Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anna Cheechov, Founder of The Living Womb, Inc., located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a birth doula and birth business mentor in NYC! I help families have the birth of their dreams, or at least come out of the experience with their dignity, minds, and bodies intact, feeling as confident as possible as they move forward into their parenting journey. I help to ease their fears and celebrate their joys. I educate them about childbirth, lactation, and what to expect when their newborn arrives. I help them get through one of the most challenging physical experiences a birthing person can endure and hope they feel powerful afterward. I also teach new doulas the ins and outs of this wild, beautiful work we do. Being on-call 24/7 and navigating birth and the diverse set of families we work with is not for the faint of heart. I hope to show doulas how to streamline their business and live with more ease as they serve their clients.
Tell us about yourself
The birth of my daughter inspired me to do this work, and nearly ten years later, I still enjoy it as much as I did when I began my journey as a birth doula four months after her birth. I received beautiful care and support during my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum time, and I felt called to give back to other expecting families in the same way. My daughter continues to motivate me as she grows into an amazing, multi-faceted human being. My clients who bravely walk this path of parenting inspire me. As the world evolves, sometimes forward and sometimes backward, bringing new life into the world is one of the most powerful things we can do collectively. We are literally birthing future leaders and change-makers, and I believe that entering the world as peacefully and gracefully as possible into the arms of educated, warm parents gives them the best start. I hope to be that guiding light for all I work with, and I love being on the welcoming committee for their babies. It's truly an honor.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Over the past ten years, I've physically been present for over 300 births and have helped many more families in different capacities, from childbirth education to lactation support, to placenta preparation and postpartum care. I'm so grateful to be welcomed into the lives of so many families and to have been extended this trust. I consider this my greatest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
My goodness... I would say juggling all the balls, wearing all the hats all of the time. I've built my website with my own creative brain and fingertips. I've learned Quickbooks and have become my own bookkeeper. I've created an S-Corp with the help of my accountant, whom I adore, and am so grateful for. She's been incredible and helping me understand how to get the most out of being a solo entrepreneur. It's so satisfying to get ahold of my personal finances and watch them grow to a place of true sustainability by making strategic decisions about my products, services, and prices. I've engaged my interpersonal people-skill muscle time and time again -- with clients, with the care providers I interact with at births, i.e., the doctors, midwives, nurses, and all other healthcare staff that also cares for my clients. It never ends. No one pays me but my clients, and I have to earn the trust and respect of each and every one of them in order to put a roof over my head and food on the table for my family. It's tough, but I would not trade it for the world or for any corporate job, although the benefits packages sound really nice. That's a tradeoff I just do not have the luxury of creating for myself yet. No 401k matches here, but the upside is that as business owners, we can put so much more into our retirement savings plans, if possible, than people who work for others. This is a goal of mine for this year -- to finally start building up that savings plan.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- See it, and be it. Only YOU can make your vision come alive.
- When the going gets tough, go get a massage, take a walk, or call a good friend. Release the tension, get creative, and then get back to work. Do not give up on your vision and goals.
- Write down ten things you want to accomplish in a one-month timeframe. I do this every new moon. Post it up on your wall and look at it every day. You WILL get those things done, and if not, add them to next month's list. Eventually, the universe or your free will responds.
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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