This is a topic that I have covered before, but since every day as a Sleep Consultant looks different I decided to tackle it again! The beautiful thing about running your own business is that you get to do it in a way that works for you.
This example of “A Day in the Life” is my first day back at work with my kids back in school. It felt great to have a full day of calls and to be back in the swing of things again. I am sure tomorrow will look entirely different!
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Jayne Havens: Today’s podcast episode is all about a day in the life of a sleep consultant. Right after I finished recording this episode, I realized that I made no mention of supporting families through my two-week consultation. That’s because I’m actually inventorying clients right now. I just wrapped up with four families, and I’m going to be starting with two more. But I actually have a couple of days where I’m not supporting anybody, and it actually feels really nice.
This is a completely accurate reflection of what my day looks like. And it happens to not include checking in with clients first thing in the morning or fielding text messages throughout the day. Sometimes that’s the reality of our jobs. Sometimes, we’re really busy with clients. Sometimes, we’re really busy with marketing. And sometimes, it’s a mixed bag of both. So what you’re about to hear is my day yesterday. It’s accurate. It’s truthful. It was great, and I hope you enjoy!
When brainstorming ideas for what topics I could discuss on the podcast in these months moving forward, I decided to head into my podcast dashboard and review all of the analytics to see which past episodes were the most successful, which episodes had the highest number of downloads. What was interesting, or at least it was interesting to me, is that the episode with the most downloads out of all of the episodes was the episode that I did that was called A Day in the Life of a Sleep Consultant. I thought, well, isn’t that interesting? Or, maybe it’s totally obvious that people who listen to this podcast are interested in becoming a sleep consultant, and they want to know what does it look like a day in the life.
Of course, this looks different for everybody. Maybe what I should do next time is interview somebody else to share their day in the life. Because obviously, theirs is going to look different than mine. But for today, I’m just going to share with you an example of my “Day in the Life of a Sleep Consultant.” I didn’t listen back to the last one that I did, but I bet it’s entirely different from the episode that I released the last time.
Today, I’m going to share with you my day that happened yesterday. Yesterday was my kids’ first day back at school after a very long summer of them being away at sleepaway camp. Then they got home from camp, and we had some time in between camp and school. We spent five days at the beach, and then we were home trying to sort of fill the rest of the time with just whatever we can figure out. Honestly, it was a scramble, because I was trying to get some work done but also keep my kids entertained. It was a bit of a hodgepodge. Yesterday was my kids’ first day back at school. And it was my first day back at work sort of in real life, totally undisrupted all day.
So I was up super early. I wanted to make sure that everything was organized and ready to go. I needed to have lunches packed. I needed to have all the school supplies at the front door. I didn’t want to forget their water bottles. I wanted to make sure their uniforms were laid out and ready to go. So I was up super early. By 7am, the kids were eating breakfast, and I was yelling at them to take cute first-day-of-school pictures. By 7:30, we were out the door. I like to be the first in carpool line. I’d rather be first and wait at the front than be in the back and anxious waiting in the back. It’s just how I am. So we were at school super early. I dropped them off.
By 8:30, I was at the park where I met a friend for about an hour-long walk. It was totally awesome. I would call that self-care. We caught up on the summer. We caught up on our experiences dropping the kids off for their first day of school. We talked work. We just enjoyed the weather. It was lovely. That was about 8:30 to 9:30.
I was home by 10 AM for a Zoom call. The Zoom was actually for a Center for Pediatric Sleep Management graduate. When my students graduate from the program, I give them about 45 minutes to an hour of my time on Zoom. It’s an opportunity for them to get any lasting questions answered that they may have. Sometimes, they want to come on to Zoom, and we talk about sleep stuff. Sometimes, they want to talk business. Maybe they want to review their services and pricing. Maybe they have questions about how to get their website up and running. Whatever it is, I just give them an hour of my time, and we make sure that they feel confident and empowered to get started on this journey of launching their own small businesses. So that was 10 AM.
11 AM, I had an Ask-Me-Anything call. These Ask-Me-Anything calls I do, they are 30-minute calls. I really just do them for troubleshooting. I don’t schedule Ask-Me-Anything calls. I don’t really allow it for families who have babies or children who do not fall asleep independently. I find, personally, that just doesn’t work for me. I like to get my clients results. I don’t feel like I can get my clients those kind of results in a 30-minute phone call. These Ask-Me-Anything calls are generally reserved for troubleshooting.
Former clients use them all of the time. I get a lot of calls about early-morning wake ups or parents wanting to figure out when the best time to transition from two to one nap or when to drop the nap. We sometimes will talk on these calls about the transition from a crib to a bed, not in an emergency situation. If a family has a child who’s climbing out of the crib and doesn’t know what to do next, that would not be a great fit for an Ask-Me-Anything call. But a child who’s sleeping beautifully in their crib but perhaps they’re three and a half, and the parents just feel like it’s time for a bed, that would be a great time to do an Ask-Me-Anything call just to talk about what the transition from the crib to a bed looks like in the best-case scenario.
Anyway, this Ask-Me-Anything call was for a former client. She has an 11-week-old baby. This baby is doing beautifully. She is largely sleeping through the night. She wakes up once in the middle of the night for a feeding. But otherwise, she sleeps. She’s taking pretty decent naps. The reason this mom has scheduled a call is because she wants to know when she should drop the swaddle. That’s a great reason to schedule an Ask-Me-Anything call. She wanted information and coaching on how to best prepare her baby for the coming weeks and months. So we spent about 30 minutes talking about when the best time is to transition out of that swaddle, how to go about it, when she knows that her baby will be ready, et cetera, et cetera. I love these calls, especially with former clients.
The last time we worked together, she, at the time, had a 10-month-old baby who was really actually a challenging case. At the time, this mom was struggling with some postpartum anxiety. She was having a really rough go at motherhood. Her baby was going through separation anxiety. Sleep training was tricky. It was dicey. We got everybody through it, and the end result was fantastic. But I remember, this family, it was hard. She really needed that support. It’s just really wonderful to see her the second time around with an 11-week-old and totally thriving. She taught this baby how to fall asleep independently from the very beginning. She laid the foundation for a healthy and independent sleep hygiene from day one, because she didn’t want to land herself in that same position a second time. I just thought that was beautiful. So that was 11 AM.
11:30, I had another discovery call. This family has an 18-month-old little girl. Mom is still nursing to sleep at bedtime and throughout the night, in the middle of the nigh. It sounded like dad is pretty frustrated with this and wants the child to be sleeping independently through the night. Mom and dad don’t seem to be on the same page about this. This is one of those tricky situations. Because in order for this family to have success, really, they need to be on the same page about their goals.
On this discovery call, we talked a lot about their individual goals. I tried to help them maybe come to a middle ground to see if they could land at a place that feels right for both of them. And so, I don’t know. I don’t know if this family will move forward with my support. I hope that they will. I always emphasize on these calls that my process is simply to coach parents through an approach that aligns with their parenting style. I want the entire process to feel safe and comfortable for them as much as possible. But it’s interesting. When parents feel differently about it, we have to find the middle ground. I think that’s what they’re still going to have to work on before we get started. So we’ll see. That was 11:30.
At 12:00, I fed myself a quick lunch. I checked social media. Throughout the day, I noticed that my former clients and friends and colleagues tend to tag me in posts in Facebook groups, whether that be with moms or dads who are struggling with their child’s sleep or perhaps, I don’t know, all sorts of situations. So I tend to get onto my phone or my computer a few times a day to see if I have been tagged in any posts. And if so, I will reply to those posts and connect with people if necessary.
When I was first getting started in my business, I actually used to search certain groups a few times a day with keywords like ‘sleep’ or ‘bedtime’ to see what chatter was going on in my favorite Facebook groups on these topics so that I could chime in. Now I don’t do that as much anymore. I just rely on people tagging me, and I reply as necessary. So that was 12 PM.
12:30, I had a discovery call for Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. This person already signed on to enroll since yesterday. So that’s exciting. I’m really excited that she is joining our CPSM community. She’s a social worker. She supports mom’s postpartum, and has a lot of experience with infants and toddlers. So she’s going to be a great fit for our community. It was a great call. She signed up right away, so that was fabulous.
1 PM, I had a client coaching call. This is a mom, another former client of mine. She had hired me several years ago for her baby who was then seven months old. We sleep trained him. It was so easy. Literally, night one, I think he slept through the night. Maybe it was night two. Every night after that, it was just us celebrating that he slept through the night. It was one of the easiest cases that I’ve ever had. So she came back around a second time. She has a new baby. This new baby is also seven months old. We will be getting started with him very shortly, so I’m excited. I’m hopeful that we’re going to have an encore of our past experience. And you’ll have to stay tuned for that one.
At 2 PM, I had another discovery call. This one came in last minute. This one actually emailed me at some point earlier in the day yesterday, sort of in a panic. He got my name. This dad got my name from a former client. He emailed me saying, “We are really underwater. We’re struggling with our six-month-old. Please let me know at your earliest convenience when we can speak.” Well, my earliest convenience was 2 PM.
We spoke yesterday. This is an interesting family. This is a blended family. Mom and dad each have four kids. So eight. Well, one has four. One has — I don’t know what the circumstances are. But they each have children separately, and then they have some together. It’s a total of eight children living — some of them are older. Out of the house already. But they have eight kids to get as a blended family. And so it’s not like they’re new to parenting.
This eighth child is throwing them for a serious loop. I spoke to them yesterday, and I am hopeful that they are going to move forward with my support. I’m actually planning on shooting them an email at some point today to follow up, to see if they’re ready to get started. It seems like, yesterday, they were ready yesterday. But they haven’t signed on yet, so I will send a follow-up email and encourage them to get the paperwork over to me so that we can get started on coaching as soon as possible.
After that was another CPSM discovery call. That one went great. Actually, that call was with somebody who lives local to me and is in my community. That doesn’t happen often. So at a minimum, it was just really nice to talk to somebody from my own community that I didn’t know. Sometimes, when you get on these calls, you have really nice personal connections that you’re not expecting. I always look at these calls. This is a perfect example. This person is interested in enrolling in CPSM. She works for an Infants and Toddlers Program in Maryland. She thinks that this would be just a great tool to add to her tool belt. But also, perhaps she would start her own small business. I hope that she does. We’ll see. But either way, it was a great conversation.
Her children actually go to my children’s school, which is crazy because we don’t know each other. And at a minimum, now I have a new connection, a new friend inside of my small community that I didn’t even know. So I love getting onto phone calls. Whether it turns into something business-related, or just a connection, or a new friend, it doesn’t matter. It’s all good. So that was that. That was my last call. I had a few minutes before I had to get my kids from school, so I spent that time folding some laundry, packing some lunches, trying to get myself organized for the next day.
At 3:30, I was at school to get the kids. We were home by 4. My kids like an early dinner, so as soon as they come home, I feed them dinner. I give them a little bit of downtime. They watch TV or their iPads, whatever, while I clean up dinner and get their backpacks all ready for the next day. Before you know it, my husband was home. And once he gets home, he takes over with the kids. He takes them down to the basement, plays with them, does bedtime. That allows me the flexibility to support clients through bedtime struggles if I need to or just to have some downtime after a day of work.
Anyway, that’s what my day looked like yesterday. I bet today will look entirely different. That’s the beauty of working as a sleep consultant. Every day is completely different. This is just an example of what a day in the life looks like if you’re doing this work full time. Maybe I will schedule an interview with one of my CPSM grads in the coming weeks, who works as a sleep consultant very part time or in addition to a full-time job, so that you can see what a day in the life looks like for somebody who’s not sitting at their desk all day, working as a sleep consultant. But anyway, this is my day. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it was helpful. And I’ll be back next week.
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. A Day in the Life of a Sleep Consultant