I’m a Birmingham Doula and I am mom to 2 children born in 1989 and 1993. I had 2 very different births and, single-handedly raised 2 amazingly wonderful young people. I am easy to get along with, practical, organised and a good listener. Parents tell me that I bring a special calmness and warmth to their births; I can also bring a wealth of experience to support you and your family through the tricky days and weeks of early parenting. I strongly believe that every birthing mother should have access to a nurturing doula. This is such a special time and, as a doula, I feel honoured to be able to share these precious moments with you and your partner/family.
When we meet for the first time I will listen to you and do my utmost to understand your needs and we’ll decide, together, how best I can support you. I am on hand to support you with your birthing choices and will do all that I can to ensure that your experience is a positive one; it’s your birthing experience and I can be as hands on or hands off as suits you and your situation.
I can provide emotional and practical support once baby has arrived; I will support you with your feeding choice and help to create some space/time for yourself so that you’re not too frazzled!
LP: Because I run 2 businesses (Birmingham Doula & Live and Learn Homestays) and because my work is so varied, it’s so difficult to come up with a typical day so I’ll use today as an example. I have no set ‘getting up time’ (unless I have a very early appointment to keep) but I generally ensure that I’m at my laptop and ready to go by 9am. I consult my diary to remind myself of any antenatal, postnatal or Mizan Therapy visits booked in (Birmingham Doula), I also check to see if I have any visits to new English teachers (Live and Learn Homestays). Today I visited a couple whose 2nd baby is due very soon. I went to deliver their final birth preparation session. I baked them a cake for the previous session but didn’t have time to whisk one up this time. It felt strange to go empty-handed! After the session was delivered, I handed over a copy of their birth plan that we had all worked on at the previous session and made sure that all was ready for the BIG DAY. I was now on call and the next time we’d meet would be when mum goes into labour. Back home, I check and respond to emails. Check various social media sites and end up spending far too long on them!
I receive an email and cv from a well-qualified and experienced English teacher so I’m really excited about welcoming her into the team of English teachers that already accommodate and teach my international students. I send her an email to arrange a time to visit her at home to complete the registration process. I don’t have any more visits booked in today; I try to keep my diary as clear as possible when I’m on call for a birth so that when the call comes, I can just shoot off at a moment’s notice without having to cancel appointments. And so the day continues, dividing my time between the 2 businesses. It’s never an equal division of time, the split depends on what needs doing at any given time. In between the more mundane admin activities, I do household chores, run errands etc. I like being able to keep on top of household stuff during the week so that my weekends are more leisurely. At the moment, it doesn’t feel like my day ever ends as I am constantly checking emails on my phone, checking my social media accounts etc. I’m trying to put in more boundaries but it’s a slow process.
LP: Recently I’ve taken to walking and, time/distance permitting, have been walking to appointments and for leisure; anything up to 10 miles at time. I listen to an audiobook (on my mobile) whilst I’m walking or if walking through the park, just take the time to experience my environment. I also enjoy salsa classes and fit them in when I can. It’s particularly important to take care of your health when you’re in business as the stresses can be huge and can take a toll on your health. Also, if you’re a one- woman band like me, it’s essential to take care of yourself as there’s no-one to take your place should you get ill.
LP: Although I have learned so much since starting Live and Learn Homestays 8 years ago. I haven’t made any significant changes to my business model or had any management changes. The greatest change has been to my professional and personal development.
LP: Trying to find the right person to partner with as I need to delegate some of my day-to-day tasks so I can focus on more strategic matters.
LP: When I think of innovation, I think of new ideas and in particular, new services and new (more streamlined) processes. New ideas normally come to me at bedtime or whilst I’m in the shower! I try to remember to jot those ideas down in a journal, explore what problems could be solved by implementing these new ideas and then build an offering/new service around that.
LP: I think you can have both; dream big but setting and reviewing realistic goals to achieve the big dream.
LP: I love working for myself. I love being 100% in charge of what I do from day-to-day. The fear of going back to being an employee scares the heck out of me and keeps me motivated.RB: Has your definition of success changed since you have started your business? If so, how?
LP: It has changed a few times over the years! At first it was all about profit and growth as that is what I was told defines success. However, I have come to learn that happiness, autonomy, customer satisfaction and the ability to pay ones bills is also being successful!RB: What would you say is the most important skill required to run a business?
LP: Not a skill but a character trait – tenacity. Especially when those around you don’t share your dream and can appear unsupportive and doubtful. You need to be able to dig deep and keep going.
RB: There are a lot of myths about entrepreneurs. Now that you have started and are successfully running your own business what would you say is the biggest myth? What have you learned most from it.
LP: As a woman in business, one of the biggest myths for me is that you need to be one of the boys or fit a stereotype to be taken seriously or achieve success. I used to attend networking events and observe women dressing in sombre suits and behaving quite aggressively. If that’s you then that’s fine but I would urge women to be authentic. We are good enough as we are.