Many nurses ask me for advice about entrepreneurship and what it means to be a nurse who owns a business and works as a self-employed nurse entrepreneur. So, by popular demand, this episode of The Nurse Keith Show is focused on some of the top issues that are raised by those nurses who reach out to me for support, and it’s all based on a blog post published on Digital Doorway about this very subject.

business

Photo by Josefa nDiaz on Unsplash

Here are excerpts from the original blog post that I cover in depth in this episode:

What’s a business? One of the main tenets of business hasn’t changed since the days of cave people, and that’s this: business is about people being willing to pay you for your solution to the problem that they’re having.

What problem(s) do I solve? If you want to create a nurse-run business, the first thing you need to do is find a problem for which you have a solution, and then ascertain if there are people out there with that problem who are likely to pay you for that solution in the form of a service or product that you have expertise in. You can also reverse engineer this process by first finding a problem that people are having and then creating a solution out of thin air.

How do I get my business ducks in a row? Unless you have loads of free time and energy to figure it all out by yourself, you’re going to need help to get your ducks in a row. We’ll talk about where to look for help in a little while. The things you may need help with can include:

  • Deciding on and setting up a business structure (eg: sole proprietorship, LLC, S-Corp, etc)
  • Designing a business plan
  • Setting financial goals
  • Renting a space if you have a “brick and mortar” business
  • Creating a budget and bookkeeping system
  • Opening bank accounts, obtaining lines of credit
  • Creating a website and social media accounts
  • Printing and/or developing promotional materials
  • Learning to use social media for business and marketing
  • Writing blog posts, articles, and other publications
  • Figuring out how to track clients, sales, and other important data
  • Using video and audio to broadcast message across to various audiences
  • Networking with other businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Advertising
  • Etc

Where do I seek support? There’s tons of support out there, and you can find people to help and guide you everywhere. Here are some suggestions about common places to seek out help:

  • Find a mentor at the local Small Business Administration Incubator
  • Connect with other entrepreneurs at the local co-working space where you rent office space
  • Join the National Nurses in Business Association and attend their annual conference in Las Vegas
  • Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups of other entrepreneurs, especially nurse entrepreneurs
  • Hire a business coach
  • Hire an accountant and/or bookkeeper
  • Seek out a social media manager (there are several who specialize in healthcare entrepreneurs)

Do I want a side hustle or a full-time gig? Many nurses I speak with feel overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a full-time business venture. My response? You don’t have to!It took me about six years to get to the point where I actually quit my day job and became 100% self-employed. Sure, having a j-o-b and a business takes up a lot of your bandwidth, but you can keep some money coming in as you get your business to the point of relative financial viability.

How will I ever get started? When it all comes down to it, you just need to get started. If you think about the end product too much, you’ll easily get overwhelmed. Focus on each step that takes you closer to where you need to go. Taking into consideration every little detail will make your brain explode, so remember that a small business can be launched in increments.

Can I love the hustle? The finer points of your business venture – branding, Google Analytics, search engine optimization, sales skills – this will all come in time. Like my friend Kevin Ross of Innovative Nurse likes to say, you just have to grind it out every day and love the hustle. If you keep your eyes on the prize but focus on what needs to get done right here and right now, you’ll be more likely to succeed over time, especially if you can love the hustle most of the time. Sure, it can be lonely and owning your own business can be a drag, but there’s also nothing like having control over your life and command of how you spend your hours and days.

Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart, but neither is nursing. Find one of your passions that can actually solve a problem for someone else, and you’re on your way to monetizing your passion and being a nurse entrepreneur. If you can love the hustle and enjoy the ride, you’re halfway there.


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Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses.

Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.