How Much Should You Charge? Doula Series Ep. 4

By: Care Messer Birth Doula, Doulas, Education January 24, 2019


Let’s talk about the uncomfortable subject of money! How much do you charge as a new doula and what are you worth? Your training matters. Your certification matters. Your extra education matters. All the skills that you had before you came into birth work also matters. But before you can feel a 100% confident in setting and charging a equitable fee, it’s important that you know the shadow side that you bring into your birth work regarding money. Money can be a rope around your neck or allow your hands to be open and generous. It can also make you resentful or hopeful. Find out where to start, what book to memorize and get clear about what you bring to the table before your first interview (or your 100th)!

Video Transcript:

– So what are your feelings when it comes to money? Does it make you sick to your stomach? Totally uncomfortable? You gotta talk money when you go to families and you have to have a fee. You need to be confident in it, so today we’re gonna talk about that. Before we do our vision board video which is next week, you need to be clear about money what it means to you and how it makes you feel so that you can get clear on your vision board and work towards what you want. So the first thing you need to understand and be really clear about, is money is just energy exchange. You’re paying for a service and you get a service. It’s pretty simple. But when we think about money we have all that, ugh, uncomfortable stuff. Debt? Makes us sick to our stomach. Bills? I’ve got a pit in my stomach. Money is not always the most pleasant thing but then there’s a flip side that’s normal for money that is fun and exciting. We have concert tickets to P!nk. I have no problem dropping $200 to see her. It’s gonna be an amazing night. I take money and go to the grocery store, pay for my goods and I leave. Don’t think a thing about it unless I overspend which sometimes I do. We go get our hair done, don’t think anything about paying for a $50 haircut, unless we think it wasn’t worth a $50 haircut, right? We would not think of going in and saying, do my nails, do my hair and not giving money. That’s their service, we’re willing to pay for it. You’re providing a service for a birth and people are willing to pay for it but you have to feel comfortable in charging what you’re going to be charging. So when you’re thinking about an exchange for service and what you’re gonna be asking moms for when they pay you, what are you worth? What’s your value? When you come right out of training, you may have had a few births before training, you may not have. You may be in an area where there’s no doula so you can charge whatever you want. So when you’re thinking about exchanging energy, money for your service what skills are you bringing? You don’t come right out of a cosmetology school going, I’m gonna charge $1,000 per haircut. You don’t. You probably work at some place like Haircuts Plus for a while, get more experience under your belt and then you start charging a little bit more, maybe move to a different salon, maybe you start working for yourself or renting a booth. Confidence is skill building. It’s mastering what you’re doing. You don’t come out of school with zero debt and have no buy into that craft. You always put a little bit back in and sometimes you’re in a hole for a while until you get to where you need to go. So what we’re trying to get you ready for is going in to an interview and being able to state your fee to parents and be confident about your fee. If you come in knowing your value, what skills you bring, you’re gonna be able to say, when the money talk comes up, my fee is $600 and if you’re confident in it you’re gonna be able to give them eye contact and say, my fee is $600 and if they barter back with, well, that’s a little bit out of our price range, we need X, Y, Z and $200 is our max fee and you know that you’re worth and bring value of $600 you’ll be able to say, well I do offer payments, they’ll be pay in full by X date, if that still doesn’t work for you, I’m okay with helping you find the doula that will fit your budget and walk away from that job because it might not be meant for you. If they know they can bargain you backwards, that tells a lot about your value, right? If there are special circumstances where you want to offer a discount, that’s different, but bargaining you back because you aren’t confident in your fee to begin with, everyone’s gonna see that and your skills are not gonna be valued. So the next thing you need to look for is what’s your value? What’s your worth? What skills do you bring to the table? Before you got into birth work, were you a manager? Do you know how to solve problems and look ahead for things that you need to plan for? That’s a skill you’re bringing into birth. Your training matters. Whatever doula training you took, the books you read, the investment of time and energy, all of that matters but there’s outside things that you bring too. Were you a therapist before? Do you look at filters and understand where parents are coming from so you can better relate to them? There are a lot of skills that you’re going to be bringing to the table so being new doesn’t necessarily mean just because you don’t have a lot of births under your belt, you don’t have other skills you can offer. And those are things you’re gonna wanna highlight in an interview. One of the things you need to recognize is that you’re basically a concierge for birth. You’re gonna be three steps ahead of these parents knowing what they need to plan for what they need to look for. How we work best with the hospital staff what are we gonna be looking for to bring this baby into the world, beautiful, connected, sexy, delicious and bring that energy into the room. That’s what we’re looking for and that’s a skillset that you’ll develop over time. The more births you get, the more you’ll be able to hone those skills. The more you mentor with somebody, pay for their time and listen to them, ask questions, get the tips from people who’ve already done it before. That’s gonna be another skillset because you didn’t have to actually learn it but you can gather it from somebody else. Is there an online forum where you can talk to doulas across the country and say here’s what’s happening in my area, what are you guys doing? There’s so many ways that you can bring in that skills and education for a nominal fee to help build so that you can charge more for your fee. I can’t tell you what to charge in your area because every area is different. Some people charge 300 and their max doula in that area is 800. Some start out at 800 and their max is 4,000 depending on the county. We don’t know what’s good in your area, but I can tell you you’re probably gonna be on the lower end when you start because you don’t have the confidence to put your best foot forward and what the parents need to see is that what you do know, you’re confident in to help them with their birth. One thing to also consider is in this day and age with the internet, these parents have already stalked you. They’ve looked you up on Facebook, they know what your Instagram or lack of Instagram is, they know if you have reviews, they’ve also Google-imaged you. So all of your high school, college pictures with your boobs hanging out, they’ve seen all of those. And a mom’s filter is, what’s my partner gonna see? When he or she sees you, right? So some of that stuff needs to be locked down ASAP and our professional life needs to be our best foot forward. When they’re looking at who you are and researching who you are, there may not be a fee there, but they’re already gonna have a perception of what you’re gonna be bringing to the table. You need to know who you are and how much you’re worth before you walk into that money interview because if you don’t walk in confident, everything’s gonna unravel and you’re gonna feel yucky in the interview. So confidence comes from mastery. The more books you read, the more classes you take, the more education you get from mentors. The more people you talk to about birth and gathering skills with that, the more videos you watch, you’re gonna pick up little bits along the way that give you the confidence to see it in a birth room and go, oh, I know how to handle that. Talking to other doulas across the nation, across the world, is gonna give you a big view of what birth can look like, just so you have that in the back of your mind and I will tell you, you will gather the right tips and tools from people that you need at a birth that’s coming up because you’re not gonna get that information dropped into you unless you need it. One of the things that’s gonna put you a little behind financially perhaps at the beginning, is planning out what education and training that you need to take in the future. Do you need to take a spinning babies course? Do you need to get a rebozo course? Do you need to take a couple childbirth education courses so you understand the ins and outs of what your parents are learning? All of those things count as mastery and they’re all things that you can list on your website. There are things that you can list in Facebook in your description. I’m continually learning so that I can help you grow. I can better support you. Education is key when it comes to being a doula and not just letting it stop at training. Don’t even get me started on certification because I’m a full supporter of that. So next, I want you to explore your feelings around money. I want the negative, what you’re hearing right now, and then what you’re gonna be moving towards for the positive. With the positive I always start with gratitudes but let’s start with the negative. So negative, money makes me nervous. I get sick when I think about it. Debt makes my throat tight. I get a pit in my stomach when I think about what comes in every month and there’s never enough. I hate the feeling of money, it feels dirty to me and I feel shame around it. I learned a lot of bad stuff about money. Like what’s going on in your head when it comes to that? I had a plethora of yucky stuff around money and it’s taken me years to work through but just the movement of where I wanted to go has really helped to shift things. Vision boards have totally helped with that, which is why that’s the next video. So when we think about where we wanna go with money, money can bring me peace, it can bring me confidence. There can be plenty of it, more than enough to share. There’s gonna be so much money that I have extra. I’m gonna have some in savings, I’m gonna be able to buy that car that I need. I’m gonna be able to help my family out and not be stressed every month. Money is gonna bring me some joy and there’s gonna be enough to give to other people. So one of the best books that you can get which is kind of a money workbook, which has kind of become my money bible now, is by Jen Sincero and it’s called, “You Are a Badass at Making Money.” Jen is really good at breaking down what we’re coming into money with, what we saw our parents talk about, what we saw our relatives talk about, our cultural background with money and then you’re starting to list things. What are the negative parts about this? How do I switch it? Sometimes just bringing attention to where it comes from will do those switches for you and that’s what you need. We need to move towards, there’s more than enough money to go around. Be grateful for what we have and what money has provided for us. There’s so much money in this world it’s printed, printed, printed, printed. There’s more than anyone could ever spend but we don’t think about that and I kind of want you to liken money to nature. When you go out into the woods, there are leaves everywhere, there’s branches everywhere, there’s pine needles everywhere, there’s flowers everywhere, there’s moisture. It’s plentiful. Nature and the world and life gives us more than we could possibly need and it’s joyful and there’s plenty of it. And I don’t know why it’s gone to, except for this thing. Because that thing actually multiplies when you put good positive energy towards it and let it loosen the noose around your neck. Money can actually help you feel prosperous, calm and centered but you have to change your means around it. One of the things that struck me in Jen’s book was we may have heard a story in our house about money where mom and dad were fighting with money all the time, but it might not have been about money. Mom may have needed attention from dad so she did that little pique thing till he would blow up and then she would get that attention. It just happened to be that money was the thing that would spark it but what we heard was, money is bad, money is shameful, we don’t talk about money because then a fight comes up. And that’s not what was going on in that household. But as a little kid, that’s what we took in. So some of that kind of stuff might unravel for you and it’s gonna blow your mind. It’s really powerful stuff and now is the time to work on it. Okay, so to recap everything, before you’re gonna make your vision board next week, you’re gonna get clear that money is simply energy exchange. Good for services, what you offer, what you’re gonna expect to receive in return, pretty simple. And once you get that down, you’ll know exactly what delicious goods and services that you’re gonna be bringing to this baby’s birth. Pretty simple to charge your fee. And then, you’re gonna move on to being confident in stating your fee because you’re gonna know your value, you’re gonna know your worth. That makes all the difference, knowing what you bring to the table ahead of time works. And then, I want you to dig in deep about what feelings you really bring in about money. Getting clear on where you are and where you wanna head, is gonna make all the difference in stating your fee, feeling confident and knowing that value before you walk into an interview. So pretty much this whole video points to personal growth. If you haven’t read Wayne Dyer’s book, that I mentioned in a previous video, about “Excuses Begone!” now is the time to do that. Knowing who you are and what your value is allows you to let your skills shine when you’re in an interview and charge what you’re worth. And that’s gonna go up and down depending on your skillset but you’re gonna know what your value is before somebody asks you and that’s gonna make all the difference.

About the author:
Care is the founder of the Birth Education Center, San Diego HypnoBirthing and Cuddle Sanctuary San Diego. She is a Birth Educator, Hypnotherapist, Birth and Postpartum Doula, INNATE Care Provider, Erotic Blueprint Coach and also professional Cuddler. She specializes in connection work between people and increasing self boundaries for a more balanced life together.