Just a disclaimer before I start: various things make for an awesome doula – please bear in mind that this article has been designed to help doulas on a professional and business level.
YES! You can be a totally awesome, confident doula with a thriving business! A doula that all your clients rave about… doesn’t that sound great?
No matter if you’re just starting out as a doula or if you’ve been a doula for a while, sometimes we hit professional or emotional plateaus (or even a client drought) where we start to doubt ourselves, are unsure of where things are going or if we’re as experienced as we need to be.
These tips are my top suggestions for doulas in this situation – so if you need a bit of a boost or guidance in getting fired up and super passionate again, help is just a few moments away!
Totally Awesome Doula Tip #1: Read, Read, Read!
Talking in front of others can be a really scary thing for many people. But, you will notice that it is so much easier to give a speech if you really know what you’re talking about. Remember back to your school days – how nerve racking was it researching a topic then having to talk about it?! The more you know your area of expertise, the easier it gets and the more confident you get. The less you need to refer back to your notes and the more you can hit the ground running without breaking out a sweat.
You can never know enough or learn enough, no matter what you choose do in life, so feed your brain with books, workshops and classes. Schedule some regular time – each day if you can – to read a new book on birth related topics.
Wealth and success isn’t a big screen television or a really fast car… wealth is in your library. Many very successful business people will tell you that one of their biggest secrets to success is to feed their brain every day. You may have heard of the story of Warren Buffett, one of the world’s wealthiest men (THE world’s wealthiest man some years). He wanted to become a business success, and decided he had to learn about finance. What did he do? He read every single book in the Omaha Public Library with the word ‘finance’ in the title – some twice… when he was 10 years old!!!
Warren Buffett is clearly a huge success with his chosen passion and you can be too. It’s never too early or too late – if you get reading, your confidence, knowledge and credibility will thank you for it!
“Think of something new you’ve actually learned in the past week; if you can’t think of anything, get comfortable where you’re at because you’re not going anywhere. To stop learning is to stop living.” — Robert Kiyosaki
Totally Awesome Doula Tip #2: Grow Yourself As A Person And Business Owner
You will only go as far as you develop yourself as a person and a business owner. Following on from the first tip above, its equally important to focus on learning about personal and business growth and development.
Read autobiographies of successful business people and entrepreneurs, like Richard Branson, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs – you may not agree with the business decisions or choices of some of these people, or may not want to be as busy or famous, but it will get you an insight into the mind and thinking of highly successful people. You’ll learn how they got to where they are now. You’ll read about their attitudes and philosophies – the mindsets that are required to make it. You’ll find successful people have similar habits, which you can adopt too.
Not only are there many brilliant business books out there, but an endless number of seminars for personal and professional development, which I LOVE going to. You meet people who are movers and shakers just like you. Great people who are friendly, keen to network and learn. People with passion and guts. You know the saying about becoming like the people you spend most of your time with? The people around you can either motivate, encourage and uplift you, or they can keep you in the wrong place or chasing your tail. You must be willing to grow your comfort zone, and trust me, you’ll have an absolute ball learning and growing!
“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?” — Jim Rohn
Here are some Facebook pages of some great leaders to follow:
Here are some great business books to read:
- Think and Grow Rich
- The eMyth
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Raving Fans
- The Tipping Point
- How To Win Friends And Influence People
You Can Purchase These Books From…
There are many more resources, but these are a great start.
Totally Awesome Doula Tip #3: Network With Other Doulas
The doula world is such an awesome place to be. Doulas share your passion of birth and would happily talk birth all day (and night!). Not only is this great for you socially, but you can gain a wealth of experience from other doulas. Ask questions, hear their stories of births, share… there is so much to be learnt from other doulas. Start up a group and have a regular meet-up, or find out if there are any in your area – just do it! Try and get involved with other doulas, and make an effort to learn and share together. You’ll leave feeling awesome and loved up, overflowing with oxytocin and food for your birth junkie soul. Local doulas may even be able to team up with you to help out with childcare while you’re doula’ing or even forming a business together!
I can’t imagine any nicer people to spend your time with than other doulas – you’ll be sure to make many friendships along the way! You also get to know them well enough in case you happen to need a back-up or just some great advice one day.
Totally Awesome Doula Tip #4: Open Your Mind And Believe In Yourself
I know doulas can sometimes doubt their abilities, usually due to one or more of these three things:
- They’re unable to get the number of births they want
- A birth they attended went awol
- They’ve had an unhappy client
These things happen. No matter what business you’re in, you will get unhappy clients, births will go in a direction that we didn’t expect, and you’ll have to deal with unpleasant situations sometimes. But never stop believing in yourself, because this is all part of the learning process – see it as an opportunity to grow. If we don’t have challenging experiences, then we don’t grow or learn. Its when we resist and take it personally, we can’t see what we need to see. Its important to stand back, look at the situation and say, ‘What could I have done differently here?’ or ‘What can I learn from this situation?’ or, ‘Is there something I need to learn more about?’ Feeling crappy about it all and giving up is just going to make you, well, feel like crap. And you wont get to where you truly want to go.
Remember, nothing prepares you for anything in life quite like hands-on experience does. If you always consider yourself a student, learning every single day, you’ll feel much better about yourself and have a great attitude that will move you forward.
A successful business owner in any given field knows to expect plateaus. Business will be going well, growing, growing… then a crisis will hit, business will slow down, or something will happen to cause you to question it all. But, instead of giving up, feeling hopeless, useless – the successful business owner keeps working through it until they get to the other side. If you give up when it’s tough, you don’t get the huge rewards of getting through a tough spot and come out fine the other end – usually quicker and easier than you initially envisioned and you’re back on track once again.
I’ve had experiences where something awful has happened in my business, usually I have been attacked for my beliefs and stances and had to deal with really nasty comments or feedback. These sorts of situations can really rock you to the core – sometimes and you wonder how you’ll get through the next day with it hanging over your head. I’ve had fantasies of just deleting BellyBelly off the server in my earlier days – in my grumpy head I would think, ‘Fine, you don’t like it, see what it’s like when it’s all gone!’ which was all so easy to think in my early 20’s as a new mother who was very sleep deprived and with PND! But, every single make or break moment is all in the past now, gone, forgotten and something valuable learnt from, and thank goodness I didn’t give up, as today BellyBelly is busier than it has ever been, with close to two million page views a month. I can work from home with my babies, the hours that fit in with my lifestyle and I get to do what I truly, deeply love. Don’t give up on your dreams just for one sticky moment. You can get through every single one of them! And doing that makes you a much more confident business owner.
Totally Awesome Doula Tip #5: Find Your Niche
What makes you different from all the other doulas out there? A woman looking through a directory full of doulas will read the same thing over and over…
- “I LOVE supporting women!”
- “I became a doula in xxx after the birth of my children xxx”
- “I am passionate about birth”
- “Feel empowered about your birth”
- Empowered, empowered, empowered. Not bagging it, but its EVERYWHERE!
… but what makes you any different to any other doula? Why should they choose you, with a smorgasboard of choices? Whats in it for them? What experiences can you draw on to make you different?
Something you might think is small may be the difference between you being chosen over another doula. In a recent coaching call I did with a Sydney based doula, I helped her realise that her own experience as a twin mother having a natural birth is a fantastic draw card and speciality for her to focus on. While twin births aren’t as high in number, she has a distinct advantage over other doulas, being able to understand exactly what they are going through, carrying and birthing twins.
Totally Awesome Doula Tip #6: Focus On What You Do Best – Let A Skilled Team Do The Rest
Any highly successful business owner – even Richard Branson – will tell you, he comes up with the amazing ideas and then steps aside for people who know what they’re doing best.
Many doulas have shoestring budgets (hopefully not for long after adopting some of my tips in my doula articles!) which means its harder to pay for what they really need for their business, for example a professional web designer, marketing or advertising.
If you do things on the cheap, or have unskilled people doing important things for your business, your results will reflect this. I know it’s really hard if you don’t have any finances when you started up your business, so if you don’t have the funds to have someone help you, check out my other article, 5 Effective Ways To Get More Clients. Then try to make a budget out of each payment to reinvest back into your business, so you’re not always on a such a suffocating, restrictive shoestring budget. Out of every paying client, and/or your own funds, assign a certain amount into your business savings account so you can work towards it.
A business mentor is always a great thing too. This is something successful business people do well – they have mastermind/mentor groups and have business coaches. They learn off one another, and motivate each other based on sound, experienced advice.
If you’re interested in getting one on one business help, I do Skype consultations (no matter where you are in the world) to help with improving business success, increasing website traffic, ranking higher in google, achieving a better marketing response and more. Find out more information here.