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May 05, 2020

If you determine you need/want a side hustle, how do you decide what route is best/meaningful for you?



Healthcare education is becoming more and more expensive these days. It is not uncommon for a physical therapist to graduate with over $100,000 worth of student loan debt. With this being the case, new grad physical therapists, or those who are early on in their career, may not be making a large enough salary to cover their monthly student loan payments due to a terrible debt to income ratio.


Many of these clinicians will turn to a second job or PRN (as needed) work. Working a PRN job is a completely viable way to make more income to pay down your student loan debts, but you are still trading time for money. If you feel like you may want to start a side hustle or a side gig, why not start one that is your very own business?


Aside from the tax implications of owning your own business, there are so many additional benefits that starting your own business is almost a no brainer.


But how do you get started? 


The first thing to do is to come up with a loose interpretation of what your business will look like from a 30,000 foot view. Will it be a clinic or a practice? Will it be brick and mortar or mobile? Will you provide a service or will your business be housed online? All of these questions are good ones to ask yourself, and they are all viable options. 


An important thing to realize about becoming an entrepreneur is that there are no right ways to do it. Whatever way works for you, that is a great start. Answering these questions may look like a business plan, and in part, they are, but once you have a loose idea and game plan, you just have to start



Start trying your idea, see if it will sell or stick. Describe it to your friends, family members, and mentors and seek that “concept validation.” Trying to worry too much about logos, and colors, which platform to use and which EMR to buy is all too much distraction. The bottom line is you have to start generating income. You have to utilize your zone of genius to best serve people.


How do you find your zone of genius you ask? 


What is the one population of patients that you would work with all day every day, even if you weren’t getting paid?

What specialty or niche do you truly enjoy treating and helping? What are some hobbies or areas of expertise that you currently possess?

What is something that your friends and family continuously come to you to ask you about?


These are all things that you are either good at, other people think you are a master at, or that you truly enjoy. These are probably good places to start (or point A).



Next, you need to connect your point A to point B.



Point B represents a need or a void to be filled, or a question to be answered or a problem to be solved out in the real world. You have got to find a way to be the solution for a group of people and the problem that they are currently experiencing. It doesn’t matter what letters you have after your name, or what certifications you have completed, as long as you can show these people how you can be their saving grace and the solution they have been searching for. People will pay you to get them results, and that is the bottom line. 


So it really is as simple as connecting the things you love, and the hobbies/talents you are already good at (Point A) to a general need in society or a question that needs answering or a problem that needs solving (Point B).


Once you have proven that people will pay for your service or product and that your idea will fly or “stick”, it is time to press the gas pedal on learning everything you can about the business side of things, the service you will be providing or the product you will be selling in order to really become an expert. 


Even if that means investing in a course (one that may not even culminate in Continuing Education Units) or paying a mentor to speed up your learning and scaling process. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.



Find someone who you know, like, and respect, and who is already doing what you would like to do, and ask them if they have any sort of coaching or mentoring program.



These first few steps are the best way to follow your entrepreneurial spirit. And remember, it is completely fine to work a 9-5 and begin your side hustle as just that...a side hustle. 


I never recommend anyone go all in on a side gig with no safety net to fall back on. Some will argue that going all in and betting on yourself and your side gig is a good way to speed up your progress and allocate all of your time into scaling that part time business into your full time business. I am a little more conservative in that I have always had my 9-5 (and always will) and I started my side hustles and grew them to as big as I could while still maintaining my full time job.


The only way I will be able to scale is to hire people (which is also currently fine by me). But if you are able to grow your side hustle and turn it into your full time gig, then by all means, drop the 9-5 and do your own thing as a full time entrepreneur. Again, there is no right way or wrong way to start and grow your side hustle. If you ever get stuck or have any questions or would like to chat about a side hustle or an idea for a side gig, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on social media, or find you a mentor who is already doing what you want to do!


-F. Scott Feil Pt, DPT, EdD


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