Postpartum Doula Business: Six Possible Structures

doula business postpartum doula postpartum doula business Mar 09, 2022

The most overwhelming task that doulas experience when starting out, is figurin gout the business end of things. Being a doula and running a business each require a certain skill set.  I’ve been seeing lots of posts online with questions about how to get started.

What type of structure do I create?

Do I work on the branding first?

How do I choose the business structure?

Who can help me with a business plan?

I’m going to break it down here and keep it really simple. There are many different business structures. The one that is right for you depends upon your particular financial situation and your big vision. You get to ask yourself some questions or work with an accountant that can give you some guidance. 

You can always be working on your branding as far as logo, colors, and determining your niche, and your ideal client.

Before you decide on the structure for your postpartum doula business, create a business plan with what you want to do now, and in the near future, and a bit down the road.

Do a braindump, leaving nothing out. You can whittle it down later. You can even find a business plan template, and work within those parameters. Or you can find a local S.C.O.R.E. office and find a mentor.  What you want to do will help you decide on the structure.

These are the seven business structures I know about. Visit the  IRS for more detailed information.

  1. LLC - This is the limited liability company. The owners are called members. You can have as many members as you want. They can be foreign entities and companies. How your taxes are filed depends upon how many members. Different states may have different rules.
  2. S-Corp -The S-Corp structure allows for the company to pass on losses, gains, and deduction to shareholders. You would report the flow of income and loss through your personal return.  A separate return is filed for the S-corp.
  3. Sole Proprietor; DBA. The DBA stands for Doing Business as. It is you personally taking on a name for your business. For example: Betsy Schwartz DBA Tenth Month Doula Services. (my original business name). This is all personal income. You can take certain deductions.
  4. Partnerships - Just as the name implies. This is when you are in a legal agreement with another person. All expenses and income is shared. Profits and losses are passed to the partners.
  5. Cooperative - This model is where the business is owned and operated by its members; those who use the products and services.  The business exists to benefit the community. Food Co-ops are a great example. Members work so many hours and get benefits in return (reduced cost on goods) . There is less financial risk as it is spread out. This is an interesting model for doulas to look at.
  6. Collective - Think Co-ops, Trade Associations and franchises. This is when similar businesses and groups come together for a project, or a shared goal. Technically it isn’t a business structure but it is collaborative in nature. Doulas already benefit from this with membership organizations, and Co-ops. Any type of collaboration could be considered a collective.

Lastly, you can work for an already established business. This may be very beneficial in the beginning of your doula career to gain experience.

See if you love it and want to create a structured business. It’s a great freedom to be able to say yes or no to a job, and take time off. 

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. There is a lot to consider. And, it’s a fun roller coaster ride. Many ups and downs, and also a freedom like no other. Enduring, planning, releasing, systematizing, hiring, creating, learning are all part of the process. And then some.

I’d love to chat with you about your goals. Book a free coaching call here. Get my Ten Tips on The Business of Being a Postpartum Doula here.


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