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How to turn love for birth and babies into a thriving career

Picture of Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH, AdvCD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE

Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH, AdvCD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE

Turning a passion for birth and babies into a fulfilling career as a doula is not just a dream—it’s a realistic and achievable goal. If you’re eager to support birthing people and new parents and want to transform that passion into a thriving business, you’re in the right place. Let’s work through this step by step.

Step 1: Embrace Your Calling
Your passion for birth and babies is the cornerstone of your career. Embrace it fully. Reflect on what draws you to birth and postpartum work and how you can make a difference. Understanding your motivation will fuel your journey and help you stay grounded in your purpose.

Step 2: Get Educated and Certified
Quality education and certification are vital. Look for comprehensive doula training programs that cover both birth and postpartum care. Certification through a reputable organization not only enhances your credibility but also equips you with the knowledge and skills needed to support your clients effectively through labor, birth, and the early postpartum period.

Step 3: Build Your Network
Networking is crucial in the doula world. Connect with other doulas, midwives, healthcare providers, lactation consultants, and community organizations. Attend local events, join online forums, and participate in professional groups. Building a strong network opens doors to collaborations, referrals, and support.

Step 4: Develop Your Business Skills
Running a successful doula business requires more than passion and skills in birth and postpartum support. You need to understand business basics such as marketing, client management, and financial planning. Consider taking courses or workshops focused on small business management tailored for doulas.

Step 5: Create an Engaging Online Presence
In today’s digital age, having an online presence is essential. Start with a professional website that highlights your services, testimonials, and contact information. Use social media platforms to share valuable content, engage with your audience, and showcase your expertise. Share tips on newborn care, postpartum recovery, and emotional support to keep your content genuine and relatable.

Step 6: Offer a Range of Services
Diversify your offerings to meet the varied needs of your clients. Consider adding services such as childbirth education, lactation support, newborn care, and postpartum care. This not only increases your value but also broadens your client base. Offering overnight support, sibling care, and meal preparation can be particularly valuable for postpartum clients.

Step 7: Set Clear Boundaries
While passion drives your work, setting clear boundaries is essential to avoid burnout. Define your working hours, create a self-care routine, and ensure you have time to recharge. Healthy boundaries ensure you can offer the best support to your clients without compromising your well-being.

Step 8: Focus on Continuous Learning
The birth and postpartum world is always evolving. Stay updated with the latest research, techniques, and trends in birth and postpartum support. Attend workshops, read relevant books, and participate in continuing education. Continuous learning keeps your skills sharp and your services relevant.

Step 9: Gather Feedback and Adapt
Collect feedback from your clients to understand what’s working well and where you can improve. Use this feedback to adapt your services and enhance client satisfaction. Happy clients are more likely to refer you to others, helping your business grow organically.

Step 10: Promote Inclusivity and Respect
Ensure your practice is inclusive and respectful of all identities and experiences. Use gender-neutral language and be mindful of the diverse needs of your clients. Creating a welcoming and supportive environment is key to building trust and providing exceptional care.

Real-Life Example: Doula Office Hours Success Story
A recent Doula Office Hours member started their doula career with a deep love for birth and babies and a desire to support families. After completing their certification, they networked extensively, attended local birthing events, and volunteered their time to build experience. They invested in business courses and created a strong online presence. By offering diverse services, including newborn care and postpartum support, and continuously learning, they gradually grew their client base. Today, they’re known for their compassionate care and professional approach, demonstrating that it takes time, effort, and support to build a successful doula business.

Turning your love for birth and babies into a thriving career is a journey that requires dedication, continuous learning, and the right support. Embrace your passion, invest in your education, build your network, and always strive to provide inclusive and respectful care. Remember, building your doula business takes time and effort, but with persistence and the right resources, you can create a fulfilling and sustainable career.

Let’s work through this together, step by step. Your passion for birth and babies is your greatest asset—now it’s time to turn that love into a thriving career.

Join us in the community to share your experiences and get the support you need on this exciting journey!