5 Ways to Move Beyond Competition as Doulas

Two young women sitting indoors, both appearing upset or deep in thought, with one woman in the foreground looking particularly frustrated and resting her chin on her fist.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of competition in birth work lately while preparing for my workshop – Beyond Competition: Birthing your Unique Doula Practice – at the 2013 DONA International Conference (which, if you haven’t heard, is being held virtually this weekend!).

In the workshop we’ll be exploring the impact of competition on your birth practice, with a focus on how to shift your attention away from comparison and instead focus on growing your unique practice.  Here are a few guidelines to get you started:

1.  Be Aware.  Ok, not all of you reading this may feel the impact of competition on your doula practice, but just in case, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you find yourself being possessive with your referral contacts?
  • Are you threatened by her new website or cards or worried that yours won’t measure up?
  • Do you make comparisons – and feeling either inadequate or a tad superior depending on what you see…?  Which one of you goes dancing with the midwives every Saturday night?
  • Have you felt your heart sink when you learn a client is interviewing both of you – or – glee when they choose you over her?
  • Do you find yourself randomly thinking about her practice when you should be working on yours?
  • How do you feel when you see her facebook page posts get loads of comments and shares?
  • Are you holding back because you’re not sure if you can “catch up” with another doula’s business.

2.  Take a Break.  If you answered yes to even one of these, I encourage you to notice the ways that your energy is invested in this other individual.  Do you cruise her facebook posts?  Subscribe to her newsletter?   Just stop 🙂  Her business activity has nothing to do with yours.

3.  Focus.  I know you have a To Do List of fabulous ideas for your business.  Pick your top three that deserve your attention and do them!  Positive forward movement within your own birth practice can make all the difference.

4.  Be Unique.  Focus on birthing your unique practice, not trying to catch up with another doula in the community.

5.  Connect and…Collaborate.  Why not reach out to the doula you feel competition with and sit down for a cup of tea together?  Ask her about her experience of owning a doula business.  Look for creative ways you might collaborate to help build both of your practices and the profile of doula care in your community.


Hi there, I’m Sarah Juliusson, and yes I really am a Website Doula. I support your practice growth with creative website design, seasoned business guidance, and plenty of great resources to help you find your way. With 12 years in web design, and another 20+ years as a health & wellness pro, I believe in the value of your work as much as you do. Get started today with a Free Discovery Call!

- Sarah Juliusson (she/her), the WEBSITE DOULA