What is the name of your company?
Consults Unlimited Inc. but I am known as the Life Coach RN
What exactly does your company do?
I provide coaching, mentoring, books and speaking presentations for Nursing Leaders. My goal is to help nurses who are in leadership balance their life purpose and their career. I teach nurses self-development principles and how to align their mind, body, soul and spirit so they will become better leaders of themselves and become more effective in leading others. When you understand and embrace yourself and your journey in life, you can attain fulfillment and joy while working in the profession as a nursing leader.
Why did you start this company?
The first reason for starting my own business is that being a nurse for over 35 years, I have had the opportunity to work with ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ types of nursing leaders. The ones who were ‘good’ helped me grow in my career as a nurse, a woman and as a human being. Even though nursing is a caring profession, we often are not good to each other. Take the phrase ‘Nurses eat their Young’. I wanted to change that. I wanted to create a culture of compassion and kindness for the nurse who is on the front line of providing healthcare to the world. When the opportunity arose for me to step up to a leadership position, I made a conscious decision to do my best to positively impact my staff and my peers. During my 20 years as a nursing leader I was able to develop skills and strategies that not only made me successful in this endeavor but it allowed me to help other nursing leaders realize they could have the same results. I want to continue to make an impact and that’s why I decided to work with nursing leaders in this area as a business.
The second reason was that there was an inner drive to be independent! Some of the bureaucracy we have to deal with every day hinders creativity and growth of nurses both personally and professionally. Quite a few years ago I heard a nurse, Laura Gasparis, teach about how nurses are smart and can really be business women. That thought stayed with me and inspired me to believe that I had what it would take to start my own business even though initially, I wasn’t sure what my business would be.
What was the process like? Help us understand what it is like for a nurse to start their own business
I think the biggest challenge is deciding what to do as an entrepreneur. Who is my audience? Do I want to incorporate my nursing into a business or do I have another skill or passion that I would love to explore? Too many nurses initially think of starting HHA agencies. Not that this is a bad thing but nurses have so much more they can offer. Nurses can be inventors, military, speakers, trainers, lawyers etc. In all areas of life nurses can fit in.
The next step is to decide what type of business entity is best for you and your type of business. A simple business plan will help guide you. This is key to starting a business because we are not taught the business end of healthcare and how to maneuver the system to be a profitable business.
The second biggest challenge, but necessary step is to believe that you can step out of the corporate structure of healthcare. As nurses, we develop the ability to work independently, work in teams, critically think, problem solve, coordinate, create and monitor budgets among so many other skills. We are also great learners. These are all skills you will need to enhance as a an entrepreneur. Confidence is a huge challenge because frustrations will be many and you have to keep the naysayers away especially when they live in your own head.
Lastly, realize what you don’t know. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs and be willing to learn.
What has the hardest thing been in starting your business?
The hardest thing was finding out that just desiring to start a business and caring about people or a cause doesn’t necessarily generate income. You can’t sell everything! After I figured out who I wanted to help, I had to figure out how to create programs and products that would give my target audience what they wanted. Then I had to package it, monetize it and market it. This required a lot of research, training (for me) and time. It was a process. Flexibility and patience was key for me during this time. Fighting frustration and disappointment was very difficult. Thankfully I have a small but strong support group and I depended on them greatly. Also a lot of prayers went up.
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your business?
One of the most rewarding things about starting my business is that I have a sense of purpose. I have something that I am creating and I have full control of how it operates. I am living my dream. I am excited about life because I am making a difference in this world through my business while also building a legacy for my family. Lastly but most importantly I am fully embracing and enjoying my life!
What would you say are the five most important resources for a nurse who wants to start their own business?
1. Learn how to use technology. Social media is king! Yet it is so much more than just posting. Take some courses to learn what happens behind the scenes. Engage on LinkedIn. It is the Facebook for the professional. You can make a lot of great contacts.
2. Learn Business terminology and principles including marketing, Learn business/tax set up among other things. The Small Business Association (SBA) and Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) are great resources. (and free!)
3. Do some self development work. You will get in touch with your strengths and your desires which will help guide you toward your purpose.
4. Connect with other entrepreneurs even if they aren’t nurses. Insert yourself into this new community. There is so much to learn and you will need a lot of support. There are many networking groups that can be found through social media.
5. Tap into your spirituality. Business is not all about making money. Its about using your God given abilities and your uniqueness to make a positive impact in someone else’s life. When you are operating on this higher level money, fulfillment and joy follow. Your spirituality will keep you grounded, will support you and will guide you to a profitable business for yourself and others.
Do you have any exciting success stories to share with us?
One of my most surprising success stories comes from being engaged on LinkedIn. I was following The Professional Woman Network and there was a request sent out for people who may be interested in contributing a chapter to a book. I had always wanted to write a book but have no literary skills (or so I thought). I decided to apply and was not only accepted as a contributor but my chapter was chosen to be the first one in the compilation. This has led me to submit several articles to other books and organizations. Now I am in the process of writing my own book! Who knew I would add author to my accomplishments!
Do you have any unfortunate stories that you could share with us to prepare and warn us of the possible pitfalls of being a self-employed nurse?
My first business was to do EKG’s for small Drs offices as an independent contractor. It failed before it got off the ground. My nurse friend and I started the business, became incorporated and began the process. Then she married and had children and I did the same thing. We changed focus to our families and never came back to it. But that desire to be autonomous wouldn’t go away. I didn’t start my present business for many years and that became a sore spot because I felt like a failure. I now know all things come in due time as long as you don’t give up in your heart of hearts. My thesis for my Master’s degree was a business plan for an Assisted Living facility.
After doing the plan I decided that wasn’t where my heart lied but I kept making small steps toward independence. I even chose my jobs using criteria that would continue to prepare me for my desired future of independence. For example, I wanted to be a speaker so I chose one job because it allowed me to speak to groups of people about that business.
You may appear to fail in some ways but you can always choose to fail forward! In other words, success may not seem to happen right away. Supposed failures are just learning experiences if you just remain focused.
What do you want nurses to take away from this interview?
Everyone says you will work harder at your own business than you ever will at any job you have had. In a way you will but remember your business can be anything you want it to be! Part time, full time , 6 figure, non profit or supplemental income. It just has to be something you love to do so that you will stay focused on your joy and your sense of legacy. Leave the world a better place. Because you were here and because you were an entrepreneur, you can do it your way, with your own style and flair and you can have a great time doing it!
Naomi D. Jones is not only a Registered Nurse, she is a Life & Leadership Success Coach, Mentor and Author. She helps nursing leaders build individual leadership skills so they can effectively lead others. She has over 35 years in healthcare with 20 years in management. Naomi believes purpose, joy and career can be synonymous! If you are committed to taking your life to the next level, Naomi is the coach for you. Free 30 minute consultations are available at www.LifeCoachRN.com.