Success means different things to different Certified Legal Nurse Consultants and each consultant aspires to different levels of success. Whatever the meaning or aspiration for you personally, the CLNC® Pros can help you get on the fast track to legal nurse consulting success with these 8 secrets.
- Treat Your Business Like a Business, Not a Hobby
Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Robert Malaer, RN, MSN, PMHN, SANE, CNLCP, CALM, CLNC states, “It’s easy for legal nurse consultants working from home to become distracted and lackadaisical in their daily schedule and focus. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the importance of working in a quiet, professional office space with no television or other distractions. I set a daily schedule for office hours that I strictly follow and my family respects. There are so many distractions and ‘honey do’s’ that are commonly problematic with working from a home office. Establishing clear and specific guidelines and being disciplined is critical to legal nurse consulting success.”
CLNC consultant Michelle Neal, RN, BSN, CLNC adds, “When I decided to become a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, I told myself, ‘I’m going to do this no matter what.’ Despite having 2-year-old twins at home, I created the mindset of focus and confidence. New experiences and career paths can be scary, but I didn’t want my fears to overshadow my success. I focused on my goals and did everything I could to achieve them by utilizing everything Vickie Milazzo teaches in the CLNC Certification Program. I had to step out of my comfort zone and be confident in my abilities. Of course, there were times it was scary and intimidating, but stepping out of my comfort zone led me to a legal nurse consulting business I could have never imagined.”
Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Susan Schaab, RN, BSN, CLNC comments, “From the moment I signed up for the CLNC Certification Program, I’ve always made my legal nurse consulting business a priority. I took a hospital position with a schedule allowing me time to market and work on cases. I created a calendar with all my open days and entered the number of hours I needed to bill attorneys. This kept me on track and focused on building my business. Because I never let the hospital take control of my life I was able to leave when the time was right.”
- Develop, Implement and Follow-Up On Your Marketing Plan
Robert Malaer discusses just how important a marketing plan is. “The single most important aspect of my success is my plan (with emphasis on the marketing plan). My plan keeps me organized, on schedule, and aware of important dates, meetings and follow-up actions. A strategic marketing plan and follow-up schedule has allowed me to stay in contact with potential attorney-clients regularly and my organized persistence has contributed to my legal nurse consulting success.”
Susan Schaab shares specific marketing strategies she implemented when she first launched her legal nurse consulting business. “When I started my business, I had lots of time and little money. I searched for local networking groups that focused on women in business. I loved the support I received from prominent business women, and I landed my first attorney-clients through one of those groups. I also joined my state trial lawyers’ association and started attending their local seminars. By attending their seminars consistently I demonstrated both my commitment to the association and to the longevity of my business. Before I market I research all prospective attorney-clients by looking at their websites, blogs and social media. By the time I contact the attorney I know exactly how I can be of service. This has given me the confidence to expand my legal nurse business from my small town to my state to other states in the U.S. My research also led me to expand beyond medical malpractice to products liability.”
CLNC consultant Dorene Goldstein, RN, BSN, CLNC says, “I never stop marketing. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love marketing. In fact, there are many times when I should be sitting down working on cases and instead, I’m out looking for new attorney-clients. I recommend spending the first 30 minutes of the business day on marketing, whether it’s sending emails to retie a connection or looking at a potential exhibiting opportunity for an upcoming legal conference.”
- Be Persistent and Consistent
Michelle Neal shares, “Without persistence and consistency, I would not have gained the attorney-clients I continue to have today. Attorneys aren’t going to find you. You have to find them. And sometimes it takes two or three interactions before an attorney-prospect responds or even notices you. If you tell a potential attorney-client you’ll call in a week, then do it! Lack of persistence or inconsistency can be portrayed as you’re not motivated. That is the last thing an attorney wants when he is taking a chance on a new legal nurse consultant.”
- Communicate Openly
Certified Legal Nurse Consultant Dale Barnes, RN, MSN, PHN, CLNC states, “Much of my legal nurse consulting success is attributed to the communications I have with my attorney-clients. I make a point of staying in regular communication during a case, even if my part is done or on hold. I remind attorneys about the extra CLNC services I can provide. I let them know I can run interference with their experts and clients as needed. I make myself available either in person or on the phone for pertinent meetings.
In addition, I make sure my work product is exactly what the attorney needs (and even more)! I always check with the attorney before providing a work product, communicate during the process and go over the report in detail once it’s complete. That way, if the attorney needs more, I’m on top of it. Communication builds rapport and trust.”
Michelle Neal adds, “A legal nurse consulting business cannot thrive without open lines of communication. While I have the flexibility of being my own boss and creating my own hours, I make a point to maintain communication during regular business hours, whether I’m working or not. I always respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner, even if that means taking a few minutes of my time at night or on the weekend. This commitment to communication builds trust and attorneys appreciate it.”
Robert Malaer shares, “I discuss the attorney’s preferred report format which allows me to provide exactly what the attorney wants. This open communication establishes a strong business relationship.”
Dorene Goldstein discusses, “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I never assume that I know what the attorney wants. The best report will fail if it’s not what your attorney-client wants. Ask the attorney what he’s looking for and then offer ideas and recommendations. I also keep lines of communication open while I’m analyzing a case and have on occasion sent an email to ask for clarification.”
- Get Organized and Stay Organized
Michelle Neal discusses how difficult it would be to run a successful legal nurse consulting business without being organized. “With multiple cases coming in from multiple attorneys all at once it’s easy to mix something up or even forget about a case altogether. Staying organized allows me to balance tasks efficiently and effectively. Frequently an attorney calls with a quick question on a case. With the organizational process I’ve formulated, I can easily access any case file and respond to the attorney’s questions without wasting valuable time trying to locate information. I’ve created a case assignment template, which includes each case, when I received it and the expected due date. It’s simple, but it works.”
- Give More Than the Attorneys Ask For
Dorene Goldstein stresses, “I stand by what Vickie has taught ‘Always give a little more than what is expected.’ This is an important way to stand out from your peers. For example, I might send a relevant research article to an attorney even though I’m no longer actively working on the case. Little touches go a long way. I also never take any attorney-client for granted. I have attorneys that I’ve worked with for years. Just because they use my services today doesn’t mean they’ll do so tomorrow. I always make myself available when needed and I continue to treat every attorney-client like he’s the only attorney that I have. A little attention goes a long way.”
- Commit to Being a Student for Life
Susan Schaab confesses that she initially wasn’t comfortable working the room, but learned how to do it anyway. She says, “I would much rather sit in the corner and talk to one or two people. Unfortunately, networking requires meeting as many people as possible. I kept going to events and put myself in uncomfortable situations. After each event I became more comfortable and my networking skills became more successful. I used a dinner event to meet a corporate counsel and left that night with a new attorney-client.”
Robert Malaer shares, “My legal nurse consulting success is less about me and more about the influence others have had on me and my CLNC business. One of the best things about life is that we never have to stop learning. There are always new skills to learn and techniques to adopt. The best entrepreneurs in the world don’t act like they know everything. They understand that they have to continuously learn to be successful. Warren Buffet spends most of his time reading. For us to live life to the fullest and achieve legal nurse consulting success we must continually look for ways to learn, improve, collaborate and grow.”
Michelle Neal adds the importance of being open to constructive criticism. “Most successful Certified Legal Nurse Consultants will attest to a time where they made a mistake. Success doesn’t come without making mistakes. It’s what you do with those mistakes that help drive you to success. Anytime I receive constructive criticism or recommendations from an attorney I listen, fix the problem and/or implement their suggestions. I also thank them and ask for follow-up feedback. I strive for professional growth in my CLNC business which makes me more marketable to other attorney-prospects!”
- Believe in Yourself
Robert Malaer stresses just how important this success principle is. “Others will only believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. The two words that minimize CLNC consultants are ‘only’ and ‘but.’ I have heard so many RNs make statements such as, ‘I’ve only been an RN for 10 years,’ ‘I’ve only worked in the hospital setting’ and ‘I’m a great nurse, but I’m not sure I can be successful in legal nurse consulting.’ Having all the answers is impossible and knowing where or how to find the answers is empowering. I walk into every meeting with potential attorney-clients with the confidence that I have the knowledge, skills, and experience they need whether they know it or not. It’s my job and privilege to explain to those potential attorney-clients how and why they can specifically benefit from the CLNC services I provide.”
Dorene Goldstein encourages surrounding yourself with positive people which naturally helps you to believe in yourself. She says, “I surround myself with positive people in both my business and personal life. There is nothing worse than a Debbie Downer or someone who is always negative. They really bring you down. Why not do the opposite and model the behavior of someone positive and/or successful. Let the positive, successful people be your mentors.”
Thanks to Dale, Dorene, Robert, Michelle and Susan for sharing their secrets to success. The secrets of these CLNC Pros are now yours to use to grow your legal nurse consulting success.
Success Is Yours!
P.S. Comment and share your secrets for legal nurse consulting success.