As birthworkers, we genuinely care for our clients. We are energized when we teach about labor. We love to share information that we know can make a huge difference in how our clients experience pregnancy and birth. We are with clients in some of the biggest moments of their lives.
If any of that resonated with you, now think about this: files, bank accounts, taxes, insurance, website design, email…..
None of us got into birthwork because we love paperwork; we love helping people! The way to be able to keep helping people (including ourselves and our families) is to build a strong business – and the way to do that is to treat it as such. This includes doing all those not-so-interesting items like filing LLC paperwork, getting liability insurance, and so forth.
Create a business plan. What services and products will your business offer? Who is your target market? Will your business be a sole proprietorship, an LLC, a partnership, a corporation? How will you handle start up costs? Can you design a website and logo or do you need to hire someone? What will your business be named? Will you hire an accountant? Who is your competition? These are just some broad questions to ask yourself when creating a business plan.
Name your business. Your business name represents you. It can reference your geographic location, or maybe it hints at your philosophy as a birthworker. Once you choose a name, file the appropriate paperwork for articles of organization (business type: LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, etc.) with your state and local government. You can have an attorney do this for you, or you can do it yourself.
Get an EIN. You can apply for an EIN – and Employer Identification Number – through the IRS. This is needed for your business to file taxes. You can have an attorney do this for you, or you can do it yourself.
Open a bank account. It’s wise to keep your business income separate from your personal accounts. Once you set up a business bank account, you can then pay yourself at whatever interval and rate you decide upon. Your business bank account should also be used for bills and supplies related to the business (website hosting fees, clothing you wear to births, paying an accountant to do your taxes, etc.). Banks will want a copy of your articles of organization and EIN in order to open a business account.
Get insurance. All businesses should have insurance. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but it is unprofessional and unwise to have no coverage. Several companies offer coverage for doulas and other birthworkers, and most policies are only a few hundred dollars annually.
Record mileage. Keep track of mileage to and from all client meetings. This is deductible for tax purposes.
Keep detailed records and receipts. It seems simple enough, but in the busyness of daily life, things can get disorganized quickly. We’ll go into this in more detail in Part 3 of this series.
Start planning your marketing. How will you reach your target market? Can you create a logo and a website? Who will design and print business cards and brochures? We’ll go over marketing in more detail in the future.
Birth Beautifully’s birth doula and childbirth educator trainings and our doula mentoring program all include information on these topics and more to help you get a great start in creating your business. Contact us and let’s get to work!
Christine Herrera helps people become amazing birth professionals.