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:
Many people working in the holistic field struggle with how to value their work or feel somewhat uncomfortable receiving a fair fee for the service that they offer. Most undercharge, are quick to discount and break into a cold sweat when asked what their fee is.
One doula told me "I have absolutely no intention of lowering my fees but it is making it hard to get clients. My last three inquiries opted out after asking about the cost. None of the husbands were on board either which doesn't help. I totally get that it costs money but the amount of money parents spend on 'must have' baby items the first year of life far exceeds what it costs to hire a good doula. Not to mention the amount of money people spend on their wedding day. How is birthing your child not ranking in importance?"
It's true. There is a perception out there that it is okay to spend little to nothing on the birth of your child, and maybe that is true. Some women will have amazing birth experiences without a doula. We know from statistics and experience that doulas improve birth experiences dramatically. Hiring a doula can often times make the difference between a mediocre or even traumatic birth experience and one that is transforming, empowering and amazing regardless of how near or far the actual birth journey strays from the birth plan. We know that as doulas. You will come across people who appreciate that and people who don't.
The problem with the above scenario is that we're calling in the wrong kind of client. You may not be able to easily change the client's perspective but you can change your own.
1. The first thing to do to start calling in clients who can afford you is let go of your need for clients. When you're feeling desperate for work either for financial reasons or because you're just really excited and anxious to be supporting at births, your clients will be few and far between. This is because your vibration is one of lack (lack of clients/lack of money). How do you let it go if you want it so bad? Start by faking it. Pretend you have more than enough money. Pretend you're completely satisfied with having this particular month off from being on call because you can travel a few hours away (plan a drive), because you are happy to sleep with your phone turned off, because you can have a few drinks at the next girl's night. Celebrate the reasons why it's great to be in your particular situation right now. Focus on all that you've got. Write a page of gratitude every day. Focus at least some of your gratitude on the money that is coming in, on the material things that you do have, big or small. When you're happy with what you've got, you'll attract in some more.
2. Let go of this idea that "everyone deserves a doula and most people can't afford me." This is a terrible perspective to be projecting into the world. If you look at a particular person and think, this person could never afford me, you're sending that intention towards them energetically. If you could look at the same person whether she be single, low income etc. and hold her in a place of "she can afford me and I am worth it" you're raising the bar for her energetically. Look at 'poor' people as if they are wealthy just like you might look at sick people as if they are healthy. Your thoughts and intentions are powerful. Who knows what she might have already saved for you and feel very proud of, who knows who might be gifting her your services, who knows what services she has to offer you in exchange. Abundance flows in many ways and from unexpected sources. Besides, if you start calling in as many clients as you wish who can afford you, you'll be in a place where you can give your services occasionally in those real circumstances where it's definitely needed. Don't be afraid to refer clients to student doulas who are in a position where they have to offer their service at a reduced fee too.
3. Give work away. Don't be afraid to share the wealth. Refer your clients to others who offer similar or complimentary services to yours. This very, very quickly changes your vibration to one that is abundant and definitely not needy. It also builds relationships, shows confidence and raises the vibration of the whole holistic community.
4. Raise your price. Yep, that's right. Busy or not, try raising your fee. This has more energetic power than you realize for a lot of the reasons already mentioned above.
5. Don't overtalk the financial part of your agreement. What's my price? My price is this. Bam. Done. Going on and on about bartering, sliding scales, negotiations, etc. makes you sound wishy washy and insecure. You are worth your fee so own it. Focus on building the relationship with your clients, how your support will benefit them and the price should be an afterthought. Because afterall, your support is priceless.
Interested in sharing your thoughts on the Doula Canada page?