Physician Side Gigs Don't Have to Be Medical

It’s 2020 and many of us are more motivated than ever. We want to get fit, eat healthier, and continue to survive residency. While these are noteworthy goals, consider one more thing: making money doing something you love…outside of medicine. Aka, start a side hustle. If you’re unsure of where to start, here are a few side gigs to pursue as a resident: 

Start a Blog

For those who love to write, consider starting a blog. Doing so has relatively low startup costs, if anything at all. Once you get a unique website domain, you can use a pre-formed template via platforms like Wordpress or SquareSpace to create a website or blog for little to no money. Although it can be daunting initially, starting a blog will allow you to create a platform and accumulate a following through which you can express yourself. I was very nervous when I started my own blog Career Money Moves, but I’m so glad I did. Doing so allowed me to garner a unique list of email subscribers that I can market to directly and communicate with on a regular basis. Plus, I eventually got approached by sponsors who offered to pay me for advertisements, allowing me to make money doing something I enjoyed. 

Launch a Podcast

It’s 2020 and many people believe podcasting is the new blogging. There may be limited times where we are free enough or focused enough to read an entire book or blog post, but there are plenty of places where we can listen to a podcast. Since you can record episodes on the smartphone you already own, the startup costs are quite low. Why not launch one of your own? Doing so will allow you to curate an audience of people through which you can share your views on a growing platform. There’s no rule dictating how frequently you have to record. You can do it on your own time, whenever you have time. AND, you can talk about whatever you want, whether that’s your career, your hobbies, or your personal take on various issues and life events. 

Write a Book

If publishing blogs or recording podcasts on a regular basis sounds like too big of a commitment, why not consider an alternative: writing a book. Although this can seem impractical, it may not be as difficult as you think, especially if you break it up into sections and have a goal of writing one chapter a month. Some people have found it manageable to work on a book during their down time at work or late at night as they unwind from their day. Plus, writing on a topic you enjoy will likely make the writing process even more enjoyable. If you’ve managed to find peace in your life despite many commitments, write about work-life balance. If you managed to stay sane while raising toddlers, write about parenting in medicine. If you’ve managed to successfully create a business, build a high net worth, practice medicine through locums, or do something unique in your specialty, write about that. Being able to author something you love and sell the finished product may result in an additional income and lead to other lucrative opportunities such as paid speaking engagements, television appearances, or exclusive business groups.

Leverage Business on Social Media

If writing isn’t your thing and launching a podcast seems like too much work, consider making money from social media. Many of us are on Instagram or Facebook for free already, so why not get paid to use these platforms? If you like making videos, consider starting a YouTube channel. If you love beauty and fashion, why not review products on Instagram? If you’re passionate about a particular industry or topic, consider setting up your own Facebook group to discuss various topics of interest. Either one of these ideas allows you to create a platform by which you can build a network of people. You can then leverage that network to attract companies or advertisers that will pay you money for access and influence. 

Start Consulting

A consultant is someone who charges a fee to provide advice or guidance in a particular area. While you may not consider yourself an “expert,” you certainly have life experiences and higher education in areas others do not. Why not leverage that knowledge in a way that brings you more income? As a doctor, you can tutor pre-med students taking the MCAT or charge to proofread personal statements. If you are good with technology or have studied computer science, create software programs or website templates for new business owners. If you work in sales, provide specialized marketing strategies for new authors and young entrepreneurs. 

Freelance Work in the Arts

I’m very analytical, but there are many people who are extremely creative. If you are one of those people, use your creativity to create an additional revenue stream. Maybe you like to paint and can create art to sell at various shows and exhibits. If you like to cook, consider hosting cooking classes for young couples, selling recipes on various forums, or even making your own cookbook. If you love to take pictures, you could become the go-to photographer for your colleagues’ holiday functions, weddings, or family Christmas cards. If you love to do hair and makeup, you can lend your services to those of us who struggle with our hair or desire different looks for fancy events. 

Find something you’re interested in and enjoy doing outside of medicine. Then figure out how to leverage that interest in a way that brings you money. Although many of us could work overtime or moonlight at our job to make more money, doing so may not be as enjoyable and may even cause us to burn out from our career unexpectedly. The great thing about establishing a side gig or lucrative hobby is that oftentimes it’s something we enjoy. When we are paid to do things we love and enjoy, the “work” is less stressful, we’re happier, and our pockets are fuller.

Dr. Altelisha Taylor is a family medicine resident at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She has a passion for primary care sports medicine and enjoys writing articles on personal finance and health policy for several other media outlets including her blog, Career Money Moves

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