Passive income was a foreign concept to me just a short time ago. And physician side gigs? Why in the world would physicians want or need side gigs?
The problem was that I was stuck in the traditional narrative that the way to reach financial freedom and true wealth was to work hard, ask no questions, and eventually you retire. But the issue with this way of thinking is that the concepts of saving, investing, and creating cash flow are completely absent.
Now…I am a huge fan of passive income and side gigs. I advocate for all physicians to pursue a side gig. Here’s why:
First, let’s talk about what physician side gigs are not
Side gigs are not endeavors to complicate your life or to further take time away from your family. Most doctors get squirmy thinking about a side gig because they don’t want to spend more of their time. In fact, they do the exact opposite.
The important thing when deciding to pursue a side gig is to establish the long term goals. My side gigs will allow me to practice medicine on my own terms, because I want to, not because I have to. They will give me MORE time with my family and for my personal well being as they turn into passive income.
It’s true that side gigs may initially require a good amount of sweat equity
In fact, my wife and I spent all day one Saturday painting one of our rental properties. I don’t mind doing that because I know that this property will pay me cash flow and build equity for the rest of my life. One active weekend is worth a lifetime of passive income and financial freedom.
In fact, passive income is really a misnomer. Nothing is completely passive. What you are looking to do is weaken the connection between your time and your money. You are used to trading your time for money. By creating “passive” income, your money makes more money that you trade for your time.
Can You Actually Achieve Real Passive Income?
With that said…
There are a ton of awesome advantages to physician side gigs
- Create passive income AKA money you make while you sleep
- Diversify your income so that a decrease in one income stream does not create financial stress
- Increase your income!
- Decrease the amount of savings that you need to retire
- Pay off your debts faster
- Invest more
- Utilize tax breaks to your advantages
- Exercise your entrepreneurial muscles
- Treat yo’ self! (Please click this link if you don’t get the reference – it’s worth it I promise!)
Here’s what you won’t find in this list
Back when I was starting my financial education, I looked for lists similar to this one. Unfortunately I did not find them all that helpful.
Many included options that were unrealistic or that I’ve now come to realize are not good advice. For instance, it’s true that you can become a media expert like Sanjay Gupta…but that is not realistic and generalizable advice.
Similarly, I could say that angel investing or day trading are passive income side gigs worthwhile for physicians to pursue. However, I absolutely do not endorse these options. As physicians, we are high income earners. We do not need to take such high risk to create passive income. There are better and more reliable ways.
So, in this list, I will focus on realistic and solid options for physician side gigs that I recommend you consider. In fact, I hope you do more than consider.
I want you to actually get out there, take massive action, and create financial success!
The List of Physician Side Gigs That Will Make You Passive Money
Let’s get 3 important exceptions out of the way first…
- Optimizing your practice
- Negotiating your contract
- Please, please, please use your contract negotiations to aggressively increase your terms to fit your value.
- Too often, physicians do not know their true value and sign contracts that have them working for a discount. This is not passive income but is a major way to increase your income and ability to save, invest, and reach financial freedom.
- For more, check out the Top 10 Things to Know Before Signing Your Contract (The First or Tenth!)
- Moonlighting/Locum Tenens
- This is again not passive income but an awesome way to take control of your schedule and finances by making extra money on your terms. If available to you, moonlighting and/or Locum Tenens may be a good option. To be fair, I don’t have a ton of experience with Locum Tenens but this link will tell you all you need to know.
Ok, now onto the real list of physician side gigs!
- Seems obvious, right?
- Of course, I’m referring to passive income investing according to your set asset allocation with at least yearly rebalancing (refresher here)
- These stocks will pay you dividends. Dividends are passive income. I recommend that you re-invest your dividends. That’s money making more money (Q: Are you referring to alchemy? A: Yes, I am Dwight)
- You can even use Acorns to invest your daily change. Join here and they will give you $5 to start!
Real Estate Investing (REI)
This is a huge category. It’s even bigger than stock investing since there are many ways to invest in real estate successfully. Let’s get into it.
I’ll progress from most to least passive.
- Real Estate Investment Trusts are basically investing in a mutual fund of real estate investments. These are available in nearly every brokerage. Real estate doesn’t correlate with stocks/bonds so this is a good, passive way to diversify. No traditional tax benefits with this type of REI though.
- This type of investing is basically where a lot of people pool together money to buy properties. A good example of a company specializing in this is CrowdStreet. The buy-in is usually much lower than with syndications or funds but so is the return, in general.
- Private Funds
- Funds are investments made in a company or group that specializes in real estate investments. They may specialize in different types of REI such as fix and flip vs. buy and hold. You are giving them your money and trusting they will get returns on your money that will be shared with you. There is no guarantee however. Buy-ins for these funds are usually high but CityVest offers the ability to access these funds with a lower buy-in.
- Syndications are real estate deals involving a smaller number of investors buying usually single properties. Buy-ins are usually bigger but so are the potential returns.
- Direct investing
- This is my preferred kind of real estate investing. Sure, it’s more active in the beginning but offers huge returns and advantages when done right. Here’s my free Physician’s Guide to Real Estate Investing for more information.
More Outside the Box REI Options
- Hard Money Lending
- This is a bit of a different animal and has a unique place in the passive-active spectrum of things.
- With hard money lending, you essentially give out short term, high-interest loans to investors looking to buy a property that a bank will not offer a mortgage on. Usually, these are distressed properties that are then flipped and that’s how the money is paid back in a relatively short amount of time. If the money is not paid back, you essentially have first lien on the property and it becomes yours. Then you have to deal with it.
- Rent out your home (AirBnB)
- House hack
- These two options are definitely a bit outside of the box. You could rent out an extra room as an AirBnB. Or you could house hack which is a strategy in which you buy a (usually) multifamily property, live in one unit, and rent out the other unit to help pay some or all of your mortgage. It can really be a great option.
- Start a blog
- Hey, that’s what I did! You can find your niche and do the same!
- Here’s how blogs make money:
- Affiliate advertising (see below),
- Courses (see below), and
- Affiliate marketing
- Affiliate marketing is where you refer people to a company and you are reimbursed when they buy at no extra cost to the buyer. Ideally, you only are referring to companies or products that you believe it.
- That’s what I do with these courses from Cory Fawcett MD. I’ve taken all those courses, love them, and am proud to introduce them to new people who can benefit from them.
- Here are examples of affiliate advertising:
- Start an Acorns account and refer out
- Refer your friends to student loan refinancing companies
- Create an online course
- I’ve done this too!
- You can start a podcast! What is something that you know about that others are interested in?
- Podcasts generally make money in the same way that blogs do.
Leverage Your Medical Knowledge
- Medical Surveys
- This is a favorite of a lot of people. I know some who have made tens of thousands of dollars a year doing surveys. My honest opinion however is that I want to spend my time developing streams of income that will be more significant that this. But extra cash is never a bad thing.
Are Medical Surveys Worth It as a Side Gig?
- Expert Witness
- I have not done this but this is a great option to make some side money for those that do qualify
- Check out SEAK for more info
- Medical Device
- Invent and patten a medical device to sell
- Focus on a pain point in your practice. What do you wish existed to make your work easier?
- You certainly can partner with an industry leader in your field to become a paid speaker/consultant. Just reach out and ask.
- The best way to go about this is to build an audience. Starting a blog, podcast, or social media presence is probably the best way to go about this. Then leverage your audience reach for other opportunities.
- Medical Chart Review
- Review Insurance Claims
- Locum Tenens
- Again, I do not have experience with Locum Tenens. If this interests you, I would suggest checking out this course by Dr. Cory Fawcett, Thriving in Locum Tenens.
- Medical Director of Medispa
- Most medical spas or similar institutions need a medical director. The job is relatively hands off usually and can be a nice additional income source. Interested? Just try calling and asking around some local establishments.
- Or, just start your own medispa!
- Create a skincare line
- This one is more for the plastic surgeons and dermatologists reading but really anyone can do this. Tons of physicians have. This may be something to combine with the 2 side gigs listed above.
- Write a book
- Plenty of doctors have done this!
- Here are some examples of physician finance books
- But any topic will do!
- Create a review book
- I think that this is a great option. I have not done it but I know a few that have. If you are interested, I would recommend speaking to someone in your specialty’s professional society and/or board to get started. Then find a medical publisher. Make sure to research other review books in your field to make sure you provide unique and comprehensive value.
- Here’s a link to my plastic surgery study book review from my resident blogging days!
- Freelance Medical Writing
- You may not realize it but a TON of outlets are always looking for content related to healthcare. In fact, you are an expert in a field that is of high interest to the public and with a relative paucity of other experts. Just connect to these sources to start getting some freelance work.
- You can cold e-mail outlets or sign up for a service like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) for daily emails with leads specific to healthcare topics. I actually check these emails every day myself.
- I am a huge fan of coaching. I use coaches myself
- Drive Uber or Lyft
- Not really high on my list of recommendations but certainly doable
- Rent a room or basement for storage
- This one is a better option. Using this service, you can actually rent out some extra room or your basement to someone to store their stuff.
There you have it!
So many possible physician side gigs and there is no doubt that I missed some and that more will arise. Decide how you would like to pursue your alternative streams of revenue and get started today!
Others have done it, why not you?!
If you have any questions or are looking for more information about any of these options, please feel free to email me at [email protected]!
What do you think? What side gigs are you pursuing? How have they changed your life? Did I miss any big ones? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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