Posts for : December 2013

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Birth and Postpartum Doula Business Tips

Birth and Postpartum Doula Business Tips

1. I am a business owner- These are words that you need to start saying in your head. When people ask me what I do, I do not say “I train doulas” I say “I am the Director of Birth Arts International, a doula certification organization”. See the difference. “I am a doula” versus “I own (insert your business name here), I am a professional doula.” See the distinct difference. This difference is apparent to potential clients. You are taking your place in the community by taking a place in your community’s league of professionals. Parents/clients/colleagues all benefit from your distinctions. Try introducing yourself to yourself a few times, make yourself believe in your professionalism and ownership of self. No one can own your company but you, but in order to be respected as such and valued as such you must learn to accept and believe this of yourself.

At Work

At Work

2. Make a business plan- Make a business plan, a list of goals, dream board. You can find business plan resources at- the SBA. Be realistic and be ready to do the work. Running a business is a full time job. Make sure you can work your schedule around your life if you have children. This can be a successful and fulfilling career if you have children and want to work around the needs of being a parent. Be realistic and reasonable with yourself.

Do not start your business from a place of competition or jealousy. Do not compare yourself to other providers, unless it is to improve yourself. Most clients will not choose you over another provider, just for price. Make sure your rates are reflective of your costs, not the other rates in the area. Be true to yourself. If your rates are too low, you will have an unsustainable practice, and you will potentially burn out. Be realistic with your goals, costs, finances, and make sure you are honest with yourself.

Competition is not to be afraid of. Make sure you view competition as a positive. So do not make fun of, diss, or second guess another practitioner. Be kind, and gentle. If you start your career from a negative, competitive and “nasty” place your business will not last. Having a business plan that you stick to will help you to keep focus, and give you something that you can work from and use to guide you as your practice develops.

Business investment- a lot of students feel they have spent sooo much on education, etc.. But the reality is that being a doula is a business that you can start with investment costs less than $1000.00. I can’t think of another long term career that you have that can see your seeing a profit in less than the first year. Remember this. Most businesses do not see a profit for the first three years. BAI offers the most intensive and beautiful doula training in the world, remember the value it is, and honor that.

It is essential that you pay for additional education, continue to improve yourself, skills, and keep up with the demands of your local market. You can find a variety of educational options at www.birtharts.com

When you invest in yourself you will be making your business and career path stronger. Make sure you do the work, skimping on your career plan, business plan, etc.. will only work against you. So do the work, after all it is for you.

3. Dress the part!- Do not show up in your sweat suit for a meeting with clients. Until you know your business style and you know what clients expect keep it simple. Does this mean you can’t have style and flair? No, but it does mean you need to be groomed and respectful. No cleavage, no miniskirts, no t-shirts with band names, beer/product/pithy cartoon logos, now is not the time to be “cool”. Parents do not want to see your underwear, bra straps, or lots of make up or jewelry. Parents can be offended from a variety of clothing issues.
Until you know the parent keep it simple. I know this sounds obvious, but once I had a client, about 15 years ago, who said she almost didn’t hire me because I had a tribal print tunic, she thought it was too pagan, or witchy. To me it was a cool shirt, so from then on I kept it simple.
Parents need to be able to visualize you at their birth. You do not know someone’s back story, marital history, or insecurities. Take this into consideration.
Look it is simple if you are respectful, polished and present a professional presence parents will feel safe in your hands.
If you have tattoos, dreadlocks, or lots of piercings be aware that not all people are accepting of alternatives in dress. This is not their issue, it is what makes them feel safe, do not take it personally. Other parents may feel the exact opposite, be aware and make sure you yourself do not judge parents, you are the business, and they are the client.

Some articles on professional dress

-How to Dress Professionally

-Tips from a BAI Doula

4. Promotion- Make sure you have business cards, a website, and advertise locally. Hang fliers, at health food stores, place cards at baby boutiques, ask to leave brochures at doctors and midwives offices. Make your website clean and easy to navigate. In your about you section detail your education, the training organization you worked with and additional beneficial education. Choose a simple business name the expresses to potential clients what you are offering, use an original logo. In the business would you will occasionally find that someone has stolen another’s logo. Make sure yours is original to your practice.
Choose an appropriate email address. If you own your URL make a local email address name@yourwebsite.com or if you use a free service yourdoulapractice@hotmail/yahoo/gmail.com.
Do not use silly names people will not identify with you. KittenLover21359@whatever.com is not very business-like.
Check out your competition, assess the market.

Check out services like VistaPrint, or Staples Business Services.
Take a look at who other birth professionals are targeting, maybe they are overlooking an area of need. Are you all looking and promoting yourself to the same core group of people.
Here are some categories that you can assess.

Doula Support

Doula Support

• First baby
• VBAC
• Previous birth trauma
• Crisis/teen pregnancy
• High risk pregnancy/high risk/stillbirth/previous loss
• Homebirth
• Intrauterine insemination/in vitro fertilization
• Adoption
• Cultural diversity
Then decide if you can serve this population and if so how to effectively market to that area.

5. Create a clear contract- Have a client for clients to sign that details what you will and will not do, your fees, back up, cancellation of services, refunds, etc.. Make your policies clear. The small business associations in your community, or your organization can assist you. Stick to your contract. It is essential that you follow your end of the bargain 100%. Sometimes legal advice is needed when drawing up a contract, pay for it if you need it, or seek out small business resources in your community.

6. Look you are not perfect, life is not perfect but if you are respectful, stick to your core foundation, follow your end of the contract then you are going to have a more sustainable and profitable business. Remember this. Yes, you will have times when you say, “This sucks”, etc.. Shake it off, assess yourself and believe in your goal. Have friends outside of the birth world who will offer you friendship and distraction from work. Do not get involved with local birth world drama. Never bad mouth another doula, if you can’t address it directly to her, then you shouldn’t be saying it. Stop playing the gossip game, do not pass on the negative, doing this is your choice.

 

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Student Comments and Reviews Birth Arts International Doula Program

As we are coming to the end of the year I thought I would share some comments and reviews from our students. We are only sharing a few of the doula students comments, just to share with you our relationship with our students.

I love everything about this program! I especially love that it is all online, and I can work on the assignments when I can. It has made it possible for me to earn my bachelor’s degree, work, and still work towards my doula certification. I also love the additional herbal and holistic teachings that is included and how they relate to pregnancy and childbirth. I really like that more than the usual number of books and evaluated births is required. This ensures that I get a well rounded and full knowledge and understanding of many different types of birth and life situations.

A. Long 2013

Lisa Lute

June 12, 2013

I have thoroughly enjoyed this BAI course thus far. I am almost done with my certification and am so glad I decided to go through BAI. I am part of a local doula group here in Boise and I am the only none DONA trained Doula. At first I was a little self-couscous of this, but now am very proud! I have learned a lot about DONA and their certification requirements in the last year and I have to say that BAI beats them in every way hands down! I feel like I have received a well-rounded and thorough doula training. BAI does not just teach about the body and the birth process, but they go so many steps further. BAI dives into the spiritual and emotional aspects as well as getting into nutrition, herbalism and aromatherapy…..etc. A lot more course work is expected of us initially, but I believe we are better for it. I have learned so much through this entire process.  And I can’t wait to finish and have my certification in hand! I do not have any real suggestions that I can think of, just keep on doing what your doing and the great word of mouth will spread. I tell all my friends and acquaintances that are thinking about going into birth work to check out BAI. I can’t wait to check out some of your other courses!

 

I very much enjoyed and appreciated the BAI Doula Program. I have learned so much and I feel like I can take so much information away from this experience. I think that reading all of the books was great for me to understand what I as a doula can provide for a laboring mother and her family. Being able to watch birth and be a part of it has been one of the most miraculous experiences for me in my life. I truly feel blessed that I was able to be a part of this program.

Karen Hamel

I have enjoyed this past year tremendously.  I have learned so much.  I love my Birth Arts International Certified Doula Education Program Book and I will keep it for reference.  I will do all of the assignments listed in the book as I believe they will definitely benefit me.  The books suggested for reading have been so educational and I have learned so much from them.  All of the births I have been able to attend have been awesome.  I have had the privilege to attend at least 15 births over this past year and each time has been an amazing experience.  I will consider taking other courses with Birth Arts International in the future.  Thank you so much.

Patricia Hoxie

Leslie Westenhaver
Student Suggestions
I find myself at the end of this journey to become a Certified Doula and I am truly amazing at all I have completed in the past two years. Going into this course, I honestly thought I would be able to finish most of the work within 6 months with one year being the longest it would take me to get the clients and such to complete all the requirements. Little did I know that as soon as I signed up for the course, I would find myself pregnant with baby number five and go through the first year hardly able to complete much of anything. Still, despite many of the setbacks and frustrations in figuring out childcare with 5 young children, I wanted to push myself to complete this course within the time limit given. Now here I am, about to submit all my paperwork for the course and I see what a long way I have come from the person who joined up almost two years ago. I feel this course is absolutely and completely thorough and come back to the page often to read through different things, from the links to rebozo use to the traditions of healing, and I am so proud to have worked through the Birth Arts International certification for doula over some of the others I had looked at before. I love that there is a Facebook group where I can go to voice any issues I might be having with my certification work or to network with other fellow Birth Arts doulas. I am proud to be a part of this group of wonderfully wise women and look forward to serving expecting women and their families for many years to come!

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BAI Doula Trina Baggett

Where are you located?

I am located in the Birmingham, Alabama area.

Why did you choose Birth Arts International?

I picked BAI over all other organizations because I felt that it is the only organization that offers a multicultural approach. To BAI, the doulas are trained to serve mothers and keep birth family centered. Birth belongs to the family and families deserve to have a doula who understands the sacredness of birth.

BAI meshes well with my personal philosophy that  birth belongs not to the doulas, not to the midwives, and not to the OBs. It belongs to the families and as a doula I am thankful to be asked to share their journey with them.

I feel BAI helped me to find my own path into birth work. It took me on a path of self reflection and discovery. BAI helped to make me a better person and doula.

I would encourage mothers to seek BAI doulas because we are trained holistically. We respect the mothers right to choose what is best for herself and her baby. We trust the mothers wisdom and support her choices.

Learn more about Trina at-

www.atranquiljourney.com

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/TranquilJourneyDoula?fref=ts