In this previous post I talked about the concept of income diversification and in this post I want to talk about the steps to take to diversify your income.
Just like investment diversification, having multiple sources of income can prevent your employer from taking an unfavorable position against you.
It’s incredibly easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking that our employers are doing us a favor by hiring us instead of the other way around. I view my multiple employers as my clients. I have intentionally placed myself in a situation where I can choose when and for whom I would like to work.
I am writing this post because I got a 10-word text from my boss yesterday saying that ‘I needed to be pulled off Kaiser’s telemedicine shifts immediately’ due to legal issues. It is likely due to me doing my telemedicine shifts from another country.
Loss Of Income
When you are let go from a job, you will experience a loss of income. This can create a lot of stress and it’s always the first few days after such an event that are the most disruptive.
Right after such news you may struggle with finances, you may desperately search for another job, or you might make unfavorable accommodations for your job in order to return.
It’s worse for those who have high core expenses and built up a lifestyle that’s supported by that single income stream. This job loss would then affect one’s lifestyle entirely.
Your Employer In The Position Of Power
As healthcare professionals we are fortunate to have a lot of job opportunities. However, it’s still common for some to lock onto one employer and allow their lives to be dominated by them.
This dependency on the boss manifests itself when we lose our shit because our employer made certain changes, when our work hours change, when our income changes, when we don’t get the raise we expected, or when the workload drastically increases.
There are times when we have no choice but to allow our employer to run us like a pimp. Coming straight out of residency or moving to a new city or when we have an absurd amount of debt are such situations.
When I first got the text it was a bummer because KP was easy income for me. Then again, I was having a glass of wine and watching a movie when the text came through and didn’t care all that much.
I have other income streams from:
- different telemedicine companies
- my investments
- rent income from my condo
More importantly, I have the ability to cut my expenses down even more if needed because my core spending is very low.
The lower our dependency on income, the less will such events fuck with our mojo.
Find A Side-Income Gig
At first a side-income that’s not health related may not be profitable enough to make you rich nor replace the income you earn as a healthcare professional. However, it gives you options.
A side gig could be:
- reviewing charts for the medical board
- telemedicine on the side
- working on your own brand of products
The biggest issue is that some of the larger medical groups don’t want you working outside of their group. I have a personal problem with this request and have chosen to ignore it even when I was employed full-time.
I don’t believe an employer has the right to tell me what I can do with my time outside of the job unless they are willing to guarantee me an income for life.
Even asking me to not work for a competitor is an absolutely ridiculous request.
Work For Multiple Employers
Working per diem for multiple medical groups is a good way to piece together a healthy income and diversify your income streams. If one pulls a stunt on you then you have others to fall back on.
I didn’t intend for this to happen but my various per diem gigs have created nearly $9,000/month of income while putting in a lot fewer hours.
More medical groups are allowing their associates to work outside of the group. Even if they state that you aren’t allowed to, there are exceptions made by the board depending on the situation.
Apply To Multiple Jobs
If there is a company that you like but they don’t have a job listing, apply anyways. The medical director & the HR department rarely are in direct communication so some jobs that should be listed, aren’t.
You can contact HR and ask that you be interviewed for a position even if it isn’t available so that you can be considered for it in the future. This is a common enough protocol that you shouldn’t have any problems.
Look Outside Of Your Profession
True diversification happens when your various incomes sources aren’t correlated. This is often why your financial adviser will recommend you invest in bonds, stocks, and real estate. These often don’t correlate much to each other and therefore don’t all move in the same direction with economic changes.
The medical profession hasn’t gotten hit hard in recent history. But that’s always a possibility. Having something outside of medicine is a wonderful idea and probably more fun.
- One of my friends sells shit on Etsy.
- A family doc friend sells very nice photographs online.
- A radiologist gives private dance lessons.
- A family doc gives genetics lectures for a device manufacturer.
- Another colleague wrote 2 books.
- A PA friend competes in a sport for cash prizes.
- Several friends have decent income on the side through real estate.
- An internist is product manufacturer and sells on Amazon.
- Another composes classical music.
- A dentist friend is a serial inventor of dental devices.