In Conversation with Rachel Mitchell of My Sweet Sleeper
Describe My Sweet Sleeper in a few words?
We are a maternity and pediatric sleep consultancy that provides content, classes, guides, and one-on-one services for pregnant women and children struggling to get the sleep they need.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
Two things: 1) When I realized how little resources were provided to new parents about their baby’s sleep and 2) When I had my first son, 10 years ago and knew that I didn’t want to work 65+ hours/week anymore!
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Prior to starting my business I had primarily worked in marketing in the hospitality field. I had also worked with children in some capacity, as a night nanny and education specialist within a few different organizations. My education background is in marketing and human and child development, so I am one of the rare ones that is actually using both degrees!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I could never figure out why I got so bored in 9-5 jobs. I have always had a passion for creating and building something from scratch and I have always struggled with the box that I felt I was in with certain jobs.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
When I first launched my business I had zero marketing strategy to be honest because I didn’t know what I was doing! I got my certification in 2012, at a time when nobody had any idea what a sleep consultant was. I thought I would start my business and people would just organically find us, but I was so wrong! This was before the Instagram era so I had to use good old grassroots marketing to get my name out there as well as word of mouth. I also opened an office in Denver, CO and did a lot of local marketing and advertising in those areas to reach people locally.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
Gosh just one? I’ve made so many! A time that particularly stands out to me is three years ago when I decided to launch our first online course. Because I was so eager to get it out there, I wrote it way too fast and ended up missing a lot of key information that I had to later go back and record which cost a lot of money and time. With the other two classes that we have since launched, I made sure to thoroughly write out all of the content, go through it several times and have others look over it before I scheduled the video shoot and they turned out much better!
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Being published in some big publications like The Huffington Post and The Yoga Journal. I have always loved to write but never thought my writing was good enough so I was honestly shocked when these pieces got published. It was also pretty exciting to be a contributor for both of the Motherly books.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
My go-to interview question is always “why do you want to work here”? I find that half of the time people haven’t actually done the research on our company or even asked themselves why they want to work for our company and then the other half are very passionate and HAVE done their research and truly want to work here.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Honestly no, not really. I hesitate to say this because I know how many businesses have suffered or closed because of COVID and I truly feel for all of them, but we have been extremely blessed in that our business has remained steady and even grown quite a bit throughout the pandemic.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
There are so many projects we are working on this year! Our goal is to launch a podcast, write a book, launch our maternity sleep class, and launch a you-tube channel. We just want to keep serving families and bringing them the gift of sleep as much as possible and I am really excited to see what is in store for us over the next few years.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
I learned many lessons this past year but I think the biggest one was to practice gratitude. There were many times I felt myself complaining over things that were simple and someone else would view as a blessing. My family is happy and healthy, our business is thriving, we have a roof over our head and can pay our bills, and we get to spend more time than we ever have together as a family. I would say I have a lot to be grateful of and just needed to be reminded of that.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
How much I would fail! I used to get so discouraged when I made mistakes or experienced failures because I didn’t realize how often they would happen in entrepreneurship but I now come to expect them and just focus on what I need to learn from those mistakes and what to do differently next time.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
So much prayer. Like almost every parent on the planet, there were so many times I felt overwhelmed and out of control, and my faith and prayer really helped me to stay humble and grounded as the world seemed like it was spinning out of control around us.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
100%, but I also believe that there are always going to be times that one area of your life needs more attention than the other, and so things don’t always need to be exactly balanced. In my own life, I try to find a work/life balance that is sustainable from day to day but then I also realize that sometimes work needs more of my attention and sometimes my family needs more of my attention, depending on the season we are in.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
That I am 33 and a grandmother!
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
1) I always start my workday early. I am most productive and have the most energy in the morning and so that is when I schedule most of my work. 2) I go to bed very early, usually I am in bed and asleep no later than 9pm because I need rest in order to be productive 3) I take care of myself well physically and mentally. Without this I find productivity is near impossible.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means being a woman leader and doing my very best to inspire other women to do the same. It means showing up everyday, even when it’s hard, believing in myself, and doing the very best job that I can!