This post is part two in a two-part series. Please read part one for an introduction on working smart in medicine for maximum income generation.
Yesterday I told you that I was going to give you an example of how to exchange low-paying time for a passive income that will pay you for a lifetime.
In order to do this, let’s think inside of the box – a “doc in a box.” Yep, urgent care.
Urgent Care Is In Its Infancy
Urgent care is gaining in popularity, and when Wal-Mart starts experimenting with something in their stores, you better start taking notice. I predict that urgent care is going to explode over the next 10 years.
Now, I know what probably 75% of you are thinking right now. Urgent care physicians are paid very low salaries, so how in the world can this represent exchanging that on-sale time for premium-priced time?
Did I ever say you had to employed by somebody else at one of these urgent care centers? That’s mistake number one. You are already in the mindset that your time is on sale. The first thing is to get rid of that mindset and shoot for a new one – one where your time is valuable.
Instead, let’s open a single urgent care center. Just one to start out with. Being low on funds and new at this whole entrepreneurship thing, you’ll probably want to practice some at your new facility. This is different than being employed by somebody else, though. You are now working for yourself. No matter how hard you work, you are working for you. You have more control over your free time and your paycheck. You are taking the right steps towards passive income.
As your business grows, and more physicians are employed by you to practice at your urgent care center, you are starting to see a bigger return on your investment. Perhaps you start taking more time off and your paycheck stays the same, or you choose to work more while writing yourself a bigger check each week. Flexibility is starting to come into play.
With all of this nicely positive ROI and flexibility, you choose to stop practicing altogether. At this point, you are the practice manager. Years of practicing and running the business simultaneously has taught you valuable skills. These are skills that your classmates who also matched into family medicine don’t have. These physicians are continuing to make the average family doc salary while working even more.
You’ve seen the success of your single urgent care center, and you’re quite confident that you can duplicate it. Let’s open another one and do the same things. Except this time, you don’t have to practice. Let’s staff it from the get-go with physicians (or nurse practitioners) who would rather work for somebody else than work smarter. These people are a valuable commodity to you. Thank God you took the time to learn just as much about business as you did medicine. Take advantage of this.
Before you know it, you have a network of urgent care centers spread through a state, a region, or nationally. You do nothing but recruit physicians or nurse practitioners to work for you, or you can pay somebody to do that for you.
At this point, you have reached passive income status. In most cases you’re making much more than average physician salaries and working as much as you want to, when you want to.
You have taken a specialty where the average physician exchanges their time for money at rock-bottom prices, but you are now making a huge premium for your time.
That’s exactly what these guys did.
At the Wal-Mart locations, once signed in to see a doctor, patients can shop and be signaled by pager or cell phone when the doctor is ready. A queue screen in the center lobby of the clinic will give minute-by-minute wait times.
Putting The Pieces Together
- Find a specialty that you love, or at the very least can be happy practicing
- Work smart to leverage your time versus income
- Start thinking about and actively creating passive income streams
- Duplicate, duplicate, duplicate
- Reap the rewards over time
I used urgent care as an example, but you could use any business strategy at all from investing in high-yield funds to starting other businesses completely unrelated to medicine. Ryan wrote up a nice post at SDN outlining some other strategies. I’m not saying this is easy. It’s not, it takes tons of work. The vast majority of business fail within the first year.
If you take nothing else away from this post, please remember this: Medicine is a business. If you want to go above and beyond and really blow your income numbers out of the water, you are going to have to start treating it as such. Even if you choose a low-paying specialty like family medicine, you too can make much more than the salary figures you see quoted, but you must first put yourself into the right mindset.
In the end, it’s all about what you want. Do you want to be somebody else’s employee or a 20% shareholder in a partnership track for the rest of your life, always having to pull your own weight to make your quota?
Or do you want to be the CEO?