You’re getting ready to embark on a journey that will be one of the most exciting in your life. As a new nurse entrepreneur, you’ll enjoy a career much different from clinical practice, but every bit as rewarding. Congratulations!
Now, before you start dreaming of all the new-found freedom and income you’re going to enjoy as a new nurse entrepreneur, know that entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride and not always fun and games. It’s hard work, but certainly has its rewards for one willing to stick with it.
In this article, I’ll be outlining the critical first steps needed for just about any online business to get off the ground. If your business idea is of the brick and mortar variety, take heart, you’ll most likely need to complete these as well.
Also, because you’re a new nurse entrepreneur (which I’ll assume because you’re reading this article!), I’m going to be suggesting free and inexpensive resources, since funding is always a concern in the beginning.
Assuming you’ve already tested your business idea for viability, these are the critical first steps, somewhat in order, though you’ll find that many of these action items take place simultaneously:
- Know your product and audience like the back of your hand. You can’t communicate your brand and product if you don’t know it yourself. Create, modify, test, edit, and retest to be sure your vision, product, and audience are all aligned. You might want to check out my post on How to Choose a Product or Service Offering to get started.
- Open a bank account. You’ll have some expenses along the way, and you’ll need this account for deposits, once you start earning money. I recommend a free checking to begin with.
- Gather your content creation tools. You will need the ability to create text, slides, images, and video. Fortunately, most people are already set up with Microsoft, Google, or Apple products. Of course, feel free to use another.
For images, I recommend using Unsplash where you can get high quality, free images.
For your video, it’s sufficient to use either your laptop or phone camera. There are so many free resources helpful to your business. Free is great in the beginning and you can always move to paid services later.
- Create content. If you will have a brick and mortar business, your “content” will be your sales copy and any other information customers need to know about your product. For the sake of this article, I’ll discuss content as it relates to online business.
- Buy a domain name. Your social media accounts and domain name should match as closely as possible. It helps your customers recognize you across platforms. Searching domain names and creating social media brand accounts will happen simultaneously since you want the names the same or similar. You don’t need website hosting yet. That won’t be necessary until you have content ready to put on a site. Why pay for services you’re not ready to use?
- Open a social media brand account page. Which platform(s) you use will depend on where your audience or customers hang out. For simplicity sake, start with just one. Once you have content, you’ll be ready to post, boost, and advertise. Without content to share on social media, you’re putting the cart before the horse. No one wants to visit an empty page.
- Get an email marketing service provider. You need a way to collect emails and communicate with your followers and customers apart from social media channels, which could go away tomorrow. You own your email list. It’s the most effective way stay connected, especially if people are sporadically on your primary social media platform. ConvertKit offers a free account. Other email service providers (ESP’s) also have free introductory offers.
- Get lead capture and sales page ability. You’re going to have to spend some money here, but it’s well worth it. Once you have an email marketing service provider, you’ve got to have some method for capturing those email addresses. You may offer a free workbook, cheatsheet, case study, or anything else of value in exchange for someone giving you their email address. Good thing you’ve already created some content! Sales pages with your product offer can be easily placed in emails, social media ads, search engine banners, and on your website.
- Did someone mention a website? Now that you have content, an ESP, and a way to capture those email addresses, it’s time to get hosting. Your host is where your website will live. It’s the “house” and your domain is your “address.” Ideally, you should have a paid hosting service so your site can be located at yourname.com, as opposed to yourname/freehost.com. It lends credibility and professionalism to your name.
I’d also recommend using the WordPress.org platform for building your site. It’s usually a single click installation through your hosting company. If using WordPress scares you, you can always get your feet wet for free over at WordPress.com, where you can set up a site and play with the platform. Or, you could just hire a developer to build a site for you!
- Get a mentor. A trusted source of information and coaching will save you dozens, or even hundreds of hours in wasted time. You will have several mentors. Some, you may even know personally. My point is, not all mentors have to be personal contacts. A valued mentor could be a fellow nurse entrepreneur whose message or content assists you in some way. Another might be blogger whose opinion you trust.
Finally, don’t overlook the value of groups and professional organizations. Start by joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups for nurse entrepreneurs. People are there to share ideas, support, wins, and struggles.
Professional organizations offer the same camaraderie in addition to other benefits such as a directory listing and annual conferences, as well as speaking and advertising opportunities.
Now that you know the critical first steps to take as a new nurse entrepreneur, you can proceed with confidence in your ability to start your dream of owning a business where you call the shots!