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Searchie Spotlight: Tiny Signs, BIG Impact: From Local Workshops To A Thriving Online Membership With Lane Rebelo

Watch Lane's full Spotlight interview here!

Welcome back to Searchie Spotlight! Today, we’re thrilled to sit down with Lane Rebelo, the creative mind behind Tiny Signs®. Lane is more than just an educator; she's a passionate advocate for early communication, paving the way for parents and caregivers to bridge the gap with their little ones through the magic of sign language.

Lane shares her incredible journey, strategies, and insights she gained from local workshops to an online powerhouse and the hurdles and roadblocks she was able to overcome along the way.

So if you’re struggling to scale, or looking to solve the puzzle of how to replicate vibrant, hands-on experiences of in-person sessions through the screen, this is the place for you!

During this interview, we cover: 

  • Empowering early communication
  • Transitioning to online success
  • Creating engaging learning experiences
  • Searchie’s streamlined content delivery
  • And SO MUCH more!

    Spotlighter Bio

    Name: Lane Rebelo

    Business: Tiny Signs®

    Niche: Lane Rebelo, LCSW, is the author of the bestselling Baby Sign Language Made Easy, The Complete Guide to Baby Sign Language, and My First Book of Baby Signs. Her latest book is Baby Sign Language Songs & Games which includes 65 fun and easy language-building activities to help teach little ones signs. She is the founder of Tiny Signs®, an award-winning baby sign language program. As a licensed social worker, Lane worked for many years with families in the Boston area. Lane began studying American Sign Language in 2006 after her first baby was born and was amazed by all she had to say.



    Lane Rebelo

Let’s Jump In With Lane Rebelo From Tiny Signs®!

Lane's journey into the world of baby sign language started with her own curiosity and blossomed into a remarkable career. A seasoned social worker, she blended her professional background with the newfound wonders of motherhood. As a mom, Lane dived into the world of baby sign language, exploring its potential to establish stronger connections with her child.

Paulina at Searchie: I'd love for you to tell everyone a little bit about who Lane is, what you do and who you serve.

Lane: I love that because that's the best part of what I do, is that it is super fun. My name is Lane Rebelo. I am the founder of Tiny Signs®, and I teach parents and caregivers and early childhood professionals how to use American sign language vocabulary for early communication with babies and toddlers primarily, and sometimes preschoolers if they have language delays. But I do that through songs and stories and playtime activities and it is really fun.

Paulina at Searchie: The fact that you specifically specialize in baby sign language education, I wanted to ask, what drove you to that path?

Lane: What brought me to it was becoming a mom. Before I became a mom, I was a social worker. I still am actually a social worker. So I worked with families and children professionally for many years in a variety of different settings So I have a background in child development and working with kids and families.

When my first was a baby, I had heard of baby sign language and I was just curious about it. I was researching everything like a new mom does about sleep and communication and developmental milestones and kind of brushing up on all that stuff I had learned in graduate school. And I just became fascinated with it. 

I started using it with my little one and she and I were able to communicate early. Like I think she started signing around nine or ten months and most babies don't even say a first word till about their first birthday. And even then it's pretty limited. They might have a handful of, you know, mama, dada, baba, type early first words and she was signing light and cat and ball. 

I was able to really see what she was thinking by what she was doing with her hands and it was like a little window opened into her brain and I was hooked. I still get to work with babies and toddlers and share in that excitement with parents and caregivers when their babies start communicating and it's fascinating.

“My little one started signing around nine or ten months and most babies don't even say a first word until about their first birthday… I was able to really see what she was thinking by what she was doing with her hands and it was like a little window opened into her brain and I was hooked.”


Tiny Signs®: Where Curiosity Meets Communication

Paulina at Searchie: So what drove you to create a Membership site specifically? What is it about that model that really works with baby sign language education?

Lane: So I started signing with my daughter when she was born in 2006 and then I really dived deep into learning American Sign language and studying that. And then I started teaching classes, really formed my business in 2008, 2009. And it was local, it was not online at all.

I was teaching classes like in churches and community centers with parents and workshops for early childhood professionals. It was all local here in Massachusetts, so it was very much an in-person business originally. And it was in 2014 that I kind of went online and I created my first online course.

I was getting requests to do workshops and classes in Rhode Island and New Hampshire and I just didn't have enough hours in the day to do all the things that people wanted me to do.

So that's when it made sense to transition to online. I had somebody from South Africa wanting to learn with me. I'm like, well I teach class at the community center down the street, so it became clear that I needed to be able to reach a wider audience.

I was teaching classes and teaching online and then I was approached about writing the first book. I think that was 2018. The publisher found me online and that kind of turned into four books and then Covid happened. So we're all stuck at home. I wasn't teaching in person anymore. My books had kind of made my online course a little bit redundant because a lot of the content overlapped.

I started doing Zoom classes with my online course students really just 'cause I wanted to connect with them. And it was a fun challenge for me. And that's what kind of then morphed into the Membership because people loved it.

One of the challenges of teaching in-person classes is that people are busy and it's like, well that's my baby's nap time I work that morning. I can't, that's too far for me to drive. But then doing this online, people can show up in their jammies on a Saturday morning with their toddler on their lap and we can sing songs and read books.

I mean, I can't recreate everything I did in person with bubbles and parachutes and all that fun stuff. But I do my best. I mean you should see the screenshots of me. I've got stuff on my head and puppets and you know, really try to make it as engaging and as I can for, for toddlers is primarily the audience.

I started doing that, people loved it and I was like, okay, well if I'm gonna do this every month, there needs to be kind of a system to support it. I basically asked people who'd been coming and then invited my email list, said, I'm thinking of doing this thing, do you wanna sign up, I promise it's gonna be good.

Lane Rebelo - Tiny Signs Hub

Navigating Challenges And Embracing Growth

Paulina at Searchie: There’s challenges with running an online business. So given that you’ve been in this space for quite some time now, what tech processes or tips and tricks have you set up for yourself to maybe ease some of those challenges to maybe simplify your workout for what’s now your membership site.

Lane: When I first started, there was no membership. I just started putting content into an  online course platform. I was creating courses and courses inside there. It was really hard for people to navigate. That was the biggest challenge, people couldn’t find things. Unless I specifically linked to the thing in an email, people couldn’t find it.

So that’s when I realized this isn’t really sustainable, because it’s not user-friendly. And that’s when I transitioned to Searchie. Which has been really the perfect solution for me. One, it creates that home base where I can guide people. And now in Searchie, it’s very searchable. So people can actually just put in the word, like, I wanna look up the sign for Tiger… they put tiger in the search bar and boom, that one comes up.

It makes it easy for me, and I can streamline my process. If I upload a video, I can put it in multiple places, where it makes sense without having to constantly re-embed it or whatever. So that simplifies things and it works very very well with my particular business model, and I’m sure lots of others.

And as far as streamlining… every month I’m creating a mini course. First I was like wow, this is a lot of work. But now I have a template and I just go through and just check, check, check, I’ve gotten very efficient at recording the videos, editing them, getting them uploaded into Searchie. It doesn’t take me more than about a week each month on that part of things.

“That was the biggest challenge, people couldn’t find things. Unless I specifically linked to the thing in an email, people couldn’t find it. That’s when I realized this isn’t really sustainable, because it’s not user-friendly. And that’s when I transitioned to Searchie. Which has been really the perfect solution for me.”

The Future Of Tiny Signs®

Paulina at Searchie: Wrapping up this phenomenal interview, what does the future look like for you, where do you see yourself in the online business space?

Lane: I've created so much content now over the past two years, all these mini courses that I've put out each month. So I've been toying with the idea of making them available outside of the membership as one option, kind of selling them piecemeal for people who maybe don't wanna do the Membership thing but want part of what's in there.

Also one of the challenges for me has always been that my audience is a mix of parents and caregivers. I have a lot of grandparents in my membership too, which is awesome. So parents and grandparents who are interested in using sign language to communicate with their own babies. But I also have a lot of professionals, speech therapists, early interventionists, children's librarians, daycare workers. So trying to kind of make sure what I'm doing meets the needs of both of those audiences, trying to figure out how to really make sure I'm speaking to both audiences always

Paulina at Searchie: I wanted to thank you so much for joining us today. Can you maybe, for the end, teach us how to sign thank you?

Lane: Sure. That's an easy one. You take your flat hand at your chin and just move it away. Thank you.

Paulina at Searchie: I love it! Well thank you Lane. This has been phenomenal and I’m so happy that we had the opportunity to chat today for Searchie Spotlight. 

Lane: Always good to see you Paulina.

Watch Lane's full Searchie Spotlight interview here!

Thanks for reading!

Want to learn more about Tiny Signs®? Head over to her website here.

We’ll catch you in the next blog.

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