When this mother learned that her daughter had celiac disease, Cydney soon realized the foods she and her family were eating weren’t as healthy as she thought. She made changes to her family’s diet and now teaches other mom entrepreneurs how to make healthier, sustainable choices in nutrition and life with a focus on small steps and not overhauling your entire lifestyle.
Cydney shares with us the business side of starting a service oriented and coaching business. From branding to finding her niche, creating programs to marketing them and writing a book, she provides the insight she learned from determining value and organizing her time with kids.
Cydney’s Quote: My business is an authentic version of my own journey.
Tune in and watch her inspiring story now!
READ the Transcript
Rachel: Hi, I’m Rachel Olsen, founder of Best Mom Products where mompreneurs share their adventures in business. Today I’m talking with Cydney Smith, founder of Mompreneur Wellness, spirited nutrition for entrepreneur moms. She coaches mom entrepreneurs to fuel their success with healthy eating. Listen, and we will learn how Cydney found her niche, how she created and markets her consulting and online business, and the successes and challenges she’s had in evolving her business model. Welcome, Cydney. Thanks for joining us today.
Cydney: Thank you, Rachel. Thanks for asking.
Rachel: I know we talked before, but I’d love for everyone to hear what is Mompreneur Wellness and how you got started in this.
Cydney: Great. Sure. Well, I’m a health coach and so my practice is helping people to make nutrition, diet and lifestyle changes, basically focusing on eating healthier whole foods and real foods. I got started doing this back in 2007, 2006, back when my second daughter, became very sick. When she was between two and three, she just became very sick. I had to pull her out of childcare, and I started looking for ways to help her. It turned out she was gluten intolerant, and then we later found out had Celiac disease, which means she cannot eat any gluten.
I always considered myself a healthy eater, and our family healthy eaters, but when we could no longer grab any bagels or a slice of pizza or a cookie or a muffin on the run, I started realizing that maybe I wasn’t eating as healthy as I thought. At the time I had a busy life coaching practice with my husband and we worked with young adults. It was like everything just had to stop. It was like all the balls were in the air already, because I had two young children, and everything came crashing down because of this food issue.
As I started researching, looking for more information, I came across the training program that I eventually went to, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I went originally to help myself and my family and my daughter to eat healthier, and then realized that it was the career that I wanted to do. After completing that training program, I started working with clients doing health coaching and lifestyle changes. I realized that I naturally was drawn to working with moms.
From there I found that my most successful clients, in terms of their success, as well as the relationship we created, was with busy moms who are entrepreneurs. They were either creating a lifestyle business for themselves, maybe, they were trying to work flextime, partnering with other people, doing consulting, whatever, but someone that was trying to maintain a professional career while being present at home. From there, Mompreneur Wellness was created.
Rachel: Very interesting. That’s great. As you know, obviously, I’m a mom of two young ones, too. It’s very difficult. It’s the biggest challenge I feel like even my husband and I talk about, how do you get your kids to eat healthy? How do you eat healthier? Just by you saying, I just think about the past weekend and I just think, “Oh, it’s summer. It was the weekend. School is starting soon, and we’ll get into the habit.” I want to talk to you. I love what you’re doing. I want to talk to you more about the business aspects of it. You kind of talked about your prior life. You were an environmental studies professor at Vermont.
Rachel: Right. So this was a big change, but you’ve been doing this for a while. What is the first thing you did when you had the idea?
Cydney: Well, when I first had the idea, I didn’t have a clear niche. I just knew I wanted to do health coaching, so I just did what the training program I went to told me to do. I started marketing and talking to everyone that I knew. I started to realize that a lot of it didn’t feel very authentic for me, just sort of going, “Hi, I’m your health coach, please hire me,” kind of feeling.
Then I really started to get clear. If I’m going to create a business for myself, I want it to be something I really love doing and at the end of the day that it supports us financially, but it also supports my own motivation to show up at my job the next day. So I hired a branding coach to help work with me. I knew I wanted to work with moms, but I also knew that I didn’t want to just market myself generically to moms. I wanted it to be very authentic to my own personality and the kind of work that I did. So I worked with a branding coach who really took my language. I felt like I would give her paragraphs of work and she’d give me two sentences back. She’d be like, “Oh. Well, you want to do this.” I’d be like, “Oh, yeah. That’s it, exactly.” She really helped me to refine my message. It was what I knew I wanted, but I didn’t have the language for it yet. Once I got that language, I became more clear on what I wanted to offer.
Rachel: Tell me a little bit about that. Can you give me an example of something that she did? You gave her two paragraphs of what, and what would she come back with?
Cydney: Yeah. I had this mom category. I knew I didn’t want to be the health coach saying, “Here’s how to have the perfect meal everyday, your sit-down, balanced meal that you spent an hour in the kitchen doing,” because I don’t do that. I kept talking to her and I was like, “You know what, I want it to be people who are really busy and they’ve got something going on in their life.” So I had this elaborate vision of all these words that you needed to say. She’s like, “Oh, so you want to work with entrepreneur moms who are creating a lifestyle for themselves and help them eat healthier.” I was like, “Oh, yeah. That’s exactly it.” It was a lot of that that went on. I think I wasn’t 100 percent clear on who my market was, but she was able to see who my market was, even though I knew who the individual was I wanted to work with. That was just great for me because then I started to be able to find my community, or my tribe, on Facebook and on Twitter and when I went out to talk to people. Yeah, it was very helpful for me.
Rachel: When you were done going through and the branding coach helped define who you are and what your message is, then did you feel like you had something that you could go out there to apply to your website, social media, when you’re talking to people? Did you come up with a 90 second pitch I’ve heard people do, or something like that?
Cydney: I did. I went through social media avenues a lot, Facebook and Twitter. I really just looked for people that I wanted to connect with. The part about working with this branding coach, I was very clear, I wanted it to be my own authentic business. So I felt very comfortable that if it was someone that I was interested in, they would possibly be interested in what I was offering as well, because I knew who that market was.
I first just started connecting with anybody on Facebook and Twitter that I thought was in this mom entrepreneur market. Then I would just start to refine it. I would be working with a client and some things would come up. A lot of times, say, I would have 10 clients in a week, and four of them would be asking me the same questions. I’d be like, “Oh, other people must be thinking this, too.” So that’s what I would use for throwing out things on Facebook or Twitter that week, or in my newsletter. By doing that, I really started to create a lot of dialogue with like-minded moms and entrepreneurs on social media.
Rachel: How easy or hard is it to get people to engage in a dialogue with you? I want to understand that, and also when you said you were just reaching out to people on Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, were you just typing in entrepreneur mom group? Were you looking for groups of people? How, exactly, did you do that?
Cydney: I think at first I actually made more one-to-one connections through Twitter. When I hesitated when you asked me about the 90 second elevator pitch, I paused because I had that, but I ditched it right away because that wasn’t the way to engage in dialogue at all.
Really, the dialogue came from literally connecting like you would anywhere. Someone might say, “Looking for an idea for dinner.” I’d be like, “Here’s an idea.” They might say, “Just got back from horseback riding with my daughter.” I’d be like, “My child horseback rides, too.” It was very organic in that way. Then, at times, I’ve had an offer or I had a newsletter that I put out. Those would be more formal pitches or just putting out my product information, but generally, I just started connecting with other healthy-oriented mothers, busy moms. It’s almost weird how effortlessly that connection happened. Someone might say, “I’m doing this webinar show, do you want to be part of it?” or “We have this Healthy Mom/Healthy Babies. Do you want to join with us on this Tweet chat?” Once that started happening, it became very effortless to start connecting with new people.
Rachel: How long would you say that took, from the time that you launched your business to the time that you had a decent amount of clients?
Cydney: I feel like it sounds scary when I say this, but I would say about a year and a half. With that said, I was working part-time. I still had my young kids. I had my foot in my other business a little bit, so I was not anticipating this business becoming completely full right off the bat. I always felt like it was moving forward in a way that I’d hoped. I don’t know if I could have made it happen faster, if that was my goal at that point. I felt like I was getting enough people interested. I was getting clients at a very relaxed pace. That was good for me. It just sort of evolved to where it is now.
It was a lot of panic, too. There were times where I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I’m putting a lot of time into this. What am I doing? This is so silly.” You can’t attribute an hourly wage to social media when you’re on at night on this Tweet chat. So there were times when I felt anxious about it. Overall, I was finding a lot of support from it, from my business, but also personally, as a mom at home trying to start something. I felt very comfortable with the direction I was going.
Rachel: OK. That’s great. I feel the same way. I put a lot of time and effort into the video interviews that I’m doing and it really is a hobby. I don’t have a business model right now, but I love it. Every time I talk to somebody like you, it motivates me. I even read your free eBook, “The Ten Steps to Making Changes in Your Diet” that are easy to make because you already eat these foods. I thought, “OK. Squeeze lemon in your water to make the acid and balance your body first thing in the morning. I can do that.” You know, like an overwhelming change. I was like, “I’m going to buy lemons today after I talk to her.” [laughs]
Cydney: Awesome. That’s great. That’s exactly what I hope happens.
Rachel: Let’s talk a little bit about that. I find what’s interesting when I talked to you before is you’re a health coach. You are, I feel, based on looking at your website, and you have these free eBooks, you’re writing a book and you have created four or more actual wellness programs. I want to understand, for the business person out there who found their passion and they’re going to be doing some sort of consulting service, what advice can you give them on why did you create these programs? How did you write your free eBook? How successful has that been? What results has that provided?
Cydney: That’s great. Well, with the eBook, doing an eBook is great. It’s super easy to do. It had many different forms. I definitely, at first, felt like I needed to give the top 10 best health tips ever. These are the best things you can ever do. Then I had to step away from that being like, “That’s not what it’s about.” There is no perfect health tip. I had to really think, who’s my market? Who do I want to connect with? Then I really tried to draw from the experiences I have from my clients and the conversations I have with my clients, but also the other moms that I come into contact with, and create something that was really practical and fit my brand. It’s great doing that because I hand that out sometimes. If I do get asked to do a talk someplace, I’ll bring those. I say you can get more information on my website, sign up for my newsletter.
Then when someone comes to my website, they see that report. It sounds intriguing. They just give me their email address, and then they’re on my list. So, I feel like I’m providing a value for them in exchange for them trusting me, at some level, to come and show up in their inbox. Well, I like writing, so I’ve always wanted to write a book. I started to do that, the thought of writing a book. This was a piece of that. It was already…I have a lot of things that I give my clients when I work with them that the book was based on. This was kind of pulling that together and polishing it up, trying to do a combination of providing value, as well as presenting my type of language and having something that I could use while I’m looking for a publisher for my book.
Rachel: Is your book called “Spirited Nutrition?”
Cydney: Yes, it is.
Rachel: Where are you at in the process of writing that?
Cydney: I’d say it’s pretty much done, but I think it’s the same thing like where you’re pretty much moved, when you move almost everything. You think you’re really good, but you have all those lamps and pictures left, that’s where I feel like I’m at. I have all the content there, but I know that when it gets to the fine tuning of all of the grammar and making it all flow, I’ve left that for the dream of having someone that wants to publish it and provide me with an editor that will clean it all up. That’s where I’m at with that. I put my proposal out a few places this summer and I’m sifting through that. If that avenue feels like it may not manifest for me, or it may just not be the right choice, then I’m going to do like a mid-tier publisher, in which case I’ll have to seek out an editor myself for that.
Rachel: What’s the process for writing the book?
Cydney: Write your whole book, but you need to have your complete concepts broken down and organized in a way that makes sense for a book format and have samples of your writing to show what you’re trying to convey. Then, you find a literary agent who then works with you. The thing about publishing a book is that when someone says they’ll publish you, it could be a year to a year and a half before you get that product back. That’s a long time in social media life. That’s why I’m still exploring that option.
Rachel: Tell me a little bit more about the programs. If they do want to work together, tell me a little bit about how you decided what the different programs are and how you decided to go that route?
Cydney: Right. Well, it’s one of those things. It’s like sink or swim. For a little while I thought very deeply about what’s the perfect way to get someone in the door? What’s the best way to work with someone? You put a lot of thought into that and then you start working with someone. You’re like, “Oh, I had it all wrong. They actually want to do this.”
A lot of times, I just throw out a program. I want it to be professional. I trust in the work I’m doing. An example of that is I just started doing what I call a Spirited Nutrition Reboot and Cleanse. I did that this June and I just put it out on Facebook and Twitter, and I got 11 people who signed up for that. It was a lower price bracket than I’ll have a finished product in. The materials were just in basic PDF written form. I worked with that. I let them know that, as well. I got great feedback from that, and it was a great success, I thought. Now I have all that material. I’ll polish it up and tweak it and do that same cleanse again in November. That will be a regular offering that I have two to three times a year. That’s really how most of my programs have evolved is in that kind of format.
Rachel: Tell me a little bit about that program. How much did you charge for that?
Cydney: For that program I charged $200. Because it was a cleanse, there were supplements that went with that for the cleanse, so most of that $200 went to the supplements. I don’t know how much I’ll charge in November for that, but it will probably be $375, somewhere around there.
Rachel: That’s interesting. How do you determine value? I know last time when I went to your website, you had, I think, it was to work with you and you had put your fee. I think it was $1800 at the time on your site. You were telling me you’re still figuring it out, which pretty much probably every entrepreneur that has a consulting business out there is figuring it out. We all think about what do we charge? What is the value of what we’re doing? It’s a tough thing to determine. How do you determine that? How did you determine your lower price point this time? Because you wanted feedback? Now, you’re almost doubling it for the next time because you see that there’s so much value in it, and you need to be compensated for all the work you’re putting into it.
Cydney: Right. Yeah, it’s challenging. I think some of it’s market analysis. Even as a service provider, there’s a market. Other people are in that market, so looking at what is commonly acceptable for the services that I offer in combination with my experience or my clientele, there’s a little bit of juggling with that. I think that with the product and with the value, that scaling your price based on how much you’re going to work with somebody one-to-one is how I’ve come up with that. Working with somebody one-to-one, that’s the most value for them.
When I work with somebody in my Mompreneur Wellness Transformation Room, which is my higher-end coaching, I’m there for them completely. I hold their energy for them. I’m available by email. They can schedule chats in between sessions. I also see those clients, they’re in my vision often. I might be doing something. I’m like, “Oh, right. This would be so great for so-and-so. I’m going to make sure that I provide this for them,” or “Oh, that book would be perfect.” I hold a lot of that space for somebody, so I feel comfortable that what I am charging them, they’re going to have that return for.
Something like my cleanse, or I have a Wellness Kickstart program, where it’s more group-oriented and the paper’s there, the work is really on the individual, then I tweak it down from that. With my cleanse, I scale it for who the person is. You could go full on with the cleanse. You could adapt it. I give them those options. When they do the next cleanse, with raising the price, I’ll also have a Facebook group for it so I can touch base with them, but it’s not necessarily scheduling a call one-to-one work, but I’m providing a community for them to get feedback.
Rachel: What kind of feedback do you get from your clients? What are some typical things that you hear? How do you use that information in your business?
Cydney: Well, you said something that’s very common which is like, “Oh, that’s totally doable. I can do that today. I’m going to go buy some lemons.” That’s probably the biggest feedback that I get. My whole concept of nutrition is…I work with women that are intelligent. They’re educated. If you wanted to go full force, you could drop everything, that could be your focus, you could be like, “I want to be a triathlete,” whatever it is, but you’re not doing that. That’s the clients that I work with. I look at it as we all want to be healthy enough, feel great, vibrant so that we can engage with our kids, have the career we want and really enjoy life without waking up feeling totally like we’re strung out on exhaustion. In that way, I’ve come up with a system that I know will help someone to take the foods out that I know can bring somebody down and add things in that work. So doing that in a very simple, step-by-step process that’s doable is where I work from. Often my clients, that’s what they say. “Before I worked with you, this always felt so overwhelming and you helped me see that it’s not.”
Rachel: We talked a little about you offer these programs and you have a book. How do you decide what you’re going to do next?
Cydney: Again, for me, because I really feel that my business is an authentic expression of my own journey, and I think that when things for me change, I’ve been doing a lot more with young adults, and I have a feeling that I’m going to start bringing in that teenager aspect and young adult piece into it. I’ve also started doing a lot more fitness stuff, which I think is a natural progression. As my children have gotten older and have come to have more space in my life, I do yoga more often. I’ve been teaching some yoga, and I’ve been feeling capable, I guess, of really taking on fitness more than a survival element to it. So I think I will probably bring that into my programs, as well, which isn’t really there that much anymore, more than just encouraging somebody to get moving everyday.
Rachel: It’s so interesting. I love a lot of the things that you said, like when you said you’re holding space for your clients and you’re thinking about them and how you have repeatedly said this is your authentic journey, as well. I think that’s something that resonates with me and most people who have started their own business. You put it so beautifully. It just kind of hit me when you said that. You’re right. This is all an expression of who we are and what we’re going through. As you evolve as your children get older, so does your business because you see things differently. That’s such a nice thing about having your own business and having your own passion and being able to make a living from that.
How do you divide your day, then? You have one-on-one consultations. You have group consultations. You’re on social media. How does that all play in? You’re one person, so you can only do so much.
Cydney: That’s right. Well, I schedule my coaching calls. It changes year to year based on school and childcare. For the past about a year and a half, Tuesdays and Thursdays are coaching call days. I don’t do any on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. I don’t do coaching calls on Monday and Friday generally, because there’s always some weird school thing that happens on those days and they’re all thrown off. Tuesday and Thursday, by having that, I can help channel my clients into those days. Then, I also know if I needed the childcare, I had a childcare issue, I only have to cover those two days. So I can juggle that. Every now and then, somebody might need to change, and I adapt to that, but that’s the exception.
Rachel: You got your 11 clients for the 21-day cleanse in July. Tell me a little bit more about that process. Can you tell me what phrase did you use? How did you engage them on Facebook and Twitter? Were these followers of yours already?
Cydney: Mm-hmm. Yeah, everybody who signed up were. They were all people that were familiar with my work. Again, the one piece I had was a 21-day cleanse. A lot of the comments were, “Oh, I can do that. Twenty-one days sounds doable.” Or a couple of people said, “What does it exactly entail?” I would tell them that I would let them know that you can scale it, that there was no way to fail, it’s just about taking that first step. Then, just by taking that first step, they’re going to be feeling healthier and they’re going to be making changes.
That was really where it came from. I didn’t really even expect that much of a response to it. It’s almost like sometimes I just get into the frame of mind where I’m like, “I’m just going to blast it around.” So I just kept doing that. It was really good for me to see that I wasn’t received of like, “Oh, my God. How annoying, this cleanse thing again.” A lot of people would like it, or they’d say, “Oh, maybe next time,” or “Summer’s not a great time.” I had a lot of that kind of response, as well. That was also good feedback for me. I was actually surprised. I have to say that it hasn’t really happened that effortlessly for me in doing a program by just using social media. Usually, it’s a combination of steps.
Rachel: What do you think was different about that? Tell me a little bit. Did you spend one week promoting this? Did you spend a month? How long did it take you? Did you promote it once a day or five times a day?
Cydney: Usually, if I have a program running, I close registration a week beforehand so I have time to sift it all out and get organized with it. I blasted it out probably about two and a half weeks before I was starting it. That’s another thing that I have found. I used to think that if you talked about it for six months, people would be knocking down your door to get there, but I realized for my type of client, it’s really like, “Oh wow, that sounds great. Oh, next week? Yes, I can do that.” Then they sign up. We’re not really planning that far in advance, most moms. That was helpful. I’d been building up for all spring about my book. I’d put out some information. I’d posted pieces of it here and there and really had started getting an interest in the “Spirited Nutrition” piece. I think that I had people curious about an offering, and it was at a price point that was doable. They didn’t have to make a huge commitment.
Rachel: What is the one personal trait you find is most important as an entrepreneur?
Cydney: Resilience and risk-taking, I think. They’re both important. [laughs]
Rachel: [laughs] When you say resilience, tell me a little bit more, like an experience. I still do marketing consulting, but for high-tech companies. It’s tough because you, in your role, and in my role, you put yourself out there as a consultant.
Rachel: So if somebody doesn’t like the product, you can go back, and if enough people say it, you can make a change to the product, but it’s personal when it’s you selling your service.
Cydney: I’ve had many times where I’ve created this whole program, it seemed great, and then nothing happens, not even, “Oh, sorry. This isn’t the right time for me.” It’s just nothing. I’m like, “Oh, God. That’s awful. Was I so off my target?” That’s where I really learned there is a language piece, there is some kind of magic that sometimes happens that helps people get ready.
Then, I’ve also had that experience where no one says anything, and then, months later someone says, “Oh, when I saw you when you were doing that program, I was going through this or that in my life. I just thought maybe someday.” So I started to realize it’s not always personal. Sometimes I’m sure it is, like people will often be looking for that super cleanse or the raw food diet, or something where they can put their head around and be like, “I can achieve this. It’s a big step.” That’s great, and I don’t do that with my clients. So, that resilience piece is to just know that. Sometimes you do things and you’ may have a bad product. It’s just the way it is. I may have a bad offering. Other times, my timing is off or my marketing is bad. Sometimes, it’s just, I don’t know.
So, yeah. I get to show up again. That’s the whole part. As a coach, sometimes I have calls with people where I may be trying to draw a hard line with them because I can hear something in that, and they take a deep offense to it or they don’t want to call me back, or they want their money back. Sometimes, I have to negotiate that. Other times, I just get off the call and I think, “Oh. They just paid me good money. I don’t know if that was my best day. I don’t think today’s my best day.” I try to remember it’s a bigger picture. You work with people over time and you can’t get into the head of like, “I suck, you suck,” that kind of thing.
Rachel: No, I think that’s great advice. Thank you. I appreciate that. I wish you the best of luck. Hopefully, I’ll be able to jump on the cleanse board with you at some point. That’s how I felt. I saw it in June. I was like, “Oh, it’s never going to happen in June for me. That’s not happening.” In November, then I’m like, “Oh, the holiday. It’s my birthday.”
Cydney: Oh, yeah, there’s always something happening.
Rachel: There is, but you know, it’s interesting because what you say definitely resonates as far as making something sustainable and manageable within your life and not feeling like, “I didn’t have a kale shake today in my life. I’m so upset with myself. I didn’t get those greens.” It’s like, “OK, there’s tomorrow. There’s later. Things happen. You have two kids, or three,” or who knows. Well, thank you. I appreciate you being on. For anybody who enjoyed this interview and wants to learn more, you can go to www.bestmomproducts.com or mompreneurwellness.com and I’ll have both those links on the site. I’ll have it underneath you for the beginning and the ending of the video, as well.
I started out as with a Health Coaching business – one-to-one clients, and over time have become very clear on my niche, and created a process I call Spirited Nutrition that is about authentic health and success. I am switching my site to an online community site and have a book coming out. Mission: Support entrepreneur women to have the energy and vibrancy they need to bring their gifts to the world while raising healthy, strong children to do the same.
Cydney Smith coaches entrepreneur moms to fuel their success with healthy eating. She is the founder of Mompreneur Wellness and author of the upcoming book Spirited Nutrition. Sign-up for the free ebook: Make Healthy Eating Your Strategy for Success: 10 Simple Upgrades to the Foods You Already Eat at MompreneurWellness.com.