How to Start a Midwife Practice
So many midwives dream of running their own practice, but few take the leap of faith to make that a reality. Most midwives, especially CNMs, tend to work for someone else or a larger system. They will give up many of their initial values of what midwifery looks like to be able to get a comfortable paycheck with nice benefits. What if I could persuade you into the fascinating world of entrepreneurship?
I want more private midwife practices (whether it is home births, birth center, or hospital deliveries). Even a hospital owned midwifery practice runs completely different than a midwifery owned private practice that has hospital privileges. The midwives can make the policies, procedures, and mission for the practice versus a larger hospital organization. We specialize in supporting normal birth. The larger a system gets, the quality tends to be harder to keep. Women and families start becoming a number versus a name with a story.
Think back to starting midwifery training, why did you want to be a midwife? What did you envision your care and practice environment would be like? Is that what you have right now? If you ran your own practice, you can actually create that fantasy practice. You can actually serve women on your terms, philosophy of care, and options to provide lower income families with a discount versus management can only make financial decisions.
There are many ways to start your own midwifery practice. Think long and hard about what kind of practice you want to have and what services will be offered. Do you want to be full scope or just well women care? Do you want to be open 2 days a week and on call for births or five days a week with weekends off? Do you want to make unlimited income to support your family and community needs? That last part is really hard to do working for someone else. Starting your own midwife practice means freedom, opportunities, and accessing your creativity to the next level.
Make a business plan and takes months tweaking it. Ask other successful midwives running their own practices (not your employee colleagues, but actually successful business owners) to look at your plan and give feedback. Learn from the best in the field. Hire a business consultation that helps midwives all over the country start and improve their midwife practice. Find like minded women in the community that want to help you build this amazing midwife practice. You can only do so much on your own. These lovely ladies can either be business partners or employees depending on how you want that long term relationship to look.
Know your initial and operating expenses. Create detailed budgets, templates, policies, market analysis surveys, and network like crazy. Take the time to learn your consumers, community, and needs. Create a great logo, marketing campaign, and branding system to grow your name and exceptional services. Figure out if cash or insurance reimbursement makes more sense for payment of your services. Make a list of supplies needed to start and will need to be replaced at regular intervals. Understand what staff you will need from day one and at each stage of growth in the midwife practice.
Where will your office be located? What area will you serve? What business entity makes most sense for your midwife practice? Who are on your business team (consultant, accountant, financial planner, lawyer, marketer, and mentors)? How much money do you need to start practice and pay overhead until funds from care start coming in? What will your marketing budget be? How many staff do you hire? What are your orientation process for team going to look like?
There is so much to think about when starting a business, but I stress over and over again that this is the most vital part of deciding on starting a midwife practice. If you don’t have a good business foundation to grow from, the success in the future will crumble from poor planning and lack of prepared capital. Take the time to plan, critically analyze every piece of the puzzle, and make the mistakes with planning and not your hard earned money and precious time!