Cristina is a mother of two children, a two and a half year old little girl and an 11 month old baby boy. She stumbled upon Center for Pediatric Sleep Management and was inspired to step back from her corporate career to build a business of her own. She is now a certified sleep consultant and is excited to help families who so desperately want better sleep for their children. CPSM graduate
As a mom who struggled with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, she knows first-hand the benefits the whole family can experience with consistent nights of high quality sleep. Cristina is excited to embark on this new journey and she is looking forward to helping parents and their children thrive. CPSM graduate
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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.
Cristina is a mother of two children, a two-and-a-half-year-old little girl and an 11-month-old baby boy. She stumbled upon Center for Pediatric Sleep Management and was inspired to step back from her corporate career to build a business of her own. She is now a certified sleep consultant and is excited to help families who so desperately want better sleep for their children.
As a mom who struggled with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, she knows first-hand the benefits a whole family can experience with consistent nights of high-quality sleep. Cristina is excited to embark on this new journey, and she is looking forward to helping parents and their children thrive.
Jayne Havens: Cristina, welcome to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I am so excited to have this conversation with you today.
Cristina Pilcher: Hi, Jayne. I’m really excited, too. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.
Jayne Havens: Before we get started, would you be willing to share your story? Tell us a little bit about you, and why you decided to get certified to work as a sleep consultant.
Cristina Pilcher: Sure. So I am a mom of two that are under two, or I have a two-and-a-half-year-old and an 11-month-old. I was working in the corporate world before I found CPSM’s program. I think plenty of people who are used to working a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, know how difficult that is as soon as you have kids, as soon as you figure out like, how am I going to prioritize my career and take care of these kids? I can’t control when they’re sick, when they have something going on at school that they need a parent there for.
So I really decided that maybe it was time to find a career that was a little bit more flexible with my family life, and maybe I wouldn’t have to sacrifice prioritizing my kids and having my career. Taking that corporate motherhood penalty, it’s very sad that that exists. But hopefully, for the future generation, there’s a way out of that.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, and it’s really ironic that that’s what you are mentioning today. Because I’m sitting here in my house with my daughter sick, home from school. She hasn’t felt well in three days. I feel so lucky to be able to be home with her and to not have to call out sick from work. I’ve lightened my schedule so that I can still be around and support her when she’s under the weather.
But I’m right here. I’m sitting in my kitchen. She’s upstairs in my bedroom, and she’s fine for the 30 minutes that we have this conversation. I get to be with her while she’s sick, and it doesn’t negatively impact my paid time off. I don’t have to take a sick day. I think that that’s the life that so many of us are looking for. So I’m glad that you’re working on it for yourself.
Cristina Pilcher: Yes.
Jayne Havens: Let’s talk a little bit about your journey through the training program. You enrolled, I think, in January of this year and you finished in September. I always say that there’s a really wide range of normal when it comes to how long it takes for students to complete the course. Would you tell me a little bit about what that nine-month period looked like for you?
Cristina Pilcher: Sure. I actually think, after going through the course, that if somebody were to have, let’s say, an hour to work on it a day, it wouldn’t even take as long as it took me. It took me as long as it did because I didn’t end up leaving the corporate world until May.
From January to May, I was taking it — piecewise, I was reading the six books, the materials, before jumping into the modules. And so that’s probably what took me the biggest chunk to even get to maze juggling my full-time job, juggling reading at night after I put the kids to bed. Then in May when I left, I was able to get through the second half after I had turned in an assignment.
From there, from leaving the corporate world, I took some time too also to be like, this is the first time I’ve ever taken a break in between jobs, let’s say, or in between wanting to start my business, wanting to start a certification. So I took a good month and a half off just to really enjoy being with my kid. And so I think, for somebody who is looking at the course, it’s actually pretty quick getting through the modules, doing the assignments. I would say, if somebody had an hour a day to devote to it, it would take half the time it took me.
Jayne Havens: I think there’s a really wide range of normal. I see people finish sometimes in like four to six weeks. I see other people take four to six months. Then I have people who enrolled three years ago and never finished. So I think there’s a really wide range of normal. But I love that you really were committed to finishing it but also prioritizing being present with your family. I love that you took that month and a half off to just be with your kids. I mean, how special is that? Then when it really was time to get back into it, you did and you plowed through pretty quickly.
Was there a certain part of the course that you enjoy the most, whether it was a certain section of learning? I don’t know. Was there any piece of the program that you found to be either the most interesting or the most fun to go through?
Cristina Pilcher: Sure. I’d have to say it’s Taking Back Bedtime. For those who have kids that are aged 18 months all the way up to that four or five-year range, it’s pretty tough. Toddlers are tough. And my own daughter, I did sleep train her when she was five months.
I think what a lot of people think is, like, “Oh, I’m done.” But then, you get into those big mental leaps. They get a little bit older. They understand a little bit more. They want to push those boundaries. Even the best sleep-trained kid, which my daughter was — she was very much asleep 12 hours in her bed, not make a peep all night long. Then we hit the toddler years, and I was like, I’m going to have to retrain you.
And so I think people think, “Oh, it’s one and done. I sleep trained her when she was a baby.” But I really love that the Taking Back Bedtime courses empowering for parents to be like, “I can handle teaching my kid this again in the toddler stage,” that mental mindset shift that we talked about. Taking Back Bedtime is like, it’s really mom and dad who struggle. And if they have the right mindset, toddlers pick up super quick.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I love that you mentioned Taking Back Bedtime. Because for those who are listening, Taking Back Bedtime was just added into the course pretty recently. I am fully committed to always providing continuing education for my students and grads. So if you enrolled in the program three years ago, I decided to add it to the course. You’re going to get access to those new trainings as they get put into the online learning platform.
Taking Back Bedtime is a training that I did on Zoom live for a handful of moms who are all struggling with their toddler and preschooler’s bedtime routine and night wakings. I really feel in the past maybe year, I have truly nailed down my process for older kids. This is something that took me years of experience and trial and error with a lot of families to really feel like, okay, I have the confidence to say that I can help any family get their kid sleeping through the night pretty much in two weeks or less.
I am confident. I know that I can do that. It took me years to get to that point. It boils down to having a really specific process. But also, as you mentioned, Cristina, having the mindset shift that your child is capable of this and that also you’re going to accept nothing less, that sleep is non-negotiable. There are certain things with children that are negotiable, like what color of leggings they wear to school. But whether or not they sleep overnight, it has to be non-negotiable, right?
When you have that mindset shift, that’s really when we can present to our children like, oh, okay, this actually really is happening one way or another. It can be done with love, and kindness, and empathy, and support. But it’s also non-negotiable, right? Yeah, I love that you love that. I love it, too.
I guess another thing worth saying is that, for those of you who are listening, when I first started as a sleep consultant, I was actually scared to support toddlers and preschoolers as a mom who had only sleep trained my children when they were in cribs as infants. They always slept. They never climbed out of their cribs. They never got out of their bed as four-year-old. They were both in cribs until they were four. They never got out of bed. They just did what they were supposed to do. Because they were really confident sleepers, and I run a tight ship in my household. And it’s just what it was.
But I was really overwhelmed as a new sleep consultant years ago. Like, how am I going to support a mom with a two-year-old who’s getting out of their bed 10,000 times in the middle of the night? That felt really daunting to me when I was first starting in this field. Now I actually prefer to work with the older kids, because I just love the whole process. I think it’s really fun to set them up for success, to communicate with them, to role play with them, to set expectations. Then to teach parents how to set loving limits or respectful boundaries with their kids, it’s so fun.
Cristina, were you having trouble with your own child while you were going through this? Were you able to sort of bring it back to baseline after watching that training?
Cristina Pilcher: Yes, my two-and-a-half-year-old. Well, at the time, she was a little bit closer to two but she was stalling. “Mommy, I need to potty. Mommy, I need a snack. Mommy, I need a drink of water. One more book. Just one.” And so we actually did. I was in the middle of taking your course, and we did the kissing game with her.
Now we’re able to say, “Okay, baby. A hug and a kiss. Goodnight. I love you.” She pulls the covers over her head, and it’s a done deal. I really think that whole working with toddlers, it’s funny that you say you love working with toddlers a little bit more. Because having that cooperation and that communication with them, you can’t explain all of this to a baby. But it really makes it happen, I feel, almost faster.
Jayne Havens: I agree. Now that you are officially certified, let’s talk about launching your business. What are your plans for marketing, getting the word out? I know you have a really beautiful website. I was actually just on your website before we got started with this chat today. What are your plans for marketing and letting people know that you’re up and running?
Cristina Pilcher: Sure. For my website, actually, it’s funny that you say that. I took your suggestion. Kelly, with AMI Creatives, did my website for me because I am not very big techie, computer, web design, all that stuff. She does excellent work. Just a little tiny plug for Kelly. Thank you so much, Kelly.
As far as marketing goes, I am not really that big on social media or wanting to create beautiful content on TikTok, and Instagram, and stuff. Maybe I’ll get there eventually. Maybe I’ll have the capacity when I’m not running around after two under two, and I have a little bit more time to myself to make beautiful content.
What I’ve started with is the local Facebook moms’ groups that I’m already a part of. Some of them do, in order to self-promote, they require sponsorship. I have purchased a sponsorship for myself in there. Anytime somebody in the group is asking for help, like, “Hey, does anybody know of a sleep consultant, photographer, interior designer,” the admins of that group will automatically jump on and be like, “Hey, this person happens to be a sponsor.”
I’m not relying on that, obviously, to bring in any business. But my first steps were to tell all my friends and family on social media. If it’s anybody that I’m a friend with, really close to, then obviously, my services are pro bono. And tell all your friends and family if you love it. Then my kids do go to daycare. It’s an awesome place. They love my kids just like I do. So there’s plenty of other families there that are part of our community. I brought a stack of business cards to the school director. She said, “Hey, absolutely. We have moms and dads who are struggling right now.” And I said, “Oh, I’d be happy to do it for a discount.” She said no, full price. My school director is really behind me being successful. It’s nice to feel that.
Then my next plan is to visit my own midwives and talk to my own doula that I had with my son, and be like, “Hey, can we collaborate? Can I leave business cards? Is there anybody that you already know of that needs help? No pressure. I’m here to help.” So that’s kind of my I plan marketing-wise. It’s just making connections in places that I know moms who are probably already reaching out for help.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that that’s brilliant. That’s exactly what I did when I was getting started. I’m a firm believer. You know I’ve said this on the podcast, and I say it inside of the CPSM community all the time, that the key to growing a successful service-based business is having as many other people talking about your business as possible.
You can talk about your own business until you’re blue in the face. But if other people are talking about your business, that goes way, way farther. So I love that the daycare owner or director is a champion of your services. That’s amazing. Because the families who send their kids to that daycare already trust that person, right? There’s already a level. There’s already a relationship there. There’s already that level of trust. So when that provider makes a recommendation to the families, they’re going to listen. So I think that that’s the exact right strategy.
I’m wondering if as you were going through the course, especially the business section, did that help you to feel more confident in your process for how to go about marketing your business and getting it off the ground?
Cristina Pilcher: Yes, I haven’t gone through any other sleep certification courses, but I know that ours is really heavy in entrepreneurship and getting yourself started for success. So I really felt like between what I learned from the course and having our Facebook community, other veteran sleep consultants who are already out there doing it, they’ve got all the juice, all the info on how to do the marketing portion. Yes, I really feel like had that not been part of the course content, I wouldn’t have even known where to start. Like, how do I tell people that this is something I can help you with now?
So I really think that was a big part of like, okay, get my LLC, get insurance, set up a website. There’s lots of also options for free websites, too. I don’t know. There is a lot of course info that was super helpful in getting the business started.
Jayne Havens: You’re striking me as being a person who’s pretty confident in this space right now. I know you’re just getting started, but you seem to me like you have your head wrapped around it. You’re feeling really excited and good about it.
Before you enrolled, were you anxious that you weren’t going to be able to figure it out? Were you overwhelmed with the idea of the process, or were you just more excited to see where it took you?
Cristina Pilcher: I did have some apprehension at the beginning. I think that’s normal for anybody who has worked for somebody else for so long. You have that security of, like, it’s not all on me whether the ship goes down. I’ve never been super great at sales before this. I have tried sales positions. So it’s not something I was predisposed to. I was like, how am I going to convince people that these services are worth it? Or, how am I going to generate enough talk about my business even?
Then in taking the course and listening to you say it’s about connection, or I have watched that mini-training that you did on how to expand your business on Facebook. It’s really about connecting with people. Then once I wrapped my head around that, I realized that it’s about connection and about the value is in telling families I can help you.
And if I have a real desire to help them, it’s just going to follow suit. I have to have a little bit of faith. It’s not going to be an overnight success. Of course not. But I feel like if I put a little bit into it every single day, those tiny little days or tiny little portions of time are going to snowball into something that is a successful business if I give it enough time. I just have to have faith in myself.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. You’re doing exactly what I tell people all the time. I have every bit of confidence that it will grow to something that you are really, really proud of. I can tell that you’re already proud of everything that you’ve already created, which is quite impressive. I really just can’t wait to see you get going.
What would you say to somebody who’s on the fence, somebody who’s listening to this podcast who’s out there who maybe is working a corporate job, has two or three kids, and is underwater with laundry and bills and whatever? What would you say to that person who wants to do it but is maybe scared?
Cristina Pilcher: I would say that having faith in yourself is probably going to be the biggest thing. You have something that you are capable of, which is handling healthy sleep with little ones. Especially, moms who have a few kids, moms who are wanting to help other moms, you’ve got it in you. A little bit of faith is going to go a long way.
It’s super helpful to rally other people who are in your support circle. You tell them, “I want to make a change. I want to get out of the corporate world, or whatever it is. I want to switch careers. I want to do something where I can have more time, more freedom with my family.” I think people will be surprised how willing other people are to be like, “What do you need? That sounds really awesome. I’m behind you.” If we believed in ourselves an ounce of what the people that love us do, I think we’d be really surprised in what it is that we’re able to create, able to achieve.
Jayne Havens: I love that. I really love that. It sounds like you have a really wonderful and supportive community behind you. I do as well. I think that that is really important when you’re growing something that is all your own. If you can have an army of friends and family and colleagues and old college roommates or whoever in your world cheering you on every step of the way, I agree. It makes it so much easier. You’re smart to leverage all of those people who are rooting you on and want the best for you anyway. So that is super, super smart of you.
Before we wrap up, why don’t you share with everybody what your website is? It’s so beautiful. I want everybody to go check it out. Do you have social media yet? Are you set up there? Share whatever you’d like to share.
Cristina Pilcher: I do. Sure. It’s @40winkrevolution on Instagram. My website is 40winkrevolution.com. This is what I do. This is what I offer. If you have any hesitations, look, I have a whole list of FAQs about your hesitations on my website.
Jayne Havens: Well, thank you so much for being willing to share your story on the podcast today. I cannot wait to see you soar in your business. We’ll keep in touch, and maybe we will do an update down the road.
Cristina Pilcher: That sounds great. Thanks so much, Jayne. I appreciate it.
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.CPSM graduate