When starting a midwifery business, many focus on the vision and mission to serve our families. When the thoughts of all the steps for starting and maintaining that practice creeps in, many midwives decide that working for a hospital or another midwifery practice is a safer option. During my consults, I hear very consistent themes among midwives of why it is “too difficult” for them to start a practice. I want to break down those barriers and provide inspiration that ANYONE can run a successful midwifery practice of their dreams if proper resources, training, and support are provided.
It is important to understand common midwife myths when you decide to start your own midwifery business. The midwife is commonly seen as a near-mythical figure, like the village elder that attended all births in villages of old. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) this is a definite misconception. Midwife services have come a long way and provide many benefits for expecting mothers and her health needs. Here are a few of the most common midwife myths about running a midwifery business.
1. Assisting with birth is the only practice I can open as a midwife
It is commonly thought that midwives only work with pregnant women and help them create amazing birth experiences. However, midwives are able to provide many additional services. There are so many needs for women and birth is just one aspect of that scope. Well woman services, gynecological support, menopausal therapy, newborn care, and so much more can be offered by midwives. By providing full scope midwifery care, women are able to continue women’s health support before and after having their children.
2. I have to be on call all the time
When creating an out of hospital midwifery practice, babies come at all hours of the day and night and midwives assume they have to be available all the time for families. Creating a team practice from beginning, finding great collaborating established practices, or creating a midwifery practice that doesn’t offer birth support can fill those barriers of feeling you need to be on call all the time. Each midwife is in a certain part of their life where being on call all the time isn’t realistic.
3. I don’t have any money to start a practice
This is by far the most common excuse I hear for why the midwife’s dream practice can’t be started. Most midwives think they need to start small and use their own hard earned cash to grow their midwifery practice. After many years of running midwifery practices and taking business courses, I have learned all the different ways to find funding for starting your practice. With a strong business plan and proper planning, finding the funding right from a bank or private investor will be the easy part of your opening phase.
4. Running a business is too hard and risky
I do agree that starting a business is hard, but with proper business foundation put into place, the running of your business will get easier with time. We are creating an investment into yourself, your community, and the future generations. There are protocols, planning steps, training, contracts, supplies, pick location, marketing, and much more that is needed in the beginning. Once your practice is going first couple years, it will be more maintenance and tweaking of your overall mission versus creating it.
I think working for someone else is more risky than running my own company. I get to do what I love, on my own terms, and my own schedule. I don’t have to worry about new budgets in departments saying the midwifery practice is closing next week. I don’t have to compete with other midwives to find jobs in places that don’t I don’t like just to pay the bills. I do each and everyday what I love and on my own terms. That doesn’t seem hard or risky to me.
5. I will make more money working at a hospital practice
This is a common one I hear among Certified Nurse Midwives and Certified Midwives. Certified Professional. Direct Entry Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives go into training with the only option of starting their private practices. Your salary for running your business really depends on your planning, structure, services offered, and team you put together. You can make WAY MORE MONEY always working for yourself than someone else. I want to help midwives shift from making that money from their own time, but creating amazing businesses that have staff that will be a good chunk of their income streams. We only have so many hours in the day and only so many ladies we can see on our own.
6. I will figure things out as problems come along
Truth be told that the first step is always the hardest. With most everything that you aim to accomplish about your business, the first step is always the hardest to complete because you have zero momentum. You have to pick up out of nowhere and begin. Oftentimes, you may not even know where to begin so you avoid the task or project altogether. Starting a business can seem overwhelming if you try to look at every single thing that needs to be accomplished. By working with a business consultant like myself, you get someone that helps you through the planning process and avoid many of the mistakes new entrepreneurs make. Let’s not make mistakes with your own precious time, money, and clients.
7. Once I start my midwifery practice, I will serve everyone since there is such a need
This idea is so vague that anyone might misinterpret it. If you look at a number of midwifery websites, you may notice that they more or less all say the same thing – informing you what a midwife is, how they help, and that if you’re pregnant, connect with them.
The truth is, everyone has an ideal client market to serve and your job as a business owner is to brand to that audience. Your website and other marketing materials need to show your personality, say what kind of client would be a perfect fit to call you, and evoke a reaction from the one type of person who gets you, who loves you, who wants to contact you.
We have a defined scope of practice and every state is different what the regulations say our midwifery services can be. Know your local regulations and your educational training’s specific services that can be offered to women. Collaborate with the health care system on the rest.
8. Having certifications is proof that I am competent and qualified
No, experience imparts not just knowledge, but also understanding. While certifications provide a safety net and comfort to those hiring you, your skills and experience matter more in the long run. Early in your midwifery career, as well as during a transition to a new field or role, certification may bridge the experience gap. Although frankly speaking, certification is very important but if you are not learning how to run and promote your business, you’re going to have a difficult time finding clients no matter how many different certifications you have.
Continuing education is so important after finishing school for business and midwifery. I love helping midwives create community support groups among them to review charts, practice rare emergencies, and talk about the latest evidence and guidelines out there. Sometimes working out of the main health care system and solo model, we don’t get exposed to all the ever changing care standards out there.
9. I don’t need any training to run a midwifery business (I will learn by experience)
I speak with midwives all the time that just open their doors and try to figure out the business side while providing midwifery care and wonder why they are struggling so much. They have went to school for so long to be a midwife, but no training or experience in running a business. Being a midwife and entrepreneur are completely different educational pathways. Traditional school growing up doesn’t teach you how to run a company, but be an employee of that company. I created Midwifery Business Consultation to help midwives be successful in running their business by creating resources, tools, templates, and consulting services to create that strong business foundation.
10. I don’t have time to start a midwife practice
We all have the same amount of time in life, it is a matter of what is a higher priority. I have learned from my mentors a long time ago, don’t say to anything that are considering doing, “I don’t have time.” Start saying, “I am not making this a priority in my life right now.” It sounds very different and gives us accountability for choices we make. If it isn’t the right time in life, that is totally fine. If you feel you don’t have the time, that will always be your excuse for not making your dreams a reality.
Start working on time management and really analyze where your precious hours each day are doing. Are you doing some sitcom binging on the weekend? Are you sleeping seven or ten hours each night? Are you choosing to play games on your phone and scroll Facebook to see what all the newest gossip is around your friends? When I work with clients and are struggling with finding more time in life, we make a detailed schedule of what is being done day to day and where are there areas that may be utilized to plan and create their dream midwifery practices. Many times it is sleeping less hours (it is totally fine and healthy to sleep 5-7hr each day), staying up late when kids go to bed, stop watching tv and getting off all the social media platforms. I rarely watch TV and listen to podcasts on my drive instead of the radio to gain back precious time. These are just some ways to prioritize the time to work on your business goals.
We have went over so many myths that are a common them with midwives wanting to run a practice of their own someone. It is possible for ANYONE to start one and be successful. Just understanding it takes time, knowledge, and long term commitments to get past those myths listed above.