Jodi Congdon is the owner of Hip to Heart, a birth and postpartum doula agency in the Boston Area. She also happens to be one of my all-time favorite business BFFs. As 2023 comes to a close, Jodi and I unpack strategies and mindset around goal setting for the new year.
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Jodi Congdon is the owner of Hip to Heart, a birth and postpartum doula agency in the Boston Area. She also happens to be one of my all-time favorite business BFFs. As 2023 comes to a close, Jodi and I unpack goal setting for the new year.
Jayne Havens: Jodi, welcome back to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I always love chatting with you.
Jodi Congdon: I always love being here. I think this — is it my second time or third time? I can’t even remember.
Jayne Havens: It might be your third. I’m not sure.
Jodi Congdon: I think it might be. That’s when you’re having fun, so I never remember.
Jayne Havens: Absolutely. This interview, I think, is going to be the final episode that we air for 2023. And as this year comes to a close, I thought it would be fun to do an episode all about goal setting. I think that this is a really important aspect of business and something that I do personally in my own business each and every year. I’m wondering if you remember what goals you set for yourself for this year, for 2023? And if you’re willing to share, did you hit them?
Jodi Congdon: Yes, I hit the financial goals, which, to be honest, is usually my main goal. I’m not going to lie. That is my — it’s not my main goal. I shouldn’t say that. It’s my first line goal. Then I kind of go from there. But 2023 was, I had some weird goals actually.
2023 for me, my goal was to not pay attention to really anything else but the education piece for me. I already had my eye on some masterminds I wanted to join, some of the things I wanted to attend, some people I wanted to work with. So I kind of knew going into the year, even though we did hit our financial goals, we hit our gross financial goals. But my net profit this year I knew would be a lot lower than usual, because I was fully prepared to spend on my own education, on some back-end stuff in the business.
And so those were my goals. I check them all off, and then I had a near stroke when I saw what my net profit was. But you know what? To be honest, I feel 1,000% comfortable because I didn’t expect it to be any higher than it was. I always look at the gross numbers. I always want to know those. And those, we had all of those and surpassed them. But as you take out the spend, there was a little number at the end.
It was a weird year. Those aren’t generally my goals, are more business-based, more around the finances, and around growing my team and number of clients and those kinds of concrete left brain things. But it was a year for the right brain, for sure.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, when I think about goal setting for my own business, I also always start with a financial line-item goal.
Jodi Congdon: It’s just the easiest. It’s the easiest place to start, the easiest goal to set. Because it’s clear last year what happened. It’s just the easiest. It’s the least amount of thought goes into that, I think.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I agree. Then I would say the other stuff that I work on goal setting-wise is more like, I call them projects. There are goals. There are things that I want to achieve in my business, but they’re harder to define, right? If something on my list is getting a greater understanding of Google ads, for example, that’s something that I’m not necessarily going to have a mastery of in one calendar year.
Jodi Congdon: Right. And there’s no measurement that either. Those are your right brainy things where it’s like you can’t measure it. It’s like the creative piece or it’s kind of like the — it has less boundaries piece. It’s less defined.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, exactly.
Jodi Congdon: That’s what my year was. My year was undefined, less defined.
Jayne Havens: Let’s talk a little bit more about financial goals. Do you sometimes have a smaller goal that you feel more comfortable saying out loud to either your spouse, or a business coach, or somebody like me but then maybe a bigger goal in your head that you have a hard time admitting out loud, but it’s still your goal? Do you do that? Because I do.
Jodi Congdon: I always have something in my head that I never share with anyone, partially because it’s like one of those wish and a prayer type of thing where you’re like, “This would be incredible.” But realistically, I’m not expecting that. So it’s like, yeah, I share a lot of goals with my husband, even my friends or my co-workers or whatever — I don’t have any co-workers — my colleagues. But those are the more surface goals.
My bigger things, my owner’s intent type of goals, I definitely keep them to myself. Because you know what? Part of it is they change. And I don’t need someone being like, “Oh, well, you said you were going to do this, and then you did this.” Because, well, I have every right to do that. I’m the CEO of my business. So those ones I keep to myself. But financial goals things that are like super black and white, I don’t mind sharing at all.
I think, too, a lot of people don’t share those because not that it’s bragging, but people are funny with numbers and money. But I like to share those because I like to see other doulas really understand that this can be done. I’m not anybody special. I didn’t start off with anything more than anybody else started off with. I started off with a certification and my two hands. And that’s it.
So this can be done for sure in the volume and the numbers that I’m doing it. So I love for people to see that. Because they’re like, oh, I didn’t know that you could have your business like this, or offer this in your business, or reach this financial goal.
Yeah, you can. For sure you can. You can do anything you want. I mean, that’s the beauty of this. I say that in a very ambiguous way. But it’s the truth. Not one doula business is the exact same as any other doula business or birth professional business. The ones that are the most successful aren’t the same either. Everyone does different things. Everyone does it a different way. There’s no glass ceiling in any of this.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I totally agree. The other day, actually, I shared. In a random Facebook group, I think somebody was looking for a side hustle, a full-time working mom who was looking to do something on the side of whatever she does. I shared about my own business. I think I mentioned in the post that I actually generated a six-figure income year two in my sleep consulting business, which is the truth.
Somebody else commented and was like, “This post is giving very much like MLM vibes,” or something like that. I think that’s what they said to me.
Jodi Congdon: I’d be like, I’m working for myself with myself.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, and so I thought that was super judgy and really weird.
Jodi Congdon: Well, no, it’s just an excuse for why you shouldn’t be successful on your own. Like, oh, you must have done this, or you must have done this. It is classic chopping the next woman down. It’s classic. I see it. I see a lot in nanny and NCS groups, and even in doula groups.
No one can believe that someone else is successful on their own. They did it themselves. They must have done something in there that was a little uncultured. So shame on this person who threw MLM at you because you’re successful.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, and I think that both putting out what you have done and what you want to do, putting that out into the universe, sharing it, talking about it, telling people about it, I think helps you to manifest the next thing for yourself. I really do truly believe that. When you put out there like this is what I’ve done, and this is what I want to do, if you’re not willing to say those things out loud, it’s really hard to live them if you can’t even say it.
Jodi Congdon: Right. Well, I think, too, every business should have: what are your intentions? What’s your owner’s intent here? Why are you here? What are you trying to do? I feel like that took me a long time to figure out, what my intent was. I have a very clear picture of it.
Also, it helps to build out your exit strategy too if you have one, if you want one. Like, is this what it’s going to be forever? Obviously not. You’re going to retire. What does that look like for you? I mean, we’re not near retirement yet. I say that. But I mean, retirement, I hope it’s at 50 for me. But retirement of what?
My business is so fluid. Where am I really going with it? But I do know what my exit strategy is. I do have one. It’s wishy washy on the timeline, but I know what it looks like. I think people miss that step. They miss the intention piece. They miss making that sentence. My intention here is — or, as an owner, I intend to, whatever the end of the sentence is. So they go on with less direction than they would if they had that sentence somewhere written down.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that that’s exactly right. I see a lot, especially new entrepreneurs, leading with a lot of hustle and less intention. Like, how hard can I work? Not necessarily, how purposeful can I be with my work? And as we become more seasoned in our businesses, I think we get better at being intentional about how we run our businesses and what we prioritize.
When you and I were chatting offline before we started this conversation, we were talking about things like self-care, for example. I don’t think in my first year of business I was setting any sort of goals for myself regarding self-care with regard to my business.
Jodi Congdon: Nobody does.
Jayne Havens: But that’s really important. I think even just now recently in my business, I would say I’m really starting to prioritize that. The last couple of family vacations that I’ve gone on, I’ve shut down my calendar. I don’t take calls on vacation anymore.
Jodi Congdon: I have very recently, very recently, started blocking off a week at a time for different things. Not just the one day where I know I’m going to be flying. I really was very intentional, here we go again, about what my week was going to look like.
In my business, and I know in your business too, stuff pops up. I don’t mind being like, give me five. Let me just take care of this, or text this person or whatever. But there’s nothing on my calendar that meets at a certain time, a certain number of minutes or whatever. It gives me freedom to do those pop-up things. But if they don’t pop up, then here we are.
I’ve been in business for a long time. I very recently started feeling like that was a fine thing to do. It takes time. I think too, I’m trying to fix, for lack of a better word, the way we’re training. Not labor training doulas, but kind of like what happens after that training? How do we send them off to fly? It’s not just like get as many clients as you can. I feel like that’s the goal for a lot of new doulas. Like, I just want to hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle and get a lot of clients, get a lot of experience, make a lot of money. Then I’ll figure out what I’m going to do.
But it’s a weird industry. You’re just on this hamster wheel. You’re booked four, five, six months out. You never can jump off. It’s different than a lot of other industries. So once you get on that hustle, it is very difficult to make a hard stop. Take a step back. Evaluate, and then reconfigure how you do business. So if you don’t have that mindset from the get go, it’s hard to get that successfully built, if that makes sense.
Jayne Havens: I see that, actually. As somebody who trains sleep consultants, I see that too. When people come to me, most people who come to me who are interested in becoming sleep consultants, they actually already have nine-to-five jobs. Or, some of them are postpartum professionals, doulas, MCSs.
Most of them come to me not wanting a full-time sleep consulting business. They just want to either use the training to advance their postpartum business. Or, maybe they’re teachers, or occupational therapists, or nurses, and they’re craving something more meaningful in their careers. Or, they want to earn some extra money while still keeping their nine-to-five for health insurance and benefits and whatever it may be. But it’s really interesting.
People come to me, and they’re not trying to build an empire. They’re just trying to — they want to dabble. They want to do something that they’re passionate about and that they love. Then once they get into it, all of a sudden, that flip switches where they feel like they have to grow, grow, grow super, super fast. I think that that mentality can be really destructive and harmful to the growth of an entrepreneur.
Because we have to remember why we got into this work in the first place. Why did you originally want to do this? Originally, you told me you just wanted to support two to three families a month. You earned an extra $1,500 or $2,000 a month. You’d be thrilled. And now all of a sudden—
Jodi Congdon: You don’t know, though. When you get into this, you don’t know what it feels like to help someone. You don’t know that feeling you get. I see your texts all the time from clients. So you’re not prepared for that.
When you get that text or when you see that client, you just want to do more and more and more and more and more and more. So it’s like, yes, we’re trying to do a side thing. But in this type of work, the reward you’re getting, that sort of energy and gratitude and all of these things, it sounds like you can’t just do one a little bit here, one a little bit there. You’ve just changed the trajectory of someone’s parenting.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, that’s a really good point. I hope that that’s where the drive is coming from. Because I think you’re right. It is really hard to turn that away. It’s like a dopamine hit. When we really change somebody’s lives for the better, it feels really, really good. I hope that that’s where the drive is coming from.
Sometimes I worry that it’s unrealistic expectations based on goal setting. That’s not reasonable for wherever you are in your career. And so I like to make sure that I’m bringing my students and graduates down to earth and helping them to realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day. And it’s okay to set these micro goals and just put one foot in front of the other. Not put the cart before the horse, if that’s the saying. I think it is. And really, make sure that we’re being really intentional about what we want to get out of our businesses, and taking each and every meaningful and responsible step in a purposeful order so that we can actually get there.
Jodi Congdon: Yeah, for sure.
Jayne Havens: Which actually leads me to think about another thing we were talking about, which was team building, delegating out work. That is another thing.
Jodi Congdon: That’s so important.
Jayne Havens: It’s so hard though, right?
Jodi Congdon: That’s a big piece of this. That is a big piece of this, for sure. And it’s one that, again, when you’re just starting, you don’t necessarily think that you’re ever going to get to a point where you need to do that.
When we’re talking about things, strengths, weaknesses, all that stuff, what does that look like for you? I know the answer to this question. But tell the audience what don’t you love to do. When you’re thinking in your own business — I know that you definitely have a team of people that you delegate to — what does that look like specifically for your business?
Jayne Havens: That has actually been really hard for me. I would say that this has been the hardest thing for me to grow as an entrepreneur. Because relinquishing tasks to other people and relying on other people, trusting them to do as good of a job on a task that I would do on my own is like damn near impossible for me. I have some worries. I have some really smart, wonderful people working with me, for me. It’s taken time to find the right people that I can trust.
The easiest thing for me to offload is something that I feel like I’m not good at anyway like tech stuff. I’m horrible with technology. I’m not great with email marketing and triggering my emails to my courses to this, to that. All of that sequencing.
Jodi Congdon: Yeah, like back-end stuff.
Jayne Havens: Back-end stuff is really complicated for me, and I don’t pretend to understand it. So for me, I feel confident to offload that. I’ve sort of always felt comfortable to offload that to other people. But it’s the things that I am good at, but maybe they just aren’t the best use of my time as I grow.
Jodi Congdon: That’s the hardest.
Jayne Havens: That’s the hardest. It’s writing sleep plans or grading assignments inside of CPSM. I have other people that could do that for me. But it’s really hard to turn it over because I just worry that they’re going to miss something or that I would have done it differently.
Jodi Congdon: So I think you just have to be very choosy on what you give to someone else and what you continue to do. There’s definitely people in my life where, like, you can delegate that, or you can give that up, or, like, why do you still do that? Because it’s mine, and I love it. And I’m good at it. That’s part of the brand. Do you know what I’m saying? That’s part of the meat of it. I have lots of other stuff I can delegate.
Just like you said, no one is going to do some things like I will do them. They could do them differently, and they could do them well. But my style is my style. My personality is my personality. My face is my face. All those things, right? So I give away the things that don’t require any of those things, that don’t require my face, my personality or anything, I always say priority, proprietary up in my head.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think you made a really good point. I don’t like to give up things that feel like they’re me. Inside of my Center for Pediatric Sleep Management community, I’m the one that welcomes in new students when they enroll in the course. I’m the one that congratulates them when they pass the course. I’m the one that shares a winning Wednesday thread every week to encourage everybody to share their wins.
I could easily have my assistant post those things every single week, but I want it to be me. I want to be present within my community, and I want to be the one that welcomes them in. I don’t want my assistant welcoming them in. To me, that doesn’t send the right message. Right? So even though that’s a task that literally anybody could do, I still do it. Because it’s me, and it’s my brand. It’s my personality, and it’s my nature. I’m never going to give that up.
Jodi Congdon: I do it with the agency. Every new client, they’re on Zoom with me. They see my face. They get to know my personality. I get to know them. Sometimes there’s 20 of those a week, and those are each half an hour or 45 minutes. I’m very intentional about the way I block my schedule. So there are some days where from 9 AM to 1:30, all I am doing is on Zoom. Then I run grab an Oreo, eat it for lunch and then come back, which we’re not talking about self-care at this moment. Because I have other days where I block off a lot for other things.
Anyone can sell postpartum care, and people can do it really well, right? But I don’t know. I want that initial connection with our clients. I’m not bragging in any way right now. But most people who are chatting with me know something about me, know someone who used us. They didn’t Google us. It’s all referral based or word of mouth. So they already know they want to work with us. I don’t have to sell anything to them. I get to know them. The selling point is the fact that I got to know them, and I matched them with the doula who I think is going to be the best fit.
Again, could someone else do this? Yes. But this is my pleasure. I want to do this. I enjoy doing this because I stay connected with these people. Then I reach out just to say hey. Then they remember they have a pregnant friend. So it goes so much further than just the immediate care that we provide with them.
We have three-peat clients. We have clients who have, in a pinch, had a baby and used us and another agency or a mix of things. They always come back to us. Second baby, they forego the other people. I’m sure the doulas were wonderful, but our doulas are great too. But it’s their connection with me that brings them back.
They know they can just shoot a text and say, “I had another baby. Can you set this up for me?” Or like, “You know all the things.” Because I do know all the things. I know their likes, their dislikes. I keep those notes. And so that’s the ease of it. There’s a trust piece there too. So I don’t want to give that up.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I don’t blame you. I’m the same way. I think to bring this back home when we’re talking about setting goals, it’s not just financial. It’s not just like a box that you can check off, like, yes, I did this. Yes, I did that. Goals are bigger than that. Goals, sometimes it’s more abstract than that. Sometimes it’s like—
Jodi Congdon: I have these, I call them community impact goals. I think people mistake that for we do give a lot of — we give back charitably. We do a lot of volunteer work. That is community impact as well. But some of the community impact I’m talking about is the clients we care for.
It’s not the number of clients. It’s not the revenue it brings in. It’s the impact we make on their early parenting. It’s the impact we make that makes them tell their pediatrician and their OB or midwife, and their sister-in-law who’s pregnant, and their co-workers, and their boss who has a large company with other people going on maternity leave, and now maybe wants to have a conversation with me about being the preferred agency for whatever. It reaches so far. It does impact the community in a way that not even meaning to, but they’re educating people about birth and postpartum care.
They’re talking enough about it to their providers, where their providers start talking about it to other patients. That’s the impact piece. It’s pretty wild just how fast that moves through a community when you do it right. You take care of people not just physically in their home. But you mentally, emotionally and energetically take care of them. That’s community impact.
Jayne Havens: Maybe that’s the most challenging goal to really hit year after year. As you’re growing that financial number and as you’re putting infrastructure into place to support yourself, as you grow to really maintain that person-to-person connection, to really remain—
Jodi Congdon: Your heart stayed in it as much as it did when you started. Yeah, that’s not easy. It’s not easy. I think when it’s not it, that’s when you need to pivot somewhere else.
Jayne Havens: I guess that’s where I am right now in my business. It’s like figuring out that balance of how do I grow and still remain front and center for the people that I support, both my clients who are being coached through sleep training and my students in CPSM who are learning how to be sleep consultants. How do I remain as supportive, as front and center for them?
Jodi Congdon: And relevant.
Jayne Havens: And relevant.
Jodi Congdon: But if you think about it, to be honest, I can’t for the life of me remember his name. But whoever created the Tesla—
Jayne Havens: Elon Musk.
Jodi Congdon: Yes, I bet he used to do a lot of the person-to-person sales. I mean, now he’s up in space somewhere literally and figuratively. As company grows, it still puts out a good product. People still love it. I mean, I don’t know if it’s a good product because I don’t have a Tesla.
Do you really have to be front and center all the time? Is there a time in your business where you just cannot be? He cannot be shaking people’s hand when they buy a Tesla. That would be ridiculous, right? Do you want to be Tesla? I don’t know.
There’s a lot of thinking. There’s a lot of strategizing in a business that is going to grow, that is going to be bigger than what you ever thought it was going to be or what it is right now. I think we can safely say we both have successful businesses. They both grow year after year. We both actively run them, not in a way that we’re actively all the time busy doing stuff. But we’re both very relevant in our businesses on a day-to-day basis. Is that going to change? And if it does change, is that okay? I think we veered off the topic of goals.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think so, too. I think this is you and I having a peer-to-peer therapy session right now, right?
Jodi Congdon: This is you and I, like what we do at 8:00 on a weeknight when we meet for our little business-y mastermind. These are the things that we talk about.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, so whether or not this is productive for the audience, I have no idea. But it’s productive for you and I. And for that, I’m grateful.
Jodi Congdon: Well, I think what’s productive for us is productive for our audience. Because they’re like, oh, okay. This all makes sense. I feel like I am at a pivotal point. Or in five years, I want to be in this pivotal point. Whatever they’re thinking, anything we hash out I feel is beneficial for someone who has not yet had to hash it out.
Jayne Havens: I certainly hope so. I guess, with that, I will wish you a happy New Year and an amazing 2024 when the time comes. And on to, I don’t even want to say like—
Jodi Congdon: Are you going to pick a word?
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I was going to say. I don’t want to say bigger and better things. Bigger and better is not always the right answer. Maybe it’s being more intentional. I like that word. Intention.
Jodi Congdon: Don’t use that because that is my word for 2024.
Jayne Havens: Okay. I won’t use yours. I’ll come up with my own. But don’t put me on the spot, because I don’t have one right now.
Jodi Congdon: You know what? I think because you are my Baltimore business soul sister, you can use that. Because I’m going to use it, too.
Jayne Havens: Thank you. We can share it.
Jodi Congdon: We can share it. And I think, yeah, we definitely are going to be more intentional in the New Year.
Jayne Havens: I like the word — the word thrive keeps coming in to my mind, because I relate that back to my clients a lot. I’m always talking to my clients about how our work together is going to position them to thrive.
Jodi Congdon: Well, and like to not just — you don’t want to just survive. You want to thrive. It’s two totally different things.
Jayne Havens: Maybe that’s going to be my word because I like it both for my clients and for myself. As I am busy, as I am navigating, growing, and trying to be present with my family and all the things, I want to not just be surviving in my business. But I want to be thriving in my business.
Jodi Congdon: Right. You want to be thriving.
Jayne Havens: It’s just like, this is what I coach my clients through. I want them to a place where they’re really feeling like they’re doing great. That’s how I want to always feel in my business. Because the whole point of me starting this business was to get myself to a better place, to get my family to a better place. So I want that to continue forever.
Jodi Congdon: Yeah, I mean, my intention for next year is just to coast and grow. Like I said, I spent a lot of money this year on the things that I needed to work on for myself, for the business, whatever. And in 2024, I’m putting all of those into play. I’m setting it up on cruise control. Because that’s when I spent this year doing. I spent it setting up systems and doing all those things so I can literally press play and hopefully, I didn’t eff it up, and hopefully watch it thrive.
Jayne Havens: Okay. So intention for you. Thrive for me. Happy New Year. Thank you, as always, for having these conversations with me.
Jodi Congdon: Thank you 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.