1. Confusing revenue with income – Revenue is what your business brings in. It isn’t all income for your family. Revenue includes your income, but it also includes the money you need to cover your expenses and reinvent in your business. So set your prices at the point where your revenue is where it needs to be for you to get sufficient income after expenses.
2. Mixing business and personal funds. In the beginning, most doulas rely on funding from their family budget to pay for training and getting themselves set up in business. But as income starts to come in, they don’t ever progress to having a separate bank account for their business. This can make it very hard to know if your business is actually profitable or if it is a drain on your family finances. If you’ve set up your business as a LLC or corporation, comingling your funds can mess up the benefits of the legal protection from that. So don’t pay your family’s electric bill from your business account or pay for your recertification from your family funds.
3. Forgetting to anticipate expenses – Once you get set up as a doula, you’ve got your equipment, you’ve done your training. So you just dive in and set your pricing in a way that covers the direct costs of providing doula services, but you forget to think long term. So you’ve got your gas and child care covered, but when it’s time to renew your web site or recertify, you’re scrambling to find a way to pay for those. It’s wise to set aside some business funds from each birth for unexpected expenses as well. I once had to rent a car for three days when my transmission went out and a client was past her EDD! Thankfully I had an emergency fund in my business account that covered it.
I hope that you’ll avoid these financial traps that can make your business struggle. As much as you probably wish you didn’t have to worry about these aspects, you really need to look after the financial health of your doula business!