The Seven Deadly Sins of Business (yep that was the title) by Loree Siermachesky. I made sure to attended this because I know I have some learning to do in this area.
I won't go into all the details of each and every deadly sin, but I will share some of my own personal journey in this area. Though I'm still not sure I totally understand. Maybe I never will but this informative session shed light on what we Doulas naturally do all wrong!
When I started my career as a Birth Doula I was so excited and full of it. My excitement, that is what I was full of!
Now I just needed the clients.
SO I hung out my sign and believed they would flock to me. They didn't. I did what?
Exactly what I saw other Doulas doing in attempt to find these clients that needed a Doula but didn't know it. I handed out business card like candy thinking each would turn into a client. Applying cheap advertising magnets to my vehicle's doors which only got the attention of a few local news reports. Thankfully my parents raised me well enough to know better and I was able to see that accosting expectant mother's in public, asking if they knew what a Doula could do for them and rubbing their tummies was not only annoying but an abrasive turn off.
Clearly I understood very little of how much is involved in the business side of this work.
I left my first birth knowing I had done my job but thinking the money was terrible, the hours sucked, and the clients are too few and far between, (my next client wasn't due for over a month)
Then after attending my seventh birth I completed my Certification with DONA International. This was a start in the right direction for me to get my name out as a Birth Doula. As one of the first to become certified in the area I work, it helped a little. I remember when a change in my thinking happened. I attended a workshop by Sheri Deveney and Nicki Albrecht titled "Politics, Boundaries and Change" I took the magnets off my car, the business cards stayed in my wallet unless my contact info was wanted, and I focused on my self and becoming the best I could be, not on what all the other Doulas were doing.
By this time I now had a number of new mother's and dad's with new babies talking about their experiences with their Doula at their child's births. (Did you notice how this went for me and my, to them and their?) AND so the shift happened for me. Though I didn't notice this right away I started getting calls. Having interviews and I attended more births than was my goal.
It's not about showing off pictures of yourself holding your clients babies on your blog, facebook fan page, website or any other public forum and outlet. It is about Families receiving the support they want through their birth and postpartum experience. Doulas are to support and be paid for it.
Lesson: DON'T chase bellies it's annoying and a big turn off! DO sell yourself, your services as a SOLUTION!