Side Hustles for Doctors (and how to scale them)

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By Angela Johnson

June 09 , 2020

The term ‘Side hustle’ and ‘doctor’ may seem to be an oxymoron to some people who envision doctors being well-paid and therefore, well off. Unfortunately, with changes in the healthcare system over the years, this may not necessarily be the case.

While the term ‘second job’ may be abrasive to someone who spent the greater part of their education and money on obtaining their medical degree, a side hustle is a much more appealing way for doctors to earn some additional cash! Not only does a side hustle allow them to earn extra income, but it allows them to work how much and when they want. For many doctors, their side hustle will earn them the passive income that may allow them to retire early, have true financial security, and leave a legacy for their children.

Having a side hustle for many doctors is more than just about the money. It is about having the ability to have a choice. Burnout is real! Even though they may be passionate about medicine and helping people, the practice of medicine takes a serious mental and physical toll on many physicians. A side hustle can be just the thing the doctor ordered giving them the outlet for creativity, the ability to reduce stress and by putting their energy into something else, they may be able to return to truly enjoying their passion for medicine.

According to a recent Gallup poll and as quoted by, approximately 28% of workers, not just doctors, have a side hustle. So, it is not uncommon for people in many professions to want to earn some extra cash for retirement, to ensure financial security or even just for fun! Since we are talking about doctors, let’s look at some side hustles that doctors should consider engaging in.

  1. Telemedicine. Put that degree to further use! Thanks to advances in technology, patients and doctors can connect via video conferencing and webcam. Depending upon the specialty, some doctors may be able to read medical images from the comfort of their home or offer psychiatric consultations where ‘no couch’ is required. This is certainly an opportunity to earn some cash on the side as well as may be an opportunity to transition to and scale up to if you want to work less time in the office or hospital.
  2. Medical surveys. With the amount of education that doctors have had to endure, their opinion is highly regarded in the medical research arena. Many companies are willing to pay top dollar for the advice and opinion of doctors. Although you may not be able to retire on the income earned from surveys, it does have the potential of putting a little bit of spending money in your pocket or socking away some cash for a rainy day.
  3. Insurance claim reviews. Many insurance companies solicit the help of medical professionals to review claims for elective surgeries for pre-authorization purposes. This process requires the review of medical history, chart notes, and records and can be time-consuming but ultimately can pay off for the doctor. With no need to see the patient or even be at the medical practice, a doctor can review as many or as few insurance claims as they want to earn the income desired.
  4. Medical writing. The medical community is always looking for doctors to write articles, books, and summaries about medical issues and pharmaceutical innovations. Who better to write the marketing copy for a new drug than a doctor who is familiar with its use, side effects, and benefits? This opportunity can be as small or large as desired. A doctor may want to even write a book as a subject matter expert and scale the opportunity to earn additional income through book sales, speaking engagements, podcast interviews, and guest lecturer.
  5. Real estate– turning your practice into a Group Practice. Looking to do something outside of the medical field, but leveraging your experience? Why not try your hand in real estate? You can start a practice, and lease space to other clinicians and related professionals. Before you know it you are leveraging the business synergy of a health system. A very popular side hustle for doctors, investing in real estate can prove to be very lucrative although it certainly does carry its own risks. From property management and maintenance to rentals and untrustworthy tenants and the uncertainties of the real estate market, investing in real estate may bring more headaches than seeing patients ever did. However, it is a scalable side hustle that can set up any doctor for retirement and help them to develop an exit strategy.

No matter the reason or income desired, there is a side hustle out there for any doctor. When considering taking on a side hustle (or two), it is important to note your WHY! Why are you interested in taking on a ‘second job’? Is it for financial reasons? For personal fulfillment? Whatever your reason and interests, know that there is an opportunity for you to work that ‘side hustle’.

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