We’re starting a new series on Horkey HandBook today, called Student Success Stories.
Why are we doing this? Glad you asked!
It’s because we want to feature people who took the 30 Days or Less courses and actually got serious about working on their freelance career. Gina gets a lot of emails every week from 30 DOL students sharing their wins. She shares them with the team, and our days get a little brighter knowing that we’re all in this to help people break out of the 9-to-5 and follow their passion (whether that’s writing, business growth or just getting paid to play on Pinterest).
But we bet we’re not the only ones to feel totally uplifted by win stories, right?
So we’ve decided to share some of them with you, because win stories remind us that we’re not alone, that goals can be achieved with enough follow through, and that if others can do it, it means it’s not impossible. Not even close.
You’d probably expect our first Student Success Story to be about a freelance writer or a virtual assistant. But we’re in it to surprise you a bit today, and feature a sleep consultant.
Katie Letourneau reached out to Gina to let her know how she used the 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course as a stepping stone towards freelancing, and how after about six months of being an online editor, she decided to switch gears to becoming a sleep consultant.
Here’s Katie’s story:
Name: Katie Letourneau
Course enrollment date: February, 2015
Business launch date: March, 2015 (as a freelance editor) and April, 2016 (as a sleep consultant)
Date hired by first client: April, 2015 (as a freelance editor) and April, 2016 (as a sleep consultant)
Hours worked per week: 20 hours/week
Average monthly income: It varies, depending on the season, but it has replaced my old teaching income and then some. 🙂
Top three services/niches: private consultation with families, sleep education/seminars, and blogging
Hi, Katie! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I work as a pediatric sleep consultant and I am married with two young kiddos. We live with an animal menagerie of horses, dogs, cats, and a fish. In my past life, I worked as a teacher in special education for almost 10 years and briefly as an editor in the freelancing world for about six months.
What about your business?
Even though freelancing ended up not being what I was looking to do, it led me to my current path of being a pediatric sleep consultant, and I am so incredibly happy with where I am.
Your classes taught me how to play the internet game and my short time in the freelancing/editing world gave me valuable insight on how to manage my own website, write blogs and design social media content that’s relevant to my market, as well as attract other businesses, and build my network.
I’m now a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, connected with social media queens with huge followings, and I’m helping families get to sleep again. A complete win-win, and I know I wouldn’t have had the courage to jump if it weren’t for your own journey.
I had been informally working with families on their sleep issues for four years and officially launched my sleep consulting business a year ago.
(ETA: Katie is doing a giveaway until May 6th to celebrate her one year anniversary. It’s a great offer, if you think your family might benefit from sleep consulting services.)
I received my certification in the field of pediatric sleep education/services last winter and decided to dedicate my time to working with families struggling with their little ones’ sleep issues and educate parents about the importance of sleep and how much sleep can impact their child’s development – both cognitively and physically. Not only that, it is likely that the parents’ sleep is suffering too, so by working with their child, I end up improving everyone’s sleep. Win-win!
How did you decide to start freelancing or working online?
Gina and I have known each other for about seven years.
And her journey to make her own 9-5 inspired me to do the same.
I had been getting frustrated with the politics in the field of education and was quickly getting burnt out.
So I decided to try freelancing, more specifically in the area of editing. I experienced some success, but quickly learned that I wasn’t completely satisfied in the freelancing industry. I still craved face-to-face contact with others and loved working with little ones – which was a huge reason why I became a teacher anyway.
I also was being asked questions about whether I had a website that people could share with their friends/family who needed sleep help or if I worked with families that weren’t local.
So I decided to move in a different direction and applied to receive my certification to become a pediatric sleep consultant since I had been doing this informally for about three years at that point and really enjoyed it.
Since then, I’ve been running my own sleep consulting business and managing my own blog and Facebook page for my business. I am also a contributor on Huffington Post for sleep related topics for adults and littles.
And how long did it take you to earn your course investment back?
I earned the writing course investment back within two months of freelancing.
The investment for the sleep certification took a bit longer, as it is similar in cost to a year’s worth of post-secondary education at a community college. I paid that off this past winter, so that took about eight months.
What was your biggest fear before you started your business?
Making that big monetary investment was incredibly nerve-wracking. Also whether or not I would be able generate enough income to help support my family and see a return on my investment.
I also worried if people would really pay for my services – would they find the value in sleeping well beyond just the financial cost of hiring me?
What was the most challenging part about getting started?
Getting a consistent flow of clients and developing a schedule that allowed me time to market and blog about my business. Also figuring out what services I wanted to offer – whether it’s just a plan with support, or going into the home and helping them with bedtime that first night, or over the phone with an advice line. Additionally, I had to determine the value in those services to know what prices to charge was tough.
Developing content for my website was a bit daunting, as well as figuring out how I wanted to market myself. I’m still learning new lessons every week and am constantly looking for new ways to connect with families and network with others.
How did you overcome that?
Staying persistent and celebrating my successes, even if it was something as simple as finishing my tasks two hours early.
What has been your biggest success since you’ve started?
I’m now getting calls from families telling me that they want to hire me off the bat – they don’t want to waste time on a free consult or banter about. They want help, and they want it now. That makes me feel amazing.
I’m also starting to get a consistent flow of clients from past clients’ referrals. That means the world to me, knowing that those families were so satisfied with their experience working with me that they encourage others to hire me to help them.
I’m also celebrating two anniversaries this month in April – one year of officially being Sleeping Littles and five years in working with families to help them resolve their sleep issues. That’s such an awesome feeling!
Can you tell us about your highest paying project?
Over $1,000 for one family – working with both of their littles at the same time. They were amazing to work with.
What are you working on right now?
Continuing to work with families. I’m also working to expand my network and foster new connections with other businesses and service providers so that we can create a relationship that benefits both of us.
I’m also foraying into making videos/vlogs for my website, my blog and my Facebook page to make announcements and share quick tips. (Wish me luck!)
Having the freelancing experience has been incredibly valuable in helping me build the business online and on social media.
What are you looking forward to most over the next 12 months?
To continue work with more families and provide sleep education to more families – I look forward to seeing my business continue to grow and am looking forward to implementing new ways to market myself and my consulting business.
I feel challenged in a positive way and am continuously inspired to try new things online that I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying, even a short year ago.
Katie is the owner of Sleeping Littles, a pediatric sleep consulting business dedicated to helping families solve their little one’s sleep issues and start sleeping well again. For five years she has helped hundreds of families nationwide teach their children healthy sleep habits, which has enabled them to experience better sleep in just a few short weeks. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram sharing sleep success stories, relevant news about sleep and child development, and parenting memes that make you say “Amen!”, laugh, or cry – depending on how much sleep you got the night before.