The Doula Business Guide & Workbook

doula business guideNEW! The Doula Business Guide: How to Succeed as a Birth, Postpartum or End-of-Life Doula

3rd Edition (2019)
By Patty Brennan
Foreword by Penny Simkin

The Doula Business Guide ($34.95)

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Why should I invest in this book?

The Doula Business Guide, 3rd Edition, is the must have, comprehensive resource for anyone seeking to establish an independent doula business or program. Nearly 400 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.
  • Consider a variety of models and parameters for establishing a doula program.
  • Win grants to fund your doula program.

What do doulas think of the book?


“What an amazing pair of books! I’m so thrilled to be able to share these books with my workshop participants. I love how comprehensive they are with so many different business models and the detailed questions to ask to see which one is right for you. I find your new edition to be so thorough. You have great focusing exercises for the new person who has never run their own business. Plus you have guidance for the experienced doula who now wants to run a collective, a non-profit or begin a doula agency.” — Amy L. Gilliland, Ph.D., CD(DONA), DONA Approved Doula Trainer and Doula Researcher

“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

“Thank you so much for your sharing spirit and for helping me conceptualize the foundational blocks for my doula business. Your book and gems of wisdom are like liquid gold in my mind and heart now. Thank you for being a phenomenal educator and writer! Our sisterhood is privileged to have you!” — Shamila Jocelyn, Providence, RI

“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

“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 and doulas 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

Table of Contents ~ The Doula Business Guide


Chapter 1. How Doulas Work

  • First, Consider …
  • Legal Business Structures
  • Doula Business Models
  • What’s right for you?

Chapter 2. Building Blocks

  • Your Creative Vision
  • Naming Your Business
  • Pros & Cons of Renting Office Space
  • Defining Your Service Package
  • Money Matters!
  • Third-Party Reimbursement for Doula Services
  • Tax Primer for Small Business Owners
  • Getting the Paperwork Together
  • A Word about “The Stuff”
  • Commanding Respect

Chapter 3. How to Market Your Practice

  • The Big Picture–Marketing Overview
  • Networking and Cultivating Referrals
  • Print Media
  • Online Media
  • Radio and Television
  • Establishing a Community Presence
  • Evaluation of Marketing Efforts

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

  • 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. Doula Program Models

  • Preliminary Considerations
  • Program Variables
  • Two Community-Based Program Models
  • Hospital-Based Doula Programs
  • End-of-Life Doula Programs
  • Summary

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
  • Doula Program Funding Strategies
  • Making the Case for End-of-Life Doula Programs
  • 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/Elder Abuse and Neglect and the Doula: Are Doulas Mandated Reporters?
  • Domestic Violence Awareness
  • Boundaries, Personal Safety, and Self Defense for Doulas
  • LLC Formation
  • 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
  • Next Steps after Doula Training
  • 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 workbookNEW! The Doula Business Guide Workbook: Tools to Create a Thriving Practice

3rd Edition (2019)
By Patty Brennan

The Doula Business Guide Workbook ($19.95)

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The new edition of the Workbook is designed for birth, postpartum and end-of-life doulas. It 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. The Workbook serves as a class manual for our Doula Business Development Workshop.

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
Comparison of Doula Business Models
Client Acquisition Process
Tracking Client Inquiries
Assembling a Welcome Packet
Forms Checklist
Setting Up Your Chart of Accounts in QuickBooks
Staying Out of Trouble with the IRS—Startup Exercises
Birth Doula Mileage Worksheet
Postpartum/End-of-Life 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
Your Ideal Customer Questionnaire
Professional Networking Worksheet
Outreach Events/Venues Worksheet
Event Planning Guide
Understanding Keywords
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

Order both books now & save (full value = $54.90)!

Doula Business Guide & Workbook ($50)

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