Being an entrepreneur is something midwives are not trained to be. We are trained to care for women and babies, understand normal birth, and prepare for emergency situations. Our scope is low-risk, healthy women. To be a business owner is either learning by mistake or taking the initiative to take additional classes or read books about business running.
My motto has always been proactive versus reactive. Consider how much easier running your midwife business would be with better understanding of tax laws, hiring the right staff, accounting, budgets, business plans, time management, and so much more. Being a midwife for someone’s business versus running your own are completely different playing fields. There are certain personalities that work for others and personalities that NEED to leave the corporate world.
Do you want to run your schedule, book clients you want to see, and make policy changes directly when new evidence is out about care models? Then you are more likely to fit the role of entrepreneur. This is a position no school teaches you about. A person must find mentors, take night classes, online videos, or read recommended books from other business owners.
Some of the best business owner resources I have found are Napoleon Hill Foundation, Rich Dad Poor Dad Series, and Tony Robbins seminars. Meet with accountants, lawyers, and business owners in your area. Have a mentor, preferably a midwife doing what you want to accomplish, that will review your business plan, check your numbers, and give some tips that will be invaluable to your success.
Planning and prepping for private practice will make things go so much smoother. Learn tax strategies and deductions available for business ownership. Make sure you pick the best business model for your midwife practice (sole proprietor, limited liability company, non-profit, or S-corp). I have met so many midwives that become a sole proprietor because it is the easiest business model to set up. They have no clue the pros and cons of the different kinds of business models and the unneeded risk they are taking with personal assets by choosing this model. There are no tax deductions with sole proprietors and no liability protection present.
Don’t always pick the cheapest option when doing a product or option cost analysis. Ask smart questions and compare the options available before making a decision. I see this often with malpractice insurance. Many home birth midwives feel “they don’t need it” or “it costs too much.” What are the costs of protecting your hard-earned business and personal assets? Do you even know what the word asset means? Liability and asset are basic financial terms and very important to understand. Liabilities lose you money like your home and assets make you money like your business.
Even having employees, laws and very important tools are available for hiring, firing, training, and paying staff. Evaluations and disciplinary actions need to be handled professionally and carefully. If you want to offer health insurance to your employees, some resources need to be reviewed about equality and discrimination protection with coverage and reimbursement offered by businesses.
Certain posters need to be present in the break room explaining employees’ rights. These are all things business owners need to understand and be aware of. Midwives working for someone else only worry about doing their job and being a good employees. Midwives that want to run a business (I strongly encourage that option) need to take additional school about finances, business ownership, and tax laws.
The wealth and opportunities available to midwife business ownership are bountiful. Few people can be business owners, not that it is harder, but there is limited training done growing up about that option. Take the time and train yourself about business owning before taking the plunge.
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