A lot of nurses do not realize it, but they have a very unique and in-demand skill set that many people would pay top dollar for. A formation as a nurse could take you all over the world, and anywhere you are on the globe, you’ll find someone who needs your expertise.
Nurses are also in a prime position to be great entrepreneurs, and tons of successful business owners have a nursing or healthcare background. And with fields like telemedicine and wearable technology taking off, nurses have the perfect experience needed to sell and design products that can fill actual needs on the ground. If you are a nurse thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, here are a few things you should know.
You’ll Need the Proper Background.
While you don’t need specific credentials to be a nurse entrepreneur besides your formation, getting an advanced degree could be a great way to expand your skillset and become a better entrepreneur.
For instance, if you decide to earn a master’s degree, you’ll get much more insight into the administrative side of nursing. You’ll also learn more about things like nursing leadership, which will allow you to be a better leader in your organization. Here are some of the businesses you could start with a master’s degree:
- Become an independent teacher
- Work as a consultant
- Start a nursing school
- Open a private practice
- Work as a community activist
These are all great paths that you could embark on. A masters could be especially beneficial if you want to work as a consultant. This will give you the credibility needed to work with various organizations, including local and state government.
However, not all nurses have the luxury of leaving their positions to pursue a master’s, but one option could be to go for an online degree. Online MSN programs could allow you to get your degree in as little as two years while you stay on the job. They’re also a good option if you already run your business, but want to add some feathers to your cap.
Be Prepared to Give Up the Security of a 9 to 5.
Nursing is one of the most secure fields out there. When you have the right formation, you’re almost guaranteed to get steady work if you do it well. But, if you’re going to give up your scrubs for a business suit, you have to be ready for the uncertainty that comes with it.
“Before starting a career as a nurse entrepreneur, nurses have to be ready to embrace uncertainty,” said business strategist Carol Roth. “They have to be able to deal with a certain element of risk, and the unknown.”
She also stressed the importance of gauging whether an opportunity is good enough. “When you work as a nurse, you get paid for every hour you work,” she said. “But when you work as a nurse entrepreneur, around 40% of your work could revolve solely around administrative tasks.” She added.
“Your job may include running your practice, booking clients, and keeping financial records. If you have employees, you’ll also be responsible for hiring and firing them, as well as management. This is completely different than the average work shift.”
You Need the Right Personality Type.
Nurses also have to be able to let go of their nurse mindset if they want to work as managers of their operation. “Nurses are often conditioned to have a rescue mindset. Once they move into a managerial role in their business, they often have difficulty making the distinction between it and their clinical role,” said business consultant Linda Galindo.
“When there’s under performance at the business level, for instance, they often have a tendency to want to fix things themselves instead of dealing with the people responsible. This can be very costly in the long run.”
She also mentioned the importance of not trying to do everything yourself, which is often a common trait among nurses. “‘It’ll be easier if I deal with it myself’ is a common mindset that often starts creeping back. Nurses are already used to working long hours, but are often also unable to let go when the time comes.”
This is why Galindo advises that nurses focus less on activity, and more on actual tangible results. This can be counterintuitive in a field like healthcare where activity is so highly valued. But, whether you’re a consultant or business owner, you’re asking for trouble if you don’t keep track of performance indicators and benchmarks.
Find a Niche and Learn to Market Yourself.
Being an entrepreneur is more than having a skill, experience, service, or product; you also have to find a way to sell yourself. It’s also about finding the right niche for you. Here are some examples of niches for nurse entrepreneurs:
- Equipment sales
- Private practitioner
- Appointment assistance
- Health and wellness
- Legal nursing
- Nurse agency
All of these niches require a different set of skills and will fit a different type of personality. If you like working with teams and are comfortable speaking with large groups, but would also like to have some independence, then you could work as a consultant. This could be with other healthcare professionals, organizations, or companies.
If you have administrative experience, then the natural transition would be to start your own practice. But there’s also a lot of opportunities for research centers. For instance, sleep research is very big at the moment, and that could be an opportunity to specialize even further.
In any case, specialists have a much easier time differentiating themselves and marketing themselves than generalists. “They (specialists) usually earn more than generalists,” said business consultant Brett Martinez. “So, try to find the area where you’re going to help people and become an expert. Don’t try to be all things to all people.”
If a career as a nurse entrepreneur still interests you, we strongly suggest you keep these few points in mind and find the field for you. Remember to make sure to choose the right niche, and also make sure that you have what it takes to make it.