I’ve Created a Whole New Set of Limits for Myself*
Video – Abigail Stanley, RN, CLCP, MSCC, CLNC
Not long after starting my nursing career as an RN in the operating room, I noticed how unhappy the “lifer” nurses were. I knew what I wanted for my life ultimately was to be happy and that meant there was something more for me outside of typical nursing.
My CLNC business has given me two types of freedom. First, the business allows me financial freedom. Secondly the business gives me the freedom of my time. I never work holidays and rarely work evenings or weekends. I felt controlled by the hospital and now I control my schedule and time. This freedom from owning my CLNC business has been life-changing.
I pursued life care planning and received a second certification as a Medicare Set-Aside Consultant. In 2015, my company had become so busy, I officially retired from hospital nursing and worked solely on the business.
I started receiving information from Vickie Milazzo Institute about legal nurse consulting. I was interested in expanding my company and participated in an introductory presentation. It was from this presentation that my life was changed forever. I learned about the variety of cases a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant can assist on, one of which is mass tort. I immediately researched mass tort litigation. I knew this was my calling. I completed Vickie Milazzo Institute’s CLNC® Certification Program in March 2017.
In April of 2017 I started attending and sponsoring national attorney conferences focused on mass torts. I’ve always believed in the value of face-to-face marketing. Initially, I went to law firms with my promotional packets (and chocolates) to set up meetings. Now, I attend and sponsor national attorney conferences. At the legal conferences I set up meetings and take existing and potential attorney-clients out for coffee, drinks or dinner. I also listen to potential clients’ presentations and try to chat with them before or after their speaking engagement.
I consult with mass tort law firms all over the United States and have even expanded into Canada. I maintain and nurture the professional relationships by texting, emailing or corresponding through Facebook. I currently have a team of legal nurse consultant subcontractors working for me on mass tort/class action lawsuits involving hernia mesh, Essure®, TVM, Roundup, water contamination, Havana Syndrome, talcum powder, Zofran® and the list goes on.
Becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and consulting on mass tort cases were the missing puzzle pieces to finding happiness in my nursing career. While I was doing well with life care planning and as a Certified Medicare Set-Aside Consultant, it was through Vickie Milazzo Institute that I found my sense of purpose.
I am passionate, driven, disciplined, decisive, self-aware, resilient, goal oriented, competitive, grateful, and I refuse to be defined by my failures. I also made several decisions to contribute to my success. Three important decisions I made included:
- Taking a leap of faith to pursue a career outside of typical hospital nursing.
- Investing in myself by pursuing additional certifications past my RN license.
- Letting go of limiting beliefs and not letting fear overcome me. I truly believe in the quotes, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear,” and, “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” I’m competitive and try to enjoy new challenges, but of course I’ve had my moments where fear sets in. When that happens, I go back to my why. If I focus on my goals and why I set every goal, the fear seems to melt away.
An illustration of the decisions I’ve made involves a dinner I co-hosted while attending a national conference to land my first mass tort litigation. I followed up with the guest list by email and by mailing out my promotional packets. At the next national conference, I noticed one of my dinner guests (who I never heard back from despite multiple attempts) was speaking at a closed hernia mesh litigation meeting. The meeting was supposed to end at 3:30pm, but didn’t finish up till after 5:00pm. I waited in the hallway for an hour and a half to be reintroduced to this attorney. We talked for three minutes and I still received nothing but maybes from this attorney. A few months later I was on the fence about attending another national conference. I saw this attorney was a speaker and booked my plane ticket. I knew if I just got in front of him one more time those cases would be mine. Sure enough at the conference reception I saw the attorney and we chatted for an hour. The next day we finalized the details for my company to review all of his hernia mesh cases. I have since been hired by him and he’s introduced me to many other attorneys that have since become my attorney-clients.
Backing up my decisions with intentions has contributed to my success. Some of my important intentions included the intentions to:
- Bring a higher level of quality for medical record reviews to the mass tort law world.
- Find success for all of my legal nurse consultant subcontractors as well as for myself.
- Find joy in my work. To be grateful for all of the attorneys who send cases my way. To also be grateful to my legal nurse subcontractors.
- Always be kind, ethical and professional to my attorney-clients and my legal nurse consultant subcontractors.
I also backed up my decisions and intentions with actions. The actions that contributed to my success included:
- Leaving hospital nursing and focusing all of my energy on my CLNC business.
- Completing the CLNC Certification Program and pursuing attorneys who handled mass tort cases while leaving behind a successful life care planning and Medicare Set-Aside business.
- Becoming extremely decisive and learning to take risks.
- Showing up to work on my CLNC business every single day.
- Learning to delegate and trust other legal nurse consultants to help grow my business.
- Learning to embrace criticism and be open to feedback on improvements.
- Listening, observing and asking questions. I believe everyone we meet has something to teach. It’s incredible where new ideas evolve from.
In 2015 I was able to quit my hospital nursing job. My income from my life care planning/Medicare-Set Aside business doubled what I made at the hospital, but this was not my financial goal. I knew being a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant and focusing on mass tort lawsuits was my calling. Since 2017 (the year I received my CLNC Certification), my financial goal was to own a multi-million-dollar legal nurse consulting company that specializes in mass tort cases.
I started my life care planning/Medicare-Set Aside company in 2011. By 2015, I had doubled my hospital salary grossing $100,000/year. In 2017 I received my CLNC Certification grossing $112,000 that year. In 2018 my company almost doubled, grossing $221,000. In 2019 my company tripled, grossing $701,000. This year my company is on course to make more than a million dollars.
I love how my CLNC business is forever evolving. What was once just me reviewing cases is long gone. My role continues to evolve and currently involves attorney-client acquisition, answering my chief operating officer’s questions, answering law firm questions and creating new project litigation instructions. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such powerful legal nurse consultants helping me build my company. I love that my CLNC business can continue to evolve. I know what I’ve described will be different in a few years.
My CLNC business has given me two types of freedom. First, the business allows me financial freedom. I’m thrilled to say my husband and I are debt free other than our mortgage on our home. I’ve paid off the student and car loans. Secondly the business gives me the freedom of my time. While the CLNC business still requires a lot of time and energy, I choose when I work, not the other way around. In the hospital I worked 12-hour shifts every Friday and Saturday night in the operating room. I now work Monday-Friday. I am able to flex my schedule as needed to spend special time with my daughter or pick her up from preschool. My husband and I typically grab lunch together during the week. My husband has traveled with me on business trips. We always stay an extra day or two to explore a new city. I never work holidays and rarely work evenings or weekends. I felt controlled by the hospital and now I control my schedule and time. This freedom from owning my CLNC business has been life-changing.
I try to live by the Jim Rohn quote, “Set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.” My CLNC business has at times pushed me to my limit. Actually, it feels like I created a whole new set of limits for myself. I don’t feel like the same person as I was when I started.
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