I tried writing a year-in-review a few times and I always came up -blah-. 2016 wasn't a riveting business year. It wasn't chock full of births and complete recognition in the community. 2016 was a lot of behind the scenes networking and marketing. It was soul searching and lesson learning. I made some lasting relationships with fellow doulas and had clients turned friends, which I never expected when I started out. 2016 was slow for Baby Love and while for most of the year I wasn't a happy camper about that, I'm glad that's how it played out.
It taught me a lesson in patience. It taught me a lesson in sustainability. It showed me my goals, which look different than the typical doula's goals. If you watch online doula groups, success is defined by solidly booked calendars and recognition within the community. It always appears like a quick climb and instant gratification. I thought I wanted that. I don't.
I realized that success to me, for this season of life while I have my own young children, is a birth every few months with one per month, max. I hope to grow to that one-per-month over time. I hope to become known among the community as one of the local doulas, but I never hope to out-shine. This area has some amazing doulas. They are well respected, fully compassionate, and amazing at their job. I don't want to surpass any of them. My goal is to stand among them.
My goal is for word of mouth to spread and my branding to be recognized. My goal is for a slow climb in business. Right now I have two clients booked for 2017. I have a February and a June client signed on with me. My personal goal is to support four to six clients this year. That feels almost unattainable because I have only had three clients total to this point, but I'm putting it out there in the universe. Four to Six.
More than the material goals, I want to become more compassionate, more knowledgeable, and more understanding: particularly as it applies to doula work. I want questions come in from a client and for me to perceive what it is that they need in that moment: a listening ear, a heart, or advice. I hope to hone the skill of knowing if the information presented is frustrating, saddening, neutral or good for them. In pregnancy, the same news can cause a myriad of feelings in different women. Being able to truly hear my clients and respond specifically as they need is something I want to continue to improve.
I plan to continue to market and network and serve my clients well. I don't hope to become instantly successful. I don't hope to be busier than I can handle. I hope take on my second year as a doula and build my second step in the staircase of this business. 20 years from now I see myself supporting clients... this isn't a quick jaunt as a doula for me, or a stepping stone for something bigger. I have arrived: a doula I am and a doula I will continue to be. I want to slowly grow and create a strong, firm business over the course of time.
More importantly, I want to continue to love what I do. My heart is the core of my doula work and it will always be my center. Helping mamas and babies is where my passion lies... I feel blessed to have made this a reality and the ability to reflect back on a whole year and to look forward feels amazing. Thank you to my clients, my fellow doulas, and everyone who has supported my doula work (even those who still don't know what a doula is!) :) :)
Many blessings to all in 2017!!
Baby Love Blog
Here lies a stream of consciousness regarding, pregnancy, birth, babies, and my doula business...