As a successful business owner and entrepreneur who’s been in business for 32 years I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way. There were no classes or support groups for nurses that wanted to own businesses in 1982.
Here are 7 keys for entrepreneurial success I learned through the school of entrepreneurial hard knocks.
- Act like the entrepreneur you strive to be. Every encounter is a possible audition for an entrepreneurial opportunity. And the more you act the part, the more likely you’ll be cast for the position. Successful people like to work with other successful people. A harsh reality of life – the more successful you are, the more successful you are. Fair? I say “Yes!”
And what if you don’t know how to act like a successful entrepreneur? My advice to you is simple: pay attention. Surround yourself with as many mentors as possible. Study and model them. And as a side note, remember to dress the part, too. I don’t want to see your belly button, tattoos or boobs hanging out.
- Go big or go home. It’s human nature for even successful nurse entrepreneurs to want to check the small, easy things off our lists in order to avoid the tough stuff. See if the following scenario sounds familiar: I cleaned out my inbox, organized my project files and followed up with several prospective clients today, you think as you mentally pat yourself on the back. But meanwhile, you’re studiously ignoring the fact that you need to revise a complicated and critical report.
Email is not your job. Email is a tool to get that challenging project advanced to the next level. Break the feel-good addiction, and stop confusing busyness with progress. Where you engage and focus is where you will get results. Go after the significant projects that advance your entrepreneurial success as an RN.
- Check yourself at the door. Let’s say your son spilled orange juice all over his homework at breakfast, the zipper on your favorite skirt broke and you hit every red light on the way to a prospect interview, only to find your inbox full of emails from a particularly needy client. (We’ve all been there.) You deserve some sympathy, right? Wrong!
Even if your car broke down and you had to hitchhike to the prospect’s office, he doesn’t want or need to hear about it. Unless you’re experiencing a serious life circumstance that will impact your ability to perform your job, like an illness or a death in the family, keep your personal woes to yourself. Successful people make the difficult look easy while the less successful whine and complain their way through the simplest of projects.
- Network with big players. Successful nurse entrepreneurs spend time with other successful people, not just with novices and low performers. So if you’d rather swim with the sharks instead of the bottom feeders, start forming strategic alliances. And remember, whether or not it’s right, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is a truism that is still alive and well in today’s business world.
Stay out of the gossip chain. That’s fine when it comes to friendships, but you need to aim higher when it comes to networking. Some of your best opportunities will come from networking, but only if important players see you as a true professional.
- Be your own number one fan. It can be hard to toot your own horn as an RN. To a certain extent, we’re wired to nurture and care for others and to put the good of the whole over our own personal interests. While these impulses aren’t inherently bad, it’s time for a newsflash: if you don’t announce your own achievements, you can bet that no one else is going to do it for you. With humility, make sure that you’re keeping your name, your accomplishments and your skillset in front of everyone.
If you still have doubts, consider that announcing your accomplishments validates the investments others have made in you. A prospective client, for example, wants to know that he bet on a winner when he hired you – and that knowledge will, in turn, make him more likely to refer you to other high-powered colleagues.
- Don’t underprice yourself. Let’s say you’re in the running for a consulting job with a prospective client. I’d better not ask for too much, you reason. This isn’t what I was hoping for, but if I get too pushy I might be passed over for one of the other candidates. I should just be grateful to have made the cut. Back up – you’re making a big mistake. Settle for less than you’re worth and you’ll lose credibility…and maybe even the opportunity.
Many new nurse entrepreneurs mistakenly think they’re doing their prospects a favor by not pushing for more or that they’ll be more appealing if they don’t ask for what they’re worth. However, many CEOs weed out candidates who underprice themselves because they assume the candidates won’t perform at the level expected.
- Know that everything is marketing. Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair. The hardest worker or most innovative thinker doesn’t always get selected. The popular and persuasive do.
Having great ideas is one thing, but if you can’t figure out a way to sell them to everyone else, you’ll be stuck. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself as a nurse entrepreneur. You must intelligently and persuasively market your ideas and the person behind those ideas.
Apply these 7 keys to entrepreneurial success to start your own nursing business today.
I’m Just Sayin’
P.S. Comment here and share your entrepreneurial success tips.