This month we interviewed one of our most recently accredited Doulas, Sharon Pollard from Doula Power.
What services do you offer?
Birth & Postnatal Doula
Where do your clients come from?
Clients are mainly from Essex and East London
What works for you and what has been less successful?
What works for me in terms of finding work is belonging to Doula UK and The Doula Directory - 50% of my enquiries have been through both of these. I have had a couple of enquiries from Instagram and nothing from Facebook. What works for me in terms of day to day being a doula is the network I have built with other doulas, from the fabulous women I trained with who are always there to guide and support, to the women I have met locally and through Doula Huddles with The Doula Association. The information and the experience they share is invaluable and 50% of my work is from enquiries that other doulas cannot commit to, so I send them my links. I did remove my prices from my website based on some marketing stats, but that hasn't affected the number of enquiries I've had via my website....which currently stands at zero! Whilst outsourcing my website to be designed and built cost me a lot of money, as a technophobe, it saved me valuable time and stress so I still feel it was money well spent.
Has the way your run your business changed since we went into lockdown last year?
I've only launched my business from June last year so lockdown didn't really affect my business. I did have a client who had to request a 2nd birth partner and thanks to the template letter, permission was granted and I was able to be with my client and her partner. I've also grown to use the doula community for advice and support so much more.
What do you wish you had known when you started out?
The uncertainty of work. I had assumed I would build my business and eventually be able to give up my day job, but that hasn't happened. I guess it's early days, but I did think I would receive more enquiries, so a little disappointing. That could be desperation though - just want to be a doula full time and the day job just isn't doing it for me! I also wish I had done the biomechanics course sooner - it's a game changer and has been super useful with subsequent clients.
What’s your biggest tip for new doulas?
Your clients value you a lot more than you realise so have the self- belief and confidence that you are helping somebody more than you know. Also, just because that phone call comes when labour has started, don't cancel your day and sit waiting by the phone - I've done it once and won't do it again. Showered, dress & ready to go with my bag, cancelled my pilates class and didn't like to "start my ironing" (who does?!) in case I had to go....it took another 14 hours before I went anywhere. Dowh!
Any doula-life hacks?
I don't feel experienced enough to be offering doula-life hacks yet, but I would say use other experienced doulas as a sounding board. In the same way the clients find the doula that is right for them, you will find a wiser more experienced doula who is on your wave length and that can lead to advice, sharing of information, back-ups and shared care.
What is next for you and your business?
Currently completing a paediatric first aid course and I have a baby massage and baby yoga course lined up. I think it’s good to have a few strings to your bow in the world of pregnancy and babies and I love learning. I have been asked to submit another blog by a baby retailer - they loved the first one. I'm also speaking at a mums event about what a doula is. I'm alongside a panel of experts including a postnatal personal trainer, lactation consultant and pelvic physio, which is exciting. It will be good to connect with more Mums in my local area – networking has always been key to developing roles in my career, both before doulaing and now.
If you would like to be featured in our next How I Work it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To download the doulaing at a distance helpful handout, click the image.
To watch the Doulaing at a Distance session on you tube click here
To download the template letter for second birth partner access click the image below.
If you were not able to attend our AGM and would like to know more, you can view the recording here. You can access the slides as a PDF by clicking the image above.
When you're a member of The Doula Association, you will get a £2 discount every month on your listing on The Doula Directory! As well as all the other wonderful benefits our cuddle has to offer. This effectively makes your membership free! Or you can choose our £5 a month option which includes even more benefits, such as regular doula moolah and doula discovery sessions!
If you haven't joined The Doula Association by Friday 28th January, and you have a listing on The Doula Directory, your Doula Directory subscription it will be transferred to the regular monthly price of £10/month and you will be removed from The Doula Association private Facebook group. Don't loose the benefits, sign up now to remain a part of this supportive cuddle!