Sindy Warren is the Founder of Blue Tree Coaching. She is a life and business coach, a Stanford Law School grad, a human resources consultant, and a published author. She is also the host of the Side Gig School Podcast.
Sindy helps coaches and consultants grow their businesses so they can experience the personal and professional freedom that comes from being their own boss. Stop Focusing on the Big Goals
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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.
Sindy Warren is the Founder of Blue Tree Coaching. She is a life and business coach, a Stanford Law School grad, a human resources consultant, and a published author. She is also the host of the Side Gig School Podcast. Sindy helps coaches and consultants grow their businesses so they can experience the personal and professional freedom that comes from being their own boss.
Jayne Havens: Sindy, welcome back to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I always love having these conversations with you.
Sindy Warren: Likewise, Jayne. I’m so happy to be back.
Jayne Havens: I wanted to bring you back on to the podcast because I have noticed that I keep having the same conversation over and over again, both with prospective CPSM students and graduates from the program.
Everyone’s biggest fear about business development is that they won’t be able to achieve whatever big, humongous, ginormous goal that they are setting for themselves straight out of the gate. Personally, I think that the fastest way to sabotage yourself in business is to focus on goals that are maybe too far out of reach. I assume you would agree, right?
Sindy Warren: I do agree. That’s so interesting. Because I think what we’re saying that we’re both agreeing with is actually contrary to a lot of what we’re seeing out there in the online business world. I can, for sure, speak in the coaching industry per se that people talk about impossible goals and the BHAG goal (the big, hairy, bleep goals), and how you should dream as big as you possibly can imagine, and that’s the way to get started. But I think the truth is, for many people, that sends their nervous system into fight or flight. We’re all going to die here. I better hide and stay small and stay with my day job that I don’t love, and never mind.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I literally see that every single day in my business. What prompted me to want to have this conversation with you, besides the fact that you are always so brilliant at talking about this exact topic, is that I was on a discovery call for somebody who was interested in enrolling in Center for Pediatric Sleep Management.
She was just so fixated on, like, how long do you think it’s going to take me to be able to generate — her goal was $5,000 to $8,000 a month. That’s what she wanted to generate. She was just so wrapped up in what the timeframe was going to be, how quickly could she make that happen. I was sitting there. I’m an honest person. I’m not going to tell her that she’s going to do that in three months or three years. It varies. I have so many students and graduates inside of the program who all have different goals. All have different time commitments to their businesses, and all have different mindsets around entrepreneurship. There are so many factors that come into play that, like, how would I ever be able to answer that question for her? Honestly, I would have no idea.
Also, I don’t know. I just felt like that was the wrong place for her mind to be. Because if you’re so focused on that end goal, it feels so out of reach, I think. That you almost feel like, well, I’m not even sure I should try because it just feels like I’m never going to be able to do it. So then you don’t even try. Then you’re stuck where you are, which is just I don’t know. As somebody who is constantly just working towards my goals in a more manageable and reasonable way, it feels like a really unfortunate mindset place to be in.
Sindy Warren: It’s really self-defeating. It’s like you’re making the decision to fail before you even try because you’re afraid of failing. So you make that happen in advance by not even trying. It’s a little mind tricky. I think it’s so important on the journey to celebrate every milestone, as small as it may be. I remember the first time an actual coaching client wrote me a check for $125. I had a very significant secure day job salary at the time. I was like, wow, that’s a really big deal. Someone is paying me for my time to sit there and talk to him about his life. That’s special. If I had at that point been focused on where are my 5k months, I wouldn’t have grown to 20k months several years later.
Jayne Havens: One thing I do inside of Center for Pediatric Sleep Management is, every single Wednesday, we have a thread inside of our Facebook group. It’s called Winning Wednesday. I encourage all of my students, graduates, people who have been there for weeks or for years to chime in and just share a win. It can be big or small it can be. It can be, “I just actually booked my very first discovery call today.” It can be, “I had my first $5,000 month.” It can be, “I got a text message from a mom whose baby slept through the night for the very first night in eight months.” It can be anything.
Sindy Warren: Totally.
Jayne Havens: I think it’s so valuable both to participate in those activities, to share the small wins and then also to surround yourself with a community that is sharing their wins, small wins — it doesn’t need to be big wins — so that you can see that these baby steps in the right direction are what are ultimately helping you to grow to a place that maybe you didn’t even think was possible however long ago.
Sindy Warren: Absolutely. That is so interesting that you do that on Wednesdays. I do that inside my Side Gig School group. We have a Facebook. We have a thread every Friday for posting a win or a celebration. It is very affirming to see people sharing really small things, and everyone’s like, “Woohoo! Way to go. Keep it up.” It does fuel an achievement growth mindset. So I think that’s really important.
Jayne Havens: Let’s talk about micro goals. I actually think it was you who first taught me about setting micro goals. I love that term. What’s the idea behind this? I guess it’s sort of what we’re already talking about, right? That when you take those tiny, little baby goals and actually achieve them, it makes you feel a little bit more productive. You’re moving in the right direction, right?
Sindy Warren: Yeah, think of it as like baby-stepping your way there and running a marathon instead of running a sprint. Because as you and I both know, it takes a long time to sustainably grow a business, have consistent monthly revenue, replace day-job income, et cetera.
So I love the idea of a micro goal. If I even take the prospect you spoke to who’s like, “When will I get my 5k months,” well, what needs to happen to create your first 5k month? You need to have a client list. You need to have consistent marketing. You need to have a really clear offer. You break down mentally what are all the things that would need to lead up to that happening? Then those are your micro goals.
Okay. I created my offer. Okay, I shared my offer. Okay, I have my first discovery call. Okay, I have my first mom client with a child sleep through the night. All those things need to happen on the way to the bigger goal. It is this like we’re baby-stepping our way to massive — if we want it, and depending on how we define it — success.
Jayne Havens: I like that you said ‘depending on how we define it.’ I think that when it comes to entrepreneurship, everybody has different goals. I have graduates from my program who are making $2,000 a month, and they are homeschooling their children. They are busy with their family and their home life. They are thrilled. They are exceeding their own expectations with the income that they’re generating in their businesses. Then I have other graduates who are generating $15,000 to $18,000 a month. Sometimes they’re probably thinking, at $12,000 month, that they had a bad month. It’s all relative.
Sindy Warren: Totally.
Jayne Havens: It’s all relative. I think that defining success is tricky and also probably needs to be done in baby steps. We were all so fixated on that early and rapid success. We thought that if we don’t hit it right away, that it’s never going to happen.
Actually, before we hit record — Sindy, I just want to share — Sindy and I were talking about if everybody could just leave their accounting jobs, or if everybody could just leave if you’re a paralegal, or an accountant, or a teacher, if you could just leave your job tomorrow and sit at your kitchen table and generate the same amount of income that you’re generating now, we would all do that, right?
Sindy Warren: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: It’s tricky, and it’s hard. It takes dedication and grit and perseverance to build something worthwhile. But I don’t know. I think it’s worth it. It’s worth the hard work and the reward at the end. I don’t know. It feels good.
Sindy Warren: Yeah, I think so, too. And you said something. I want to just sort of like, this is a drum I’ve been beating loudly as of late. How are we defining success for ourselves? We know that in the world of online business, it’s 5k months, 10k months, 20k months, seven figures. Then you’ll be happy. That might be true for some people. And that is not true for everyone. So I think there needs to be—
For everyone considering entrepreneurship whether as a side gig or as a full-time thing, what do I really want here and why? Of course, like you said, that can evolve and change over time. When I first started my coaching business, I wanted a few coaching clients to pursue a passion. Let me exercise a new skill and make a little bit of money. Now, several years later, it’s my full-time thing. My goals are totally different.
One thing that I think is so hard for people, especially at the beginning stages of the entrepreneurial journey, is finding a way to shut out all of the external noise about what it’s supposed to look like, and really having a more interiorized experience, if you will, of what that even means. Then once we decide what it means at least to begin, we can start to get into action in a tangible, micro goal kind of way.
Jayne Havens: I like that. I think maybe a little bit what you’re saying is to enjoy the process. It’s not just about getting to the end goal but enjoying every single phase. Not to say that everything is fun. Some things in business are hard. Some things are outside of our comfort zone. Some things feel way over our heads. I don’t know about you, but I still feel that way.
Nobody believes me when I tell them this, but there are so many things in my business day to day that still feel challenging for me. And to some degree, that never ever goes away. So it’s like just figuring out a way to enjoy the process and to be more comfortable with the uncomfortable. Realizing all of those moments where you do figure something out that felt totally hard and totally outside of your comfort zone, those are the wins. That should be shared on Winning Wednesday. That is not for nothing.
Sindy Warren: Yeah, absolutely. I think you said it perfectly. It’s the journey. It is the journey. And the destination is awesome. Have an idea of where you want to go. But if you’re not enjoying the journey, you are likely to give up. And if you are just holding out a lofty impossible goal, you’re not going to enjoy your day-to-day work that much. That brings us right back to micro goals.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, exactly. I know that you coach side hustlers side gigs, right?
Sindy Warren: Yes.
Jayne Havens: Can you think of an example inside of your business? Maybe one of your clients who put this into practice really nicely, somebody who really did take those baby steps and grew organically in a way that felt good and productive at the same time. It doesn’t need to be a sleep consultant. I’m just curious about really anybody in entrepreneurship that you can share an example.
Sindy Warren: So many clients are actually popping into my head right now, but I’ll share one in particular. Her name is Joe. She is a professional violist in a very well-regarded national orchestra. She started a side gig of well-being coaching for classically-trained musicians. Talk about the niche. It started really, really small. With her even wondering, is this a thing at first and then saying, “Okay. It’s a thing. What do I do next?”
From her very first offer to getting her first client, to now she’s literally being paid to travel and teach on well-being to students in conservatories. So it’s been very slow and steady. It’s been about a three-year process. It is still, and for the foreseeable future, will be a real strong side gig. She’s not giving up her day job anytime soon. It’s really interesting, this woman in particular. Because she grew up obviously in the world of classical music which is, believe it or not, kind of like the world of gymnastics. Like train hard day after day, hour after hour. It doesn’t matter if your fingers are bloody and you’re tired.
Her approach to growing her business has been so different, because she wanted to have a more luxurious experience of the journey than she had of the journey of becoming where she is in the music world. That contrast for her, I know, has been very intentional and has felt very satisfying. She is very far along in her side gig in making consistent monthly revenue that’s making a difference in her life.
Jayne Havens: I love that story for so many reasons. First of all, people ask me all the time, like, “Do people really hire sleep consultants? Is that really a thing?” And here you are telling me about a musician who created a program for supporting classical musicians in well-being. I mean, that just proves the point that, literally, anything can be a business. And if you can support people and give them a transformation and show them value, then there is a business in that. I love that that was the example because it’s so niche.
Sindy Warren: Obscure. Wait. I can even top that. Joe’s sister is also in my program. Her side gig is pet portraits, and she just had her first four-figure month doing pet portraits. It really is anything. You just have to get started and keep going.
Jayne Havens: I always tell this story. I may have told this on the podcast before, but I’m not sure. I connected with somebody on a Facebook group who sells — her company is called Declan’s Mining Company. Look it up. She sells a bucket of sand and rocks on the internet. I think it’s like $70, plus shipping. It’s really expensive. It’s like for kids to go gem mining at home. You know how when you go on vacation at Great Wolf Lodge, and they have gem mining where can you go sift through sand and water and pull out these rocks that look like gems? She sells the at-home version of that. It’s expensive. It’s totally like, who needs gem mining at home? Apparently, a lot of people. I’ve bought it. I’ve actually bought it several times.
Sindy Warren: That’s incredible.
Jayne Havens: I bought it several times. It makes a great gift. I bought it for my nieces and nephews for the holidays one year. It’s like if this woman can make a business out of selling sand and rocks on the internet for $70, plus shipping, then you can get out there and support families through the process of establishing healthy and independent sleep hygiene for your children. Period. End of story, right?
Sindy Warren: End of story. No question about it.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I love that. Oh my gosh. What a great story. It really speaks to little bit, step by step, and there is no rush to it. Three years later — I love that you mentioned that she’s three years in. Because I don’t know what the stat is on this. But I think most small business owners give up on their small businesses in the first year. I think that there’s some sort of statistic on that. I wish I had actual numbers.
Sindy Warren: Absolutely.
Jayne Havens: I always say that in order to be successful in entrepreneurship, you need to keep going beyond. You need to gain momentum. If you quit before you gain momentum, then your business fails. If you can keep working on it until you reach that tipping point where you maybe get your first referral, somebody who you’ve worked with in the past shares your name with a friend. That becomes a tipping point where like you’re not just going out and finding all of your clients on your own, but they start coming to you. That does happen for everybody, eventually. But if you quit before that moment, before that happens for you, then you never got to see the fruits of your labor that may have been one, two years in the making.
Sindy Warren: That’s so well said. And it’s so true. I always think of it as ‘consistency plus time yields results.’
Jayne Havens: I love when you say that. Wait. Say that again. Consistency plus time…
Sindy Warren: Consistency plus time equals results.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I love that. I think one of the toughest things to do when you’re growing your own small business is to strike that balance between having the long-term vision and then breaking it down into manageable and achievable little steps. Any thoughts on how to best achieve that mystical magical balance from a mindset perspective?
Sindy Warren: Yeah, I think it is part mindset and part strategy. It is actually sitting down, pen to paper, whether on your own, in a community of support or an accountability group, or with your own coach, and making the plan so that you can see it. This is a real thing. Okay. Now we have a list of 10 things I need to do as prerequisites to get to my first $1,000 month or whatever. So there’s the plan.
Then I do think, as you mentioned, the mindset is so important, which is normalizing that these things take time, that it’s a day after day, step by step, brick by brick kind of approach and by, like you said, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I will be very surprised if you don’t agree with me, Jayne. But being in business for yourself and working to grow a business at any level is the most intense personal development journey you can step onto.
Jayne Havens: That is what I’m here for at this point.
Sindy Warren: Me, too.
Jayne Havens: At this point, I am here for personal development. When I first got started in this business, it was because I was sort of bored at home. I was sort of over with just the stay-at-home mom life. I was looking for something to challenge me, and I was looking to generate some income. At this point, my business has grown steady, steady, steady. I’m doing things that are way more interesting and exciting than I ever imagined that I’d be doing just a few years ago. And at this point, I am here for personal development. I am on a journey.
And really, when you get to that place in your mind, it’s almost like it doesn’t even matter what happens financially in any given moment. I know that there’s some privilege involved in that statement. I know that for me to have a “bad month” — I put that in air quotes — it’s not going to hurt me at this point, which is a really privileged and wonderful place to be. But also, I think the mindset shift of just like, “I’m here to grow. I’m here to learn. I’m on a journey. I don’t even know where I’m going, but I am just putting one foot in front of the other and taking steps in a really inspiring and interesting direction,” is, from a mindset perspective, a really awesome place to be.
Sindy Warren: Unbelievably. Unbelievably, great place to be. The other thing, and this is I know true for all of your clients — it has to be, given the work you do — is we’re doing something that’s making a positive impact on an actual human’s life. That also is really an important piece of the mindset puzzle of how you keep going when it feels hard or if you didn’t hit the “magic number of the month” or whatever it is.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think always leading with helping people, serving people, making people’s lives better. That is always going to work out in one way or another, right?
Sindy Warren: It is.
Jayne Havens: It always works out. It never gets old to get those messages. I get them coming in two different directions. I get the moms who have their children who have slept through the night for the first time in who knows how long, and how amazing that feels. Then I have the graduates from my program who say, “I just was able to redo my bathroom because of the money that I generated from this work.” Really, when you’re getting those posts, both positive affirmations from your clients, it just all, I think, helps to keep you trucking along even when things feel challenging outside of your comfort zone, whatever it may be.
Sindy Warren: Yeah, so I think we just need to keep tapping back into that sense of, like, okay, what’s the point? What impact am I making? What impact am I hoping to make? That does really connect with our deep human need to be of contribution in some way, shape or form.
Jayne Havens: I think that striking a balance between ambition and reality is something that is really challenging for a lot of people. For me, I personally struggle with this. As someone who always wants to grow, I need to remember that plateaus and dips in income or success are all inevitable. From a mindset perspective, do you have any thoughts on how to handle the ride, the journey, those ups and downs?
Sindy Warren: Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to use the word I used again which is normalize, that there are ups and downs. It can be no other way. It cannot be up, up, up, up up forever and ever. That is no one’s story. That’s just not our experience as humans, as business owners. So I think normalizing that there are going to be ups and downs. Then coming back to both your personal mission and vision, whether it’s making impact or getting your bathroom redone, which is significant for many of us, is really important. And to just really dial into the truth that this is a journey we’re on.
Journeys are winding. That’s inherent in the definition of a journey. So if we can look at that and then tell ourselves, “Nothing’s gone wrong. It’s exactly as it’s supposed to be. I’m in an ebb. I’m in a flow,” I think that helps a lot with the sustainability of our work.
Jayne Havens: I think that’s right. In your opinion, how crucial is a supportive network, or mentorship, or coaching when trying to achieve goals for yourself, whether they be big or small?
Sindy Warren: Extremely important. I noticed this for myself and my clients. Again, it doesn’t have to look a certain way. It could be a free Facebook community you’re a part of. It could be a paid coaching group you’re a part of. It could be an accountability group you have with your besties, or it could be working with a one-on-one coach.
I think the outside support is very important to help normalize the experience, reorient you to your values and your goals and your mission.
Jayne Havens: As somebody who is coaching families through sleep training which is hard and emotional and overwhelming, and sometimes for parents I think feels like an impossible goal, if we’re going to make the analogy, I love connecting what we do as sleep consultants back to what we’re doing as entrepreneurs. Because I think it’s so similar, right?
Here we are asking families to trust us to coach them through something that they don’t believe is possible. That’s why they end up hiring us. It’s because they think that their 10-month-old is broken. There’s no way their 10-month-old is ever going to be able to sleep. Or, their four-year-old who doesn’t stay in bed, it’s impossible. He won’t. He can’t. These are the words that we’re hearing from our clients. These are some of the same words that I hear from people who are just getting started on the journey to becoming a sleep consultant. They say to me like, “I can’t do this,” or, “I won’t be able to do this,” or, “I don’t think this is possible for me.” Those are all the same things that we hear from our clients.
And so our clients are seeking out support to help them to reach their goals. A lot of the time, as sleep consultants, we help them. We take baby steps. We don’t always rip the band aid off. We help them make small changes that have meaningful and long-lasting results. It’s really the same thing in business. If you feel like you can’t do it alone, there is no shame in the game of seeking support, whether it be via, as you said, a free Facebook group. It could be online group coaching. It could be hiring a business strategist, whatever that looks like for you. I think that that’s all a part of the journey to reaching your end goal, which we’re not even going to worry about until later. Right?
Sindy Warren: Exactly. So well said. Not for nothing. It’s really fun being in these different coaching communities and growth communities. It’s like the favorite part of my week when I get on a call with my sidekick group every week. It’s so fun to just be there and support each other and hold each other accountable, and troubleshoot, and problem solve, and cheer each other on. It’s really powerful.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I guess that’s a good segue. Why don’t you tell us about your coaching program? What does it look like for those who are a part of your online community and being supported by you?
Sindy Warren: Yeah, thank you. My program is called Side Gig School, also the name of my podcast. It’s a life-time access digital program. Once you’re in, you’re in. We do weekly coaching calls. There’s a whole go-at-your-own-pace curriculum and a Facebook group. People are in there, as I suggested, with such wildly different businesses. Actually, I’ve never had a sleep consultant in Side Gig School. The cross marketing and networking that happens is really fun. I also work with people one-on-one on life and business goals.
Jayne Havens: I love that. Actually, your program sounds a lot like CPSM in that it’s an online curriculum. It’s life-long access. It’s continuing education for as long as you need it and continuing support for as long as you need it, which I’m a firm believer in that. I think that once you find somewhere that you like and you’re happy there, you should be able to stay and continue to learn from that community. So I love that you’re doing that. I will leave both links to your website and your podcast in the show notes.
As always, I love chatting with you. I always feel like I learned from you. I feel inspired by you, and I also am calmed by you.
Sindy Warren: I’m so happy to hear it.
Jayne Havens: I feel like sometimes I’m a little wound up, and then you sort of bring me down. I really like that.
Sindy Warren: Excellent. It must be the yogi in me, Jayne.
Jayne Havens: I think so.
Sindy Warren: Thank you so much for having me back. I always love connecting with 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.Stop Focusing on the Big