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Medicine to Entrepreneurship: How Side Hustles are Changing the Physician Landscape

In recent years, there has been a growing trend for physicians to turn to side hustles to supplement their income. This trend is not surprising, given the financial and career challenges that many doctors face today. The world of medicine is changing and it is affecting how physicians choose to practice medicine.

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

That side business grew up as it was called Curbside Real Estate. This one business leads to other business ideas and opportunities, such as this one Passive Income MD.

My father was a physician who grew up in a different era and practiced medicine in the 80s, a time that many consider the golden age of medicine for various reasons. However, he admits that times have changed significantly since then. In fact, he’s not entirely sure he’d pursue medicine again if he had to go through it in today’s environment. He acknowledges that medicine has changed more in the past decade than in the previous 40 years.

The traditional path for physicians was crystal clear: study hard, focus on the right things, and you’ll be rewarded later in life. Unfortunately, these rules no longer seem to apply. High student loan debt, loss of autonomy, corporatization of medicine, private equity and hospital influence, and changes in reimbursement and insurance have affected the field of medicine. Technology, politics and regulations have affected other professions as well, with doctors feeling the impact more significantly. The truth is, physicians can no longer practice and thrive like previous generations.

As a result, many doctors are looking for alternative solutions to supplement their income and gain more flexibility and independence. Doctors are natural problem solvers and we apply this same approach in our professional lives. We understand that there must be a different way to achieve our goals and we are exploring alternative ways to reach them.

In the upcoming section, let’s explore some of the reasons behind the question “Why are doctors getting sidetracked?”

Reason #1 is financial challenges

One of the primary reasons physicians turn away is the need for additional income. Physicians’ lives today are not what they used to be, and financial stress can increase as they deal with rising student loan costs, declining salaries, and reduced reimbursements. For many physicians, a side hustle offers a way to earn extra income without giving up their primary medical practice.

As physicians, we often experience delayed gratification, and by the time we graduate and become physicians, many of our peers are already financially settled and starting to build their net worth. However, we are just getting started and may need that additional income to achieve our financial goals.

To supplement their income, many physicians are exploring alternative income streams using their skill sets and interests. Some are starting businesses or conducting case reviews, becoming expert witnesses, conducting medical surveys, or consulting to earn their medical degrees and generate additional income. Others are investing in real estate or pursuing other ventures outside of medicine.

When physicians no longer have to rely solely on their primary medical practice for income, it provides a sense of relief and allows for a more enjoyable life in medicine. A side hustle can be an excellent way for physicians to earn extra income while maintaining their primary medical practice. With careful planning and hard work, a side hustle can provide a path to financial security and personal fulfillment.

Reason #2 is the creative outlet

The second reason is that many physicians tend to scratch their creative itch. Many people see doctors as one-dimensional people who focus only on medicine, yet many have talents and interests outside of medicine. By taking those outside interests, hobbies or skills and talents and earning extra income from them, physicians can experience a sense of fulfillment and joy that they might not get from medicine alone.. By taking up an interest, hobby, skill or talent outside of medicine, you can provide life balance and generate a little extra income from it.

Some practitioners are artists, writers or musicians who take this creative outlet and talent that they need to generate additional income. Others see their side hustle as therapy and a way to express themselves in ways that drugs don’t allow.

Doctors doing really creative things: being an artist, writing, music or even coding have provided fun ways to generate extra income. This opens them up to use a different side of the brain. Many find it therapeutic and life-giving, simply because they have a side hustle for that creative outlet.

Reason #3 is diversity

A third reason is that many physicians are turning to portfolio diversification. Gone are the days when doctors depended on their medical work for income. With the changing landscape of healthcare, there is no guarantee that a physician’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 led businesses and private equity firms to adopt medical practices, which can lead to significant changes in terms of employment, unexpected pay cuts and even job losses.

Building that extra income stream means not being 100% dependent on drugs and providing a strong financial security.

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

Reason #4 is work-life balance

Finally, some physicians are turning to hostels next door to plan their exit. Burnout is a real problem for many physicians today, with up to 50% experiencing signs and symptoms of burnout every day.

That’s where side hustles come in. Physicians can establish a sense of financial stability that allows them to take control of their lives while they create additional income streams outside of the practice of medicine. Flexibility doesn’t mean that doctors will give up drugs entirely. But with reduced workloads or changes in their practice, doctors may be able to adjust to their personal passions and interests.

When physicians have 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 drove them to medicine, physicians can rediscover the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from helping others. Thus, creating work-life balance and reducing the risk of burnout.

In conclusion…

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

To get started, check out the list of physician side hustles on Passive Income MD and join the Passive Income Docs community to connect with other physicians exploring alternative income streams.

Building a side hustle takes time, effort, and dedication. A lot of great things have happened to me, and I’m still constantly learning, but a lot of it has to do with side hustles that eventually turned into main hustles and main businesses.
For me. It’s funny now when I talk to my dad, he comes back and he keeps asking me, “How are those businesses doing?” Awesome to see it all come full circle.

Learn more about how we can help you start, scale and grow a thriving business. Join our Passive Income Docs Facebook Group And start getting priority access to new opportunities and shared resources.

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