It’s no surprise then that the clients you attract will have a message for you, just like you have a message for them. And just because you do vocational work for a living does not mean that you have to give your time for free or for very little. We are all continuing to evolve as we face our day-to-day challenges. You may know something in your mind and be able to teach it well to your clients, yet that same lesson may not have totally reached your heart to the point that you are actually fully living it.
It’s not uncommon to hear birth entrepreneurs talk about how they constantly attract clients who can’t afford to pay you or who aren’t willing to pay you what you want. You may have a deep-rooted belief that your services aren’t worth much. In this case, it’s important that you do the inner work to change that belief.
When I became a doula fourteen years ago, I was fortunate enough to come into this profession from a very well-paid one. I was a television producer/director and I believed that I was worth a yearly salary of six figures. Yet, when I looked around at my doula colleagues I only saw a deep rooted belief that because we could not compare ourselves with the doctors or nurses, our work was of little worth. When I looked at the average investment to work with a doula, I was appalled to discover that some of my colleagues were willing to earn less than a cashier at McDonald’s restaurant.. Being a doula is ‘sacred” and we are in service to the greater good, but a commitment to women's health cannot be betrayed by the implicit agreement that another woman will sacrifice her own health, family and life-style to do that work.
I immediately fell in love with the work of accompanying women through this important rite of passage, but I was not about to disregard my own and my family’s financial well-being to do it. How could I teach a woman to find her voice and have confidence in her right to have what she desired if I was willing to sacrifice all I desired myself? I realized that the current fees doulas were charging to work in my very rich city of angels was not based on what the market could sustain, but on how a doula felt about herself and her personal worth.
The challenge for me was that when I spoke about money to my fellow doulas, I noticed the other doulas felt embarrassed to ask for a fee. There was a clear feeling that money-talk is dirty. When I began charging what I thought I should charge, even as a new doula, I definitely raised a lot of eyebrows. Comments like, “How dare she charge that much with such little experience?” where whispered around me all the time. But I persevered! After all, I loved this job so much and I loved my life and nothing could stop me from enjoying them both. A few years passed. And then a miracle happened. More experienced doulas started charging as much as or even more than I was. My willingness to ask for higher fees and to receive them had inspired other doulas to realize that they deserved higher rates too! Consequently, in the last few years, doula service fees have doubled, creating a lot of job satisfaction and leading to some amazing projects. Since we are now able to make a good living we have had the opportunity to give a whole lot more back.
In 2012, I founded the Joy in Birthing Foundation. We offer free doula services to families in the foster care system, and provides doula support for a few homeless shelters around town and for teenagers in juvenile detention. Next year, we are slated to get into the prison system and help detainees have the dignity they deserve in their labor and delivery experience. Unless I was financially independent, I surely could not afford, nor have the energy to create such a foundation.
Don’t get stuck in the belief that it is better to give than to receive. Every giver must first be a receiver or she will have nothing to give. Think of all the things you would do for others, all the people you’d like to take care of, all the charities you’d like to sponsor, and all the people who would benefit from your gifts. And then set out to get rich to give!
In order to get to the point where you truly believe you deserve to make a good living with your profession you must first look at your relationship with money, and with the belief system you were raised with. Then you need to get the necessary tools to eradicate those beliefs and transform just who and what you are attracting into your life.
The three most common mistakes made by light workers
1. Not ready. You don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to start to be great. There are many mistakes you will make on the way to your success. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everyone had to start somewhere and people will appreciate your being humble and not being a know-it-all. Be a procurer of information. Don’t say you know it, but say you can get the information needed from your amazing support system. Be willing to start NOW.
2. Not my time. The universe will never give you more than you can handle. There is an amazing word that was coined in the sixties in the United States and it is ‘Pronoia’. This is the opposite of paranoia. It means the Universe is conspiring to manifest your success. The Universe wants you to be successful. Think about it. You are a light worker. You are helping people, you are making a better world and your success is important. Just by the fact that you are reading this means that THIS IS YOUR TIME.
3. Not good enough. Some of us think we are just not good enough. We compare ourselves up all the time. The 499th most successful person in the world can either rejoice for being in the first 500, or they can look up and be distraught that he is behind 498 others. Some of the best doulas or even breastfeeding experts might not have ever had a child nor have breastfed successfully. Of course these experiences help you in your job, but they are not prerequisites. There is always a workshop, another specialization, another year of study ahead, and it is good to challenge yourself and study, but you do not need to have it all done before you begin your work.
Finally, ask yourself why you feel that your services aren’t worth much and find examples that prove otherwise. Just look at other birthkeepers or lightworkers (yoga instructors, lactation consultants, coaches etc.) who have flourishing businesses which show that people are willing to pay for their services.
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