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Midwives: how did you start your business? - Page 2

post #21 of 44
Reha- why can't you use LLL to further your business? Is it prohibited?

Another idea I had was to do a newsletter- even through email. Send it to everyone you know. You never know who knows someone who knows someone....

you could also start an expectant mother's group- that seems like a great way to meet pregnant women.
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reha View Post
Well, seeing as how I am one of only 2 LLL leaders here in town, I am trying really hard to not mix causes. So, really, LLL can't be much of a source of business (unless the women find out that I'm a midwife some other way).

I think I'm going to do my best at holding free informational classes and maybe even showing a movie or two. I also have a long list that I made last night of business that may be willing to keep my cards on hand.

I also contacted the local doula group to see if I could attend their next meeting. I already know a few of them personally, but there are some newer doulas that I don't know yet.
exactly why I ended up not becoming a LLL leader- I went through all the reading and co-leading and one of my friends who had been a long time leader said ok well you aren't going to be able to speak up about homebirth at the meetings if you are a leader and really i see that you are headed more toward being a midwife in the long run, and at that time in the 80's they had a policy that you couldn't be a leader and a midwife at the same time... so I see your point but having everyone in the community who is involved in birth...and are open to alternatives know that you are around and have your phone number-- maybe you don't have sponsored LLLcalendars locally they put out a quarterly calendar that gets put into libraries and doc's offices and any where else in town that they can place them as well as handing out at meetings, so when you help pay for the printing- they give you a credit -busiiness name and phone number...
anyhow I have gotten over the years many referrals thru knowing league folks- when LLL members move to a new place they contact league and someone usually knows how to get ahold of some midwives in town-
and I think that it takes time to build a practice,

take care
post #23 of 44
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much. Time is what it really comes down to, I know.

(To rebirth: it is fine to network with LLL leaders about your services if you aren't a leader, but as a leader, I cannot use my position as a leader to promote my business. It's against the rules.)
post #24 of 44
What about places like midwifery today, birthpartners? Also, do you have a myspace and are you on facebook? those are all ways to network on the computer. But I think doing local things, like writing articles, news releases for your local papers, sending out a newsletter to natural practitioners like chiros, peds, naturopaths, sending out postcards announcing that you are accepting new clients, putting up postcards and business cards everywhere you go that will let you.

do you have a monthly kids type magazine? maybe an ad in there? or write an article?

have a homebirth info night monthly, free at the library or something.

offer to help other midwives, offer to be on call, or help them out to network more.

When i became a midwife and IBCLC, I stopped actively leading LLL meetings, it was too much of a conflict and I felt that it was stressful. It was a hard decision, I've been a leader for over 10 years, but now, I just answer referral questions, speak at area conferences, write for publications, etc.

I think this is a good thread, not just for new midwives, but for all midwives to go over their marketing and revisit what we are doing and what we want to do. I know I am desperately trying to get my fall/winter newsletter done, and i will send it to all past clients, friends, natural practitioners, and leave it lying around! I was amazed at how many positive comments I got with my last one, and it was NOTHING fancy, just a plain newsletter!
post #25 of 44
It's such a great thread, I think I'll sticky it, if you all don't mind!
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockportmidwife View Post
Thanks for your help. I am still not sure about the meta tags thing, but I was able to get listed on the other websites. Hopefully that will help some. My biggest problem is that the midwife I trained under has been here a long time. Plus her website has been up long before many people were using the Internet. So anyone searching for a midwife is going to find her first. I am planning on going to the LLL meetings to get my name out there. I homeschool and she doesn't because her kids are grown, so hopefully I can get my name out there as well.
Also be...respectful. It can be frustrating for Leaders to have a new practitioner go from group to group and have the only reason they are there be that they are "unofficially" advertising their new business. We are technically only "allowed" to talk about things that are not breastfeeding when the meeting is closed.

For instance, a new childbirth educator came to town recently, and made the rounds of all the Groups in our area, including LLL groups, AP meetup groups, etc. It quickly became evident that the only reason she had come was to pass out her cards to the members, not to actually take part in the membership of the groups. It was a little disruptive, because she was talking about her class instead of the topic at hand, which was breastfeeding (in our case, I believe it was nutrition).

So...were you to go about it the wrong way, it might actually KEEP Leaders and members from recommending you. I would instead probably network in other ways. I would (I know you ARE the Leader in this case, Reha, but for others) DEFINATELY get to know the local Leaders, as it can be extremely helpful to have them on speed dial when you have a client who has an issue. Having a midwife who looks to Leaders to help means to the Leaders that they have a midwife who supports breastfeeding...and if they are "unofficially" asked who they recommend, it might be more likely to be you.

Strroonnngggly suggesting to your clients that they attend the meetings (the midwife I precept with "requires" it as part of her contract) means that you will have your clients then attending the meetings and doing your advertising FOR you. Women talk about who their practitioner is when they come in pregnant and people get to talking. I have to say that, I don't mention in my meetings that I am a doula (again, it's considered "mixing causes" to get business because you're a Leader), however, my clients ALL go to meetings and inevitably my name is mentioned by THEM to other women in the group, especially AFTER the birth, as somebody they'd recommend. We have tea and snacks at the meetings, and when the meeting is closed, Mamas sit around and chat, and birth practitioners are OFTEN a topic of conversation. Having happy clients speak about you, I think, can be a huge boon. I know that you have to FIND clients first, so that they can start talking, but you get the point. And honestly, I would hope that you'll suggest they go because of the benefits to then of attending a meeting...but in the end, it won't hurt your business, either.
post #27 of 44
courtney- thanks for sharing all of that. I'm marketing my doula-self now, which is different, but a lot of things can be the same as well.

I've gone to 2 LLL meetings, and although I haven't gotten any referrals and really don't coult on it, I have learned so much. As a doula I feel that breastfeeding is my weakest point of support, but a very very crutial one. So LLL has been great for learning how to realize that there is a problem and how to know when everything is right. I also strongly encourage my clients to attend, and some do- so I know that gets my name out there further.

Another idea was to maybe contact a local special interests reporter to do an article about you, your training and the fact that your practice is open. Not only will that get your name out there, but it'll also be really nice to share the article with other prospective clients.
post #28 of 44
Reha – how about the yellow pages? That is how I found all the midwives in my area. I flipped open the book. When my midwife asked me how I heard about her and I said the yellow pages she was happy to hear it!

Also, what about checking in the tribal area section. When people post asking for midwives in the area you could always post saying you have been in the area for 3 years and hold “meet the midwife” or some such nights every few weeks.

Pay the advertising money on MDC and advertise in your siggy.
post #29 of 44
Thread Starter 
I will be getting in the yellow pages, but the new books don't come out until next June. So, that will have to wait.

I've spent the day calling different providers/resources in town to see if they would like some cards or brochures, and everyone has said YES! So, I'm excited about that!

AND, I reserved a room in December at our library, and I'm going to hold a homebirth info night. Not totally sure of the title I'll call it, but I got time. I'm going to do 4 in a row (monthly) and see what comes of it. If it seems to be somewhat successful, I'll continue.
post #30 of 44
I just wanted to mention an idea that I had gotten from a Bradley instructor. Go to the local libraries and put business cards in books on natural childbirth, pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc. I even did homeschooling since a lot of homebirthers also homeschool. I haven't had any success out of this yet, but we shall see.
post #31 of 44
Thread Starter 
Ah, good idea! I'd forgotten about that tip, which I heard a long while back.
post #32 of 44
a word of caution on that though is that many women may find that intrusive and could be turned off by that. (the cards in books). Also- many libraries or stores may get mad about it- some people have even been banned from the stores! (read that on a doula forum).
post #33 of 44
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to follow-up to this thread and say that I finally got a better placement in the search engines this past week (YAY for meta words !! , and I've already had 2 inquires for my services! YAY!
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reha View Post
I just wanted to follow-up to this thread and say that I finally got a better placement in the search engines this past week (YAY for meta words !! , and I've already had 2 inquires for my services! YAY!
That's awesome, Reha!! Congrats! :
post #35 of 44
that's awesome!
post #36 of 44
That's great. I have gotten one client since we started this thread and a lot more hits to my website. I wasn't able to use the meta tag thing, because of the type of program that I am using to build my website.
post #37 of 44
Another thing you can do is to use google analytics, which lets you know what search terms are leading people to your website, where they are clicking from (to let you know which of your listings is working) and which of your pages they are interested in.

I have not had huge success with marketing directly to birthing families via things like business cards sprinkled liberally, attending birth fairs, etc. Being listed in every local and national internet directory available to me has helped. I get lots of referrals from birth network and birthpartners.

What has been more helpful for me is developing relationships with the other people who are working in childbirth in the area. Have an OB who helped out a client of yours? Send a thank you letter. Host a doula support group or throw a party for childbirth educators, doulas, and other midwives. When you get the people who are excited about birth to be aware of your awesomeness, then they tend to talk about you. And if they happen to think you are awesome because you make a mean guacamole? Doesn't really matter.

The other thing that I think has worked for some of the practices in my area is to host some kind of continuing community for women who have come through their practice. I get lots of referrals from one particular playgroup that has lots of 2 and 3 year olds in it -- a lot of those women are having 2nd and 3rd babies. One local birth center has a pretty huge yahoogroup that serves as a nucleus of the local ap community. In many cases these groups can come to include people from the wider community who haven't used your services.

Good luck! I'm in my 3rd year of practice and feel like I'm just hitting my stride, but it does happen!
post #38 of 44
Unfortunately no one teaches childbirth classes here except me. My former preceptor is the only midwife in the area. And we have one doula who does hospital births and doesn't recommend home birth. (She also works at one of the hospitals as a LC as well.) So it is really hard to promote myself in that area. I am going to a LLL meeting on Thursday both to promote business and because I am going to start BFing in January and haven't done it in over 9 years.
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockportmidwife View Post
Unfortunately no one teaches childbirth classes here except me. My former preceptor is the only midwife in the area. And we have one doula who does hospital births and doesn't recommend home birth. (She also works at one of the hospitals as a LC as well.) So it is really hard to promote myself in that area. I am going to a LLL meeting on Thursday both to promote business and because I am going to start BFing in January and haven't done it in over 9 years.
Do you think the other midwife would be willing to refer women to you if she gets overbooked, or maybe if the woman can't afford her fees? (I'm assuming you'll charge less since you're just starting out).
post #40 of 44
As a matter of fact, I just got my second client from her. We travel pretty far for clients sometimes. Well, she was in communication with a woman who was thinking of hiring her that lives about 3 hours south of us. She got a call from a former client that is pregnant again. This will be her 5th birth with the other midwife, but she lives 2 hours north of here. And they are due around the same time. The midwife felt that 5 hours away from each other was too far to possibly have them in labor at the same time, so she referred the first woman to me. So now I have 2 clients. Yea!!!
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