Side Gig or Entrée?

These days more and more doctors have a side hustle, whether it be a way to earn more money after their white coat gets the pink slip, recovering from a disability, disciplinary action, disqualification, disaster or divorce, or as a pathway to exiting clinical medicine altogether. There are many side gig possibilities.

If your idea is to do a side gig as a pathway to full time entrepreneurship, there is a downside. However, if you are considering it as a way to test the waters, there is considerable upside, but here are some things to know:

  1. Entrepreneurship is hard and, in most instances, your product, service or business will fail
  2. Depending on your stage of life, the risks to your assets, personal relationships and time can outweigh the benefits.
  3. Think twice before you tell someone to take your white coat and shove it.
  4. Be sure to ask this one most important question
  5. Be sure you are not compensating for some entrepreneurial psychopathology
  6. Female doctors burn out at a higher rate than males and cope with it differently. Be sure you are not bringing your baggage along on the next ride
  7. There are many ways to become a compensated connector
  8. Be sure you have an entrepreneurial mindset. The clinical mindset is different from the entrepreneurial mindset. Don’t make these rookie mindset mistakes.
  9. You will need a risk management plan for legal risk, business risk, financial risk and career risk
  10. You will need to separate your business accounts from your personal ones and think through the process of establishing the most appropriate business entity to accomplish your mission.
  11. Unlike medicine, you don’t get paid for effort. Eat what you kill has a very different meaning.
  12. You will need different knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies to add value and no one will teach you those things in medical school or residency.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself if you are thinking about becoming an AIntrepreneur.

Despite these warnings, some wind up being wannapreneurs. Of course, if you are one, you can always fake it ’till you make it.

It’s up to you whether your non-day jobs are a side dish or the entree. It just depends on your appetite.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs

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