By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
The end of the year and the start of a fresh one is a great time to assess what has worked for your business and what services and products need to be tweaked, changed or discontinued for 2019. Here are some suggestions about things to think about as we greet the new year.
Evaluate your prices
When was the last time you raised your fees? Have you added any new services or skillsets to your birth practice? Are you still satisfied with what you are charging? Are your fees in line with others in your community based on experience and years in practice? Are you making the income you hope to make? Now is a good time to assess your fees and give yourself a raise if it seems appropriate. If you don’t value yourself, how can you expect others to value you?
Budget for continuing education
Take a look at upcoming conferences and continuing education opportunities in your community and beyond. Do you need to renew any certifications or need additional continuing education hours? This is the time to decide what educational opportunities you will be participating in and start to set aside money in your budget for meeting these goals. Also, remember to take yourself off call and/or find a competent and qualified backup, as you schedule clients for 2019.
Consider adding new skills and services
Have you wanted to expand your skills? Add a new source of income? This is the time to do it! Consider childbirth education, prenatal yoga instruction, postpartum or birth doula services (whichever you are not currently offering), lactation counselor/consultant, prenatal exercise specialist and so much more. Start or join an agency. You can become a one-stop shop for your clients who are expanding their family and need all that you have to offer.
Refresh your website with new images and copy
Google appreciates when your website copy is updated and refreshed. That refresh increases your SEO game. Take a good look at your website and make sure that your copy says what you want it to say and conveys all you bring to your doula business. Does your “About” page reflect current and accurate information? Are the pictures and headshots up to date? Consider including a testimonial from a recent satisfied client. Take a moment to refresh both the images and writing on your website to welcome visitors looking for services in 2019.
Consider how you will give back to your community
Just like you plan for your business development, you need to plan (and budget) for how you can also support underresourced members of your community. Giving back in some way is an important part of being a business owner. Plan your non-profit gifting, consider a pro-bono client or reducing fees for someone in need. Contribute to your favorite trainer’s scholarship fund to train more doulas of color, or consider taking on an apprentice to help a newer doula get started in the business. The ways that you can give back are limited only by your imagination. Your gift of money and/or time will be returned ten-fold with the good it does.
What are your plans and intentions for 2019?
Every business needs a check-up from time to time and the end of the year is a great time to consider what changes you might want to make. Have you given this topic some thought already? What are some of the things you are thinking of for 2019? What are your intentions for your own professional growth? Let’s share our plans in the comments below and encourage each other to grow and be successful as we serve growing families!