Let's face it, starting a new business is HARD. It's understandable that any new business owner will find navigating the landscape of beginning a new venture overwhelming. And for birth professionals, many times, they are building their business while learning their craft and working towards their certification.
Well, I'm here to help! Each week I'll be hopping onto the Inspired Birth Pro Facebook page, where I'll talk about ways to help you through the rough spots of business ownership and give you tips on growing your doula or other birth business.
In this live stream, I'll share three tips to help you eliminate overwhelm so you can start getting things done and move your business forward!
Facebook Live Transcript
Hi everyone. Hope you are having a good morning, and thank you for joining me today. I'm going to be sharing a three-step plan that new birth pros can follow to eliminate and prevent overwhelm as they start their businesses. I'm going to take a moment to share this with my Facebook group, and while you wait I'd love for you to let me know that you can see and hear me. Drop a yes in the comments.
Again, thanks for joining me today. I'm going to be talking about a three-step plan that will help birth pros that … A plan that birth pros can follow to eliminate and prevent overwhelm as they start their businesses. If you don't know me, my name is Darlene MacAuley, and I help birth professionals start and grow their businesses with an emphasis on establishing systems and creating community, both on and offline. Before I get started I'd like to ask you to do something, so whether you are catching the live or if you catch the replay, I'd love to know if you are a new Birth Pro just starting out in your business.
If you are, go ahead and type new in the comments. And if you've been at this for a while, these steps can be helpful for you too. Go ahead and put in the comments how many months or years that you've been practicing. I know that when I became a doula there was a lot I had to learn about having a service-based business. And I had already been in business for the previous six years. For many birth professionals, we are called to do the work and I think that some of the business stuff comes as a surprise to new birth pros. Having to navigate through the legal stuff, having to figure out what to do with the money and how to handle it. And one of the most challenging parts, getting somebody to hire you.
There are a million details and it's easy to get lost in them. If this is you go ahead and put yes in the comments. I just want you to know that I've got some helpful tips for you today. If you know of any other new birth professionals who are just starting out and they are stressing out about starting their businesses, I invite you to share this video with them now too.
I've been helping birth professionals for almost 10 years now, and I've witnessed time and again the overwhelm that new birth professionals experience when they are just starting out. Of course, I've been there too. Let's go ahead and look at what you can do to help to eliminate that overwhelm.
Learn about the four areas of focus for your business
Step number one is, learn about the four areas of focus for your business and what needs to happen in each area. In every business, there are four main areas that you'll be working on, and once you know these you can research each of the areas and figure out what you need to do when you are starting out. I'll go over them briefly.
The first one is legal, and that pertains to the type of business that you are going to be, the form of business you are going to be starting whether you do a sole proprietorship or an LLC, figuring out what you need to do to get your business legal and registered in your county or what you need to do with the IRS, figuring out whether you need insurance, or what to do about setting up the contracts that you use with your clients. These are just some of the legal items that you need to take care of when you're starting your business.
The next thing is, everything having to do with your business finances. How are you going to track all of your money, how are you going to collect payments, what do you do about bank accounts and pricing your services? That's the financial area of your business.
Then there is marketing, which seems to scare so many people, but the way I like to think about it is marketing has to do with all the ways that you are going to attract and connect with new clients and how you are going to nurture your current and your past clients.
Finally, you've got client management. That has to do with determining what happens from the time someone first contacts you and tells you that they are interested in your services, all the way through the very end when you are hugging their babies and saying goodbye. You'll also have to determine the policies that you want to implement as part of working with your clients and paperwork and all of those kinds of things.
Of these four areas, at the very beginning of your business you are probably going to be focusing a lot on the legal and the client management pieces because you are trying to figure out how to get your business all set up to begin with, and the biggest part is actually working with your clients and creating an excellent experience for them.
In the very beginning those two areas will probably be a big focus and as you get those set up your financial and marketing areas will become much larger. Once you understand what these areas are, then you can go ahead and spend some time working on each one and listing out all the things that you need to do. Rather than trying to worry about all of it at the same time just go ahead and work on one area at a time. You'll be spending time making lists, and it might be tedious at first, but just bear with me, it's going to all work out.
Create a roadmap or timeline
The next step after you've gotten a whole lot of things listed out for the different areas of your business, you will create a roadmap, or get a timeline made, so that you can get tasks done. That can be as simple as using a pen and paper to write down big, long lists. You can use a spreadsheet to list out everything and organize it the way you like. I like to use a task management system and my favorite one is Asana because I can create projects in there and make checklists, and have everything I need, plus I can access it on both my laptop and my phone. I always know at all times what I need to do.
You'll find that all the areas you are going to crossover. For example, at the beginning, you'll be getting your business formed, and you have to get your business formed first, before you can get your business checking account. When you create your contract you'll have to refer to your pricing and your payment policies that you've created. They are all going to mesh together, but being able to understand the different areas and getting everything all listed out is going to help you tremendously.
Step three after you have your timeline all started and set up, I want you to start dropping these tasks into your schedule and begin implementing. You are going to have this big list, and now you are going to have to try to figure out, how do I prioritize, how do I figure out what to do? Especially if you are working on your training requirements, juggling your family responsibilities. And some of you might even be working additional jobs. How do you make the most of the time that you have when you are working on your business?
Start with action items with deadlines
The easiest items to prioritize are going to be the ones with deadlines. Aside from the four main areas of the business, you can also, you are probably going to have deadlines for your certification. Go ahead and plug those in into your schedule.
Schedule according to how long task will take
Then the next way is you can organize your items to do, or schedule your items to do according to how long it will take. Say you have a two-hour block of time, you might choose a project that will take a big chunk of time. Say you are driving the kids around, or you have different appointments and you have pockets of 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there. You can choose to do items that just take a minute or so. You can send some emails, or make some phone calls, or brainstorm some content ideas. Those are just scheduling items according to how long they will take.
Add tasks according to how much brainpower is required
A third way is to add tasks according to how much brainpower is going to be required. How hard do you have to think to get a task done? If you have a three-hour block of time, but your children are home and perhaps they might bulging in at some times to ask you questions or tell you that they need something, you might want to choose a task that doesn't create … Doesn't require a whole lot of concentration versus a project that you could do when you are completely alone.
Schedule tasks based on your energy at different times of day
Finally, another way to prioritize your tasks would be based on the energy level that you have at different times of day. For example, my best time for writing is between 1:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. Even though I feel more peppy in the mornings I usually don't have … I'm a little more scattered and I want to get lots of different things done. I'll concentrate on emails or work on my social media, or do small little tasks that don't take a lot of brainpower or a lot of time so that by the time one o'clock rolls around I'll be ready to write and I'm more creative at that time.
If you understand what your energy is at different times of day, that can also help you to schedule out what you are going to do. Again, these are just three steps that you can take to help prevent or eliminate overwhelm that you might be feeling as you start your new businesses. Learn the main areas of focus for your business and list what needs to be done. Create a roadmap or a timeline to get things done. Drop tasks into your schedule and start implementing.
My last question for you is, what one action are you going to take to move your business forward? Go ahead and drop those in the comments.
If this was helpful for you and you would like more guidance to get your roadmap started, you can visit inspiredbirthpro.com to sign up for a free 10-step checklist on how to start your birth business. It does say doula business on there, but really and truly this can be applicable to any kind of business. If you found this helpful I'd really love for you to share this with other birth professionals who you know who also might be struggling with getting things started.
Thank you so much for joining me, and I hope this was helpful. I am planning to do a Facebook live each week, so you'll be getting notice via email if you are on my email list with what's coming up. Please join me next week Tuesday and have a great week. Thanks a lot!