The ‘gig economy’ can supplement your income or allow you to pursue other interests as a doctor
If you keep up with current job market trends, you are no doubt familiar with the term “gig economy.” It involves any type of work arrangement that is not a traditional 9 to 5 job, including freelancing or contract work, rideshare driving, selling handmade items on Etsy, to crowd-funding creative or entrepreneurial projects via Patreon or Kickstarter. For doctors it could include becoming a vendor for durable medical equipment (DME), CBD or orthotics.
It may also include part-time hospital or other work, in addition to a regular full-time job. Even if your practice is your full-time job, with a set schedule, you can still benefit from this gig economy by adding more revenue streams. What are some examples of these streams, and how can you make them work for you?
What is the gig economy?
Before we look at some gig economy possibilities for you to consider, let’s first go through some stats. A 2018 article published online by Forbes stated that more than one-third of American workers, or 36%, were involved in the gig economy.1
This works out to approximately 57 million people who receive at least part of their income through a nontraditional work stream. Furthermore, 30% of Americans are working within the gig economy as their primary job.
Supplementing income and patient health
One of the easiest ways to take advantage of the gig economy is by offering nutritional supplements. Global sales of nutritional supplements have been on the rise and show no sign of slowing down. A market research firm released a report last year, valuing the global market at almost $133 billion in 2016, and estimated it to reach more than $220 billion by 2022.2
There are a number of obvious advantages to offering supplements in your office such as chiropractor CBD sales and vitamin supplements for patients in need. First and foremost, you have the ability to first explain to your patients why they may need to supplement their diet if necessary, and then offer the product right in your office. This not only turns your office into a “one-stop shop” for supplements, but guarantees that your patient will actually leave your office with the supplements that you recommend.
Second, you have access to better-quality supplements than your patients will find at their local drug store. Chiropractor CBD recommendations are especially crucial as patients are seeking knowledgeable and trusted vendors for the supplement. This increases the likelihood they will see a benefit, and they will keep taking the supplements you recommend.
Offering orthotics in your office is another way to boost your income, similar to selling supplements. Orthotic inserts can be particularly lucrative if your practice is focused on sports chiropractic, as your patients who are athletic will be very interested in products that can help them improve performance, reduce their chance of injury, or help them through a rehab period. Everyday patients can also benefit from orthotics, especially those with posture or gait issues.
The initial patient visit should always include a digital scan of the feet, showing how your patients’ symptoms may be related to problems with their feet. Again, similar to offering supplements, having the orthotics available will provide an extra bonus because you can both point out the problem and offer a solution at the same time.
A change of direction
A 2018 Gallup Poll noted that one reason that some workers liked being part of the gig economy was that it freed them to pursue the parts of their job they enjoyed doing, while allowing them to let go of areas they did not enjoy as much.2
If you have reached a point in your career as a chiropractor where you might want to see fewer patients, yet still want have a hand in the chiropractic field, you may be interested in working as an expert witness in court cases. Your job would be to provide either the prosecuting or defense attorney with your expert knowledge regarding a variety of cases that could include malpractice, worker’s comp, or damages as a result from injury or accident. You would be required to undergo training and meet the requirements necessary to be a chiropractic expert witness in your state of licensure. Another option is getting involved in occupational medicine in your community.
One of the nice things about participating in the gig economy for DCs is that is can either supplement a full-time practice, or it can be used as a part-time career. Either way, the gig economy shows no sign of slowing down, so you may as well take advantage of it.
- McCue TJ. 57 million U.S. workers are part of the gig economy. Forbes. Published Aug. 31, 2018. Accessed June 28, 2019.
- Zion Market Research. Dietary Supplements Market by Ingredients (Botanicals, Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, Enzymes) for Additional Supplements, Medicinal Supplements, and Sports Nutrition Applications – Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2016 – 2022. Released April 12, 2018. Accessed June 28, 2019.