In Episode 051, Jack has interviewed Ms. Patricia Iyer, a successful nurse entrepreneur since 1987 when she started consulting with attorneys who handle cases with medical issues. Pat built a large and very successful legal nurse consulting business that billed over 1 million dollars a year for the last 5 years she owned it before selling it 3 years ago. Since then, Pat has turned her experiences into a successful coaching program for legal nurse consultants. She now also helps people with expertise turn their knowledge into online courses and books. She serves as a freelance ghostwriter and editor. She knows what it is like to be pregnant and face losing everything, and what it is like to be a millionaire. She understands the burning desire to be in business. After successfully selling her business in 2015, she serves as an editor and ghostwriter.
In this interview, Jack has asked Patricia to share her lessons from her two brushes with near bankruptcy experiences. In addition, how did she build such a large and successful business helping attorneys and what she can advise business owners like you today?
Why did Patricia decide to leave her comfortable job after 7 years?
"I went to college to become a nurse and I worked in hospital settings which are certainly traditional hierarchical societies where you have to follow the rules ... My role as a owner of a legal nurse consultant business was focusing in large part on medical malpractice cases where the system did not work where people did not follow the rules or they made mistakes or there was a flaw in the system that enables somebody to get hurt. So I'm very aware of the importance of following the rules. But I broke out of that because I began writing a book with a couple of other people from different hospitals and when the book was published I was at a point where I wanted to explore other options. Quite honestly, it was terrifying for me to leave a hospital environment where I had worked for 7 years where I knew everybody, where I felt comfortable, but I had a conflict with my boss and realised that I needed to leave. It was very clear that because of a dynamic that occurred between the two of us, that I needed to be able to take a fresh look and say, I've got a lot of skills and talents. This is not a good fit for me. Let me find another job.
Be prepared to take risk (Patricia was sharing her story about giving a presentation to a group of people who came from all over the country to attend a conference)
"You're right are uncomfortable when you need to do them the first time, and I have not in my life since I've been in a position where I've had to walk into a similar situation and ask for money because usually the clients were coming to me, but it made me aware of the fact of taking a risk. [The presentation] went very well and led to more publishing opportunities. They wanted a column on pregnancy in diabetes and that kept my writing career going.
Not knowing the meaning of personal guarantee
"My husband was able to raise the money. This was an important factor for us is that we had to sign a personal guarantee for a million dollars so that he could buy this welding business and start putting in the equipment that he needed. We didn't really understand the significance of what a personal guarantee was until it was explained to us by the lawyers that if we defaulted on that loan, it meant that any asset that we had could be taken. It was really the only way that they would give my husband the money to sign this guarantee. And of course when you start a business, you're very optimistic and there are many things that are clear in your life. In hindsight, when they realised later on that we were borrowing money in the 1980s when the interest rate was 22 percent and he was paying 24 percent a month interest on that and there was too much debt. That business was not destined to be successful just because of the way that it was financed and for other factors. When he gave us a really good try for three years and then got to the point where he wasn't getting enough customers. There weren't enough sales. So he had to close the business."
I learn I should start a service-based business
"What I learned when I started my business, which was just a couple of years later after this happened, was that I was not going to borrow money from anyone. I didn't want to go to the bank. I didn't want to take out loans. I didn't want to sign another personal guarantee for the rest of my life. If I couldn't afford it, I didn't buy it. So I looked very carefully at how I could start a service based business. I had two filing cabinets and a board to make up a desk in one corner of my family room. That was how I started my business, working with attorneys."
Patricia's Most Favourite Quote
"Proceed as the way opens"
Want to know more about Patricia?
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