My first year as a Mompreneur
It’s been 1 year since I got back from the Sleep Sense Consultant Certification program in Sarasota, Florida, and I am excited to share with you what I’ve learned as a mom boss in the past 12 months.
I had done a lot of research before jumping into journey (which you can read more about here) and came back from the training feeling well-educated, pumped and confident about launching my business.
My backgrounds of science and education felt like a pretty natural “prerequisite” for the role of Pediatric Sleep Consultant, but my lack of business and marketing experience was definitely something that made me anxious moving forward.
I knew there were PLENTY of tired parents in the world. I knew I had all the tools to create customized sleep plans for them to help them get out of their exhausted state. I knew I could provide support, accountability and guidance above and beyond what they expected and needed. But… I had one HUGE question — How in the heck was I going to get these clients? More specifically, how were my clients going to find me?
I started by reaching out to my friends and family. I told them all about my training experience in Florida and my hopes and dreams for the business. I didn’t hold back. They got emails and calls from me even if they didn’t have small children at home because I was pretty confident that everyone knows SOMEONE who isn’t sleeping well.
Then, I launched a “starter” website (which has thankfully been updated) and a Facebook business page. I didn’t need much, but I wanted a place to outline my services, share more about myself, and direct perspective clients.
From there, word spread like wildfire, and by October I was booking clients out a week in advance. Once I helped a few families to find sleep again, there was no turning back. I have a business that will thrive because I have a service that people need and a personality that people are drawn to!
Playing on momentum
Apparently this was enough because business has continued to improve, expand and thrive since late August 2017.
I was worried that after the “newness” wore off, things would slow down. But nope! Not the case. Turns out momentum is something that can get the ball rolling, but making clients happy, reaching out within your community and getting your head in the game will continue to help a business to flourish.
My year in review
Within the first year of business, I have supported 85 families in finding sleep again by working together to meet their sleep goals. These clients have little ones ages prenatal through 9 years old and live in 12 US states plus British Columbia and Ontario, Canada.
I often get emails, texts, calls and voicemails from parents stating that I’ve “changed their lives”, “allowed them to find happiness again” and even “saved their marriage”.
Turns out sleep is a REALLY powerful thing! And being able to help families to sleep again is a REALLY powerful business.
What I’ve learned as a mom boss
Keep in mind that I was building the first year of this business while raising a little boy, who is now freshly 2, being a wife AND teaching part time for my local school district in Adult Education.
Though the experience as a whole has been a positive one, there are definitely a lot of “life lessons” learned over the first year of running Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting.
Rather than focus on the challenges and setbacks that I experienced (because that’s just not very positive or helpful for anyone), I’ve created a list the most important things that I’ve learned this year
Top 5 takeaways during my first year as a mom boss:
- It’s okay to say no
- It’s all a bit easier if you are organized
- It’s healthy to set boundaries
- It’s acceptable to ask for help
- It’s possible to have it all
It’s okay to say no
If you are anything like me, you have lived a life of saying yes. Sometimes you say yes because you want to. Other times you say yes because you feel like you have to. And still other times you say yes because you would hate to find out what it was like to say no.
With a family who needs me and a business that requires a lot of attention, I learned pretty quickly that the word “no” and I would need to become quite a bit more comfortable with each other.
I no longer say yes out of obligation, but instead say yes to things that I want AND need in my life. This makes it far easier to manage my calendar, feel good about my to do list and be reliable (and on time) to what I’m showing up for!
If it feels too hard to say no, start by “slowing your yes” which is a recommendation from Rachel Hollis in her book Girl Wash Your Face. Slowing down your yes means being more picky and deliberate about what you are saying yes to!
It’s all a bit easier if you are organized
I have always considered myself a fairly organized person but that was really tested this past year. I needed to step beyond a “my closet is neat and my clothes are arranged by clothing article” to “my calendar is updated, my client list is accessible and our meal prep is managed”.
A few tools that I am currently using to stay organized include:
- 10to8 calendar management program for clients and prospective clients to book calls.
- 17hats client management system for me to keep track of who is who, who needs what and where I’m at with leads, clients and past clients.
- A weekly “traffic meeting” with my husband during naptime on Sunday to be sure that the family schedule is attainable for each of us for the week. This is where I ask for help with bedtime on nights I have meetings or consultations and where we get to block out some us time for date nights and non-work time. We totally stole this idea from Rachel and Dave Hollis when it was shared on their podcast, and it’s been a total game changer for us!
- Saturday to Saturday meal planning. We sit down on Saturday morning and map out what meals we want to cook for the week, through the next Friday. Then we make a list and take it to the store so we can stock up on all the ingredients that we need. This takes out any of the “what’s for dinner tonight” debacle, prevents us from spending too much time and money eating out, and saves me from having to drive 30 minutes to the store more than once a week!
It’s healthy to set boundaries
I thought in order to be a good business owner I needed to be available ALL the time. Boy did this turn out to not be true. At all.
Finding this out was definitely a “live and learn” process for me, but I am no longer sitting by my phone at 11 pm when a family MAY send me an email, unless of course they have booked me for half or full night support, because I don’t need to sacrifice my own sleep to help others find theirs!
I also don’t need to work every night and every weekend in order to serve my current and prospective clients. Using a calendar management program like 10to8 (read above) has really helped me to define my working and nonworking hours.
This is still a work in progress because I do find myself spending WAY too much time posting on my IG stories, pinning random sleep stuff on Pinterest and checking client sleep logs at obscure hours of the day and night, but WE ARE GETTING there! It is helpful that my husband couldn’t care less about social media because he helps me to walk away from my phone and take a break.
It’s acceptable to ask for help
One of the biggest misconceptions about being a #momboss and running a small business is that you have to go at it alone. This is SO NOT TRUE!
When you are able to delegate, ask for help and outsource, you will be a far more productive you! For me this has meant:
- Hiring a local cleaning company, Cotton Cleaning, to come into our home every other week to take care house.
- Hiring Amy Isaman of Entwine Web Coaching and Design to build me a new website that better reflects my brand and the ways that I support families.
- Teaming up with Kandi Anderson Photography a local boutique maternity and newborn photographer to take care of the images for my website. This took a HUGE load off my plate and allows a sense of confidence in my site that I would otherwise be lacking.
- Keeping our nanny for Lincoln so I can have 20 uninterrupted hours a week to work. I am unable to work with a toddler around, which I’m sure isn’t shocking to other #mombosses out there reading this. It isn’t fair to my clients or to my son to have him squawking in the background when I’m on a phone call or supporting a client.
- Being super upfront and transparent with my husband about the challenges of starting a new business. I am fortunate that he is home most nights to help with dinner and bedtime for Lincoln, and that he is my emotional support when I am feeling defeated and my celebration team when I am feeling pumped up!
- Having other Mom Bosses that I can lean on, get ideas from and seek guidance from! I would definitely not be where I am today without my gal pals @chasingsleep, @hellowildbabyco, and @jenniferbridgephotography!
- Finding a tribe and connecting with them OFTEN! The Mom Owned Business (MOB) community has been such a great source of connection, networking, professional growth, and referrals for my biz!
It’s possible to have it all
Being the best mom, wife, boss, and sane human can happen, but it can’t all happen at the same time.
There are days where business is slow (by my choice or not), and I am a killer mom.
I take Lincoln to open gym, music class, playdates and then we spend our time at home reading, cuddling, playing outside and cooking.
There are other days when I see him as he wakes up in the morning and not again until I give him a kiss before bed. On these days, I am tied up on the phone or at other people’s homes helping them to get their lives back on track by finding sleep again.
And still, there are other days when I take 4 hours in the morning to head to the gym for a run and then go sit in peace at a coffee shop while listening to a podcast and just taking some time for myself. #selfcare will always have a place in my schedule!
And guess what? That’s okay with me!
I have accepted the fact that in order for me to be the best ME that I can be, I need to do all of this. I need to work on #allthethings. I need to be busy. I need to have a job and purpose outside the walls of our home. I need to say no. I need to be organized. I need to set boundaries. I need to ask for help. I need to be a mom and a wife and a business owner.
I need all of it. And more importantly, I WANT ALL OF IT!
I am so proud to be showing Lincoln what it means to be a successful woman in modern day. I am so honored that when my husband comes home at night, he asks me who I’ve helped today. I am so jazzed that I have taken this tiny little idea in my head and allowed it to blossom and grow to change and become established.
I hope that you take what I’ve learned as a mom boss and run with it. If I can do this, and you can too! Go get ’em, mama!