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Getting Started with Your Side Gig

January 2, 2018

 

So, you're sold on the idea of a side gig.  What's next?

 

Unfortunately, for most, this is the hardest part.  We all have lots of ideas, and the tendency is to want to tackle every potential opportunity.  Depending on who you talk to, you will be swayed in one direction or the next.

 

My advice: pause, and do your research.  There are so many options for physicians.  However, we've all got a common Achilles' heel: time.  Doing your homework before you dive in will save you lots in the way of opportunity costs. 

 

Approach finding a side gig like most approach dating.

A lot of options will pique your interest, but remember, you can't do everything.  Take your time and research each option by getting to know multiple people who are doing each thing, and asking them questions about every aspect of their business.  Don't be shy about digging below the surface - if you are going to spend your precious free time doing this long term, you need honest answers and should find people who will give you them.  

 

Consider the pros and cons of each opportunity.

You need to weigh each opportunity based on how it applies to your life.  Be honest about how much time you are willing to commit, what your risk aversion is, and how much of an upfront investment you are willing to make.  Consider your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your personality traits, and think about where you would thrive. 

 

Know your dealbreakers, as well as where your passion lies.

No matter how lucrative an opportunity may seem, you will not do well with it if you're not a) interested in the subject matter, and b) able to tolerate the downsides.  Where I see people either doing surprisingly well or failing miserably is often secondary to the level of commitment to their idea.  If you don't believe in your product, you will have a hard time convincing others to believe in it.

 

Understand that passive income is never passive initially, and many will likely never become completely passive. 

It takes upfront time, energy, and money to educate yourself, develop your product (even if your product is you), and then market your product.  Eventually, things get easier.  When I first started writing and speaking, I very actively had to seek out opportunities.  I also had to work very hard on building my 'brand.'  Now that it's there, I have found that it's more often the case that opportunities come to me and I have to decide what to take on.  The same is true in real estate, consulting, and even doing medical surveys.  Be prepared to make that initial investment.

 

Seek help.

I wish I would have taken this advice myself.  I told myself that this was a hobby and I didn't want to spend a lot of money trying to develop it, and that part of the fun was in figuring it out myself.  But if I knew two years ago what I know today about brand building and social media, and had paid someone to do the things that didn't require an MD degree, I'm sure I'd be further ahead at this point.  Remember, as in the stock market, investing a little bit of money earlier on often pays out more than investing a large amount later on.  Lag time matters, especially in this age of social media and entrepreneurship.  Don't be afraid to pay a little bit of money now to skip some of the initial hurdles, such as setting up a website, speaking to an accountant or lawyer, or investing in coaching.  In the large scheme of things, it's a drop in the bucket (and a tax deduction)!

 

If you need help getting started, figuring out what you want to do, developing a plan, or connecting with the people you need to in order to get honest advice, feel free to reach out to me by sending me an email at nishamehtamd@gmail.com.  I'd love to help out!

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© 2017 by Nisha Mehta, MD