NPBusiness.ORG. NPs can be business owners without owning a practice.

You Don’t Have to Own A Practice To Be A Business Owner

When Nurse Practitioners talk about being in business, the overwhelming thought is to start a practice. After all, we want to use our hard earned education and training. We love what we do, and nearly everyone I’ve ever spoken to wants to make a difference with the people we work with.

But, can we only do that in a clinical practice?

Obviously the answer to that question is no.

Types of Businesses NPs can Start

Looking around, you’ll find no shortage of (clinical and non-clinical) businesses that nurses and nurse practitioners have started.

Local Businesses (also called “offline” or brick-and-mortar” businesses), those with a physical location can include healthcare practices, publishing houses, gyms, child care locations, nursery, educational and other services, real estate and more.

If one is looking at a purely online business, there are NPs who have started non-clinical businesses that may or may not have anything to do with the topic of health. Examples include being a writer/blogger, publisher, social media experts, life and health coaching, copywriting, marketing, attorney, legal nurse consultant, and being an online retailer through their own website or outlets such as eBay and Amazon, just to name a few.

Of course, today most business ventures offer a variety of services in both the online and offline space. Consider the NP who provides continuing education both online and through live, in-person conferences and workshops. A practice may offer vitamins and supplements both in their office and through an online store. And many healthcare providers are involved with multi-level marketing programs that have online and offline components as well.

NPBO™ is an example of a company that offers online programs, communities,  coaching and consulting as well as in person coaching and consultation, live programs and speaking on a variety of clinical and non-clinical businesses for healthcare providers.

How Do I Choose?

Starting a non-clinical business is not very different from a clinical business/practice. It starts with identifying what you want to do. Of course, you’ll want to match it with your skills and passions. Just like any other business, you’ll be spending time, energy and presumably money to get your venture off the ground. It is going to take some work…so why not enjoy what you are doing.

But how do you identify what it is you want to do and are qualified to do?

Start with a brain dump. Get a piece of paper or open up a digital doc and just let your mind go and start writing all the possible things you’d like to do. I personally like to use a mind mapping program for this. The important thing about doing a brain dump is to just write – do not edit. Keep going and don’t stop. The more you go, you’ll likely find more ideas and opportunities popping up.

Once you create that list, it’s a good idea to let it sit for another 24-49 hours and then look at it again. Chances are you’ll have even more ideas.

Going through is process is guaranteed to leave you with more ideas than you know what to do with.

Now comes the fun part. As you look at your list, you’ll evaluate all your ideas and begin to pull out the ones that look like possibilities.

While there are many components to starting a business, let’s look at three different areas to start with.

What You Need to Start a Business

While there are many components to starting a business, let’s look at three different areas to start with.

In order to start a business, you need three things.

  1. There is a need, a marketing for your product or service.
  2. You need to have the solution to the need.
  3. You must have a way to generate revenue for the product or service.

In other words, people need (and want) to be able to pay for your solution. As you look back through your list, you’ll want to keep these three things in mind.

Of course, this is not everything you need to do to start a business, but once you’ve done this and found a winning idea, you can now get on the road to becoming a business owner.

Your Turn

What kind of business ideas did you come up with during your brainstorming session? Let us know in the comments below.

And don’t forget to pick up your copy of our latest edition of the Business Ideas for Nurse Practitioner Entrepreneurs.

Comments 8

  1. Post
  2. I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. I really love start a business. , What kind of business I can start ?

  3. Post

    Hi Aney,

    My first question to you would be what do you want to do? There is really nothing we cannot do as long as it’s legal, ethical, it serves a need and people will pay you for the product or service.

    Our business idea guide might spur some ideas. Go ahead and sign up for it (there is no cost) and do some brainstorming. I’d love to hear what you come up with.

    ~ Barbara

  4. Hi Barbara,
    I am enjoying your posts and thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    My question: I am an experienced NP (specialty is Cardiology/HF/transplant) with program development and leadership experience. I am from the US but currently living in Vancouver, Canada due to my husband’s work. As I am restricted from practicing in Canada I feel this is a great opportunity to start a Health Care Consulting or Health Care Advocate practice.

    I was actually recently hired as a Health Care Advocate by a client just by word of mouth! I have been told this would be a service people here would want to pay for… but I do not have a formal business plan, website set up, and need to create legally binding contracts, etc.

    I have also been approached regarding some healthcare consulting jobs – I feel I would be great at this but am somewhat concerned I lack formal healthcare consulting/project management training (i.e. Six sigma) and budget knowledge.

    So the need seems to be here… but I could use some help with the business aspects of starting up my own consulting practice and/or getting into healthcare consulting.

    Do you offer any courses or online support for non-practice related NP businesses? Also wondering whether there are educational courses or certifications I need to be effective in either position or if its a matter of just having the business aspects covered and learning as I go.

    Sincere thanks for any direction or support you can provide!

  5. Post

    Hi Joan,

    This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you.

    Now for your question…we don’t have a course per se on starting a non-clinical business (though one is in the works). We do however offer online support through NPBO™ ( and have plenty of NPs who are working on businesses other than starting a practice as well as courses in business planning. The process is similar except for the practice parts.

    Let me know if you have other questions.

    BTW, I have to tell you…I LOVE Vancouver. When I lived in the PNW coming to BC was a favorite!

    Additionally, we do have online coaching sessions that area available for those who just need a bit of help, to a lot of help.

  6. Thank you Barbara! I will check out both resources and be in touch! And yes I have totally fallen in love with Vancouver – you understand why!

    Thank you again!

  7. Hi Barbara,
    What are your thoughts in starting a physician house call practice with no physical
    Clinical? I am interested in going that route because of low overhead. Thanks

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