/From medicine to entrepreneurship: how side hustles are changing the medical landscape

From medicine to entrepreneurship: how side hustles are changing the medical landscape

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of physicians turning to side hustles to supplement their income. This trend is not surprising, given the financial and professional challenges facing many physicians today. The world of medicine is changing and it is affecting the way doctors choose to practice medicine.

Several years ago, when I decided to start a business while working as an attending physician, I remember a conversation I had with my father. I still remember what he said. He said, “You are a doctor, focus on being a doctor, why would you want to do anything else besides being a doctor?”

That side business became what is called curbside real estate. This business led to other business ideas and opportunities, like this one passive income MD.

My father was a physician who grew up in a different era and practiced medicine in the 1980s, which many consider to be the golden age of medicine for a number of reasons. However, he acknowledges that times have changed significantly since then. In fact, he’s not entirely sure he would have gone back into medicine if he had to in today’s environment. He admits that in the last decade the field of medicine has undergone more changes than in the previous 40 years.

The traditional path for doctors used to be very clear: study hard, focus on the right things, and you will be rewarded later in life. Unfortunately, these rules no longer seem to apply. High student loan debt, a decline in autonomy, the corporatization of medicine, the influence of private equity and hospitals, and changes in reimbursement and insurance have affected the medical field. While technology, politics, and regulations have affected other professions as well, physicians have felt the impact most significantly. The truth is that doctors can no longer practice and prosper in the same way that previous generations did.

As a result, many doctors are looking for alternative solutions to supplement their income and achieve more flexibility and freedom. Doctors are natural problem solvers, and we’re applying this same approach to our professional lives. We understand that there must be a different way to achieve our goals and we are exploring alternative paths to achieve them.

In the next few sections, we’ll explore some of the reasons behind the question. “Why do doctors resort to side hustles?”

Reason #1 Financial challenges

One of the main reasons doctors turn to other side jobs is the need for additional income. The lives of today’s doctors are not the same as they used to be, and dealing with rising student loan costs, declining salaries, and dwindling reimbursements can lead to increased financial stress. For many physicians, a side hustle provides a way to earn additional income without sacrificing their primary medical practice.

As physicians, we often experience delayed gratification, and by the time we graduate and become an attending physician, many of our peers have already established themselves financially and have begun building their net worth. However, we are just getting started and we may need that additional income to achieve our financial goals.

To supplement their income, many doctors use their skills and interests to explore alternative income streams. Some are starting businesses or collecting case reviews, becoming expert witnesses, conducting medical surveys, or becoming consultants to leverage their medical degrees and generate additional income. Others are investing in real estate or pursuing other ventures outside of medicine.

When doctors don’t have to rely solely on their primary medical practice for income, it provides a sense of relief and can allow for a more enjoyable life in medicine. A side hustle can be a great way for doctors to earn extra income while maintaining their primary medical practice. With careful planning and hard work, a side hustle can provide a pathway to financial security and personal fulfillment.

Reason #2 Creative Outlet

The second reason many doctors turn to side hustles is to scratch their creative itch. Many people view doctors as one-dimensional people who focus solely on medicine, but many have talents and interests outside of medicine. By taking those outside interests, hobbies, or skills and talents and earning additional income from them, doctors can experience a sense of fulfillment and joy that they might not get from medicine alone.. By taking those outside interests, hobbies, skills or talents outside of medicine, you can provide balance in life and generate a little extra income from it.

Some doctors are artists, writers or musicians who take advantage of these talents and creative outlets they have to generate additional income. Others see their sideline as therapy and a way to express themselves in ways that medicine doesn’t allow.

Doctors are doing really creative things: artists, writing, music, or even coding have provided fun ways to generate extra income. It opens them up to use a different side of the brain. Many have found it to be therapeutic and uplifting, the only reason they are going the extra mile is for that creative outlet.

Reason #3 Diversification

The third reason many physicians turn to side hustles is portfolio diversification. Gone are the days when doctors solely relied on their medical work for income. With the changing landscape of healthcare, there is no guarantee that a doctor’s job will remain stable or that they will continue to earn the same amount of money throughout their career. The corporatization of medicine has resulted in corporations and private equity firms taking over medical practices, which can lead to significant changes in working conditions, unexpected pay cuts, and even job losses.

By accumulating that additional income stream, it means not being 100% dependent on medicine and provides powerful financial security.

Creating an extra hustle can provide doctors with financial security and peace of mind. By having an additional source of income, they may face unexpected changes in their job or industry. This diversification can also provide physicians with more flexibility in their lives. If they want to work part-time or change the way they practice medicine, having that extra income can make those options possible.

Reason #4 Work-Life Balance

Finally, some doctors are turning to sidelines to plan their exit. Burnout is a real problem for many doctors today, with up to 50% experiencing signs and symptoms of burnout on a daily basis.

That’s where the side hustles come in. Physicians can establish a sense of financial stability that allows them to take control of their lives as they create additional streams of income outside of the practice of medicine. Flexibility does not necessarily mean that doctors will abandon medicine entirely. But with a reduction in workload or a change in your practice, doctors can align personally with your passions and interests.

When doctors are given the ability to work on their own terms, it will have a profound impact on how they view their medical profession. By reconnecting with the passion that led them to pursue medicine, physicians can rediscover the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from helping others. Thus, a work-life balance is created and the risk of burnout is reduced.

In conclusion…

If you’re a doctor feeling the effects of burnout, financial stress, or a lack of creative outlets, consider starting a side job. Take time to explore your interests and talents outside of medicine, and think about how you can use those skills to create additional streams of income. With the right mindset, resources, and support, you can create a successful side hustle that not only helps you reach your financial goals, but also provides you with a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

To get started, check out the List of Physician Side Hustles at Passive Income MD and join the Passive Income Docs community to connect with other physicians who are exploring alternative income streams.

Building a side hustle takes time, effort, and dedication. A lot of wonderful things have happened to me, and I’m constantly learning, but a lot of it has to do with the side hustles that eventually became the main hustles and the main business.
For me. It’s funny now when I talk to my father, he comes back and asks me constantly, “How’s that business going?” It’s amazing to see that everything comes in a complete cycle.

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