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A Berkshire Mumpreneur // Emma Johnstone

Emma Johnstone is the founder of Little Happy Sleepers and supports families across Berkshire and Surrey with their children’s sleeping needs. During this Berkshire Mumpreneur interview we find out more about Emma, her business and how she manages to juggle work and family life!

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Tell Me Briefly About Your Business

I’m the founder of Little Happy Sleepers and a certified baby and child sleep coach. I’m passionate about helping families who want to improve their child’s sleep in a gentle and responsive way.

I work with families across Berkshire and Surrey, as well as further afield, empowering and supporting them to make small changes to help their child sleep better, resulting in improved sleep for the whole family.

I offer a very practical approach to sleep – I love finding out about the family’s unique situation, discovering what is impacting their child’s sleep, and supporting them to make small, age appropriate changes.

I offer a range of support including 1:1 sleep coaching, walk and talk sessions, monthly coffee mornings, and I also speak at schools and Corporates.

Tell Me Briefly About Yourself and Your Family

I’m Emma and I live in Sunningdale with my husband and 2 daughters. I love being outside and when I’m not standing in a playground with my girls or chasing them on their scooters and bikes around Virginia Water lake you’ll find me running or on the golf course. I love getting out and about in the fresh air, and after a dose of fresh air I feel like I can take on whatever the day throws at me!

Emma Johnstone
When Did You Set Up Your Business and Why?

As with many mum-owned businesses, I set up Little Happy Sleepers because it was something that I needed and struggled to find when my youngest daughter was a baby. She was waking every 45 minutes all night every night and nothing I did helped. I was at my wits end and my husband suggested we used a sleep consultant but the only ones I had heard of used cry it out methods which was completely at odds with my parenting style. After muddling through for a few more weeks we stumbled across a sleep coach who used more gentle and responsive methods. I was absolutely amazed at the transformation, within a few weeks my daughter was sleeping so much better and I had so much more energy and patience!

I became fascinated by sleep and decided to change my career path from the Corporate world of Commercial Property and embarked on the Holistic Sleep Coaching Programme to become a certified Holistic Sleep Coach.

What Do You See as the Benefits of Being Self-Employed?

The flexibility is the most important benefit for me. My girls are both at school and the flexibility of being self-employed enables me to work around them so I can pick them up from school, attend events at school and be around more in the school holidays.

I also love doing something that I am so passionate about. I love talking about sleep and helping families when they are really struggling.

Emma Johnstone
How Do You Manage to Run Your Business and Look After Your Family?

It’s certainly a juggle and some weeks feel more manageable than others! I’m naturally quite organised which helps and I plan my availability for clients alongside the school and family calendar. I typically work school hours plus a lot of evenings. The downside is that when I’m busy I don’t get much down time or to spend much time with my husband in the evenings, but the benefit is that I’m around for the girls. Plus lots of clients want to have their consultation call in the evening so it works quite well.

The holidays are much more of a juggle. I typically work a bit less in the holidays, the girls do a few holiday camps and I’m fortunate to have very willing grandparents to help out too.

What Are Your Top Tips to Other Parents Considering Setting up their Own Business?

If you’re considering it, go for it! It’s certainly not easy, there’s lots of ups and downs but I’m so glad I made the change.

Allow yourself time to build up your business, it takes time when you’re starting from scratch and there’s no shortcuts. Keep going and you will get there.

Don’t underestimate how much time the admin/marketing etc takes when you’re working for yourself – the website set up, sending invoices, Instagram content etc. The non client facing work is a big chunk of my time.

Emma Johnstone
What’s Next For Your Business?

To keep spreading the word that you can help your baby sleep better using gentle and responsive techniques!

I introduced Walk & Talk sessions last year which I absolutely love. It’s a 45 minute 1:1 walk with me in the local area, and it’s a great opportunity for parents to get some 1:1 sleep advice whilst also getting some fresh air. I’m going to continue to encourage more parents to come and walk with me.

I also started speaking at schools and Corporates late last year, helping families with children of all ages to get more sleep. I’d like to build on this this year and speak at more schools in the area.

Finally, What Are Your Top Three Things to Do As a Family in Berkshire?
  1. Scooting, walking, cycling and running around Windsor Great Park followed by a coffee and croissant!
  2. Spending a morning at Broomhall Park, Sunningdale – tennis, followed by a play in the playground and a visit to the library.
  3. Visiting Windsor Castle – we love getting the bus to Windsor and then walking around the castle and up the Long Walk.
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