While your DrSpouse is in training, money is super tight.
It’s even worse when you live in a high COL area that you didn’t choose to live because of the Match, have a young family to raise, and are paying for medical-career expenses like licensing and board exams.
All of this has to go on the average resident salary of $57,200 (Medscape 2017).
There is only so much water you can save, heating you can lower, and coupons you cut. Making more money is usually the easier answer. The sky is the limit to what you can make.
Side hustling is a great way to increase your income. It is also a way to grow your skills and become better at what you do.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you have to fill out mind-numbing surveys that are an hour long to make a buck. I’m also not going to tell you to donate plasma. (Kuddos for those who do all that, but it’s not what I will write about.)
I will tell you all the good and bad of side hustling, some great ideas for a side hustle that are realistic, and what nobody told you about side hustling while raising a family.
How and why I side hustle
I’ve been side hustling for years. My classic side hustle was babysitting that I started when I was 16.
Later, I worked as a pharmacy technician even while I was a full-time engineering co-op. So if I wasn’t a full-time engineering student working at the pharmacy, I was a full-time engineering co-op working at the pharmacy. I literally had no such thing as a break in-between semesters, but it allowed me to fully fund my IRA every year and pay off almost all of my student loans before I even graduated college.
Now as a doc wife raising young kids, I am a freelance writer and write CVs for physicians, which I do at night when my husband and kids are asleep.
Why side hustling online is great while in medical training
As a doc wife with a DrSpouse still training, you should look into online work.
By working virtually, you can work on your own time. You could even follow your DrSpouse on a conference anywhere in the world or work when the kids are sleeping. Moving for your DrSpouse’s career is no biggie because you can earn income wherever you live.
Where there’s wifi, there is the ability to work.
Great ideas for side hustling online
Here are some ideas:
- Coaching or Consulting (any topic you love including fitness)
- Résumé Writer
- Freelance Writer
- Virtual Assistant
- Teacher or tutor
All of these are in great need. And you can learn how to get into them even with little or no prior experience.
How to grow these skills
You have to find the right places to learn. I suggest these:
- Join mastermind groups on Facebook. These groups exist in just about every field. I have two and they are Physician Finance & Doc Wives Talk About Money, and you’re welcome to join if you are a doctor or a spouse of one.
- Take a course on Udemy or Teachable. This is where I learned the bulk of what I know about student loans, blogging, finances, and writing an ebook. I don’t have the time to wade through all the info online.
- If you have a coach who is willing to take you on as a hardworking mentee, that is awesome. You usually don’t just pick one up, you meet them in your niche and it sort of falls into place.
You are good enough wherever you are
Nobody ever starts a side gig 100% confident that it will be fail-proof, or that you will be an expert.
When you start off, you are likely going to be in the bottom half in your niche in terms of skill. That’s OK. It would be insane to expect to be as good as somebody who has had much more time and experience on honing their craft.
Also, there is still a market for every beginner. Not everyone wants to pay top dollar for top skill. As you hone your skills, you become more and more elite. And you can charge more to make more money.
The consequence of side hustling
As a side hustler myself, I will be honest with you about my life. I don’t feel balanced.
If you side hustle, some parts of your life will get sacrificed, like Netflix evenings or weekend early mornings, both times when you could be spending time with your DrSpouse. If you are working while following your DrSpouse to a conference or on vacation, you are not relaxing at least part of the day.
You also won’t feel like your life is balanced, because if you are truly trying to make money on the side, it can’t.
There is a season for everything
Being a doc wife means you manage all the logistics of the family. Your DrSpouse is working “80” hours, you are caring for young kids and every aspect of your family, and have many other things going on.
It’s hard to keep everything from breaking down when you are on the brink of breakdown yourself.
I experienced a very challenging time when we moved away from family while I was 38 weeks pregnant. My husband finished residency and was starting his fellowship. Packing boxes and driving alone with three kids only to give birth days later was not the right time to side hustle.
If this is not the right season to be able to focus on a side hustle, then continue to focus on saving money instead of making money.
In the meantime, use any free chance you have to keep reading and learning and become good at what you want to do later on.
When an opportunity opens and the time is right, go for it.
Side hustling could bring in extra money and develop your skills while your DrSpouse is still training.
Consider online work so it can fit in with the medical lifestyle and raising a family.
But if you and your family are just surviving, emotionally and physically, side hustles may have to be shelved, at least for a while.