NextGen MilSpouse’s Military Spouse Entrepreneur Spotlight is a Q&A designed to celebrate the successes and acknowledge the challenges of being a military spouse entrepreneur.
Military Branch Affiliation: Navy
Years as a Military Spouse: 9
Business Name: Stars and Stripes Doulas, LLC
Tell us about your business:
Stars and Stripes Doulas, LLC is the only full service military doula agency in the country focusing on supporting those who honorably serve our country.
We have locations in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Hampton Roads, and Kansas and look forward to expanding nationwide. We are proud to support military families, law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMT’s, public servants, doctors, social workers, and many other professionals both nationally and internationally through our doula-client relationship as well as our professional relationships with health care providers.
With extensive personal and professional experience in the military and public service culture, we look forward to meeting you and learning how we can make it our mission to support your growing family.
Our clients love:
- Our personal and professional experience in local military hospitals and culture as well as surrounding civilian hospitals
- Our collaborative approach to your care by working professionally with those you have carefully selected for your birth team
- Our partnership – allowing you to feel comfortable and supported by each doula on your team which each have unique strengths that benefit you
- Our 24/7 on-call availability (call, text, or email support) from the moment of contract signing
- Our flexibility and innovativeness offering services on your watch while finding innovative ways to provide superior care
- Our dedication to remain current, relevant, and experts on all things related to pregnancy, birth, and parenting
- Our professional network which we have carefully crafted to ensure our clients receive the best because they deserve it
- Our certification with the most current and professional doula certification organization where accountability is important
- Our up-to-date CPR certification through the American Red Cross
- Our background checks because ensuring safety is paramount in this line of work
- Our flat rates which do not vary from duty station to duty station
Most importantly, our consistent, judgement-free, unbiased support in the decisions that you make for your family
Do you have any employees?
We have 11 independent contractors that are affiliated with Stars and Stripes Doulas and we hire people with any military-affiliation, particularly veterans and military spouses.
What 5 words describe your business?
What’s your biggest lesson learned as an entrepreneur so far?
The biggest lesson I have learned so far is that being an entrepreneur requires that one wear many hats.
In one day you may be a customer service representative, accountant, social media guru, website designer, and more.
Learn your strengths and focus on growing your business based on those strengths and find a partner or hire out services in the areas that are your weaknesses. I am fortunate to work with a business partner that is the yin to my yang and we can easily recognize where the other person may have more strength and fit our duties accordingly.
What is your greatest business achievement, thus far?
The greatest business achievement thus far has been providing meaningful employment to military spouses and veterans on our team.
We set out to accomplish 2 goals when founding Stars and Stripes Doulas – to support military families and to employ military spouses. We knew the first would come naturally but we didn’t realize just how amazing it would feel to issue payment to military spouses and veterans on our team – now we know and are so honored to do so!
If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
The only thing I would do differently is launch sooner! I owned an independent doula business prior to creating Stars and Stripes Doulas, LLC with my partner Melanie. I owned Anchored in Hope Birth Services and she owned Always Faithful Birth Services. We were back-ups for each other in our businesses and it only made sense to merge into one and create an agency.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
The best piece of career advice we’ve ever received is to keep our eyes on our own paper. We can’t waste time worried about what other doulas are charging, the services they’re offering, their hire/fire rates, or view them as competition.
We have a niche market and we are the experts in our field. We have a lot of confidence in our support for military families!
The worst advice we’ve been given is to spend thousands of dollars on branding, website design and management, and social media.
We found our branding expert and website designer on Etsy and they both charged fair and reasonable rates and we’re so happy with how they turned out and with the relationships we’ve built with these women.
We manage our own social media and take courses and read a lot on the subjects of social media and SEO.
On managing work and life – is it all about blending or all about balancing?
I believe managing work and home life is a mixture of blending and balancing. Working from home and owning your own business makes it easy to work during convenient times for your family.
However, the risk is that it often makes it easy to work instead of having set hours to balance work and family life. I think it’s important for entrepreneurs to choose work hours and stick to them as much as possible.
Tell us the one thing that makes your dual-working military family successful?
The one thing that makes our dual-working military family most successful is a mutual respect and appreciation for the other person’s schedule. We both share in household duties, raising our children, and helping out where needed when the other is working.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
Crockpot meals! I pop dinner into the crockpot during my lunch break and it’s perfectly prepared for dinner without much effort.
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
Read for pleasure! I love to read but hardly make time for it.
Which social media platform is your favorite?
What is your must-have song on your productivity playlist?
Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl” or “Nancy Mulligan” – the upbeat tune is peppy and uplifting!
Leave us with some wise words…
You can do anything you set your mind to! I had a dream (a literal dream) one night that Melanie and I started this doula agency and supported military clients from base to base around the world. We have created 4 chapters and are expanding rapidly.
There are tons of resources out there for military entrepreneurs and you should partner with them. One of the most helpful resources for us has been the SCORE organization.