Birthwork is personal. Everyone comes to this work with some level of personal investment. Clients may be drawn to your logo, website or social media but who they hire is you.
Imagine you are following a company on Instagram and Facebook. The images are warm and cozy feeling. The person in the images is wearing relaxed clothing and a big smile. So you set up a meeting. You are excited to connect with the person you see every day online.
When you arrive to meet with this person you walk into an office with modern décor and are greeted by a person in a business suit. How do you feel? Do you stay? Do you continue to want to work with this person?
This persons marketing was not representative of who they are. For whatever reason they were trying to be someone else in the marketing of their business.
Finding your voice in this business can be hard. You want to stand out, you want your ideal client to find you. The best and most effective way of finding your market is by showing up. Being vulnerable and honest about who you are.
Does this mean baring your soul on social media? Not necessarily. Authenticity is more important than transparency. Clients are not looking for every detail of your life. They are however wanting to meet you, not who you think you should be.
So what is authenticity? It means staying true to who YOU are, what YOU do, who YOU serve and, most importantly, why YOU do what you do. To quote Simon Sinek of Start with Why, “It means that the things we say and the things we do are things we actually believe.”
Authenticity is the basis of the trust clients develop in your business. A client wants to have some sense that the beliefs and values you express in your business, align with theirs. People are drawn to others who are similar to them in certain ways. What it means is finding your voice. Finding your people and letting them get to know who you are.
Where do you start?
Confidence (even if you have to fake it till you make it)
This means believing in the power of you. Trusting that what you offer is so much more than the number of births you have attended, clients you have supported or classes you have taught. That who you are is unique, and your clients are excited to meet you.
Getting yourself out there matters, but what matters most is relationships. Relationships with clients, caregivers and other professionals are what business is built on. Through relationships all things are possible. Who you are matters in these relationships. Your business depends on your integrity of self.
Find a way to position yourself as the expert in your field. Find where your ideal clients hang out, what groups they are in, where they go to shop and build those relationships. Talk to the business owners, organize speaking events, be visible.
Clients are seeking connection. They want interaction, transparency and relevance. They want to feel special. If a client likes your Facebook page or gives you their email they are saying “hey I like you!”. How can you say that back? How can you connect with them? Maybe that is as simple as shout out on your social media platform or maybe that is a gift with purchase.
This is more than just regularly posting on social media. This means that who you are and what images and ideas you are sharing align. All the time. That your brand is consistent. Being authentic doesn't mean you have to post every day and rack up 1000 likes. It just requires you to deliver a consistent, compelling identity that gets clients talking.
It also means that if you are changing your marketing materials you need to be transparent as to what is to come. People have a hard time with change. Something as simple as a new haircut that makes you appear different from the headshot shown on your website, can effect a client’s trust in your business.
Going back to speaking to other business owners. We have a saying here at Doula Canada. There is no such thing as competition. WHAT?! Shocking I know. Here is the thing. Competition breeds contempt. Collaboration build business. Your market, your clients are unique to you. Visibility matters. The more birth professionals out there (in a small town or big city) the more clients there are out there looking for service.
Find like-minded individuals and collaborate. Put on a talk, share space, and find ways to build a market through and with each other. When you collaborate, you build connections. Connections bring clients.
Confidence, connection, consistency & collaboration. All of this to say authenticity matters. It really does. So how will you show up in your business today?
There is something to be said for the passion of a career. That burning desire to jump two feet forward and give it all that you've got, without hestitation and compromise.
For a number of years this was my muse. My profession as a career doula has largely been driven by my passion to support others.
I love it... and I have been told that I am good at it (after hundreds of births you hope to have found your doula groove). Thank you for the vote of confidence (talking to you Mom)!
But lately my zany-zest for passionate doulaing has been replaced with a different driver....
In the quiet moments of my day I often ponder.... why do I doula? Is it still passion, or is it something more?
So, here it is, my purpose for why I doula. Perhaps you will connect with some of what I have to share. Perhaps you also ponder why you do this thing you do(ula) . . .
I Doula because . . .
I like to meet other people.
I Doula because . . .
I never wanted a boss, I wanted to command my own ship (it's a pirate ship - I like to swear).
I Doula because . . .
My daughter. I want to inspire her with the knowledge that you have choices as a strong woman in this world.
I Doula because . . .
I want to fill my life with spontaneity. Thanks birth. You've got "randomness" covered.
I Doula because . . .
Postpartum depression is a real thing, and after clearing the fog on my own PPD I realized others may not find the lighthouse.
I Doula so that ...
I can be home for my kids when they get off the school bus (most of the time).
I Doula so that . . .
No one has to feel that they have to go through the journey of labour and postpartum transition alone.
I Doula so that . . .
I can save up and skip the yucky winter months by heading to Costa Rica for doula retreats (buh-bye January).
I Doula so that . . .
Our Doula Canada family has another mentor. A person who is hands on and feet forward in the Canadian perinatal world.
There it is. My purpose/s. My driving forces behind being a doula 24/7, 365 days a year. Living this Doula Life.
Passion + Purpose = Potential.
We would love to hear from you! What is your Doula purpose?
Comment below or email email@example.com.
Curious about the exciting opportunities available through Doula Canada? Check out www.doulatraining.ca
The one thing I discovered when I decided to leave my full time job for doula work was that financially, being a doula is not enough. Being a doula requires being on call for weeks, the ability to respond to a families call at any hour of the day. Birth work is highly variable in nature. You can be at a birth for 4 hours and for 40 hours – making a livable wage as a birth doula can be a big challenge.
Even if we were to fully book our schedules, taking 2-3 births per month, or about 1 birth per 10 to 14 days. When all is said and done, that can amount to little more than a part-time income. For some that may be exactly what they want, for me I needed to find a way to maximize my income.
In order to do that, I had to be more than just a birth doula. In order to increase the chance of creating income, I diversified. The bottom line: to earn more money, you must offer more products or services.
This had offered me many benefits. It allowed me to take on less births, to create more of a structured schedule for myself. It also had me offering products and services that complimented my work as a doula. As a result it brought in more doula business. Clients would come to ask for one service (birth doula) and I had the opportunity to sell them on other products (placenta encapsulation, Childbirth Education Classes, or counselling). It also worked in reverse.
Diversifying however is more than just adding services or products to your website and business. It requires the same amount of hard work and hustle it takes become a great doula. Simply adding things to your preexisting business does not guarantee a cash flow. To get business growth through diversification you do not do more of the same; you do something different. You expand in new directions.
Before you begin to diversify here are some steps to consider:
Meet Taylor. A Doula Canada student and world traveller. She took a moment to answer some questions for us about her volunteer experience with St. Bryce Mission in Costa Rica.
What drove you to wanting to be a volunteer doula overseas?
I feel confident in my knowledge and ability to work as a doula for the common Canadian mother. But I wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do more and be more. Working with this significantly marginalized, secluded, indigenous population of Costa Rica was attractive to me because the need for support was so high. I think I have grown in my skill set and my knowledge substantially!
Where did you go? What were your responsibilities?
I worked and lived at the Casa San Francisco located in the small town of Turrialba, Costa Rica. Casa San Francisco is a maternity Centre run by a missionary organizations called St Bryce. The centre works exclusively with the indigenous Cabecar women pre and post-natally. These native women live a very secluded lifestyle in the mountains and cloud forests. The hospital by law requires them to birth in a public hospital for their own safety. Before this centre existed when labour began the women would hike down the mountains for sometimes days to get to the hospitals. Many moms and babies wouldn't survive the harsh conditions if their travels. Other mothers would survive the trip to the hospital and would be sent away for not being dilated enough. Forcing them to wait on the streets until they could be accepted. This centre was built to give the moms a place to live at 8+ months and postpartum. They have reduced the mortality of the Indigenous babies by 40% in 5 short years.
My responsibilities included everything from cooking, cleaning, prenatal education, labour & birth Doula support, lactation education/support and any other gaps I could fill at the time. I took an extra initiative to help design and implement a laboring room out of a vacant space in the centre. Further, I developed better living conditions for volunteers and helped build an orientation package for doulas to come in the future. Therefore making their entrance to the centre more comfortable and smooth. I implemented positive activities for the mothers and younger children to participate in. Some of these included therapeutic art activities and self-care workshops. Because the centre had just opened and I was the first doula at the organization for a long period of time. My feedback and ideas were put into place with respect from others within the organization. I felt like I truly made a difference.
What did you find the most difficult?
Being completely immersed not only in Costa Rican culture, but a very secluded indigenous culture was hard to say in the least. The first week i felt complete culture shock. I'm a very high maintenance person, and I wanted to challenge myself....and i was. It was difficult to get used to the cold showers, simple food, traditions, values and most significantly, the languages. I found myself frustrated often at first with the language barrier. And even once I began to better understand and communicate with Spanish. The barrier with the Cabecar's was still immense. Their language is so unique. The woman in the Cabecar culture are soft spoken and of few words. But I persisted to support them and make myself comfortable. By the time I felt fully accepted and comfortable in the culture it was time to leave. I'll be back...but for longer than 3 weeks next time!
Kelly a student of Doula Canada and owner of Blossom Doula Services has a passion for supporting the labouring person. She wanted to share one of the many tools in her toolbox. Here is her take on using a traditional Mexican rebozo in labour and birth.
A Rebozo can be used between contractions during early labour, and early active labour.
While there are multiple different techniques used out there, some of the more common uses of a Rebozo during pregnancy and labour are listed below;
A doula could help you with some of these techniques, and it would be optimal to discuss the uses and even try them out before baby comes! When trying out a Rebozo for the first time you should always use caution and use your resources to learn how to preform the techniques properly and always be aware of how the mom is feeling throughout. After a few demonstrations it will be easy for you and your partner to catch on.
A Rebozo is a great option to help you relax during your pregnancy, labour, and delivery. As a Doula it is a great tool to add to your toolbox. Do your research, honour the tradition and find a tool that works for you.
Interested in sharing your thoughts on the Doula Canada page?