American Academy of Nurse Entrepreneurs

The Emotional (and Necessary) Journey of Choosing Your Ideal Clients

One of the great things about being a Nurse Owner is that you get to CHOOSE the kinds of patients you want to work with, but that doesn’t mean the choice is easy. Defining your ideal patient can bring up a lot of fears like:

  • Will I miss out on opportunities if I pick a niche?
  • Will people judge me for my type of ideal client?
  • Can I attract enough of my ideal clients to sustain my practice?
Conversations about choosing a niche target market often focus on the business benefits of niching. But today, I want to talk about some of the behind-the-scenes “head games” you might go through when getting clarity on who your perfect patient actually is.

Burnout? Or Burning Desire?

We all know how prevalent burnout is among nurses. Nursing and burnout have become practically synonymous these days. And a major drain on any nurse is working with frustrating or mismatched patients.
Nurse Owners should be intentional about their ideals clients because a great way to avoid burnout is to be excited about who you’re helping!

Start with YOU

When deciding on who your ideal patients could be, start by taking a look at yourself. Your personality and background will provide key insights into who you will work best with. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:
Nursing Background:
  • What have been some of your most fulfilling moments as a nurse?
  • When you were studying to become a nurse, what areas of healthcare interested you the most?
  • What types of problems do you get energized to solve?
  • Who have been some of your favorite patients to work with and help?
Personal Background:
  • Think about the people you most enjoy spending time with. What qualities do they have?
  • Who has been a positive influences in your life?
  • Growing up, if you could have helped a person or a community, who would that have been?
Patient Background:
(for this section, think about your favorite patients)
  • How do they approach their own health?
  • What are their health challenges?
  • What are their health goals?
  • What holds them back from achieving their goals?
Write down your answers to these questions. Then, you’ll start to see some themes emerge.
Remember, this process (and its outcomes) are different for EVERYONE!

Unnecessary Guilt of Choosing

Different kinds of people enjoy helping different kinds of people. There is something for everyone. So, any pangs of guilt when narrowing down your ideal patient are not only not necessary, but also unrealistic.
No one can help everyone.

Pursuing your ideal clients means that 1) you can provide exactly what that niche needs, and 2) your business model will also be shaped by your target market. Here’s what I mean…

Example 1: Driven by The Proactive Pursuit


When I was getting clarity about my ideal patients for UltraPersonal Healthcare and answered the questions above, here are some of the themes that emerged for me:
I’ve been a lifelong athlete and have always enjoyed conversations with people who pursue their own peak performance. And “peak performance” can look a lot of different ways – physically, mentally, professionally, emotionally, spiritually, etc. The people I hang around and the patients I most enjoy serving are those that seek the best from themselves.
How does that translate to their healthcare needs and goals?
Well, they’re proactive about their health. They also see that investing their health is an investment in their family, their career, and their future well-being. And as a result, they expect their healthcare provider to also be invested in their health – meaning, high-touch and comprehensive services. They want to feel connected and understood; and they’re willing to invest in those kinds of services.

Example Two: Driven by Serving the Underserved

Within one of our AANE coaching programs, we had an APN who was growing her practice by helping rural and underserved communities. She grew up in communities that were overlooked and often ignored. The people she knew didn’t have access to good healthcare and she saw how that hurt people, their families, and their careers.
When she answered the questions above, she realized that she was energized when working with families and whole communities in those situations. And so, she built a business model that would help her do exactly that.
Instead of a direct-pay model, she became a maverick at finding, applying for, and attaining government grants. And since our work together, she’s grown her practice to be very successful!

Success Offers Options

At the end of the day, your practice needs to be successful, no matter what kind of ideal patient you choose to work with. Why? Because success offers options.
Just because you’ve narrowed down your ideal patients or you’ve niched down the services you offer within your practice, it doesn’t mean you “can only” work with those people.
A successful practice gives you the freedom to volunteer and help other communities.
A successful practice means you can offer discounted rates, offer scholarships to patients when they go through hard financial times
A successful practice means that you and your staff can support by doing pro bono work.
Working with your ideal patients and running a successful practice provides you with the freedom and options to serve even MORE people!

Veronica Pike

FNP-C President & Co-Founder
Veronica co-founded Med2You, a healthcare company based in Austin, Texas that provides primary and psychiatric care to underserved populations with a completely remote care team led by nurse practitioners.

Veronica started her business as a single provider with a mobile “doctor bag,” cellphone and a laptop.

As a family nurse practitioner and entrepreneur who has operated her own practice since 2013, Veronica knows the unique challenges and needs APNs have when navigating the business, legal and regulatory components of starting and operating a thriving healthcare practice.

Now, her mission is to put this knowledge in the hands of other advanced practice nurses so that they can realize their full potential as clinicians, entrepreneurs and leaders in their community.

With her business partner, Griffin Mulcahey, a healthcare regulatory attorney, Veronica has designed the educational programs, resources, and community support network that is the American Academy of Nurse Entrepreneurs (AANE).

Veronica is also a sought-after speaker around the country. She speaks to healthcare entrepreneurs, clinicians, hospitals, and associations – proudly educating and helping the growing community of healthcare entrepreneurs who are giving more options and better care to communities around the country.

Practicing Patient Autonomy Within Your Practice

Patient autonomy has become a buzzword in our industry and it tends to be discussed like a philosophy, but rarely in terms of actual patient interaction. So, today I'd like to share some insights about patient autonomy and how you can approach it in your practice.

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