The case against physician side hustles is weak

As many of you know, I am a big fan of side hustles.  I see them as a financial independence superpower that not only leads to increased revenue and diversification, but also joy and passion.  I am not, however, unaware of the fact that many feel they are a waste of time.  The case against side hustles is real.  There are many reasons why an individual may decide not to step into this busy street full of entrepreneurial traffic.  And I cannot blame them.  Starting a new business venture when already bogged down by kids, family and a full-time W-2 can be difficult.

Yet, I think these excuses only hold so much water.  The path to financial independence requires sacrifice.  The fewer revenue streams a person has, the more limited.

So what are the arguments against side hustles?  Are they valid?

Let’s take a look.

Ain’t got no time

The case against side hustles usually begins with the quip that one could never replicate the economic success of a main hustle. After years of education and climbing the corporate ladder, wages are maximized.  Hourly rates reach heights that cannot be attained outside one’s specialized field.  Why develop a side hustle in order to make less when one could just do a little extra overtime?

While certainly true, this argument is weak.  First, often one is limited in how much overtime they can get paid for.  Many salaried employees make the same whether they work 40 hours a week or 45.  In this case, work begets more work.  Not necessarily more money.

Second, we all believe in diversification of investments, why not when it comes to wages?  Wage diversification provides for the strongest financial plan.  What better way to protect against an economic downturn or mass layoff.  The side hustle could be the most important insurance policy.

Lastly, we buy bonds even though we know that they will return less in the long-term than index finds.  Yet, we do it anyway.  Why not with income streams.  It is OK to have variance in ROI of the different money-making ventures.  It decreases long-term risk.

Ain’t got no skills

I have been known to preach about lazy side hustles.  The idea is to capitalize on skills and training already paid for by the main hustle.  Often, I am told that certain jobs don’t lend themselves to developing side gigs.  Many think they don’t have the skills to make money outside of the traditional W-2 wage they collect every other week.

I say horse pucky!  For doctors, there is medical expert work.  For accountants, tax season.  Computer programmers can code on the side.  Secretaries can become online personal assistants.

Most professions lend themselves to some kind of lazy side hustle or another.  And if nothing else, why not write a blog about the seething underbelly of the profession.  I imagine something like Walmart Greeters Gone Wild!

And if your main hustle does not immediately lead you down the path, there are always generic options.  Teaching English online, Selling on eBay, etc. etc.

The case against side hustles falls apart.

Ain’t got no money

It is true that staring a new business can cost money.  Learning a new skill can often require expensive training. Side hustles have startup and sometimes inventory costs.  Time is money, and side gigs take up a lot of time.  Especially in the beginning.

Although another barrier, the availability of cash does not do much for the case against side hustles.  Lean startup principles are alive and well.  Social media and the internet allow one to cheaply leverage massive amounts of marketing power.

The cost of entry into many side hustles today is next to negligible.

Final thoughts

The case against side hustles is weak.  Any strong financial plan requires a certain amount of diversification of revenue streams.  Most of us wouldn’t own stocks without at least some allocation for bonds.  The same can be said for main hustles and side hustles.

Neither time, money, nor available skill set really needs to stand in the way.

The greatest barrier may just be something more basic.

It may be the willingness to try something new.

“DocG” is a physician who blogs at DiverseFI.

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