I first heard about Morgan Griffith’s business in a moment of desperation.
You see, we brought a new baby home from the hospital just a few weeks ago, and my nights now are full of howling interruptions. Ending those is Morgan’s specialty — she’s a sleep consultant. Her business is Sleep Pea Infant and Toddler Sleep Consulting.
“Sleep is like a puzzle,” she told me as I chugged my second up of coffee at Amelie’s. “If all the pieces come together, it’s a masterpiece.”
But Morgan’s career path is instructive for more people than just overtired new parents.
She built a successful career in public relations on the West Coast before moving to Charlotte in January 2010 when her son Brooks was 6 months old. While here in town, she worked for the global PR firm Burson Marsteller.
But in 2014, when daughter Emory was born, she decided to quit the corporate world and launch a business.
Today, she works with clients in Charlotte and around the country, teaching them how to help their babies sleep better, charging between $450 and $950 for her consulting packages.
Here’s how she made the transition. Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
How did your career start?
I went to school at the University of Southern California, the other USC. I started out wanting to be a pediatrician. I knew I loved working with kids. But once I got to college, I naturally sort of progressed into public relations and journalism.
I lived on the West Coast and joined larger agencies. I was really rolling. I met my husband, and decided to settle down, and have our child. We had Brooks, who is now 7, in San Francisco. That’s where this transition of interest happened.
On the side, I was using this newfound skill of mine, sleep training. We sleep trained him (Brooks) in San Francisco. My friends were asking me multiple times, “Show me what you learned, show me what you know.” I started working with more and more people, and I just became more and more confident about it to the point where the scales sort of tipped.
I said, “Wow, I’m going to opt for more flexibility in my life, transition from this very tense, demanding corporate job and start an opportunity where I could see my kids more often. I’m going to take that leap to start my own business doing something that I’m good at.”
How was the transition from PR to sleep training?
I was able to segue from PR because PR is a very service-driven industry. You are constantly serving your clients, working them through strategies, their approach. I was able to take those skills and transfer them over to the sleep training.
Instead of working with a global corporate client, I’m working with a mom and dad. It’s the same technique. You really have to set expectations, find a strategy, get your tactics lined up, set your goals, set your objectives and really hold their hands through the process.
The skill set was more similar than I had originally anticipated.
How do you show expertise in sleep training?
There are places you can go to get a certification. It’s not like the American Association of Pediatrics where you get your one certification. You’re not giving away medical advice. What I’m doing does not require a certification. You can look on that as good or bad. Anybody can do it, at this point.
It becomes word of mouth, sharing. Unique individual families and their stories speak louder than a certification can. If you get a certification in sleep training, I’ll tell you what you’re doing. For the most part, you’re spending $3,000 to $6,000 to take a course where they teach you, “These are all the ways to get kids to sleep.” OK, the books tell you that in the bookstore.
What I tell you is how to make this customized to your family, your needs, your child.
Has it been an adjustment moving from the corporate world to a solopreneur career?
When you’re running your own business, and especially a business like this, demand has a tendancy to ebb and flow. I’ll have two weeks on, where I have no more capacity and I’m turning clients away. But then there are weeks where I’m working with a few clients but it’s not that stressful. In the corporate world you have more of a sense of what your workload is going to be.
The corporate world also affords you a consistent salary, for the most part.
The awesome part about it is it affords me the flexibility to be with my kids more, I’m my own boss, it’s me against myself in terms of goal-setting.
I would say I’m happier. I feel my contribution to society is more rewarding, in doing what I’m doing right now. But I still use a lot of the same skills and elements of what I did in PR in my job today.
Connect with Morgan and Sleep Pea Consulting