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Turning what life taught you into a profitable business

Interview with Dana Obleman

welcome everyone Natalie to him.
You hear from new software marketing and today I have a very special guest.
Our name is Dana Oberman and she is the founder of the sleep sense program.
She began a practice in Vancouver Canada in 2000 and three after struggling with our own child sleeps.

She drew on her jewel degrees in psychology And education to create the sleep since program.
It's a complete sleep resource for parents which has sold almost 200, 000 units already in more than 30 countries.
She's also the author of four books on specific parenting challenges.

She's been featured a featured speaker at major parenting trade shows.
She's been asked to become a regular contributing writer for the Washington post And she's built an impressive social media following with half million views on YouTube and over 5000 downloads on our podcast within three weeks of its launch.
But she's also personally trained a global network of over 150 certified sleep sense consultant to carry on her work with in many countries.

So Dana lives in Florida with her husband and three kids and she continues our lives work to educate and empower families with healthy sleep habits.
So thank you so much for being here dinner.
Oh it's wonderful.

Thank you.
It's my pleasure.
Well, I'm really excited that we're having this uh this conversation because you know, we talked on the phone and I really loved your story and your journeys through a problem that you originally had.
You found a solution and then you can turn that into a business and then went even further with this certification where you actually empowering women to you know,

turn that into a business as well and I think that that is awesome, so let's dive writing and the first question I'd like to ask you is how did you become an entrepreneur and how did this all get started basically? Well,

I think some people are born entrepreneurs and some people just sort of fall into it, I would put myself in the fall into it category.
Um I had never considered starting my own business, I had never,

you know, called myself an entrepreneurial spirit or anything like that, but when I was looking for ways to step away from my teaching career, um I just really opened myself up to any possibility uh and stayed sort of committed to looking for my next step.
So when we had our own struggles with our first son,

uh and I kind of went down the road of researching his sleep and trying to figure out a plan for him and getting that all sorted out and um him sleeping so much better, I thought,

you know, I wonder if this is sort of a little niche that I might be able to fill by, you know creating plans for people and kind of coaching them through the whole process of getting their Children to sleep better.
So once the idea was planted in my brain I couldn't let it go,

it was just uh it just felt like the right thing to do and it it just felt like, um it was like a calling and I felt so excited about it that I just, I just leaped in with both feet.
I just committed to making it work.

And I found people in my community who knew a little more about running a business or starting a business and I did and I learned from them and I just, I never looked back also.

I mean I think that those inspiring stories of people that are actually building a business out of their passion, right? This is where we can really see the success stories because the y is so big that you're going to go through the hurdles and you're going to find a way.
And I love that you reach out to people right away for the business part and not trying to figure out yourself because that's definitely,

you know, you need the shot cats, you've got a great idea and surrounding yourself with people like this is really, really, really small.
So Can you tell us who the journey of how it got started? Did you started a fly like when you started your practice in 2003,

was that it yeah, I started the business uh coaching parents one on one.
So I would go into their home and sit with them and go through what's working what's not working, what do we need to fix,

how can we make this better and left them to start their plan.
And then I would support them through the process.
So I would call to make sure they were doing okay and answer any questions they had along the way.
And I basically stayed with each client for roughly a two week period.

And then um I did that for a couple of years until my second son was born.
And my husband was working for an online um marketing company at the time.
And and back then this is 14 years ago.
So you got to keep that in mind.

He started mentoring, mentioning this thing about e books that people were making money selling e books online and that maybe we could turn my knowledge into a product we could sell online.
And I thought well what have we got to lose really,

we might as well give it a shot.
So we went ahead and got our program together and I put basically all my knowledge into a written form and uh built a website and and uh launched it and uh again haven't looked back from that either, awesome.

So it's so it basically became an online course where people can just sign up and go through the course at their own pace.
Is that how it was working for the sleep sense program? It is um an online program.

Yes.
Uh once it's roughly a 10 night process, so once people commit to starting, they just follow the plan for a roughly 10 to 14 day process of teaching their Children had to sleep well, both at naps and at nighttime,

awesome.
So how did you, how did you build that online course? I mean, I mean your husband knew a bit about the online world, but you kind of had to build that audience because you went from offline local to worldwide.
So how how did that happen?

And how long did it take for you to get to a place where it's actually, you know, selling on its own where you have like a system in place.
Yeah, well again, I I got lucky in that my husband kinda knew what he was doing in this world,

so he uh he really ran the show on the online piece right from the get go and you know, again, we had no idea if it was gonna make money or if anyone was going to buy it, but I would say within the first four months we were making enough money selling sleep sense online that he could quit his day job and come work for our company on a full time basis.

So it it had um you know, again it was a new idea and there wasn't a lot of competition at the time in the sleep space.
So it just I think we just got we got in at the right time and it was a necessary um piece of education that parents were missing.
Mhm.

Yeah.
So I think it was probably a combination of great content, like a need like a desperate need, a solution for a problem that so many people are having a huge pain for people that they are willing to pay for and the strategy, the right strategy.

I mean if your husband knew what it was doing online, then obviously, you know, I mean for people that don't have a husband that knows, it's basically surrounding yourself with the right people from the beginning.
Because if you have this idea right,

you have to share it the sooner the better.
So you have to surround yourself if you don't know, don't try to figure out on your own.
It's gonna take you forever.
Okay,

great.
Yeah.
So now you have this course and people from all over the world right can learn.
I mean can finally, you know learn how to get you know to help that kids go to sleep.
But I love how you took this further with the certification.

Can you share how the idea came 1st? Like how did you realize like this is something you could do? Yeah, that's yeah, it was really exciting.
I I had been asked many times by either clients I worked with privately or emails coming in from people who have done the program.
You know,

how could I help them start their own business and they'd love to learn from me.
Um and and I resisted it a little bit at first because they really couldn't figure out, you know,

did I want to bring on a partner and what would that look like? And did I want to um, franchise and what would that look like? So there was a lot of thought that went into it and until we really figured out the certification piece.
Uh and then I I I think it's always best to start with your own people,

right? If you've got a business already built, you've got a following, you've got fans, customers, whatever it is.
So I just reached out to our customer pool and said, hey,

I'm, you know, thinking about starting this certification program.
I'm looking for people to try it out with me to to help me sort of uh fine tune what's going, what's going to be the program.

And had a great response.
There was kind of an overwhelming response from, from our customers saying, hey, I would love that.
And most most of the girls that come through our looking for a way to have a better work life balance and they want to have more flexibility in their schedule and they want to do something that they're passionate about and that really sort of fit the bill for a lot of working or for a lot of moms out there who wanted to step back into the workforce.
So that's been,

we're on our 6.
5 years.
Uh we've been doing the certification program and I'm really loving both mentoring women in the business space uh sort of teaching them how to build a business because as we know as entrepreneurs you can be a great consultant or a great accountant or a great sleep coach.
But if you don't do the marketing piece or you don't know how to do that side,

it's not going to go very far.
So that's that's a big exciting piece of our certification as well to just really help women, you know, get off to a great start with their business.
Yeah I love this.

But I mean like you said, I mean I think that getting you know being really good at something and certainly like if they go through your course and they can, you know,

start helping parents.
But the business systemic is so important because these women are probably moms that maybe stop working or never worked and it's an opportunity for them to not only make some income but also um you know get busy and interacting with people and other parents and being helpful using a method that they use.
So are you all you certified people clients?

No not no, no that's certainly um that's where we started and I would say you know sort of 80% of the consultants that come through our certification are also customers.
So they started off having a baby who didn't sleep that great and and kind of went down that road to solving the problem,

but now we've got um doulas, we've got midwives, nurses who are just looking for, you know, that that little missing piece of the career puzzle, which is flexibility in your schedule and a little more freedom to, to create something um that that's better balanced for your family.

So yeah, it's um it's a good fit for a lot of different backgrounds, so I mean it's definitely a great thing for your business because it's another way to scale in a whole new level, right?

But also I wanted to talk about um this certification program, is that like of course they have to go through and then they're on their own or is that an ongoing, is there like a community that you've field around?

Yeah, that was a really important piece that I wanted to make sure that we created was a sense of community, I know, as as an entrepreneur myself, starting out 14 years ago, entrepreneurship can be a bit of a lonely road and um you can sort of question yourself and and and feel lonely and isolated.

So I really, I wanted to make sure that our consultants felt supported and um empowered and uh built a really strong community.
So we do, we have the training um the mentorship is basically a three month program, so they come and they meet me live here in florida,

we do the first three days together and then we mentor together online for the next three months, but once they graduate, then they join basically the pool of sleep sense consultants.
We've got a facebook group that's really active people asking questions and sharing advice and supporting one another.

And that's just been so great to see the way in which women are rising up to support each other and and helping each other grow their business.
So that that we do a conference every year, which is a ton of fun when we all get together as a group in person and learn and share and um you know,

have a few laughs and uh just really builds a really strong sense of community awesome.
So can you, can you share with us uh in terms of this business that you've built for yourself based on that original pain that you had where you found a solution.
Uh so you've had to do some one on one work,

then you move online.
Uh and then you have this certification in your business right now, Do you still do like one on one work? Do you how do you spend your time right now in your business now that you build this this following of people that are basically selling the sleep size for you? Yeah,

it's it's I think the exciting thing about being an entrepreneur is that if you're truly an entrepreneur, there's always a next idea and the next idea in the next idea.
So um that's something that I've,

I've seen within myself over the years.
So the certification program and now we're working on um some other sort of mentioned membership site ideas and so we've always got kind of the next thing we're working on, but I spend most of my day um I don't actually do any private one on one with clients anymore.

I try to, to um outsource those to the consultants nearest them for, for that 1 to 1 support.
But I certainly spent a lot of my time um answering facebook questions and supporting our clients in the best way we can and also mentoring and coaching my consultants which um has mentioned, we've got about 100 and 50 of them now.

So that keeps me busy enough just making sure that there feeling supported and that they're getting what they need from me.
Absolutely.
I mean, I think that's, that's the idea to basically to free up some time like you said,

so that you can come up with new ideas to take you the next to the next step.
So, so what is your goal now for sleep sense is that you, so you talked about the membership, so the certification is not a membership right?

It's not something that they have to keep on uh paying every month every year to stay a member.
So yes, it actually is, it is, and I do that for a couple of reasons I, you know,

that that gives me a little bit of quality control.
I can kind of make sure that people are still doing the best job they possibly can representing the sleep stands brand.
And also it helps create that sense of community where we're all in it together and I do um education pieces every month as well.

So I teach them something or I have guest speakers come in and teach them something.
So that the ongoing um, education piece is a big part of it.
Yeah.
And about the membership, I don't know if you want to talk about it,

but have you thought about like running a membership for actual parents actually because that they are going to give you what they want next from you, potentially.

Right.
Right.
Well, I think one of the challenges and I, I know being a mother myself is that being a mother in and of itself can be fairly isolating and um, it's hard to have safe spaces to talk about your fears and your challenges,

and your and your successes and and all of that.
So that is something that we're considering, it's just uh still um in the planning stage.
So I don't, I won't say too much about it.
But yeah,

I think that that's, that's something that really excites me is just providing moms with an opportunity to, to talk openly and honestly in safe spaces so that they can feel better supported in their role.
Yeah,

I feel like more so than just content.
Pure content is the community piece, which is, you know, for having seen, you know, many membership sites, it's, you know,

in the last year, in the last two years we've really seen this shift where memberships that really, really work as that big have that big community element to it because you know, they say people joined for the content that they stay for the people and that's definitely it.

So I think that especially if there is not something out there already, um I think that that's definitely something that could be, you know, that I could see people totally joining, like you said,

it's highly insulating.
It could be a way for them to also create local meetups.
You know, you definitely see that in big memberships that have lots of members where they actually start meeting uh you know face to face because you have so many members that they are bound to, you know,

not be too far from each other.
So that is awesome.
So yeah, definitely more room to grow and to expand and to help even more people.
Right, Absolutely awesome.
So can you share with us where people can find out more about the Sleep sense program and your certification program.

I don't know if it's something you run once a year or how it's working.
We run them four times a year and we do, there's one a year that we do overseas somewhere.
So this year into the 2018 we're heading to Amsterdam to run a class there.

But yes, people can find out more about both of the, the sleep science program and the certification at sleep sense dot net, which is our website or you can find me on facebook under dana nobleman.
Awesome.

Well, thank you so much Dina for accepting my invitation.
I would I really wanted to find out more about uh your journey and thank you so much for sharing all of this.
Uh and I hope to see a membership site pretty soon.

All right in the future.
Thanks so much for thinking of me.
There was a lot of fun.
Yeah, Thank you so much, Dina.

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