When mom of two Priscilla Jankans was growing up, her father, an entrepreneur, emphasized the value of not only prioritizing education but becoming a business owner. He taught financial lessons to his six kids by paying them an allowance and encouraging them to think of ways to generate more money.
"We were allowed to be creative in our thinking, whether it was doing a lemonade stand or selling cookies," says Jankans. "Whatever ideas we had, they were welcomed."
When she was 20 years old, Jankans became the youngest registered nurse in her graduating class. A year later, she worked as an open heart ICU registered nurse in one of the country’s biggest hospitals, and eventually, she was working as a nurse executive. Still, Jankans felt like something was missing—she was itching to let her inner entrepreneurial spirit shine.
"Once you're an entrepreneur at heart, there's no corporation that can fulfill that for you," she says. "Even though I was a nurse executive, it was very hard for me to get my own ideas out there ... That part of my life is very important, and it was not a part that I was willing to sacrifice."
After becoming a parent, Jankans also realized she needed more flexibility and freedom to be the type of mom and wife she wanted to be. "It got to the point where no amount of money would compensate for my lack of freedom—and the lack of how I wanted to live my life and travel and be with my family," she says.
To bolster her autonomy and capitalize on her interest in fashion, Jankans poured savings and money raised via social media into a clothing line she launched in 2015, eventually acquiring a storefront. Then, with support from investors, she founded a medical staffing agency called L.A. Nursing Services in 2016.
"Once I realized that I can work as an independent contractor under my own staffing agency, I made the decision to leave my job and to work for myself," recalls Jankans. "It was very scary leaving my financial security. The income as a registered nurse was paying my bills. And I was still in school for my master's degree. But it's one of the best choices I've ever made."
In fact, soon after giving her notice, friends and colleagues began expressing interest in working for L.A. Nursing Services. "Eventually, it snowballed from maybe five of us to over 200 of us. And then, it was just a full-blown medical staffing agency," says Jankans.
The bold entrepreneur says she hasn't "looked back since."
Last year, Jankans founded her latest company, NurseProCEO, which teaches first-time entrepreneurs to follow in her footsteps and turn a passion into profitable businesses. Her courses have since helped aspiring CEOs launch successful clothing stores, candle businesses, and graphic design firms, among other ventures.
And this year, aiming to call attention to glaring disparities in health care that need to be closed, the mom of two boys founded Nurses for George, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission of dismantling systematic racism in health care, offering free services to underserved populations in L.A. County. The nonprofit also offers food, clothing, and monetary donations while offering patient care representatives to those in need.
Juggling these various ventures keeps Jankans engaged, excited, and thriving professionally. "You never know what tomorrow is going to bring," she says. "I never get the same day twice. There's real suspense in each day, and I live for that."
Here, Jankans offers her best tips for parents to strike out on their own and create their own version of success.
Know That There Are No Shortcuts
Jankans attributes her success to putting her nose to the grindstone and finding ways to work through the tough moments. "I never stopped working," she shares. "I did my associate, my bachelor's, master's, and doctorate, and I've worked full time through all of them." She was also nine months pregnant when she received her doctorate degree, and so had to miss her graduation.
She accepts that every sacrifice was for the greater good. "There are no shortcuts," she says. "There's no easy way to be an entrepreneur. But if you make it through and you do the work, it's the most rewarding thing."
Focus on Controlling Your Savings
Whether or not you're pursuing entrepreneurship, having control of your finances and prioritizing saving is key, says Jankans. "A lot of people think they have to have a lot of money to save," she notes. "But that's not true. If you have $10, save $2 or $3. If you have $5, save a dollar. It's not based on how much money you have. It's based on your discipline and how you save the money that you can save."
Be a Self-Starter
Starting small is OK, as long as you start. Jankans encourages people, including her children, to strive to be self-starters. "You can't wait around for someone to tell you to go," she says.
The proud mom makes a point to model this for her children by getting up early or making autonomous choices as a business owner. "It's important that they know that they are responsible for their well-being," says Jankans. "You're not dependent on a job. You're not looking for someone to give you something; you need to provide for yourself. You'll be more secure if you create your own opportunities."
Ultimately, she wants her kids to grow up knowing that "you can have fun in life, but you have to take care of business—having life insurance and savings, being self-sufficient, learning how to start your own business—first."
Embrace the Unknown
As she has paved her own path for success by launching and running a variety of businesses, Jankans has come to love the uncertainty that every new day brings. She encourages anyone, whether or not they're an entrepreneur, to find beauty in the unknown. As Jankans puts it: "Whether it's starting your own business or a new job, tomorrow is still another day to do whatever you want to do."