Written by Amy Willis
What I Wish I Knew About Becoming a Birthworker!
So you want to become a birthworker? Amazing! You are absolutely in the right place!
Starting your career and/or business as a birthworker is exciting! And because we are committed to your success, we wanted to provide some tips to support you in hitting the ground running. Redirecting some of your time, enerry, attention and resources to your career and/or business will be a big adjustment, not only for you but also for those in your life.
Below are some tips on how you can best prepare yourself (and your fam) for this exciting new chapter!
ONE: Ensure your partner is on board
If you have a partner, have a conversation with them about how you’ll need to be supported moving forward. You only have so many hours in the day and with an already full plate, adding training and building a business to it means that you’ll need support and to delegate some of the responsibilities you previously had. Spend some time thinking about exactly what support will look like so that you come to the conversation with your partner with clear asks and examples.
Don’t assume that by saying you’ll need more support, they will know what that means. Clear is kind. This is also a good time to remind them that you may not have as much flexible or down time as you previously did. Remind them that this is temporary and that part of your birth work pursuit is to support the family unit so everyone will benefit.
* Note: if you do not have a partner, you can skip this step.
TWO: Build your support network
If you’ve got little ones, now is the time to build or expand your support system. This will likely be part of your conversation with your partner as well and you’ll want to also think about friends, family and members of your community who you trust and feel comfortable with to join your support network. The nature of birth work is often unpredictable so ensuring that you have a network of folks at the ready for last minute childcare is crucial.
Pro Tip: Setting up a childcare swap with other moms in your community can be a “free” solution to create a win-win hands-free work time for all parents involved in the swap. Once you dive into the birth work world, you might find that other birthworkers are often your biggest support and best cheerleaders. Before the #bebobabes started bebo mia, they were solopreneurs with separate doula businesses and had very little family support, so they began supporting each other during sticky childcare situations and it worked great!
THREE: Make a care plan for YOU
While we’re making plans to ensure that support is in place, let’s take some time to ensure that your needs are being met during this undertaking. When adding something new to our lives, our self-care practices often take a backseat.
This can look like cutting into your sleep time so that you can get one more thing crossed off your to-do list or canceling a workout in favor of doing something for your business. We get it cause we’ve been there. When you’re starting a new business – especially as a solopreneur – the to-do list is never ending and it can feel like you must keep chipping away at it until it’s complete and this is often to the detriment of other important things in your life.
Prior to launching your business, make a commitment to yourself that you will not sacrifice your own care and create a care plan for yourself (with some flexibility!) to ensure that your needs are met with some consistency. It’s not sustainable in your life or business to neglect yourself and your needs so plan in advance to care for yourself.
FOUR: Find flexibility in your current job
If you are currently working in a job outside the home (or a work from home job), you’ll want to look into the flexibility available to you in terms of taking last minute days/half days off should you need to be available for your clients. If you are working from home, you likely have a bit more flexibility available to you which likely allows you to also build your business alongside your existing job.
Pro Tip: If you are currently working in a field that complements the needs of pregnant people/new parents/babies perfectly (RMT, Yoga Teacher, Chiro….) birth work is going to leverage you as a specialist and that is never a bad thing!
FIVE: Get clear on finances
Good news! Being a birthworker does not require a lot of capital to start, and the advances in technology have made it cheaper than ever to start your own business. Luckily the biggest asset you have in your business will be you and your passion for doing this work. You will still need a bit of moula to get your name out there (think website, business cards, online ads, etc ). It can be done on a shoestring budget (we started with a $25 investment for our phone line) and you want to be prepared.
Undercapitalization is a leading cause of business failure. It can take longer than expected for you to draw a salary from a new business, so make sure that you have savings (or a reliable income stream from somewhere) so that you can live comfortably while you start and grow your business.
Pro Tip: Check if there are grants or bursaries in your city or region as there typically are funds available for women starting small businesses.
What I Wish I Knew About Becoming a Birthworker!
As with everything we do, we really want you to be and feel prepared before making the decision to jump into birth work. We are here to tell you:
It can be fun & rewarding.
It can be easy & successful.
You can turn your passion into a career as soon as you are ready to take that leap and we will be here to guide you 100% of the way.
We are always here if you want more information about what a birthworker does and how you can become a doula. It is important to us that you feel well-informed so that you can make the best decision for YOU… just like a birth worker would ;-)
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