Diversifying Your Income As A Physician – Less Work, More Flexibility, More Fun
I learned a lot by starting out in a large medical group, with resources abound, strong colleagues to learn from and an amazing new-physician training program.
Associating with those who are successful. I immediately sought out the smart docs, hung out with them to see how they do it. I realized the best way to fuck myself was to sleep around with the nurses and associate with slackers. Patient satisfaction scores were huge so I focused on that. Next was avoiding having sick-calls. That’s it, with that repertoire of characteristics I would be a top-doctor.
Having Only One Customer
Dr. Mo is a business and I’m the CEO. I always view Dr. Mo as a business entity, myself as the CEO and my customers being my employers, my job(s). My patients are my board of directors, if I can’t please them then I’m fucked. They set the pace and steer the direction of the business.
Diversification with more customers. The dude who owns the Pizza shop down the street from me has at least 50 customers a day, spreading his risk across that group. It’s unlikely that he will lose all 50 customers at the same time.
I need to have more than just one customer to succeed. Up until a couple of months ago I only had one customer, my employer, the behemoth medical group which has employed me for the last 7 years. One wrong move and I could get canned. That level of fragility and instability can only breed negative, conservative and defensive behaviors on my parts. I don’t want to find myself in a place where I feel the need to sacrifice my beliefs in order to make a paycheck.
Adding A Larger Customer Base In Order To Decrease Risk
Matching my skills to the right job. As a CEO I have to make sure my skills are matched to my work-environment, check! I work in an urgent care, a fast paced environment requiring a large breadth of knowledge and quick decision-making skills in order to succeed in.
Teamwork. I have to make sure that my team works well together, check! As the clinician I try to always be friendly with the staff, helping them out and not playing the authoritative role.
Work closely with my CFO. I have to make sure my CFO does his job to keep my business successful, check! I meet quarterly with my financial adviser, Andrew Mohrmann, CFP. Before making any major financial decisions I consult with him to make sure I’m not missing a major financial perspective.
Keep improving current skills and develop new ones. I need to keep building on my current abilities since healthcare is always changing, check! Medicine has multiple facets, focusing only on clinical skills isn’t sufficient in order to achieve success in the long-run.
- I dabbled in some administrative work,
- I am writing daily to improve my communications skills,
- I am taking online courses in order to prevent stagnation,
- I stay up-to-date in my field by daily reviewing UpToDate, Figure1, and Journal Watch,
- and I read regularly to put my own perspective in check.
Look ahead to the future. I need to anticipate the future of medicine and start moving in that direction, check! I am investing time practicing and learning about virtual medicine.
Find more customers. Finally, I need to decrease my risk by increasing my customer base, check! I am now generating income from 4 different sources:
- I do virtual medicine for my old medical group in Portland, Or.
- I write for a non-clinical website.
- I have accepted a job doing virtual clinical work for a medical startup.
- I will be consulting for a company that is trying to increase their healthcare exposure.
How I Structure My Work-Day
I was working a little above full-time back in Portland doing mostly urgent care, a decent amount of admin work and some virtual medicine. That afforded me a nice salary in the $300k range gross (before taxes) annually and a take-home of around $200k.
The projects I’m involved in now don’t feel like a job to me. As a matter of fact I offered to work for free for the medical startup company (#3 above) because it is a project I am curious about.
Most mornings I do a 4 hours of virtual medicine followed by writing for this blog. I read a few hours at the library or a cafe. I do some of my admin work left over from Portland for about an hour and I do 1-2 hours of online learning/courses. This fills up my day pretty well. I try to fit in weight-lifting, yoga and going for walks in between.
What Else Am I Working On
Keeping my focus on what pays most. As my own CEO I direct most of my focus on the highest paying endeavor to generate income, that’s likely going to be healthcare for the foreseeable future. I then need to take some of my profits and invest it back into the business such as taking courses, attending conferences and paying for consultants.
Investing outside of medicine. I also need to invest some of my revenue outside of my field in order to diversity by investing in mutual funds, real estate and other businesses. My financial adviser has been very helpful with the first 2 things and I don’t plan on changing that direction unless the economy changes in substance, I don’t care if it changes flavor.
Getting ready to invest in or start a business. Investing in other businesses is what many entrepreneurs do in order to spread risk. To do so I try to keep a little cash on the side so that I can invest it in any ventures with good potential. I am still doing a lot of learning in this field so it’s a work in progress. My final thought is that it seems that those who have their own business take home the most amount of money and have the highest income potential if they are willing to work hard.