Side Hustles as a Doctor

Published August 22, 2023 | Updated September 7, 2023

Rebecca Richardson

By Rebecca Richardson

Rebecca is a Junior Doctor working in the Midlands. Having completed her Foundation Years, she is now working as a Clinical Teaching Fellow, where she is able to pursue her love of Medical Education and enjoy some time out of the training pathway. When she’s not at work, Rebecca loves hiking, baking and playing with her new kittens!

I’m sure you have all heard of a ‘side hustle’ by now. That’s not surprising considering that a recent survey estimated almost half of UK adults (44%) now have one, with an increasing proportion of this figure made up of doctors and healthcare staff.

But what actually is a side hustle?

How does it work?

Who can start one?

And most importantly, is it really worth the effort?

By the end of this article, I hope to have answered these questions, as well as used my own experience to provide you with some top tips for starting your own side hustle!

Courses, Events & ResourcesFor Your SpecialityMonthly course updates, direct to your inbox.

About Me

My name is Becky, and I am a Foundation Doctor in the Midlands. I never planned on starting a side hustle. In fact, I didn’t even know what it was.

However, by the time I graduated from medical school, I had become aware of a huge gap in the market – a concise revision resource for medical students.

I had spent hundreds of hours during my own revision, flicking through textbooks and scouring the internet, trying to find all the necessary information outlined by my curriculum.

Many nights I had thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be easier if this was all in one place?!’ And so, for my own benefit, I compiled all of this information into a comprehensive, yet condensed set of notes. Unsurprisingly, my peers soon realised how useful this was, and asked for their own copies.

Emergency Medicine Flashcards

Things progressed quite rapidly from there. I used a print company to create physical textbooks from my notes. I set up a website so peers could order and pay for their own copies. My living room became a post office as I packaged up order after order ready for mailing. I created a social media channel to promote my books and generate orders.

Skip ahead two years, and I have now published two textbooks, written content for a medical app, and even taken part in my first medical education podcast! 

If you’re interested in checking out what I’ve created, here it is:

The information in this article is broadly based on my own experience, and of course, everyone’s experience is different.

However, if you are considering starting your own side hustle, or just want to know a bit more about what it entails, this should provide you with a good starting point. So, let’s start with the basics…

Search Courses
All Course Events
On-Demand Events

What is a Side Hustle?

A side hustle is just the trendy term for doing something that generates income in addition to your day-to-day job.

Essentially it is a business that you can run and operate alongside your full-time employment. There are no set criteria or rules to define what makes something a side hustle, and as a result, you will find a huge variety of examples. These can range from creating and selling personalised jewellery to walking neighbours’ dogs, or in my case, selling medical education resources.

Although this article will focus on income-generating projects (AKA a side hustle), it is important to note that many of the points are also applicable to work that does not result in monetary gain (e.g. running free weekly teaching sessions for medical students).

Why Start a Medical Side Hustle?

There are a few reasons why you might want to set up a side hustle.

Firstly, it is always nice to have a bit of extra cash, especially as we are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Whether this is to help pay the bills or allow you to feel slightly less guilty about buying another pair of running trainers (guilty as charged!), I can’t really see a downside to having an additional source of income!

Secondly, it is a chance to pursue something outside of your clinical work. As doctors, our jobs can quite easily become all-consuming, and taking time to focus on something other than clinical work can provide a welcome respite from the feeling that you eat, sleep and breathe medicine.

Medical Side Hustle Ideas

Side Hustle vs Locum?

Surely it is just easier to just pick up a locum?

There is definitely no shortage of shifts available; I for one have been approached by multiple locum agencies going into my F3 year and continue to receive daily emails from my local Emergency Department asking for cover. And if you think about it, the financial gain relative to time spent working is much greater.

So yes, locums definitely have their advantages and are a great way to earn some extra cash quickly. But here are some reasons that make a side hustle an equally if not more, valuable use of your time.

Advantages of a Side Hustle

1. Pursuing something outside of your clinical work can provide a welcome break.

As a Junior Doctor it is not uncommon to feel overworked and for me, there are days where no amount of money could get me to leave the comfort of my sofa and drag myself back to the ward. But imagine being able to work on an additional source of income without having to move an inch.

Multiple side-hustle opportunities allow this and, depending on how well you can multitask, may even allow you to continue binging your favourite Netflix series in the background.

2. Pursuing something that you are passionate about can be extremely fulfilling and deliver a strong sense of satisfaction.

It is very rewarding to create something of your own from scratch, and then watch it grow and develop over time.

Putting energy into a project that you truly care about reaps much richer rewards psychologically, than purely turning up to a random hospital ward each day just because someone decided that was the job rotation you would be given.

3. Engaging your brain in a different way from your usual work is cognitively stimulating.

Don’t get me wrong, medicine is an extremely intellectual and challenging career. However, the human brain needs variety and change to remain engaged and focussed.

Starting a side hustle is an opportunity to mix up the way you work. Exploring this new territory is not only exciting but will also prompt you to develop a host of different skills.

4. CV / Portfolio booster!

Something we cannot get away from – the dreaded portfolio!

Ever spent hours staring at a job application form or pouring over your CV, only to be left wondering how on earth it is going to stand out amongst the hundreds of other hard-working, over-achieving human beings that make up the majority of our profession?

Well, maybe a side hustle is your answer!

Even if it is not medically related, there are undoubtedly transferable skills (see below) that you can highlight on a CV or at an interview to support your application. And if it is medically related, then that’s two birds with one stone!

Transferable skills from starting your own business or side hustle:
Determination and dedication

Side-hustles can be hard work and you are unlikely to succeed straight away. Not being deterred by failure is a valuable attribute in many walks of life.

Time management and organisation

Trying to create something alongside a full-time job requires you to be strict with your time, and work smartly to make the most of it.


To grow your business it will be a necessity to communicate with others, whether that is potential clients/customers, possible investors, or like-minded colleagues.

Ability to adapt in the face of adversity

There will be a multitude of barriers and hurdles along the way, mostly ones you did not expect. Learning to adapt your approach to overcome these will benefit your clinical work as well.

Leadership & teamwork

Depending on your business model/project plan, these are additional skills that may be involved. Perhaps you are working within a group to achieve your goal, or even leading this group as the founder/coordinator. These are skills that are frequently asked about at job interviews.

How to Start a Side Hustle as a Doctor

Starting a side hustle is currently easier than ever.

We live in a digital age where a quick email can connect you to someone on the other side of the world, and a single post on social media has the ability to go viral.

So yes, starting a side hustle is easy. However, making it successful is NOT! It requires hard work and determination.

Key Steps

1. Decide what you want to do.

The world really is your oyster here.

Perhaps you already have an idea, or perhaps you have no clue whatsoever. All I would say is choose something you enjoy and are passionate about, as this makes you much more likely to succeed. There are plenty of revision resources you can create, for example.

I have listed some general examples below to get you started.

Medical side-hustle ideas:
MedEd (Medical Education)

Note that if you’re considering starting your own course – live or on-demand – MedCourse can help you with the strategy, logistics, payments, communication, and marketing of your course. Check out what we do here and get in touch!

Medical Writing

For more information check out our article on becoming a medical writer.


This is a HUGE area that I am no expert in, but well worth looking into and easy to do so with a quick Google search.

Content Creation

You can either start your own enterprise, which once well-established can earn you money through affiliate ads, or join an agency to start learning and earning.

2. Start creating.

Whether it is a physical product or a non-tangible service, get your creative juices running and start drafting your ideas.

3. Seek feedback.

It is invaluable to seek feedback early on in the process, from friends, colleagues, and potential customers.

This can avoid sacrificing precious time, resources and even money on something that may not be viable.

I am not saying that if someone else does not like your idea you should not pursue it, but it is definitely useful to find out whether there is any demand for your suggested product/service, and if it is something you can realistically achieve.

4. Create an online presence.

Social media can be your best friend in this journey!

It is an easy and quick way to reach thousands of strangers that may be interested in what you are offering. Creating social media accounts specifically for your service, rather than using personal ones, not only ensures privacy, but creates a more professional appearance to your brand.

5. Start selling.

Once again, there are a variety of ways that you can sell your service or product, and this will depend greatly on what it is you are offering.

Physical goods can easily be sold on websites such as Amazon or Etsy for a small fee. For non-tangible services, such as an educational course, you may have to set up your own website.

6. Advertise.

Despite what people may say, you are not going to get rich overnight.

To generate interest and a reputation for your brand, it is vital to advertise what you have to offer. The more engaging the advert, the better. (See below for some ideas).

Marketing for Your Side Hustle
Social Media

Social media is a fantastic way to market your side hustle, especially if you already have a following. Create posts, stories, and reels to promote your brand. You should choose the right platform for your target audience:

  • Facebook
  • Great for marketing to groups & communities, especially International Medical Graduates. While the demographics are typically older, you will find junior doctors from across the world using this platform, especially in Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
  • Instagram
  • Instagram is a perfect platform if your product lends itself to pictures and videos. Using services like Canva you can create amazing images and infographics even if your service isn’t “Instagrammable”. Check out the MedCourse Instagram page for an example of how you can market a MedEd or online business.
  • X (Twitter)
  • Twitter is the home of flame-wars and arguments but also hosts a huge audience on #medtwitter. The platform doesn’t normally lead to a purchase decision directly but is great for brand awareness. If you already have a network here, are willing to tweet frequently, and are marketing something that Twitter users might appreciate (and find politically acceptable).
  • TikTok
  • TikTok hosts short, attention-grabbing videos, though is trying to expand into images and longer-form content. Users might have short attention spans but are present in large numbers. There are rewards to be had here if you get this right!
  • Apologies for the knock-off logo, TikTok is apparently too new to make it into our icon list!
  • LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn is the place to go if you are selling services or products to other businesses. While it may have a reputation for humble bragging and corporate jargon, the platform has a good number of doctors in content, health tech, and entrepreneurship. It can be an excellent place to network and is perfect to update others on your business.
  • Pinterest
  • Pinterest is a great way to market creative projects, particularly those which lend to a visual medium and target women, who make up over 70% of the platform. Building a community takes time, but can lead to fantastic rewards, especially if you know the audience well.

When starting out, it can be extremely useful to link up with someone with a greater social media following to help reach more people.

Look for people in a similar field and ask if they could share your page/run a giveaway in return for a free product or mention it on your pages.

Paid Ads

Paid ads vary in price, and it will depend on how much you want to invest. You can pay for ads on platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit. A good paid ad will take some care and attention to target your ideal audience and keep the cost down – consider taking a course on paid ads before getting your card out.

Another reason for paid ads is the immediate impact. While social media marketing and search engine optimisation can take months or years to pay dividends, with paid ads you can reap the rewards right away.

It is definitely possible to become visible without these, but it may take longer.

Targeted Marketing

Try and reach out to those who will be most interested in your product.

This may mean posting on MedSoc Facebook groups or pinning adverts up in the Doctors’ Mess, for example.

Search Engine Optimisation

If you’re in this for the long run or are creating a digital business, SEO has one of the best returns on interest. It’s how MedCourse gets most of its visitors, by producing good quality, helpful content that attracts a relevant audience.

This can be a whole career in and of itself, so you might be better paying someone else to do this if you’re launching a business, but there is plenty of info out there on YouTube and blogs. If you have any questions specific to SEO for healthcare professionals, feel free to get in touch with James at MedCourse.

7. Build, grow and expand.

Once you have got your foot in the door, you can start to think about your next steps.

How do you get closer to achieving your overall goal?

What can you do to expand your brand and appeal to more people?

A great way to do this is to network. Linking up with like-minded people is a great way to explore new avenues in your work.

Take Home Thoughts

At the end of the day, a side hustle can be whatever you want it to be.

It can take as little or as much of your time as you want. You could earn a few pounds a week, to hundreds of pounds each month.

It can be medical, non-medical or anything in between! It really is up to you.

Becky's Notes Logo

Here are my 5 take-home points for anyone considering setting up a side hustle:

  • It requires time and dedication.
  • Associated income can vary hugely.
  • Networking is KEY! Don’t be afraid to reach out to others.
  • There are multiple benefits besides money.
  • Don’t give up!

Share Your Wisdom

  • £50-100 per blog post!
  • Portfolio Certificate
  • Bragging Rights

Latest Posts