Where are you in your doula journey? Maybe you are just getting started - thinking about training or excitedly waiting for the date of your doula workshop to arrive. Or maybe you’ve been a doula for a while and want to fine tune your business and take it to the next level. Either way, here are some our best tips to get you there (and yes, these are things we do too!)
1. A website matters. It matters a lot.
How are most people finding you? Do you know? If you don’t know, that’s a great sign that you need to work on your website and learn how to read your analytics. And if you do know, but the answer is not “my website” - then you need to invest some time and perhaps some money on your site. Your website is literally a 24/7 workhorse and the harder it works, the less you have to. Even if you get lots of word of mouth referrals, the world wide web can reach more people than anyone’s mouth can. (Need website assistance? We’d love to help.)
2. Stop putting yourself on sale.
This isn’t’ about free births, it is about maintaining your everyday value and your ability to have sustainable income. If you want to run a special, don’t do it by DECREASING your fee - do it by INCREASING your value. Instead of a taking less money for your work, add something that your clients would want into your service as your special. Maybe a free breastfeeding class, meditations or even a massage therapy session. Each of those may cost you a little, but your value is not reduced and the $9.99 for a meditation bundle is a lot less money than $100 sale off your normal price.
3. Spend more time on relationships, Less on Stuff.
When it comes to clients, they want you and your undivided attention, not stuff. Your welcome pack? Who cares! The time invested in listening to people that reach out to you will pay back higher dividends than having a color coded folder with a few non-personalized freebies in it. Don’t show up at your interviews looking like a kindergarten teacher with a handful of copies, show up with a listening ear and stash of questions designed to get your potential clients talking to you - because when they feel heard, you get hired. (So many great questions to facilitate conversation in our Preparing for Birth pink book, we give then to all our clients and you can too!)
4. A modern Doula for modern families.
Technology is cool. Use it! There is so much out there now to help small businesses get organized and go paperless. We’re not saying run out and spend a bunch of money on gizmos you don’t need, but many of these tools are cheap and pay for themselves. We love talking to doulas about going paperless. We love that our clients love that we are paperless. We love the time we save being paperless. A modern approach to doula work will make you stand out as professional and trustworthy. And you will never have to deal with a bounced check again.
5. Develop a routine.
Monday through Friday at 9am you can find me drinking coffee and working through a daily checklist of things I do for my business. Maybe for you that looks like doing a checklist once a week, or twice a day, but whatever it looks like consistency is the key. Figure out how much time your business takes each day and do it. You won’t find many successful business owners that spend less than an hour a day on administrative work tasks. Doula work is no different. Find that sustainability happy place of routine and do it. And do it again, and again and again…
6. Write down your intentions.
Goals…intentions - it’s mostly the same thing but one sounds a bit more spiritual. Call them either one you want but do start the year by writing out goals. Write goals for the entire year, then write them for each month. (At that point you can turn them into action points to add to your daily routine from the previous point!) Remember, goals have to be measurable and attainable. So just saying you want to grow you social media presence isn’t a goal. Saying you want to have 500 new followers by December 31, 2019 is.
7. Train, but don’t train too much.
We certainly recommend training and adding skills, but be discerning. We see new doulas add a bunch of things to their toolbox that take up more space than they create (and most of them are things clients could care less about.) So this year, train smart. Become a childbirth educator, become a placenta encapsulator, learn to belly bind but do not feel like you need to learn skills in those subsets that do not grow your business or that you clients won’t value - unless you LOVE them. Don’t choose training based on what other birth workers love, choose your training on what you feel passionate about and what supports your sustainable business.
8. Practice Gratitude.
Research shows that practicing gratitude is like using a muscle and as that muscle get stronger, it can do some really cool things - like actually making you happier. If you attend a BEST training (and you should!) we close out our time together with gratitudes. Sometimes attendees say really deeply moving things and we all cry, other times we express gratitude for coffee. Doesn’t matter, either way you grow your muscles to be happier. Do this in your everyday life as well. Be thankful for the small things in your business. The way your website looks with that new picture you just added, the interesting inquiry that you got or that awesome networking lunch you just attended.
Cheers to you and your doula business this year! If BEST can be a part of your year, we’d love that. We love helping birthworks reach their full potential and become worldchangers. If you are not there already, we invite you to join us on Facebook at Love What You Doula to discuss #doulalife and doula business as well as networking with doulas around the world.