I don't blame you for thinking my site's headline smells like bullshit. Build a six-figure writing business in your spare time? Seriously?
To be honest, I'm a skeptic about a lot of things, too. Most of us nurses are. We've learned to question things that sound too good to be true.
But I'd appreciate your giving me a moment to tell you my story - to prove to you that what I'm offering here really doesn't reek of bovine excrement.
Who the heck is Elizabeth Hanes RN, and what makes her an expert on freelance writing?
Fair questions. Allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Elizabeth Hanes, and I'm an RN who built a six-figure freelance writing business in my spare time.
I am a working writer. I'm not one of those coaches who hasn't really published any articles or written any white papers or actually earned their living as a freelance writer - but believe they are still qualified to teach others how to do it.
No, for the past decade I have built my career and reputation by contributing to the success of major brands like Anthem, Aetna, Modern Healthcare, Healthgrades, PBS NextAvenue, The History Channel, Dignity Health, Verywell Health and many, many others. I not only talk the talk of being a highly successful freelancer, I walk the walk.
That said, I don't actually call myself an "expert," though some other folks very generously do. Maybe the reason they honor me that way is because:
- I transitioned from nurse to writer about a decade ago and have been making my living as a writer ever since
- I'm very good at what I do, which is why big brands keep my number on speed dial
- I've spoken about healthcare content writing at prestigious industry events, like Content Marketing World
- Several industry folks who are far smarter than I am have invited me as an "expert" guest to discuss freelancing and related topics on their podcasts, including The Savvy Scribe, Divine Downloads, and Medical Writers Speak.
- I am honored to have a "standing invitation" from well-known freelance guru Jennifer Goforth Gregory to contribute guest posts to her famous blog any time.
Is that enough to convince you it's worth signing up for a free subscription to see if this writing thing might be a good move for you?
OK, but what about this whole "do it in your spare time" thing?
I know. It sounds crazy, right?
Don't we all know that building a successful business of any kind takes thousands of hours of hard work and dedication?
Well...not so much. At least, not when it comes to freelance writing.
I am honestly not that ambitious. If I had to work 80-hour weeks as a freelancer to earn a good living, I would have quit long ago.
Here's the honest truth: I only work about 24 hours a week. My work schedule is Monday-Tuesday-Thursday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 2:00 p.m.
Yet I still earn a six-figure income.
Actually I never have worked more than 30 hours a week as a freelance nurse-writer, not even in the early days when I was starting up.
It's this part-time nature of my job that allows me to achieve what I consider to be perfect work-life balance. I have plenty of time in my life to:
- Take care of my mom, who has dementia and lives with me
- Go on impromptu, mid-week hikes with my dog, Mitzi
- Hop in the car for long, scenic drives on the spur of the moment
- Garden (I love growing things in pots!)
- Take vacations whenever I want, without putting in a PTO request or worrying about the boss calling me in
Freelance writing can give you this kind of freedom, too. More time to spend with your family. More time to pursue hobbies and passion projects - while still bringing home your share of the bacon.
All right, I'll accept the "spare time" thing, but then... What's this going to cost me? That's the catch, right??
Oh, you got me!
OK, not really. Psych.
Truthfully, the main reason I believe freelance writing makes such an awesome career for nurses is because it is the only business I know of that carries zero risk and requires no financial investment.
Maybe you've encountered other pitches for "lucrative alternative careers for nurses" that required you to invest thousands of dollars on the promise of untold wealth in exchange for very little effort - only to find out after-the-fact that you really have to work long hours completing boring tasks just to earn something roughly equivalent to your nursing income. By then, the investment money is long gone, and you're left with an intolerable career that you quickly abandon.
Freelance writing isn't like that at all. A freelance writing career is exciting and creative and requires virtually no investment.
Here is a list of everything you need to hang a shingle as a freelance writer:
- A computer
- An email program
- A grasp of basic grammar and sentence construction (if you ever wrote a paper in nursing school, you're good to go)
- A website (optional, but highly recommended)
- A couple of hours a week to work on your business
I'm guessing you already own a computer and have an email program. If so, congratulations! You can start building a freelance writing business tomorrow!
No, but seriously, it can't be that easy, can it?
Well...it was for me.
When I decided to transition from the bedside to the keyboard, I was working an 8-5 nursing assignment for a plastic surgeon's practice. While I was still working that job, I set up a home office and worked every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon on my business.
- Within the first month, I landed my first client
- Within two months, I had landed three clients
- Within three months my business revenue exceeded my nursing salary
And that's when I quit my nursing job.
Maybe you're thinking I'm hiding something in my background that made this business success easy for me to accomplish. Sorry, but no.
Before I went freelance I was not a 20-year employee of the New York Times, for instance. I did not have parents who raised me in the publishing industry. Nor do I have some other history that provided me with tons of insider knowledge that gave me a leg up to success.
The only thing I had going for me was this: for five years, from 1989-1994, I worked as the PR Coordinator for the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. In that job, I wrote a lot of press releases and got a bit of insight into how the media industry works, in terms of the role freelancers play.
Now, let me tell you, five years in a minor public relations role 30 years ago did not give me some sort of massive advantage over any other aspiring freelance nurse-writer. Actually, I made a ton of boneheaded mistakes over my first five years and wasted a lot of valuable time on my way to ultimate success.
And that's why I started RN2Writer:
- Because I discovered my true passion in life is mentoring other nurses who want to share this fantastic freelance career and lifestyle
- Because I wanted to help other nurses avoid the many, many mistakes I made in starting up my business, so they could find success quickly
So now, in addition to working as a freelance writer, I also offer nurses coaching, workshops, downloadable forms, templates, and tools, and a subscription newsletter. Because I want to help you become a successful freelance nurse-writer like me.
So, whaddaya say? Why not sign up for a free subscription? You've got nothing to lose - and a lot to gain, if you decide freelance writing would make a great career for you, too!