Goal Setting for My Doula Business

Goal Setting for My Doula Business 1

As doulas, we do a lot of juggling.  Most of us offer many services, live a life on call and have a family that would like to see us too.  How do you do it?  Is a question that I am often asked.  One task that is essential in running and growing my business is GOAL SETTING. 

Goal Setting - What my process looks like

My first year of goal setting looked a lot like dreaming.  I was more focused on big dreams and less focused on the steps to get there.  Since then, I have refined my goal setting process.  I am now better at setting smaller goals.  When those smaller goals are achieved the bigger goals are next on the list!

Doula Business Planning2016 is the fourth year that I have used Leonie Dawson's Create Your Shining Year Workbooks as the primary tool in my goal setting process.  I love the workbooks so much that I am an affiliate** for the product.  As an affiliate, I promote the product because I use it myself and believe it.  

I'll admit, the first year I purchased the workbooks I didn't really fill it out.  I went through and filled out the easy pages, then put it on my shelf and went about my day to day tasks.  About halfway through the year I pulled the workbook out and was disappointed that I didn't fill the whole thing out.  The second year, I was much better at filling it out, but didn't check back in with it that often.  Last year I got it right!  I scheduled time into my calendar to fill out the workbook (several 2 hours sessions over a few weeks).  Then I scheduled more time to review the workbook on a regular basis throughout the year.  HOORAY!  This made such a change in my business.  

In case you were wondering...just buying the workbooks doesn't actual make real change in your business!  You have to put in the time and effort. 

New for 2016 - Goal Setting Webinars

I heard from many doulas that they love the Create Your Shining Year workbooks too so I thought it would be fun to set goals together.  Everyone that purchases a workbook through my affiliate link will be invited to 3 goal setting webinars that will take place between late December and mid-January.  

How do you do it? I love hearing about how everyone sets goals.  If you have a goal setting routine please share with a comment. Maybe you don't have a goal setting routine yet.  That's okay too!  Consider grabbing a workbook and joining me for the free goal setting webinars.  It will be a great jump start on this important process. 

 ** as an affiliate I receive a portion of all sales that I refer through the links on this page and in the video

Role of a Doula – Helping Families Find Their Voice and Use It 3

In labor and birth, it is so important for families to express their preferences and get their questions out and answered.  This can be very difficult.  Some people completely forget their questions when a nurse or doctor walks into the room.  Others feel intimated by medical personnel.  Still others don’t want to cause any problems and therefore, keep quiet when they really want to speak.  One of the roles of a doula is to support a birthing family so that they can find their voice and use it.

A doulas role in labor

4 Ways in which a doula can help their clients find their voice and use it

1) Prenatal Preparation – Finding their Voice

Most doulas meet with their clients before labor one of more times to really determine how best they can help mom and her partner during labor and birth.  During these prenatal appointments, the topics that are often discussed include birthing preferences, fears and strategies for the big day.  This is a great time for mom and her partner to define their voice.  They can determine their top priorities and figure out how they can best communicate this information to their providers.  This is a great time to identify questions and topics that should really be discussed prior to labor.  During prenatal appointments, doulas can help point out questions that should be asked in the office prior to labor.  Mom and her partner can practice finding their voice during office visits with their care providers.

2) Prenatal Preparation – Role Play Scenarios

I believe the most effective way to prepare for communication during labor and birth is to use role play.  A doula can use her experience with supporting families in labor to set up a very realistic scenario for a communication challenge role play.  Mom and partner can talk through how they would use their voice in each situation and decide what would work best.  There might be some situations where the partner is better at leading the conversation and others where mom should take the lead.  Using role play is a wonderful way to work through possible uncomfortable and difficult situations and also help couples develop a nice working relationship with their doula.

3) Prompt a Conversation During Labor and Birth – the ‘Play Dumb’ technique

As a doula there are times when I need to remind my clients about their preferences or about a question that they want to ask.  The role of a doula is not to speak for their clients, but they can prompt their clients and assist them in starting a conversation.  I call this “playing dumb” and I find that it works very well. 


For example, my client might want to have a conversation with the OB on call during labor about their preferences for delayed cord clamping.  The OB might walk into the room and ask if they had any questions to which they reply “No”.  I know that they want to discuss the clamping issue so I could say “They want delayed cord clamping!” or I could use the ‘play dumb’ technique and say to my clients “What were you saying about delaying clamping?”  This question gently reminds them about the conversation that they wanted to have without actually speaking for them.  They could also choose to ignore the question if they change their mind or this will actually help them get that conversation started.   The ‘play dumb’ technique must be explained during the doula prenatal appointments so that they understand how it works.  It is important that clients know that the doula isn’t actually forgetting their preferences, but just reminding them.  From my experience, most partners love this technique.

4) Ask For Time

Many people ‘lose their voice’ when care providers are in the room.  They might actually forget what they want to say (or ask) or they might be uncomfortable expressing themselves.  A great technique to help in this situation is to ask for time alone.  Unless it is an emergency, care providers can usually spare 3-5 minutes for mom and her partner to speak alone.  During this alone time, mom and her partner can regroup and plan the questions they need to ask or develop a strategy for how they will communicate their preferences.  While a doula can help during this extra time, it is important that the birthing couple also knows that they can ask for the doula to leave as well. 

Growing a Doula Referral Network 2

The task of finding new clients can be quite daunting. There are so many ways to go about it.  You could create on a stunning website with top notch SEO, setup an ad in Facebook, distribute thousands of brochures to local OB offices or even hand out business cards to pregnant women you see in the aisle of the grocery store.  There are truly countless ways to get the word out about your doula services.  The strategy that I find most successful is growing a doula referral network.

Grow A Doula Referral Network

A doula referral network is a group of professionals that are willing to refer clients to you.  Creating this network takes a good amount of time and effort.  However, the resulting network can ultimately create a steady stream of client inquiries and hopefully a calendar booked solid.


 Every month, I see the power of a great referral source when I finish co-teaching a childbirth class.  In my role, I teach a breakout session to partners.  The primary teacher is a labor and delivery nurse at one of the hospitals where my clients often give birth.  I have developed a great relationship with this nurse which led to this co-teaching opportunity.  At the end of every childbirth class there are always several of the couples which approach me about my doula services.   The relationship with that one referral partner has become so strong that I could book myself solid some months just from her referrals alone!   Each of us has the power to create strong referral partners like that, but I believe that it takes a plan and a concerted effort.

Step by step plan

    • Schedule weekly time in your business to work on building this network. By dedicating your efforts on this goal you will achieve it.  Without taking the time it won’t happen.  I suggest choosing a day as your ‘growing your network’ I schedule mine for Wednesdays.   
    • Make a list of professionals to target. This list could include other doulas, childbirth educators, chiropractors, acupuncturists, midwives, OBs, prenatal yoga instructors, massage therapist, prenatal fitness educators and lactation educators and so on. 
    • Rank the list in order of easiest to most difficult. Your personal massage therapist might be the easiest while the OB group might be the most difficult.
  • Create a presentation.
  • Practice it until you feel comfortable with it. (this might be once or 25 times – however long it takes keep practicing until you feel comfortable)
  • Setup the in person or phone meeting.
  • Execute!
  • Act on any to-do items that resulted from the meeting. If you promised to do something as a result of the meeting, DO IT WELL and TIMELY.  Examples of this include: give business cards, do a presentation to their clients, send posters, send an email etc.  In other words, deliver an awesome product and really impress them.
  • Schedule regular check-ins with your partners. This could be a phone call, visit or even a meal together.  Don’t give them the opportunity to forget about you my losing touch.
  • Thank them! When your partner sends a referral your way thank them. You could send an email, send a handwritten thank you note or pop a Starbucks gift card in the mail.  This is a key step in the process.

    The things that DOULAS say 11

    You are likely a doula if you say any of the following.

    1. I'll be there as long as I'm not at a birth
    2. What day is it today? I had a birth this week.
    3. Your baby knows when to come.
    4. I support all kinds of birth
    5. That's a beautiful placenta
    6. Trust your body
    7. Your body was designed to give birth
    8. There really isn't anything you can do to put yourself into labor.
    9. Ultrasounds in the last few weeks of pregnancy can be inaccurate. 
    10. Your due date is an estimate
    11. I need coffee
    12. Stay limp and loose, like a rag doll
    13. Know your options for birth
    14. Your birth experience matters
    15. You will remember your birth for the rest of your life
    16. Let me help!
    17. Ride the contractions like a wave.
    18. You are strong
    19. Let me grab my balls
    20. I love my job!

    What would you add to the list?

    Like this list...Check out the Doula Elevator Speech 


    3 Reasons Honey sticks are a Doula Bag and Hospital Bag Necessity

    3 Reasons Honey sticks are a Doula Bag and Hospital Bag Necessity 6

    If you haven't tried a honey stick yet, you are missing out!  These little treats have been a secret snack for many doulas and I'd love to prove my case for why they are a hospital bag and doula bag necessity.

    1) Honey is a liquid

    Sometimes a laboring mom is given a food restriction and limited to only liquids.  This practice is not evidence based, however is still common in many areas of the world.  Honeysticks are one snack that I think bridges the gap between food and liquid.  They feel more like a food, but technically are liquid.   They are a nice alternative to water, sports drink or broth that are often the only options when restricted to liquid.

    2) Honey sticks are SUPER SNACKS

    Honey sticks have all of the qualities that I look for in a perfect snack.  Depending upon where you purchase your honeysticks, they are 100% natural.  They usually contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  {we proudly carry high quality honey sticks!}  They have a great flavor without any odor.  Honey sticks also can be eaten discreetly, no crunching or loud package opening noises. {a peaceful birthing environment is key!}

    Honey sticks stay fresh for a LONG time. Most honey is fresh indefinitely! Occasionally it will start to crystallize.  Once the honey has crystallized it is still okay to eat.

    Honey sticks are portable and easy to eat. Eating a honey stick might seem tricky, but once you know the technique it’s super easy. 


    3) Honey sticks provide a quick shot of energy for everyone

    The sugary sweetness provided by honey can be a quick shot of energy.  During labor the entire team (mom, partner and doula) can often use a quick pick me up!  Honeysticks are a perfect solution.  

    Standing out in the Doula Profession 3

    I am not afraid to be noticed while walking into the hospital.