Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.
This is part one of a three-part series which provides business tips for new NP entrepreneurs.
I’ve loved business ever since I was a kid. Growing up I had a neighborhood friend whose dad sold Amway products. We used to play “business” where we’d pretend to be business owners with the packaged products, buying and selling them as if they were ours. A few years down the line, when I was in middle school, I opened up a lemonade stand and was subsequently featured in the local newspaper.
Despite my passion for business early on in life, I chose a clinical career as I love helping people as well as having a clinical skill set. However, my entrepreneurial spirit has stayed with me, and over the years I’ve learned that my love for business and my nurse practitioner career, aren’t mutually exclusive. Over the past decade I’ve started and failed at a few businesses. However, my current venture, The Nurse Practitioner Mentorship Project is definitely one I see having over the long haul.
I took what I’d learned from my previous failures, and began this business on the right foot. I created this business as I noticed a need for more mentoring and support within the profession, as this is something that I could have used early on in my career. Although The Nurse Practitioner Mentorship Project is still in its infancy, I’d like to share a few of the lessons (mostly through failure) that I’ve learned while building a business.
Create a Business Plan
If you’ve decided you’d like to be a NP business owner, you’ll need to create a business plan. This is essentially a roadmap of where your business will be headed. Within the business plan you’ll also need to figure out what type of business you would like to run. A clinical business is much different than a health coaching business or a business that sells physical products. This is something that I suggest thinking long and hard about, as all the energy you put into your business will flow around this. If you rush into it, like I’ve done in the past, you’re going to waste a lot of your time, energy, and money. A good starting point is to think about what type of work you’d enjoy doing within your business, and go from there.
Once you’ve decided to launch a business you’ll need to choose what type of entity your business will be. Are you going to launch it as a sole proprietor or do you need to form an LLC? There are a lot of tax and legal implications that you should have general knowledge about, and this is especially true if you open up a clinical business. Find a qualified accountant and lawyer to help you set up your business, and with whom you can consult as needed. I would not suggest creating a business with an online company. I did this and it cost me even more money to have everything fixed. An accountant and lawyer will be part of the team you will be creating, so you want to find people whom are reliable and trustworthy. Your future self will thank you.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
I’ve worked full-time for the majority of the time while starting my businesses. Although this was very exhausting on occasion, I am very grateful for the steady paycheck. At one point I stopped working for two months hoping my business would take off. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that I’d have to return to work or I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills. So until you are able to live off your business, it’s best to keep that steady income. Having a paycheck takes the stress out of starting a company, and you can make decisions based on what’s best for your business, and not on monetary needs.
I hope you’ve found the above tips helpful. Starting a business isn’t easy, though it can be very rewarding and a lot of fun. In my next piece I’ll be sharing a few more helpful tips from what I’ve learned as an entrepreneur.
Nadia Santana, DNP, FNP-BC is a nurse practitioner, author, and business owner. She founded The Nurse Practitioner Mentorship Project which is an online non-clinical mentoring business for future and current NPs. She is also the published author of “The Ultimate Nurse Practitioner Guidebook.” Visit her online at www.nadiasantana.com
Illustration by April Brust