“How do I find clients?”
This is probably the most asked question I hear from my students. Oftentimes, we struggle with confidence when we are newly beginning to venture out into the birth world. Finding doula clients can be intimidating for multiple reasons. Responsibility weighs on us when we consider the possibilities. Marketing comes easily to a select few. But most of us feel like we are being tossed into deep water with head knowledge, but hardly any field knowledge, on how to swim.
There are options.
Starting with these basics can help keep your head up while you find your own unique rhythm, niche, and voice in the community, including clients.
Own your truth.
Tell your friends, your family, your coworkers, even the cashier at the supermarket checkout, that you are training for birth work certification and why. Admitting that you are a student can be humbling, but even seasoned doulas are still learners. Learning is how we evolve and grow!
Contact local midwives and hospitals.
Ask them questions about their practices. Introduce yourself as a doula. Rehearse the title for yourself first if you have to. Form the words: “I am a doula.” Say this phrase again and again until it comes naturally. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t finished the training yet. You are intent on helping birthing families, you are serving, you are an advocate for your community, you are a birth worker even now!
Discover additional resources.
Pregnancy Crisis Centers are almost always in need of counselors and other volunteers. (I found my local center in the phone book, back in my student days!) Show up in person and talk to the director. Ask to see what they do for the community. Get involved and get active in helping what is already established. You can learn some tricks of the trade and become familiar with what works and what doesn’t. Eventually you may be able to develop a symbiotic relationship with them, so that they refer you to possible clients and you refer them. Even if that particular scenario never develops, your experience with the birthing community will be invaluable. And your confidence as an advocate and community resource will rise!
Join groups, online or in person.
There are mommy groups, parenting groups, holistic lifestyle groups, and lots of other places where possible clients might chat. You are not there to sell yourself, you are there to listen. They might talk about a chiropractor who specializes in working with pregnancy and infants. They might talk about other doulas and birth workers you can team up with. Whoever and whatever they talk about can serve as a contact point for you to investigate. The internet is a powerful resource. Utilize those search bars!
Get Your Feet Wet!
Do the things. Talk to the people. Advocate for yourself. If you cannot speak up for yourself, then you will find it very difficult to help others do it. True confidence is more of a learned skill rather than an emotion or feeling. You don’t have to feel brave to do brave actions. Practicing using your voice in all these ways will serve both you and your future clients.