In My 4th Month I Billed $16,000 and Became a Full-Time CLNC® Consultant*
by Becky Mungai, RN, BA, CLNC
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share the success of my CLNC® career. I could tell my story a million times because it’s so exciting to have finally achieved all of my professional goals. I grew up with the aspiration of becoming an obstetrician. I entered college as a pre-med student and it wasn’t long before I realized how challenging being a doctor and a hands-on parent would be.
I wanted to achieve a certain status and financial level, and I never got that from nursing. I was sick of it.
I wanted to be a mom more than anything. I decided to change direction towards my other interests, teaching and psychology. I got a B.A. in psychology, a minor in coaching and completed all my teaching courses but quit during student teaching. I didn’t love it. I couldn’t deny that I loved medicine, so I became a nurse.
I’m 47 now, and I’ve felt like I shortchanged myself my entire life and hadn’t reached my full potential. I wanted to achieve a certain status and financial level, and I never got that from nursing. As an ED nurse, I had a tremendous amount of responsibility and yet I was treated as insignificant compared to the physicians. I graduated at the top of my high school class and received a full college scholarship with early entrance and honors on admission. I graduated summa cum laude with two degrees and my teaching coursework completed. It was always frustrating to have so much education, so little respect and such minimal compensation. I was sick of it.
Vickie’s Big Smile Beckoned Me to Escape a “Toxic” ED Environment
I decided to make a change. In Oregon, I had an awesome job working dayshift and basically running my own cosmetic laser business with a talented and well-respected plastic surgeon who compensated me well, gave me autonomy and respected my intellect. And while I appreciated this opportunity, it still didn’t meet my list of criteria for success. I soon grew bored and the sunshine and water were calling me, so we put two kids in college, took our little one and moved to Florida. We bought a big, beautiful house on the water with a huge mortgage (actually a moderate mortgage but adding hurricane insurance made it huge). My husband, following his heart and desire to find his passion, left a successful corporate-America career and started a video production company.
I expected my nursing salary in Florida to be about the same as Oregon, but it was only half as much. The panhandle of Florida offered sunshine and white sand beaches but the unique situation I had in Oregon was not available. I went back to the Peds ED. I love kids and emergency care but in addition to the low pay, I was dismayed by the sketchy quality of medical care. I was not proud to be part of that ED. The other nurses felt the same way and their response was to constantly complain and create a “toxic” environment. It was sucking the life out of me.
I needed to get out of that situation, and I felt like this was my last chance to make a change. I had always been interested in law and started searching for a law program. But I had a ten-year old, and if I went to law school, I’d still have to work full-time and I’d shortchange him. I just wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice. My list of criteria became: to be appropriately compensated for my knowledge and work ethic; to work from home (my office looks out onto the bay with dolphins swimming by); to never work another holiday or weekend; to have the freedom to care for my child when he is sick; to go on field trips; to volunteer in the classroom; and to be respected and commended for my expertise.
For years I’d seen Vickie’s smiling picture in the ads for her CLNC Certification Program. I saw her program as the perfect combination of my two interests; law and medicine. When I realized how comprehensive her training was, I ordered everything she offered. It was my belief that if one nurse could do this, I could! And if I was going to invest in myself, I was going all the way. I was setting myself up for success. I ordered the VIP CLNC Success System.
Before I went to the CLNC Certification Seminar, I studied the CLNC Certification Program and the Core Curriculum for Legal Nurse Consulting® textbook. I did this for two reasons: To decrease my test-taking anxiety and to get the most out of the week-long seminar. I know that anxiety makes it difficult to absorb information and like I said, I was setting myself up for success. I had all the information – now I wanted to solidify it and grab all the nuances that would be offered at Vickie’s seminar.
By the time I walked into the CLNC Certification Seminar, I was already prepared to take the CLNC Certification Exam. I used those days – plus the NACLNC® Apprenticeship – to fine tune.
As a side benefit I even lost 25 pounds when I started my CLNC business. It was effortless and I think it was because I’m so happy. Every day is spent doing exactly what I want to be doing. I finally feel like I’m getting the professional respect I’ve sought my entire life. I’m not only being treated like an equal, I’m being treated as a tremendous asset. The attorneys need me and they respect my intelligence. They pump me up constantly. Gone are the days of the “toxic” hospital environment.
Between the attorneys and Vickie Milazzo Institute, I am ecstatic! Vickie gives you all the tools you need, and the Institute holds your hand every step of the way. When something great happens, they’re there to cheer you on, as if they are family. That’s unheard of, especially in nursing. As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I finally feel like I’ve arrived.
I Branded My CLNC Business Like Vickie Taught and Networked My Way to Success
The first thing I did was put together a promotional packet along with my resume and a list of my CLNC services.
For 23 years I had worked in pediatric emergency and attended over 2,000 deliveries as the primary neonatal nurse. I’m confident of my knowledge in these areas. In addition, I found that my specialties, birth trauma and pediatric emergency trauma, are highly litigious. So I did an Internet search on birth trauma attorneys. I’d read an attorney’s bio and if I had something in common with him, I’d call. If an attorney played college basketball, went to Phillips Academy, was a Theta or went to Whitman College, I’d call them. I used that connection to get past the gatekeeper.
The first time I tried this I called the attorney’s office and said, “Hi, this is Becky Mungai. Is Kirby in? We went to Whitman College together.” The secretary didn’t ask any questions. She just put me through. That attorney’s partner became my first case. While Christmas shopping I got a call from an attorney who said, “Kirby gave me your number. I need you and another L&D nurse to look at a case and give me a verbal opinion.” All it took was that one attorney’s call to fuel my energy for my CLNC business. I had my first case and my first subcontracting opportunity.
The day I came back from the CLNC Certification Seminar, I went half time at the hospital. I was determined to invest time in my CLNC business. I couldn’t work full time and start my business or someone would be shortchanged, and it wasn’t going to be my child.
Soon I was billing so many hours as a CLNC consultant – $16,000 in my fourth month alone! – that I could no longer work at the hospital.
I recently returned from a legal conference in Nevada. It was my sixth conference this year. I came home with seven new attorney-clients and 11 cases. In addition, I currently have several cases in progress and work with attorneys in 19 states. I’m scheduled for three more conferences in the next few months and have been asked to present at a legal seminar. I’m on track to achieve six figures!
With each new case, I learn more about managing a successful CLNC business. In one early case, I was talking to the attorney and he mentioned that he already had his team in place and didn’t need anyone else. Nevertheless, the attorney went on to describe a case over the phone. I gave him some questions to ask his expert and the defendant. When I followed up to see how it went he said he had forgotten to ask some of the questions. He responded with, “Why don’t I send you some of the records to see what you think. Just put me on the clock.” What he sent was 18 pages. For a couple of weeks, I couldn’t think of a single thing I hadn’t already told him. But he’d said to put him on the clock, and I was determined to find something! Finally, I decided to put what I had already told him in chronology format to see if anything else popped out at me. Sure enough, I discovered a tampering issue. The attorney was so busy, he didn’t comment – but more than a month later he called and said, “That tampering issue you found blew this case wide open. All of a sudden we have additional discovery. Thank you so much!”
I Love Making Connections and They Always Pay Off
I love connecting with new attorneys. It’s my favorite part of this business. I met with one attorney who’s very well respected in town. She has her own nurse consultant working in-house, but she agreed to meet with me anyway. I asked her why, and she said, “I just like how you sound on the phone.” As a result of meeting her, she has referred two attorneys to me and I’ve done a lot of work with one of them. She had a tough case several months ago and emailed me for emotional support. Our relationship continues to grow.
I was recently requested to fly to Houston to teach an attorney about newborn resuscitation for one of her cases. She was flying in from the West Coast. We met with another attorney I do cases for and her partner who is an anesthesiologist. We spent a couple days teaching, working up the case and brainstorming some of my other cases. She is one of my favorite attorney-clients.
The VIP CLNC® Success System Is the Nordstrom of Legal Nurse Consulting
The first thing I received from the Institute was the free CLNC Success Stories book. I also watched the legal nurse consulting video and I read the Success Stories book. Then when I’d go for a walk, I’d create my CLNC Success Story in my head. I believe that if you think you’ll be successful, you will. Vickie teaches the same thing. When she says, “We are successful CLNC consultants,” she’s putting that in our heads – dress for success, act successful and you’ll be successful. It’ll all happen – and it did.
If you have a choice of going to the best four-year college to prepare for your career, would you take a correspondence course instead? No, you’d choose the best, and that’s what Vickie provides. I absolutely recommend the VIP CLNC Success System. The added cost of the VIP CLNC Success System, when you divide it out over five years, comes down to pennies basically, but you’re investing in yourself by getting it all. As a VIP you also feel more successful while you’re in the program.
The unlimited mentoring with the CLNC Mentors is phenomenal. I tend to hold onto a problem too long – I want to solve it myself and then I panic because I need the answer right this second. The CLNC Mentors get right back to me. They support me all the way. They never act like I’m taking up their time. They want to know, “Have I answered all your questions? Do you need anything else?” I feel like they “have my back.” They want me to succeed. There is no competition. It’s all about complementing my efforts and pumping me up. The CLNC Mentors give great advice and always lead me in the right direction. It’s the support network I had been looking for in nursing and had yet to find.
Vickie gives you all the tools. She’s dotted every “i” and crossed every “t.” She could not do it better than she has. She’s right up there with Nordstrom. I went to college with one of the Nordstroms, and that’s who Vickie is. Someone could take what she has done with this business and use it as a business model at Harvard. Nothing is missing. She has everything down, from branding your business to supporting you while you learn and not dropping the ball afterwards. I’ve reached my professional goal as a CLNC consultant.
I have gone from reviewing cases to traveling with attorneys across the country, Canada, Mexico and Panama attending depositions, mediations, trials, medical-malpractice conferences, legal seminars and soon to be speaking at my first legal convention.
I hold phone consults on the white sand beaches of Pensacola while watching my son surf. Two days ago, I noticed the bay water in my “backyard” to be perfect glass. I took a break from my cases and went knee boarding with my 11-year-old and his friends. Twelve dolphins joined us and it was one of the best days ever.
Becoming a CLNC consultant has offered me the flexibility to catch the joys of life. Not only am I finally making the money I deserve, my life is everything I’ve dreamed it to be. I have complete independence and freedom to work when and with whom I wish. Life is amazing! In times of economic uncertainty I have exceeded my income goals each and every year – making four times what I would have as a full-time staff nurse. I am truly blessed and look forward to another fantastic year.
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