“Starting your own business is child’s play”

Jacquelyn MacKnight, Vice President, IB SIG

After being in nursing for over half of my life, working the nights, evening, day rotations, weekends, holidays, missing out on many of the special events in my children’s lives I asked myself if I wanted to miss out on things the rest of my working life. The answer was a resounding NO! It seems that a few of those motivational self-help afternoon TV shows had actually let something seep into the little grey cells after all. It was time to take care of myself and do something good for me.

For ME, it was starting a business selling natural products and providing Foot Care Nursing services. It has treated me well so far, but it has been a labour of love I assure you.

When you think about going out on your own whether it be part time or a full time endeavor, ask yourself some questions and list your answers on paper so you can see them and refer back to them.

What do I enjoy doing enough that I want to work hard to be good enough to build up a client base and reputation and make the income I want?

List your skills, the amount of time you are willing to give, how you will invest your hard earned money to start your business, and where you want to take your business.

When you have all of this written down hold onto it, you have just started your business plan.

For my end of things let’s just say that I have always been a workaholic since my first full time job at the age of 15. I felt that as I had worked so hard making other businesses prosper, why should I continue to do that when I could build a business of my own to prosper. That way I could decide when I needed staff, or new equipment, or supplies, or a day off or a 4-week vacation, etc. I also remembered that I am getting older (I know some of you are not getting older, but I am) and I did not want to be working 12-hour shifts, rotating, missing holidays and family gatherings if I did not have to. So I started my quest for owning and operating a business.

 How do you choose your special niche?

Choose something related to client care that you feel is important for people, because if you don’t believe your service is important, it may be hard for you to convince others that it is important enough for them to pay you.

I chose foot care for 3 reasons: First, I have always found that when a person’s feet hurt, it ruins their entire day but even if their day started badly you can improve their day by making their feet feel good by making things right. Second, when I started, there were not a lot of others providing the service and there was a largely unmet need for the services. Third, I could receive a decent income with not a lot of up front overhead and I could build the business the way I wanted to — slowly at first and increase the size and scope of the business as it caught on and my reputation grew.

Some lessons learned were: to buy good quality supplies up front, even if I could not afford a lot at first I could depend on the products I purchased to last me a long time, and could buy more as the business grew. In my field I was one of the only Foot Care Nurses to exclusively use an autoclave for instruments from the time I started. It was a very expensive output of funds but I believe it was well worth it. I chose this method instead of chemical sterilants for several reasons. First, because I tend to be a natural type of holistic health human and if I can achieve the optimal goal without using excess chemicals I will do it. Second, when I started I followed the current guidelines in the CDC “Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities” for sterilization as I would be seeing clients in clinic and facilities as well as homes. The CDC’s recommendation stated: “The information that is available in the literature suggests that sterilization processes based on liquid chemical sterilants, in general, may not convey the same sterility assurance level as sterilization achieved using thermal or physical methods” 823. “Generally, chemical liquid sterilants cannot be monitored using a biological indicator to verify sterility” 899, 900. I have continued to use the autoclave method only. It is imperative that you adhere to the current standards used to regulate your business activities. Third, I did a cost analysis and found that overtime the autoclave was the best decision for my business plan.

The decisions I made have worked for me, yours may be different but they need to be right for you and the business you choose.

Now, what is YOUR NICHE, YOUR DREAM, YOUR GOAL? Follow it, work at it, and enjoy the success you will achieve for a job well done!