You’ve gone through your training and you’re officially on your way to becoming a doula! Now, it’s time to get to work and get your doula business going.
Congratulations! You did the reading, completed your assignments, and you’re officially on your way to becoming a doula! Now what??
The next step is to get your business up and running!
At the International Doula Institute, we want to see you succeed. Aside from teaching you all about birth and postpartum, we also break down business basics to help get you started. We want you to feel fully prepared to start working after becoming a doula.
Here are 6 things you should keep in mind when you begin working as a doula:
1. Consider Your Options
After becoming a doula, one of the most important questions you’ll have is: “how will I find clients?” Part of this depends on if you decide to work independently or as part of a doula agency or co-op. During your training with IDI, we’ll help break down all of these options for you so you can weigh the pros and cons. In the meantime, do some research to learn about any agencies and/or co-ops in your area.
Much of the advice that follows will apply specifically those who decide to work independently, but will be helpful for all of our future doulas to keep in mind.
2. Set Goals
According to the article The Seven Deadly Sins of Running a Doula Business, you need to be SMART when setting your goals. After becoming a doula, make sure the goals that you create are:
Although it’s important to look at the big picture and create long-term goals, make sure you also have immediate, short-term goals that will help you get there.
3. Choose Your Business Name
One of the first steps after becoming a doula is to create a unique name for your business. It’s a crucial decision since all your branding will be built around your name. Some doulas use their own name as their business name, while others come up something creative. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing your name is to make sure there’s no one else in your area with the same one. After you come up with a few choices, Google them. Make sure there are no other birth-related businesses with a similar name (this includes other doulas, OBs, midwives, birth photographers, etc.). When you decide on your name, protect it. The IRS provides some helpful resources for starting small business. You may also find it helpful to connect with an attorney or CPA.
4. Develop Your Presence Online
When you’re ready to get your name out there after becoming a doula, you’ll need an awesome website to help you out. There are some great DIY options to help you build an eye-catching website, such as WordPress, SquareSpace, or Wix. It’s also a good idea to purchase a domain name for your site. When you create your website, make sure to include:
- Who you are
- What services you offer
- Where you serve
- How to reach you
In addition, it’s a good idea to create social media pages for your business, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. It will help you meet and engage your clients where they are.
5. Network with Other Doulas and Birth Professionals
Even before becoming a doula, getting to know other local doulas will be an asset. Not only can you learn from one another, but you’ll have people who can share your successes and struggles with. It’s also great to take the time to meet other birth professionals and begin to get your name out there. When you develop relationships with people in your community, you’ll open more options for client referrals. Try to think outside the box – of course, you’ll want to talk to OB/GYNs, midwives, and pediatricians; also consider networking with birth photographers, businesses that cater to parents of young children, and even local mom’s groups.
6. Make Sure You’re Getting Paid What You’re Worth
While you’re becoming a doula, you’ll probably wonder how much you should charge your clients. This depends on a lot of things, such as your experience, or the cost of living in your area. Research what other doulas are charging and use that as a base number. You may be tempted to set your costs at the lower end when you first start out, but don’t sell yourself short! After you finish your training with IDI, you’ll be fully prepared to begin working with clients. Remember that you are providing a valuable service and, in addition, you need to make a living!
Of course, there are many more things to consider when you start your doula business. We cover the above topics (and more!) in our birth and postpartum courses. If becoming a doula is one of your goals, you can be confident that the International Doula Institute will prepare you to hit the ground running.