Have you been thinking about how to take the next step in your career? Would you like to have the freedom to work or travel wherever and whenever you want? Did you know it’s possible to do that while being a nurse?!
For those of you who are not familiar with me, let me share a bit of my back story with you!
There are four main areas of my career that I like to tell people, and those four things are: Travel, Teach, Consult, and Serve. I work with nurses from all over the world, my specialty is in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit). I have been traveling and teaching for over a decade, this has allowed me to do things that I really love and give my time to causes that really matter to me.
My journey to being my own boss was actually accidental! It wasn’t something I ever really thought about or planned. I became a nurse because I wanted to help people with their health, but there was no linear, straight line of success without my fair share of obstacles. I have been employed, self-employed, and unemployed along the way, and I’ve never regretted any of it! If you are a nurse, the important thing to remember is that you can always get a job.
My first job in the NICU was at Loma Linda Hospital in California, I worked in various roles there for 14 years from 1994-2008. Around the year 2000-2001 I met a group of people who introduced me to the idea that I could be a nurse while teaching and traveling, I could get involved in the medical industry, and I could participate in being an educator and consultant. That was when my entrepreneur vision first began!
I also read a book called The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss and to this day it is still one of my favorites. This book had a major impact on me and my career path! I always highly recommend this book to anyone who has a similar dream of entrepreneurship.
In 2002, I stepped down from a full-time position at the hospital to part-time, I dropped my benefits, and I took up a second part-time job as a “consultant” while also working an assortment of per-diem jobs. This was the first time I had the opportunity to make my own schedule! In 2008 I was working so much as a consultant that I was able to create my very own corporation! It was called Green NICU and my mission was to educate and empower nurses while creating greener NICU’s, hospitals, and communities. In 2009 I officially resigned from my NICU position and my consulting job, I created a website, and hired a business coach. Keep in mind, all the while, I had no idea what I was doing!!
Here is a list of some self-employment options for nurses:
- Legal Nurse Consultant
- Procedure Specialist (ex: Vas Access)
- Forensic Nurse/Expert Nurse
- Medical Esthetician
- Nursing Informant
- Cancer Care Navigator
- Wealth & Wellness Coach
- Fitness Coach
- Life Care Planner
- NP/CNW/CRNA Practice
- Certified Yoga Nurse
- Health Writing
- Lactation Consultant
- CPR/CEU Instructor
- Speaker (educate and inspire others)
The one thing that I always tell people who ask me how they can get started being self-employed, is that no one is going to hire you until they know who you are. And no one is going to know who you are until you put yourself out there. The top two ways that I believe it’s easiest to gain exposure are in Speaking and Writing. This is the best way to tell people who you are and what you know.
Attend vendor think-tanks, spend more time in the vendor hall networking, attend online webinars and local conferences, write articles or blogs! Maybe your unit uses a particular product that you absolutely love, or maybe your hospital partners with a company that you love working with. Reach out to that rep! Networking is invaluable.
The biggest challenge I hear from people is “I don’t have time.” What I learned from the book I mentioned earlier, The 4-Hour Work Week, is that when looking at things that are taking up our time or causing us to be too busy to go after what we really want in life, we can either continue to do those things, delete those things, or delegate those things.
Outsource some of your daily tasks to others so that you can spend your time focusing on your business or learning a new skill, going out and networking, etc. Maybe this means hiring the neighbor kid to mow your lawn, or do your dishes, or get your groceries. Figure out what it is exactly that’s taking up your time, and then figure out how you can change it. If you’re not willing to delete it, and if you don’t have time to do it yourself, then maybe you have to delegate it to someone else to do for you!
Another option is to re-define your time. Maybe this means changing up your work shift at your job and working four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. Maybe this means finding a new job altogether that will allow you to free up some of your time! Use some of your PTO time or vacation time to spend working on your business! There is always a way to make it work.
The first step is to decide. Decide that you want to do something, make a goal, dedicate time to work on it, and then actually do the work! We all have 24 hours in a day, it’s all about deciding how you want to spend those hours. Even if you work for 8 hours and sleep for 8 hours, that still leaves you with a whole 8 other hours to do with what you will! It might not always be easy, but the important thing to remember is that it is possible, and it will be worth it.
The second step is to feel the fear and do it anyway. You’re going to be afraid, that’s just human nature. But ask yourself, “What is really the worst that could happen?” We all have a fear of failure. You have to be willing to fail, that means you’re trying! Without trial and error, you’ll never learn from your mistakes, you’ll never grow as an individual or as a business owner, and you’ll never improve your skills. You cannot build confidence without fear. The timing will never be perfect, you’ll never know everything, and you’ll never have it all figured out. I’m telling you, outside of your comfort zone is where all the magic happens! 🙂
The bottom line is that if I can do it, then anyone can, and that includes you!!! It’s important to never say never. I always try to embrace new opportunities and to stay true to what I know my passions and strengths are. A quote that I love is “working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion,” and starting your own business is all about focusing on your passion.
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