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Side Hustles For The Busy Physician

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Jun 29, 2021.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

    Mar 5, 2019
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    Time ranks high among the average physician’s precious resources. So does money. While you may be paid well as a doctor, it’s likely that you lack time to earn a little extra cash to eliminate your student loan debt, start your family, build your dream home, or retire comfortably–to name a few worthy financial goals. Side hustles can accelerate your timeline for any of these goals, but if you aren’t careful, your side hustle can become an albatross that sucks up your already precious time and energy.


    With that in mind, here’s an overview of physician-friendly side hustles, compiled with your time constraints in mind.

    Real estate

    No, we’re not saying you should become a real estate agent (unless you really want to). Entering the real estate market, however, may be a good way to earn some side-hustle money, especially for doctors with good credit and some extra cash on hand.

    The recent spike in home prices shows that there’s money to be made in real estate. But, remember 2008. Real estate is an asset class with inherent risks like any other. Home and property values are also subjective and finicky. Think about it. You can own a stock and at any time use its ticker to know what it’s worth. Try doing the same for an income property.

    Becoming a landlord is a side-hustle possibility. The recent spike in housing prices may drive more people to rent, making single-family and multifamily apartments attractive. Keep in mind, however, that being a landlord is a full-time job for most. Carefully consider whether you can handle the time commitment, or can afford to pay somebody else to do it for you.

    Another possibility is to purchase a home or property in a vacation destination or popular city. Services such as Airbnb and Vrbo have made it easier than ever to find weekly, daily, or monthly tenants for your second property. However, the same concerns as landlordship apply here. And if you’ve ever booked a vacation rental toward the end of the summer, you’ve seen how vacationers can be hard on homes they don’t own.

    Want a truly passive real estate side hustle? We suggest investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). REITs give you all of the benefits of investing in real estate, including extra cash, along with the protection of diversification. In other words, if your shore home gets wiped out in a hurricane, you miss out on a summer of rentals. With an REIT, you own fractions of many shore homes.

    Medical surveys

    One of the major perks of being a doctor is that your opinion is valuable. That makes speaking your mind–in the right context–a lucrative endeavor. Physician on FIRE says he knows doctors who earn thousands a year doing these surveys, many of which you can complete online. Payment options usually include cash or gift cards.

    You can also rest assured that you aren’t simply mouthing off. For example, your clinical expertise may contribute to the next life-saving drug or medical device. Your opinion could also benefit other physicians. For example, we recently conducted paid physician surveys to help shape the direction of this site, so that we might better serve you.

    With medical surveys, doctors get the chance to work in their PJs, too. You can often complete these surveys anywhere and anytime, as long as you have a stable phone or internet connection. For example, the physicians who performed our recent surveys did so on their lunch breaks. We wrapped up in 15 minutes, and they got paid $50. Not a bad ROI.

    A word of caution for first-timers. Compensation from medical surveys constitutes 1099 income. That means you have to withhold and pay your own taxes on Form 1099-MISC. Talk to your accountant about how much of each payment you should set aside. Put it into a high-yield savings account, so you can at least earn a little interest on your taxes.

    Create something

    Some of the best side hustles are of the one-and-done variety. In other words, you create something once, and then sell it for the rest of your life. The disadvantage of this side hustle approach is that there’s a substantial startup cost in the form of time. However, once you clear that initial hurdle, you’ve created what could be a steady passive income stream.

    So, what should you create? Maybe you can write. People love medical dramas, especially if they’re rooted in real life. Maybe your tales from the frontlines of medicine are worth publishing. They could entertain or educate the next generation of physicians. You could go the more traditional route: finding an agent, convincing them your book idea is a good one, then finding a publisher. Or you could use a direct-to-consumer approach, such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

    Your linguistic creation doesn’t have to be a book, either. Think of all the hard lessons you learned about personal finance, the medical career, or the practice of medicine throughout your career. Perhaps these lessons could be packaged as an online course. A little video recording, worksheets, and some PowerPoints could be enough to educate other doctors and provide a steady stream of passive income. Quality, here, is key. Doctors are discerning.

    Finally, if writing or speaking isn’t your speed, perhaps you have an idea for a medical device, or some other invention. The patent process can be lengthy, but at least it’s transparent. This side hustle has some serious associated development costs and time requirements. However, if your idea is good, it could prove to be lucrative.


    Like to talk? Got a personality that can fill a room? Perhaps you should give podcasting a try. With a few basic equipment purchases, such as a quality microphone and a computer that can handle audio editing, you could create the next big medical podcast. If audio isn’t your speed, becoming a physician YouTuber is also a possibility.

    Maybe you’d prefer not to go the DIY route. Radio and TV stations are always looking for physicians who are comfortable behind the mic or in front of the camera. Start by reaching out to your local affiliates. You won’t become the next Dr. Sanjay Gupta or Dr. Drew Pinsky overnight.


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