My Legal Nurse Consulting Business Is the Ticket to Retiring in 5 Years*
by Carol Riley, RN, MHA, CNAA, HFA, CLNC
After five years as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, my success was moderate, and I was staying busy part time. I had not been overly aggressive with marketing and had settled into the security of receiving cases from my regular attorney-clients on a “trickle in, trickle out” basis. I was enjoying the time to pursue my hobbies while still contributing to the family income and paying for my daughter’s college tuition. Jordanne is in nursing school, and I felt good knowing my earnings would help place another nurse in the ranks by the time I was ready to retire.
Remember how Vickie tells us to market ourselves to anyone and everyone? As my story proves, you never know where your next referral will come from.
You Never Know Where Your Next Referral Will Come From
Little did I know that my daughter would provide my best referral. Remember how Vickie tells us to market ourselves to anyone and everyone? As my story proves, you never know where your next referral will come from.
About a year ago Jordanne was at her part-time job in a local chain restaurant. One Friday night a nice looking young man wearing National Guard fatigues pulled up in a Jaguar. As his order arrived and she checked him out, she admired his Jaguar and commented that the National Guard must be doing well for him. At that he smiled and told her his real job was as a med-mal defense attorney. She nonchalantly replied, “My mother works with attorneys.”
He asked what I did. When she told him I was a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, he almost dropped his food. He immediately started asking what kind of cases I specialized in and whether I had room in my caseload for more. He dug around but couldn’t find a business card.
Fortunately, Jordanne had one of my cards in her wallet and gave it to him. He literally took a napkin, wrote down his personal email address, business and cell phone numbers, and asked her to have me call him ASAP. He had cases to send me.
She couldn’t wait to get home and tell me about the encounter. It’s been a long time since anyone wrote their number on a napkin for me!
Letters of Recommendation Are My Best Marketing Tool
The next evening I called him on his cell phone. It sounded like he was at a party, but he took the time to ask about my clinical experience, my legal nurse consulting experience and my availability. I learned he was with a big firm in a major city downstate.
On Monday I sent him my brochure, resume, letter of recommendation and work product samples.
By Thursday I hadn’t heard from him. On Friday I nervously made that follow-up call Vickie stresses as essential to our success.
He answered his business phone himself. When I asked if he had any questions, he said he didn’t. My heart sank. Then he added that he and his paralegal had just sorted through a “tabletop full of cases” to decide which ones they would send me.
I asked if he wanted to know what I charged, and he said, “Sure, but it doesn’t matter. That letter of recommendation convinced me you have exactly the skills we need.” He was referring to the letter from one of my attorney-clients, a well-known plaintiff attorney.
As Vickie says, a good letter of recommendation is one of your best marketing tools. This new defense attorney-client said he would make sure he didn’t have to try any cases against “your plaintiff attorney” because he didn’t want to go up against me as the opposing expert. I nearly fell out of my chair.
I’m Now on Track for Retirement – or a Jaguar
The cases started arriving the following week and the flood hasn’t stopped. After receiving the first case, I emailed to advise him that I was available and to inform him of my hourly rate. He immediately offered an additional 33% if I could complete the case in two weeks. Needless to say, I met that deadline and enjoyed the premium. Since then I’ve been so busy I’ve had to use CLNC® subcontractors.
I can’t believe my good fortune. My husband is astounded that my “little business” is making so much money. I just paid off my Jeep and bought a new quilting machine so I can enjoy my hobby in my spare time – even though I don’t have as much spare time since my Certified Legal Nurse Consultant practice took off. Oh well, the quilting machine will be there for my “real” retirement.
My goal is to retire in five years. With Vickie’s advice and training, my legal nurse consulting business is sure to make that retirement happen on schedule, leaving me professionally fulfilled and financially secure. You never know, I just might trade that Jeep for a Jag.
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