This post on making $1,000 a month from a medical survey side hustle originally appeared as an “as told to” post on Business Insider here.
I’ve always loved working with my hands and solving complex problems. That’s why I became a plastic surgeon who focuses on reconstructive surgeries after trauma, cancer, or congenital defects.
Three years ago, when I reached the end of my training and became a plastic surgeon, I was really burnt out. A lot of that feeling came from the financial pressure it takes to become a physician.
I’ll start from the beginning, but a medical survey side hustle really helped along the way.
I began my career as a physician with half a million dollars of student loan debt
When you’re a resident and a fellow, you get paid very minimally. When you’re a medical student, you pay to go to school. I had credit-card debt, no savings, and no investments, and I wasn’t feeling great about it.
Even though I was working 60 hours a week and making a salary of more than $400,000, it felt like it would take forever to pay off my loans. I didn’t see a path to financial freedom.
I also saw a lot of doctors around me earning a high income. But they were overspending on luxurious lifestyles and accumulating even more debt — I didn’t want to fall into that trap.
I started researching more about personal finance and income streams
I saw how some people find ways to make multiple streams of income so they can meet all their money goals. And I wanted to start doing that. I felt it would make me a better doctor if I didn’t have to focus on how stressed I was about money.
I decided to create additional streams of income. My wife and I started investing in real estate that we buy, fix up, and rent out. I also have a blog, which generates ongoing income from sponsorships.
This post goes into detail about all of the different side gigs available to doctors: Physician Side Gigs to Make You Passive Money
Finally, after doing some general research on side hustles, I found that you could make money by taking surveys. I found platforms specifically looking for doctors to take surveys and provide them with information on different topics.
I make anywhere from $500 to $1,000 a month taking surveys
I’ve been taking surveys for 2 ½ years. At first, I signed up for All Global Circle, M3 Global Research, Curizon, and InCrowd. Soon after, I found myself taking a few surveys a week, based on topics that my skill set qualified for.
The pay for each survey varied. For example, a 10-minute survey would pay between $30 and $40, and an hour-long survey would pay $500. Pharmaceutical and medical-device companies used these platforms as a way to consult with doctors and gain industry information.
The more surveys I did, the more the platform’s algorithms understood who I was and what my qualifications were. They started sending me more curated opportunities, like doing consulting interviews with companies who would pay $500 to speak with me on the phone about a certain topic.
Getting started was easy
I created a profile on each of the platforms that listed my expertise and areas of focus as a physician. Based on that information, the platforms would curate a list of appropriate surveys that I qualified for and I’d apply to them.
After getting accepted, I’d take the survey and make instant money. I also found that I could make money just by referring other doctors to these platforms. That was an additional source of income through this stream.
The format of each survey varies
You can generally expect surveys that have multiple choice questions — for example, “How likely are you to use these products?” and “What is the most important thing to you about this certain type of device?” — and short-form answers, or a phone call.
Surveys can be as short as two minutes or as long as an hour, and the pay can vary from $20 to over $500. Even though my employer is OK with me taking these surveys, they’re anonymous. My name is never given out along with my answers.
The amount of time I take surveys every week varies based on my schedule
On an average week, I’ll spend two to three hours taking surveys. Based on how many opportunities come my way during a certain month, I can find myself making between $500 and $1,000. I use this money to reinvest in my real estate projects and to pay off my medical school debt.
I started my career as a doctor feeling burnt out already, and I didn’t want my additional side hustles to make that worse. The biggest thing that keeps me motivated is having a strong reason why for what I’m doing, whether as a plastic surgeon, a real-estate investor, or as someone who surveys.
I actually enjoy taking these surveys, because it’s a unique way to make money and give back
Pharmaceutical, healthcare, and medical-device companies are a part of the healthcare system, and when I do these surveys, I’m able to keep them informed and involved with what a practicing physician sees. I hope my advice can help improve the overall healthcare system.
For those who want to achieve more financial freedom, I do recommend having multiple streams of income (Here’s how I created 5 such passive streams), no matter how much you earn in your profession. Taking surveys is a great way to earn income based on your knowledge and what you’re the most passionate about. Think about what your expertise is and then go out there and monetize it.
And for those interested, these are the medical survey companies that I work with.
And here are some other ways besides a medical survey side hustle to leverage your medical expertise to create additional streams of income:
- Physician Side Gigs to Make You Passive Money
- 7 Ways to Get Started with Physician Consulting
- How Can You Become a Physician Expert Witness
- How to Figure Out the Right Physician Side Gig For You
What do you think? Have you started a medical survey side hustle? What holds you back? Or, if you have, how do you like it? Let me know in the comments below!