Physician side gigs explained by Dr. Shawn Cole

Physician Side Gigs: Focusing on You

With the ever-changing climate of medicine, healthcare regulations, and compensation models, overall household debt is growing. Mix in the increasing burden of student debt, personal loans, and other expenses, and this grows exponentially. The rise in virtual healthcare and the physician side gigs it provides, though, could be your relief. 

There’s a great deal of frustration and burnout that results from all a physician is responsible for. This has us actively searching for alternative forms of generating income.

Perhaps it’s to supplement or replace current incomes or merely a way to transition out of medicine altogether. (That is another topic we will tackle in the future.) Either way, the notion of “physician side gigs” seems to now be acceptable amongst the physician and healthcare provider community.

To qualify as a side gig it must be something that you can pursue while continuing your day.

Why Even Have Physician Side Gigs?

A physician’s day is already full and typically stressful. There are ever increasing demands and some pretty extensive stakes hanging in the balance. However, physician side gigs provide a great opportunity to:

  • Increase your income
  • Hedge against changes in medicine or your current job
  • Contribute to your bottom line to help you achieve financial independence quicker
  • Get out of Debt
  • Save money for your children’s education
  • Live life on your own terms
  • Experience more joy

Why Are Physician Side Gigs Worth It?

At the end of the day, that’s a personal decision. You have to figure out whether pursuing one of these physician side gigs is worth it to you. This may be facilitated by answering the following questions, amongst many others:

  • How much can you make?
  • What’s your time worth?
  • Should you try just working more endless hours at your current day job?
  • Will it help you create your ideal life?
  • What are you passionate about?

Ultimately a “side gig” starts with having the right attitude. Your success will be predicated on your drive and determination. Since you’ve made it this far in your medical career, you already have plenty of that.

Your Medical Degree Means Something

You spent years of hard work, early mornings and sleepless nights to attain that degree. Taking advantage of some of these physician side gigs as additional opportunities is a way to put that degree to its best use. 

  • Expert Witness – From experience, this is fun but challenging
  • Collaborate with a Law Firm (Contact me for details. There are several outstanding law firms to partner with)
  • Medical Consulting – This more common than you think
  • Retail Consulting – Advisor for retail/cosmetic company
  • Physician Advisor – Organization and product development companies are looking for Physician Advisors all the time
  • Telemedicine, Telehealth, Virtual Care – It is important you educate yourself before diving into work with ANY big box or startup telemedicine company
  • Chart/Utilization Review
  • Peer Review
  • PSO review (More on this later)
  • Pharmaceuticals & Clinical Trials
  • Review and offer opinions on medical cases
  • Medical Surveys

Clinically-Based Physician Side Gigs

While the above options are vast and may be of importance to you and your mission as a doctor, your clinical expertise may be what you’re looking to put to use. Additional gigs in the clinical community include:

  • Locum Tenens
  • Pick up shifts at an urgent care center or start your own
  • Physicals for the military
  • Work with a Junior High or High School athletic department
  • Medical Review Officer – Drug & Alcohol Testing
  • Medical Director – home health/hospice, infusion centers, IV hydration clinics, mini-clinics, etc.
  • Collaborate with a Chiropractic Office
  • Collaborate with a local Lab Chain
  • Clinical Lab Director

Educate Others

Have an interest in educating others on what you know and believe? You can try to:

  • Write a book
  • Write an eBook and self publish
  • Create guides to help students with exams
  • Create online quiz banks (This can be fun)
  • Teach at a university or medical school (This is now easier than ever before. With the number of schools that are adopting online curriculum programs, the need for qualified teachers at universities and med schools will continue to rapidly increase.)
  • Tutor

Start an Online Business

An online business doesn’t have to be anything that takes a great deal of capital. With a bit of a following and a basic understanding of how search engines work, you can utilize one of the most underrated tools available with regard to physician side gigs:

  • Start a Blog

Patent / Invention

Have a piece of intellectual property that you want to monetize?

  • Create an invention & patent it, collect royalties
  • Create an app
  • Patent an idea for a Medical Device specifically

Investing in Companies

Physician side gigs don’t always have to include your time or labor. Passive ways of income are also available for doctors in the form of:

  • Angel Investing
  • Venture Capitalist – Work and consult for a venture capital firm
  • Invest in a winery

Traditional Media / Online Media / Social Media

This category falls on the back of starting an online business, but is something commonly overlooked by those in the medical field:

  • Start a Podcast
  • Launch a YouTube channel

Public Speaking

Comfortable speaking to an audience? Here are some options for you:

  • Pharmaceutical industry lecturer
  • Paid guest lecturer at conferences


Coaching is something I do personally and would highly recommend. There is a great deal of pride that comes with helping others in a close, personal way.  Here are some ideas for coaching areas:

  • Athletes, Training, & Nutrition
  • Weight Loss
  • Health and Wellness
  • Chinese Medicine or Alternative Medicine
  • Life
  • Business
  • Career
  • Testing, SATs, etc
  • How to get into med school or nail your interview

Other Physician Side Gigs

  • Teach Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Personal Trainer
  • Sports Training – Hockey, Football, Baseball, Basketball, CrossFit, Strength and Conditioning, etc.

Have questions or comments pertaining to anything mentioned in this article? Contact me today. We all need someone to bounce ideas off of, provide clarity, direction and access to resources.

Don’t forget to check back often. Send questions. Post comments. Providers are writing and calling me daily with new ideas. Next month we will be launching our free resource library.