How Rachel Mitchell Raises Her 6 Kids AND Helps Other Parents Sleep Train Their Babies

 

  • Course Instructor: Rachel Mitchell

 

 

  • Course Topic: Pediatric Sleep

 

  • Interesting Stats: Within 6 months of launching our pediatric sleep courses we made back more than triple what we invested with minimal marketing or PR. Now our course sales alone completely cover our monthly business expenses.
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1. Who are you?

My name is Rachel, and I am a pediatric and maternity sleep consultant, mom of six, CEO and founder of My Sweet Sleeper, and I help babies get better sleep for a living. 

Throughout the ten years, I have been in practice I have helped thousands of families all over the world achieve better sleep by implementing healthy sleep habits with their children and by using sleep methods that actually work. 

In addition to running my business, I also write parenting and expert content for publications like the Motherly, The Bump, The Huffington Post, and The Yoga Journal. 

When I’m not saving babies from sleep deprivation you can find me at the beach with our brood of children!

2. What’s your course all about?

We offer courses for parents with babies 0-5 years old which teach you exactly how to help your child get better sleep. 

Within each course, there are five video-based modules and a 50+ page downloadable booklet that walks parents step-by-step through the process of helping their child sleep. 

Each module takes a deeper dive into the most common sleep struggles that children experience within their age group and how to handle them with ease.

3. What makes you an expert in this field?

I have been practising for nearly 10 years, which is far longer than most sleep consultants in this field. Prior to becoming a sleep consultant, I was a night nanny and worked overnight, inside the home, physically caring for multiples overnight and helping parents introduce healthy sleep habits from birth. 

Throughout my 10 years of practice, I have worked with thousands of families, successfully helping their children (and them) get the sleep they so desperately need.

In addition to my experience, I have an education background in human and child development, and I am currently taking classes at the University of Massachusetts to further my knowledge within this field. 

I am constantly researching, studying, and seeking to understand the science behind sleep and the most effective ways to help children in this way.

4. What is the transformation your course offers to the students?

When parents aren’t sleeping, it affects every area of their life-their relationships, their careers, their emotions, and their livelihood. After parents take this course and are given the tools to help their children sleep, they ultimately get the sleep they need which is extremely important for all of us. 

Parents are constantly sharing with us how much these courses have changed their lives and how grateful they are to have their nights back.

Sleep is vital to our health and without it, we do not function at our full capacity, so once parents start to get adequate rest, they feel like an entirely new person!

5. Which market does your online course serve and how did you get into it?

Our online classes serve tired parents and children. For nearly six years our business was a service-based business only, offering one-on-one consultations as the only offering. 

I realized that not only was this model not scalable as a business, but we were also limited in the number of families we could reach, which is when we decided to offer classes. 

Now we offer both one-on-one services and online classes, which has scaled our business 3X and increased the number of families we can serve by thousands.

6. Why is it important to you to serve this market?

Parents and children need sleep, and there are very little resources offered to new parents when they are struggling with sleep deprivation. Most parents don’t have time to pick up a book and read through pages upon pages of how to get their baby to sleep, and thus they continue to feel exhausted and depleted.

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue that affects millions of parents worldwide and unfortunately, it robs parents of the enjoyment of parenting and experiences with their children and we want/need to change that.

7. Describe the moment when you decided to create your own course. Where were you, what happened and why did you decide to do it?

I remember vividly, I was sitting on the couch having a discussion with my husband after feeling defeated and exhausted because I had way too many clients. 

I told him “This isn’t sustainable. How will I ever grow this business if I have to turn people away or put them on a waiting list because I can only take on so many clients at a time”. This is when we started talking about the idea of reaching parents virtually via online classes and three months later, we were shooting our first video.

This is also the time I decided to launch a pediatric sleep consulting certification program which is a whole other conversation!

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8. How did you overcome doubtful moments during your course creation journey?

Gosh, there were so many if I’m being honest! I had no idea how we were going to pay for the courses, how I was going to get over my awkwardness of being on camera, and I truly feared that nobody would buy the courses.

But with all the fears and doubts that came up during this process, I just constantly reminded myself that I will never know unless I take the risk. And that the worst thing that could happen is we end up in debt, which didn’t sound like the most terrible thing in the world.

I also have such an amazing support system. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and never doubted me for a second, and I have so many amazing people in my corner constantly building me up and encouraging me.

9. What are some of your tricks to deal with imposter syndrome?

There are three things that I focus on when I am experiencing imposter syndrome and serious feelings of doubt.

  1. I own the feelings and say them out loud, either to myself or someone else. I tend to be an internal processor which leads to festering on things and sometimes even obsessing. But if I say things out loud and get them out in the open, I can start honestly working through them.
  2. I expect and I accept mistakes. Mistakes are a part of life, and I previously had a tendency to be completely caught off guard and crushed when I made mistakes and experienced failure in the past. But I now come to expect I will make mistakes often and give myself grace, knowing that everything will always be OK and I might even learn from some of them 😉
  3. Prayer. Prayer keeps me humble and helps remind me where my worth is. Spending time in prayer is a daily practice for me and has helped teach me how to separate my insecurities from the truth. 

10. How long did it take you to create your course?

I created our courses one by one and each course took about 2 months to write and refine, and another 2 months to film and edit. We created our first course in 2018 and launched our most recent course this year so it has also taken years to complete all of the courses that we have had the goal of creating.

11. How did your first launch go?

Honestly not great. In my mind, I thought that as soon as we launched our first course (the newborn sleep course), people would just immediately purchase the course and it would gain momentum on its own. I was so wrong.

I realized that I had to (and still have to) talk about the course A LOT in order to increase sales and looking back I should have had a much more effective marketing strategy (or really just a marketing strategy in general).

Our courses have now done phenomenal, but we had to do several re-launches and get other brands and partners involved to bring awareness to each of our courses.

12. How do you structure your launches in general now?

Now we always start with an in-depth marketing plan which includes a soft launch on our channels and with a few partners and then schedule a bigger launch with heavy promotion and partnerships. We have seen much more success with this approach. 

13. Where does your traffic come from?

Our traffic primarily comes from social and from direct site visitors. We also get quite a bit of traffic from our brand partnerships and publications that I write for which links back to our site. And the great thing about this field is we still get quite a bit of word of mouth which is rare in most industries.

14. Which content do you like producing the most?

I honestly love producing all content related to pediatric sleep because it is truly my passion and I am in my element. But in addition to producing sleep-related content, I have recently found so much fulfilment and joy in producing content for our students in our sleep consultant training program.

Teaching others to build a successful practice as a sleep consultant is so much fun and makes such a huge impact on their lives and I love being a part of that.

15. What online course platform are you using?

We currently use Teachable.

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16. What is amazing about this platform?

I love how user friendly it is. I am NOT a tech person and I get frustrated easily when I try to learn how to use new platforms, so I love that it is so easy to set up and make edits on (even using your phone!). 

17. Which features do you wish this platform would have?

Teachable isn’t the best platform for running multiple programs at a time and often has glitches. It is great for our sleep courses but the students in our training program often have trouble accessing content and can get stuck in certain sections because of issues within the system. 

I also don’t love that it doesn’t let students see their quiz answers after they have completed them, but this doesn’t affect parents taking the sleep courses since quizzes are not a part of those courses.

18. Why did you choose this platform over other platforms?

I chose teachable because it seemed like the most user-friendly platform and the most cost-efficient at the time. I also had several friends and colleagues that had used it and were able to give me pointers which helped quite a bit.

19. Which other tools do you use to keep your online business running?

Soooo many spreadsheets. We tend to be a little excel and google doc crazy, but it gets the job done!

A few other platforms that are must-haves for our organization are Trello (for organization), Freshbooks (for accounting), and Hubspot (as our CRM system). 

We are also always looking for new systems and tools to stay organized and keep connected in these times.

20. How many students have you served so far?

I don’t actually know the number, but I know it is in the thousands (this is another feature I wish Teachable offered). 

21. How much revenue have you created during your first launch, and ongoing?

During our first launch, we made about $5,000 but to date, we have made close to $75,000 on our courses in a little under two years.  Our courses run about $50-$55 now but when we first launched were closer to $35-$40 so we were pretty happy with $5,000 at the time. But it is pretty exciting to see that number constantly growing. 

22. What are you running costs to keep the online course business going?

Our ongoing costs to keep this portion of our business going is actually pretty minimal. Our monthly subscription to teachable is probably our highest expense in addition to the credit card processing fees. But the initial investment to shoot and produce the courses was our biggest chunk of change, which thankfully is not ongoing.

23. What are some of the biggest mistakes you made along the way?

I should have taken more time to write out the first course. I honestly put it together so quickly that after we did the shoot, I realized that I missed a lot of things I meant to include, and I have since re-recorded most of those videos.

I have also realized that because I am so passionate about the topics we are discussing I can end up losing people by getting too deep into the science of sleep, forgetting that tired parents need simple and concise tips. I have gone back and re-watched the courses many times and I continue to add to them and re-film when needed to make sure I am offering the best possible product. 

But my biggest mistake of all was not having a marketing plan for our first launch as mentioned previously. I learned SO much from the failure of our first launch, when it took almost three weeks before one single person bought the course. And I should have known better having majored and worked in marketing for a very long time!

24. How has your business changed since implementing an online course into the business model?

Our business has changed so much for the better. I no longer have to rely so much on my time being the main offering of our business, but we now are able to make money in our sleep! 

In the last year especially, it has scaled our business 2X and has reached so many more families that we wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.

I am a firm believer that all businesses should have some type of passive income that allows them the freedom to focus their time and energy on building the business, WHILE they make money. I still offer one-on-one consultations and I love doing so, I am able to limit my time and clientele without it affecting us financially and causing burnout because of the revenue that our courses bring in.

25. How has your personal life changed?

Oh gosh, it has lifted such a burden. There was a time that I had so many clients I couldn’t even keep them straight, which is never the type of service that I want to offer. 

I am so much less stressed personally now that we are able to provide this offering to parents and I can spend more time with my own family without constantly having to check my phone which was the entire reason I started this business in the first place!

26. What’s the greatest transformational story you can tell about one (or more) of your students?

There is a parent that reached out to me recently in tears who was dealing with postpartum depression and the level of sleep deprivation she was experiencing was making it so much worse. She had taken other programs and even worked with other sleep consultants one on one and still felt confused and lost.

She shared with me that she felt a dark cloud was constantly over her, she dreaded nights, she dreaded waking up, and she constantly felt guilty for not enjoying time with her baby because she was so exhausted and depleted. But when she took our program in her words, she said “I literally feel like me again; like I finally have my life back, and a cloud has been lifted”.

She was sleeping again because her baby was sleeping, her postpartum depression had improved, and ultimately, she felt healthier mentally and physically. She and I have now become friends and she actually ended up enrolling in our sleep consultant certification program to help other families and specifically women dealing with postpartum depression.

When I hear these stories, I am reminded of how important this work is. Sleep is not a luxury; sleep is something that we cannot survive without and affects every area of our life. And when babies aren’t sleeping, parents aren’t sleeping. As a mother myself, I remember thinking I would never sleep again and that I just had to accept this was my new normal.

And so many other parents share these same thoughts, but my mission is to educate and encourage parents through this journey so they can find that joy in parenting again instead of feeling overwhelmed and weary. 

27. If you could use a time machine and send yourself back to the time before you started out, what advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know now?

There are so many things I would tell myself because I honestly had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. But a few of the biggest pieces of advice I would give myself are…

 

  1. Stop comparing yourself and embrace your own style. When I first started, I was constantly looking at other sleep consultants around me, trying to figure out how to be “that successful” or look that put together, etc. I remember the first Instagram live I did; it was horrendous because it wasn’t me. I was trying to “act” when I should have just been myself. People want authenticity even if it isn’t perfection.
  2. I would tell myself to get used to failing. I tell my oldest son all the time, “failure is a part of life, so get used to it”; but for some reason, I have trouble following my own advice. You are going to fail so many times you will lose count, and personally, I don’t know any successful entrepreneur that hasn’t admitted to failing…a lot! It is what you do with that failure that will either break you or propel you forward.
  3. Finally, I would remind myself that I am only one person and can only do so much. For a long time, I had a superman complex and thought the only way to scale my business was to just keep working harder and harder. But I continued to hit a brick wall and our business was growing at a snail’s pace. It wasn’t until I hired a team slowly that we grew and finally reached those lofty goals. 

28. What is your million dollar piece of advice to those who are just getting started in their online course journey OR for those who are looking to scale?

Your course isn’t perfect, launch it anyway. You could spend years creating the “perfect” course only to find out that there will be people who don’t like it or don’t find it helpful. I will never forget the first time someone asked for a refund. I felt like a complete failure.

People are going to give you feedback, both constructive and not so constructive, and you will need to constantly refine and edit your course. So, don’t worry about it being perfect because you are going to need to change it along the way. Should you take your time and make sure you have a quality product? Absolutely!  But just understand that once you launch you will realize areas you missed, things you can improve, and ways to make it better.

On that same note, expect that there will be people who simply don’t find any value in your course and that is ok. Give them the refund and move on. For every one person that thought your course was terrible, you will have hundreds that found it helpful and those hundreds are the ones that will keep you going.

In order to scale you need to have an email list. You don’t own your social media followers, so it is CRUCIAL that you have an email list that you can constantly communicate with. Your email list should be a big part of your marketing strategy, so if you don’t have one now, make that your number one priority until you have 100 subscribers and then keep building it.

As you build your email list and communicate with them, you will see your sales increase almost immediately.

How to create an online course.png

How to create an online course.png

Would you like to learn exactly how to create, sell, market & scale your online course?

Join Our Free Event:

The Ultimate Online Course Conference

March 29th - April 4th

Registration Closes In

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

The World’s Economy Has Already Shifted Into The Virtual Space More And Faster Than Ever Before & It’s Time To Catch Up Right Now… Or Else You’ll Risk Getting Left Behind.

The Most “Future Proof” Way To Get Ahead And Run A Sustainable Online Business Is By Entering The Exploding Digital Knowledge Industry With The Guidance Of Tina and 30+ Experts Through Online Course Talks. 

how to create an online course