So you've decided to become a doula...
You want to be the best you can be...
There's a lot of advice out there...
Where to start? What's important? What to avoid?
Here are 5 essential tips for new doulas to help you succeed right from the start!
1 - Create a professional image.
Choose colors you love and want to represent you.
Create a logo or have someone do it for you!
Get a website.
Buy business cards.
Have your logo embroidered onto your designated "labor wear".
2 - Create a systemized approach to client retention and experience.
This means your initial parent paperwork, pricing sheets, your forms, contracts, anything that you can put into a document, to create a consistent flow of information, do it.
You'll want an explanation of your philosophy, your process of working with people, what you will do at meetings, and anything else that a client might want to know about working with you and what to expect from your care.
If you're not sure where to start, take a look at the list of business documents that we provide in our ready-made suite of birth business forms, etc. If you can't make your own, consider buying something already tried and true. Save yourself time.
3 - Don't pretend to be more knowledgeable or experienced than you really are.
In the birthing world, trust is huge. You've got to earn your clients' trust and the best way to do that is to own up to your lack of experience with a situation or lack of knowledge about something. You can simply say "This is new for all of us, so let me do some research and get some answers from my mentor and follow up with you."
Your humility will go a lot farther than giving bad advice or pretending your briefcase of experience is bigger than it is. Your clients want your expertise, yes. But your heart and your dedication to giving them the best possible care goes a lot farther than anything else ever could.
4 - Take every training you can get into.
This is huge. Keep learning. It might be a workshop on mindfulness. Or the EpiDoula program. Or on vegan eating. Or on using Quickbooks. Believe me, you will use all the knowledge you're filling your brain with. The more you know, the more valuable you are. There is nothing better in a difficult situation than someone who has knowledge and then can apply it sideways into another situation. Do you know what I meant by this?
I learned how to make hospital bed corners when I was in nursing school. Yay. Who cares. Until you have that severely depressed mom whose love language is having her bed made PERFECTLY when you're there for a postpartum shift. She returns from the first hot shower she's had in days, and bursts into tears when she sees you've made her bed like a pro. Suddenly something changes for her, because she feels truly loved. Yeah, you know how that goes. Every skill... I promise, you will use them all.
5 - Schedule time for yourself and your family.
As giving, loving nurturers, we empty ourselves. We turn inside out and give so much emotional, physical and psychological energy to our clients, that when we get home, we are needing a pick me up. We may need alone time to recharge. Whatever you need, plan for it. Then, when you've recharged and restored yourself, be sure to show some love to your family, who misses you when you're gone and are on-call too. When you can schedule time for them, it shows that you prioritize them.
You may not be able to turn off your phone, but at least take them to the beach, or a movie, or something that you all enjoy together and will feel bonded afterward. It could even be planning a family dinner each week on Sunday afternoons, or game night on Thursdays. It doesn't have to be fancy or cost anything. But plan something each week to show love to yourself and also something else for your loved ones.
Take it from someone who has been doing this a long time...
These are 5 steps you cannot do without, if you're going to have a healthy, thriving and successful business doing birth-related caregiving.
Have a blast! This is a great journey in an even greater career!