Last Updated: 3 September 2020
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Non Clinical Side Hustles for Healthcare Professionals
Part 2: Public Speaking & Medical Market Research Surveys
Many clinicians have learned that finding a non-clinical side hustle* that pays enough to be financially viable is challenging. If you are a healthcare professional looking to supplement your income with part-time work, then this post is for you.
Unless you are doing something out of the pure joy of it, it’s normal to have to find a way to get paid for it. Consider this very website, in fact. We love our business and writing articles like this, but it is free to read in part because some of you go on to buy stuff (like CME) from certain partners (ahem). Anyways, my point is stop feeling bad or awkward about wanting to get paid for your work.
You probably already know that your clinical job is one of the highest paying out there. And if it’s not, you need a new job. A good non clinical side hustle provides a solid monetary return to make up for either a reduction in clinical or personal time.
The options we’ll cover here not only fit this criteria, but can also be catalysts for further personal and career growth. We’ll cover things like telemedicine in future posts, because that is a whole other beast itself.
This is the second post in our ongoing series about non-clinical side hustles suitable for almost any healthcare professional. In the first in the series, we explored lucrative and creative ways teaching and medical writing can be a stay-at-home, pants-optional side gig.
*Side hustle, passion project, part-time job, or whatever else you want to call it – it’s all the same thing.
Today’s article will explore two more options for generating additional non-clinical income. The first option could just be your highest-paying phobia. Public speaking.
The second is joining a medical survey panel to participate in market research for industry. We’ve discussed which expert panels for medical market research surveys are worth joining, and which are not. Here’s how you can make a side hustle out of it.
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Public Speaking for Healthcare Professionals
Who doesn’t love the sound of their own voice? Most of us, it turns out. But trust me, you sound fine, and your colleagues want to hear what you have to say. Not to mention that speaking can also be a financially rewarding endeavor.
A even greater benefit is the ability to share your knowledge with your colleagues. You are also positioning yourself as an expert in your field. At a certain level, speaking fees for so-called “thought leaders” become quite substantial.
If you are a new clinician or have limited experience speaking publicly, start small. This helps keep the nerves under control while you build credibility. Maybe even take an online public speaking course.
Then, find out when your (or other) departments in your institution hold their in-services and volunteer to speak there. Look into giving a grand rounds presentation at your hospital. Consider applying to be a speaker at a local medical conference.
In the early stages, don’t expect too much. When your first talk is accepted, your financial reward might go one of several ways. You might get a few bucks to cover travel, a surprisingly large check, or a condescending pat on the head and a ‘thank you’ email. It all depends on a number of factors, some within and some beyond your control.
Factors that affect the size (or existence) of the check include the particular client, the event size, and your negotiating power.
How to Become a Well-Paid Clinician Speaker
So how do you get into speaking, professionally speaking? One way is to search online for upcoming conferences, paying special attention to their call for submissions or speakers.
These usually occur on a rolling cycle, and open shortly after the current year’s event, so do this often. Options include speaking to those within your specialty or educating other fields of study about your work.
“Normally,” conferences and speaking involves a lot of travel and big, scary crowds. And that’s not for everyone.
[Editorial note, Sep 2020: Technically, neither of those are currently for anyone because, well…this]
If you’d rather give a Zoom talk than talk to real-life people, you might be the next great clinician speaker.
How? With the rise of medically-themed podcasts, you should have no trouble finding a podcast host to ask for a guest spot. The long pauses, verbal tics, and ‘do-overs’ you think you need can all be edited out to make you sound like a radio star.
How to Get on a Medical Podcast
Previously, my entry here boiled down to ‘contact me’ because I have been a regular on two medical podcasts in my day.
However, that’s no longer the best recommendation. First, check out as many medical podcasts as you care to listen to so you have a feel for different presentation styles on the medium.
Is a more informal, but still CME accredited back-and-forth style podcast more interesting to you?
Or would you rather record an entire lecture for playback (and CME credit) later? Both are great, just do what works for you.
Promote The Best Industry Products
One of the most well-known ways clinicians become speakers is through industry. Pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers need to educate the folks in clinical practice to sell their products. Clinicians need to learn about critical updates and possible upcoming changes in the way patients are treated.
A Key Opinion Leader (KOL) can be a conduit for this relationship. Traditionally, the KOL role was exclusively for physicians. However, as more types of clinician gained influence over product sales, industry took notice.
Note that this is not a zero-sum game where yesterday’s KOLs are getting a smaller slice of the pie. If anything, the pie itself is larger. As roles expand and medicine becomes more complex, we sometimes need to hear from folks who have the exact same job that we do. We all need the same medical information, but we may require different product education.
That means PAs, NPs, pharmacists, and other experts are getting their shot to teach others about the medical products they love. You could be one.
Think about the products and medications you use every day. Which do patients the most good? Which do you already find yourself championing over its competitors?
These are the companies with whom to start building relationships if you are passionate about the way they help you help patients. Speaking for the products you believe in helps your colleagues and their patients. And of course, there is no reason you should not be compensated fairly for this work.
To learn more about the inner workings of the companies on which we depend (and depend on us) consider this in-depth guide.
Medical Market Research Survey Panels
In the first of the series, clinicians can learn how to get into writing by applying to be a contributor on various professional interest site. Just now, you’ve learned how to score a guest spot on a medical podcast.
However, there are more ways to earn extra non-clinical income. The next one is a classic: the paid medical market research survey panel. Pharmaceutical (also biotech, device, etc) companies have been doing this since the dawn of time to learn how to make their product and message most effectively resonate with their target audience.
The difference now is that most of these can be performed online from anywhere in the United States.
Let’s get things straight up front: you likely will not qualify for enough surveys to make a sizable dent in your student loan payment (though refinancing it might).
However, participating every so often might buy you and your significant other the occasional steak dinner. No pretending to listen to drug reps while you eat this time! (Sorry drug reps.)
Unlike most consumer market research surveys, medical market research firms pay actual cash, and generally at decent rates. Rates ranging from a minimum of $60 to a healthy $200 or more per hour are not uncommon.
Finding Your Best Non Clinical Side Hustle
We’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg when it comes to non-clinical side hustles. Teaching a class here and there, landing well-paying medical writing projects, delivering killer presentations, and performing medical market research surveys are some to consider.
None are likely to change your financial (or clinical) life right away. However, if you find something that clicks (no pun intended), it could turn into something bigger and better before you know it. For now, the right combination can comfortably pad your income, keep your medical knowledge up-to-date, and increase the variety in your professional life.
The first part of this series covers interesting ways clinicians are uniquely positioned to teach their colleagues and influence all of healthcare with medical writing.
Still can’t get enough? Tired of reading all these words? Then skip on over to part III of our series on non-clinical careers. You’ll get tons of great ideas for starting your own non-clinical business.
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