Creating a midwifery practice
I get asked this question often so I thought it would be great to spread this advice to the masses. So many midwives have an amazing dream practice. I get the privilege of hearing so many amazing dreams and goals to change the face of midwifery as we know it. The biggest challenge isn’t the dreaming part, it is the application part.
How do you start a practice when you have never run a business before? What are the first steps in making this a reality? Many people can visualize the final product very well, few can visualize the strategic planning needs that are required to make that midwife practice actually open.
Becoming an entrepreneur
I don’t feel our society does a great job of training anyone to be a successful business owner. We are taught from a very young age to work for someone else as employees and get paychecks. It is a totally different mindset and planning process to become an entrepreneur.
When I meet with clients for the first time, we talk a lot about their passions, goals, backdrop stories to midwifery, hobbies, life drivers, and pain points they want to overcome. Anytime you are in the early planning stages of your business, it is great to make a business plan and Small Business Administration (SBA – Write your business plan (sba.gov)) has a lot of resources to help get that part started.
Many people don’t realize that you need to be planning early on how I am going to get my mindset shifted towards business owner and investor versus employee and self-employment. There are two complete mindsets and lifetime financial pathways you can choose from. When I ask midwives questions like, “Do you want to stay small and simple home birth practice or expand into a team with multiple birth centers?” Most will want to be business owners and we spend much of our time getting them to think like a business owner versus self-employed while doing the business planning process.
The biggest shift is to stop thinking about exchanging your own time for money
. Stop thinking about what I can directly do to make money and serve families. The shift becomes real when clients start making strategic plans that are along the lines of, “What systems can I put into place with my midwife practice to serve more families? Who are the experts in my community I can get to join my dream practice? As soon as your mind starts working like a business owner, planning and running the day-to-day operations of any business gets a THOUSAND TIMES EASIER!
The best advice I can give in practice early planning stages is to continually do professional development with your own leadership and business skills at the same time you are planning all the things to make your midwife practice run well. I always stress that I can help you write the best business plan to get funding, but only you can apply this business plan and actually make sure the systems are running as recommended in the business plan. There is a reason that 90% of small businesses fail in the first 5 years. It usually has nothing to do with this business venture itself, it has to do with the person managing the business.
Take some time to think about simple, little changes in your life you can be doing now to help improve your knowledge and skills around business (stop listening to the radio to home visits and start listening to audiobooks and podcasts, find a business mentor in your community, or just start critically thinking about how you are processing decisions in your life – are you still think how can I exchange my precious time for money or how can I create amazing service teams that serve the families I love?)
Great books to read: Think and Grow Rich, Cash Flow Quadrants, & Compounding Effect
Tips for Writing a Midwifery Business Plan is a course we created using our own experience in the industry.