Do You Own A Nurse Practitioner Business Or A Nurse Practitioner Job?

Nurse Practitioners, just like other people, dream of owning their own business. For most Nurse Practitioners this means owning their own practice.

They dream of:

  • seeing the patients they enjoy working with
  • spending ample time with each one of them
  • having the freedom of structuring their own day
  • creating an environment that’s in line with their goals
  • doing well enough to support themselves and their families

Most Nurse Practitioners who start their own practice realize that initially, any “off” time will be limited. However, they do expect that once the practice is established, there will be ample “off’ time, along with other rewards.

Some NPs manage to create a business that matches their vision… They take ample “off” time, and there are other rewards.

But unfortunately, for others, it doesn’t play out like that.

Instead of building a business, they end up creating more of a job; even though they now work for themselves and no longer have a boss.

But is there even a difference between running a business and working for yourself, as a self-employed individual?

Yes, there is a difference, even though, when you’re running a business, you’re also working for yourself.

But beyond that, there are some key differences between the two: 


  • Even though the owner may choose to work in the business, the business can operate without the owner and continue to generate revenue.
  • Most often, the owner works on the business instead of in the business.
  • There are systems in place defining how different business tasks will be carried out each and every
  • Here’s an example:
    • Nurse Practitioner Jones owns and operates a busy weight loss clinic in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. To this day she still sees a few patients each week. However, most of her time is spent working in non-clinical areas of her business.
    • While taking regular vacations and time off, her clinic continues to operate and generate revenue for the business. NP Jones hired an office manager and employees for her clinic. She also brought on another provider so that the clinic could serve more patients.


  • The self-employed individual is performing all the work in the business. The business cannot operate or generate revenue, without the owner.
  • Most typically, the self-employed owner works in the business, and rarely on the business.
  • Few systems are in place to allow for the consistent and repeatable execution of common business tasks.
  • Here’s an example:
    • Nurse Practitioner Bates also owns and operates a weight loss clinic in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. She is the only provider in her clinic. To this day she sees patients daily, five days a week.
    • NP Bates puts in long hours and frequently also works weekends. Most of her time is spent seeing patients and managing the day to day operations of the clinic.
    • Whenever she needs to take time off or wants to go on vacation, she closes her clinic, hence no longer generating revenue. She operates her clinic with minimal staff.

First off, let me say there is nothing wrong with the way either NP is running her business; all that matters is it works for them, and it is what they want.

However, some NPs start their own practice and end up creating something they didn’t want. Consequently, they often end up working too many hours without adequate rewards.

Now I grant you, when you’re a solo healthcare provider, it’s tough to create a true business. A business you can step away from and still generate revenue; after all, you are the business.

But there are still some things you can do to limit overwhelm and working too many hours… But more on that later.

However, if you’re starting a practice with other providers, there is no reason you can’t create a practice that gives you freedom and flexibility, all while returning ample rewards.

That’s why it’s so important to have clarity about what it is you want to create in your business… from the get-go. If you lack clarity, it’s likely you end up with something you didn’t mean to create.

Understand The Difference

It’s also important to understand the difference between owning a business and being self-employed. As you’ve seen, while there is some overlap, there are also significant differences.

The comparison between business vs. self-employed may not seem important; perhaps it even seems like splitting hair.

However, you must understand the difference between the two if you want to take your practice to the next level, where you can step away for a while and still generate revenue.

A Resource

So let me share one of my favorite business books with you. It’s the book “Cashflow Quadrant” by Robert Kiyosaki.

In the book, he describes four groups of people occupying each section of his quadrant. The four groups are an employee, self-employed, business owner, and investor.

“Cashflow Quadrant” explains the different roles we occupy; how they’re connected, what sets them apart, and how we can learn to move between the quadrants.

Kiyosaki has written a number of books. My two favorites are “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and “Cashflow Quadrant.” Head on over to the library or Amazon and check them out for yourself.

But what if you’re not interested in growing your practice or taking it to the next level?

I realize not everybody wants to run a bigger practice; that’s fine. No problem if that’s not your cup of tea.

However, as I mentioned earlier, there are still things you can do to make life as a solo practitioner easier. No need to work crazy hours or put up with overwhelm and stress.

Stay Tuned…

Next week I’ll give you three action steps you can implement to help you streamline your practice and cut down on overwhelm and stress.

So be on the lookout next Sunday where I’ll discuss getting organized, making better decisions, and putting the power of systems to work.

Until then…


By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, contributor to the NPBusiness blog.

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  1. Thank you for the clarity.. I realize I am self employed while seeking to be a business owner

  2. Thanks so much for that information, as an NP student I’ve always wanted to start my own practice and you’re helping clarify the correct path to do that. Keep it coming!

  3. My boss/owner has just lost her office manager if 10 years. She hasn’t been involved much in business aspect since co- owner left & she was up to speed on those things. Where would you suggest looking for a replacement. We are in a small town rural mi. Hard to find ESP when local hospital has purchased all of clinics & good people. We need to be very selective due to multiple responsibilities & probable lower end pay. Suggestions? Thank you

  4. Much of this will depend on where you are located. Certainly start in the usual places – employment office, advertising, community colleges, even social media. Have a good interview plan in place. Take a good look at what you really want this person to do. Do you need them onsite full-time? What about a “fractional” or part-time OM? Perhaps even a “virtual” OM. Good luck!

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