Paid Time Off: A Doula Version
The end of the first quarter of the new year. Reflection Time! Do you live your life in quarters too?
Moving into 2018 with the force and success of 2017. Last year was an amazing year for me professionally. I stated 2017, with a bit of a facelift - rebranding my business. Taking hold of my personal brand and owning it!!
It dawned on me that my personal brand was holding more weight than my old business name so I decided to work under my name. That doesn't mean much, YET! Yes, I am confident in my abilities and know what I bring to the table. Not shy about that!
Anyways, I had a few business goals for last year that I exceeded and wanted to share what worked for me with others.
- Full calendar: 3 clients a month.
- Teaching consistently: 1 childbirth education class/series a month.
- Take a trip to Thailand.
- Open a Roth IRA.
In my passion planner, under the 3 month goal, I wanted to be booked throughout the year. I had planned to take off 4 weeks to go to Thailand. So, as an entrepreneur I know that I needed to secure clients well before my trip. I mean I needed to both fund the trip and not come back homeless after the trip. Well, I did not go to Thailand. Not because of unmet business goals but because ALL my friends, including my sister, were pregnant.
Yep, you have accurately, sensed my saltiness. Just kidding. I can go to Thailand this year. But, they are all forbidden from having children this year!
Instead of my 4 week trip to Thailand, I was BLESSED to be able to spend 6 weeks in New Orleans and Atlanta supporting my bestfriend and sister during their births and early postpartum periods. This was such an answered prayer on so many fronts.
One, I offer my bomb services to random people (who I grow to love!) all the time. However, in light of the birth disparities among African-American women and babies, I needed to be available to them - mostly for me! With awareness of my gifting, there is no one else I'd prefer to be available to than my sister and my bestfriend. Offering my "luxury" services to black mothers was important to me. That's for another blog tho.
I would not have been able to be there for them (wholeheartedly and stress-free) without a fruitful business year. So this blog is about what has helped me not only pay my bills as a full-time doula but also pay off debt, save, and take 6 WEEKS OFF without fear!
1. Diversifying Your Paychecks.
I provide birth doula services, postpartum doula services and I teach childbirth education classes. Having many sources of income is very helpful for any entrepreneur. Where one area lacks, others can make up for it. Additionally, with services like childbirth education, the set teaching schedule means a predictable paycheck. Don't get me wrong, I love the hustle! I'm good at it - however, a steady check is a great complement to my entrepreneurial life.
2. Find Your Peoples!
Some of my easiest interviews are the ones where another bomb colleague has highly recommended me. My peoples are invested in my success, as much as I am in there's. Community over Competition. Over half of my interviews I am up against one of my favorite doulas and personal good friends. In the interview, we both end up raving about each other. We also will be completely honest, when we think the client is better suited for the other person. Y'all there is enough to go around but many aren't confident in their abilities so they hoard or create exclusive spaces. Learn quickly who are for you, for your success, willing to brainstorm ideas, challenge you, and call you on your crap. Not every "doula sister" is for ya!
3. Be Authentic.
Leading up to my rebranding it was my desire to be who I am as a person and thus a doula. This gives room to openly and honestly communicate how my services will align with their expectations. Let's be real, the interviewing process goes both ways to assure we are a good fit. This past year, I have had some of my favorite clients - like really meshing so well with them. No, they did not all have the same preferences! They were not even similar personalities. What was the same was that they were all comfortable being themselves. They communicated who they were and I to them. Telling them my strengths helped them to see how they would align with what they needed. I even communicate what I am not the best at. Let's just be real - you do not want me trying to lead you in hypnosis. It's not my strong suit. Don't get me wrong; I am a bomb doula! Mostly, because I am very intuitive - I will know, and can be what you need in the moment. But, I will not hypnotize you!
4. Provide Bomb Services.
Ok, this should go without saying but I unfortunately, I have to. Do not lure clients in without giving them exceptional services. This can be said for any business. Branding, marketing, advertisement, blah, blah, blah...can be done very well but we all have not received great products or services from said business. As a doula, I do not guarantee the blissed out, unmedicated birth to the mother seeking it. What I do provide is tools, words of encouragement, and past experience that has helped many have the birthing experience they are hoping for. Additionally, I provide unbiased support, evidence-based information, compassionate care, awesome teamwork to partners, and professionalism with your other care team. To maintain good business, I try to be a great doula! Where I lack, I improve. It is important to continue building on skills, information, and style as we provide services to clients.
I hope this inspires your next vacation and your actionable business goals. They are obtainable!
In my best doula voice, "You got this!".