The Doula Business Guide & Workbook

doula business guideThe Doula Business Guide: Creating a Successful MotherBaby Business, 2nd Edition (2014)

By Patty Brennan
Foreword by Penny Simkin

The Doula Business Guide ($29.95)

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The Doula Business Guide E-Book ($22.95)

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Why should I invest in this book?

The Doula Business Guide, 2nd Edition, is the must have, comprehensive resource for anyone seeking to establish an independent doula business or program. Over 300 pages of inspiration and useful information for launching your dream career and making it pay well. When you invest in this thorough guide, you get Patty’s 35 years of expertise distilled into one go-to resource. Each chapter is like taking an entire training course on the subject. The book shows you how to:

  • Determine which business model is right for you (see our detailed analysis of a variety of models).
  • Avoid ruined friendships with our frank discussion on the pros and cons of business partnerships.
  • Identify seven critical decisions every new business owner must make.
  • Command respect from the medical community.
  • Build a professional image by establishing and maintaining professional boundaries with clients.
  • Achieve success through implementation of low-cost, 21st-century marketing strategies.
  • Set your fees, communicate with clients about money, avoid conflicts, and get paid without hassles or guilt.
  • Stay out of trouble with the IRS while taking every rightful deduction you can and lowering your overall tax liability.
  • Protect yourself from liabilities unique to doulas.
  • And lots more (seriously!)

Thinking of starting a doula program? You will also find chapters to help you:

  • Determine whether a nonprofit business model is right for you.
  • Avoid common mistakes in establishing a doula program.
  • Win grants up to $200,000 and more to fund your doula program.

What do doulas think of the book?


“The Doula Business Guide has been the singular ‘light in the dark’ resource for me as I begin my career as a doula. Though we have never met, I have found confidence in my ability to navigate the nebulous world of self-employment and doula work and find myself asking, “What would Patty do?” — Jessica Gee, San Mateo, CA

“I’m making sure that the foundation for my new business is laid and well-organized, thanks to Patty Brennan’s Doula Business Guide Workbook and Doula Business Guide. She really knocked it out of the park and included everything you need to get started, plus more. In general this has inspired me to really get OCD not only about the business aspects of my life, but my living environment as well. This week we have purged so much from the house and it feels so good!” — Leontine Wallace

“I created a website today and that section of your book was wonderful. I had never done it before so the guidance was awesome. I am also working on establishing myself as a business and I was really nervous about how that works but that section of your book was also really great. Thanks again!” — Elizabeth Gillette

“AMAZING! I’M THRILLED! I wanted you to know that your book arrived yesterday and I am tremendously impressed. What a fantastic book! I can’t put it down. I keep going from heading to heading, wondering ‘What does she say about this? About that?” and “ooh, that’s good” or “I love that story about Nan Koehler!.’ You’ve done an impressive job and I am happy it is so comprehensive!” — Amy L. Gilliland, Ph.D., CD(DONA), DONA Approved Doula Trainer and Doula Researcher

“I’ve been glued to your book tonight–can’t put it down, even though my bedtime has come and gone long ago. The information you have packed into this book is amazing. You are SO encouraging and hit on so many of the issues that have crossed my mind in considering every aspect of becoming a professional doula–on both the business side of things as well as on the personal. I just wanted to say ‘Thank you.’ This will be read, and re-read and resourced for many years to come.” — Janis Flint, Ravenna, MI

“I just received my copy of The Doula Business Guide yesterday and I am pouring through it. It’s exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for writing such a comprehensive guide.” — Natalia Hals, North Branch, MN

“Thank you for your wonderfully encouraging, helpful book. After reading it, I feel I have the resources to confidently market my doula practice. I moved from a small city in Minnesota to Portland, OR last year and went from being a busy doula to not having any clients or connections with the birth community. After wasting time wondering if something was wrong with me being a doula, I am now actually excited to network with professionals, organize my marketing materials, and tweak my website. Thanks again for the inspiration!” — Celia Linnemann, Portland, OR

“What a valuable resource! I am a returning doula. I have known Patty for many years and have admired her ability to morph her business into a sustainable and vibrant business while many midwives, doulas and childbirth educators have not, especially during the downturn of the economy. Patty not only openly and honestly shares her successes, but also her failures and what she has learned, so you don’t have to experience them for yourself. What a gift to us all!” — Gloria Cunningham, Detroit, MI

Want More?

See our many 5 star reviews on Amazon!

Table of Contents ~ The Doula Business Guide


Chapter 1. Choosing the Path

  • Consider …
  • Going It Alone–Sole Proprietors
  • Teaming Up–Partnerships (Think Twice!)
  • Should You Incorporate Your Business?
  • Collaborative Models
  • Evolution of Center for the Childbearing Year

Chapter 2. Implementing Your Creative Vision

  • Mission/Values/Vision
  • Naming Your Business
  • Considerations Regarding Office Space
  • Defining Your Service Package
  • Money Matters!
  • Third-Party Reimbursement for Doula Services
  • Staying Out of Trouble with the IRS
  • Getting the Paperwork Together
  • A Word about “The Stuff”
  • Commanding Respect

Chapter 3. Why Doulas Matter: How to Market Your Practice

  • The Big Picture–Marketing Overview
  • Cultivating Referrals, Repeat Business, Word of Mouth
  • Print Media
  • Online Media
  • Radio and Television
  • Establishing a Community Presence
  • Evaluation of Marketing Efforts

Chapter 4. To Be or Not to Be: Nonprofit Primer

  • What is a Nonprofit Corporation?
  • Pros and Cons of Nonprofits
  • Step-by-Step Set-Up
  • About “the Board”
  • Cloning the Executive Director
  • Fundraising–The Bottom Line
  • Story of Center for the Childbearing Year
  • The “Essentially Flawed Concept”
  • Reality Check
  • The Story Continues …

Chapter 5. A Doula for Every Woman Who Wants One: Doula Program Models

  • Doulas Care
  • Michigan Doula Connection
  • The HealthConnect One Model
  • Community-Based Program Models Summary
  • Hospital-Based Doula Programs

Chapter 6. Making the Case for Funding Doula Programs

  • Identify Funders with a Mission Match
  • Cultivating the Grantor–Grantee Relationship
  • Components of a Proposal
  • Proposal Writing Tips
  • Specific Doula Program Funding Strategies
  • Heads Up on Fiduciary Relationships
  • Sample Funded Proposal: Ann Arbor Thrift Shop
  • Sample Funded Proposal: Ann Arbor Community Foundation
  • What If Your Proposal Doesn’t Get Funded?
  • Honing Your Grant Writing Skills

Chapter 7. Risk Management for Doulas and Doula Programs

  • Scope of Practice
  • How to Make an Effective Referral
  • Creating Effective Client Contracts
  • Small Claims Court and the Doula
  • Risk Reduction Strategies for Doula Programs
  • Poor Birth Outcomes and the Doula
  • HIPAA Laws and Doulas
  • Child Abuse and Neglect and the Doula–Are Doulas Mandated Reporters?
  • Domestic Violence Awareness
  • Boundaries, Personal Safety, and Self Defense for Doulas
  • LLCs Revisited
  • Transfer of Risk: Insurance Considerations

Chapter 8. Going the Distance

  • The Art of Being “On Call”
  • Boundary Setting Revisited
  • Nurturing Yourself as Well as You Nurture Others
  • I Don’t Have Time to Read a Book on Time Management
  • Doula Power!

Excerpt from Penny Simkin’s Foreword:

“A glance over the Table of Contents shows how complete this book is, covering everything: various models for a private practice or a doula program, how to set it up, market it, remain within the law, finance the practice or program, and manage all possible risks to survival. Patty also covers, with humor and the voice of experience, such touchy topics as individual lifestyle issues, self-care and personal relationships within the family, community and with clients. She even shows how we can be effective birth activists without jeopardizing our clients’ well-being in the birth room. Whew! An appropriate subtitle for this book might be, “Everything You Wanted to Know about Doula Business, but Were Too Naïve to Ask.”

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Doula Business Guide WorkbookThe Doula Business Guide Workbook: Tools to Create a Thriving Business

By Patty Brennan, 2016
The Workbook is a great companion to The Doula Business Guide, featuring practical, interactive tools to help you plan, organize and grow your business. Whether you are new to the world of self-employment or are already a seasoned doula business owner, the Workbook is designed to help you manifest your dreams. Get ready to implement! You will find checklists, trackers, worksheets, exercises, questionnaires, strategies, planners and more.

The notion that heart-centered work and making money are somehow incompatible, is a false dichotomy. You CAN choose a path of service to others AND thrive financially. In fact, it is essential that you do! The Workbook serves as a class manual for our Doula Business Development Training.

The Doula Business Guide Workbook ($16.95)

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The Doula Business Guide E-Workbook ($13.95)

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What do doulas think of the book?


“I just ordered your workbook and I wanted to say thank you. I am just so grateful that you have published your wisdom about business building and made the process of acquiring entrepreneurial knowledge so simple and streamlined. What I’ve learned from your workshops and books has been immensely helpful in my career, both as a nurse and a doula. It has been a joy to look up to you as a role model and mentor over the past four years. I’m proud to say that I’m following my heart and transitioning in a few months to a doula practice. I have no doubts about my success with your pearls of wisdom to guide this process. Thank you!” — Leontine Wallace, Ann Arbor

Table of Contents ~ The Doula Business Guide Workbook


Part 1. Dream

  • Personal Inventory
  • Examining Our Beliefs about Money Exercise
  • Crafting a Mission Statement
  • Identifying Your Core Values
  • Articulating Your Vision

Part 2. Organize

  • Getting Organized
  • Business Name Quiz
  • Client Acquisition Process
  • Tracking Client Inquiries
  • Assembling a Welcome Packet
  • Forms Checklist
  • Setting Up Your “Chart of Accounts” in QuickBooks
  • IRS Primer
  • Birth Doula Mileage Worksheet
  • Postpartum Doula Mileage Worksheet
  • Mileage Log
  • Bookkeeping System Checklist
  • Infrastructure Summary Checklist

Part 3. Plan

  • Goals and Activities Business Planner
  • Create a Budget for Your Business
  • Budget Worksheet
  • Pie of Time Exercise
  • Time Management Strategies
  • Time Tracker
  • The One-Page Business Plan

Part 4. Grow

  • My Ideal Customer Questionnaire
  • Professional Networking Worksheet
  • Outreach Events/Venues Worksheet
  • Event Planning Guide
  • Keywords Brainstorming Exercise
  • Keyword Placement Tips
  • Website Planning Checklist
  • SWOT Analysis Tool
  • Mastering the Sabotage Monster Within
  • Competition Makes Us Stronger
  • Are You Feeling Stuck?
  • How to Form a Mastermind Group
  • Marketing Plan Checklist
  • Seven Characteristics of a True Professional

Invest in both books now and save!

Doula Business Guide & Workbook ($39.95)

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