Meet the Nurse Writer who keeps the Healthcare Marketing Network on Track!
Today on The Savvy Scribe Carol Bush interviews an author, freelance writer, researcher, and OB/GYN Nurse, and the Operations Manager for the Healthcare Marketing Network, Janine Kelbach. Did we mention that Janine is also married, a mom and has two Great Danes? There must be eating and sleeping in her life but we sure can’t figure out when! Get to know Janine Kelbach on this episode of The Savvy Scribe.
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. We’ll 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.
Carol: 00:34 I’m so excited today. Savvy scribes I have a very special guest. In fact, I’ve been so psyched for this. I could hardly sleep last night because in our community, so many of you have given us feedback about our episodes and one of the many questions I’m getting is, well, we want to hear your story. How did you connect with Janine and Janet? And we want to hear everyone’s writer’s story or entrepreneur’s stories. So today I am excited to be able to interview my pal, my buddy, my work BFF, Janine Kelbach.
Janine: 01:11 Hello. It’s just a normal day on Zoom for us.
Carol: 01:16 It is, because I don’t know that people know this, but and this is something to learn that zoom is actually a great tool that we use not only for collaboration and virtual meetings to hold one another accountable in our coworking sessions, but also we use it to record our podcast episodes and we get to see each other. I know in and I think that’s the biggest part about being work BFFs and accountability partners. We definitely do have that connection. Before we dive into the whole power of accountability and your own specific hour of power, which you’re known for in our savvy scribe community. Janine, I’d love for you just to tell us a little bit about your story. What led you to launch your business as a freelance writer?
Janine: 02:15 All right, well it started way back. No, not way back. So my youngest little guy, I have two kids. One is going to be 14 it’s here soon and the other one is six. When I was pregnant with the six year old, I don’t know, something told me I’m going to have to be home a little more, whether because of that child or because of life. So it was cause of the child. He’s a little crazy. When he was born I knew that I was going to have to stay home. So I actually had a maternity leave with him that got me thinking after that whole, you know, getting the mom thing down again after having a nice break between the kids, I was at a point of, well what else I do? What else can I do? What else can I do? I started doing a side job because I was sick of picking up the overtime in my unit. I am labor and delivery nurse and I love what I do. I love my patients, but it will get, it was getting to a point that I wasn’t liking it and then I knew I was just burning myself out. So my sister in law who also works with me, we got a job together and we started at a company that we traveled around Cleveland, Ohio, where I’m from and gave high risk pregnant women injections of progesterone if they were high risk for preterm delivery. So we, we’ll do that. It was great. I only had to report to a boss if I had problems. Otherwise I did all the charting from home and I would take a patient load and it was a great cat annuity with the patient. I’d see her from week 16 to 36 so weekly I would go out and see her, which it sounds great, but these are also the inner city of Cleveland, east Cleveland, very, very dangerous areas. So you know, I have this newborn at home hustling, you know, on my days off just to be home more with him and in my other son too. And my husband. But it got to a point, they cut our pay to about a third of what we were making. And I also got bit by a dog down there too. So I was like, okay, something’s got to give here. I actually had to carry a gun down there and got my concealed carry because my patients are telling me to. And it was very dangerous. So my husband made the executive decision because I loved my patients that we had to do something else. So my grandma was also at that time dying of cancer and I was at her bedside a lot. So I was just googling and googling and googling what can a nurse do from home, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t really want to work for like an insurance company or something like that. So I ended up finding freelance writing after many searches. And I always enjoyed writing, but I don’t have like a journalism degree or English major or whatever. So I didn’t know if I could really do it. And so I literally just tried and I don’t want to say blew up, but I got some jobs and I realized I could make some money from home. And that’s the gist of it. Very, very brief story of it.
Carol: 05:15 And I love that story. And it’s not an like other stories that we get as we’re working with people transitioning to a freelancing career as a health writer looking for options. Maybe there’s you know, the age transition or as you said, they’ve experienced a cut in pay a lay off retirement for example. So a lot of people are looking for options and also you know, your family balancing career and family as well as another reason that we hear a lot is people are going to care giving role. So maybe it’s caring for your own child you’ve recently had or an adult parent, etc. Or caring for ourselves because actually we have a lot of people in our community who have chronic illnesses and they’re not able to return to work in the same way and they still want to practice as a health professional. So I love that. All of those multiple reasons really led you to establish your business as a freelance writer. So I like a lot of nurses and healthcare professionals have a creative side that we don’t get to let go because we’re in a very, I don’t want to say structured, but you use your brain a lot in a different type of way as a writer versus a nurse and it’s something that got me to do that. So it was definitely different. And because as you said, you loved the patients and the education component teaching people about health information, wellness processes like self injections or whatever.
Carol: 06:58 You already have the foundation of teaching others about health related information as well. So you told us a little bit about what led you to start your business, but about how long ago was that again, at what point did you get traction and what tools or what led to that do you think?
Janine: That’s a good question. So I started, Jimmy was born in 2012 and October, so probably 2013 was the year. I just started writing a little bit and I’m so nerdy. Carol, I saved just to look back on like my first, first time I started making money. I’ve put like February and wrote the number March, and I tell you, because it makes me laugh now. I wasn’t even telling my husband, my sisters, my kids, I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this because I’m like, they’re gonna think I’m crazy. The numbers were just steadily going up. Not Thousands, not millions, you know, nothing crazy but an article here in article there. So then I started having a little portfolio and I was looking not at health care writers, but just freelance writers to see how to do it. And again, it was navigating the waters of a lot of googling. There are some people out there that I didn’t hire anybody because there wasn’t anybody to hire back then that I could find in the space that I wanted to work in. So I looked at a lot of blog posts back then and in 2015 it really took off to a point that my husband and I were like, let’s, I eventually told him, obviously he gets a super secret and making the way I made $10,000 this year. And he’s like, what? I like, I just thought it was kind of dumb. So I didn’t think you believe doing, doing well. I kind of do this when, when Jimmy sleeping. Oh, okay. So I, so in 2015, I launched the business, he helped me get the LLC and everything and that’s when I started like making sure I had a business account versus my personal account. And yeah, so it, that’s usually, that’s when it took off in a point of just writing and then I started expanding it and 2016 with the coaching and things like that.
Carol: 09:25 Okay, perfect. So you mentioned for me a very magic number, 2016, right? 2016. I’m a little bit nerdy to Janine because I’ve had to go back and track because everything we do on the Internet folks, right? We can find, I can find you just like Liam Neeson again taken, I always have to quote Liam Neeson. I will find you everything on the Internet, whether we’re making a connection on linkedin or were tweeting or on Facebook and those connections that we make on social media, we can go back and track. And I was very curious to know when exactly the timing of connecting with Janet, you several of our first clients and other people and it turns out that 2016 was the stellar year. So I actually connected with not very many people know this. I connected with Janet via a tweet on January 11th of 2016 and then I saw Janine, you and I met on Linkedin and when was that?
Janine: 10:41 October 4th of 2016 and I remember exactly what I was doing because I was so excited to connect with another writer who was a nurse and I want to say excited. I was like also like nervous, like I thought you were like the greatest person ever, Carol. I still do remember my little guy, right? The little baby who was where I started the business. He was what? He just turned four, two days earlier and we’re at the park and you always look crazy. You scream it and play it. And I’m like, oh my gosh, she’s gonna think I’m a bad mom. What is she going to think? I’m so unprofessional because my kid is playing at the park. For what do we do? We just had a normal conversation. We were on the same page and we kind of knew the same kind of story, but it was just very awesome. Like I was like, I remember hanging up the phone going, she is awesome. Like we connected and we have that same vision of helping other people do this too. So it was awesome. That’s what I remember of it.
Carol: 11:48 And again, we met on Linkedin but we used him to meet virtually. And not very many people know this either. But we’ve worked together since 2016 and never met in person until last November. So the power of virtual tools and collaboration is definitely huge. What I love about that is also the connections we made. This is something else people might not know and I think this is why as a CEO of our own business, to be successful as a freelancer, we need a community and we need connections and we need an accountability partner. And what I saw immediately that I think helped us connect was I’m very much a quick start personality. So I’m the kind that jumps off the cliff and I figure out how to build the parachute on the way down. And I have known for years that if I wanted to get anything done, I had to surround myself with people who got stuff done or are implementers. And Actually Janine, you’re one of the most productive people I’ve ever met in my life. And I think that balance for us made sense and, and we’ve kind of worked with that through taking a test, basically an assessment that’s called the Colby a k o, l, B, e a. And it’s not a personality test. It determines how we take action. And it’s been fun because we have worked together since 2016 but we only recently took that Colby a and how we take action. And what did you learn from that about accountability and maybe this dynamic, like why we work so well together as coworkers and accountability partners?
Janine: 13:38 Well remember back when I said like my husband didn’t know about my business until I started making money. I think you probably think it’s crazy that I did that because you’re building the parachute on the way down. Whereas I’m building the parachute before we’re even thinking about flying the pair of shoe. So I definitely always like to know, not that I know it’s gonna work, but I need to know the steps in which things happen. So for example, just anything, anything that we decided we’re going to do as a project, especially in Hmn or my own business or even life. I research in research and research and research. So much show point that I know more about the topic than I ever wanted to know. And sometimes it’s almost information overload where it’s like, I can’t even think about where to start again because now I know way too much. So in the Kolbie a, what I’ve learned is that I am not a quick start person. I’m a fact finder and it’s a really cool test because the way it tells you at the end is how to basically start your day and how you use the Kolbie to accelerate your day and get more things done, which is obviously what I love to do. I get, I love trying to get things done. Like if I have a to do list I want to get it done or I don’t feel accomplished. And I think to be a successful CEO of her own freelance business because folks, that’s definitely what we are. We need to tackle a lot of mindset issues. So fear. So sometimes we see people who are fact finders, do so much research, they have the fear to start. And then there are those of us as CEOs of our freelance business that are always starting. But we’re always starting starting here, starting there. Oh, rabbit, next little shiny objects syndrome. So this is why the power of our community is, hey, find your work BFF or your accountability partner. And the power of the Healthcare Marketing Network has been that because we have the multiple disciplines, multiple career stages, that we have a lot of people at different stages that can share resources and be an accountability for one another in setting goals, setting those targets, making marketing outreach, et cetera.
Carol: 15:59 Well, I think with that, Kolbie, again, another thing that helps us work so well together is because you are the start, start, start. But I’m the one going, wait, we didn’t have a finish. Wait, we never did that. Wait, hold on. Where does this end? You know, I’m that follow through person and it’s great because in it it gives you some strategies for using your strengths to take action. So I learned, I’m very visual and even it’s hard for me to write anymore because I have some perfectionist tendencies. So sitting down to write something, I can’t do it because I don’t have the time. So now instead of writing I speak it. And that has made a big difference and that’s a great strategy for people. And Janine, maybe you can share in some of your writing coaching with writers. Sometimes they’ll say, can you yourself did this actually earlier say, hey, I don’t know that I feel like I’m a great writer. I don’t have a creative degree or I don’t have a journalist decree, but you don’t have to be a great writer. You can use the awesome tools and apps that we have available. And even just a simple thing like the Google docs talk to text is perfect. And then you can edit that. I want to wrap around and revisit a little bit about the accountability and where earlier I said, you know, early on I figured out you’re one of the most productive people I know and in our community you’re actually known now and we coined the term because you are the queen of Productivity, but you’ve done a special thing so we can almost brand. You have your hour of power. So tell me a little bit about the hour of power. How did that get started and how do you use that to move your goals forward in your writing business?
Janine: 17:56 So the hour of power, I don’t even know how it got that name. I think you named it that honestly, Carol, well it started when I was by myself doing my business before it was the business and I only had an hour. Well maybe I had an hour and a half. By the time I got my little guy down for a nap, I had an hour. So I had to know exactly what I was doing for that hour, shut off everything, notifications, whatever. After this someone came to the door, they’re going to ruin my plan here. And then I would just work, work, work, work, work. And that carried me through and starting my business, the hour of power, it doesn’t always have to be the same hour. You know, some days we didn’t have, some days we went to the zoo or whatever we were doing. So then my hour of power, he had to change to get up earlier. And that’s personally how I do better. Like some people are late night, people that can write, I couldn’t. and then it changed when he went to preschool and my hour of power was during preschool time. I was going for my BSN too. So I had to write papers and stuff. Oh, our power kick that in right there. And now nowadays we have hours of power together on zoom. We do our coworking sessions together to brainstorm and batch, which we could talk about in a whole new episode. But yeah, it’s definitely a game changer and it’s something I tell everybody to adapt because it’s just taken an hour and doing the doing the stuff, whether that’s the stuff you don’t want to do or stuff you have to do, but it’s doing the stuff that you have planned already. Don’t sit there and plan because that’s not productive enough.
Carol: 19:33 I think that was one of the biggest productivity tip learned from you over the course of knowing you since 2016 was just the value that batching and focus, getting things done and turning off all notifications. I even put my phone downstairs and I’m upstairs. But the power of accountability with a likeminded colleague is really important. so then Janine and I, we not only hold ourselves accountable for in our writing business, for specific goals related to the Healthcare Marketing Network, we’re also accountability partners for health. So he actually, challenge one another when we’re working out or making that commitment to be healthy as well.
Janine: 20:24 So here’s a challenge to you listeners. I hope you listen to this when you were walking or something like that. Actually, that’s my favorite thing to do on a treadmill is listened to a podcast or if I’m taking a walk, is listening to a podcast.
Carol: 20:39 And that’s perfect because that’s also one of the things when we were dreaming up the saddest bribe, that’s what we’d love to do. We love to walk as we’re to podcasts. And so that’s why we even dreamt up they interim using being very upbeat and powerful and that we hope that we are always encouraging and motivating.
Janine: 20:59 Should we share that when we met each other, when we were picking out podcasts, music, we are dancing in the hotel room.
Carol: 21:06 I think Janet thought we were crazy. She’s like, yeah, you know, if you pick this music, you’re going to need to be pretty upbeat. I don’t think that’s a problem.
Janine: 21:15 So true.
Carol: 21:17 So one of the things I am so very excited always for our community, and especially you because you’re my work BFF, is when people really leverage their thought leadership and they tackle a project that they might not ever have dreamt of saying. I’m talking about that you are an author of a book entrepreneurs and it was released in 2018 correct? Yes, yes. Finally. So tell us a little bit about that book and Yes, there’ll be a link in the show notes as well as the link to the Colby a and everything else that we’ve described. And I’m hoping, Janine, I can talk you into autographing a couple of these are listeners and night loves to be able to give a couple of way that are autographed by Janine.
Janine: 22:10 Yes. That autograph because it’s so cool. Thank you. So the way it came about, I was interviewing a bunch of nurses for a blog that somebody hired me to write. It was nurse entrepreneurs and we were just going around and I connected with a bunch of people via linkedin and Facebook and Twitter. I reached out to them, had them fill out a short form and then I would connect with them on zoom or the telephone and interviewed them. Everybody was so different, but so the s so much the same and it was all geared towards the fact of there’s other roles for nurses outside the hospital and we aren’t taught that in nursing school. We aren’t taught business in nursing school and it’s so intimidating to so many people. The business side of a healthcare profession in a sense. I put the book together and I structured it. It was changed a lot because the structure at first I was just going to do like an interview. Then I was going to clump it together, but long story short, I ended up asking a lot of the same questions that people want an answered, how did you start? How much can I make? What kind of degree do I need? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And yeah, so it was like 36 37 different people that I interviewed. So that was awesome. And then, okay, cool. So I wrote it and then I’m like, well now what? Oh the do now. So Deanna Gillingham who I love, she helped me publish it. It was a great experience, an awesome experience like with her. And she guided me right through it and then it got real, you know, like I kept writing it, getting up early, writing it right now, right now. And then when I got it and my hands and it was real, it was probably the best thing ever. I was like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I really did this. Well you know, when did the things I love about this is not only that you set your sails, you said your course and you were persistent and you’ve got the interviews and you made the commitment and you worked with Deanna to publish the book. But the project actually, you didn’t start out to write a book. It actually was a project. Like you said, someone had hired you to do blogs and so you actually made a pivot and repurposed those interviews into your book. So I thought that basically with his permission, yes. Back and forth. And the other thing I, I could have worked with anybody to publish it, right. But Deanna is a nurse and I thought well who better than to have a nurse help? We published. So I thought that was awesome. I had to keep it in the nurse world and also someone who’s a valued member of the Healthcare Marketing Network. And she had offered, I believe at that time too because she actually has some wonderful, she’s built her whole business on publishing a book. The case manager’s studied by. Yes. So it’s phenomenal. And at that time she had offered to coach three people and self publishing a book and I believe two out of the three have yourself included. So all three did. Yeah. So it was awesome.
Carol: 25:33 A hundred percent a hundred percent return on investment, their say. So that’s another example of how awesome it is that you can pivot and that you’re knowing who you’re using, your connections and your tribe to ask for. How also the fact that within the Healthcare Marketing Network, the savage describe community. That’s why we really focused on really building a community of abundance where we are lifting one another up for collaboration and encouragement. So I think one thing I would love to know, and you know our community, they’re always asking us questions and one of our tribe members head, but you know, I don’t just want to hear the stories of success. I want to hear about when you failed too. So in our community, as you know, we don’t look at failure as failure. Failure’s just like part of the journey. And I really liked to reframe those and the mindset that their setbacks that we need to go over, under, around or through. So I’d love for you to talk about in your writing career, what back have you experienced that led to the greatest growth in your business and what actions did you take to turn a negative into a positive?
Janine: 26:56 There’s a lot of writing jobs up there. Believe it or not. That’s why we do, you know, rising tides lift all boats. There were jobs in the beginning that I would take from people that aren’t what we call good humans in a sense. And I took the job or thought about taking the jobs in the future. I’ll get to how I pivoted it, but I took the jazz because they pay money and I need money to grow. And I thought it was the right thing to do. Didn’t know that there was better people out there. So I took the jabs and there’s something in your gut, you know, I was listening to your gut that made me think this isn’t the best job. This isn’t the best company to work for. This isn’t the best person to work for. I don’t really like working for them. And I was always on the hunt to find something a little different. So I pivoted to finding better clients and meaning the values, what their mission of their businesses and the types of people they hire. And beyond that, I did that in my own life. And in 2018 I remember starting that year and I said, I am not going to be around people that are negative and that will bring me down and that don’t believe in, in me or my family or in decisions that we make. And I still stick to that. And it’s always, are they a good human? If they’re a good human, I like them, I want to work with them. That’s my philosophy. So I learned though, so if I could change that, I would go back and not not do that, but live and learn. Right. And I think there’s a lot of things I’ve done in my business that just didn’t work out. Do you give it a little bit of time and sometimes some money and you realize it doesn’t work and then you got to just pivot a little bit? I think we’ve done that with Healthcare Marketing Network and I think when we met for the first time, finally, right in Orlando, we, we kind of looked at that and we never stopped. We always pivoted towards something different and hopefully better. And it is. It’s a lot of that throw it to the wall and see if it sticks attitude when you have your own business. But I will say the network of people is what keeps you going and if you don’t engage, even if it’s just online, you’re not going to get forward in your business because you’re going to feel alone. You’re going to feel burnout and you’re gonna feel like you can’t move on because you’ve done something and you failed.
Carol: 29:24 Definitely because it is, as you said in the beginning, in our business, no matter what, whether it’s your writing business or as a consultant, you are looking at who is my ideal client? What are my service offerings? What brings me joy? Before Marie Kondo made it a seeing, I was like, no, I’m only going to work. Do the kind of work that brings me joy because as you alluded to earlier in their conversation, possibly in our corporate life, we’ve had some dissatisfaction or an environment that didn’t bring us joy. When it’s my business, I want to do things that bring me joy.
Janine: 30:03 And in the corporate world, if people out there listening have been there, it’s almost funny. There’s been people to say to me, well why is Janine always so happy? Like they’re actually mad that you’re happy.
Carol: 30:16 That’s another great reason that a community, a tribe is important because we’re the ones who celebrate with you and we’re also the people who can support you with strength. You know, you’ve had some difficult times, whether personally or professionally, no one else, but your tribe or going to understand all of those things. It’s important, as Janine said, to, you know, reach out, connect and maybe build a work BFF relationship like we have or working with the Healthcare Marketing Network in accountability. Definitely. So, and then a little bit, I’m going to ask you a question about three things people would be surprised to know about you. But before I dig into that, can you share with us how can people work with you and how do they reach you?
Janine: 31:07 So you can work with me by either connecting with me in our Facebook group. You could just message me easy enough or on Linkedin easy enough or you can go to my website, write like you’re writing a book, RN, dot net.
Carol: 31:22 Perfect. And then also in the Healthcare Marketing Network, we’ve got a nice team page. What about on Linkedin?
Janine: 31:30 Just connect with me on linkedin. Janine Kelbach messaged me, sent me a little note, tell me who you are, a little bit about you. I’d love to connect with people.
Carol: 31:38 Perfect. And we’ll have all of those links in the show notes. So now one of my favorite parts of the interview. So we’ve talked a little bit about your beginning story and maybe not everyone knew that you were an author. What is three other things people might be surprised to know about you?
Janine: 31:55 I’m lefthanded that sounds good, right? Yay. I have an identical twin and she also is a nurse and she also runs her own little side business. The third thing is that I’m, I’m actually older than my husband and we’ve known each other since we were in grade school.
Carol: 32:15 I think that’s perfect. I love it. All of those things and I actually didn’t even know you were left handed. Really? Yeah, that is cool. My brother’s lefthanded creativity.
Janine: 32:23 That’s how you get every time you say you’re left handed. Oh, my mom’s left handed.
Carol: 32:31 I love that. Janine, thank you so much for taking this, everyone. I know that you’ve getting to know a little bit more about Janine love for you to share the episode if you found it valuable, and we’d love to hear feedback. What are some things that you’ve gotten out of the episode? Thank you so much for the emails, for giving us the ratings on iTunes. We really appreciate that and I think that it’s time to sign off. So Janine, I think I’ll let me do go get your write on.
Janet: 33:07 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 Network.com and don’t forget to join Carol and Janine for future power episodes and great conversations here at The Savvy Scribe.
Healthcare Marketing Network Partner & Managing Editor. Co-host of #TheSavvyScribePodcast. I connect healthcare businesses to health writers who create factual, engaging articles for websites. I mentor high performing freelance health writers, helping them focus on growth and making profitable deals. #amwritinghealthcare