#019 - Karen Wilmot - Midwife Entrepreneur
midwife, yoga instructor, birth & lactation consultant.
Muscat, Oman www.pregnantinoman.com
'Don't be shy talking about money. The MORE you realise how much you are helping people, the MORE you realise the value of the service.
' [Karen Wilmot]
Nicholla speaks with Karen Wilmot who has worked in hospitals, clinics and communities both locally and internationally since qualifying in South Africa in 1990 as a Registered Nurse & Midwife. The majority of her nursing career was spent working in the field of women’s health, as a midwife in labor & delivery, in clinics teaching antenatal education or in the community assisting women during the postnatal period. She also worked in NICU gaining experience of working with premature babies and subsequent care of babies born early.
Karen moved to the Middle East in 2004. Following several years of working at Muscat Private Hospital in Oman, Karen realized the great need for community support, assistance and education. In 2009 she founded Pregnant in Oman (www.pregnantinoman.com) with a vision to be recognized as the first and the best provider of continuous, holistic care for pregnant mothers and babies in Oman, offering a safe and comfortable environment where women turn to for everything related to pregnancy and childbirth.
In order to provide a holistic service, Karen qualified as a Yoga Instructor (YA 200hr YTT) and offers prenatal yoga classes in addition to the birth preparation classes for couples.
Karen is the only independent midwife offering the full range of services in Oman at present. She is the monthly guest speaker on a local radio station show called “Mums on Monday”, covering topics related to pregnancy and newborns. She writes articles for online forums “expat woman” and “the birthing site” and is quoted in several local magazines and newspapers (see below).
In this interview Karen shares her own heartfelt account of how tragedy, ambition and accountability collided in her life. How she found she was a strong, capable woman and how sheer perseverance and discipline can make your dreams come true. You will see what I mean as you listen. Enjoy.
Inside this Episode
- Question 1: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your Entrepreneurial Journey and How your particular journey into starting your own ventures came about? Karen is a entrepreneurial thinker, she can step back from a situation and look at it from a birds eye view. Karen, who has been in midwifery for nearly 25 year began to question the process of child birth. She battled within herself with how hospitals and administrations used policy and standardisation for midwifery and began to feel disconnected from the medical professional. In addition to feeling overworked she decided it was time to make a break and reconnect with her passion which is empowering pregnant women with the knowledge they needed to help them through this new chapter of their life and educating women about their bodies. She shares her catalyst for change and how a 'woo woo' moment also drove her to change her life path and plan.
- Question 2: What was the firs job that you did when you branched out to work for yourself? Karen started out on her own by collaborated with obstetrician. Karen helped out running the clinic and helped advice, give information and support to pregnant women. Karen offered up home visits, assistance with breastfeeding, prenatal yoga and childbirth prenatal classes for couples. Services which were not available to couples in Muscat but were in demand. For the expat population with awareness of these kind of services in their home country were not freely available and Karen solved this problem.
- Question 3: 5 years on from this early start. Karen has come a long way. Can you give us an insight into your day to day activities. How do you organise your day and how do you prioritize? Karen's structure is day focused. So she organises certain activities for certain days so that she has routine and structure that achieves all her core services through out the week. However, she does allow for flexibility too as childbirth and pregnancy can't be compartmentalised. Babies don't always arrive on schedule.
- Question 4: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur? Karen has read many books about entrepreneurship and realised that everyone had a story and that the core message in each story is 'perseverance'. But the biggest hurdle Karen battled with was the concept of 'how much do I charge for my services'. She was very uncomfortable talking about money and asking for it. The crunch came though when she couldn't pay her rent any more yet her service was valued and appreciated. It was time to get comfortable with the service and start putting a value to that service.
- Question 5: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Karen's top 3 skills suggestions are a) Cash flow. Get comfortable asking for payment, b) Discipline & Perseverance, & c) Listening to your customers. She describes in the interview why these were her top three skills and shared examples to go with them. I personally loved the 'get comfortable asking for payment' - is something I'm learning and will be taking my cues from Karen on this one.
- Question 6: What is the best piece of business advise you have ever been given? And how is that working for you right now? Karen has found that not one piece of advise stands out for her; she has listened to lots and formed an answer that makes sense to her. She also shares that she does procrastinate a lot and has found her way to get over this hurdle by just getting on with it. Karen explains what she means.
Adapted from Carl W. Beuhner Quote, 'They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.'
- Question 7: How (if ever) did you rise above failure or struggle? What action did you take? Karen had a personal loss in 2011 which left her feeling very empty and discouraged. Feeling low, she, still needed to live and make money and what she was doing she was passionate about and loved. In her own words 'I had nothing left to loose' and in a way this kept her going because now she felt she didn't have anything to prove nor did it matter if she failed or succeeded. She felt that if she kept doing what she was doing and kept doing it well then everything would be OK. She shares a quote which she reads daily to help her persevere through each day. Through this grievance process and working towards her goals Karen has recognised how strong and capable she is.
- Question 8: How Long have you been a midwife and How did this career choice come about? Karen tells us about her mother who was a midwife and how she lived with the subject daily as a child. She was been a midwife for 25 years.
- Question 9: If you had a different career what would you have done? Karen has a lot of transferable skills that could be used in many fields particularly her compassion for people and healing but if she didn't do what she was doing now she feels she would still be doing something very similar. Child birth and women's heath is where her passion lies and something she would more likely stick with. She explains her reasons to this question and her shares in inspiration too.
- Question 9: Where do you see yourself and your businesses in the next 10 years? How will they have evolved? Karen has big plans for her business. This year she will be launching her business www.expatsexpecting.com (currently under construction) designed to be a resource and support centre for expatriates all over the world because there is so many women around the world that feel lonely, unsupported and looking for information. She plans to conduct workshops, do conferences and speak about the work she has done and the work she is doing and share the organisations that she strongly beliefs. Karen's shares her vision for the future.
- Question 10: Who is your ‘go to person, book or quote’ that gets you pumped and helps you refocus when you are feeling de-motivated or low? Karen's answer to this focuses on spiritual as well as business books. She goes on to explain her choices. a) Robert Holden's - 'Success Intelligence' (link below) b) Don Miguel Ruiz - 'The Four Agreements' (link below).
- Question 11: If everything was taken away from you and you had to start again where would you start? Karen had no hesitation when she answered this question. Her answer. 'Online'. She shares a client's story to help show how what she does can be achieved online.
- Question 12: Closing question: What would you say to those ladies out there that are on the edge of taking the plunge into being an entrepreneur? Karen says 'Just do it' - you will never know what you are capable of until you have done it. It will always be a thought if you never give it a try. So just do it.
- One of Karen's inspirations and someone she aspires too: Robin Lim is a midwife and founder of "Yayasan Bumi Sehat' (healthy Mother Earth Foundation) Health clinics which offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid to anyone that needs it. www.robinlimsupport.com. She also won the 2011 CNN hero of the year award.
- www.expatsexpecting.com hasn't launched yet but this will be Karen's new website for resources and information related to prenatal care and childbirth. We will let you know when it launches.
- Karen's book recommendations are: a) Robert Holden's - Success Intelligence. It is quite a holistic approach to business and entrepreneurship. b) The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. - Four agreements which can be used in any facet of life.
- Connect on Facebook: Pregnant in Oman Facebook Page
- Connect with Karen on LinkedIn
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