Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with JoAn Monplaisir, Founder of Luna Doula LLC., located in Bethesda, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
At Luna Doula LLC, we provide support through birth, postpartum, miscarriages, pregnancy termination, adoption, surrogacy, and death. We help individuals coordinate with their medical team, assist them with planning for the birth/funeral arrangements, educate them on their rights, teach comfort measures, empower family members to serve as primary sources of support, initiate memory-making and legacy-making activities, assess and address any psychosocial needs, and link them to resources in the community. My passion is to bring a sense of peace, comfort, and joy to these moments.
Tell us about yourself
Born in Brooklyn, NY, I am a first-generation Haitian American and a generational cycle breaker. The path to business ownership in this country has not been easy, as I am the first in my family to navigate these waters. The inspiration for Luna Doula was really born during my teen years. I was a young activist and peer reproductive health educator, resulting from years of Haitians being wrongfully targeted as a primary risk group during the height of the AIDS epidemic. I have always been passionate about educating those in my community about liberatory and safer sex practices. I now practice as a licensed clinical hospice social worker and have found a way to incorporate End of Life education & support in my doula work. I recognize how much is lacking in our country's birth and death care, especially for disabled, Black, Brown, POC, and LGBTQIA+ communities. It became my personal mission to help guide families so that they would feel empowered, loved, fully informed, and, most importantly, safe while navigating the medical system.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments as a business owner is working hard to make my prices and services equitable. I have a family whose yearly donations allow me to offer limited pro bono services to families in need of my services. Also, with the help of the community, I worked hard to create a sliding scale pricing list so that families have payment options and know that utilizing my services is a necessity and not a luxury. I am incredibly proud that I have a thriving business, doing what I am passionate about and what I feel is aligned with my life's purpose. I'd like to think that I am making my ancestors proud. The ones back in Haiti who did not have access to the same opportunities, spaces, and resources that I do. I am proud of how I have been able to navigate entrepreneurship as a first-generation business owner and that being a true introvert has not stopped me from engaging in this incredible work. I'm proud to know that I am paving the way for future business owners in my family and that I am influencing and mentoring new doulas and social workers to work from a trauma-informed, family-centered, inclusive, and liberatory framework.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Being a doula specifically, it's important to understand that being on-call for births is something that takes YEARS to navigate and adjust to. One of the hardest parts of owning a business, though, is knowing how to build a team and systems that will keep me successful. Acquiring an accountant, bookkeeper, or assistant, automating systems, creating branded products, engaging families via social media, etc. Learning how to manage time and factoring in rest has been something that I continue to evaluate about what works best for my family and me.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Seek mentorship & community and be discerning about who you entrust with your business.
- Find what works for you in terms of how to engage with clients and build on that in new and innovative ways.
- Make time for yourself. Schedule it in, take days off, establish healthy boundaries, and take care of yourself.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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