Interview { Sleep & the City Founder - Lauren Olson }

I was so excited to share my journey at Sleep & the City on Simple Splendor blog, and I wanted to share with you all as well to get to know me a little better- WHY did I become a sleep consultant?  What keeps me going?  What did I do before becoming certified in sleep?  A little different than my other posts, this one is all about the business side of things- something SAHM's whom run their businesses out of their homes while watching one, two or more kids know can be tricky!  Laurel asked some great questions, and I enjoyed working with her so much! 



What did you do before starting Sleep & The City? 

Back in the day a good friend once asked me, “If you could be any profession in the world instantly, what would you be and why?”  I immediately chose “pediatrician” because I’ve always loved babies, and I was comforted by the thought of being able to help little ones.  Well as it turned out, instead of nursing or pre-med, I ended up majoring in Business at OSU, met my now-husband, and I moved out to Orange County where luckily I ended up working for a large surf retail company in e-Commerce. 5 years later I was married and had my first son, Baby Jackson- and my whole world changed.  I began to re-prioritize, and the idea helping children began to resurface as a passion of mine.

What was the final “push” that got you to take the dive into leaving the 9 to 5 behind and run your own business full time? In a male dominated industry, it can be hard for a woman to quit and become a “housewife”, even in Orange County. It wasn’t until my husband came home from a business trip and told me, “I want you to walk into your boss’s office tomorrow and quit” that I even imagined after all that college homework, overtime hours worked (and basically thinking I’d work my entire life!) -that I even flirted with the idea that I could stay home and raise my newborn son. Instead I cried and it took me four months to muster up the courage to tell my boss I was leaving the job I loved to be a stay-at-home-Mom. 

What gave you the idea to start Sleep & The City? Being a SAHM was NOT easy. Not only was my child a horrible napper, I woke up every day feeling like it was Groundhog’s Day: wakeup, drink coffee, wish I could shower, take a stroller walk, drink FIVE more coffees, watch the slowest clock ever tick until my husband finally got home, bedtime-  and repeat.  I began to feel “uninteresting” at social gatherings (like the gatherings at my neighborhood mailbox, no time to Happy Hour anymore.) I poured over all the self-help baby sleep books, all which told me what my baby SHOULD be doing, and I desperately wanted to call up the author themselves to tell them my story and have them help me!!   I realized I had gone from friends/lunches out/corporate life to telling my husband what my son’s last poop looked like.  I knew I had to find something that mentally stimulated me, and I knew I wanted to work from home, so I decided to fill the void and look into something I thought new Moms like myself could use and something I now knew a lot about: baby sleep training.  I researched and came across a Holistic program to become certified as a consultant, and over the course of nine months studied nearly every day and reading every sleep book known, even attending class online with my newborn bouncing on my knee whom ironically was going through the dreaded "4-month sleep regression."

What skills or education from your background do you think help you the most in your success as an entrepreneur?   Aside from now being a mother of 2, I have 5+ years in the childcare industry which helps me a lot when identifying milestones & regressions, and deciding what approach to use with my clients that is age-appropriate when it comes to sleep training.  With my degree and professional background in e-Commerce, I was able to easily brand my business and connect with some great mentors in the SEO & social media field.  I also know when to ask questions, and I’m never afraid to ask for help.

What new things have you learned since becoming a business owner?  FAIL FAST.  When I first heard this I thought to myself, “Why would I want to fail at all?! Isn’t that the point of starting your own business- to be successful??”  But if you’re going to make mistakes, you want to make them early when you’re starting out- I think people will forgive a “newbie” quicker vs. a veteran in the business.  For example, while I was working on my certification, I had to find volunteer Moms to agree to a pro-bono sleep session.  Of course looking back now I laugh a little; I was completely unprepared and offered no support afterwards, which is so vital to sleep training success in my business.  .

What’s the most challenging part about being a Mom + business owner for you?  I’m sure most women in my position would agree it’s the balance: How much time do I give to my business vs. my family?  I offer my clients emergency text support while going though my programs which they find SO helpful, and I've found creative ways to be able to carry forward this service, as it feel it's what sets me apart. 

How would you define “success” for yourself and/or your business? For me, it’s the little things- like a text from my client that had both children sleep all night in their own beds for the first time in FIVE YEARS (they “bedshared” with her their whole lives- and husband was on the couch)!!  She thanked me again and again and told me I saved her marriage; now they could enjoy alone time with each other after the kids were down in their own space.  THAT is how I define success- changing someone’s life so dramatically for the better in such a short period of time.

What advice would you give a new mom looking to start a new business?  Partner with a great graphic designer to help brand your company and make all your marketing materials look cohesive.  Google “Omni-branding”- it’s important to have a consistent message across all your social media outlets.  Have a good understanding of your target market and how your product/service is different.  Strive to be a pioneer in your niche.  Find a good mentor that’s a veteran in your industry and ask for an informational interview.  Promote other Momprenuers (and hope for the same in return.) And of course, fail fast ;)

What is your must-have New Mommy baby item? I absolutely LOVE my Orbit 360 stroller.  Although it's on the pricier side, as a stay-at-home Mom this saved my life multiple times.  Plus the carseat rotates so you can put baby into the carseat while facing you, and then rotate baby backwards.  It's a timesaver, and a lifesaver!!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us that I may have missed?  Be careful when following advice on social media when it comes to your child’s sleep- it’s just as critical as nutrition, and you don’t want to take those tips from just anyone.  I base a lot of my advice around the science of sleep; although children have different temperaments we are all wired the same neurologically.  YES, your child could be going through a “regression”, but without a little intervention on your part as a parent you can easily fall into bad sleep habits.  I have absolutely no judgment when it comes to my client’s parenting styles or ideas, and because I’m trained in many different sleep approaches, we always settle on an approach that everyone is comfortable with, and we usually see improvements within 5-7 days!  Knowing that so many of my clients now sleep through the night after only a two-hour consultation with me is what keeps me going to help more families and Mother’s out there FINALLY be able to “call someone” when they are overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, and just SO over the “sleep books”! ☺

Thank you again to Laurel at Simple Splendor blog, check her out for parenting tips & killer style straight out of Orange County, California! xoxo