Sue is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and also a Certified Newborn Care Specialist. She founded Tender Care Newborn Services which is based out of Orlando Florida and serves families both nationally and internationally through her virtual services. Sue’s coaching helps teach little ones to sleep 8-12 hours a night, and allows everyone in the household to get the rest they need! Taking Vacations as a Sleep Consultant
Sue began her journey working with children and families nearly 25 years ago as a nanny and educator, and in the last several years Sue has found that her passion lies not only in working with babies and families, but in helping them to conquer sleep challenges. Sue sets families up for sleep success by providing parents with the tools they need to help their children learn to sleep reliably and peacefully through the night. Taking Vacations as a Sleep Consultant
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.
Sue is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and also a Certified Newborn Care Specialist. She founded Tender Care Newborn Services which is based out of Orlando Florida and serves families both nationally and internationally through her virtual services. Sue’s coaching helps teach little ones to sleep 8-12 hours a night, and allows everyone in the household to get the rest they need!
Sue began her journey working with children and families nearly 25 years ago as a nanny and educator, and in the last several years Sue has found that her passion lies not only in working with babies and families, but in helping them to conquer sleep challenges. Sue sets families up for sleep success by providing parents with the tools they need to help their children learn to sleep reliably and peacefully.
Jayne Havens: Sue, welcome back to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I’m so excited to be chatting with you again today.
Sue Mcglinchey: Thanks for having me.
Jayne Havens: I tried to record this topic solo, I think, 50 times. And I botched it every single time. So instead of giving up, I invited you to have this conversation with me. For whatever reason, I think podcasting is so much easier when I have a guest. So, thank you so much for being willing to tackle this topic with me.
Sue Mcglinchey: Oh, it’s my pleasure.
Jayne Havens: The idea of discussing what it looks like to support families while on vacation came to mind because I just wrapped up a vacation a few weeks ago, and I’m actually headed out of town again this coming weekend as my kids are on spring break and vacation is front of mind. I’m wondering when the last time was that you got away. Did you go anywhere nice?
Sue Mcglinchey: I did. Last October, I went to Aruba.
Jayne Havens: Perfect. I love that. We’re actually going to Mexico. This is going to be my second trip to Mexico in like three weeks, which is a little bit absurd. But it’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Over the past few years, my philosophy on working while on vacation has evolved. I’m wondering if that’s also the case for you. When you first started working virtually as a sleep consultant, did you have a harder time establishing boundaries while away?
Sue Mcglinchey: Absolutely. I’ve always worked when I went on vacation, especially if I was going to visit family. They would just be, “What are you doing? What are you doing?” I’m working. My husband and I would take weekends or go places. I would be texting clients if they needed me or scheduling a phone call or whatever it took. But also, I don’t think I was as busy then as I tend to be now. And you’re just starting off and you really don’t — you don’t want to lose traction.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that like it’s a double-edged sword, right? Because when you’re first starting off in your business, and you’re having trouble setting those boundaries when you’re away, part of it is, okay, well, this is just what it takes to start a new business. This is like the pros and the cons all wrapped up into one. Right? Because, first of all, how awesome is it that you can build a business while going on vacation, right?
A part of me thinks what a bummer to go on vacation and not be fully in the mindset of just resting and recharging. But also, how cool is it that you can go away and not have to just pause everything until you get back, right? So, it’s good and bad.
Sue Mcglinchey: Well, exactly. I wasn’t working around anyone else’s schedule. You don’t have to take vacation time. And so, all of that for me was really exciting for a long time. But as things have evolved, and you do this for so many years, you do find where you just need — you need a vacation without work.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, can you think back to an earlier vacation when you were more green in your business? Can you paint a little bit of a picture of what exactly that looked like day to day a little bit, and then maybe a more recent example when you handled going away differently?
Sue Mcglinchey: Yeah, when I used to take vacations earlier on. I think I mentioned, basically, I would try not to be on my phone too much. But I would catch myself just sending out a quick text if someone texted me. And if somebody wanted to talk to me, I would make sure I worked it around our schedule, and sat back in the car if people were doing other activities, and it wasn’t appropriate for me to be on the phone, or at the beach on my phone. And so, there really wasn’t any rhyme or reason. I would just kind of try to make it work around what we were doing.
Jayne Havens: Now that you are a little bit more established or a lot more established, and you perhaps have a better mindset around it all, I think, what does it look like now? Do you not take client? Do you not have clients while you’re on vacation, or do you just set different limits? What does it look like now for you?
Sue Mcglinchey: The trip I took to Aruba was an absolute trip of not working. So, it was a lot different. I had to really pre-plan everything. At the time, I was taking three-week consoles, mostly. So, I just made sure I didn’t sign anyone new on that last week. Anyone that did sign on couple weeks prior, I made sure that they were going to be okay with doing their week without me. No matter what, there was no option. I just said my phone’s going to be off. I am not answering. So, if you’re okay with that, and then we’ll just pick up where we left off when I get back.
Everybody was fine with it. I don’t think I lost any clients. Maybe one person said I’d rather wait to get back. Then what happened was the sleep got worse, and I ended up taking around the week before I left and got her into a good place. Then I didn’t hear from her for the second week while I was away. She was very good with my boundaries. I did however have an email set up and ready to go for new increase with the date that I’d be back and a link to my calendar.
Jayne Havens: That’s perfect. A lot of pre-planning went into you being able to have a really, truly relaxing vacation.
Sue Mcglinchey: Yes, and it was so weird. I felt so weird to not be on the nap times or bedtime. I was able to just go with the flow, and it was a busy vacation. I went with my sister-in-law. We just had a lot of activities, and it just would have never worked.
Jayne Havens: I think back to when I first started as a sleep consultant. The first vacation that I can think of when I really had a handful of clients was — I started my business, I think it was the season was the winter.
Then it was that following summer that we went on a family beach vacation. I remember sort of like walking off the beach and heading up to the boardwalk to take phone calls, not that the beach was so noisy but to get away from my family a little bit. Because I didn’t want my kids saying to me, like, “I need a snack,” or like, “I’m hot,” or whatever. I wanted them to just ask dad for that stuff while I was on my phone call.
I remember constantly heading up to the boardwalk and taking my calls. I would let my family know, like, “I got to leave for 15 minutes, a quick 15 minutes while I have this call. I’ll be right back.” I remember I was very new in my business, and I was not at all in a place mentally where I wanted to stop working. I was really energized by the growth of my business. I had finally started to get some traction. I was busy, and I was doing well. I was loving it, so it didn’t feel like a ruined vacation. It just felt like a sacrifice that I was making for the greater good of everybody. It was helping my business. It was allowing my family to be able to afford the vacation.
Really, it was all good. It just looks very different than my most recent couple of trips. I went to Israel a couple of months ago. It was an eight-day trip.
Literally, I had not one client. I stopped taking families for two weeks leading up to this trip, so that I could go to Israel client free for eight days. When I tell you like, I can’t even describe how that felt to not have anybody texting me in a panic, not texting — even the good stuff and the stressful stuff, all of it, it was just gone for eight days. It was the first time I’d ever done that in my business. It was really — I don’t know. I think it was sort of a big milestone for me to actually have the diligence to say to people — somebody would hop onto my calendar could have been 12 days before I went away. They were like, “I’m really ready to start.” I’m like, “Sorry. I’m going to Israel in 12 days. I’m not taking on new families.”
It’s interesting. I think I probably lost a few clients over it. But most people were willing to wait for me, which I thought was interesting. I had never pushed people off for that long before. Because it really was 14 days before I left, and then the eight days while I was gone. So, it was a pretty long time to push people back. Several families were totally fine to wait until I got back, which was sort of shocking to me.
Sue Mcglinchey: That is fabulous. Because you would think people usually call us when they’re desperate. They know what they want.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, and I even actually tried to — this is something. It’s getting off topic a little bit. But people ask me all the time if I refer out to other sleep consultants. And in situations like these, I do. I try my hardest to refer out. I actually think I tried to send somebody to you while I was on my Israel trip.
Sue Mcglinchey: I’ve never heard from them.
Jayne Havens: Exactly. You’ve never heard from them. Because whenever I try to refer out, it never works out. Because people reach out to me because they want me, because they’ve heard my name from their friends. So, it’s a personal recommendation. When I try to refer them out to other sleep consultants, I find that it’s never usually something that they want. They’re not looking for a referral. They wait for me to get back. I did refer one or two people to you.
Sue Mcglinchey: Yeah, same thing has happened to me when it’s a referral as well. “Well, all my friends used you. I’ll wait. When are you going to be back? Let’s book a call for the day that you’re back.” So, that is really nice. I think I might have referred one person out that was just, like, they found me on Google. I don’t remember now. I was more concerned about what it was going to be like when I got back. Would there be a lull? But I don’t really remember it being a problem at all.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I feel the same way. Whenever I get a little anxious in my mind of like, am I not working to market my business? Am I not doing all the things that I do all the time?
If I ever take a break from that, is it really going to hurt me big time? I think that when you’re first getting your business started, it is really important to stay on top of marketing and networking and making those connections. But once you have a few years under your belt, and you have dozens or even hundreds of families that you’ve supported, I think you get to a certain point where they’re just enough people that have worked with you that are constantly sharing your name with their friends. That sort of helps keep it going even when you’re not out there pounding the virtual or real-life pavement, right?
Sue Mcglinchey: I know. I agree with that. Plus, having an assistant is helpful.
Jayne Havens: Do you have an assistant now?
Sue Mcglinchey: I do. I’ve had one for a while.
Jayne Havens: Oh, good for you.
Sue Mcglinchey: But early days, I did not. I was terrible at the social media piece, so she takes care of the social media.
Jayne Havens: Okay.
Sue Mcglinchey: At least, we keep that going while I’m on vacation. Sometimes I’ll send — if it’s an inquiry, I do still send some overnight referrals out. So, if it’s an inquiry for an overnight, I’ll just send it to her, and she’ll take care of it for me. So, it just takes some stuff off my plate.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that’s great.
Sue Mcglinchey: I don’t like doing the social media piece. I know that’s one of my areas of weakness. So, it’s just better that there’s someone else doing it.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I totally agree. I don’t like to do social media either. I actually don’t have anybody doing it for me. So, it just doesn’t really get done. What about staycations? Do you ever take time for yourself, just block off whether it’s a few days or a week where you just take a break from taking clients? Or do you let the natural ebb and flow of business give that to you?
Sue Mcglinchey: I haven’t really done a staycation. My husband and I will go away for a weekend right here in Florida or just go to the beach or something. I usually will work on something like that. But one of the things that I am doing now is I take Sundays off from texting. I don’t text on Sundays. Now I’ve given in a couple of times, but it’s only if I’m
really slow that week. I’ll just say, “Well, I just happen to check my phone, and I see you’re struggling. I wanted to reach out.” But I let people know. I put it in my contract that I don’t answer texts on Sundays at all. So, that’s my staycation Sundays.
Jayne Havens: I love that. I think everybody has different boundaries in their businesses and what that looks like for them. People ask me all the time, like, “Are you up texting with your clients in the middle of the night?” No, absolutely not. I put my phone on silent when I go to sleep, and nobody’s waking me up in the middle of the night. I think everybody who works in this field has their own boundaries. We’re all, to some degree, working on refining those boundaries and maintaining those boundaries. It’s a constant work in progress. But I love that you take off Sundays.
For me, it’s like Saturday nights is my boundary. Because I am typically just out to dinner with my husband, and sometimes another couple. I really will let clients know a lot of my families, they want to start on a Friday so that they can have the weekend to get working before the nanny takes over on Monday, or the baby goes back to daycare, or the two-year-old goes back to preschool, whatever it is.
I’m willing to start on a Friday, but I also am not willing to text through dinner on Saturday night. So, I’ll let parents know. I’m happy to start with you on a Friday, if you’re okay with me going radio silent between 7 and 10 at night on Saturday. I recognize that that is not ideal for everybody. Then I’ll encourage them. No problem. Let’s start on Sunday. Then you’ll have six consecutive days of me giving you a really high level of support at that time. Because I do recognize that time is a really important time to be providing your clients with support. But I leave it up to them. If they want to start on a weekend, Saturday nights, it’s just two or three hours. But I’m not sitting on my phone, texting clients while I’m at dinner with my husband or another couple.
Sue Mcglinchey: Yeah, I agree with that. I’ve never had a client say, “I won’t work with you because you take Sundays off.” It’s the same thing. They may not want to start on the weekend if I’m not there for naps on Sundays. So, we might start on a Thursday, and then they just get through the day Friday. By Sunday, they know what to do. You know what I mean? I’ll tell them Saturday night, I encourage them. This is what you’ve learned. This is what you’re going to do. You’re going to be fine. They always are. I think it’s actually really good for them. Because then, they learn on their own what I’ve taught them. They can be more self-sufficient. Because when you’re done, you want them to be able to follow through and not be always asking you what to do.
Jayne Havens: I totally agree with that. I think it’s a really — I’m thinking about my Saturday night role, and I’m thinking about your Sunday rule. I know that I didn’t have that Saturday night policy in place from the beginning. I remember when I first started my business being on dates with my husband on a Saturday night and responding to text message. These boundaries were not built overnight, right?
Sue Mcglinchey: Exactly.
Jayne Havens: This took time for me. I’m sure it took time for you to get to a place in our businesses where we felt comfortable setting these boundaries with our clients and really maintaining them. This is not something that happens right away. For people who are just listening, that are just getting into this, just starting, it’s really hard to set these boundaries when you’re new.
Sue Mcglinchey: Oh, absolutely. I didn’t start the Sunday boundary until about probably in the last six months to a year. Before that, I would probably be — sure, I’d be at church and maybe I’d get to go to the restroom, notice a text and answer it in the bathroom. Now I just shut my phone off. It’s just so relaxing, you know.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I agree. But it takes work. It takes work to get there.
Sue Mcglinchey: It does.
Jayne Havens: I’m sure there are so many people listening to this thinking like, “I could never do that.” It’s like, well, you could. Maybe not this time.
Sue Mcglinchey: Not now.
Jayne Havens: But maybe down the road.
Sue Mcglinchey: I just think there comes a time where you just need to do that for your own emotional well-being. It’s not just for your relationship or your husband and all of that. But, you know what I mean? My husband doesn’t want me to have my phone attached to my hand seven days a week. He feels second fiddle. On Sundays, it’s not needed. And it works for us. But like I said, I’m not perfect. If I need to, I’ll take a discovery call on a Sunday if I schedule it at the right time. That’s hard to turn away on a Sunday because it’s a new business coming in.
But that also depends how busy I am. If I’m super busy, I’ll just send them a link to my calendar and let them sign up during the week. But if things are slow, and I really want to make sure that I get traction, Sunday afternoon I will take a call. But I’m definitely not helping people with naps all day long.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I love that. When you own your own business, I think taking a break from clients is hard because no money is coming in, unless you have passive income streams, which we could talk about another day. Assuming most, if not all, of your income is coming from supporting families, how do you handle the breaks from a mindset perspective? Are you actually able to enjoy the time off? Or do you get that anxious feeling like you got to get back to work as soon as your tiniest of breaks is over?
Sue Mcglinchey: Aruba last October was my first real vacation. What ended up happening there was I could totally relax. Because somehow, it just became so busy for several weeks before, that I actually was able to put money aside to make sure I made my budget for everything for that week and several weeks after, in case it was slow. I was just glad.
Jayne Havens: You were coasting.
Sue Mcglinchey: Yep, it was wonderful. I don’t think that I would always be able to do that. But you never know. I am hoping to go visit family this spring. It’s probably going to be part-time work while I’m there, because it’s just different right now. I’m not ready to take a full-on vacation again, but I do plan on doing it different. I’m not going to be constantly answering texts. I just have to try to figure out in my mind how I’m going to do it so that I can feel like I’m relaxing too.
Jayne Havens: For me, my mindset has definitely shifted over the years as I’m getting ready to go away. We’re recording this. It’s a Friday. I’m going away on Monday. I actually am only supporting, I think, four families right now. Two of them are on the tail end, and two of them are more new. I would have, I think a year or two ago, been so much more anxious about all of it. Why don’t I have more clients? I just would have been so much more worried about it on all ends. Now I’m just so excited to go away.
My clients know that I’m going. Their expectations are managed. They know that I’m going to respond to them when I can. And if I’m slow to respond, it’s because I’m in the pool with my kids. It is what it is. I’m just so much more, I think, at peace about it than I was a year or two or even three years ago. It’s just a different mindset of like, we’re not like ambulance drivers. We will still take really good care of our clients, even if the response is like a tiny bit delayed. That’s okay.
Sue Mcglinchey: Exactly. Nothing catastrophic is going to happen in an hour.
Jayne Havens: No, and I spend a lot of time thinking about why I got into this line of work in the first place. I think it’s the same for you. We both really wanted to prioritize spending time with family and not being physically gone all of the time. And so, what that means is, we have the freedom to work alongside of our families. That’s a blessing, right? That’s the whole reason for why I got into this line of work.
When I think about like, am I busy on vacation, or am I not busy on vacation? Whatever the answer is, it’s like I get to do it. I get to have vacation too. To me, that’s just amazing. I love it.
Sue Mcglinchey: It really is a blessing just to have the freedom — not just vacations, but medical appointments or anything you need to do during the day where before, you’d have to either find someone if I didn’t do any work. It was such an inconvenience for the family if I needed time off, especially if I needed it off without much notice.
Jayne Havens: Right. It’s the big things and the little thing, right? Actually, I was in the grocery store on a Sunday. I think it was last weekend. I don’t know why I was in the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon. Literally, that never happens in my life. I was there and it was like, I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. I was like, oh my gosh, this is not the way I grocery shop. I can’t. I cannot do this. And so, it’s the big things and the little things, right? We can take vacation, and we can grocery shop on a Tuesday morning at 10 AM.
Sue Mcglinchey: Exactly.
Jayne Havens: I’ve never going to take that. They’d never going to take that away from me. I will gladly respond to an anxious mom who’s texting me about her five-month-old who just took a 35-minute nap while I’m picking up groceries because I can. How cool is that?
Sue Mcglinchey: It’s really cool. I mean, my husband sometimes will call me and say, “What’s taking you so long?” I’m like, “Well, I’ve been in the car texting.” I come out of the grocery store and then I got a text. I’ll just sit there and answer a few texts, and then I drive home. It’s fantastic, honestly. Speaking of just the little things, just going out. Sometimes I’ll go out during rush hour for something, and I’d see the traffic. I’m like, “What is going on? Is there an accident?” I’m like, “Oh, it’s rush hour.” I don’t have to go out during rush hour.
Jayne Havens: Right. All of those things are sort of like — I don’t know. They’re not vacations, but they’re like they are. They’re like vacations from your life. Getting to drive somewhere when you’re not battling the masses, that is a mental vacation. And going to the grocery store on a Tuesday morning at 10 AM, like that is a mental vacation. We got to set ourselves up for that in life all day, every day. I don’t know. For that, I’m really grateful. If that means that I have to text while I’m doing other things, so be it.
Sue Mcglinchey: Exactly. It’s the trade off.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, 100%. Well, I can’t wait to report back after my vacation. I’m going away in a few days. We’re going to be away for five long days with my kids. Then it will be back to work, and it’ll be business as usual. Congrats on everything that you’ve built. It just makes me so happy to see that your work and your personal life are colliding in a way that works for you. Because I feel the same for me.
Before we wrap up, share with everybody where they can find you. Maybe your website, any social media handles that you want to share.
Jayne Havens: Awesome. For anybody listening that has a baby, especially little babies, I just think of Sue as like the true baby whisperer. Lots of people say that they know a baby whisperer. And like Sue is mine. So, if anybody’s listening and you’re one of those parents that’s struggling, or maybe you’re a postpartum professional, and you don’t do sleep hygiene, like that’s not your thing, maybe you’re more of just like a holding, cuddle the baby — if you ever need a resource for somebody who’s really fabulous at getting babies into a good groove and routine, Sue is your person. Sue, thank you so much for chatting. I’ll talk to you again soon.
Sue Mcglinchey: All right. Thanks 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. Taking Vacations as a Sleep Consultant