THE DOULA BUSINESS GUIDE & WORKBOOK How to succeed as a birth, postpartum or end-of-life doula
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THE DOULA BUSINESS GUIDE: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum or End-of-Life Doula, 3rd Edition (2019)
By Patty Brennan
Foreword by Penny Simkin
The landscape for doulas is ever changing, growing, evolving. With the new 3rd edition of The Doula Business Guide, Patty Brennan provides freshly updated resources and insights into the business side of being a doula. As a growing number of end-of-life doulas are pioneering new approaches to compassionate support at the other end of the birth–death continuum, there will be many who can benefit from Patty’s guidance. She shows both new and seasoned doulas how to go from dream to reality, step-by-step, and make their living doing work they love. Discover why this book is required reading for a growing number of doulas of all types.
The notion that heart-centered work and making money are somehow incompatible is a false dichotomy. You CAN choose a path of service to others AND thrive financially!
The Doula Business Guide will help you:
- Determine which business model is right for you.
- Identify five critical decisions for new business owners.
- Establish and maintain professional boundaries with clients.
- Implement low-cost marketing strategies.
- Set your fees, communicate effectively with clients about money, and get paid without hassles or guilt.
- Stay out of trouble with the IRS while taking every rightful deduction you can.
- Protect yourself from liabilities unique to doulas.
- And lots more (seriously!)
Thinking of starting a doula program? You will also find chapters to help you:
- Determine whether a nonprofit business model is right for you.
- Consider a variety of models and parameters for establishing a doula program.
- Implement risk management strategies for doula programs.
- Learn how to write a winning grant proposal to fund your nonprofit doula program.
Lest it sound daunting, The Doula Business Guide is a good read! Patty’s honesty, conversational tone, humor, instructive stories and obvious expertise carry you through each chapter. She shares pearls of wisdom gleaned from years of experience with many types of doula practice. This book is more than an excellent guide to business, but also a guide to the high road for each of us and to growth for the entire doula movement.
- Penny Simkin, Co-founder of DONA International and prolific author
What do doulas think of The Doula Business Guide?
"What an amazing pair of books! I’m so thrilled to be able to share these books with my workshop participants. I love how comprehensive they are with so many different business models and the detailed questions to ask to see which one is right for you. I find your new edition to be so thorough. You have great focusing exercises for the new person who has never run their own business. Plus, you have guidance for the experienced doula who now wants to run a collective, a non-profit or begin a doula agency."
- Amy L. Gilliland, Ph.D., CD(DONA), DONA Approved Doula Trainer and Doula Researcher
"In her newly expanded Doula Business Guide and Workbook, Patty Brennan continues to dissolve the largest looming barrier for doulas—turning a work of heart into a professional practice. She gently companions readers through a comprehensive overview of launching and sustaining a successful business. Doulas not only learn about the ins and outs of organization and marketing, they learn about themselves—their strengths, fears and goals. I strongly recommend this invaluable resource to all aspiring and practicing doulas!"
- Francesca Arnoldy, Program Director, University of Vermont’s End-of-Life Doula Training and author of Cultivating the Doula Heart: Essentials of Compassionate Care
"The Doula Business Guide has been the singular “light in the dark” resource for me as I begin my career as a doula. Though we have never met, I have found confidence in my ability to navigate the nebulous world of self-employment and doula work and find myself asking, “What would Patty do?”"
- Jessica Gee, San Mateo, CA
"Thank you so much for your sharing spirit and for helping me conceptualize the foundational blocks for my doula business. Your book and gems of wisdom are like liquid gold in my mind and heart now. Thank you for being a phenomenal educator and writer. Our sisterhood is privileged to have you!"
- Shamila Jocelyn, Providence, RI
"I've been glued to your book tonight—can't put it down, even though my bedtime has come and gone long ago. The information you have packed into this book is amazing. You are SO encouraging and hit on so many of the issues that have crossed my mind in considering every aspect of becoming a professional doula—on both the business side of things, as well as the personal. I just wanted to say, “Thank you.” This will be read and re-read and resourced for many years to come."
- Janis Flint, Ravenna, MI
"Thank you for your wonderfully encouraging, helpful book. After reading it, I feel I have the resources to confidently market my doula practice. I moved from a small city in Minnesota to Portland, OR last year and went from being a busy doula to not having any clients or connections with the birth community. After wasting time wondering if something was wrong with me being a doula, I am now actually excited to network with professionals, organize my marketing materials and tweak my website. Thanks again for the inspiration!"
- Celia Linnemann, Portland, OR
"What a valuable resource! I am a returning doula. I have known Patty for many years and have admired her ability to morph her gig into a sustainable and vibrant business while many midwives and doulas have not, especially during the downturn of the economy. Patty not only openly and honestly shares her successes, but also her failures and what she has learned, so you don't have to experience them for yourself. What a gift to us all!"
- Gloria Cunningham, Detroit, MI
The Doula Business Guide Workbook: Tools to Create a Thriving Practice, 3rd Edition (2019)
The Workbook features interactive tools designed to help you plan, organize and grow your business. It’s useful for its own sake, as well as complementing the more detailed guidance provided in The Doula Business Guide. Whether you are new to the world of self-employment and just beginning the visioning process or are already a seasoned doula business owner in need of more clients, the Workbook is designed to help you manifest your dreams. Get ready to implement!
Here are some of the "Grow Your Business" Tools you will find in the Workbook:
- Your Ideal Customer Questionnaire
- Professional Networking Worksheet
- Outreach Events/Venues Worksheet
- Event Planning Guide
- Understanding Keywords
- Website Planning Checklist
- SWOT Analysis Tool
- Mastering the Sabotage Monster Within
- Competition Makes Us Stronger
- Are You Feeling Stuck? (How to Get Unstuck)
- How to Form a Mastermind Group
- Marketing Plan Checklist
What do doulas think of The Doula Business Guide Workbook?
"I am just so grateful that you have published your wisdom about business building and made the process of acquiring entrepreneurial knowledge so simple and streamlined. What I've learned from your workshops and books has been immensely helpful in my career, both as a nurse and a doula. It has been a joy to look up to you as a role model and mentor over the past four years. I'm proud to say that I'm following my heart and transitioning in a few months to a doula practice. I have no doubts about my success with your pearls of wisdom to guide this process."
- Leontine Wallace, Ann Arbor, MI
Sample one of the Workbook tools today (Free Gift)!
Personal Inventory Exercise (PDF)
All small business owners need to wear different hats. It’s not enough to just be good at what you do to be successful (though that is a huge part of it!). A variety of other skills and personal qualities are needed. Maximize your strengths and undertake whatever is necessary to address your weaknesses to increase your chances of success over time. Becoming self-aware is the first step.
Examining Our Beliefs about Money Exercise (PDF)
Is your relationship with money a positive force in your life? If not, can you begin to cultivate new thoughts, influences, beliefs, choices, behaviors—in a sense, re-program yourself? Consider your beliefs about Scarcity and Abundance. How can we let go of deeply held limiting beliefs and ingrained patterns?
Comparison of Doula Business Models Chart (PDF)
Do you want to establish an independent doula practice or a partnership? Join an existing doula collective? Work for a doula agency or start one of your own? This detailed chart examines a variety of doula business models, highlighting the pros and cons of each model across several parameters. As you study the chart, a picture of the model that best suits your personality, skills and goals should emerge.