Name: Louise Oliver
Business name: The Peaceful Doula and member of The Doula Hub
1. What services do you offer?
I’m a birth and postnatal doula, night doula and hypnobirthing coach.
2. Where do your clients come from?
Across the board, from the Doula Directory, Doula UK, and from my website. I also share enquiries with the other members of The Hub. We all receive the enquiries, we interview in pairs and suggest to the clients which one of us suits, depending on availability, location etc.
3. What works for you and what has been less successful?
I work very closely with a small group of other doulas as part of The Doula Hub. We give full back-up support to each other and teach the same, very comprehensive, antenatal programme. I really love working as a team, I feel much more relaxed knowing my clients have back-up from other doulas who feel the same way as I do about what a doula should be. The support we give each other daily is priceless. Ranging from covering births to, my dog just ate something unspeakable, help!!
I found working alone quite isolating. Although, now The Doula Association has been formed, I feel way more supported than I did in my first year or so.
4. Has the way your run your business changed since we went into lockdown last year?
I transferred my hypnobirthing and antenatal sessions to online, but managed to support six homebirths in person. This works very well so I may continue to do some sessions online.
5. What do you wish you had known when you started out?
Honestly, I think my expectations were set very clearly when I trained with Birth Bliss. I knew I would need to do a solid business plan and invest in developing my brand. It took me a few months to get everything prepared in the background before I launched my business.
6. What’s your biggest tip for new doulas?
Have confidence in your ability and do not undersell yourself.
7. And doula-life hacks?
From the outside I look like the most organised person on the planet!! I was actually super disorganised so had to learn this as a life skill, particularly as a single mum working as a doula. I would say that a good support network is essential. Also, make time for you. Book holidays and time out at the beginning of the year and stick to your plans. It’s really easy to try and fit in ‘one more birth’, or ‘one more post-natal job’, but if you don’t carve out time to recharge your batteries you will burn out. This is not helpful to you, or your clients.
8. What is next for you and your business?
Continuous improvement for both The Hub and personally. I feel that there is always more to learn, and always room for improvement.