How It Started
So as I was approaching the big “100K”, I had friends and family reach out to me to share their excitement about this big milestone. It’s kind of crazy the world we’re living in that social media is even a “thing.” It went from being this new weird way people connect and share their life to now being a “normal” part of life and even a full time business for many. If you would have asked me when I graduated nursing school where I thought I’d be in 10 years, it definitely would not have included “Whole Life Nurse” or anything to do with an online presence or blog!
My platform has evolved over the past 6 years. My brand actually started out under a different name “yourheartisminern.” I would just post and share about anything and everything nursing. I started a blog and over time, people started catching on to the social media thing and this word “influencer” was invented. Business and brands got smart and started capitalizing off of platforms and “influencers” in their industries to share their products. They would basically offer to send you free product to post and tag their stuff. It was basically like what commercials do with celebrities, except on social media: they get people that others like who have “influence” to share their product (except they pay celebrities hundreds of thousands of dollars and influencers get well….a free scrub set or stethoscope)!
While receiving free swag and product was super cool and fun at the time, I hit a point where I realized how much money companies were making off of these “influencers”, including me. They were making thousands and thousands of dollars from “insta-famous” people who were sharing their products in exchange for free swag! Do you think big celebs would work for a free shirt? No. So as the product offers and pitches rolled in over time, I realized the value that my nursing platform had.
The Start of a Business
I started experimenting with paid advertising and I learned a little about affiliate marketing (this is when you share a personalized link to a product page and you get a % of commissions for any sales made through your link). I no longer would post for “free product”, instead I started charging nursing brands for advertisement on my growing platform and singing up as an affiliate to share their product with each post. So I got paid for the post and a % of any sales made through my link.
These scrub, stethoscope, and nursing companies were getting DIRECT exposure to their ideal customers and they were able to have me be the vessel for sales. People buy from those they know, like, and trust, so if I wore or shared something, chances were some of my audience would too! It was a lot of fun and great experience in starting to negotiate and make some extra income with this social media thing, but I always knew I wanted to do something deeper and more meaningful with my platform. This small step towards “business” and the potential my platform had opened my eyes. It also really made me realize how others really enjoyed following my nursing journey. While the “business side” was cool, the growth and influence made me realize I could truly make a difference here if I wanted to.
Whole Life Nurse was Born!
As I got a little older and time went by, I started making more income with my blog, affiliates, and some coaching I did on the side. I started creating more specific digital products as well. I hit a point where I was making enough income to step away from my full time job. At this time, I had been talking about some semi-controversial nursing topics (as in ones that if my manager saw or found out about, I prob would get in trouble), but I kept a low profile with it (as much as I could). I had always identified some HUGE pain points in the nursing community that so many nurses struggled with, but I was never able to go as deep as I wanted to on the subject because I needed my job and had bills to pay.
When I finally left my full time nursing job, I rebranded to “Whole Life Nurse” in March of 2019. At that time, I had about 11K followers. I established an LLC and started talking and writing about all of the things nurses struggled with and that I felt was holding our profession back.
-Toxic nursing environments
-Negotiating (and how hospitals make you think it can’t be done….hint hint it CAN)
-Setting healthy boundaries and putting yourself before the needs of a hospital
-Realizing that nursing is way beyond the hospital setting and you are a REAL nurse no matter where you work
I basically normalized that doing what was healthy and right for your life was OKAY and a good thing!
Nurses deal with so much guilt and shame on a daily basis when it comes to choosing their health over the needs of others. We’re natural givers who feel called to serve. In the past, this profession has normalized that exhaustion is a badge of honor. Whole Life Nurse makes it CLEAR that it is not. My goal was to simply be the voice of nurses when they couldn’t speak.
It was to allow nurses to be able to say “AMEN” and start taking control of their careers and lives. It was so that nurses could see and realize that you can be a GREAT nurse and still put yourself first.
We’ve been led on to believe for SO long that if you’re not breaking your back for your hospital or your unit then you’re not doing it right. That you’re not a team player. This mindset and behavior has been PASSED on and learned for years and it’s contributed to the problem of Toxic Environments in hospitals all over the world. NO ONE has called out this nasty cycle in fear of losing their jobs…..but I finally did because I no longer had a job to lose!
I called it out for what it is: toxic. My experience as a bedside nurse and working in almost every position known to man (I had a LOT of nursing jobs and worked at many different hospitals) revealed so much to me. It showed me what healthy environments looked like and unhealthy ones. It showed me what great management looked like and terrible ones. It showed me what a good hospital looked like and not so good ones. It taught me that YOU CAN negotiate (I learned by trying). It taught me that when you connect with the right people, you can get the interview you need. It taught me SO SO much.
What I realized in my career as a nurse was that the clinical side of nursing wasn’t the hard part. It was navigating the real world. It was dealing with the politics. It was equipping your mind with knowledge and truth that YOU define your value, not someone else’s opinion of it! It was LEARNING TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST AND NOT FEELING BAD ABOUT IT! Over the next 2 years, Whole Life Nurse blew up. A chord was struck. Nurses were reaching out and blowing up my DM’s and email.
Messages start to be sent on the daily of success stories:
–Nurses having the guts to leave toxic jobs.
–Nurses negotiating and asking for more….and GETTING it!
–Nurses setting boundaries and saying no.
–Nurses nailing interviews with the tips I gave.
–Nurses pursuing jobs that they really wanted, but were scared to take the leap.
I spent the last 2 years creating courses and content to serve nurses with these life changing skills. I’m definitely not the Nurse hospitals want speaking at their conferences and I’m 100% okay with and proud of that! I’m here for my nurses. I’m here for this profession. I’m here to help all nurses (and anyone else) relinquish the fear of the “what if’s”, the fear of being judged, the fear of what others think about them, the fear of asking, and the fear of doing what’s healthiest and best for them at the risk of letting others down.
My fav two sayings are:
“The answer is ALWAYS no if you don’t ask”
“You will never regret leaving a job that is sucking the life out of you.”
If you’ve followed me a while, you’ve heard those two a lot. It’s what’s gotten nurses THOUSANDS of dollars more a year and a freedom and peace of mind they never knew they could have.
Passion Turned into Biz
This passion and this mission has become a full time business for me. I had my first 6 figure year last year with my business and it’s something I truly am proud of. I grew up in a “play it safe” environment. Starting your own business was risky and scary. But I knew with every bit of my being I WAS CREATED TO DO THIS! I took calculated risks as I grew this business over time. I reinvested what I earned in the beginning. I networked and connected with people who were already doing what I wanted to do. I took courses and invested in a coach to help me scale and grow (best decision everrrrrr)!
For the longest time, people didn’t take me seriously. They just thought I had a blog and was messing around on social media I’m convinced. I had a vision from day 1 of turning Whole Life Nurse into an LLC. Stuff got real when I hired a lawyer, got business insurance, then a coach, and then some paid help on my platforms! WHO AM I?! I was just a nurse with an associates degree. No business background. Not fancy degree. No entrepreneurial influences growing up. I just held on to my vision even when others would always be suggesting other things I should do along that way (that was so hard for me because it would make me doubt myself knowing they couldn’t see what I saw and I wondered if I was making a mistake).
The funniest thing to me today is that when I was in nursing school, my professors doubted me. I failed 2 classes and after meeting to discuss remediation, I was told by one that she didn’t think nursing was for me. I kept moving forward. I graduated with my Associates degree. At every interview I sat through as a Nurse, I was asked when I was going back to school to advance my degree. I made up some story about my goal to go back soon just so I could get the job. I knew that degree wouldn’t make me a better nurse or any more “skilled” than I was. It also wasn’t going to be helpful for my vision. Instead, I spent that money on building my business knowledge, brand, and skills.
Today, I still have an associates degree. I was told when I started Whole Life Nurse that if I wanted to make this a platform for Nurses and be taken seriously, I probably should go back to school and get a BSN at least. Funny enough, my inbox is blown up from National Nursing Associations wanting me to speak, Nursing Directors, Nursing Managers, DNP’s, MSN’s, and nurses from all areas of leadership asking for my advice and help. It’s quite funny how that works. Moral of the story: your title and degree don’t define your value, nor do they make you better than someone else. You prove your value by what you do and how you help & serve others by helping improve their lives.
Hitting 100k isn’t about “followers.” Hitting 100k is about the fact that I took nothing and made it into something. It’s about listening to your gut and ignoring what others think along the way. It’s about holding tight to your vision and ignoring the people who don’t see it. It’s about speaking your truth. It’s about normalizing something you want to see normalized that isn’t. It’s about having courage to step out. It’s about realizing you don’t have to come from money, have a business background, or be given things in life to success. It’s about realizing that when you IGNORE judgmental people, those who say you can’t, and those who project their fears & insecurities onto you, that you can truly accomplish anything you want for your life! WE are our only limit!
A few Tips for those Growing or Wanting to Launch
Today, I have a community of over 100,000 nurses who are being fed that message. It gives me SO much hope and joy for the future of nursing and the respect nurses so deeply deserve. There is no great joy in knowing that this many nurses have been exposed to this mission and that they can carry it out to others and help normalize what has always been seen as “bad” or “wrong” when in reality it is the HEALTHIEST message for nurses to adopt! I want to end by giving a few helpful tips for anyone wanting to grow (or currently growing a platform of their own:
2. Your community will evolve….listen, be patient, and take action – when WLN started, it was more of a health platform. I talked a lot about self care and how to take care of yourself as a nurse. As I would talk about things outside of “health” like money and landing a dream job, so many nurses chimed in. I leaned into that content and started serving them with what they wanted to hear and responded well to. Lean into what’s working. Poll your audience. Serve them with solutions.
3. You’re not successful until you have haters – my good friend Brittney told me this. She was right 😉 People hate seeing others succeed. It’s easier to point fingers and tear others down than it is to do the work and get on their level. Some will appreciate and worship your work and others will make it their life’s mission to tear it down. Just remember, you’re the one in the area playing the game and growing. Those on the side lines, it’s easy to tear down and judge. Let them waste their time and life hating on you while you build yours up and help others. I promise, it doesn’t feel good to be inside the mind or heart of those that tear you down. Have compassion for them. Keep loving. Keep moving.
4. Invest in a Coach – learn from someone who’s already been successful at doing what you do! YUP! Even if that means investing in time to listen to some podcasts of online business builders and then moving into paid coaching. Just start learning from those who have PROOF that they have already achieved what you are trying to do.
5. Hold tight to your vision and keep going – you obviously want to see growth and have ways to “measure” your success, but even when I was progressing, I had people doubt me or say things that made me doubt myself. I feel like last year showed me that “I can really do this” and it made me SO thankful I never quit. It’s easy to feed into other’s thoughts and words, but pay attention to your growth and lean into that. If your platform and biz is growing slowly, but surely, hold tight to that. When it’s not, don’t quit. Take a step back and ask why? Poll your audience. Ask questions. Be an investigator and try new things. You will 100% have down days and things that “fail”, but remember, those are simply outcomes….not FAILURES! Reflect, tweak, and move forward doing something different.
6. Build an Email List – take those peeps off of social and put them into your email least! Trust me! Even if you don’t know what to do with it at first, just build one! Use social as a funnel!
7. Surround Yourself with people who LOVE & BELIEVE in you! – don’t take advice or listen to those who don’t get you. My husband John has been the BIGGEST support in my journey and has encouraged and believed in me every step of the way (My Mom, Dad and sisters have cheered me on big time too)! Yes, there were times where I’m sure he was like, “Oh boy, here she goes again with another idea” LOL, but I think it’s safe to say it’s paid and is paying off. We now have our first little one the way and I get to be at home with him because of what I set out to build and we are both so thankful. Growing a successful business does have financial reward, but that reward to me isn’t a fancy car or getting to buy nice things. It’s being able to do more of the fun things in life with the people who matter the most to me and NOT having to worry about money! (Also unlimited pedicures and bougie coffee every morning ;))
Today is a cool day. While 100K is just number on a social media platform, it does make me feel proud that I worked hard to grow it to have this message reach and impact this many nurses. And it means the WORLD that I am able to authentically be myself, help other nurses, and make an income while making an impact doing what I love and believe in.
Cheers to fun milestones in this crazy journey called being an online business owner 😉
Thank you all for your support!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”