Today on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast we're talking with Sejal Fichadia, a lactation consultant in Portland, Oregon.
Now this is a pretty specific business, and I've never had any conversation, or experience with a lactation consultant, but we still had a really interesting conversation, because what we always find is that each individual provider of a service is really in the same exact situation.
You may be offering a different type of service, but you'll see as we have this conversation, the biggest challenge is always, identifying the people we're going to serve and want to be in a relationship with, how big is that market, and how do we get in front of them so we can get them to pay attention and start the relationship.
We had a really great conversation about finding other people who are also looking for the same audience across various social platforms, and came up with some good ideas for her to collaborate with them.
It’s a really great example of how the framework of identifying who you’re looking for works for every type of business.
Want to be a guest on the show? Simply follow the 'Be a Guest' link on the left & I'll be in touch.
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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 127
Dean: Sejal Fichadia
Sejal: Good. How are you doing. This is Sejal.
Dean: How do I pronounce your name?
Dean: Okay. Perfect. I'm very excited to chat with you today. I've got my notebook here ready to work on a nice plan with you.
Sejal: Thank you.
Dean: Tell me what's been going on here?
Sejal: I am a lactation consultant and a postpartum doula in private practice here in the Portland area in Oregon.
Dean: Oh my.
Sejal: The reason I contacted you was my husband is a big fan of your podcast and he listens to it.
Dean: Oh awesome.
Sejal: He told me, "You should contact Dean." Because I don't have a lot of knowledge on the business side of things. He feels like we need more help with marketing and creating a regular flow of customers for the business.
Dean: Yes. Yes.
Sejal: That's why we're trying to figure out whether we should contact you or not and took me a few months to muster up the courage to apply.
Dean: Oh boy. That's great. Tell me about your business then. How it actually works and what you're doing and how you're marketing so far?
Sejal: Most of the marketing my husband does it on Facebook doing Facebook ads. Which I don't have a lot of knowledge about, but I just give him the content, because I not only do lactation consulting, I also teach classes for babies that are pre-crawling babies on Infant Massage and Tummy Time. It's more of a development of movement class where we optimize baby’s skills.
Dean: Oh wow.
Sejal: Before they start crawling. That's the goal, but it also impacts their feeding skills, it impacts the way that they learn language. The method that I teach was developed by an occupational therapist and I really love teaching those classes. That is one of my other passions besides doing lactation and postpartum work. When I'm going for a lactation visit, I don't have an office space, I usually drive to my client's home because I believe that newly postpartum parents need to be in their own nest. I fly into their nest instead of them flying to me-
Dean: That makes sense.
Sejal: Because they're tired and sleep deprived and need to be in their home and be comfortable for me to see them.
Sejal: Go ahead.
Dean: It sounds like you do a variety of things. You have different services that you offer. Who would make up the most of it? What's the primary thing that you do?
Sejal: The primary, so I teach the class, it's a four week series, it is a combination class.th I teach every month except for the month of December when people are traveling for the holidays is the only month that I don't teach. It's a once a week class. Whereas my lactation consulting I do every day of the week.
Dean: I got you.
Sejal: My hours are 24 hours a day. If I get a call, even at nine PM, I will go and see them.
Sejal: Because babies need to be fed and they don't have clocks. We do.
Dean: I see.
Sejal: The positive thing about my approach is that I really truly do believe that babies need to be fed when they need to be fed and when parents need help, they need help and I should be able to go help them.
Dean: Now how do you find people to work with now?
Sejal: I started out as a postpartum doula until I got my certification as a lactation consultant. I usually get most of my clients through word of mouth referrals. I don't have a lot of other marketing tricks. Most of them are one mom referring me to another and so on and so forth or if I had met a midwife or a physician, I have given them my card, but I'm not doing it consistently. Yes, go ahead.
Dean: I was going to ask, how many people really know what a lactation consultant is? Or that you even are an option for people? Is that a common thing or?
Sejal: It's pretty common here in Portland. It's a very common word. We have a lot of lactation consultants here in Portland. Part of my struggle is that how do I continue to see clients in a very competitive field, because there are some that are way more experienced than I am. I do refer my clients who I feel like I'm not so sure, I would like a second opinion. I send them to the more experienced lactation consultants or I will see them personally.
Dean: Got you.
Sejal: Then the hospitals have their own lactation consultants. But what I'm finding in practice is when people have exhausted all their resources in terms of going through the hospital system and they're not getting the answers that they're needing, then they will contact us in private practice, because I don't accept insurance. I am private pay only because the insurance thing is more expensive and more time consuming than I can afford right now personally as a business owner because it's just one of me for now.
Dean: Yes. Right.
Sejal: I'm not sure. I should be able to manage myself before I can manage other people, that's what I think.
Dean: Right. Right. Well-
Sejal: I also work with an independent contractor with another private practice lactation consultant group because I need to have a sustainable income. I'm not there yet.
Dean: Well that's good. It gives you a nice baseline. How long do people typically engage you? How long will somebody work with you? Is there a window of time? When do they start and when does it end?
Sejal: It's quite varied. Sometimes they contact me three or four days postpartum. Sometimes they contact me six weeks postpartum because the challenges begin at that time for that particular family. Sometimes they'll contact me at 14 months. It's a wide range, but mostly they'll contact me within the first three to four months. If I have to say 70% of my clients contact me within the first three to four months.
Dean: Okay. That's good to know. Then how long do you typically work with someone?
Sejal: I usually have an initial visit with them. Then I would if they need more help I would say, "I would really like you to follow-up with me in a week. But usually because they're paying out-of-pocket, they'll be like, "Okay, can we text you about it or schedule you later." Sometimes they will schedule it and sometimes they won't.
Sejal: If a particular client has more complications like other issues with breastfeeding that will need more follow-up, then I will usually end up seeing them at least two more times. The fee for the first time is higher and the follow-ups are less. Would you like me to tell you about that?
Dean: Yes. What you would charge, how that works. I'm trying to get a sense of the economics of it for you.
Sejal: Yes. The first visit is anywhere from two to three hours long. We do a full health history. They do a nutrition intake. I observe a full feeding session for the mother and the baby. Then I also look at what is going on if they need help with pumping or if they need other help we talk about that. I give them a care plan. That takes about two to three hours, depending on how the baby is doing, what the baby is doing, sometimes they want to sleep longer than expected.
Sejal: It's not as quick as an hour long appointment. It can be if I want it to be, but I really don't like to rush parents and babies. I don't charge them by the hours. The first visit is about $195 for the two to three hours. The follow-ups are usually an hour and a half to two hours and they are $95.
Dean: Then for initial visit, then is that typically all it takes, you're a troubleshooter, problem solver to help them get this issue handled and then they're pretty much on their own, so you don't need to see them more than the two or three times that you might see them.
Sejal: Yeah, usually if they are not in any discomfort, pain, the baby doesn't need any of the further help, then they are pretty much done. They'll call me sometimes when they go back to work, they want to discuss return to work pumping plan or something like that.
Sejal: Then they'll call me for another follow-up. Usually there are classes in the community on working and continuing to breastfeed while you go back to work, which are really good. Sometimes they need me, sometimes they don't.
Dean: Perfect. So you would say on average it would be closer to one visit or closer to three visits that you might work with someone?
Sejal: I would go with two-
Dean: Okay two is-
Sejal: Because I know that most of them do need two.
Dean: Okay. There we go, so average would be around $295 or so for-
Sejal: 195 and 95, pretty much.
Dean: Perfect. Now all of these, these are all in the immediate months postpartum, like you said. Let's just get a sense of how many there are. Do you know the birth rate? How many babies are born in Portland? How far do you travel, within 30 minutes of where you are or?
Sejal: I travel anywhere. If I travel more than 15 miles from my place, then I charge a $25 travel fee round trip. I have gone all the way from here to let's say a small town called Molalla, which is in the countryside. Those are the days where I can only do two visits. I can't do more than two because it takes up so much of my day because of the traffic.
Dean: Right exactly.
Sejal: And travel time, but I have gone as far as 40 miles out of Portland.
Dean: Right. When we look at it, if we were to say what would be ideal for you, as everybody within 30 minutes of where you are.
Sejal: That would be good.
Dean: Are you in Central Portland or are you in the suburbs?
Sejal: No, I'm in the suburbs. I'm in the suburb called Hillsborough.
Dean: That's still close, right?
Sejal: Yeah, it's about 20 minutes without traffic from Portland.
Dean: Okay. Perfect. I was asking do you know how many babies are born?
Sejal: I think approximately there's about 45,000 in Oregon.
Dean: Each, so in Oregon?
Sejal: Per year.
Dean: I wonder in Portland?
Sejal: I don't know the exact statistics, but I could find out.
Dean: Yeah, it's interesting to know, to have a sense of how big is the scope of the market? When we look at it if I'm looking at applying our Eight Profit Activators to this, I've got a clear idea of what you do now in the during unit, is that you help people through the process, through lactation in the weeks or months after the baby is born. To give us a sense of how many-
Sejal: In 2017 total number of births in my county-
Dean: There you go.
Sejal: It says were 6,636 births. In my ZIP code it was 687 in 2017.
Dean: There we go, so now we're getting to the thing. Those 687 in your ZIP code-
Sejal: In my ZIP code.
Dean: That's like the bullseye. That would be the closest thing right there for you if you could do that. Now one of the great things is that by targeting like that, that means there's roughly 50 to 60 babies a month that are born in your ZIP code right there. Now how many would you be able to handle? What would be your ideal?
Sejal: Hello? Dean? Hello? Hello?
Sejal: Hi, I could not hear you. I'm sorry I lost you. Hello? I'm not sure what's going on. Hello.
Dean: Are we back?
Sejal: Should I call you back? Hello?
Dean: I wonder.
Dean: Hello. Hello.
Sejal: Hi, now I can hear you. Sorry I don't know what happened.
Dean: I don't know either. No problem. I was asking how many you could handle if you've got a two to three hour initial visit and then two hour follow-up visit, that your capacity would be some issue. You could probably see two or three people a day maybe? Is that what kind of pace would be ideal?
Sejal: For me I think that if I can see three clients, that would be great if they were close by, but if they're farther away I would say two clients would be better for my own sanity in terms of traffic.
Dean: Oh we're going to try and get, we want to get the closest ones for you. The closest ones to you.
Sejal: Currently my struggle is most of my clients are outside of Hillsborough. In the last two years that I have been practicing lactation consulting, my clients have been in Portland or Vancouver or anything farther away from me is what has been working for me. The local clients I'm either not finding that they're doing follow-ups or I'm not advertising to the right market in my area.
Dean: Got you.
Sejal: That's my struggle.
Dean: Yeah, and that I think when you look at it. There's our thing, if we look at the like you mentioned there's 6,000 plus in just in the radius, in the county, right is that what you said and 687 in your ZIP code. There's plenty of babies that are being born. I mean there's 500 a month in your county.
Sejal: I know.
Dean: That's plenty. How many people have an issue, not everybody, I guess would need a lactation consultant? An independent outside lactation consultant if you take the ones like you mentioned that are getting that help through their regular doctor or through the hospital.
Sejal: I can tell you why they would not need me initially, because the first couple of days they're in the hospital. The hospital has their own nurses that are lactation consultants who help them. But they have a follow up visit at the outpatient clinic on day five, postpartum. Then if they need more help their insurance will cover up to four to six visits depending on insurance. Then if they don't find help they will call a private practice lactation consultant, because number one, I'm not covered by insurance. That's always a barrier for the common person.
Dean: Yeah, that's what I'm saying is out of the 6,000 in the county, we're dealing with a limited pool, it's not everybody that's going to be your potential. We know that they are among the 6,000 babies that are born in the county. We know that we've got that going for us. We can narrow it down that way. Those are visible prospects. You can identify who those are. Now how do you reach them now? How do people know to call you?
Sejal: Like I said, either word of mouth or if their midwife would give them my information like you should call Sejal because she'll come to your home and you need to have more focused care that's personalized for you.
Dean: Yes. Yes.
Sejal: Because the problem with the hospital visits are they are shorter. They are about 30 minutes to an hour depending on what hospital system you are going to. They are not in the home of the parents. What is happening in the hospital visit doesn't get replicated at home because they don't have the same chair setting or the same pillows or whatever their situation may look like for that parent and baby.
Sejal: That's the big one.
Dean: How many midwives do you know that refer you?
Sejal: I know at least three to five midwife's that refer to me. Our group practice that I'm a part of, we go and do a card table at the Midwifery Council. That happens once a year. We talk to midwives, we answer questions because it's a professional event where we get to meet other professional midwives and people who work in the birth community like doulas or acupuncturists or physical therapists, so I try to hand them my information through the group practice or if I'm meeting them personally in their office, which I have done a couple of times.
It's hard for me to approach a professional without feeling like I'm wasting their time to advertise my business. I'll go and drop off my flyers. Sometimes what has happened is because somebody has taken my class prenatally. I also teach private classes on newborn care and breastfeeding in the client's home. If they have taken it prenatally, they have gone back to the midwife and said, "We really enjoyed this person's class. You should contact her if you have clients that need breastfeeding help." Then a midwife has contacted me and said, "That we heard really good things about you and would like to meet you."
Sejal: Then I would go and meet the group of midwives, which is unusual because they are busy as professionals.
Sejal: But that has worked once. I don't know if I can replicate that again.
Dean: Well it's really interesting that there's a lot of other people who are serving new mothers. When you look at the entire journey of somebody being and getting pregnant and having a baby, all the way to fertility doctors. People who are trying to get pregnant. Then all of that heart rate from the nine months of the pregnancy. Then the birth and I imagine midwifery is really seeming to take off now. Especially in Portland I would imagine that it's a very-
Dean: A big deal, more common than in other parts of the country.
Dean: A lot of I would imagine natural childbirths and that preference. I wonder if that whole world, that whole group of people would be more likely to be your clients than people who take a more stringent hospital and medical-
Sejal: Medical approach.
Dean: Approach to pregnancy.
Dean: Do you find that that's true or it doesn't matter for lactation issues are lactation issues no matter what kind of-
Sejal: I think because our healthcare system is promoting more breastfeeding, I find that it's a 50/50 split in my practice of hospital based patients versus midwifery based patients. I certainly don't get a lot of referrals from medical providers because most of them work in the hospital system, so they refer to the hospital based lactation clinics. I have had a couple providers who have referred to us. That is really good that we have them. Yeah, I would say that my word of mouth referrals either come from midwives or moms themselves.
Dean: Yes, I got you. When you look at that and that's certainly a good thing when other mothers are referring you, that's a good thing. Now what I'm curious about aside from the midwives, who else would be potentially involved in that process there?
Sejal: Yeah, the Portland area is like the main hub for everything that is great about having a baby. If you want to know a good place when you have a baby in Portland because you have so many mother support groups, nursing mom support groups, we have developmental play groups. You also have hospitals that have new mom support groups. Then there are people who are physical therapists who work with mothers and babies in terms of postpartum pelvic floor therapy. Those are people I refer to, so I know that they are working with new mothers and babies. There are cranial-sacro therapists. I volunteer at the Cranial-Sacro Therapy Clinic once a month or whenever possible, then there's Burkes Doulas who I network with.
Dean: What's the difference between a doula and a midwife?
Sejal: The doula is there to support the mother while prenatally a couple of times they meet. If it's a birth doula. Then they go to the birth with the family and are there throughout the birth supporting in physical support and emotional support.
Dean: I got you.
Sejal: A midwife is the one who actually helps with delivering the baby and taking the healthcare part of the prenatal care of the mother and the baby. Some midwives do home births, who will go to the client's home and some midwives do birth center births.
Dean: I had some friends who did a home water birth and they had a doula and a midwife. Very interesting. Where I'm going with that is that the funny thing is it's just as likely that somebody who's a midwife or a doula is thinking and having a similar conversation to what we're having right now wondering about how can I get the word out about my service? How can I grow my business? But they're all thinking independently. They're all thinking just about their portion of it. There sometimes is an opportunity for someone to come in and organize the group of them so that you can try. Because you're all serving the same 6,000 women in the county. There's 500 women this month that are going to have a baby. I'm sure that those lists are all available that you can mail them by name because there's so many registries and all of that data is available. You can get mothers who are expecting children.
I wonder if the process started like you were saying early, but if you were to introduce something to those mothers, to expectant mothers that introduced you and introduced the midwives and the doula and maybe it's just even one or two of each of those things that you put together this natural birth support team that work together to identify and to educate and motivate people, the mothers. Because you know that you mentioned earlier that sometimes your best success is with the parents who take your prenatal classes. Right, that they get introduced to you and they get some education. Then when it does come, that now they know you and they like you. It's comfortable. It's really an interesting thing that new expectant parents are very, very interested in-
Sejal: Yeah, they're curious.
Dean: Yes, and they want to get all the knowledge they can. Especially with the first child. Do you find that you primarily work with new parents or with repeat parents or?
Sejal: Sometimes I do work with repeat parents, the reason being either I have been their postpartum doula in the past or they have worked with me in the capacity of me being their lactation consultant or they have taken a Tummy Time class with me and they enjoyed it. They want to prepare. Sometimes they come into my class later on, around 12 weeks and they always tell me, "I wish that I had known that this was an option before. We missed this for 12 weeks. We could have done much better."
Dean: The Tummy Time?
Sejal: Yeah, the Tummy Time and the Baby Massage class, they find it's so helpful that they always either want a second version of the class for their baby when they get older or they will say, "Oh, I wish I had taken this class earlier. Most of the time now after four or five years of teaching these classes, now I can say that now my classes are getting filled, in terms of I only take five parents at a time. I don't like big classes, I like small classes because I want to pay individualized attention to them. Then they will say, "Wow, this was very helpful."
If you look at my website, what I find is I have all these great reviews and people emailing me after their classes and say, "We really love the class and I'm sending this particular parent to your class because it's really helpful." I find that I'm still sometimes struggling to find, to explain to providers, that these are the classes that your parents will benefit genuinely from. It truly is that great. I'm not trying to brag, but the program itself, the program was developed by this OT. That is why it's great. I really love teaching them. If I could teach them a lot more I would.
Dean: What's stopping you? Just finding people?
Sejal: Yeah, I think finding people is the hardest thing. I'm making them understand that you cannot do this class in one time. There's a method to the madness. You need to do the four weeks because it's a progression of skill building for your babies.
Dean: I got you.
Sejal: Now they get it when I talk with them when they take the first class, they're usually blown away by the amount of material they learned in that one and a half hours. They'll be like, "Oh my gosh, we had no idea that Tummy Time class that you teach is so different that what we thought was Tummy Time."
Dean: How long-
Sejal: Or the Baby Massage.
Dean: How long are the Tummy Time classes and is that different than the Massage classes or is that all the same?
Sejal: I used to teach them separately, but there was so much. I was driving around so much. Teaching two different classes together was better. I was like, "Let me just combine them." Because parents want them both and they were taking two classes separately, which was economically was harder for them.
Dean: Yeah, I got it.
Sejal: I will make the class longer, but I will present the same material in the hour and a half. It's four weeks, an hour and a half, we meet once a week.
Dean: Okay and how much do people charge for that?
Sejal: So nobody is teaching the Tummy Time classes here in Portland right now. That can change when people sign up, take that training like I did. There are people who are offering Infant Massage classes. They are anywhere from $90 to $180 for a 45 minute class once a week for either three or four weeks. I charge $200 for the combined, both classes together for four weeks as a group class.
Dean: I got it. You with five people in that class?
Sejal: Yeah, and then I have to pay rent of $200 rent for the class space that I rent from. I rent the space, the classroom space from Baby Boutique.
Dean: Okay. I got it. What's the ideal age for the-
Sejal: Anywhere from two to three weeks up to pre-crawling is the age range, so up to seven, eight months sometimes they can come.
Dean: Okay. What's the outcome benefit for somebody compared to not doing it. What's going to be the advantage?
Sejal: One thing that I'm seeing in overall anybody if you talk to any postpartum professional in the United States, is that we have babies who are not moving enough. We want our babies to move a lot more because movement is brain juice for babies.
Dean: Just like for adults.
Sejal: Just like breastfeeding-
Dean: For adults.
Sejal: Absolutely. Just like for adults. The more we let our babies move because they're sleeping on their backs, they're spending all this time on their backs sleeping, playing. All the toys you see on the market are mostly showing babies playing on their backs on one of those arched play mats or whatever that may be. What we are seeing is these babies are not moving enough. Then all of their gross motor and fine motor skills get impacted when they don't move enough.
Dean: I see.
Sejal: We need to off-set the time that these babies are spending on their back by doing more Tummy Time.
Dean: Do they end up crawling faster or what?
Dean: Is there advancement to this?
Dean: So then they end up walking faster?
Sejal: We don't really expect them to do a milestone sooner than other babies, that's not the goal, but we want to optimize the outcomes of their milestones. They get optimized if they allow them to move because whenever you see a baby even in pictures, look at the picture you see all over social media. Either the baby is sleeping in a little cocoon or a swaddle blanket or they are playing under a play mat with the arched toys hanging from the top, or they're in their crib or they're in the bassinet or some sort of container.
Sejal: The goal for the Tummy Time method classes I teach is to get them out of containers and engaging the parents in the process of actually being with the baby and playing with them. Using the parent themselves as a toy.
Dean: Is there any measurable difference that would be either visually or quantifiably in any way, because when you said you were not trying to. I'm just looking to see what the result is that somebody would be buying.
Sejal: Yeah the big one is babies not rolling over. Babies not comfortable in Tummy Time. Most of those people that take the class that I teach because their babies they say does not like Tummy Time or they hate it. Just after doing the homework that we give them in the classes they will email me saying, "Oh my goodness the class has helped so much. Even one class they changed the way they breastfeed, they changed the way they're moving because all of the stuff that happens during Tummy Time is the baby is doing their own tummy massage because they are spending so much time against gravity on their bellies. All of their gut is getting a nice massage and they are less gassy, they're less burpy. Their digestive system gets much more regulated. The whole approach is a nervous system therapeutic approach, it's not just putting babies on their tummy, that isn't what the method is about.
Sejal: A client after taking the four week class, almost always I get an email from them saying, "Oh my baby is rolling back and forth now." Or they'll just ask me for suggestions that, "They're rolling one way, but not the other way." These are the babies who never liked Tummy Time in the first place. Certainly it's not a statistical measure for now. Eventually I would like to have a number that says, "These babies have taken the class and this is what we are seeing in the babies." Because I will receive emails or picture that while they're so much better on their tummies or they're moving so much better. It is not just impacting the movement abilities, it's impacting their feeding abilities. It's impacting how they are breathing so much more.
Dean: Yes. The more that I hear this, you're definitely your sweet spot is in that first six months of-
Dean: It depends on if somebody knows you ahead of time, that could really be a big difference for you if you were able to have that person there. Really I would be focusing, so I always put myself in your shoes here knowing what I know and now knowing what I know about what your business is, about how I would try and approach things is that I would definitely be looking to combine forces with somebody to create almost a natural birth advisory team. Where you can create the source for people. If you're thinking about an ongoing, I would almost think about periodical sequential mailing to the people who are at the six month mark of their pregnancy kind of thing, in their last trimester.
If there were a series of a few mailings where you're sending somebody almost a newsletter or a journal or something that would have educational things about natural birth options. All the things that would be helpful for people approaching their birth. You could have articles or information from you, from a midwife, from a doula, from whoever else would be in that circle. Other people aside from you. We talked about midwives and doulas and lactation specialists and what other potential things could there be in that world there? Then you wonder the whole thing, I would make an exhaustive list of all of the people who in your county are also interested in getting these 6,000 women as clients. Who else is going to? That could be if you take everything else from all the things that they're going to need, like the Baby Boutiques, or you said you rent a space is it in a Baby Boutique or?
Sejal: Yeah, but it's all the way in Northeast Portland, so it's about a 40 minute drive for me to go every week. Which is fine, I don't mind that at all because my clients are there, so I'll go wherever I need to because I need to get my bills paid.
Dean: Yeah, we need to get your clients in your area.
Sejal: Yeah. That's my biggest issue is that I either am having a hard time finding a space to teach my classes where it's affordable for me to pay the rent. If I do find the space, am I going to be able to fill the classes, that's the biggest concern for me because it's not like I'm expecting 20 people in my class, I'm only wanting five.
Dean: Right, I get it.
Sejal: If I'm struggling with that. I know that what I teach is really good stuff. I have no doubts about that in my mind.
Dean: Yes. Yes. What's the closest similar boutique to you? Is there a Baby Boutique that would be right in your ZIP code?
Sejal: I have not seen any. There was one, but that closed. I would either have to approach like the recreation, the fifties recreation, Parks and Recreation department to possibly rent a room to them.
Dean: Well certainly even at the library you can do things like that. This is an educational thing, you could certainly do something like that. How much space do you need?
Sejal: It's only five parents, but sometimes they bring their strollers or car seats so I need like at least a 10 by 10 room,.
Dean: Oh yeah, not that, certainly you can get something like that at the library and that would be, it fits in the educational kind of realm. You know?
Sejal: Yeah, for some reason our public library only does, you have to be like a nonprofit.
Sejal: Okay, I will check in with the library.
Dean: That, yeah because they do rent the space, you know? But you can't. Check with your library but some libraries are that you can't sell something at the, while you're there kind of thing, but you're already selling the course, this is something that you're fulfilling on while people are there. So you're not selling something in the library kind of thing.
Sejal: Oh okay, I was confused earlier. You are saying that you could do like a prenatal education kind of workshop for free-
Dean: Yes, right.
Sejal: In the library, is that what you're saying?
Dean: That would certainly be that I would look to do. This, it feels like everything you have hinges on the first several weeks after they give birth. You mentioned that a lot of your clients are people who take your prenatal class and-
Sejal: But I don't teach a lot of those, Dean, I wish I could teach more but I only teach once in a blue moon because I'm having a hard time filling those classes up, so I'm kind of like-
Dean: Right, but that's where you could focus that way is to now get... To invite, part of it is that you've got to let people know that you're doing it. If you make it a thing, this would be the kind of thing that you could get sponsors for in collaboration with other people who are also trying to influence or win those mothers as clients. Right? Whoever else is offering complimentary, but non-competitive services to what you offer, just like the same, the midwives are referring you, that this could be an opportunity for them to collaborate with you to find and educate mothers ahead of time.
You start thinking about who else is going to be involved in that mother's life in the first, both the final trimester leading up to the birth and the first six months after, who are the primary people in there? Is it maybe there's a natural nutritionist who helps with feeding advice, like giving natural and organic, making baby formula or baby food. Or those kind of things where you start to, there's strength in numbers in that you're all doing something what I'll call a relatively low price point, with not much margin to do marketing with. Like you're thinking depends on how much it costs you to get somebody but if your first thing is $195, the more you spend to try and attract somebody, the less, that's just taking away from what you're actually earning for doing the service.
Sejal: That's what has been happening.
Dean: Yeah, right. In order to do that, that's why you need to focus on the things that can get you those clients, but at a low cost without-
Sejal: When you say the sequential mailing, or a series of mailing, are you talking about a physical card or an email?
Dean: I'm talking about a physical card because you wouldn't-
Sejal: Like a postcard kind of thing?
Dean: Yes, exactly.
Sejal: Okay, okay.
Dean: Because you've got that. Or offer them something like a book. If you were to collaborate with your other providers that had a chapter on lactation, and a chapter on your Tummy Time, and a chapter on another element on natural birth or nutrition. The things that every new mother would want to know. That would be a very valuable thing.
Sejal: Okay. So we would have to buy the book in bulk and mail it to people or are you saying that we would just write some stuff down and make it into a book.
Dean: I think you could make it into a book, yes.
Sejal: Okay, got it.
Dean: Yeah, yeah. It would be yours in collaboration.
Sejal: Like a little brochure, yeah.
Dean: It could be just who comes to mind that would be the type of people because now you're just, all you're thinking about right now as we're moving into Profit Activator two, getting people to raise their hand is, you've got the visible prospects of the 500 women who are moving into their final trimester right now. That's activating, that those 500 people, if they know you and they know that you exist and they find value in what you're providing for them, that's going to be a long way. Now whenever they cross that, they've given birth, and then they have a lactation issue, now they know somebody that can help them with that. If they don't have a lactation issue and their child is now starting to move now they've got, they know about the option of your Tummy Time class.
Dean: That makes a big difference where now if you get four or five or six different providers plus maybe a major sponsor who might be a boutique or a baby store, people who are selling strollers and all the high ticket items that somebody's going to do, that they might be happy to be the sponsors of this. Right, where you're being able to organize and present valuable content for that audience.
Dean: Yeah. And get it in front of those mothers. That way it's very low cost and you may even be able to generate your leads, your new relationships at a profit. You may be able to turn this, if you had a directory or a guide or a newsletter, or there's many options for how you can package the information, or a podcast where you start to get the attention of expectant parents, that's where it all comes from. The more people who know you, the better.
Sejal: Right, right.
Dean: Yeah. I think that's going to be true for all of those other providers as well and I think that everybody is just kind of waiting for somebody to take the initiative and elect themselves to the mayor of this community of people, of expectant mothers, and you gather round all of the people and say... Because I know if you talk to a midwife, or a doula, or a nutritionist, they're all wondering how do I get more clients? If all of you, if the worst thing that happens is that you get four of you and you can split the cost of doing these things four ways, at least the worst thing is you've cut your marketing cost by 75%.
Sejal: Yeah, but do you, but how? You said that these mailing lists are available-
Sejal: In terms of finding those families, I don't know how to get those.
Sejal: I have no idea how to even go through that.
Dean: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The guys that do all my postcard work are at Prospects Plus and those, they've got access to all of the mailing lists, all the data, everything that's available. You could identify in your ZIP code specific people.
Sejal: And that would not be something that I'm doing wrong, right, as a provider?
Dean: No, not at all, because, no, no, those lists are totally available. When people go and register for a birth registry or all those things-
Sejal: A baby registry.
Dean: That's all data, right exactly, that's all available data so that wouldn't be a problem.
Sejal: So you would have to go to the website that you mentioned, the Prospect Plus, right, is that what you were saying?
Dean: Prospects Plus, right.
Sejal: And then I would have to contact them for that, is that what you're asking.
Sejal: Okay, okay, sounds good.
Dean: How's that landing or what are you hearing and thinking from what we've discussed.
Sejal: I am thinking whether it's something that's going to work out when we do a group newsletter that is one of the questions and also how people are going to take it, whether it's going to end up in recycling bins or actually read the material.
Dean: Yeah, that's why you have to make it valuable info, not make it just advertising.
Sejal: Yeah, yeah.
Dean: If it's adding value, if it's interesting, if it's answering the questions that they have, the concerns that they have, if it's giving them an answers that's what gets anything attention. It has to be of interest to me.
Sejal: Yeah, I know that a lot of local, and it's also hard to compete with a doula agency versus being an individual provider-
Sejal: So we have other doula agencies who will do like, have meet the doulas of our team or they'll have a night where they'll just have a few of their doulas and people just walk into their office and they get to talk to doulas and ask them questions. For me, as a single provider, I don't know if that, a business model that would work for me so that always gets confusing in my head that oh if I do that how many people are going to show up, where would I do it, all of those questions.
Dean: Right. Part of it is that you've got to just throw your hat over the fence for a lot of things. If you just had flyers or something made up that talked about your upcoming class at the library, that that alone would get some attention.
Dean: Yeah, and even doing Facebook ads like that-
Sejal: Right, right.
Dean: Yeah. It sounds like if you did some Facebook video ads that show what your actual Tummy Time class is like, to show the progress or the kids that the babies that are having a breakthrough or having a result right there. Then the joy that they have, then the parents, everybody seems happy and their child seems to be enjoying it. That's going to go a long way.
Sejal: Yeah. Yeah, I have some video testimonials on my website from parents like there's a dad's testimonial, and there's a couple of moms who have given me their testimonial on video, but I can ask for more. I think that's my biggest limitation is that I feel like I'm bothering parents if I'm asking them to do a video testimonial.
Sejal: Because I know that they, so what I hear for parents is that they are being told by their providers that your baby should be doing so and so minutes of tummy time, but they don't know how to make it happen. That's part of the reason they're taking the class.
Dean: Yeah. Perfect, well thank god you're there to help them because they don't know. That's it.
Dean: Well I've really enjoyed talking with you, it's been the first time I've ever had any kind of interaction with a lactation specialist so this is-
Sejal: Thank you.
Dean: Yeah, very enlightening.
Sejal: Thank you.
Dean: Yeah, I think you've got a lot of cool opportunities here.
Sejal: I do, thank you for your help and talking to me.
Dean: Awesome. You're very welcome. I will talk to you soon.
Sejal: Thank you take care.
Dean: Thank you, bye-bye. There we have it. Isn't it amazing how when you hear that kind of conversation and you can see how interchangeable the role that you're playing is with any of these conversations that we're having. That's part of knowing what the framework of the Eight Profit Activators is is being able to see how it applies to your situation. It's universal. It applies to every business. I think the best place for you to start to really adopt this mindset of getting and applying the eight Profit Activators to your business is to start out with our Profit Activator score that'll tell you exactly how the Eight Profit Activators are interacting with your business right now. You can do that online, for free, at profitactivatorscore.com. We have an online, there's eight of the Profit Activators, you just go through, choose the score that represents where your business is right now for each of those Profit Activators.
It's very easy, it guides you through the process and at the end you get a score that shows you where the biggest opportunities are in your business. I would encourage you to do that and take some time to really think about if your low on Profit Activator Two or if you're low on Profit Activator Three, educating and motivating. It gives you an idea for where to actually focus your effort to make the biggest difference. You can do that at ProfitActivatorScore.com. Of course if you'd like to be a guest on our show you can go to MoreCheeseLessWhiskers.com, you can download a copy of the More Cheese, Less Whiskers book. If you'd like to be a guest just click on the, Be a Guest link and we can get together and talk about your business. That's it for this week, have a great week, and I'll talk to you next time.