Have you ever wondered if you could have a side gig as a skincare blogger? Could you make money at it? Would you like it?
Christina Diferdinando, DNP, RN-BC, has done just that. While she’s had an amazing career from everything as an ER nurse to a nurse providing project management, digital strategy, and quality improvement, her full-time job now is as the director of product operations at the Digital Innovation Group within a large healthcare organization. She currently partners with leaders to uncover and understand their most significant pain points and opportunities to inform what digital solutions they build and to inform new features for their current solutions.
But her side gig, which is eponymously named, is Christina DiFerdinando. While blogging as a skincare specialist, she used her name as her brand if she chose to expand or pivot her niche.
She took time to answer our questions. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.
Why did you decide to start blogging about skincare? When did you start it, and how did you go about it?
I’ve always been interested in owning my own business, but I was looking for a digital way to earn passive income. I wanted to avoid the overhead of investing and testing in a physical product business. I also enjoyed the flexibility to travel—one that didn’t require me to be at home fulfilling orders, managing inventory, etc.
I Googled different ways to earn passive income and found that blogging could be very profitable within a few years if done correctly.
I started to learn more about the blogging business and how to generate passive income via affiliate marketing and ad revenue.
This began with selecting a niche that wasn’t too competitive—e.g., focusing on a sub-niche within a broader niche to get more traffic and prove authority/expertise to Google–by doing some keyword research and analysis, determining what topic I could write at least 100+ articles and a niche that I wanted to grow/establish myself in.
I took a few courses to help me learn how to start a blogging business, develop my blogging strategy, and view this as a business rather than a side hobby.
These courses taught me about SEO, how to create a topical mapping (e.g., a plan to support your transactional posts—for example, money-making posts) with informational posts (which build authority and traffic), and which keywords to go after.
Right now, I’m learning more about writing sales copy and getting backlinks to help improve my domain authority to increase my post rankings by Google—to rank as one of the top three search listings on Google when searching for a specific keyword.
I love learning, testing to see what works, looking at my data to see how I can improve my posts, finding keywords to drive more traffic to my site, and seeing my business grow.
My future goal is to have the option to do this full-time, as well as generate enough revenue to feed back into my business to hire 1 or 2 writers to help my business grow.
I’ve always been passionate and interested in learning about skincare products. What works and why? Is there any evidence to support marketing claims? Which ones will work best for my skin?
I’ve always struggled with acne and hyperpigmentation. While I was growing up, my family did not have the monetary means to see a dermatologist. So, I was reliant on trying various drugstore products to try to have clean skin. When I tried one product, it destroyed my skin, and I had to do a lot of research and testing to repair my skin barrier.
On another note, I was born in South Korea but was adopted when I was one year old. I grew up in a very small town in Pennsylvania in a predominately white neighborhood where few, if any, people looked like me.
Growing up, I hated being different and struggled with my ethnic identity. Even though I had a group of friends, I often felt alone, like an outsider who never really fit in.
I largely ignored my Korean heritage until I stumbled on Korean skin care. Learning more about their beauty philosophies, routines, and products was a gateway to exploring my Korean culture further and starting to accept/be proud of my Korean heritage.
I am now studying Korean. I have a tutor and took my first trip to Korea this year. I now have plans to visit every year moving forward.
So, my passion for skin care and helping others, my Korean heritage, and my drive to start a passive digital business all aligned with creating a skincare blogging business.
What kinds of topics do you cover? Why do you think it’s important to cover this kind of care? Do you interact with your readers?
My blog content helps you to create a simple skincare routine that targets your unique skin.
Within my posts, I’ll share skincare routines for different skin types and concerns such as acne, hyperpigmentation, aging, sensitive skin, dehydrated skin, etc. I then infuse evidence/research to support my recommendations.
I’ll also provide product recommendations based on my experience and review the ingredient labels. I will also analyze customer feedback to give readers non-biased information to help them determine what products are worth trying and how to incorporate them into their routine.
Sharing this information with individuals is important since cutting through all the marketing hype makes it hard to determine if products are worth purchasing.
Also, with social media like TikTok, it can take time to find trustworthy information.
Since I’ve struggled with my skin, I’ve learned a lot over the years through my own experiences, including staying up-to-date with the latest trends, as well as always diving into the literature to debunk or validate claims.
If I were looking for this information, others would find it helpful.
The caring aspect of nursing still sticks with me. I love helping others and enabling individuals to make the best decisions based on the right information.
Did you have previous entrepreneurial experience? Or did you learn on the go? Did it take a lot of time or money to establish your business? How do you make money from this business?
I’ve tried side hustles like Amazon FBA, and my husband and I started our own fitness company providing home workouts during COVID, but I’ve been learning on the go.
I spend a lot of time learning, testing, and figuring out which strategy will bring me the most value.
In each of my businesses, I’ve been able to earn a profit, which has been enough to cover the courses and the money I invested into each one—leaving a few thousand more to either invest in something new or pay for a few international trips.
Even though I’m no longer running my FBA and fitness business, I found the experience and knowledge invaluable.
I started my blogging business in October 2022, and I’ve had a little affiliate revenue come in, but I’m still early in my journey. It usually takes a few years to see all your work pay off, which is hard to do when you dedicate so much time and effort to your business.
What did you enjoy most about your side gig?
What I enjoy most is learning how to create and implement the best business strategy to see if it works. It’s so rewarding to see positive results and gain knowledge/skillsets you never thought you’d have.
For me, it’s proving that I’m smart and capable enough that if I put my mind to it and constantly learn, grow, and tweak it, I can one day be my own boss and validate that my decisions and work were successful. It’s helping me be more confident and prove my value/self-worth to myself.
What are some of the challenges?
Blogging is a long-term play. It takes several years to see the fruits of your labor. Also, you question yourself if you’re making the right decisions. Unlike working with a team that can help validate or address any questions you have, it’s up to you to research and make those decisions on your own. So, you always have this little voice asking, “Did I choose the right niche? Am I focusing on the right content to write? Is this bringing value to my readers? etc.”
It also takes a lot of dedication and time. Since I work full-time, I work on my blog after work, early in the mornings, and on the weekends. Balancing my life, work, and business can be challenging.
What are the most significant rewards of having your side gig?
I’m learning and growing, and I hope it results in my ability to have more work-life balance, manage my schedule, and be my own boss one day. That possibility is exciting, and I am opening myself up to other professional opportunities that might come my way.
I hope that one day, I’ll collaborate with a few Korean skincare brands and use my business to help connect me more to my Korean culture and heritage.
What would you say to someone considering blogging about skincare or another topic?
It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re willing to work, are open to learning, and want a passive business/income, go for it. It doesn’t mean it was a waste if it doesn’t work out.
You can apply what you’ve learned to your next venture. There is no such thing as failing because you always learn something valuable from that experience that you can leverage and apply in the future.
I recommend researching courses and learning about blogging as a business, SEO, and affiliate marketing as much as possible.
Be sure to avoid the “get rich quick schemes” like the ones that read, “I made $60,000 per month within my first three months of blogging.” They never work and are a waste of your time.”
Nurse dynamic duo Anthony Scarpone-Lambert, BSN, RN, and Jennifferre Mancillas, BSN, RN, RNC-NIC set out in 2020 to build an online resource and marketplace they felt their healthcare community desperately needed.
With staffing low and burnout higher than ever, the pair built Lumify Care, the startup behind the uNight Light, a hands-free device to illuminate a workspace while decreasing patient sleep disturbances. It went viral, and they’d sold thousands of units within a few weeks.
Scarpone-Lambert was finishing his degree at the University of Pennsylvania when Lumify won the 2021 President’s Innovation Prize and landed in Y Combinator.Coupled with an educational component and a nurse-focused social platform, uNight Light became their flagship product.
The founders have been busy expanding Lumify’s offerings. The startup raised a $1.25 million seed round with participation from Y Combinator, Flare Capital, Gaingels, Fresco Capital, Crista Galli Ventures, and individual investors, like Philly founder Mark Switaj of Roundtrip.
The nurse-led startup evolved, recently launching the Adni marketplace app, the community marketplace for healthcare pros, by healthcare pros.
Meet the nursepreneurs behind Adni, Anthony Scarpone-Lambert, and Jennifferre Mancillas, and learn about their transformational experience of going from nursing student and NICU nurse to co-founders of this nurse-led startup.
Talk about ADNI, formerly Lumify, and the need your company is providing nurses.
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: Adni is the most holistic marketplace for healthcare workers. Jennifferre and I are registered nurses, and what really frustrated us was the lack of easy access to the gear and resources we needed. And we also spent a lot of money every year on out-of-pocket expenses for them. Our solution is one platform that combines everything healthcare workers need into one convenient marketplace, including gear, scrubs, shoes, stethoscopes, and things like continuing education, wellness, resources, coaches, and more. And we help healthcare workers save on out-of-pocket expenses because employers provide our marketplace as an employee perk or loyalty. This loyalty program helps healthcare workers save money.
How did you two meet, and how did you start Adni?
Jennifferre Mancillas: Anthony and I met in the fall of 2019 at a hackathon. This particular hackathon was about 200 different nurses, and Anthony and I were on the same team. But it was collectively all of the energy of folks and nurses specifically wanting to solve problems within healthcare. That was the inspiration and catalyst for the beginning of our company, and then COVID happened, and it was a big catalyst because there was a spotlight on nursing and the lack of resources and tools we needed. And we began our journey with a hardware product that was a wearable light for healthcare workers to more easily see in the dark when nurses are caring for patients. It was such a great product for so many people, and it went viral within the first couple of weeks, and we sold over 5000 units, and it grew from there. But in our conversations with other nurses, organizations, and brands, we realized there needed to be a central place for healthcare workers to access those niche products, gear, and resources. And then, the company evolved into Adni, a marketplace built for healthcare workers..
Initially, you were Lumify, and then you became Adni. Why the name change?
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: We started Lumify specifically with the wearable light, like illuminating healthcare. So when we expanded to the marketplace, we wanted to choose a name that signified our evolution from being a single product to not being a platform for healthcare workers. Adni is actually short for the Latin word adnitor, which means support and lean upon. So our new slogan is you can lean on us for your gear and resources. Most of it was just branding and wanting to showcase that evolution to our community. The Lumify light still exists within Adni. So it still exists. It’s just now within our broader ecosystem.
Adni began as a side gig. How long did it take for it to become your full-time career?
Jennifferre Mancillas: I worked clinically as a nurse while Anthony was still in nursing school. But I left bedside in May 2021 when we got the invitation to be part of a business accelerator out of Silicon Valley, and one of the caveats was that we were full-time. So we didn’t have much time to go ahead and think about what was next. It was just like a ready, set, jump, and go. Anthony had a couple of days to pack up his life and moved across the country from Philly to California to do the program with me. It was definitely a whirlwind of 2021 for us.
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: We were working on the business for the first five months and launched on January 22, 2021. So from January to May, I was finishing my last semester of nursing school, and I graduated. Then we got into Y Combinator, and Jennifferre worked clinically and built Lumify. It was a crazy process, balancing nursing school and clinical and working clinically while running our business. It’s had its pros and cons. The pros were we were bringing our product into the clinical setting and having all of our nursing friends and colleagues wear a product, taking photos of them, and getting user feedback. The con was trying to balance it all, especially because working clinically is already so mentally taxing, and then it was challenging to have a business on top of that. It was a privilege because we could start our business and have income and nursing while we were getting our feet off the ground.
Did either of you have previous entrepreneurial experience, or did you learn on the fly?
Jennifferre Mancillas: Nursing sets you up to be gritty, lean in, and find answers. And so we utilized that skill set. But I did a lot of work with innovation in the clinical sense within the organizations where I worked. But as far as founding a company and growing, this was all a learning experience but so rewarding.
Did it take a lot of time and money for you to start the company?
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: We spent a lot of time and put down some money to create our prototype and things like that. We were super fortunate because I was finishing my last semester of nursing school. Since I was still part of a university ecosystem at the University of Pennsylvania, we could get a lot of funding early on for starting our business from pitch competitions. Any grants we could apply for, we went for it and pitched and just tried to sell our idea as much as possible to the point that we won a grant for $150,000 from the University of Pennsylvania. We were the first nurse team ever to do it. It is called the President’s Innovation Prize, and it was helpful to fund that first inventory order, get our website off the ground, and go full-time comfortably.
What was it like for you to go from being a nurse to having it as a side gig and now running Adni full-time?
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: Going from nursing to being a full-time founder has been wild, but Jen said it best. Although we use different skills every day, as an entrepreneur, many of those skills are very synergistic with what we learn. As nurses, we always go back to ADPIE, which is the nursing process. The nursing process is the entrepreneurial process. You’re assessing a problem, diagnosing it, planning how to solve it, implementing it, and then evaluating how it went. And that is what you do every day as an entrepreneur. So I think those fundamental nursing skills do align well with entrepreneurship. It’s about having empowerment in yourselves. The hardest part has probably been imposter syndrome and often being the only nurses in this tech space. I was the only nurse there when I worked at We Work in San Francisco. And sometimes that feels like imposter syndrome because you have that sense of like, can I do this? Do I have the skills to be a tech entrepreneur to start a company? But I think it’s just about believing in yourself and remembering that nursing prepares you for this role.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’re encountering?
Jennifferre Mancillas: Initially, it was folks underestimating us. A lot of conversations we’d have with either different engineers or investors. How are you going to do this if you’re just nurses? And the questions that we were asked, or folks not championing us beyond the single light product that we had and thinking that was kind of good enough for us nurses to accomplish. And be pushing past that blockade and being like, “No, we, we know that we’re capable, we know that health care workers and nurses deserve more and better and easier access to the gear and resources they need. And we can solve that.” Overcoming society’s perceptions of what nurses are and what they’re capable of that’s been one of the biggest challenges to date. But here we are, and we are doing it. We are doing well. And we continue to grow and continue to show society at large the role is super versatile. We’re capable of so much.
The Adni marketplace app, the community marketplace for healthcare pros, by healthcare pros
What are the rewards of starting the Adni marketplace?
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: The biggest reward for us is building something for our profession and for a community that we care so deeply about because we are nurses too. We are seeing healthcare workers reaching out and using our products or saving money on our platform. Being able to hear from our community and have built that community along the process has been the most rewarding part and keeps us going when the entrepreneurial life is chaotic. Things are breaking, or we have a bug and must deal with this trademark issue. Constantly going back to our community and having them along this process has been the best gift. We’ve made so many friends and connections through that process.
How are you getting the word out about the app?
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: One of the biggest has been working with different employers and community organizations that have used our marketplace to support their community of clinicians. And our mission is to ensure that all healthcare workers have the gear and resources they need to excel. We have been so fortunate to have so many incredible partners that have helped us spread the word, whether they’re the brands that sell on our platform or the employers or community organizations that provide the platform to their community of clinicians. The second has been through our Agni family, our creator community. We work with 80 incredible healthcare creators that have championed our product and mission and helped us spread the word about who we are and what we do. And that community has been the biggest champion for getting the word out on social media. We also love doing Instagram Lives and things like that. We’ve interviewed hundreds of healthcare workers who have started businesses and launched on the Adni marketplace. We do weekly Instagram Lives with these folks to share their stories and continue to share that message of healthcare workers building for healthcare workers is so powerful.
On the app, you have a point system on the marketplace. How does that work?
Jennifferre Mancillas: Many folks are familiar with a reward program with many of the platforms they interact with. And it’s similar to that. So every time healthcare workers make a purchase within Adni, they earn points they can later redeem as discounts on future products or services they’re meeting. So pretty straightforward, but it’s great because folks can go ahead and see how many points they’ve earned. And they get excited about how much discounts and savings they can get on that next item they need. For example, if they need a new pair of shoes because theirs are about to be given out, they can use the points as a discount. So it has been a great feature; many people have loved it and are excited about it.
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: You can shop for all your nursing care resources in one place. So streamlining all of your purchasing in one place will earn you more reward points and save more money. And this is also how employers help offset out-of-pocket expenses. Their staff gives them those points as a loyalty perk or a way to express gratitude to their clinicians.
You did a lightning talk at the HIMSS Conference. Can you want to talk about that?
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: The lightning talk at HIMSS Conference was in collaboration with BD and the American Nurses Association. It was sharing our story and hopefully inspiring other healthcare workers that we are natural innovators and entrepreneurs and showcasing that Jennifferre and I didn’t know anything when we started. We didn’t have some crazy tech background, or we didn’t have some MBA or anything like that. We just started and went for it, and fell on our faces many times and learned and stayed gritty. And in that lightning pop-up, hopefully, I inspired other healthcare workers.
From your perspective, what is technology’s role in shaping nursing?
Jennifferre Mancillas: Especially for this newer generation that is filling in these roles within healthcare, technology has been embedded in every way they have accessed and shared information and interacted with one another. And pulling that into the clinical space within hospital systems is so important because it maintains a sense of what people aren’t familiar with and comfortable with and provides access to education, tech, and information at your fingertips. So I think that’s a big reason hospitals need to get on board with incorporating more technology and platforms like Adni into how they interact with their staff that is onboarding into their systems.
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: In healthcare, we’re facing many issues within our workforce, retention challenges, burnout, and the list goes on. It costs healthcare systems billions of dollars and technology to solve these challenges. Adni is trying to help healthcare workers feel valued and supported to increase retention. There’s a lot of technology out there, and seeing that implemented will ideally help to solve these challenges..
What advice do you both have for nurses with an entrepreneurial mindset?
Jennifferre Mancillas: We hear a lot, and it was also true for us. They say getting started is the hardest part. And that’s so true. And everyone can have ideas, but until you have action behind them, they’re just ideas, and they don’t have an impact. They have the potential for what they can become. So just knowing that you’re capable and jumping full force into the process is the most important part. And leaning on your resources because there’s a lot that we don’t know, and there’s a lot that we do know. Being able to utilize either folks in your network or reaching out to those that aren’t in your network but have special knowledge in a particular area you lack. And they’re great about finding answers. So I would suggest broadening your network of folks and jumping in and getting started. Adni is always here to help if you have a question. We are more than willing to help you through the process and get you set up selling within our platform.
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: It can be as something as simple as a side hustle for nurses, which I think it’s so important, like launching a digital product on Adni or launching anything like whether it’s a resume template, or a cover letter template, or just being a coach and supporting other healthcare workers and offering that as a service. The options are endless. And I think it’s empowering when nurses can have passive income outside our traditional jobs. And it opens your eyes to how much is out there. And the opportunities in nursing are so endless. So that’s what we’re trying to champion on the Adni marketplace, with healthcare workers launching their businesses or products and creating this ecosystem of healthcare workers supporting healthcare workers. Get started and use your resources. And believe in yourself. I know that sounds so cheesy, but you lose so many people that want to start something, but they just never do because they never really take that leap. And I think that’s the most important part.
You are both very busy on this journey. So how are you keeping a healthy work-life balance?
Jennifferre Mancillas: My family is important to me, so setting aside time when I get up, then I help my kid do all the school stuff before he leaves and then dedicate time. I will have dinner with my family and make sure that happens. It’s a lot of hours, and you are up before people work, and then you have the day working. And then I do the bedtime routine, and I’m working again. But I think just grounding myself and my family and making time for them within the day gives me a sense of balance. But it is a lot of work. But that’s how I try and balance work and life within this chaotic journey that we’re on.
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: I would say, just like in nursing, when you’re constantly triaging, something that I am prioritizing a lot of different patients and tasks. For me, it’s all about just triaging and what tasks I need to do. And you’ve never done with the list of tasks as an entrepreneur because you always have so much going on. So I have been improving, prioritizing, and triaging as much as possible. So that at the end of the day, I can still find time to have time to hang out with friends and do things outside of work. And remember that there’s life outside your business, too, because it’s easy to burn out as an entrepreneur with just so much going on all the time.
Is there anything else important you’d like to add?
Anthony Scarpone-Lambert: Over 50% of the businesses on the Adni marketplace are founded by healthcare workers, which we’re super proud of.
As the healthcare sector grows more competitive, medical offices must develop new strategies to reach more patients. With this in mind, medical practices must modify their marketing tactics to be competitive in light of the growth of digital advertising and shifting patient preferences.
The 6 Ways Medical Practices Can Reach More Patients
Medical clinics may use social media to reach out to more patients. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram enable businesses, including medical practices, to reach a larger audience and interact with customers in real time. Medical practices should build a company page and provide updates on company services, discounts, and health recommendations regularly to utilize social media effectively.
Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important in reaching new prospective patients online. When patients look up related terms, medical practices must ensure that their website ranks at the top of the search engine results page. Consider utilizing relevant keywords across your website’s content and data to optimize it for search engines.
Use Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertisements
PPC advertising is one of many effective marketing strategies for medical practices and for reaching more patients online. Medical offices may utilize platforms like Google AdWords to target keywords and place their advertising at the top of search engine results. Medical offices should use PPC advertising by identifying relevant keywords, creating appealing ad text, and targeting specific demographics.
Partner with Other Healthcare Providers
Medical practices can reach more people by collaborating with other healthcare professionals. By working with different physicians, medical practices can broaden their reach and provide a more comprehensive variety of services. Your practice should seek suitable partners in your region and create mutually beneficial connections to associate with other healthcare providers in the eyes of patients to do this.
Attend Community Events
Medical offices can also reach more local patients by participating in community activities. This might involve participating in health fairs, trade exhibitions, and neighborhood festivals. As a result, medical practices will increase brand exposure and have an opportunity to interact with potential patients. Therefore, medical offices need to attend these local events where they can present eye-catching displays and other marketing materials to attract attention from potential patients.
Offer Telemedicine Services
Telemedicine services are becoming more popular among patients. Knowing this, private clinics should offer telemedicine services to reach more people outside their immediate region. Medical offices can provide easy and accessible treatment to patients who cannot visit their clinic in person. They can expand their reach significantly without hiring additional staff or opening new physical locations. The only necessary investments would be implementing superior telehealth software and training employees to give treatment via virtual consultation.
Why Reaching More Patients Is So Important?
By seeing more patients each day, medical offices can increase revenue and improve their business with any additional earnings. Reaching more patients can also help medical offices fill vacant appointment spaces and mitigate patient no-shows, resulting in increased efficiency.
Improves Patient Care
Bringing in additional patients can also enhance patient care. By expanding their customer base, medical practices will inevitably learn to treat a broader range of health issues. This also improves an office’s ability to gather user feedback and improve its services to better meet its patients’ needs.
Builds Brand Awareness
By growing the number of regular patients they see daily, practitioners can enhance their reputations and position themselves as industry leaders. In addition, as mentioned above, medical offices can build brand awareness by utilizing social media, PPC advertising, and neighborhood activities to boost their exposure.
Signs That You Need More Patients
A drop in revenue could indicate that your practice is losing consumers. On the other hand, if your practice’s income has declined or failed to reach its goals, it might also suggest that you are overstaffed.
Fewer Appointment Requests
If you are getting fewer appointment requests than average, it likely means that your business is losing customers. Studying appointment data can assist you in identifying trends and patterns in patient characteristics, including when they are most likely to make appointments and which services they are most likely to be interested in.
Decreased Patient Engagement
The last sign that you need more patients is if the general public isn’t engaging with your practice as often as it formerly did. Lower email open rates, fewer followers or likes on social media, and a decline in patient reviews are just a few examples of how poor engagement can show itself.
In today’s highly competitive healthcare industry, medical practices must adapt and change their marketing techniques to reach more patients. Medical practices can successfully expand their reach and deliver outstanding treatment to more people by using social networks, optimizing their search engine ranking, employing PPC advertising, working with other healthcare professionals, attending community activities, and providing telemedicine services.
Besides working in an ER, Monique Davis, RN, BSN, has a side gig as a real estate investor specializing in land flipping and spec builds. (She also has another side gig as a family crisis coach, specializing in troubled teenagers, but we’ll save that one for another column.)
Davis took the time to answer our questions about her business. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.
Why did you start flipping real estate/land as a side gig? When did you start it, and how did you go about it?
I started investing in real estate in 2018 with my first rental purchase, then followed that with purchasing my first Airbnb. When I learned about land investing, I hired a coach to teach me how to scale my real estate investing business in 2019. I could buy cheap properties and flip them for a significant profit. I did that repeatedly, and I kept taking the profits and buying more properties until I had enough money to buy a piece of land to build on.
From there, I built and sold spec houses (this stands for speculative houses and means that it’s a new house that someone has constructed, assuming it will sell for a profit). I recently sold my last spec house and am focused on land that I bought to build a venue and cabins on.
What exactly do you do with flipping real estate/land? How often do you do it?
When I am flipping land, it’s pretty basic. I buy them well under market price and then re-list them at market price—same concept with flipping houses.
When I look at a house flip, I am looking at how much work is needed, the cost, and the holding costs. Then, I use that to determine the amount that I can purchase. I don’t typically flip houses. I prefer to build from the ground up or flip land. We build 1-2 homes per year at this point. Although I have sold 45+ properties since 2019, I continuously evaluate, buy, or sell land.
Did you have previous entrepreneurial experience? Or did you learn on the go? Did establishing your side gig take a lot of time or money?
I was self-employed from the time I was 18 until I became a nurse at 36. I had never owned a business, though.
Becoming a business owner was a “learn on the go” experience for me and continues to be. Every time I take on something new in real estate, I learn on the go. I studied for two years before making my first purchase, and I felt like, as a single mom, it took all my savings to buy just one house. So I borrowed money from my dad to pay a coach to teach me how to scale. I was determined to make back the money I borrowed within 30 days of coaching.
Within 30 days of coaching, I could pay my dad back for coaching and had made a profit. The first property I purchased was $350.00, so the initial investment for land flipping was more the cost of the coach than the land itself.
What did you enjoy most about your side gig?
I love real estate. Everywhere I go, I look at real estate. Sitting on the couch, I cruise the internet looking at real estate. I love that I can do it from wherever I am at any time.
I love land flipping because it requires low effort. Spec building is a ton of fun to me. Watching a piece of dirt become someone’s dream home is super rewarding. I design every house with love, and my partner is the most detail-oriented person and takes a ton of pride in building a wonderful home for new owners.
Besides working in an ER, Monique Davis, RN, BSN, has a side gig as a real estate investor specializing in land flipping and spec builds.
What are some of the challenges?
The only challenge with land flipping is finding land that makes sense to purchase.
There are always many challenges that come with “ground-up” builds. You deal with many moving parts from beginning to end–permits and inspections to subcontractors and materials. I have learned so much from the ground-up construction. It is very rewarding but can also be highly stressful.
What are the biggest rewards of having your side gig?
Freedom. I can do that business from anywhere I am. I also travel more than I did before. I like to go and see new potential investment areas.
What would you say to someone who was considering getting into flipping real estate/land?
Real estate investing seems sexy and can be, but it is also a lot of work and commitment. I suggest studying the different types of real estate investing that interest you and then hiring a coach to teach you what they know to get you there faster.
Anything else that is important for readers to know?
While I love real estate investing, my passion is working with families on their healing journey. Real estate investing gives me the freedom and time to do what I am passionate about. Money is always good if you can use it to make an impact.
Nurses have tough jobs. One of the small things that have helped brighten their days is choosing to wear stylish nursing shoes and scrubs. Whether scrubs are in different colors, with cartoon characters, or feature hobby-related items like books or bikes, they can cheer up nurses and their patients.
But now, a nurse has gone one step further—she’s come up with a shoe line for nurses that will match their scrubs—at least in terms of colors.
Daily Nurse spoke with business owner and nurse Eunsook Choi, RN, BSN, a former travel nurse who is now working full-time at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, about her online shoe company, Forgano. She provided great information about the product line and how she got into this business without prior experience.
How did you come up with the idea to start Forgano? What does the word mean?
I moved here from South Korea in 2017 to further my nursing career. Unfortunately, in 2020, the pandemic took a significant toll on nurses and other front-line workers. For many, it was their first year in the profession. At my hospital, I was moved from my usual unit to the COVID ICU due to a shortage of nurses, so I saw everything firsthand.
So once the dust settled a bit, I felt a purpose in my heart to bring a gift to these nurses–something they could get excited about after surviving this dark period. And so I brought them a new line of trendy nursing shoes that they could match with their scrubs, allowing them to express their personality. I came up with the name Forgano. “Gano” means “nursing or nurses” in Korean. So Forgano means “for nurses.”
Talk about how you started this company. Do you design the shoes? Do you have to handle all the steps involved with it? Please explain.
Once I decided to create a new line of nursing shoes, I faced the issue of designing the shoes in a way that would appeal to nurses and the materials that would be suitable for the job. I didn’t even know what to call the various parts of a shoe, such as an outsole, eyelets, and tongue.
I identified my target audience before I began thinking about designs. I can’t sell a single design of shoes to everyone. That’s impossible. Some senior nurses have been wearing the same shoes for 20 years, and there are new grad nurses who begin their new life journey with new scrubs and new shoes. So I identify my target audiences by age, gender, preferences, and so on.
I also realized most nursing shoes are designed to be practical and dry, so I wanted to create a new design that was both luxurious and practical. I have been working as a nurse for 13 years, and when it comes to shoes, as a nurse, I prioritize comfort. This is also something that all of my coworkers agreed on. So, as a result, my main criteria for new shoes were comfort and design.
I only had a little time to learn about the materials and the design details. So, I sought the advice of professionals when it came to design and materials, and I also got a lot of help from my manufacturer to complete the finished product.
Did you have previous entrepreneurial experience? Or did you learn on the go? How long did it take to get to the point of actually selling the products?
I had no prior experience as an entrepreneur. My mother has a small business in South Korea, selling men’s clothing in a small city. I remember seeing her selling and offering products when I was younger, but I don’t think I learned anything about this new business from her.
When I started my business last year, I met a business coach named James Munn from the United Kingdom. We had weekly Skype business mentorship meetings. I started with only one idea, “Nursing shoes,” and had no business experience. He was helpful to me during the formulation of the concepts stage, targeting audiences, finding manufacturers, developing names and websites, and finding 3PLs, among other things. I started at the bottom and worked my way up step by step. It took about nine months to get from organizing ideas to selling points.
I still do not know what I’ll do next month, but I know what I need to do regularly. I was terrified when I first started my business since I had never done anything like that before. However, I remembered that many people had done it before, and many of them had done well. So why can’t I? I work as a nurse and am very disciplined. Therefore, I believe I am capable of doing whatever others can do.
What makes your nursing shoes different? What did you want to offer to nurses that were different from other types of shoes?
They have a new design that is comfortable to wear all day. Forgano is a unique design when compared to other typical nursing shoe brands. Lately, new style scrubs have become very popular, but no suitable shoes support the latest trend. My shoes fit the new scrubs style for young nurses, giving a positive vibe and extra comfort for a long shift.
What did you enjoy most about your side gig?
I have more to offer the healthcare society than just my nursing job. This makes me feel like a valuable and productive person. I used to avoid listening to motivational speakers because I believed they were boring and everyone followed the same script. However, now I can appreciate what they are talking about.
It’s not only about the money. I think Forgano helped improve the quality of my life and allowed me to be a much happier nurse at work. My coworkers know I own a business, so I try my best at work. If I were lazy or frequently called in sick, they would believe I was neglecting my job due to my business–and I don’t want that.
I am a nurse, and I am proud of myself as a nurse. I also want to provide the best nursing care to my patients. Therefore, running a side gig gives my life meaning and improves my performance as a nurse.
What are some of the challenges?
Since I am a full-time nurse, finding time to manage my business takes time and effort. Every nurse knows we don’t want to do anything when we are off. But, like most nurses, I would love to relax on the couch or watch YouTube.
Of course, there are times when I have little time and do not do much for my business, and I think, “Why did I start this?” However, it is just for a brief period, and I’ll get up and do what needs to be done. I’m running my business slowly because it’s not my full-time job. But I enjoy it when I have new sales or followers on my IG. I feel blessed that I provide a unique vibe and products to nurses.
What would you say to someone considering developing a product specifically for nurses?
Listen carefully to what nurses are saying they need right now. And when you find a way to be of service, start now. It’s easy to think about creating and imagining it, but it can be intimidating to go forward when you lack experience. But I now know that if I can do this, anyone can. I am not special.
Only a few years ago, when I left South Korea and immigrated to the United States, I had no contacts or connections. I knew such little English that I could not even order a coffee at Starbucks. However, I overcame the odds, landed a position at a nation-leading hospital in Chicago, and started my own business.
While Rosa Crumpton, RN, BSN, MBA, works full-time in nursing management for a large hospital, she has an interesting side-gig that came about after taking a course last year called “Nursing by Design.” That led to her side business.
“[It] helped me discover where my natural talents and market needs intersected. I realized that I have always loved technology and am often an early adopter, especially in the online business space,” she says. “I didn’t realize that many nurses are not tech-savvy and many entrepreneurs are busy working in their zone of genius that they don’t want to fuss with the tech. I’ve been doing this about a year.”
Crumpton took time to answer our questions about the business. What follows is the interview, edited for length and clarity.
Explain to me briefly what you do in this role. What types of businesses do you serve?
I serve as a tech consultant for nurse/health care entrepreneurs. I especially like working on strategic plans for entrepreneurs who are looking to build systems for lead generation, the best solutions for them to sell goods or services online, and doing walkthrough assessments on their current website and social media.
“I love hearing about all the different businesses that nurse entrepreneurs are creating and growing.”
I have taken many online business courses along with having my MBA to understand the needs and trends of small businesses. I’ve also invested in many different tech services over the years, so I can give real-life feedback and recommendations to my customers.
I don’t think an MBA or formal education is necessary, but it is good to have an overall understanding of nurses and online business operations.
What do you like most about doing this work?
I love hearing about all the different businesses that nurse entrepreneurs are creating and growing. Since the pandemic started, so many nurses are leaving the bedside and building businesses for themselves. It’s an exciting time to see all the creativity and diversity of nurses.
What are your biggest challenges in your side gig? What are your greatest rewards?
The biggest challenge is time management. I have to be very aware not to overcommit. I have turned down several opportunities for social media management because I know I don’t have the time to devote to doing this.
The greatest reward to me has been helping nurses who don’t like tech feel empowered. I have a knack for simplifying complex things and presenting what I think is the client’s best option, but I always put the ball in their corner.
If someone wanted to get into the type of side gig you’re doing, what steps would you tell them to take?
I think this is a great side gig if you like technology. It’s important to research what’s going on in the online business space, especially for solopreneurs/small businesses. There have been a lot of changes in the last five years or so with more people moving into the online business space and customers becoming savvier. Getting to know the best systems for your customers for email, lead generation, purchases, and courses is vital. Social media management will also continue to grow, especially for people who can help create content for their customers.
The online business space is exploding and there is a lot of opportunity for anyone who has a desire to be a part of it!