there. It has a link to my Facebook group. I would say probably 50% to 60% of the leads that I get actually ended up going and joining my Facebook group.
To me, that’s more important — getting them in my Facebook group or getting them to Instagram, whichever one I’m focusing on at the time. That is more important to me than them getting even on my list to begin with, because that’s where I can really nurture them. They can build that relationship with me more quickly in either my group or on Instagram.
As you said, there’s a lot of different steps. Then there’s also a way to integrate your Facebook ads to your email list. So, that way, you don’t have to manually go in and add the emails that you get to your email list. It all just happens automatically. They get the email right away, and you don’t even have to think about it. All of that, I’ve broken down in my membership, because it was all so confusing for me in the beginning trying to figure out each of those steps.
I know, in the beginning, I was missing one or two of them. Then I would be so confused about why are people not getting what I’m trying to send to them. And so, I break down everything from creating the freebie all the way to getting them to your email list. Then I also have templates and everything like that for nurture emails, and everything that basically somebody needs to just get it done from start to finish as fast as possible.
Jayne Havens: As you work to grow your business, do you think you’re going to be focusing on teaching ads? Or do you think you’re going to be really prioritizing supporting families through sleep training? I’m wondering, which brings you more joy?
Marli Klaus: That’s a hard question. I think they both bring me a lot of joy, just in different ways. For the sleep consulting piece, I live for the excited text messages that I get on the days that a mom wakes up, and she’s baffled that her baby slept through the night. That is just a whole different kind of passion and excitement for me, versus the teaching other sleep consultants ads. All of that is still helping others in a really big way, but it’s just different.
I think, coming from the HR background, I have done a lot of facilitation and teaching and training. Being able to teach others the ads and growing their business fulfills that other piece of my passion, of being able to train and teach. I kind of look at it as, hopefully, it will eventually be about 50-50. I still want to have a really big focus on sleep consulting, while also being able to help others in growing their business as well.
Jayne Havens: I really connect with that, because that’s sort of what I’m doing too. I still support families one on one, and I love that. The way that you said that you get that thrill, or you thrive on receiving those text messages in the morning when the baby first sleeps through the night, that never gets old. It never gets old. It’s great every single time.
Every single situation feels to me like it’s the first time it’s ever happening. It’s so exciting when these families who are so sleep-deprived and they’re so sometimes at rock bottom, and then in just a few days or just a couple of weeks, we are able to get them such a transformation. It’s, to me, like the greatest feeling.
But then, also, I get so much joy out of supporting other women through their entrepreneurial journeys. I love that you’re doing that too. Because I think when it comes to women growing their businesses, we need each other. We need support. When you’re at it alone, it’s exponentially more difficult, in my opinion. When you have a tribe and friends and colleagues and coaches helping you, I just think it makes the world of difference. I’ve seen that for you. Because I know that you’re always reaching out for support and getting the coaching and getting the training that you need to be successful. I think that that’s why you’re doing it.
Marli Klaus: Yeah, definitely. The CPSM community is amazing. Having the connections that we have in there and how everybody supports each other versus any sort of competition or anything like that, it’s really awesome. And so, I’ve definitely made some great connections. We message regularly and support each other whenever anybody’s feeling down or anything like that. It’s awesome to have that.
Jayne Havens: I love it. When I think of you, I think of someone that truly has a very strong entrepreneurial spirit and drive. I’m wondering where this comes from. I know you mentioned your career in HR. But I think it’s more than that. Because plenty of people work in HR, and they don’t want to go out and have their own big businesses. Where’s that coming from in your world? Where do you think that drive originates from?
Marli Klaus: I think it’s really in my blood. I don’t know how else to say it. My dad is a physician. He owns his own practice. My grandpa was a physician, owned his own practice. My grandpa would always tell all of us — my brothers and I — that you should never work for anybody else, that you should always strive to have your own business that you actually own and that you are running. And so, it’s always been something that, as I said in the beginning, I’ve been really wanting to do for so long, but I couldn’t figure out what the right thing was for me.
I knew that I wanted to do something that I was excited about. Not something just to have a business, but something that actually lit me up and that I was excited to get out of bed and do every day. Then I think another big piece for me is, I’ve always struggled with having other people control my time. Working in corporate, of course, depending on where you work and who you work for, that can vary greatly. But that’s always been something that I’ve struggled with. It’s having others have the ability to completely change my day based on what’s going on for them. And so, the ability to be able to really manage my own time and be able to build something awesome has been super exciting for me.
Jayne Havens: I love that it’s sort of taken a left turn a little bit. When you first decided to become a sleep consultant. I don’t think ever in a million years, you thought, “Oh, I’m going to teach other sleep consultants how to run ads.” Right?
Marli Klaus: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: That’s something that is totally new for you. It wasn’t something you knew how to do, but you learned. And now you’re setting out to teach others. I think that that’s one of the most special things about entrepreneurship. It’s that wherever you start, that’s not anywhere near where you land.
I think when I started my business as a sleep consultant, I intended for it to be a little side hustle. It was a passion project. Here I am training, mentoring, certifying other women to become sleep consultants. I never imagined that that’s what it would look like. But when that sort of entrepreneurial fire gets lit in you, then sometimes it’s really hard to hold back. At least, for me, it is.
Marli Klaus: Yeah, I totally agree. I think, in the very beginning, I knew I wanted this to be something big. I just didn’t really know what it would look like at the end of the day. Of course, I still don’t. I still don’t know what terms it may take from here. But in the very beginning, I remember talking to a coach. She was asking me what do I want to do long-term. I said I want to be so busy that I have other sleep consultants working with me, and I’m able to help others get clients really quickly through working with me. I want to be able to help others grow their business.
I just had no idea it would be with ads. I didn’t even think about ads at that time. But I think it’s really helpful that I have the retail management background. The first seven or eight years of my career was all in management. And so, it helps that I already have that business mindset. That’s been a big piece of my business as well. But the tech has been a surprising part for me for the most part. I didn’t really realize that I would love the tech part of the business as much as I do. I have built my website like 10 times, mostly just because I enjoy doing that. I had to completely teach myself from scratch how to be able to do that. And it’s been really fun.
Jayne Havens: When it comes to business development, I think it’s possible one minute to feel like we have it all figured out. Then the very next minute, we feel totally lost and don’t have a clue what to do next. I’m wondering if this resonates with you. What sort of feels easiest in your business, and what are the biggest challenges?
Marli Klaus: It definitely resonates with me, I think. Especially, in the beginning, it was really easy to be distracted by all of the shiny objects that exist on the internet. Everything felt so important. It was really hard to focus in on what was most important to be able to get up and running as quickly as possible.
Like I said, with the website, it was like, I have to figure this out. Then I also need to be finding clients. Where am I going to be finding clients? I think it is really easy to just get sidetracked and not know what to do next. A structure is really important, I found, just knowing what are the top three things that I need to make sure I accomplish every single day to keep my business going. Then if I’m able to go beyond that, great. But if not, as long as I get these three things done, then everything is going to be okay.
What I find easiest in my business is, I would say, again, the tech piece. Anything to do with me being able to put my head down and focus on something and be able to check something off my list, versus what I find more difficult is putting myself out there. From a video reel perspective, I’m really good at getting all of those done and getting them out there. But then, being able to take what comes back from them — you and I have talked a little bit about some of the negative comments that come back from just this — what can be controversial niche that we’re in, where people have really strong feelings about sleep training.
Sometimes that can be really difficult to open a video and be squinting your eyes at it, hoping that it’s positive, not negative. Because there’s five new comments, and you’re wondering what they’re going to be. I think that’s been the most difficult part. It’s just getting in the right mindset around who are we here for. We’re here for the moms who want this type of support and who are needing this type of support. We’re not here for others who don’t believe in sleep training and don’t want our support at the end of the day.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, absolutely. I know that you have plans to leave your full-time job very soon. I’m wondering what your focus is going to be when you have a full day to dedicate to growing your business. Do you have goals set? Are you setting mini goals? Do you have big goals? I’d love to hear where you’re headed on all that.
Marli Klaus: Yeah, I am mostly really excited about just not being stretched so thin. I feel like right now, I’m filling every spare moment that I have with my business. And so, I’m really excited about being able to have a less tightly packed day and being able to focus maybe two or three blocks of time at a time on my business and be able to do other things that I’m not able to do as often right now.
But as far as goals, I always have really big goals for myself. My goal would be to replace my income that I’m going to be losing really soon. That is a big lofty goal, but I am really confident that I can get there. Hopefully, within a year. That’s my real goal. It’s to get there within a year. But for me, the focus for me needs to be on getting smaller, more actionable goals that can help get me there eventually, versus just focusing on that big long-term goal. That’s something that is on my calendar for next week. It’s to sit down and work through what that might look like, and how I can accomplish that within a year.
Jayne Havens: Love it. Before we wrap up, I would love for you to tell everybody where they can find you. I know we have a lot of sleep consultants listening to this who may want to experiment with Facebook and Instagram ads. I would love for them to reach out to you, so that they don’t have to go spend thousands and thousands of dollars to figure it out and sort of throw money down the drain. Where can they go to find you to learn this the right way?
Marli Klaus: Yeah, it is my website, www.yourworldincolor.site/growth-society. I’m sure we’ll put that in the notes, so nobody has to be trying to figure out what that was. I’m on Instagram @your.world.in.color and on Facebook at Your World in Color.
Jayne Havens: Okay. Perfect. Marli, thank you so much for being willing to have this conversation with me. I’m so sort of energized and excited about everything that you’re doing. So, congrats.
Marli Klaus: Thank you.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support.
If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode.