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So You Wanna Start A Doula Practice with Yamel Belen from One Love Doula Services

Welcome to our So You Wanna Start A... series, designed to give you a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the journeys that went into creating some of your favorite local brands.

Today's guest is Yamel Belen from One Love Doula Services, a business offering holistic postpartum services in Tampa, Florida. 

Our favorite piece of advice: "Be well educated." This is especially relevant for those in fields like medicine or wellness but truly could apply to anyone. Even if you don't have a degree specific to your industry, you can still seek out education and best practices from a variety of resources. Enhancing your knowledge through learning can only help you serve your clients & customers even better.

1. What do you own and why did you start this business?

I own a doula collective business. I'm a registered nurse, you don't have to be one to become a doula, but I've found many of our clients love that about my practice. I've always loved pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. I became that person in my circle that people would come to and ask questions. The doula world fell into my lap and I "gave birth" to One Love over seven years ago. I was a solo doula doing things by myself, and as the years went by, people started approaching me on Instagram, through email, or when I would be out at births and would ask me if I was hiring. That's how our team grew and now we have labor doulas, postpartum doulas, and people that specialize in lactation. Our collective is very well rounded and everyone brings something special to the table. We love to cheer each other on.

2. What is an early win you had that made you feel like you were on the right path?

I would say one of the early wins was being recognized by other professionals in our area, whether it was a midwife or OB, and they would refer us to their clients. It was big to win that respect from professionals that are a step above us. I felt honored and humbled. 

3. What's one of the biggest challenges you’ve had?

As you’re growing, it's very easy to get overwhelmed about where to invest and where to look for help. I work as a leader in my RN role and in my business owner role and it's hard for me to delegate. The only way your business is going to scale and be successful is if you can identity other's strengths and delegate to them. 

4. What's some advice you’d give to someone that wants to become a doula?

1) Be well educated. This is one of our requirements. I don't have a certification program yet, but I'm working on it. If I was considering hiring you, I would like to see the education piece.

2) Select a certifying organization that resonates with you and your values. There's not a one size fits all program for becoming a doula. Right now there's abortion doulas, bereavement doulas, and doulas that help you when you're trying to conceive or going through surrogacy. Think about what resonates with you and what's important to you. If I was going through a certifying organization right now, I would want to know if they're diverse and if they believe in inclusivity and inclusive language.

3) Be careful about what you invest in. Think about whether or not a investment is absolutely necessary before you shell out the dollars. Is something broken that needs to be fixed right now? Can it wait? I'm careful about making business decisions and want to be intentional.

5. Where is your business heading next and what are you excited about?

People always reach out asking if we certify doulas because they see what we're all about and they want to be a part of it. That's definitely a big project we're working on. We're working on our digital products and creating a library for clients and other people that reach out to us too. We also have a One Love shop that we're building and that has things that clients ask us for and things we curate ourselves. That's already been launched, so my goal is to have products we recommend all the time and products we recommend for different seasons.

Find Yamel & One Doula Services:

Instagram: @onelovedoulaservices

Instagram: @yamelbelen


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