In this episode, Barbara and Nick discuss:
- Why it is essential to have a side hustle even if you are a professional
- How to develop a side hustle that you can do alongside your current job
- How to take advantage of technology in creating content that generates revenues through engagements
“As far as other side hustles, it’s really thinking like a high, earning powered individual!” – Nick Loper
Connect with Nick Loper:
Connect with Barbara Hales:
Business website: www.TheMedicalStrategist.com
Show website: www.MarketingTipsForDoctors.com
Dr. Barbara Hales: Welcome to another episode of Marketing Tips for doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. And today, we’re fortunate to have Nick Loper with us. Nick helps people earn money outside of their day job. He’s an author, an online entrepreneur, and host of the award-winning Side Hustle Show podcast, featuring new part-time business ideas each week.
As a side hustler at sidehustlenation.com, he loves deconstructing the tactics and strategies behind building extra income streams. Now, this is appropriate for doctors now who are in private practice. Because, without a side hustle, as long as they are not just doing practice strictly for cash, which they may not be able to do, they’re suffering. The secret is really out. There are a lot of private practices going bankrupt or those who are compelled to sell their practice to large corporations and hospitals just to break even and becoming employees, as opposed to their dream of having their private practice. So first, I’d like to welcome you to the show, Nick.
Nick Loper: Well, thanks for having me. And I won’t begin to speculate on some of the causes for that. I know there are many different factors, but we can dive into the extra revenue side of the equation because that’s how I see a lot of fun.
Dr. Barbara Hales: With declining reimbursements, and soaring medical costs, clearly, a side hustle is something that will help the medical practice remain viable from a financial standpoint. One of the things that I thought about was where doctors had additional pay for information services. Each month, another medical condition that the doctor treats would be detailed in terms of the diagnosis and treatment and what a patient could look for in case there are symptoms that they may have to catch early on. Do you think that this can work for a doctor’s office?
Nick Loper: I think something like that could work. The challenge, from what they call it, is “selling vitamins versus selling aspirin.” It’s easier to sell the pain pills versus, like, “Oh, the vitamins going to prevent this stuff from happening in the first place.” So, where I see an opportunity, there is maybe more on the preventative side. If something hurts or if something is wrong, it needs to be addressed right away.
Maybe it’s a paid online webinar or workshop, or in-person, where you’re going to talk about how to optimize your sleep or discuss why drinking before bedtime is a bad idea. It could be a seemingly random topic but would be beneficial to a broad audience. It’s still applicable to your practice as a medical professional.
An interesting way to go is like what you said by having a monthly membership, or maybe bringing in an outside expert, and sharing the revenue with them for a “life-optimization type of thing.” You’re the physician, the medical professional, and you have a trusted resource on that. You’re already a step ahead of others trying to do the same thing, but they have to establish credibility from scratch.
Dr. Barbara Hales: I think that’s a great idea to bring in, let’s say a health coach, who will discuss certain recipes for diabetics or different lifestyle changes to keep their sugar levels under control.
What is your feeling about having aesthetics like a masseuse coming in the office by offering massages, or facials? I know a lot of dermatologists do that. What do you think about an order an orthopod or a family physician?
Nick Loper: It makes sense if it is in alignment with the rest of the practice. But if you’re running a urology clinic, maybe the masseuse doesn’t have as much of a fit there. If it’s in alignment, and it’s something that you could sell as an upsell package, and maybe you have negotiated discounted rates. But ask yourselves questions like, “Is this person going to be salaried? Is it going to be kind of on-demand contractor where it’s like, I’m not going to have to pay for this person’s overhead unless they’re booked, or there’s revenue coming in, and I can make my 20% markup on what I’m charging the client?” And if you have that excess space, have an exam room, or something that’s not in use, you could turn that into the spa treatment room or something that could be an angle.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Of course, there are also additional products that one could sell like vitamins and herbs. But the thing that needs to be brought out is that these are all ideas that are related to health. But a medical practice, first and foremost, is a business. So, when business owners come to you and say, “Could you help me develop a side hustle that could work for me?” What are some things that you suggest?
Nick Loper: The product angle is an interesting one. I would go to the podiatrist, and they would recommend brands of shoes, insoles, special foot creams, and stuff. And I was wondering, “Okay, what percentage of the revenue pie does this really encompass for you?” It doesn’t take any incremental effort to have the receptionist run somebody up for that.
Nick Loper: As far as other side hustles, for example, a high-earning powered individual who maybe straddled with high student debt as well. But it doesn’t really make sense for a medical professional to go out and deliver food for DoorDash and make 15 bucks an hour. That might be harder to justify. So when I’m thinking about physicians, I’m thinking about either investing in existing cash-flowing businesses, whether that’s real estate, existing small businesses, brick, and mortars like laundromats, landscaping companies, or cleaning services, something that’s already in operation that has improving cash flow. We’re even doing this online, although I would hesitate to do that unless it’s a big enough operation where there’s already some level of the editorial team in place because if you’ve never run a website before, it’s a quick way to burn 150 grand just by watching it decline. So some caveats there.
CREATING ONLINE PRESENCE
Nick Loper: One exciting angle we’ve seen medical professionals take on the online site is creating content for physicians around a different niche instead of trying to be a Web MD and try and beat them at that game or health line, which are super established and authoritative domains. We’ve seen other people do personal finance for physicians, and there’s a physician on fire. There’s white coat investor, some sites that have done really well in that space. We’ve seen health and fitness for physicians, which can make seen relationships for physicians.
Nick Loper: We had a kind of a call in on the Side Hustle show, and he was like, “I’m a semi-retired ER Doctor, what kind of online operation might work for me?” It can be as simple as freelance writing for other medical sites like you’ve already got the credibility that they want, the expertise that they wish to, you could sign on as a freelance writer for those and one thing I thought would be interesting for that guy was like a video series for YouTube. “Should I go to the ER for blank ailments? Should I go to the ER when this happens?” And I think there might be an opportunity, especially for severed limb type of operations. Maybe it’s not a super emergency, but I’ve got time to Google this.
Dr. Barbara Hales: I think that’s a great idea. So the revenue would come from the doctor to who you were providing the videos.
Nick Loper: In this case, I was thinking just YouTube ad money. But if you were to create a series for somebody else on a freelance or contract basis. Then maybe somebody pays upfront.
Dr. Barbara Hales: What kind of money can a person see from a YouTube ad?
Nick Loper: It’s typically between five and maybe $25 per 1000 views once a channel is monetized, which needs to have 1000 subscribers. I think 4000 hours of total watch time to reach that threshold, subject to Google’s YouTube’s terms and conditions and changes, and all that. But if you have a video or two that takes off, you’ll find that you can hit that pretty quickly. If you’re targeting these search intent, types of keywords, I think there’s an opportunity there or even at home treatments like tutorials on stuff like looking at physical therapy exercises for my shoulder. Some PTs make pretty good video content on that. Lots of different angles on that front.
Nick Loper: And then the other angle which I’m excited about lately that if I told people if I were to start a new operation today, it would probably be this, and that would be in the online newsletter space. And what I like here is the curation strategy. Where if you were already reading the journals or consuming this content in whatever specialty or niche that you’re in. It doesn’t have to be even in the medical space. It could be on parenting, gardening, it could be on auto or whatever you’re into. If you are the trusted resource to curate, here are the three best articles I found today or this week on this topic. That’s a hugely valuable resource for me as a subscriber because you cut through all the clutter.
Nick Loper: These are the three to checkout because I subscribe to a bunch of these myself. In the personal finance space, one is All-Star Money, and it’s run by Motley Fool. And it comes out every day. These are cool articles of different people’s take on current events and what’s happening in the world of money. It also becomes part of somebody’s daily or weekly routine, which I think is a precious place to be in somebody’s inbox. People start to look forward to that and become part of their habit. And then long term, you can monetize with your own products and services, monetize with sponsorship placement in the newsletter, and monetize with affiliate products if something aligns with that niche. So if I was starting something new today, I don’t know what that newsletter would necessarily be about, maybe Science education for kids or something, but that’d be at the top of the list.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Okay, so again, the revenue for the newsletter would be when you are creating newsletters for other doctors, as opposed to just doing it for yourself.
Nick Loper: Yeah, it’s a revenue opportunity there. I mean, you could align with somebody who already has a little bit of an audience. And maybe you say we’d like to add this as a service. And I’m thinking along the lines of a free subscription. But maybe it’s monetized with affiliates or sponsor placements, or sign up for a one-on-one consultation with me or something if it is in alignment. There’s always the freelance angle. We’ll go find somebody else who is doing something interesting to you, raise your hand, and say, “I can help with that.”
Dr. Barbara Hales: Of course, having sponsors to pay ads in the newsletters works very well. Do you find that companies or other businesses are eager to put money down to sponsor even if the newsletter is not proven yet?
Nick Loper: I think it’s always going to be a function of the size and engagement of the email list. And so they’re going to want to know how many subscribers do you have? What’s a typical open rate? But really, it’s the wild west. I mean if you’re selling a $10,000 product, maybe it only takes one sale. Sometimes they play that game of “What’s the typical cost of customer acquisition,” and it’s gonna vary in every niche.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Okay, that’s a good idea. So what other ideas have you suggested for clients that we could consider here?
Nick Loper: So, some other interesting ones that have popped up on the show recently one is just kind of in the theme of what I’ll call unconventional rentals. And so I was groomed to think of rentals as like buying a three-bedroom, two-bedroom house or a three-bedroom, two-bath house. You rent it out if you can get 1% of your monthly rent monthly purchase price in rent. That’s a winner, but that still isn’t a great ROI. We’ve seen people do some interesting things around the world called unconventional rentals. It could be renting a camper van that’s retrofitted or extended camping trips for $150 to $200 bucks a night for these types of things. Which because it could be considered a residency financing over 20 years. I didn’t know this was a thing, so assuming you can get them during peak pandemic time, they’re sold out everywhere.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Yeah, that’s a great idea, especially since the sales during the pandemic just went through the roof
Nick Loper: Yes. We had another guy, a teacher out of New York teaching high school history and his side hustle was renting out portable hot tubs which I didn’t know was a thing. But he’s like, we’re out in Long Island, people would rent these for their vacation homes people would say, we just want to stick this in the backyard for a couple of weekends. His math was similar. Well, you buy this thing you try and get it used for two or three grand, and you rent it out for 400 bucks a month. It’s like okay, that pencils out a lot better than traditional rental real estate type of deal. I think there’s some untapped potential, and he’s trying to blaze a trail and make this a thing nationwide. That’s really interesting. You gotta be definitely looking on Craigslist and Facebook marketplace for this branded used hot tub?
Dr. Barbara Hales: That’s really fascinating. It’s not something that I ever would have dreamt up
Nick Loper: You probably have people in your neighborhood. You see him like for kids in euros, and you see him for kids’ birthday parties doing like the bounce house rentals. Which there’s obviously some liability involved as there is in the last race in private practice, as there is in hot tub rentals. The guy was like, you wanna make sure you got your insurance policies in place. That same thing with the bounce house and some of that stuff, too.
Dr. Barbara Hales: So, renting the hot tub would still give you some litigious cases possible due to drownings or ruining the landscape?
Nick Loper: You got to have your contracts in place, and your liability and property liability insurance. But over the long run, I thought it was an interesting one, for sure.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Yes, it certainly sounds very interesting. And any other interesting, like way out ideas that you heard, thinking, like, wow, this is something interesting, it makes money, and I would never have thought of that
Nick Loper: One that’s really inspiring to me is Matt. He’s a mechanical engineer in Chicago. And his side hustle was fixing motorcycles. They don’t pay dealership rates, just bring it to him and he will know what needs to be done, and fix it in his garage. Add on Craigslist, straight up hours for dollars service business type of side hustle. And that’s the challenge, a lot of physicians find themselves in. They are like, I can make great money on an hourly basis. But it’s still my time. If I stopped working, that income dries up.
Nick Loper: But what Matt did that was I thought was genius, set up a little camera in the corner of the garage, filmed himself doing the repairs. So now, he has tutorial content for YouTube. He starts earning ad money affiliate recommendations. Like, “Hey, here are the tools that I’m using, go buy it through my link.” He starts selling full engine, rebuilds videos as like digital downloads. “You can do this yourself by buying my video for $30 instead of paying the dealer $1000 or more.” He attracted the attention of different sponsors. He’s getting sponsored videos, all through kind of this theoretical work. He was getting paid to do content creation. And I thought that was a cool way to set up to transition from hours of service business to a much more time-leveraged income stream.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Yeah, that really sounds great. The moral of the story is that we all need to think outside the box and ask ourselves, like, “What is it that we do? And how can we expand upon that in ways that people would be interested in?” We engage in people anyways. Let’s see if there is a market for it.
Nick Loper: Yes, and you get the advantage of talking to patients all day long, saying, Well, what kind of line of work are you in? What else did they complain to you about? I’ve got an exercise I call What Sucks. It’s putting on your “pessimist’s hat” for a day or week and just the key. What do people complain to you about? What do you complain to your wife or your spouse about? What do you like? What irks you? And on the other side of those pains and problems, there may be a business opportunity or profit potential solution to offer.
Dr. Barbara Hales: Great idea. Well, thanks so much for talking with us today, Nick. Nick Loper has been on our show for the Side Hustle Nation and another episode of marketing tips for doctors with your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Till next time!