I really started “Leaning In” before Sheryl Sandburg published her thoughts on women in the workplace. Working odd hours in the emergency department left me with lonely weekday afternoon hours. Spending too much time sunning myself at the pool and too many dollars killing rainy days at the mall, I had to find a new hobby- and preferably one that would make me some money.
To solve my lonely afternoon dilemma (and help save my skin from further sun damage) my husband suggested I read Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour Work Week advocating starting your own business. I latched on to Tim’s advice that the cheapest, easiest thing to sell is information. “Why don’t you write a guide to nurse practitioner programs and sell it online?” my husband suggested. Great idea.
So, I began contacting nurse practitioner programs one by one until I had begged, and pleaded for inside information on over 200 NP programs. I consolidated the information into a guide, bought a domain name, fomed an LLC and started a website where I could sell my new product online. “You need to blog to build traffic to your site” my husband advised. I had never really read a blog before, much less written a single blog post.
Thanks to loyal readers, the blog began to take off. While I haven’t had the time (or energy!) to update my original Guide to Nurse Practitioner Programs, the MidlevelU blog has replaced it offering greater depth of information for prospective and practicing nurse practitioners. I began to love posting new content on the blog. Keeping up with the political, medical and educational aspects of the NP profession kept me challenged, engaged and busy busy busy during my formerly dull afternoon hours. With the number of blog visitors ever increasing along with my excitement for blogging, things grew pretty easy.
Midway through this year, my work at MidlevelU stepped up a notch. A few months ago, I landed my first advertising contract with a popular University. This followed by yet another. Relationships I had built with other bloggers and companies began to take foot and speaking invitations and guest blogging opportunities followed. I am running a real business.
Meanwhile, I have continued to work in the emergency department practicing as a nurse practitioner. Many days I wake up early for an early morning workout (4am anyone…) followed by blogging and working to build my business completing the day with a shift in the ER ending at 2am. Although this schedule can be a bit exhausting, I love both of my jobs, working on MidlevelU and practicing in the emergency department. The sleep deprivation and other sacrifices I make are totally worth it. But have I leaned in too far? I do have a breaking point (ask my husband, I have been quite cranky recently).
Last month, I began appearing on Fox News as a medical expert. Such an exciting opportunity (!) and definitely my favorite career move so far. The frequent travel to New York, added preparation for media appearances along with marathon training, trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, running my own business and working in the ER are quite exhausting…but exciting.
The media world is still new to me and so just like when I first became a nurse practitioner and was anxious before each work day, I get very nervous before each news segment. There’s no room for mistakes on live TV. Stressed out before a news segment one day, I was venting to my husband. “Come on, lean in” he said to me. My response? “If I keep leaning in I will eventually fall flat on my face!”
I don’t know where my new career paths will lead, but I can say I’m so glad I took a chance and pursued something different. My hard work starting my own business is beginning to pay off and has been rewarding on many levels. I took a chance, put in long hours and never anticipated this outcome. I haven’t fallen flat on my face just yet.
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