Wendy Weber, PharmD, MBA

What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn’t Fail

Many years ago during a job interview I was asked, “What is your biggest fear?” It took me all of about two seconds to respond. Failure. The interviewer sat speechless with a look on his face that was a combination of shock and holding back laughter. Once he composed himself, he shared that he was expecting a more typical answer like heights or snakes. Something tangible. He never expected a naïve student to answer so quickly with such a thoughtful and honest answer.

The fear of failure has always been my biggest motivator. Blame it on my stubbornness or, perhaps, my cluelessness as to what I’m getting myself into. Regardless of the underlying reason, if you tell me I can’t do something my new mission will be to prove you wrong. Over the years, I have been my biggest champion and my biggest obstacle. It’s easy to step away from a challenge, especially when I think the end result may be less than perfect in my eyes. Learning how to use my fear of failure to keep me moving forward is a daily choice.

Learning how to use my fear of failure to keep me moving forward is a daily choice.

Tammy Kellebrew

Get Out Of Your Way

As writers, we have all struggled at some point. Whether it has been finding that next writing project, identifying a topic or overcoming writer’s block, we can all relate to the challenges associated with the craft we love. But how many times have you created additional obstacles that have prevented you from applying for or accepting a writing assignment?

I don’t know anything about that topic.

I’ve never written a blog.

That project is going to take too much time.

That assignment doesn’t pay enough.

I have no idea what SEO is (Search Engine Optimization – yep, I had to Google that one… more than once).

It’s time for all of us to get out of our own way and do what we are capable of doing. Kick that little devil off your shoulder because you ARE capable and KNOW a whole lot more than you give yourself credit for. No more excuses. If you want to build your business and extend your reach, it’s time to make yourself a little uncomfortable. After all, you can’t fail.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Endless Possibilities

Just like a blank canvas is full of possibilities for an artist, a blank page is full of possibilities for a writer. Challenge yourself to explore the possibilities. As a writer with a limited portfolio, I know that if I want to be considered for more writing jobs I need material to share. In order to build my portfolio, I need to step out of my comfort zone and write about topics and in styles I may not be familiar with. Instead of thinking of what will happen if you fail, change your mindset to “I will do this and it will be amazing!”

How do you change your mindset? Easier said than done, right?

Here’s some guidance to get you started:

  • Research a topic that interests you.
  • Write about that topic in a new format.
  • Add the sample to your portfolio. You wrote it. Be proud of it.
  • Share it on your blog, if you have one. You may need to tweak the content a bit to fit the format, but at the very least, talk about what you learned.
  • Apply for a writing opportunity about the new topic or in the new format.
  • Find a support network (the tribe at HMN is a great one) – ask questions, use their tools and resources, and most importantly network!

Believe in Yourself

What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? Honestly, I have no idea what, specifically, I would do. Perhaps, that’s because I need my internal competitor pushing me to take advantage of a new opportunity. Until I identify that opportunity, I can’t say for certain what it will be.

My goal for 2019 is to try new things, and that means stepping out of my comfort zone. Writing a blog post is exactly that: stepping out of my comfort zone, doing something that I know I’m capable of doing but have never done because I was afraid it wouldn’t be well received or that I wouldn’t have anything to say that others would want to read.

So, knowing I couldn’t fail because there is a whole tribe of HMN #SavvyScribes that have my back, I seized the moment and just proved to myself that I could do it. I wrote my first blog for an audience that is more than my family and friends. It’s time for a new mindset. I just did it… and you can too!

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Patty Weasler BSN, RN, CCRN

The 3 Most Important Things I Learned My First Year as a Freelance Health Writer

If you’re like me, the first year of freelance writing is full of ups and downs. In my first year, I made money, gained clients, lost clients and learned more than I had ever bargained for!

At the beginning of my writing career, I had a hard time focusing on the core issues to develop my business. I found that I was spending too much time on tasks that weren’t vital to my success and not enough time on the things that were.

I’m here to tell you the three most important things I learned in my first year as a freelance writer, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did!

3 Lessons The First Year of Freelancing

1. Find a Mentor

When I started freelancing I had so many questions. What’s a pitch? How do I even write a pitch? How much should I charge? I quickly realized that I needed help.

Internet searching wasn’t cutting it. I needed help from an experienced freelancer, someone that I could ask questions of and get guidance from. That’s when my friend and now writing coach, took me under her wing and guided me every step of the way.  

With a writing coach or mentor, I knew that I was getting accurate information from an expert.

I could have searched the internet to find bits and pieces of the information I needed. However, having someone who has already gone through the process helped to develop my business with my goals in mind.

It’s hard to ask for help, and it’s even harder to pay for help. I get it. But in the long run, I learned the information faster, more accurately and had more fun doing it!

2. Be Persistent

My first year as a freelance writer I knew that it would take work but I never could’ve dreamt how much work. I wanted to give up. Editors weren’t accepting my pitches, writing boards weren’t showing any great leads. I was stuck.

Yet, I kept at it. I kept pitching, writing and blogging. It took time and a whole lot of persistence but one day I received an email from an editor. A company actually wanted ME to write for them.

Whenever I felt like my business wasn’t progressing, I had to keep moving. I suggest joining a writing group with people in your writing niche. It’s a great way to both network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Another tactic to keep myself moving forward was to stay accountable to something or someone. I like to have a writing schedule with blocks of time devoted to work. You might find having a friend or coach keeping you on track works. Find something that works for you and stick with it. Progress will happen!

3. Just Do It

Nike knows what they’re talking about. When it comes to writing, Just Do It!

My first year, I was nervous and hesitant. I didn’t want to make mistakes. I let fear slow me down. I questioned every move I made. Once I let go of the fear I started writing. I gained the confidence to develop a website and write blog posts, articles and so much more!

If you’re having a hard time making the first move like I was, try not to overthink it. Start writing blog posts or journal privately to get the creative juices flowing. Just the act of writing will spur new ideas and give you the motivation to move on to bigger and better projects.

Take my advice: find a mentor, stay persistent and just do it. After a year of ups and downs, these three lessons always held true to my freelance writing wins.  

– Patty weasler, RN, CCRN Freelance Writer

Another tip to get started is to write what you know. It’s so much easier to jump into freelance writing when you’re writing about things you know well. I’m a nurse and mom, so it’s easy to write about health and parenting topics. If you love gardening or photography you’ll find writing about those topics comes naturally.

The saying, “nothing worth having comes easy” is a phrase that I repeat to myself when I’m in doubt or struggling.

That first year of freelancing can be tough! How are you going to make it through your first year? Take my advice: find a mentor, stay persistent and just do it. After a year of ups and downs, these three lessons always held true to my freelance writing wins.  




Carol Bush and Janine Kelbach

Launching The Savvy Scribe Podcast

Announcing The Savvy Scribe Podcast!

The Healthcare Marketing Network is proud to add a new podcast to its list of healthcare podcasts. Hosts Carol Bush, Managing Editor of the HMN and Janine Kelbach, Operations Manager of the HMN invite you to tune in to a new podcast celebrating and supporting the life of a freelance healthcare writer. As the host of the Get Social Health Podcast, I was thrilled to have my Healthcare Marketing Network colleagues join me in the podcast universe.

To kick off their first episode I interviewed them to find out why they decided to launch a podcast and what they plan to cover. Give a listen or drop in at the timestamps in the transcript below.

Interview Transcript

Janet:                                00:00                   Welcome to The Savvy Scribe, a podcast for freelance healthcare and medical writers and creatives who want to grow their businesses. Your hosts, Carol Bush, and Janine Kelbach will cover a wide range of topics on writing, sales and managing your freelance practice. Podcast episodes will feature interviews, inspiration, laughter, and important information to help healthcare freelance writers. The Savvy Scribe is a production of the Healthcare Marketing Network. Now, let’s join the conversation.

Janet:                                00:31                   Well, this is exciting. It’s the very first episode of The Savvy Scribe podcast and I want to be very clear. I’m not The Savvy Scribes in this situation. It is my partner’s Carol and Janine Kelbach. They are my partners in the Healthcare Marketing Network. They are the writers in our organization and I’ve been bugging them for a really long time about sharing their expertise. They know so much, so I finally talked them into doing a podcast. You are listening to the inaugural episode of The Savvy Scribe podcasts, and I guess I should say welcome to me to your podcast.

Carol:                                01:12                   I love that Janet. Oh my gosh, this is Carol. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m the managing editor and as Janet said, partner with the Healthcare Marketing Network and I’m beyond excited that we have you in our back pocket all your podcasting skills, tips and tricks. Definitely, you have been coaching for a long time and we finally took your advice.

Janet:                                01:35                   Janine, what do you think about starting your very first podcast?

Janine:                              01:38                   I am so excited. A little nervous because we all are new at this except you, Janet, you are the expert in this field for sure. Carol and I have been practicing, scripting, and thinking of topics and it even makes us more excited.

Janet:                                01:53                   We know what I work with you in the Healthcare Marketing Network. One of the things that amaze me as you are both nurses and you taught me the true meaning of the word “workflow”. My background comes from “wing it” and you all are not that way at all and so everything is scripted and planned and organized and it’s interesting because I have very much the idea of, oh, let’s just jump in there and see, but that’s not the way you guys operate at all.

Carol:                                02:23                   I think it’s that preparation favors the prepared… but definitely it does come from our nursing background and workflow. Probably the whole care plan where we’re assessing, diagnosing, making the interventions. Yes, definitely we want it to be a conversation and bring our community and our colleagues, healthcare, freelance writers across the globe actually resources that are going to take their business and their craft to the next level.

Janine:                              02:57                   But in nursing, it’s easy to get distracted and pulled into different situations, so prioritizing is always the top of our list. That’s why we do the scripting to prioritize what’s important are actionable steps and whatnot.

Janet:                                03:11                   Well, believe me, it’s not a criticism and I think I can do a lot better if I organize my own podcast with bullet points and the topic. Tell me a little bit about starting a podcast. What is it that you actually want to share with your audience?

Carol:                                03:28                   As I alluded to a little bit earlier, we want to share that actionable information that’s going to help our healthcare freelance colleagues take their business and their craft to the next level.  and I think action of bold as Janine related to is really what we want to come across….. real information from our experience building our businesses as healthcare professionals who are also launching a freelance business. We want to also source the wonderful knowledge and experience of our vibrant community. We have a community of over 600 healthcare professionals who are also freelance writers and creatives, so we’re really looking for practical information, tips, tricks, and a lot of humor too!. We were in it to have fun, so we want it to be actionable in every episode. We want folks to be able to take something away and apply it into their own freelance practice.

Janet:                                04:38                   I know you’ve planned some very specific topics to address on your podcast, so what kinds of things will you be talking about?

Janine:                              04:45                   We’re going to talk about online presence, building your website or portfolio tips and showcasing your skills, productivity, and organization, which is personally my favorite topic. Social media tips, and tools that we use in our business and scheduling platforms. The craft of writing, like how to write and the business of writing where you start your own freelance business.

Janet:                                05:07                   Why did you pick those specific topics to focus on?

Janine:                              05:11                   I think because those are the questions that we usually get from people. With over 600 people in our community, we’re constantly getting questions from different people and usually, I should say the most health care professional questions we get are about starting a business. But, everything else wraps around that so well first to even start a business on writing. Do you even know how to write? So, yes. It really goes back to the basics and then building from that point how to build your website, your portfolio and things like that. I’ll go around the business of writing.

Carol:                                05:44                   One thing I think is interesting that Janine pointed out, regardless of experience level, we can have new writers who are interested in starting a business, but we also a lot of questions about managing business negotiation, networking, how to raise your rates, how to hire and fire. Yes, fire clients from those freelancers who have been in business for several years so it doesn’t really matter. Um, the topics are really important whether you are a brand new freelance writer or someone who has been in business for many years. People that are looking at ways to take their experience and expertise to the next level

Janine:                              06:33                   And, everybody, the work is there. There is no competition because there’s enough work out there for everybody, which is always, I think the newbies fear is, well, these people have so much experience. Will I ever get a job? Absolutely. You will.

Janet:                                06:46                   No. That was one of the things I was going to ask you is what makes a healthcare writer unique from just a writer?

Janine:                              07:03                   Being a nurse has helped me build my writing, not only because of the content expertise where I come from, but that I can speak in the language that patients understand, so unlike somebody who’s a very elite scientist that doesn’t have patient connections, I’m constantly teaching patients, constantly educating co-workers, and even you know, my mom on different medical conditions that when we speak in a layman’s term for patients and for readers, it’s an easier way to write.

Carol:                                07:39                   And I’m just going to wrap it in a bow by seconding that and it really relates to every discipline that are in the healthcare professions typically are really good at teaching and educating really good at telling the story that narrative. Since we all are healthcare professionals, we love science. We love evidence. Clients are begging for people who can craft a story, relate to patients, educate the general public, and it’s wrapped up in facts and evidence, not fake news.

Janet:                                08:19                   Well, let’s talk a little bit about the format of your podcast and I will say, based on my own experience and the fact that it’s my own podcast, I can do whatever I want whenever I want, but generally speaking, what kinds of things will you be in including in your podcast?

Carol:                                08:33                   Here’s where I think it’ll be a tenant were both very upbeat people and our favorite thing to do while we’re listening to a podcast is walk, so we really have picked something very energetic and I hope our tone comes across as being energetic because as healthcare professionals, we want you to be healthy and get up and walk, stimulate your brain function. I’m very excited because we’re going to be asking our community to participate. We’re going to feature them as guests, but they also get to be featured by leaving us some voicemail messages on our website, Healthcare Marketing They’re going to be asking questions and we’ll be able to feature those in our podcast as well as every single episode. We’re going to, at the very beginning, give particular shouts out to successes that our tribe have experienced in the last week,

Janet:                                09:35                   So it sounds like an opportunity for some members of the Healthcare Marketing Network to get a little spotlight shone on them.

Carol:                                09:43                   Exactly, and that’s what we’re all about as well. Within our community and the podcast, we’re about giving support, resources, action to take one another to the next level or one another’s businesses to the next level. As Janine said, we’re not about the negative. We’re all about supporting and one of our motto’s is “Rising tides lifts all boats”, so we’re definitely looking to amplify our community and the profession of healthcare, freelance writers.

Janet:                                10:19                   I think that’s incredibly exciting. I think that one of the voids that you feel is helping people who have one career, one level of expertise, expand that and be able to share that out. A lot of folks in healthcare really want to share their stories. They’re just not sure how to go about it and I’m curious about the skill of writing. Do I need to have an English degree before I got my medical degree? How much knowledge about the craft of writing do I need to consider myself a writer?

Carol:                                10:58                   Janine, Do you want to tackle that one first?

Janine:                              11:02                   I do not have an English degree or a journalism degree. I just have a nursing degree, not just in nursing school. You learn to write a lot. I think that prepped me for writing, but truly writing is a craft that you build yourself, so it’s a learning process. Just like when you’re in nursing, you have to do continuing education hours. You have to always build yourself in your profession of a writer as well. As a writer who’s been writing since 2015 in my business, I’m still always learning different ways to structure in different ways to make my writing better and personally I still use an editor to look at some of my work because I’m not an English major so I always want somebody to look at it and there are so many different types of writing. From copywriting to sales writing and plain ol’ blog writing. So it’s definitely a craft that you always need to keep working on. That doesn’t mean you can’t get started though as a beginner.

Janet:                                12:04                   I think the community aspect of the Healthcare Marketing Network and what you’re doing here is probably the most important thing that you’re offering and that is the opportunity to learn, to share and get support from others.

Carol:                                12:19                   That is exactly right. That even could be, I think, Janet, the mission actually is the mission of our community, but secondarily, the podcast gives us that opportunity to just reinforce it and put together some resources as well because obviously, our podcast is going to be hosted on our website, but those actionable items, every episode, we want to have it packed with either resources we have used or are tribe members have used or a downloadable that folks who listened to our podcast can take away and apply immediately in their daily business.

Janet:                                13:02                   I love that idea that you are actually giving people tips, tools, checklists, whatever, that they can start to use in their own business. I think that’s really cool.

Carol:                                13:13                   Yes.

Janet:                                13:15                   All right. I know one of your sections in your future podcasts will be giving shout-outs to the community, so I’m going to set you up here so I know you have a few shout-outs ready to go. So why don’t you tell everybody about the great things happening in the community?

Janine:                              13:32                   I just posted, hey, we’re going to be doing our first podcast. Does anybody have some amazing things they’ve done this year and the responses were amazing? This is why I love our community so much, but I just picked three random ones and please go to our website and leave a voicemail because we can definitely feature you on the next one. But let’s start with an Anne Llewellyn. She finished up her fourth book titled “Second Acts”. She invited 20 plus nurse case managers to share how and why they got into nursing and the impact they have made on the profession. That’s pretty cool. And then it’s going to be released late February, early March. She says “stay tuned”. Allison Flynn, she got her first article published about postpartum warning signs. So that’s definitely what I read because being the OB nurse in me, I loved it. Good job, Allison, and keep going. I mean the first is that that just opens up your mind and oh my gosh, I just got paid for something or even if you didn’t get paid for it and you just got published, it just feels amazing. And then our friend Deanna Gillingham, she finished up her, foundations of case management course and she laughed because she said it only took me a year. But that’s an amazing thing that she’s been doing too. She helped me publish my first book this past year. So shout out to Deanna because she’s, she’s great. She really is!

Janet:                                14:57                   That is also a good example of the breadth of the community from an experience both life experience and work experience. We do have everyone in the community from a first time published to fourth book to developing a full online course. And Deanna in particular, who we have featured in some sessions inside the community, she actually went from zero to 100 percent freelancer based on the work that she did in writing. And her story is amazing and I know you plan to talk to her in a future podcast episode. So tell me a little bit. We’re going to do a teaser here. What kind of people are you going to bring on as guests in future podcasts?

Carol:                                15:44                   Yes. Well, I’m very excited because not only are we going to interviews some of the folks within our community, so this would be, for example, Annie Beth Donahue, who is our Writer Support Specialist and does a lot of coaching for healthcare, freelance writers on the craft of writing and one of her specialties is keying in on a creative brief from a client and identifying or finding your writer voice or I following as the case might be your client’s voice. Also, we’re going to be interviewing some of our previous clients individually as well as with the Healthcare Marketing Network. So for example, my managing editor friend Lauren Green, we’re going to have her on and she’s going to be sharing with us some secrets that she wishes freelancers knew about healthcare specific managing editors and how to pitch elements like that. So were. Those are just a couple of the examples of people that we have lined up for the next several months.

Janet:                                17:00                   Oh, I’m looking forward to that. I always learn every time I hear you all have conversations. Now before we wrap up, there’s a couple of things that we do want to do and that’s one is tell those folks who are not a member of the healthcare providers community yet, how they can join us. So who wants to tell people what they can do to become a part of this community?

Carol:                                17:23                   If you’re a healthcare freelancer or you’re a healthcare professional and you’re curious about freelancing, all you have to do is go to Healthcare Marketing Network, that there’s an information button just for writers. You can click join now, tells you a little bit about our community. Join now will take you right to our Facebook group and we’ll get you started sharing, learning and connecting there.

Janine:                              17:51                   It is a closed group so you will have to answer a few questions just to get in the doors. If you give us your email address, you’ll be on our email list and we periodically send out information in that to give you job opportunities and shout-outs and whatnot. So stay tuned to that as well!

Janet:                                18:10                   Alright, and I have a couple of tips. Number one is making sure you fill those questions out because otherwise, you are going to go into the, “you didn’t care enough to tell us about yourself, so you must not care enough to be in this group” bucket. And the second thing is this is a group intended for healthcare writers, a place where they can ask questions in a safe environment, some of which are going to be about clients and working with clients. Therefore, if you look like a client, you’re probably not going to be brought into the group because we really wanted to support writers. If that’s the case, if you have a little bit of a, I know you right, but you also potentially could hire writers. That’s when I’ll be reaching out to you because that’s my role, so we don’t mean for you not to feel welcome in our group, but our group is specifically for healthcare writers who want to improve their craft and build a community. So if you are interested in hiring writers, just reached out to me directly to me, Alright, and then one last thing before we go, Janine, I know you’ve got a little teaser on what the next episode is going to be about. What are you going to be talking about next time?

Janine:                              19:19                   All right. And our next episode you’ll learn about setting goals and taking action throughout 2019. We look forward to sharing strategies to rise above the crowd and make your writing more visible, more desirable, and more enjoyable to readers and healthcare clients. We really appreciate you guys taking the time to join us today and we’ll see you next time. Now, go get your write on!

Janet:                                19:42                   Thanks for listening to The Savvy Scribe, a podcast for freelance healthcare and medical writers. For more tips and links mentioned in the podcast, go to Healthcare Marketing, and don’t forget to join Carol and Janine for future power episodes and great conversations here at The Savvy Scribe.


Quick Win

Quick Win: 5 Ways to Beat Loneliness

Quick Win: Janine’s 5 Suggestions to Beat Loneliness as a Freelance Writer

Freelancing can be lonely, but don’t fret. There are hundreds of thousands of freelancers across the country and the globe who are in exactly the same boat and within the Healthcare Marketing Network. Janine Kelbach offers you 5 ways to beat the loneliness of being a freelance writer.

Podcast Transcript

Janet:                                00:00                   Okay, start your engines and get ready to power up for a quick win from The Savvy Scribe team, Carol Bush and Janine Kelbach are here to take your freelance healthcare writing business to the next level with this powerful Quick Wins on The Savvy Scribe podcast.

Carol:                                00:19                   Hi, Savvy Scribes! Are you ready for today’s Quick Win? When we’re going to talk about something that not a lot of people like to bring to the forefront, that the reality when you work for yourself, you’re often based at home and therefore you can feel alone and also lonely. Think about it as a freelancer and entrepreneur, a CEO of your own business. Everything you do to make your business a success is dependent on you and you alone, which can leave this feeling overwhelmed. Honestly. All the problems and issues that we face are tackled by ourselves and no one else and make no mistake. Freelancing can be lonely, but don’t fret. There are hundreds of thousands of freelancers across the country and the globe who are in exactly the same boat and within the Healthcare Marketing Network. That’s exactly one of the missions that we created, the community to give one another strong support. Feeling isolated is really quite normal for anyone who works for themselves, but have you ever thought about how do you stop yourself feeling this way? So today in this Quick Win, Janine’s going to speak from our own experiences and she’s put together five ways to beat loneliness and help you tackle isolation and become a happier, healthier freelancer. My favorite is number three. Take it away, Janine.

Janine:                              01:52                   Hello everybody. This is Janine Kelbach, the co-host of The Savvy Scribe podcast. And here’s a Quick Win episode. I’m going to share five ways to beat loneliness while you work as a freelancer. Some of you might ask, why did I choose this topic? There’s actually two reasons when I recorded this. It’s literally 20 degrees outside, gray and dreary here in Cleveland, Ohio. The second reason is that many of us are introverts as writers, and being alone doesn’t sound so bad at first when we started the business, but it will eat at you if you let it.

Janine:                              02:32                   So let’s jump right to this topic. The first thing to do beat loneliness is to try to go to work somewhere else. Personally, I have a very cozy Home Office that I love to work out of, but sometimes I just want to be around people so I’ll hit up a local coffee joint library or even like a cafe just to have people around me. If you are really a people person and you don’t find that people energize you. Co-working spaces are available as well in my area and many areas around the nation that people can go and actually rent a space to do office work every day. I once knew a freelancer that needed that because she was too distracted in her home environment and I fully understand that because I have two kids, two great Danes, and a husband and there’s always somebody knocking at the door or laying by my feet, the dog or a kid who knows somebody who’s like doing work next to me. Like my little guy, he likes to draw while I do my work, so it. But it’s all distracting, so try to go somewhere else.

Janine:                              03:41                   The second one, join a networking group, so many of you are members of our Healthcare Marketing Network, Facebook group, and you know that we often have a Freelance Friday so you can create the same atmosphere outside of the Internet, so I know at many office jobs they do like Fridays they go get a drink after work so maybe you can find a little club or something that you are interested in, even if it has nothing to do with your business to find those things. You can look at those when you go outside and work. You can kind of check out fliers at the library or those cafes or coffee shop. You can join those clubs and groups and gain new friends and just talk to different people.

Janine:                              04:23                   I consider myself an introvert and let me tell you why it’s not because I don’t like people, but I often recharge myself when I’m alone so I get up early. I have my coffee. Sometimes I read, sometimes I exercise, etc. While my kids and my husband are still asleep, it doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I do like people. I love people. I love being around people, I love helping people, but when I need energy and I need to regroup, I have to be alone. And, it took me a long time to figure that out. Honestly. I think it started when I realized like if I had gotten in an argument with somebody, I always had to go away. I had to go walk and think and sometimes pray or whatever it is to get, gather my thoughts together in a lot of people are extroverted in the sense that they don’t need to do that.

Janine:                              05:13                   My husband’s one of them if he thinks of a relaxing Friday night, it’s going out with people, you know, sometimes I like to do that. But really to me reading a book on the couch is really nice. So, trying to figure out for you, high performing savvy scribes, trying to figure out. I challenge you to think about yourself and, and what energizes you to see what you are an introvert and extrovert. And then there are those ambiverts that are in the middle. I sometimes consider myself as well because I know a lot of people that are way more introverted than I am. Okay. The next one, three, a lunch date, break up your day with a lunch date or even a coffee meeting. I must admit I have a very hard time with this at times because I don’t want to stop working. I have workaholic tendencies. I don’t want to call myself a workaholic, but I do have those tendencies.

Janine:                              06:06                   If I have a coffee date in the morning with somebody, all I’m thinking about is what I have to do in my office before my kids come home from school so that I can be present for them and that’s where I prioritize my life. My life is my family, my work and then my friends. If I know I got to get work done and I’m with a friend, it’s going into that space so I know I have to do my work. Then, my family and then a friend. If I have time, if I have a lunch date that I scheduled is because I scheduled it in advance and I’m going to be fully present there because I left that day pretty open, so I make it like a catch up day for myself, whether that’s my grocery shopping day or I just got to do some laundry or cleaning or household things or even mindless things for my business that are not pulling me in a different direction because I like to be fully present with people and my business when I’m doing that.

Janine:                              06:59                   The fourth thing: Join a group of like-minded people, so if you are a healthcare writer, come join us at the Healthcare Marketing Network by going to And if you aren’t in the healthcare niche, you must know that there are many groups out there for business and for writing. So choose one that fits you perfectly. So if you already mom, writer, if you are a food blogger, try and find people that do the same thing as you engage in those groups, answer questions and ask questions. It makes you not feel alone. You’re with somebody that understands you and that leads into my fifth and final tip for you guys and it’s my favorite one is find a BFF, so you might be a solopreneur like many freelancers are, but after you join groups, you will connect with like-minded people. These people understand you and your business, the struggles, the ups, the downs, the in-betweens, and someone with the same type of business ideas as you or even sometimes the same kind of business that you know, it might be a competitor in a sense, but not us as healthcare marketing network people.

Janine:                              08:03                   We’re all the same. We know there’s the work out there, but we find those kinds of people with the same kind of lifestyle and YouTube can be each other’s, go-to people. Let me tell you, Carol is mine. She knows more than a lot of people in my life about my family, my work, my interests, etc. But she’s my number one cheerleader for my business. So think about that. Try to connect with them. And sometimes Carol and I just talk about life. We talk about our problems. We talk about our families and it’s relieving.

Janine:                              08:37                   That’s all I got for you guys. So I hope these tips can help you step out of the office, find out what’s out there to keep you from feeling lonely this winter and every other season of freelancing. Can you add to my list of how to stay away from loneliness? I love to hear it you guys, and do you have a business BFF? I’d love to hear that too. So go to healthcare marketing and leave us a message. We love to hear your voice and share it on a future episode of The Savvy Scribe. And if you need more, check out our show notes for these tips and more so go ahead now. Take this win and go get your Write On. Take care, you guys.


Full-Time to Freelance_ 8 Steps to a Smoother Transition

Full-Time to Freelance: 8 Steps to a Smoother Transition

I recently closed the books on my first quarter as a full-time healthcare communications free agent. I’d been fantasizing about going out on my own for years, and then I received a much-needed kick in the pants in the form of getting downsized from my six-figure corporate communications job.

Talk about getting thrown in the deep end fully clothed!

Luckily, I had already taken a few steps toward making the break, so my entry into this new professional phase wasn’t as rocky as it could’ve been. My business is still in its infancy, but I do have some tips to help you transition from a full-time salaried position to the ebbs and flows of freelance work!

1. Stash the Cash

Work can be unsteady, and there’s always a lag between the time you submit your invoice to your client and when the check appears in your mailbox. If possible, sock away two to three months of income to provide a monetary safety net while your business ramps up and income becomes steadier.

2. Put the WORK in Network

Who knows your work better than your former colleagues? Whether you’ve been a nurse for 20 years or a corporate marketer for five, you’ve probably been building your professional network on LinkedIn. Ask contacts for recommendations or leads for freelance opportunities. I sent a message to about 40 contacts to let them know that I was no longer in my previous role and that I’d launched my own business. I got five leads instantly, and quite a few provided recommendations or other words of encouragement. Leverage your network to accelerate your business’s growth – and save time and money on client acquisition.

3. Write

Even if you don’t have a paying gig at the moment, keep writing. Start your own blog, write a guest post for another blog or publish posts on LinkedIn. Get your name out there anyway that you can. Be personal in your approach, and share what you’ve learned in your professional journey. Start telling your story, and soon you’ll be equipped to tell someone else’s.

4. Front Load your Week

It’s Monday, and your nearest deadline isn’t until Friday. Time to grab coffee and watch Rachael Ray, right? As strong as that siren song is, you’ve got to prioritize.

Do the work when you’ve got the work, because who knows if you’re going to get a call tomorrow from a client with a big project, and you need to be able to accommodate work that may come your way. Knock out as much as you can on Monday and Tuesday, then use the rest of the week to pitch new clients, write posts for your blog, beef up your social media platforms or get invoices in the mail. And if a call or email comes in, you’ve got the bandwidth to tackle another paying gig that week. And speaking of paying gigs…

5. Invoice Instantly

Every day that you’re not sending out an invoice is a day you’re not getting paid. I now send the invoice with the assignment. In sales, the mantra is ABC: Always Be Closing. While not as catchy, in freelance work, it’s ABI: Always Be Invoicing.

6. Bundle Up

When accepting a single assignment, try to turn it into a more sustainable engagement. Just one blog post? Offer to turn it into a series or bundle it with a package of social media posts. And, don’t be afraid to offer a discount if it makes sense.

7. Don’t Forget Stats and Strategy

Some projects are straightforward; the client wants X and you can deliver X. But for those projects that are more complex, use your proposal to showcase your results and unique experience. If you’re proposing a content strategy, explain the reason for the strategy and any results that you’ve gotten when you’ve taken a similar approach. Strong writing is important, but it’s meaningless without a solid content marketing strategy to get your words in front of your client’s readers. Explain the “why” and “how,” too, not just the “what”.

8. Create a Portfolio

Whether you use a full website, a WordPress page, a Pinterest board page or another type of online portfolio, start developing a digital repository of your clips now. Not only can it help with SEO, but it also provides potential clients with a taste of your writing style and illustrates your experience in the field. Here’s mine if you’d like a reference.

[bctt tweet=”Follow these 8 tips to make your transition from full-time to freelance as smooth as possible! #freelancelife #careeradvancement” username=””]

My business is the ultimate WIP, but I am encouraged and energized by the work that’s come my way and I’m committed to seeking out opportunities that allow me to grow both professionally and personally.

Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them!


Chronicles of a Nurse Writer - When are You Going to Get a Real Job

Chronicles of a Nurse Writer: When Are You Going to Get a Real Job?

I was ecstatic when I accepted my first nursing job at the state psychiatric hospital. I considered pursuing psychology during college, but instead chose nursing. Therefore, being able to work in mental health nursing felt like the best of both worlds. That is, until I told the other nurses I worked with in women’s health about my new job. Instead of sharing in my elation, several responded with, “That’s fine, until you can get a real nursing job.” I heard this expression multiple times over the years and sadly; it was often from other nurses.

I’m a writer who became a nurse. Then I went full circle and became a nurse who writes. Yet, in many of my nursing positions I’ve been asked about my real nursing job, when in reality, I’ve always had one. The ability to support those suffering from mental illness as they struggled to attain better mental health wellness provided great rewards as well as personal and professional satisfaction. These rewards could almost be comparable to a nurse helping someone heal from physical wounds.

Where’s Your Stethoscope?

We all have our talents. Just because a nurse spends more time talking with a client, providing education, writing, or working with healthcare policy and procedures rather than providing hands-on care, it doesn’t mean they aren’t practicing nursing.

I’ve worked with a lot of psychiatric nurses and just like any other nursing specialty; some are better at it than others. Psychiatric nursing is challenging, and many claim they’d never want to work in this specialty. I can understand, because there are many specialties I wouldn’t enjoy, but they all provide an essential contribution to the nursing field. Luckily for me, I can research and learn more about these specialties by reviewing articles written by those who enjoy that area of expertise.

Don’t Nurses Wear Scrubs?

I chose to pursue a Master of Science (MSN) in nursing administration because I wanted to help improve the morale of nurses and make nursing work environments better. But when I began working in nursing administration, I continued to carry the stigma of not being a real nurse. Many are surprised to discover I’m a nurse since I don’t wear scrubs, and I sit behind a desk. It seemed that nursing administration was even further distanced than psychiatric nursing since I no longer practice direct patient care.

What Is a Nurse, Really?

Often I feel as if I still practice in psychiatric nursing, whether it’s within my job in administration, when writing, or providing education. These skills are essential when counseling an employee, talking to a patient’s family, or performing an interview. It’s almost as if I’ve never left the floor. I might sit behind a desk and work in administration, or write healthcare articles, but the essential communication skills from psychiatric and mental health nursing remain intact.

Isn’t Writing Just a Hobby?

I started writing as a hobby, and then morphed into fiction writing. From there I discovered freelance writing. It almost felt frivolous not to utilize my degrees and years of nursing experience. Initially the freelance communities I found weren’t healthcare writers—I didn’t even know those existed. When I discovered I could combine my nursing experience and education with my love of writing to work in freelance healthcare writing, it was a way to embrace all of my skills and feel complete.

Applying Nursing Skills to Writing

Part of my personal mission as a freelance writer is to educate family and friends in my small community that such a thing exists, and that freelance is a skill which doesn’t mean free. That writing is a talent, and healthcare writers are skilled with the knowledge they’ve gleaned from their education and experience, such as:

  • How communication skills honed in psychiatric nursing (or other specialty skills) are used for gathering data through interviewing, or to convey a message, or information, through writing.
  • How healthcare writing enables years of experience to be shared in a clear way to educate others, and provide helpful tips and education.
  • That a quality article usually requires research to ensure that material is pertinent.

So You Aren’t A Nurse Anymore?

Discovering a health care community like the Healthcare Marketing Network that supports this endeavor helped me no longer be bothered by confused looks when I tell people I’m also a healthcare freelance writer. Nor do I flinch when some say, “A writer? So you aren’t a nurse anymore?”  I might point out that someone had to write the article they found online to learn more about their newest medication, treatment or other healthcare related topic. Then perhaps I might mention that if that information is helpful and thorough, that a nurse just might have written it.