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

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Niching Down and Expanding your Offerings with Karen Winter

Niching Down and Expanding your Offerings with Karen Winter

Karen has her degree in Early Childhood Education and has been working with children in various settings for over 20 years. Six years ago, Karen launched her first business as an in-home daycare provider. A year and a half ago, she became a certified pediatric sleep consultant through Center for Pediatric Sleep Management and launched her second business Winter Slumber. Her daughter’s last day of 4K will be her last day as a daycare provider and she will move into full time sleep consulting! Niching Down

Karen has found her true passion in helping 2-7 year olds learn to confidently sleep in their own beds all night long while maintaining a strong connection to their parents. She does this using her Prepare, Connect, Plan, and Expect framework. The result? A happy, healthy, well-rested family! Niching Down

She is now expanding her business by sharing her knowledge with other sleep consultants via her Confident Consulting Classes.

If you missed Karen’s first appearance on the podcast, scroll back to episode 21! Niching Down


On this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast, Karen shares: Niching Down

  • How niching down to support children ages 2-7 has helped her to gain more clients and grow her business at a faster pace
  • Why she decided to create a course to help sleep consultants feel comfortable supporting older children
  • What plans she has for the future of her business as she officially closes down her daycare and commits to working full time as a sleep consultant! Niching Down

Links: Niching Down Professional

Website: Winter Sumbler 
Classes: Confident Consulting Classes
Instagram: @winterslumbersleep
Facebook Group: Sleep Support for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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


Transcript:Niching oOwn

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.

Karen has her degree in Early Childhood Education and has been working with children in various settings for over 20 years. Six years ago, Karen launched her first business as an in-home daycare provider. A year and a half ago, she became a certified sleep consultant and launched her second business Winter Slumber. Her daughter’s last day of 4K will be her last day as a daycare provider, and she will move into full-time sleep consulting.

Karen has found her true passion in helping 2- to 7-year-olds learn to confidently sleep in their own beds all night long while maintaining a strong connection to their parents. She does this using her Prepare, Connect, Plan, and Expect framework. The result? A happy, healthy, well-rested family! She is now expanding her business by sharing her knowledge with other sleep consultants via her Confident Consulting Classes.

If you missed Karen’s first appearance on the podcast, scroll back to episode 21. Niching Down

Jayne Havens: Karen, welcome back to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I’m very excited to be having this conversation with you today.

Karen Winter: Hey, I’m glad to be here. Always a joy to talk with you.

Jayne Havens: Before we get into the meat of this episode, for those who don’t know you, would you mind sharing a bit about yourself and why you decided to become a certified sleep consultant?

Karen Winter: Sure. My background is early childhood education. That’s what my degree is in. I have been working with kiddos in various environments for like 20 years now. It’s crazy for me to say that. I feel old. But that’s just always been my joy and my passion. I did it as a nanny, as a daycare provider. I was a 4k teacher, a substitute teacher, all the things. And really were just trying to find my footing.

I then started my own in-home daycare. About a year after that, I got pregnant with my own daughter. And I had this thought in my mind that I got this figured out, like this is going to be good. I’m going to put her in her crib. She’s going to sleep, and all the other things. It didn’t work like that. I did not know everything as far as sleep goes, now that I know. She was a really tough little lady when it came to sleep. I was the mom that was exhausted, and waking up every hour to two hours to nurse her back to sleep.

Fast forward, we made it through that. I actually did not hire a sleep consultant. I actually didn’t even know what one was. I was just scrambling with Pinterest and Facebook and articles and blah, blah, blah. I made it through.

Then like I said, fast forward, she was about three years old I believe at the time, and I had my in home daycare. I knew I didn’t want to do that forever. And so I was at a point of like I need to shift careers. I don’t know what that’s going to look like. I want something flexible. And at that time, I was a business owner. It was hard for me to imagine not being a business owner.

Actually, it’s funny because I was just searching flexible at-home jobs, and sleep consultant kept popping up over and over. I’m like, I don’t know what this is. Like, who is this Jayne Havens too that keeps popping up on all these different places? And so finally, I was like, okay, I’m going to dive in. I hopped on a call with you. I do believe I was like I don’t know if I want to start my own business. It was scary to me. But I just felt good after that call.

Jayne Havens: And I think in that moment, you were like, “I don’t want to start my own business.” I’m like, “You already have your own business.”

Karen Winter: Yes. And like I said, I was at a point of I don’t know if I can go back to not having my own business. So it was just this weird place that I was in. But I have always had that heart and that desire to help families and to help mom with their kiddos in that respect. And it just felt right. Once I dove in to your program and everything, it just all felt like it clicked and it all came together. I was like this is what I should be doing. It just lit me up in a way that my daycare no longer did. It’s just been a really exciting experience.

Jayne Havens: You have become known within our CPSM community as sort of like ‘the toddler sleep expert.’ I’m wondering if toddlers were always your thing, or if you realized while you were getting into the flow of your new career as a sleep consultant, is that when you realize that you actually preferred working with older children?

Karen Winter: I’ve definitely worked with a big range of children. But career-wise, and in my in-home daycare at that time and my own daughter, they were all within that 2-3-4-year-old range. It was like that was sort of my thing. I did in years past have babies mixed in with that in my daycare. I just didn’t enjoy it. I love babies, and I love the snuggles and all of that. But there’s just something different for me with that age group like that, too. I was working with 2–4-year-old age group. The teaching aspects and the — I don’t know. It was my desire. My passion, again, was with that age group in the vicinity of my daycare. Then it just followed through with sleep.

Again, it kind of fit together. My knowledge of what I was doing, taking care of kids meshed with how to teach them how to sleep and how to support families in that. I think I found like I don’t want to say a lot, because maybe it just stood out to me because that was my comfort zone. But they were posting things of sleep consultants who were fearful of working with that age group or didn’t know how to switch things a little bit versus babies. And so that stood out to me, of like, oh, I don’t have that uncomfortableness. Maybe I should really niche down to this age group. When I did, it was like, yeah, this is my thing. This is my jam. I think you said that once, and I liked it.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think it’s really natural for us to sort of gravitate towards a clientele that aligns with whatever season we’re in ourselves. I remember when I first started working as a sleep consultant, I was most comfortable working with babies because that’s all I knew. I had never sleep trained a toddler, or a preschooler, or a five-year-old before, because I sleep trained my kids when they were four months old and it was done. I never had a kid that climbed out of their crib. I never had a kid that wouldn’t stay in bed all night. So that felt really out of my wheelhouse when I was first starting my business.

Then it’s ironic, because my very first client ever was a six-and-a half-year-old little girl. It’s like, oh, my gosh. This is not what I thought I was going to be doing when I got into this line of work. But I do think we gravitate towards whatever it is that we’re living and breathing already. Because as my kids have gotten older, I’ve definitely become more comfortable with supporting parents that have older children. That’s just sort of the season that I’m in right now.

And now that my kids are 10 and 6, I actually prefer more the parenting coaching aspect of sleep coaching because my kids don’t need sleep help anymore. They sleep. It’s fine. We’re out of that season in my life. Now I’m so much more cognizant of manners, and behavior, and respect. All of this stuff that I’m working on in my home feels really relevant to coach my clients through that same stuff. It’s all relevant to bedtime and sleep. But it’s sort of looking at it from a different perspective. It’s less about what sleep training methods you’re going to use and more about how to establish this mutual respect between parent and child. I would imagine you’re sort of doing this same thing.

Karen Winter: Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely about having those conversations and setting those expectations and guiding them and knowing what age-appropriate behaviors are versus like I see a lot of labeling them as a naughty kid or something. It’s like, well, no. You just have to teach in that moment how to have that conversation or how to get across the emotion you’re having. I think that that’s why that age group gets labeled a bit.

It makes sense too, like you said, when you’re in that season of life. Because I started when my own daughter was older, the three-year-old-ish. I didn’t enjoy. I mean, I have the knowledge to support parents with babies, but I myself had been in that area of scrambling. And so you kind of get in your head of like, well, can I help this when I had a really hard time? In some ways, I can connect with them then on a different level. But yeah, I definitely felt like my expertise was in that season of my life when I was with the 2–7-year-old, the preschoolers.

Jayne Havens: Was it scary to double down and really speak directly to a more specific audience, rather than keeping your message more generalized? I know you now have a Facebook group called Sleep Support for Toddlers and Preschoolers, which is very specific. Did that feel scary to commit to the older age set? I know that you’ll help babies if they come your way, but that’s not really your messaging.

Karen Winter: Right. Yeah, it definitely was scary. Because you want to reach as many people as you can, and you want that clientele coming in. And yes, I can help younger kiddos. It was scary to feel like I was blocking off a whole set of ages, if you wanted to look at the newborn in the infant phase. But at the same time, what I’ve come to learn is I feel like I’m bringing in more clients because they see me really speaking to them specifically. And so it’s not this wishy washy of like, “Oh, I can help everybody.” It’s, “I understand what you are going through in this moment. And I’m here to help you with those specific challenges at this specific age.”

I think you can talk on either ends. But I think sometimes with the older parents, they feel like this is just the way it’s going to be until they grow out of it. Giving them that message of hope of like they’re not too old. You can absolutely start changing things now. Within three weeks, you’re going to see some big changes. It also helped me. I love creating content for this age group. So I’m not sitting there, like, okay, what am I going to talk about today? It’s like, oh, my gosh. My daughter just went through this. This is a piece of advice that I can now throw into my Facebook group. And so, actually, I feel like niching down helped me a lot both with my own mentality, in my own business and content creation but then with bringing in more people from that specific age group.

Jayne Havens: Most recently, you launched a new program aimed at sleep consultants. It’s called Confident Consulting. First of all, I want to say that I’m so proud of you for noticing that there was a need for more education and support for sleep consultants in this area. I’m a firm believer that in order to be a great sleep consultant, you have to be willing to continue to learn. It’s frankly always valuable to learn from different people. I really think that you are 100% giving sleep consultants more confidence to support families with older children. I think it’s incredible. Tell us about the program.

Karen Winter: Yeah, it’s my new baby. I’m super loving it. It kind of went from just this idea of, like you said, seeing that need for help in that age group, help with consulting in that age group. I didn’t really know how I wanted to go about it. I think I actually reached out to you. Like, “I feel like there’s a need here. I’m not really sure how to do that.” You were like, “If you’re going to do it, do a class. Do a webinar. Do something like that.”

And so it turned into this tiny idea. Now it’s this big three-class series. I’m building the classes as I go, so that there can be really fresh examples. I have three classes or two classes launched already. My first one was a month ago. That’s all about laying the foundation with this age group and the importance of that, and how, with babies, you can pick a day for the parents that sleep training can start. And with toddlers and preschoolers, it’s like, well, let’s ease into this. They have to know what’s happening. They have to be a part of this process. I go into how to have that conversation with them, how to connect as a sleep consultant with the child. Because I think that’s hugely valuable. Then I walk through what I call my ‘prep work plan.’ That’s something that I give all my families of things they can start changing as we work towards the actual sleep training method. That’s my first class.

Then my second class, I just launched and sent out about a week ago. That one is all about tantrums. Like you said, even though it’s not specifically sleep-related, but how you work through tantrums with this age group is hugely impactful on how you’re going to get through bedtime, and how you’re going to get through those overnight weeks. And so that class is all devoted on why tantrums happen, how to work through them, how to hold the boundary, how to talk with parents about this, because you are a bit of a parent coach.

Then my third class, that I’ll be working on and we’ll be launching just in a couple of weeks, is about the chair method and troubleshooting that. Because I love that method. I use it all the time. I actually have heard a lot of consultants say they’re uncomfortable with it, or they want this black and white of what you have to do at each phase. It’s not black and white with this age group. It’s definitely learning that child and learning how to just move forward while pulling back on that support. So that class is all about how you can do that. bedtime for early morning wakes, for naps. Because every two- to three-year-old protest that nap.

Those are three classes. I often get asked like, are they live? Did I miss it? This is something that’s evergreen. I have a presentation that I speak on and then I send out handouts and things like that. So it’s something that can be purchased at any point in time. You have all the information within a Google Drive link.

Jayne Havens: I think right now, the way you’re offering it is: people can buy just one or two, or they can buy all three and they save a little bit of money if they purchase all three as a bundle. Is that right?

Karen Winter: Yeah, exactly. They can purchase specific classes, or if they get all three, your best saving money that way.

Jayne Havens: When it comes to entrepreneurship, I think there are always twists and turns in the journey. I think your story is really a perfect example, that you never expected to be teaching other sleep consultants when you launched your business less than two years ago. Are you loving this? Why do you think this new offer is bringing you a different level of satisfaction and joy?

Karen Winter: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I don’t think that it ever crossed my mind that I would be teaching sleep consultants or teaching adults, besides the parents for that matter. But it does light me up in a different way. I’m using my teaching background in a way that’s helping adults and helping more families. If I can’t reach those families, I want to be able to help my fellow sleep consultants reach those families and be successful with them. I think that’s all just about getting the word out about sleep consulting and about sleep training, and making it the norm. If I can be a piece of that, it’s an amazing feeling.

Those consultants that I do work one on one with — because that’s a little branch off of my classes. You can work with me one on one as well — it’s just amazing to see their confidence grow. We have this back and forth of like, “Well, this is what you should be telling them to do. This is how you can prepare for next clients.” When they come back to me, they’re like, “Oh, man. So this is what happened tonight. I think this is what I’m going to tell them,” I’m like, yeah, spot on. It’s exciting to see that. To see that consultant just go from nerves and scared and like, “I don’t know if I can actually help this family” to “This is exactly what I need to do and say and suggest to the parent.” Then that parent is like raving about them.

It’s this cool intertwined way of helping more families by helping consultants. Yeah, it really lights me up. Every little message I get from the classes or from the one on one, it’s the same as getting a message from parents when they’re like, “We did it. They slept through the night.” It’s a really cool feeling.

Jayne Havens: Yeah, I really identify with that. As somebody who’s teaching other sleep consultants also, I really find it to be so empowering to teach somebody how to teach somebody else to have a successful moment. It’s really like it’s a double win. I think you touched on this, but I want to reiterate. I think it’s so important that there are enough of us out there teaching sleep consultants how to be better sleep consultants, I think that’s really important because our field is new. It’s up and coming.

A lot of new parents don’t even know what a sleep consultant is. Every single time a new parent or a seasoned parent hires a sleep consultant, they’re either going to have a great experience or a not-so-great experience or somewhere in the middle. I think we, collectively, as sleep consultants, need parents to have great experiences with the support of a sleep consultant. I don’t care who it is.

Karen Winter: Yeah, absolutely.

Jayne Havens: I don’t care if it’s me supporting the family, you supporting the family, or somebody brand new who just finished my course, or somebody who took another course with another sleep consultant certification program. I really don’t care who it is. I want the family to have a positive experience, because I think it reflects on our field as a whole. And it’s really important.

Nothing breaks my heart more than when somebody says, “I hired a sleep consultant, and they were terrible.” That literally breaks my heart. So if there are people out there like you giving other sleep consultants the tools to be better at their jobs, then every single day, I’m going to be cheering you on.

Karen Winter: Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree with that more.

Jayne Havens: Where are you going to go from here? What’s next? Do you have any big plans? I mean, I know this is new. I would imagine you’re going to be working on refining this and perfecting it and really getting the messaging out. But do you have any other ideas up your sleeve that you feel like sharing with us? And if you don’t, that’s totally okay.

Karen Winter: Yeah, I mean, I’m loving this. From the start, when this was just like a little idea, my big brain idea eventually, is to create a course for this age group — one for consultants and one for parents. I feel like I’m edging my way and making these little stepping stones towards that so I can even add to it more and make it more intensive, and provide that much more information.

This is just sort of the tip of the iceberg for me. I do plan on continuing supporting families and kind of that being the forefront, but then doing this aside from it as well. I’m super excited. I have 19 days, I believe, until I’m doing sleep consulting full-time. No more daycare. So that’s my biggest venture really. It’s really shifting my schedule and doing all that and spending more time doing this full-time.

Jayne Havens: Well, I’m so incredibly proud of how far you’ve come in like a year and a half, both with your confidence and your aptitude for business and entrepreneurship and just your confidence in your ability to grow your business in new and interesting ways. I love seeing it. So congrats to you.

Before we wrap up, share with everybody where they can find you. There are a lot of sleep consultants that listen to this, so I want to make sure they know where to find your training for how to support this age group at a higher level.

Karen Winter: Sure. Thanks, Jayne. My website is winterslumber.com/classes. Real simple. You can find it there, and that’ll have the landing page with all my class information.

Jayne Havens: All right. Thank you so much, Karen. Great chatting with you, as always. And I can’t wait to do it again soon.

Karen Winter: Thanks, Jayne. Have a good one.

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. Niching Down

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