So, you're new here and you don't quite know where to begin? No worries! I'm going to give you access to some of my best tips.......FOR FREE!!!
Many doulas sign up for training and get left feeling lost when it comes to actually running their business. I'm here to address 4 business questions that are commonly being asked across doula groups.
How much do I charge?
This question is something that so many doulas struggle with. Even experienced doulas. Many people struggle to value themselves. There is constant doubt and worry about if someone will be able to afford or want to pay for the services. If this is you, STOP IT RIGHT NOW!
You do NOT need to shortchange yourself by offering free or low-cost services, out of desperation. Even as a doula who is working towards certification; you deserve to be paid fairly. SO! How much do you charge? Here are a few ways to determine that. Think about if you would like your doula career to be your full-time income. If so, you at least need to charge a living wage. We know that most corporate jobs are not paying a living wage, but the beauty in running your own business is choosing how much you want to be paid. Visit Livingwage.mit.edu to find out the living wage in your area. Living wage in my area as a single adult with 1 child would be $32.94. Now let's estimate that we spend at least 24 combined hours with a client. That would total $790.56. Many of us identify as people who are not single and who have more than one child. Living wage would of course be more than $32.94. So, if I were to charge less than $800 for my services, I would certainly be shortchanging myself.
Another way to help determine how much you should/could charge is by calculating your investment into doula work. How much did you spend on trainings? Books? Mentorship? Supplies? Website startup? Most people invest at least $500 to get started as a doula (usually much more). You should be charging no less than that amount when you start accepting clients.
You can also browse around Google and sites like Doulamatch.com to see how much other doulas in your area are charging. See if the price that you plan to charge, falls within the average range.
2. Do I need a website?
Running a website can be costly. The extra expense and responsibility can be intimidating for new doulas. My personal opinion is that a website is necessary! Your website is your story. The inside of your book. As a consumer, it's a turn off when I am searching for a service or a product on social media, and I'm encouraged to send an email to find out about pricing and details. I want a professional website to visit, that will allow me to learn more about the services being offered. With a website, you also save yourself from having to be constantly available to answer questions. Your website can answer questions that most people will have for you. It also helps scheduling appointments, taking payments, and other things much easier. From my experience, Wix is very user friendly. They even offer a free version to use, if you're not taking payments directly through your site.
3. Do I need to use social media?
Social media takes a lot of time if you want to do it right. Knowing how to reach your target audience. Growing a following. Creating content that is sure to draw attention. When done well, social media can be a huge asset to your business. An asset that I also believe to be necessary. Just like your website is your story; social media is your book cover. It gives your audience and potential clients a preview to who you are, what you're about, and what you bring to the table. Social media like Facebook and Instagram have scheduling tools. This allows you to create posts and pick a date and time that they'll automatically be posted. This is a great time saving tool. Using social media doesn't mean you have to commit to every platform. Use Twitter for witty posts on the fly. Use IG if you're good at photos/graphics. Use FB if you have more to say but don't always have photo content. Use TikTok if you're super creative. Pick what works for you.
4. How do I find clients?
Finding clients is one of the most intimidating tasks for new doulas. It can be scary getting out there. It can be difficult too. Many of us start a doula business and one of the things we hope is that suddenly all of our friends and family will be pregnant and will use our services. We've all hoped! Don't wait around for that to happen. If you are a mom and have a legit reason to be in mom groups other than to only try selling your services, join some local groups. You can participate in conversations where moms are asking for advice in subjects that you're familiar with. Make friends and gently let people know that you're a birth professional. Let them reach out to you if they want to know more. Use your website's SEO settings to reach your target audience. Use hashtags when posting to social media. Make sure some of your hashtags are your State, City, and surrounding Cities. This helps your posts to reach people who are near you. Connect with other doulas. Ask if they are looking for backup. See if there are any health fairs taking place where you can set up a table. Be sure to get business cards and brochures. I say "and" brochures because the two are very beneficial to have. Business cards can easily be kept in your pocket in case you meet someone on the go. Brochures are good to leave in public places when you intentionally make time to market yourself. Brochures are great because many people are still unfamiliar with what a doula does. So, seeing your business card will likely not interest them if they saw it without knowing about doulas. On the other hand, if they see a brochure that can tell them what the services are, they'll be likely to check it out further. Brochures can be left in magazine racks. Brochures and cards can be tacked to bulletin boards at your local library and supermarkets.
There's so much more that I want to tell you about marketing and growing your business, but I can't give it all away for free! I invite you to check out some popular videos on my site that are available for purchase. I also invite you to consider mentorship and trainings with me.
Thanks for reading,