So you’ve finished your doula training and you are now a Pre-Certified Doula. Congratulations!!! Oh, and one other thing: You are now a business owner too. Gulp.
If you were like me when I first started in the birth work field, that second part did not excite you as much as the first. In fact, that whole owning a business thing was downright scary. I remember the feeling of leaving my very first postpartum doula training so excited to get out there and support new families. But I was also completely unsure of how I was going to find my first clients. (And no, my very first postpartum doula training was not a ProDoula training. Thanks for asking.)
There are many important things you can do to get your business off the ground.
- Register with your state.
- Build a website.
- Design a logo and have business cards printed.
- Start blogging to help your website’s search engine results.
In fact, all of those things can be done behind the comfort of your computer screen. And if you’re feeling nice and comfortable with all of that, hold on because I’m about to pull that safety net out from underneath you with my next bit of advice.
You also have to get out there and start networking.
Yes. You will have to leave the safety and anonymity of your laptop and go out there and talk to real people – over the phone or face to face – in order to do this networking thing.
If that frightens you, check out my top three networking tips.
1. Pick Up The Phone for Networking!
Talking over the phone is a lost art these days. But master the art of the phone call and you’ll be ahead of everyone else. If you’re looking to get your name out there with a certain lactation consultant, chiropractor, massage therapist, nutritionist, you name it, then the best thing you can do is pick up the phone and call their office.
It might sound scary, but you can do this!
Introduce yourself to these professional colleagues, let them know you are working as a doula in their area, and invite them out for coffee. If they’re too busy, they will let you know. But for the most part, many of these solo and smaller providers are happy to chat.
And don’t forget to bring a stack of those business cards when you meet up for coffee.
2. Networking Happens Every D.A.A.Y.
For some of the larger offices you want to network with, such as OBs and pediatricians, it is not always clear who to call from the website. In these situations, it’s best to drop by and introduce yourself in person. And when you do this, remember D.A.A.Y: Donuts Are Always a Yes!