Here on episode 64 of The Nurse Keith show, I’m addressing the exploding field of

nurse entrepreneurship!

Nurse entrepreneurship is exploding in the 21st century, and many nurses are realizing that they can launch small, medium, and large business ventures at any point in their careers. Do you share that dream?

Are you on fire to start a business?

The NNBA and Nurses on Fire

In the fall of 2015, I recorded episode 29 of the Nurse Keith Show from Las Vegas, Nevada, where I was glowing from a glorious time at the annual conference of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA). Well, from October 14th to 16th of this year, I’ll be back at the 2016 NNBA conference with bells on, and I’m super psyched that Kevin Ross and Elizabeth Scala—my partners in crime at RNFM Radio—will also be with me.

The National Nurses in Business Association 2016 annual conferenceJust as a heads up, the three of us from RNFM Radio will be putting on a pre-conference workshop where attendees will be able to learn the basics of podcasting, and actually go home with all of the information they need to actually launch a podcast on a shoestring. There are other great pre-conferences on the schedule, as well, but we obviously want you to come to ours because it’s going to be fantastic. Check it all out here.

Choices Are Exploding

Nurses are realizing that entrepreneurship isn’t just for someone else; the opportunities for nurses to enter the world of business are astounding in their depth and breadth at this time in history, and many of us have what it takes to give it a shot.

For APRNS, fully autonomous practice in more than 20 states in the U.S. means that a nurse practitioner can now “hang a shingle” in thousands of towns and cities around the country, treating patients in their own private practices, or joining together with other healthcare providers in group practice settings.

Meanwhile, nurses without Masters degrees are also seizing opportunities by creating private duty personal care agencies, as well as businesses focusing on the private case management of the growing elderly population.

Remember, if you’re giving health advice, providing treatments, or otherwise dealing directly with health-related issues, you need to be 100% certain that you’re working within the scope of your state nursing license.

But How Do I Go Into Business?

Many of you out there are probably completely stultified by the idea of starting a business. You realize you need a business plan, a social media presence and marketing strategy, a business bank account; there’s just so much to consider.

Remember, a business venture can be very small, what some people call “profit projects”, and there are ways to bootstrap it so that it doesn’t put you underwater. Actually, stay tuned for the fall of 2016, when my business partners—Elizabeth Scala and Kevin Ross— and I launch the On the Pulse Academy, an online membership-based learning community being created for healthcare providers (including nurses) who need education and inspiration related to launching a business. We’ll be teaching about marketing, coming up with business ideas, podcasting, blogging, public speaking, social media, networking, business structure, and many other topics.

My friends, don’t let the big to-do list of starting a business stop you before you even get started; many of these issues can be taken care of down the road, and you just have to take the first baby steps in the right direction. In most cities and many larger towns, there are small business incubators, and SCORE is a great organization that supports small business owners with free or low-cost services.

In basic terms, you first need to come up with a product or service that solves a problem that an identifiable group of people has; you also need to be fairly certain that this particular group of individuals will actually be willing to pay for that solution. That’s the general idea. Now, some people like Steve Jobs can create something that people don’t even know they need yet (and you’re welcome to try), but most of us come up with business ideas that aren’t creating the future, just solving a problem in the present.

Small is Beautiful

When beginning to explore the idea of a business venture, it’s generally advisable for most of us to start small. You don’t need to quit your job, throw caution to the wind, max out your credit cards, and bankrupt your family’s future in order to launch a business. I’ve been in business for myself as a nurse entrepreneur for almost six years now, and I still have a part time day job that I’m incrementally phasing out. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, black and white. There’s room for the grey, and small is often beautiful, as E.F. Schumacher, the groundbreaking economist, once said in his seminal (and admittedly small) book.

If you have an idea for a business, talk to people who know something about such things. Pick the brains of people you trust, and begin to float your idea to see if it gains some traction. Begin with research: Is there an identifiable need for the product or service you want to bring to the market? Is there a way to do a mini-launch to test the potential market with very little outlay of money and energy? Does anyone offer something similar, and can you pick that person’s brain for ideas? Can you test your product or service for free on friends, colleagues, or family?

A business venture doesn’t need to mean you have to mortgage your home and put your family and future at risk. There are plenty of opportunities that may be available to you with little investment of money, but remember that investing time and energy in an entrepreneurial venture is paramount.

Are you ready to dig in? Do you want to give it a go? It’s not easy, but it can be an exciting and fun ride, and there are plenty of resources and supports for nurses who’d like to jump into this particular pool.


The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The; social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.

Please consider leaving a review of The Nurse Keith Show over on iTunes; this helps more nurses and healthcare professionals find the show and benefit from the information being shared. Just visit iTunes, click on the iTunes store, search for The Nurse Keith Show under podcasts, and leave a review, and voila. Thanks!

Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service,, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.

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