Whether you are a medical student, a resident/fellow, a newly minted attending physician or just in a situation where your income isn't at a level that you are content with, there are multiple ways to augment your income. The great thing about living in America is there is no shortage of ways to make money if you have the entrepreneurial spirit. There are even entire websites devoted to the topic such as Side Hustle Nation. I've always been the one to seek out new opportunities, here is an overview of my experience:
Medical School: Like a lot of my colleagues, medical school was a tough time for me financially. I watched my debt-to-income ratio sky rocket. Although I have the comfort of knowledge of a financially secure future career, I am too much of a worrywart to simply live off of my student loans. I had several side hustles during medical school:
- I taught at the Kaplan Test Prep Center for MCAT, DAT and the NCLEX. It had a reasonable starting pay of $18/hr and since I was basically teaching things I already knew, it didn't really take up too much extra time. The challenge for me was actually to become comfortable speaking in front of a group of people as "the expert". In fact, I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with that even today.
- I sold on eBay. I had the benefit of an university bookstore that would put last year's model computers on clearance at a steep discount whenever the new models come out. Every August, I would hit up the book store, scoop up whatever Apple computer models that are on clearance at an incredible discount and sell them on eBay. I still remember once when I purchased a brand new last-year's-model iMac for $800 and then sold it within 48hrs for $1,700 on eBay. The total amount of time I spent on that transaction may have been 1 hr - still the most I've ever been paid per hour!
- I started investing. I have talked quite a bit and will continue to talk about investing. I maintained a healthy portfolio throughout medical school. However, I foolishly decided that I would cash out my investments to pay for my student loans right before graduation. It still hurts every time I recall selling Netflix (NFLX) at $75/share. And it didn't even make a dent as far as my student debt is concerned.
Residency: For those of you who didn't know, I am currently doing my radiology residency in Orlando, FL. The good thing about residency is that you get paid. It's not a lot of money if you have a family to feed but for me personally - I've never made so much money in my life! However, as you may have noticed in my Net Worth Update post, I have a lot of student debt. So I am still doing whatever I can to make a little more, without negatively affecting my radiology education.
- Whitecoatmoney.com - I devote quite a bit of my free time into making this one of the best personal finance blogs you can read. This site is provided as a free public service to all those who care to learn. But I do envision a day when the site will generate enough revenue to at least pay for itself.
- When I am bored, can't sleep or really don't feel like reading, I drive for UBER. It's been a great way to meet people and make some money on the side. Honestly, the stories are worth much more than the money.
- Moonlighting - I know a lot of residents/fellows moonlight on the side. I plan to partake in my residency's moonlighting program as soon as I am eligible.
- Investing - I'm proud to report that after selling off all my investments during medical school, I realized the foolishness of my ways and have rebuilt my portfolio to a level that I'm content with. I will continue to ramp up my investments with a goal of investing at least 30% of my pre-tax income annually.
Those were/are the ways I try to speed up my journey to financial freedom. But enough about me. What's your side hustle?