Barriers For Nurses To Becoming Self-Employed
Barriers For Nurses To Becoming Self-Employed

There are many barriers that we put up as reasons why we can’t become self-employed.

I’ve used them myself—”I’m too busy,” “I have to get done with this . . . or that.” But the fact is the idea of being self-employed or rather as I like to say, becoming a NursePreneur, kept coming up in my life.

It was this niggly feeling like I could do more, I should do more, and I need to do something for myself. Deciding to become a NursePreneur is not an easy one to come to.

If you are so bold to declare yourself a NursePreneur, you are definitely on the right path to success.

However, there are still quite a few people throwing up reasons why not. So let’s review some of the commonly stated barriers to becoming a NursePreneur.

See if you fall into one of these categories: becoming a NursePreneur is too risky, too expensive, too hard, takes too much time or I don’t have enough expertise, I don’t have any expertise, I don’t know where to start.

Self Imposed Barriers

All of these barriers are self-imposed and stem from the fear of the unknown. The first and most important point I want to lay to rest is the fact that as a nurse, you have an expertise.

Your expertise may be your specialty, your knowledge of the hospital system, your ability to connect with others, your ability to organize and implement plans. Whatever you do really well at work can be considered expertise.

The fact that you have professional expertise behind you puts you miles ahead of the competition. Ironically, most entrepreneurs I come across in groups is that they really have no expertise in anything.

That puts nursing leaps and bounds ahead of the competition because of our professional expertise. Now if we marry professional expertise with another passion for basically any other subject matter that exists, we create a huge opportunity.

How so?

Well let’s start with this tidbit:

Do not categorize expertise in the framework of physicians.

It may seem obvious to you that physicians have expertise in a sub-specialty, such as a cardiothoracic surgeon with expertise in valvular disease.

That type is one expertise for sure. But I am not asking you to identify with a medical specialty. First of all, it’s not what nurses are experts in. Our expertise is in the art and science of managing patients.

So if you work on a med-surg floor or the ICU or even the cardiothoracic unit, your expertise isn’t the medical knowledge of treating those patients per se.

Your Expertise

Your expertise could be the more important things that you know that occurs in the hospital, at discharge, and at home for those patients.  For instance, the cardiothoracic nurse notices every day that when patients are discharged, they don’t understand how to continue eating a heart-healthy diet.

The patient’s family asks you for tips and a list of things that they should eat. You quickly throw something together and send the patient on their way.

Now take your expertise and passion for nutrition and think of how you could turn this concept into a business.

Think of concepts that already exist, such as the home delivery meal service Blue Apron (

How could you differentiate on this concept?  What if you marketed heart-healthy meals for cardiac patients?  Or just did online recipes and video training?  If you want more ideas, check out my blog post on 10 Incredible Entrepreneurial Ideas Just for Nurses.

Hopefully, that example helps dispel the myth that you don’t have an expertise in something. Now let’s move onto the other barriers we mentioned above: too risky, too expensive, too hard, takes too much time.

Types of Barriers

These types of barriers are basically excuses that stem from the fear of the unknown. And they are ok; these are healthy concerns that you need to address in your life.

Becoming a NursePreneur will not be for everyone and certainly not for a person who can’t handle uncertainty.  Any business start-up is risky. The fact is that more businesses fail than succeed.

This reality is grim. The businesses that fail usually do so because the owner has not thought through the process did not work in a sequential method, did not do the “boring” work, or did not plan properly.

Most business owners simply run out of cash because, in their excitement, they spent money without having a real plan for having money come in.

Working without a plan is a terrible way to start a business. You should not be spending hardly any money on a business idea until you have proof that it has strong potential to be profitable. Creating a plan can be done through solid market research—the major area too many business owners skip over.

You cannot skip over market research even if you think it’s boring or somehow doesn’t affect you. Market research should take several weeks to a month to undergo. There is no risk in doing market research, it’s not hard, it’s not expensive, but it does take time.

The risk and expense of starting a business are something you do need to consider, but you can mitigate this risk with proper research and setting up a strong foundation.

 Fear of Failing

The one barrier that is not up here that I think is significant is the fear of failing. What if you put time, money, energy and your heart and soul into a business and it’s a big flop?

A flop can happen for sure; there is no guarantee. But your main focus should not be on what if I fail, and you need to focus on how your life changes when you succeed.

Business is like one big experiment. Your original idea when it goes into market research may not come out the same.

A failed idea is an evolved idea. You may think your audience is one group, but when you test it out, you find another group has a stronger interest in your product.

Again, this isn’t a failure, unless you are so fixed on an idea and an audience that you forge ahead despite evidence to the contrary.

You have to be flexible and adjust according to what the market and your audience tells you. I would set aside a year and a decent budget of maybe an average of $500–1000/month to spend on your business to get started.

If all this seems doable, then you have a true NursePreneur spirit!

Again, you should not just jump into any venture. Having barriers is your mind’s way of easing you into something new.

You need to think through your own barriers, but they should not stop you from pursuing a dream. If you have the calling to become self-employed, then keep reading our blog for more tips and resources on how to get started!

Whenever you’re ready, here are the ways we can help you…

Join our Business + Marketing Facebook group:

The NursePreneurs Community is exclusively for nurses who are looking to create and scale their business.

Request To Join

Visit our YouTube Channel which is about business + marketing for nurses:

Visit the channel here

Need inspiration from other NursePreneurs?

–> Check out our NursePreneurs Podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud.

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