Ever thought about how having multiple income streams actually makes you a better physician?
In today's increasingly changing and competitive world, relying solely on a singular “day job” for financial security and personal growth may no longer be sufficient. A paradigm shift is occurring as more people recognize the importance of diversifying their income streams through other sources. Not only does it provide additional financial stability, but it also has a profound impact on job satisfaction, professional development, and the acquisition of complementary skills. Having multiple income streams can improve job satisfaction, and make you better at the rest of what you're doing.
Growing up, I was fortunate to be middle class, but to achieve that, my immigrant dad would often have to work two jobs to make ends meet. There were weeks he would be traveling overseas that I would never see him. I know I wouldn’t be where I am now without that sacrifice, but still, I wish that he had been home more with my brother and me. I saw myself following the same steps in medicine, working crazy hours in hopes of giving my family an even better life than I had when I was younger. My wife helped me realize that what I was doing and what I said I wanted were vastly different. That’s when I began pursuing passive investing so I could practice medicine on my own terms and have the time to enjoy life with my family.
After much trial and error, I discovered which things to put highly focused effort into so that they would pay dividends with my time and finances in the near future. Let’s highlight some of the ways this approach can impact your life and improve your work as a physician.
Financial Stability and Reduced Stress
One of the primary benefits of creating additional income streams is the increased financial stability it offers. Relying solely on a single paycheck can be risky and stressful, especially in uncertain economic times. COVID showed physicians that even we are not fully secure during volatile times, even in a health crisis. Supplementing your main income with side ventures, such as freelancing, investing, or creating passive income sources, can provide a safety net during periods of job instability. This financial security helps alleviate stress and allows individuals to focus more on their primary work without the constant worry of financial setbacks. Yes, it takes effort upfront to get there, but the payoff creates life-changing peace and time. Most of my extra endeavors take place remotely so I get to be home with my family significantly more than I ever did before. This is particularly important now that we just had our second child!
This is especially important to us doctors because we can’t leave one job for the next whenever we want. It takes months to get credentialed elsewhere so if there are any issues with one job, we can be without another one for months. This could be due to no fault of ours such as when a hospital that I was working at got acquired by another hospital. We were asked to choose between that group’s measly terms or leave.
Broadening Skill Set and Knowledge
Engaging in other income-generating activities often requires learning new skills or expanding existing ones. Whether it's starting a small business, freelancing, or investing in stocks, these pursuits expose individuals to different aspects of the market, finance, marketing, and more. This diversified skill set not only makes you more adaptable but also enhances your creativity and problem-solving abilities. Acquiring complementary skills can even open up new career paths and opportunities that you may not have previously considered. I had to overcome a lot of hurdles to succeed as a physician and I doubted in my ability to tackle some of my other dreams. Diving into these other ventures opened my eyes to what I was capable of. When we are open to expanding our world beyond medicine, it can be shocking to realize what’s possible for us.
Often, the skills that I learn outside of medicine can directly translate to medicine. For example, negotiation is a basic but important skill in business. I use my negotiation skills on a daily basis on the wards with consultants or even patients.
Personal Growth and Fulfillment
Engaging in other income-generating activities outside of your day job can reignite your passion and enthusiasm for work. Pursuing your interests and hobbies and turning them into income-generating ventures can bring a sense of fulfillment and purpose. It allows you to explore your passions, express your creativity, and break free from the monotony of your primary job. By diversifying your income, you create a space where you can take risks, try new things, and challenge yourself, which ultimately leads to personal fulfillment and self-improvement. Being a physician is incredible. It’s rewarding, important, pays well, helps people — the list goes on. But do you ever feel like you’ve tied your entire identity to being a physician? Allow me to remind you: You’re more than "just a doctor." When we feel fulfilled internally, we show up as the better version of ourselves.
Networking and Building Connections
Venturing into other income streams often introduces you to a new network of individuals who share similar interests or are involved in complementary industries. These connections can prove invaluable in terms of expanding your professional network, finding mentorship opportunities, and collaborating on future projects. Engaging with like-minded individuals outside your day job not only enhances your knowledge but also exposes you to different perspectives and fresh ideas that can positively influence your primary work. Attending real estate and entrepreneur events has tremendously skyrocketed my growth in my side endeavors, but it’s also introduced me to countless incredible medical professionals that I now have real connections with that I can call on for support when needed.
Improved Job Satisfaction and Work-Life Balance
Ironically, when you devote time to other income-generating activities outside of your day job, you often find yourself more satisfied with your primary work. I started being able to dictate my own hospital schedule and allow myself the time off that I needed to recuperate. I found myself looking forward to working my shifts again. Imagine coming back on shift feeling rested. I’m a better doctor to my patients when I’m rested.
Pursuing other interests can provide a sense of autonomy, as you have control over your own projects and outcomes. Additionally, the satisfaction derived from successfully managing multiple income streams feeds your energy and motivation. And having a diversified income portfolio allows for a healthier work-life balance, as you're not solely reliant on your day job for financial security, giving you the freedom to make choices that prioritize the well-being of yourself and your loved ones — like taking some time off.
Enhanced Creativity and Innovation
Engaging in other income-generating activities outside of your day job stimulates your creativity and fosters a spirit of innovation. When you step outside the confines of your primary work, you are exposed to different industries, perspectives, and challenges. Kind of like every medical show, even though they’re all silly, they show the doctors having a personal life experience that sparks the idea that solves the problem with their patient. This exposure fuels fresh ideas and allows you to approach problems from new angles. The cross-pollination of concepts and skills from your various income streams can lead to innovative solutions in your day job. By integrating diverse experiences and knowledge, you become a more well-rounded professional who can bring unique perspectives to the table.
Resilience and Adaptability
You’re probably already good at thinking critically and thinking on your feet. But even the best of us can get stuck in our thought patterns simply from repeating our routines over and over again. The pursuit of other income sources instills resilience and adaptability, qualities that are highly valued in today's rapidly changing job market. Managing multiple income streams requires effective time management, prioritization, and the ability to juggle various responsibilities. As you navigate the challenges and uncertainties of different ventures, you develop a resilient mindset and the capacity to adapt to evolving circumstances. These qualities not only benefit your side endeavors but also make you more agile and resourceful in your primary job, enabling you to navigate challenges with confidence and find innovative solutions.
Personal Branding and Professional Growth
Diversifying your income can also contribute to personal branding and professional growth. By showcasing your expertise and success in multiple fields, you establish yourself as a multifaceted professional with a diverse skill set. This can open doors to speaking engagements, consulting opportunities, or even career advancements within your industry.
It is only through my willingness to learn, stumble, and keep learning through several different skill sets that I’ve been able to become a successful entrepreneur and president of a private equity firm and enjoy the benefits of multiple income streams. Your ability to manage and excel in various income-generating activities demonstrates your drive, initiative, and ambition — qualities that are highly valued by employers and clients alike.
Seth Godin mentions in his book Linchpin that you want to be irreplaceable at your job. In medicine, that means being someone that stands out and represents something. In my last role, I got a promotion due to being able to meld medicine and education by creating educational videos that were also entertaining, so people actually watched them. Prior to that, countless hours and money had been wasted on creating educational materials that no one took action on.
Making the decision to build multiple income streams for myself has transformed my life more than I can say. Now it’s my mission to help fellow physicians get their time and peace back by creating more opportunities for themselves. In an era of rapid change and uncertainty, relying solely on a singular job for financial security and personal growth can limit your potential and fulfillment. Cultivating other income streams not only provides financial stability but also enhances job satisfaction and professional development. By diversifying your income, you broaden your skill set, gain new perspectives, and open doors to exciting opportunities.
Embrace the power of other income sources, explore your passions, and unlock your full potential in both your day job and beyond.
What income streams do you have outside of medicine?
Pranay Parikh is a practicing physician, a top podcast leader, an event speaker, and the president of a private equity firm, Ascent Equity Group. He has a unique entrepreneurial journey and a compelling story that has captivated audiences nationwide. Ascent Equity Group can also be reached on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Animation by Jennifer Bogartz and Joe Lee