by Denise Bolds, MSW CD(DONA)
October 3, 2015
As a doula that owns a business in maternal health, I commit myself to growing my business. How am I accomplishing this? By doing the groundwork and laying the foundation in order to build my doula practice securely upon.
Frequently, doulas come to me and ask me so many questions, many of these questions are about business: “Denise, how did you do this? Where did you get that? I see what you are doing, can I see what you have?” My ego is stoked, but my practical side sees this as a teachable moment.
There are tons of resources that focus on business. Before taking any kind of advanced business training, please get your business basics down first:
· Take a Business 101, Entrepreneurial training in your community. These classes can be found at your local library, community center and the local chamber of commerce. If you don’t have any of these where you live, get in your car and get over to the next town that has them!
· Go online and Google ‘Doula Contracts, Organization Plan or Policy & Procedures’ spend time online doing research. I know you have small children, spouses/partners. It’s no excuse – if you want it, you will get it. You will find time to get this wisdom; it is your business to do so.
· Many communities have SCORE – Service Corps of Retired Execs. They have educators and mentors that can help you build your business smarts.
· Your local chamber of commerce offers workshops, as well as the business expo that is in your area yearly. Both of these venues offer great resources to put you into the mind of business.
· Many communities have a Women’s Economic Development Program (WEDC) offers courses, workshops and mentors. Check and see if your community has one set up or in a nearby town.
· Your state also has an MWBE program – join/certify. Having your MWBE distinction is Minority Women & Business Enterprises. Another awesome tool that hosts workshops and annual conferences where you can learn and network. Many of what I have stated above are free or low cost.
· Obtain your Medicaid Provider Number in your state. You never know when you may need it! Doula services are on the front burner of reimbursement issues in many states be ahead of the game!
· Set a goal that you will obtain this knowledge in a certain amount of time at little to no cost at a pace that you can digest this knowledge so that it stays with you. Taking a one-day, several hours course with little education prep is both overwhelming and a waste of your money/time.
· If you come to me and ask me to mentor you – please be ready to work. I’m not handing you anything. Time is so valuable, be ready to be focused and dedicated.
Make it your business, to know business. It’s a waste of money and valuable time for you to take an advanced business class and not know the distinction of LLC, Incorporation, not have a separate checking account for your doula business, not know about liability insurance… It goes on and on. Business knowledge is not an instantaneous thing; it’s a process.
Still having a hard time getting in the know? Host a small doula circle where you are and do information sharing. You can also host a doula circle for information sharing as a teleconference. Remember to stay organized in your education; have a dependable notebook where you can write down all of what you learn, whom you encounter and where these resources come from so you can review, and organize to fit your business and your business needs.
Lastly, remember nothing is written in stone. Be ready to change, shift and revise over and over again. This is called growth. Your business is just a unique as you are; however the business basics apply to everyone. You cannot skip over or take an abbreviated course. Be through, this is your business, it is your baby and a baby takes 40 weeks to develop before birth!