It was so exciting to attend the Experienced Doula Panel mentor meeting over the weekend. As a doula who is still under the two-year mark, I find I can never get enough information to continue to grow my business. Being a member of the Utah Doula Association and attending the monthly mentor meetings helps fill that need. There was over 60 years of combined experience from which to glean information from. It consisted of (pictured left to right):
Marinda Lloyd: owner of the Doula House, a successful agency of maternity consultants and doulas. www.thedoulahouse.com
Sierra Abrams Brooks: owner of Bud to Blossom where she focuses on newborn behavior and communication as a postpartum doula. www.bud2blossom.com
Latissa Marie Graham: a licensed massage therapist and certified hypnodoula. healingpoweroftouch.blogspot.com
Kristy Avery Huber: a postpartum and birth doula with over 20 years of experience and one of the first presidents of the UDA. www.khdoula.com
Raven Haymond: co-owner of Beehive Birth Care with partner Ashlie Hashimoto. Raven also teaches Birthing from Within classes for expecting couples. www.beehivebirthcare.com
Lacey Keller Smith: owner of MotherHeart Postpartum and Holistic Care, specializing in Mother Roasting ceremonies. www.motherheartservices.com
Angie Bushman Rosier: over 13 years of experience, she is part owner of Birth Learning and successful team of doulas. www.birthlearning.com
With that many years of experience it didn’t take long for the questions to start rolling in and for knowledge to fill the room. I’ve picked three questions that were asked that I feel are pretty popular among newer doulas. To view the whole meeting you can join the UDA and have access to it on Facebook or soon it will be available to members on our website.
Q: As a new doula how do you attract clients and what has been your most cost effective way to market and network?
A: The keyword here is “attract.” It was emphasized that we want to attract clients, not chase them down. One way you can do this is by making sure you have an attractive and professional website. Make sure your website tells potential clients why they need to hire you. It can be difficult to pay for professional help with your site at first but you might find the reward worth the cost. Professional and beautiful business cards go right along with this. They are such an important tool to carry around with you at all times.
Never underestimate the importance of networking. This seems like a given but it is so much more than posting on Facebook. You can network with other doulas by getting to know them. Let them know who you are, what you do and why you are a great doula. Having other doulas refer to you for clients they may not be able to take on is a great way to increase your business. But they can’t refer to you if they don’t know you.
Q: How much should I be charging for births?
A: This can range but it was generally agreed upon that $800-1200 per birth is standard in Utah. One important thing to note, something that ALL the experienced doulas agreed on, was the importance of never doing free births, even in those early days of certifying. Make sure you are charging enough to at least break even, but more is better. Charging a living wage helps prevent burnout, which was one topic discussed at length.
Q: How do you prevent burnout?
A: In addition to charging a living wage, make sure you are making time for self-care. If you are able, get regular massages. Doula work is hard on your body. Get enough sleep, especially after a long birth. Make sure you are eating properly and taking care of your body. Set boundaries with your clients. Make sure they know when it’s OK to call at 3 am and when it is not. Figure out how many births you and your family can handle a month and stick to that. You need a good support system.
I can’t cover every question that was asked but I definitely suggest watching the meeting in its entirety. The wealth of knowledge that was present was amazing. The willingness of these experienced long-time doulas to share and help newer doulas is awesome. They only want to see this profession grow which it certainly is. You can really feel the love of the UDA when it puts on such great events to help educate doulas of all backgrounds. If you haven’t joined the UDA yet please consider doing so. You can find more information here. It is a wonderful organization that will only continue to grow!
Melissa Olson Bundles of Joy Doula Services