I am a new doula in the greater Los Angeles area and I am currently fulfulling all the requirements. I am taking the classes, reading the books and doing a lot of research on my own.
But how I do I find that first client? And what do I charge the first client? I am willing to do it for free but I am reading that a lot of people actually do charge for their first births.
Maybe anyone knows about a doula network in the LA/OC area I could join?
I'm not from the LA area so unfortunately I can't offer specific local resources. My advice for your first 1-10 births would be to find clients looking for a low-cost option and maybe charge $100-$300. Of course you could also volunteer your services for no cost, but I think it's okay to charge a minimal fee to cover the expenses you're paying (gas, parking, the bare minimum supplies you'll carry in your doula bag, etc). Perhaps you could make some posts on neighborhood list-servs, on-line mom communities/list-servs, etc advertising your low-cost doula services as you start out.You could also make a flyer and post it at various places around your neighborhood (grocery stores, baby boutique type places, etc.) I'd imagine that you'd get more than enough interest in your services (going off of the market where I'm living anyway).
If you wanted to volunteer, you could email various women's health clinics, midwifery practices, birth centers, your local WIC office, etc. Usually they are more than willing to refer doulas who are offering low/no cost doula services because they know clients who could benefit from having the extra support.
I hope that helps! Just don't be afraid to put your name out there and go for it!
Do you have a website up already?
Mama, birth worker, and dreamer extraordinaire.
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The previous posters advice is very good. I also say let all of your friends anf family know what you are doing adn tell them if they know anyone to send them your way.
Make sure you have business cards and a website, even if they are very basic. just a way that people can contact you.
many blessings on your doula journey!!
Lovin my sweet babygirl 3-17-10 and expecting another in March!