Moving to a new city and starting over again brings up a lot of emotions. It might be fun to explore the place you'll now be calling home, but it can be daunting when it comes to finding your place in your new community. Especially when that includes moving your doula and birth business. Perhaps you had built a good client base and had developed a predictable rhythm. Now the thought of starting from square one again feels big and scary.
But you know what? You did it before, and you can do it again. Consider this – you're not a newbie anymore, in the sense that you'll have experience under your belt when you start in your new location. What else can you think of that is different this time? Let me start:
- You already have a website that's been online for a while
- You have an existing Facebook business page or other social media presence
- You have testimonials/reviews on your website, Doula Match, Yelp, and/or your Facebook page
- You have experience connecting with and building relationships with birth and other professionals
Add to this list and see all that you've accomplished building your business in your current/previous home city. See how far you've come since you started?
Tips for starting your doula business over again
If you've not yet moved, it's not too early to start researching and doing some of these tasks.
- It's a good idea to find out what it takes to start a new business in your new location. If you're moving to or within the US, you can start by finding out what the requirements are for obtaining a new DBA and the rules around LLCs. Some might even let you file your DBA online.
- Do research on business names in the area you're moving to and see if someone is already operating under the same name. If so, chances are they've got a DBA in their business name already, so you may have to rebrand.
- Look to see if there are Facebook groups or other online forums for doulas and birth professionals in your new area. Join these groups, introduce yourself, and start connecting with your new biz besties.
- Reach out by email or phone to your current/former referral partners to let them know you moved/will be moving to [NEW CITY] and if they have any relevant professional connections you'd love an introduction.
- Reach out by email or phone to your past clients/friends/family to let them know you moved/will be moving to [NEW CITY] and if they know anyone who might need your services to pass along your contact information along.
- Start looking for baby fairs and events to participate in and get signed up
- Update your profiles in any online directories that you're in
- Update your website and social media profiles to reflect the areas you'll be serving
- If you're active on Instagram, research area-specific hashtags you can use
- Order new business cards
- Once you've moved, start building your referral network. Reach out to local birth professionals and invite them to coffee or see if you can drop off marketing materials. Start attending networking meetings for birth pros and other business networks too.
- Identify non-profit organizations that serve people you want to work with and connect with them
- Make a list of all the stores and businesses that serve your ideal clients. Call/email/visit to see if you can leave marketing materials at their businesses.
- Update your DoulaMatch profile
- If you're a doula, reach out to childbirth educators to sit in on a class series or see if you can visit a class if there's a session when the topic of doulas is introduced.
- As you get to know other doulas in your new city, throw out that if anyone gets booked up, you'd love their referrals as you are building your clientele base again. This is especially handy a few months before the holidays or summer breaks when more people plan to take time off.
- What kind of free talks can you give? Make a list of topics and make arrangements to host an event.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope it will get you started. Just as you did in your current/former home city, the key to starting over is by building new connections. Continue to brainstorm, using strategies that were successful for you in the past and come on over to the Inspired Birth Pros Facebook group and ask what has worked for others.