The Business of Nurse Coaching: Tips for a Successful Launch

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5 Minutes Read

If you’ve ever considered switching careers, nurse coaching can be an exciting way to use the skills you’ve learned in the field while exercising your entrepreneurial spirit. Nurse coaching is a fast-growing field, with plenty of opportunities. With the right approach, you’ll ensure a smooth transition into the business of nurse coaching.

Corporate woman at the hospital promoting medical insurance

Nurse Coaching Is an Opportunity to Invest in Yourself

It can be tough to take the plunge and leave your comfort zone. But you definitely wouldn’t be alone; according to a study conducted by RN Network, 50% of nurses consider leaving the profession due to extreme stress levels, overwork, and burnout. 

Nurse coaching is a natural fit if you still love patient interaction, caregiving, and contributing to your community. You rely on your nursing skills, certifications, and experience–but on your own terms. You choose your niche, your schedule, and your patients. A few examples:

  • Combine nurse coaching with a wide variety of healing modalities, such as healing touch, Reiki, aromatherapy, movement, nourishment, yoga, meditation, sound healing, guided imagery, and more. 
  • Use nurse coaching in all kinds of settings: one-on-one with patients; in the community; at doctors offices; with insurance companies; in colleges; and any other area you can dream of. 
  • Choose a specialization that appeals to you. For example, you might want to work exclusively with older adults who are facing memory loss. Below, we’ll take a deeper dive into finding your niche. 

Catie Harris, PhD, MBA, RN, of Nursepreneurs™ is the course creator and faculty for our newest course, The Business of Nurse Coaching. Harris acknowledges that it can be tempting to shy away from starting your own business. 

She says, “There’s a million reasons not to start a business, but you only need one reason, and that’s because you want to do it, because you want to make an impact, and because you believe that if  you invest in your solution–in yourself–then it will work.” 

To Succeed with Your Nurse Coaching Business, Start with the Right Steps

As CEO of NursePreneurs, Catie Harris has consulted on hundreds of business launches–including numerous nurse coaching businesses. She notes that people often start with the wrong things, like setting up a website or obtaining an EIN. 

“These are the things that everyone likes to do, I think, because they’re task-oriented,” she says.” It’s kind of like in nursing, where you wanted to learn how to put in Foleys and IVs because it made you feel like you could accomplish something.” 

So what is the right place to start? Harris offers a roadmap for getting off to a good start. 

#1. Push Pause on Setting Up All of the Usual "Relevant" Business Components

Many people, no matter the industry or business, think that one of the first orders of business when opening a business is to get a website up and running. That's how you reach people, right? Wrong. 

What good does trying to reach people do if you aren't sure which types of people you are trying to reach? To successfully run a business (especially a nursing business), you must completely understand your audience, the problems at hand, and your competition. If you are unsure of any of these components, you will waste your time and money. There is no point in setting up a website and spending money until you have a proper business plan and goals. Always pinpoint your audience first, then discover their problems.

Focus on learning everything there is to know about the industry, your business, develop a business model or plan, set goals, and study the competition; you honestly only need to be about 10% better than other options out there to have a viable solution. So, once you have everything in place, acquire the business name, are clear on all things legal, systems are set up, and you can track income and expenses, then you can focus on those usual and relevant business components.

#1a: Drafting Your Business Plan

Make sure you consider the following when crafting your business plan:

  • Competition– Locate your main competitor. Are they offering the same services in your area? Make sure you take the time to consider the things they are doing right and what could be improved.
  • Targets– Who is your target audience or ideal clients? Is there a local market for the services that you will be offering? 
  • Services– What specific services will your business offer? Will you travel to the client, or do they come to you? Dive into the specifics of your service offerings. 
  • Cover the Basics– What are the primary technological needs of your business operations? Do you need a new computer or several tablets? Do you need to find an affordable location to run your practice? Will you need to hire more team members in the foreseeable future?

Tip #2. Focus on the Standards of Care

When the worlds of nursing and business collide, it often becomes evident that one of the things many companies often lack and nurses offer an abundance of is empathy and following the standards of care. Upholding and administering the highest standards of patient care is the groundwork of nursing and should be applied to nurse businesses.

Nurse entrepreneurs have a duty to place clients' or patients' needs first. Whether it be a home-based business for nurses, or a brick and mortar, nurse business owners who follow the standards of care have a far better chance of winning over clients, creating loyalty, and making a difference. 

  • Assessment- Nurse coaches or other nursing entrepreneurs must primarily assess their patient's needs by utilizing all available information. The more questions asked and the more time invested in getting to know your clients, the stronger the assessment can be. 
  • Diagnosis- Diagnosis, whether medical or otherwise, is a critical aspect of the business of nursing. Always remember to recognize any potential issues that may hinder properly meeting all of your client's needs. 
  • Planning and Organization- The planning aspect of offering unique, expert care or other services should include setting goals and defining a clear path on how to meet them, including time frames.
  • Implementation- After your business plan and goals have been established, it is time to implement that plan or offer services that provide your clients with a solution. Remember that smart business ideas for nurses coupled with exceptional service cultivate customer loyalty. 
  • Evaluation- Whether you provide a one-time service, as-needed services, or have regular, long-term relationships with your clients or patients, you need to regularly re-evaluate your services and how they match up to meeting your clients' preferences and necessities. Never be afraid to make necessary changes; it will help in the long run.

Tip #3. Be Transparent About EVERYTHING, Right From the Start

Similar to the nursing profession itself, running a nursing-focused business includes transparency. While business opportunities are often abundant, transparent nurse business leaders and entrepreneurs are limited. Creating transparency within your workplace and business plans promotes a fair and ethical business operation, which will build loyalty on many fronts.

One of the most important distinctions between businesses and why one is more successful than another is when one is far more honest with its customers, team, and community. Authenticity goes a long way with clients, team members, and investors. This helps develop trust, strengthen the organizational structure, and more. Below are just a few ways in which you can stay transparent within your business:

  • Actively listen to clients' wants and needs
  • Start with a contract that is signed and agreed on by all involved parties
  • Be open and honest about pricing and rates
  • Make yourself available for clients or patients
  • Welcome any and all questions; No question is a dumb question!

Tip #4. Be Prepared for Ongoing Self-development and Exploration

Don't be so hard on yourself all the time. Running a business can be challenging; you will learn new things each day. Your business will be developing continuously, and so will you, personally. To thrive, grow, and succeed, we must allow ourselves to be open to learning, criticism, exploration, and self-development. 

Some things may be nerve-wracking or uncomfortable at first, but you must keep going. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. When it comes to comfort zones, they will begin to fall, and you will be a confident, respected, and trusted nurse coach and entrepreneur in no time at all. As cliche as it sounds, you must believe in yourself!

Think back to how hard nursing school was; how nervous you were entering the profession; how much you learned from day one onward; you learned so much on your own and did so much independently. You have the foundation to run your own business successfully.

Your success is your success. You invested in yourself, took advantage of opportunities to learn and grow, and now have incredible resources and networks to work with forever.

Don’t let your fears about the business side of nurse coaching hold you back!  

Picture of Carlie Carter

Carlie Carter

I am a 2021 graduate from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Childhood Studies. Outside of my work as a writer, I love to travel! I would say that my greatest adventure so far has been backpacking through Italy and Greece in July 2021 with my best friend. I love writing (not just for work) but specifically, music and poetry, playing piano and guitar, and I love being a homebody at times, binging tv shows with my cats.

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