These answers describe the making of a legal nurse consultant. 1. What motivated you to start a business as a legal nurse consultant? How did the idea come about?
In 1987 when I was investigating ideas about how I could use my nursing expertise to become self-employed, I attended a one day program about career alternatives for nurses. The speaker’s description of nursing expert witnesses captured my attention. Once I learned how to find attorneys who handled medical malpractice cases, I approached some attorneys offering to review their cases. I got a steady stream of requests to review cases.
Two years after I started reviewing cases as a medical surgical nursing expert witness, I received a request to review an emergency department case. “I can’t review that case myself, but I have a well-qualified ER nurse colleague I can recommend,” I told the attorney. He hired her. I suddenly realized I could be billing for the services of nursing expert witnesses who covered specialties within nursing. That insight led the creation of my independent legal nurse consulting business.
2. What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? Is there something you are most proud of?
Like many entrepreneurs, I love the opportunity to learn about and implement new ways of doing business. There is a heady freedom in recognizing the way you can improve on your business and put that idea immediately into action. When I was a nursing administrator, I chafed under the need to get approvals and the slow process of implementing change.
I am most proud of being able to build a solid business, which at the time I sold it in early 2015, had 200 expert witnesses under contract to review cases for my company. I billed more than a million dollars a year for the last 5 years I owned the company. Instead of watching the business fold when I was ready to walk away from it, I see it continue to function, helping attorneys and their clients.
3. When you started your independent legal nurse consulting company, how did you plan everything out? Any resources you used to write a solid business plan?
I’d like to say I planned everything out, but I responded to the changing market conditions, the needs of my attorney clients, and what I learned about marketing. I have never written a business plan. I have modified my informal, unwritten business plan countless times.
4. What is the toughest decision you’ve ever made when starting a business? How did it make you better at the end of the day?
One of the hardest aspects of starting a business is making the decision to leave a job. It felt a little like stepping off a cliff. Would there be a safety net? Would I fail? I knew I had to stop driving 1.25 hours one way on crowded highways to my job. It was burning me out. But what would happen if I left the security of that paycheck? Would my journey towards the making of a legal nurse consultant succeed?
Ultimately you realize there is no security in a paycheck. Your position could disappear overnight. If you don’t decide to start a business and take the first step, will you regret it? I did not want any regrets.
5. Most businesses evolve over time. Is there a way that you slowly evolved the mission of your legal nurse consulting business to serve your customers better?
My business took a quantum jump when I moved from me doing all of the cases as an expert witness to working with independent contractors (other expert witnesses).I gave others the opportunity to experience their own making of a legal nurse consultant.
Before I started my business I spent some time with two multilevel marketing companies. Although I learned I was not destined to sell soap and skin care products, I never forgot the pyramid model. When you are the sole income producer, your revenue is limited by the number of hours you can work in a week. When you hire others, you build a base of wealth. It is ultimately the only way you can develop a saleable business.
Pat Iyer MSN RN LNCC is a legal nurse consultant, coach, author, ghostwriter and editor. She built a large and successful legal nurse consulting business which she sold in 2015. Pat is a prolific author. She has written, edited or coauthored more than 800 chapters, books, case studies, online courses or articles. Pat coaches other LNCs to achieve success through her program at lncacademy.com.