In a recent post, I detailed five side hustles for doctors that can be done by creating simple online service businesses. Even a “simple” online business, though, has a lot of moving pieces. To be successful in starting an online side hustle, you need:
- A viable idea
- The time and motivation to actually make it happen
- At least basic knowledge of starting and running a business
To fill in the business gaps, I’ve identified free online courses related to several aspects of your side gig, including:
- Startup processes
- Finance and accounting
These are not specific to physicians or medically-related businesses. And that is intentional. Many of the best and most flexible side hustles for physicians don’t actually require a medical degree or a medical license. They don’t involve actually practicing medicine.
They do, however, benefit from a physician’s medical knowledge, patient care experience, and familiarity with the health care field. You probably don’t need any extra training in these aspects. What many physicians are lacking when it comes to earning money through their side ventures is business acumen and other non-medical aspects of running a small business.
Validate your idea and develop a business plan
Physicians are fortunate in that we work in an ever-advancing field with quickly evolving technologies. Most of us have a laundry list of ideas that would make our lives or our patients’ lives better. Not all of these ideas make for promising side hustles, though.
Idea validation is a deliberate process used to determine if a service or product is likely to be successful on the market.
How to Validate your Startup Idea guides you in determining how valuable your side gig idea is through the use of a strategy canvas, persona, and minimum viable product (or service).
The course above spans a 6-week period. If you want a quick crash course, try Idea Validation: From Idea to Paying Customer in One Day. While this one isn’t free, it’s a steal for the value you gain in a couple of hours of your time.
Once you’ve validated your idea, it’s time for a business plan. Business plans aren’t exclusive to startups seeking investor funding. They are a great tool for any business founder to lay out the business concept, market analysis, overall strategy, operational approach, and financial projections.
When used for a personal side hustle, nobody may ever need to see your business plan but yourself. So it’s an excellent way to hold yourself accountable for the goals you set out for your gig.
The free online course Make Money from Home: How to Build an Online Business starts off by covering business planning for an online business. You can stop there or continue on to several other lessons about web design and selling digital products.
Find time for your physician side hustle and use it productively
Professionals who work full-time can run successful businesses on the side. But it requires smart use of time and effectively prioritizing your responsibilities outside of the workplace.
Sometimes physicians dismiss side hustles altogether, citing “no time” as the reason. This is rarely the truth. You probably have free time, you just need to find it. Free-up Founder Time is a free mini-course for solopreneurs to immediately free up two to five hours per week to do your best creative thinking and strategic business-building
Time and productivity go hand in hand. You can free up all the time in the world but, if it’s not used with intention, it can go to waste. Try a free course to build a productivity system using a system known as C>O>D, which stands for collect, organize, do.
Market yourself and your services
Many physicians – even those in private practice – can get away without a lot of effort put into marketing for their clinical work. Medical care is a necessity for most people, which drives patients to see doctors. Moreover, many practices are affiliated with large medical centers that take care of the bulk of marketing from their end.
Small business side hustles are a different can of worms. Running an online business means you have no brick-and-mortar presence to spark people’s interest. There are potential customers out there with a need that can be addressed by the service you’re offering, but you need to find them and let them know you exist.
In many cases, the most effective marketing comes through having a strong web presence with a well-written copy that effectively describes what you offer to both humans and search engines.
Try the course Marketing in a Digital World to gain an overall grasp of digital marketing. Then you can get into the specifics. Content Marketing covers creating a content marketing framework for your gig and how to be strategic with your online content. Link building and developing search authority are covered for free in SEO Training Course: Building Sustainable Traffic for Business Growth.
Ramp up your communication skills to sell, deliver, and succeed
In medical school, we’re taught how to communicate with patients. An online physician side hustle requires communicating not with patients, but with customers and clients. Depending on the service you’re offering, this communication can take several forms:
- Written reports, publications, and other documents
- Visual displays of information
- Presentations to a group
- One-on-one meetings and exchanges
To improve your writing skills, take the highly-rated course Secret Sauce of Great Writing.
This free course in Public Speaking teaches simple tools and skills that build speaker confidence and help to deliver a memorable presentation.
Any physicians working with data may want to consider Data Analytics and Visualization in Health Care.
Along the lines of communication, negotiation skills are a must to ensure the best possible arrangements between you and your side hustle clients. Effective negotiation will actually benefit you in all aspects of your professional life, so consider learning negotiation skills even if you’re not starting a side hustle! Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills is a great place to start.
Manage your finances and maximize your side hustle income
Financial aspects of starting a small business can be daunting to some physicians. It is worth gaining some confidence in this area, though. A side hustle is hardly a side hustle if it doesn’t earn you extra income and push you close to financial independence.
Knowledge of basic accounting is crucial to running an online business. You can learn just enough to hand over this process to an accountant, or you can learn it intimately and save money by doing your own accounting. Even if you do hire professional assistance with the financial components of your small business, it is helpful to understand the concepts.
Fundamentals of Accounting teaches the basics for free.
Finally, how you price your side hustle services can have a major impact on the profit you ultimately generate. Setting the “right” price will land you more clients and ensure that you earn what your service is worth.
Setting prices and consulting fees are both an art and a science. Gain confidence in this area with the quick 1-hour course Pricing your Services.