Today we have with us is Chitra Natarajan, founder of Akriti, which offers Childbirth Courses specially designed for parents-to-be in The Netherlands. Akriti offers programs prepare expectant parents for a safe, calm, gentle and healthy birthing experience.
Please tell us about yourself and Akriti
I am Chitra Natarajan and I am a Birth Professional. My love for all things birth came from my own birthing experience combined with living in The Netherlands where the long- standing midwifery care made me choose a career in the birthing world. I started Akriti in 2010. Akriti offers various courses related to Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum for expectant parents to have a Positive Childbirth experience.
HypnoFertility and HypnoBirthing – These are quite new concepts. Please tell us how it works and what the perception is.
HypnoFertility® is a non-invasive way of helping couples to start a family. We live in a very fast paced life where stress is omnipresent. There is work-pressure, family, financial stress. All of this can contribute to changes in hormones which can delay conception. Stress disrupts ovulation and the healthy development of sperm. When couples are working towards starting a family through natural or medical means, they need be in a state of mind with as much less stress as possible. We use tools from Hypnotherapy to help the couples stay mindful about their emotional health which can help in conception.
HypnoBirthing® is a program which helps expectant families to prepare for smooth, easy, gentle, calm and positive birth experience. We use Hypnosis, Visualizations, Breathing, Deepening techniques and Positive Affirmations to help the mother call upon her natural birthing instinct to birth her baby in a calm and gentle way. The course helps parents understand the physiology of birth and provides various tools to stay calm to go through the whole process of birth.
As a business owner, how do you market your services and acquire patients? What are the challenges your face in your healthcare practice?
I primarily market my courses through local midwives who refer me to potential clients. Another source is word of mouth via clients who have completed any of my courses. I also use Google advertisements and social media such as Facebook & Instagram to generate more visibility and awareness. I also partner with local expat communities to have more reach with potential clients. Competition is always a challenge as there are various antenatal courses available and my courses are only for English speaking audience.
What is the usual mindset you carry as a mantra to be successful?
Never give up. After I started my practice, it took me number of marketing initiatives, knocking on care providers doors and attending various other networking events to gain visibility for myself and my practice. This attitude helped me through turbulent times to persevere towards my business goals.
How do you manage work life balance?
I plan my work dates well in advance so that everything else I do work around those days. I am also a big believer in self-care so I prioritize my health and family so that there is harmony overall. We work as a family to achieve the work life balance.
Are you planning to expand your practice to other countries? Are you pitching to investors or support networks?
As I am the sole owner of my practice, I am currently not looking at expansion as a choice. For anyone looking at becoming a Childbirth Educator can follow various certification process from renowned institutes such as HypnoBirthing® International (www.hypnobirthing.com), Lamaze International (www.lamaze.org), Evidence Based Birth (www.evidencebasedbirth.com) The certification process helps build an understanding of the science & physiology behind the birthing experience to equip a practitioner to offer such courses.
How important is your website for your business? It is quite evident that not every business runs upon their website or mobile apps. In such cases, what other importance do you think a website or mobile app can carry which contributes to a company’s success?
A website is very important for a small business owner like me as it is the first port of call for anyone who might be keen on my service. The website should contain enough relevant information to encourage prospective client to initiate contact. For my line of business, a mobile app may not be very relevant. I run physical support groups for all the mothers who do the course with me so that there is community for any questions or help and also to share experiences.
As a leading practitioner and business owner, what is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Take the first step. It’s never easy to predict if the line of business you choose would work or not but if you don’t take that first step then you will never know. Good is good enough and it doesn’t have to be perfect. And success is never achieved overnight.