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If you’re a registered nurse seeking a new challenge – to make a difference using your experience and critical thinking skills for more income – you might want to consider launching your own business.

Can you identify problems? Develop solutions? Coach or train others? Provide an insider’s perspective on medical issues?

Yes, with your own business, you’d have more autonomy in your work and more income — if you do it right.

But even with nursing experience, launching your own consulting practice would entail all-encompassing responsibilities and would be the toughest challenge you’ve ever faced.

Life for entrepreneurs has its benefits, but it can be grueling. Why? You’d be a healthcare provider and a business owner, too.

As an entrepreneur, forget about getting employee bonuses, raises, and benefits such as health insurance, retirement plan, daycare and tuition reimbursement.

You’d have to be able to market and manage your business – actually, you must also be aware of the 11 best practices for new entrepreneurs.

However, with savvy, hard work you could conceivably double your current salary.

For many RN consulting services, the startup cost is low. Many successfully work from home in an office with a computer, printer and filing system.

If your dream is to become a consultant, you must develop your vision plan.

To realize your vision, focusing on the right details is a skill conducive in best practices in setting goals.

Marketing is also important. Why do seemingly great marketing plans fail to yield the desired results? Well, one reason: Such plans don’t turn the ideas into reality because they’re not action-oriented.

What counts is the scheduled specific footwork, and then tracking the results. There’s a second reason, quality of execution. So take the right steps for best results from your marketing plan.

Social media takes huge amounts of time, not only to implement innovations, but to succeed. But you must think about attracting fans with your blogging, social media and PR.

As in any business, it’s recommended you investigate liability insurance and register as a limited liability corporation (LLC) to legally protect your personal assets from business debt and to capitalize on tax deductions.

But as a nurse taking nursing actions, an LLC does not automatically protect you against legal judgments.

OK, so after all this you’re not dissuaded from going into business for yourself?

Here are some business ideas:

Nurse educator

Opportunities abound away from hospitals. Nurse educators are hired by community clinics, public agencies, medical-device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, research firms, textbook publishers, and colleges. Note: Colleges would likely require an advanced degree.

Stress relief and wellness coaching

Globally, companies and hospitals are looking for ways to reduce health-care costs. But absenteeism, accidents, burnout and sickness are huge financial and staffing obstacles for them.

Nurse health coach

As the label implies, nurse health coaches provide coaching services. In addition, insurance companies minimize their costs by hiring health coaches to help policyholders stay healthy.

Legal nurse consulting

As a legal nurse consultant, you’d share your expertise and earn excellent hourly pay. Although it’s often best if you can negotiate a project retainer as opposed to hourly billing.

Take for example, a legal nurse consultant. Such nurses function as health experts in legal cases. They help lawyers and other professionals – consulting on health-care matters, advising on medical charts and records, or explaining medical terminology.

You might be hired to provide expert witness testimony. Caution: It’s advised that you first check out the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants.

Forensic nurse consulting

Criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have all been known to hire forensic nurse consultants. Note: You can get certification and learn more about it at the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

Nurse navigator

If you enjoy paperwork in helping others, nurse navigators help patients understand insurance policies to get care they need and afford.

Nurse practitioner

With an increasing shortage of doctors and countless under-served regions, many states are hoping nurse practitioners will launch private practices to fill a growing void in healthcare.

You should have considerable experience in nursing and ideally a post-graduate degree.

Again, you’d face the same challenging obstacles as typical entrepreneurs — from startup expenses to cash flow issues.

If you want to launch a full-scale nurse practitioner business, here are the basics you need to consider:

1. Management

You should learn about business management, including market analysis. It’s vital that you research the patient demand in your area, and how you’ll get paid.

2. Business plan

It’s best to develop a business plan. You’ll need marketing expertise to get patients. Referrals are important. In addition to individual patients, you can contract your services for local businesses, jails and long-term care facilities.

You’ll also need to decide how you’ll manage your financials, implement medical coding and billing, manage employees, pay taxes, and manage the risks faced by your practice.

As a provider, especially in low-income or under-served regions, you’ll need to consider Medicaid and Medicare enrollment.

Don’t forget about your firm’s health insurance, as well as malpractice and liability insurance.

3. Regulations and licensing

You should allow at least a year for planning. That would include negotiating third-party insurance reimbursement contracts, possible hospital privileges and obtaining all necessary state licensing as a nurse-practitioner firm and business.

Your authority for prescriptions will depend on your state. Licensure in your state might require you to negotiate collaborative agreements with doctors in your locale to establish a private practice.

Of course, you’ll have to limit your practice to your expertise — areas in which you’re certified and credentialed.

In conclusion, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of tips, as each situation is different. For more information, see the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

From the Coach’s Corner, see these related tips:

The 6 Most Important Steps for Success as a Consultant — In order to succeed as a consultant, bear in mind it’s a challenging occupation. It entails a lot more than just being knowledgeable and providing good counsel.

Sales, Networking Strategies to Build Strong Relationships — Knowledge has always been essential for success. But the ability to sustain strong relationships was and is both gratifying and important for success. Here are tips for strong sales and relationships.

19 Best Practices in Due Diligence for Profitability — To lead your company to high profitability – and to stay there – due diligence is needed in critical values.

Checklist: 21 Top Marketing Tips for New Entrepreneurs — Would you like to be your own boss? Are you gainfully employed but have a great entrepreneurial idea? Why not start a new business? Here’s what you need to know about marketing.

Checklist – 10 Legal Basics for New Entrepreneurs — Thinking about legal matters can be tedious when you have a lot of details on your plate. But laws and regulations are important.

6 Keys for Successfully Launching a Business Startup — It’s important to imagine success as an entrepreneur while making sure it’s not a pipe dream. Business owners have all kinds of stress. The stress list is long: Fuel, energy and utility costs; taxes, regulatory costs; insurance costs; labor costs, banking fees, product development costs, capital expenses and facility costs.

Checklist to Increase Your Startup’s Cash Flow — It’s true that cash flow is the salient dynamic that leads to the failure or success of a business. Whether your new company’s performance is stagnant or you’re growing quickly, cash flow is paramount. There are at least 11 ways you can increase cash flow for your business to function properly.

To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect. You just have to care.”

-Mandy Hale


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.