If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at B3 Glass, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city.
This week, we’re joined by Brittney Stefanic, the women behind Brittney Stefanic Sleep Consulting. Launching in August of 2017, the goal of this business is to educate and support families in finding sleep solutions. You can think of Brittney as an accountability buddy who can help get your sleep on track!
Now, back when I (Anthony Crosby) was in the early stages of AAT and still experimenting with the kinds of content we were going to publish, we had Brittney share with us a little bit about who she is and what she does. However, that was more like a twenty-minute power nap, and now we want the full night’s sleep version of the story! Brittney, can you please share how you got into the business of helping people catch some ZZZ’s, and what have you learned in your early days as a business owner?
“I always knew I had a passion for educating; My undergrad, from the University of Colorado, is in both biology and science education. I moved to Elko five and a half years ago to be with my husband; he worked for Newmont. I had spent the prior three years in Denver, Colorado as a high school science teacher, so when I came here, I got a job working for the school district, teaching alternative and adult education. I did that work for a total of five years. Elko was always our two-year, short-term plan, but here we are almost six years later!”
“About two years ago, we had our son, and that’s how this whole “sleep-biz” came to be because it turns out, the sleep struggle is very real when you have newborn at home! From that experience, I learned a lot more about sleep and how it tied in with my formal education- science and biology. I started the business to help educate others and spread my knowledge. It may not be in a formal classroom role anymore, but I still get to spend my days educating, which is awesome! I have clients whom I meet with virtually, but I love working with people locally! I get to go into their homes, meet them in person, meet their families, check out their space and figure out what kinds of changes we can make to what I call their “sleep sanctuaries.”
“I’ve learned that part of being a business owner is taking the leap to build something you believe in and also filling the needs of the community when it comes to your niche. I saw a need for it (sleep consulting), personally with my son, but I also saw a need for it in Elko as we are such a family orientated and young community. Furthermore, as my year and a half in business transpired, I learned that kids aren’t the only ones with sleep struggles. So, this past Summer, I completed my adult sleep certification, as well. There’s that need here, especially with shift work and crazy work schedules. Having a plan and predictability can be so key when it comes to your sleep success because our bodies are very rhythmic.”
It’s great that you get to use your love of teaching to do something meaningful and unique. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anybody else in the area working this space in the ways you are; are there other sleep consultants I’m just not remembering? “Not to my knowledge. I found a certification program and flew down to Southern Florida to get certified. Consultants are doing this all over the world, but not in our area. I believe there’s someone else certified in my particular program living in Las Vegas, but I’m the only one in Northern Nevada.”
So then, as the go-to person in our town for this kind of consultant work, can you walk us through what someone may expect if they reach out to you for assistance? “I always start by hopping on the phone with prospective clients because I always want to know where you are with your current sleep struggles, who in your family may be struggling with sleep, and what your current sleep goals are. I also use that initial call to make sure we would be a good fit as we worked together and to rule out any medical referrals I would recommend as I am not a doctor. After that, for my local clients, we set up a consultation where I come to your house, bring our customizable sleep plan, then we get into the details of what your family’s plan will include. We’ll figure out what changes we will make and how those changes align with the goals we’ve set. The rest of the support, following the consultation, is done virtually through a walkie-talkie app called Voxer where people can send me their questions, unlimited, for the two weeks while they’re implementing their plan. Making change is hard, and I didn’t want people to think they were doing this solo.”
That sounds great, Brittney; however, it seems like you make yourself very accessible for your clients. That doesn’t have a negative impact on your sleep; does it? “I do have that accessibility in my business, but I also let my clients know that I don’t sleep with my phone in the bedroom because that is one of my tried and true tips for improved adult sleep. When I go to bed, my phone stays in the kitchen charging; in the morning, after I’ve gotten my kids settled, that’s when my workday starts. I learned those boundaries quickly! Also, because every family gets their own, customizable plan, most of my clients know what to do in the middle of the night if things completely fall apart; that’s the education piece. The plan is the roadmap, and I’m more like the GPS needed for extra support, but you can get through a trip with just a map.”
Brittney, what have been some of the joys of running your businesses this past year and a half, and what are you still working through as you look to head into year two? “One of the biggest joys that comes from the business is how quickly we see results, especially working with the pediatrics! Babies are getting better sleep. Toddlers are staying in their beds at night, and parents are feeling like they can get a handle on things while being empowered with the plan we put together. Seeing transformations happen so quickly has helped me remain super passionate and on my game! On the other side, I’m going through some growing pains, for sure! I’ve been trying to figure out how I can either keep this a one-person show or if I need to put together a team to support more families. Right now, we have about a three-week waiting list, which is a great problem to have as a business, but when people reach out for help with something as fragile as sleep, they want help right now. I know I have to keep my boundaries in place, which means I can only meet with so many clients a week if I want to maintain a certain level of connection with each family.”
Finally, is there any last piece of encouragement you want to leave with the good people who took the time to read this feature, today? “Along with being a basic human need, sleep is an aspect of self-care. Speaking as a mother, there’s a large portion of the mom population that falls into the trap of believing to be a mom means you need to be a martyr. In working with families all over the world in the past year and a half, I believe I’ve been able to help parents strike that balance between caring for their kids and caring for themselves. Just because you’re a parent or a shift worker doesn’t mean you have to be sleep deprived. If we’re able to get the sleep piece aligned with your goals, other areas of your life will begin to align as well. There’s nothing wrong with prioritizing the sleep needs of yourself or your family, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help in doing so.”
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See you around, Elko!