I moved to a new city a few months ago and have considered starting a doula business here. I was trained by the Simkin School in 2007 and went to midwifery school in 2010. I am not certified, because I chose to direct my energy toward midwifery instead. I've worked as a midwifery apprentice and attended only homebirths so far. In my new city, hospital births are the majority and although I feel people are beginning to embrace doulas, they are still not super common. I have a lot of knowledge and experience, but I'm not sure how easy it will be for me to "break in" to the community here. I'm currently working a job that is not rewarding and I dread going there every day. I do not have a flexible schedule and so it would not work for me to continue to work there and begin doula work. I need to make at least $1300/month to meet my needs and I'm hoping that is possible here. Does anyone have any advice for transitioning from a normal day job to doula work without going hungry in between?
Is there any way you can save up a few months worth of funds to carry you through while you build up a client base?
And maybe time to start working on some more detailed math. What is the going rate for a doula in your area? How much will you have to charge, and how many clients a month will you need minimum (and how many could you do max)?
This might help you with that calculation Economics of a Doula's Fees
Even if you quit your job and immediately start looking for clients, it may be a couple of weeks to a couple of months before you have any income. Maybe you'll require a deposit, or for the fee to be paid in full before 38 weeks, or something like that... but if you meet up with a potential client who is only halfway through her pregnancy, it will be a while before you are paid.
Two possible ideas for "breaking in" to the field before quitting your day job would be to see if any local hospitals have a volunteer doula program. You wouldn't be getting paid, but you would be making connections and could chose specific days and times to be on call ,like over the weekend when you won't be working. Also, maybe look into providing childbirth education. It would help get you known in the local birth community, classes can be scheduled when it is convenient for you, and it'll provide a small income to supplement your transition away from your current job.