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?
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:
Interested in sharing your thoughts on the Doula Canada page?