We’ve talked about doula partnerships before, but today we want to go into more depth on this topic. There are so many positive reasons to create a business partnership, and there are lots of details to work out as you begin this type of relationship.
How to find the right partner
As you start thinking about a doula business partnership, you need to think carefully about what kind of partner you want. When considering fellow doulas, keep in mind the following points as you envision how you’d work together:
- Birth philosophy: are you like-minded in how you view birth, birth support, and how you will support clients?
- Goals for the business: have you set goals that you are both committed to reaching? Do you both want to work full-time, part-time, etc.?
- Strengths and weaknesses: do your strengths and weaknesses complement each other? Will they help the business thrive or create chaos?
- Reliability: is this person reliable when on-call, when they have a responsibility?
- Trustworthiness: is this person trustworthy in word and deed? Will they keep client information and your business dealings confidential?
- Personality: do your personalities clash or mesh well? Do you enjoy talking with this person, spending time with them?
Even the best of friends don’t necessarily make the best business partners. Carefully consider with whom you start a partnership. It is not only a legal business and your livelihood, but also who you will be dealing with for hopefully a long time during your successful career.
Division of Responsibilities
You’ll need to decide who will take on which responsibilities for the business. Usually on-call time will be shared, but what will the split be? A common split is 12 hour shifts, but you can decide what works best for you and your partner depending on life circumstances and whether the partnership is an equal 50-50.
Also think about who will be in charge of responding to email inquiries from potential clients, who will answer phone calls, who will schedule appointments with clients, who will pay any business related bills, and who will work on marketing, social media, and other outreach.
Not only do you need to decide what forms of payment you will accept from clients (cash, check, digital, money order), you also need to decide how payments will be allotted. What percentage will go to the business for any expenses (website maintenance, business cards, etc.) and how will each of you be paid? Will you be paid per client, or on a calendar schedule?
A great business model
Partnerships are a great way to grow your business, have the ability to take on more clients each month, offer more complementary services like childbirth education/postpartum services/placenta encapsulation/others, and keep some flexibility for your personal life. Be sure to be honest about everything when entering into discussions about potential partnerships. Be up front about goals, limitations, schedules, financial investments. While doula partnerships can often help grow and strengthen a friendship, you must remember that it is a legal business first.
For more on doula partnerships, get in touch with Birth Beautifully about our Doula Mentoring Program.