how to start a doula business - 5 step roadmap to success

How to Start a Doula Business: The Ultimate Doulapreneur Roadmap

In this post, I will explain how to start a doula business and become a successful doulapreneur.

Envision having a career that’s more than a job—but a calling. 

As a skilled doula, you will play a vital role in helping woman realize their dream of a healthy, positive birth experience. This is the extraordinary work of a doula, where passion and purpose intertwine.

how to start a doula business-doulapreneur-1

Starting a doula business comes with numerous benefits and rewards:

  1. Firstly, it allows you to pursue a fulfilling career where you can support families as a birth professional and you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of expectant families. 
  2. Secondly, it offers you the opportunity to have a flexible schedule and potentially lucrative income. 
  3. Lastly, starting a doula business empowers you to build a business around your passion for supporting others during one of life’s most significant experiences.

Unfortunately, despite the appeal of becoming a birth doula or a postpartum doula, many don’t pursue this path for various reasons.

Primary Reason:

There is a need for more guidance and knowledge on how to start a doula business. Business requires more than intuition; it requires strategy and guidance.

Other Reasons Doulas Struggle:

  1. Fear of failure or uncertainty about the business aspects of becoming a successful doula business.
  2. Limited access to resources or mentorship for many doulas entering the field.
  3. Difficulty balancing personal life with business aspirations.
  4. Perceived competition or saturation in the market, particularly in regions with a dense local community of childbirth educators and doulas.

I don’t write this to make you feel overwhelmed but to guide you towards becoming a successful doula, providing a roadmap to navigate through the challenges. I’m here to help you overcome these challenges and achieve success as a successful doula entrepreneur.

doula business checklist

How to Start a Doula Business, Step-by-Step:

Step 1: Complete your doula certification and training process

Investing in comprehensive education and training specific to doula practices is crucial. This includes completing a doula certification program, attending workshops, and seeking mentorship from experienced doulas. 

For example, online courses offered by reputable organizations like DONA International, CAPPA, ToLabor, Childbirth International, and ICEA (to name a few) can provide the knowledge and skills you need to excel in your role and become a certified doula.

Complete your certification ASAP to begin your doulapreneur journey and ensure you have a solid foundation in doula training!

doula certification training programs

Step 2: Lay the Foundation for Doula Business Success

Many aspiring doulas overlook the importance of solid business planning. To avoid this, develop a detailed business plan outlining your goals, target market, pricing structure, and marketing strategies.

2.1 Obtain Necessary Business Licenses

Start by registering your business as a sole proprietor or LLC, obtaining liability insurance, and purchasing the appropriate doula contracts for clients. 

You will need to secure the necessary business licenses. Licensing requirements can vary greatly depending on your location and the specific nature of your doula services, so be sure to check with your local and state authorities to understand what’s required of you.

irs ein

Here are a few potential licenses and registrations you may need to consider:

  • Business registration often includes registering your business name and setting up your business entity (such as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation).
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): If you plan on hiring employees, you may need to obtain an EIN from the IRS.
  • Local permits: Depending on your location, you may need specific local licenses to operate your business.

Streamline the process by seeking guidance from business advisors or using Small Business Administration (SBA) templates. These resources help articulate your vision, set realistic goals, and outline strategies for success.

2.2 Secure Professional Insurance

Next up is professional insurance. As a doula, you provide a service with inherent risks, and protecting yourself and your business is essential.

There are a few types of insurance that doulas often consider:

  • Professional doula liability insurance protects you if a client claims your services caused harm or loss.
  • General liability insurance: This insurance can cover injuries or property damage that occur during your services.

2.3 Establish a Separate Business Bank Account and Credit Card

Also, this would be an excellent time to open a separate business bank account for financial clarity. I recommend Found, an all-in-one banking solution that allows you to automatically track your expenses, find write-offs, and save receipts.

Found Bank for doulas

2.4 Implement an Effective Accounting System

Next, you’ll need a reliable accounting system to manage your income and expenses. Several software options are available that cater to small businesses, such as QuickBooks or FreshBooks.

These can automate much of the accounting process, making it easier for you to manage invoices, track expenses, and prepare for taxes.

Accounting Software for Financial Clarity

2.5 Safeguard with a Comprehensive Doula Contract

Your doula business is more than just a profession; it’s your passion. As such, it’s essential to safeguard it and ensure its smooth operation. 

One of the most effective ways to protect your business, your services, and your relationships with clients is through a comprehensive doula contract.

It’s essential to understand the importance of a doula contract. A well-crafted contract clarifies the scope of your services, sets clear boundaries, and helps manage expectations. It also provides legal protection for both you and your clients.

birth doula toolkit
Birth Doula Business Starter Bundle

Birth Doula Business Starter Bundle


Elevate your doula practice with the Birth Doula Essential Business Starter Bundle. Simplify client paperwork, access print-ready documents, and customize over 42 done-for-you templates to reflect your brand’s identity.

What’s Included:
  • Business Contracts
  • Essential Client Files
  • Business Management Files
  • Client Welcome Guide

And remember, if you need a starting point or are looking for well-crafted contract templates, you can find both birth doula and postpartum doula contracts in our online shop. These can serve as a valuable resource as you tailor your own contracts to suit your services and policies.

Step 3: Define Your Doula Services and Offerings

Define the services and offerings you’ll provide as a doula. This may include prenatal support, labor and birth assistance, postpartum care, breastfeeding support, and childbirth education classes, all essential components of birth and postpartum services. 

Tailor your services to meet the needs of your target clientele and differentiate yourself from competitors. Consider offering specialized services, such as hypnobirthing techniques or bilingual support for diverse communities.

Step 4: Establish a Dynamic Online Presence and Market Your Services

Effective branding and marketing, using professional marketing materials, are vital for doula success. Craft a unique brand identity that reflects your values and personality, and then utilize diverse marketing channels, such as social media, networking events, and community outreach, to reach potential clients.

4.1 Create a Professional Website

Establishing a dynamic online presence is no longer optional—it’s an essential step in launching and growing your doula business.

Investing in professional web design or doula website templates can elevate your online presence, making it easier for clients to find and connect with you.

website template

Doula Website Template

doula website template selah raye canva template
  • Book more clients
  • Receive online payments
  • Grow your email list
  • Promote social media
  • & more!
website template

Doula Website Template

canva doula website template - bloom birth studio
  • Book more clients
  • Receive online payments
  • Grow your email list
  • Promote social media
  • & more!

Engage your audience with informative content, client testimonials, and compelling visuals that showcase your expertise and compassionate approach. Optimize your website for search engines to enhance visibility and attract organic traffic. 

dive deeper

For more in-depth information and practical ideas on marketing your doula business, check out my other blog post, “29 Ways to Market & Grow Your Doula Business“. There, you’ll find many tips and strategies to help you attract and connect with your ideal clients.

Step 5: Elevate Your Client Care Experience

Creating a seamless client care process is paramount for doula success. To build strong client relationships, prioritize communication, empathy, and professionalism.

Establish clear expectations and boundaries regarding services, fees, and availability upfront to avoid misunderstandings later on. Consider providing welcome packets to new clients with valuable information and resources.

birth doula
birth doula client welcome packet | bloom birth studio

Birth Doula Client Welcome Packet

The Birth Doula Client Welcome Packet Template is a must-have tool for doulas looking to streamline their business and attract new clients.

With this customizable template, you can provide clients with a comprehensive guide to your services, pricing, and communication preferences.

Deliver exceptional care to foster trust and loyalty, leading to positive word-of-mouth referrals and sustained business growth, which is the essence of full-time work as a doula.

postpartum doula
postpartum doula client welcome packet | bloom birth studio

Postpartum Doula Client Welcome Packet

This customizable Postpartum Doula Client Welcome Packet is a comprehensive tool designed to help postpartum doulas easily and professionally onboard new clients.

This packet, with fully customizable templates, informative resources, and a polished design, will help you make a great first impression and save time on administrative tasks.

Step 6: Master Doula Business Management

Lastly, focus on efficient business management practices to sustain and grow your doula business. This involves managing finances, tracking expenses, and maintaining accurate records for tax purposes.

Consider utilizing platforms like Dubsado or HoneyBook for invoicing, scheduling, and client management. These platforms can streamline administrative tasks and enhance professionalism.

business management software for doulas

Also, leveraging social media platforms can significantly boost your visibility and client engagement. Invest in reliable tools and software to automate processes and improve efficiency, crucial for running a successful doula business. 

Additionally, prioritize self-care and professional development to prevent burnout and stay inspired in your doula journey. Implement effective business management strategies to manage your business’s day-to-day operations better and achieve long-term success.

doula business checklist

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How much does it cost to start a doula business?

A: The cost of starting a doula business can vary depending on various factors, such as certification fees, marketing expenses, insurance, and ongoing education.

On average, you can invest a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in setting up your doula business.

Q: How do I find clients for my doula business?

A: You can use several strategies to find clients for your doula business. Firstly, leverage your personal and professional network by letting friends, family, and colleagues know about your services. Word-of-mouth referrals can be powerful.

Additionally, use online platforms such as social media, doula directories, and parenting forums to raise awareness about your services.

Building a strong online presence through informative content and engaging with your target audience can attract potential clients. Networking with other birth professionals and establishing collaborations can also lead to client referrals.

Q: Can I work as a doula part-time or is it a full-time commitment?

A: One of the great aspects of being a doula is that it offers flexibility in terms of working hours. You can choose to work part-time or full-time, depending on your personal preferences and availability.

Many doulas start their businesses part-time while maintaining other jobs or responsibilities. As your business grows, you can decide if you want to transition to full-time work as a doula.

Q: How do I handle the emotional aspects of being a doula?

A: Being a doula can be emotionally intense, as you support families during significant life events. It’s important to prioritize self-care and establish boundaries to prevent burnout.

Seek support from other doulas or join doula support groups to share experiences and gain guidance. Regularly practice self-reflection and engage in activities that help you recharge and maintain emotional well-being.

Q: How much profit can a doula service make?

Profit is directly tied to your fees. For example, if you charge $1000 per client (assuming you are the doula) and incur $179 in expenses, you have earned a profit of $821.

Business owners are urged to carefully consider the time spent with clients when coming up with a fee schedule.

Conclusion: Empowering Support for the Journey Ahead

Starting a doula business may seem overwhelming, but with the right guidance and determination, you can turn your passion for supporting expectant families into a rewarding career. 

By following these steps and staying committed to your vision, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful doulapreneur. 

Remember, the journey to success is paved with dedication, perseverance, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

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