Potential Future Doula - looking to make $15,000/year- possible? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 06-10-2012, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone! I'm new to this community and I have a question for experienced doulas out there. peace.gif


My current job is in behavioral health- I make 15K a year. Right now I am able to live on this amount (it's not easy, but I can make it work). Do you think it is possible to make this much as a doula? I live in Grand Rapids, Mi, which is a mid size city. Do you think there is a minimum number of births one would need to attend monthly to make 15K? I don't feel that is a large amount of money at all, and I know that being a doula is not the most lucrative, but this is my passion. In the future I want to be a midwife, and I feel that this would be a great foot in the door of this field. Any advice?


Thank you in advance for any ideas!!! energy.gif

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#2 of 6 Old 06-11-2012, 12:40 AM
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I think it's possible, but it might take a while to build up your client base enough to have enough steady work, and that might be a bit tricky.  It's probably hard to do doula work if you have another job you can't just leave for births.  If you were able to charge $750 per client and average 2 per month, you would probably make enough after expenses to reach 15000.  I don't know if that is the going rate in your area, I just chose it randomly, and assumed an average of $100 in expenses per birth (gas, cell phone, supplies)  :)

BC Mum of four (12,10,6,3) plus a bonus toddler
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#3 of 6 Old 06-11-2012, 09:48 AM
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it depends on your area, here $750 is charged only by experienced well known doulas, the rest of us charge around $300 and it can be difficult to get enough paying clients every month.


I would suggest looking into the pricing in your area and also perhaps supplimenting it with pp doula work, childbirth education or something of the like

Aspiring Midwife applying to University for fall 2011!
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#4 of 6 Old 06-11-2012, 06:16 PM
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I don't know anyone who is a full time doula with no extra income (spouse's job).  There's no way to gaurantee steady clients, or that they would all pay full price, and to work up to full-time doulaing will takes years, because most people are looking for experience.  Sorry to be so negative I just wouldn't want you to be completely dependent on it if it doesn't work out as you had hoped.    

Christian SAHM & birth doula.
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#5 of 6 Old 06-12-2012, 08:17 PM
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Yes absolutely! You may not earn that much immediately, but if you invest in your marketing skills and have a really great business plan you can definitely make $15,000 a year. Many people are willing to pay for a doula when they understand what you are worth. A few simple tips to get you started:


  • Look for clients by knowing what they want, don't wait for them to find you. Most people have not even heard of a doula but are interested in avoiding a caesarian for example.
  • Add extra services like childbirth education classes, postnatal doula work, mum's groups etc for extra revenue streams if you want to avoid burning out from attending too many births
  • Don't look to doulas for business advice, they may be really good doulas, but if they are not making money it is probably because they have not got great business skills. Our industry has a money mindset problem that is seriously holding us back. 


If you are interested in more, check out www.yourdoulabusiness.com and enter your email.

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#6 of 6 Old 07-07-2012, 01:08 PM
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I would suggest really promoting childbirth education during your transition to full time doula.  The benefits of childbirth education courses is that you can do a 6 week course with a set day/time (unlike a delivery) and have multiple clients attending (unlike a delivery) and charge up to $300 for the course.  If you marketed well, you could potentially have a dozen clients every six weeks.  I've also offered shorter 'intensives' over a 2 or 3 saturdays.  I also sometimes offer classes on two different week nights just to accommodate the schedules of my potential clients. Here something to think about:

  1. Have 4 couples paying $200 at each of the following sessions: One Tuesday 6 week session, One Thursday 6 week session, Two Saturday 3 week sessions is a total of 12 couples paying $200 each= $2400.
  2. If you retained HALF of those clients for your doula services during their birth, you will have a great business exceeding your $1500 per month goal.  Just keep in mind, self employment taxes can bite you in the butt if you are not prepared and you will likely have slow seasons so it's best to tuck excess income from busy months aside to cover the shortfall.
  3. I always recommend to upcoming doulas that they charge 10% of the couples annual income.  Even if finances are an issue, I have had clients get really creative by putting together creative ways of presenting a 'My Doula Fund' for friends and family to pitch in for during a baby shower; even including this information along with her registry information on the invites.  Of course I have done plenty of free birth as well (I believe every woman who wants doula should have one and I believe so much in my services it feels unethical to me to deny a woman).

Marketing is always key.  I have had the most success in my business when I have a great marketing partnership.  Look to a local midwife, chiropractor, CNM (even MD), etc... for mutual referrals.  This may take some time to establish trust and a good working partnership, but it is completely worth it.  

I hope this helps, and good luck!

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