Physician side hustles abstract graphic
Physician side hustles abstract graphic
Physician side hustles abstract graphic

Physician Side Hustles: A Practical Guide to Legal Compliance

Financial goals, industry expertise, or a deeper dive into a specific area of interest can all be motivations for a side hustle.

By: Chuck Kable, JD

Published: May 19, 2024

📂 Legal Education

Written for:

✅ Residents and Fellows

✅ Early Career Physicians

✅ Mid Career Physicians

✅ Established Professionals

The world of medicine is demanding, but many physicians crave the opportunity to explore additional ventures. Financial goals, industry expertise, or a deeper dive into a specific area of interest can all be motivations for a side hustle. However, venturing outside your primary practice requires a clear understanding of legal considerations and practical steps to navigate this path successfully.

Legal Compliance: Your Foundation

A strong foundation in legal compliance is essential. Here's what you need to do:

Contract Review

  • Locate and Review Your Contract: Thoroughly examine your employment contract for clauses restricting moonlighting, locum tenens work, or practicing in specific geographic areas.

  • Identify Restrictions: Note any limitations or conditions that could impact your side hustle plans.

  • Document Questions: List any questions or uncertainties regarding the contract terms.

Seek Legal Advice

  • Find a Healthcare Employment Lawyer: Look for a lawyer specializing in healthcare employment law.

  • Schedule a Consultation: Discuss your side hustle plans and receive tailored advice specific to your contract and legal requirements.

  • Consider Online Legal Services: Explore cost-effective online legal service providers catering to healthcare professionals.

Beyond Contracts: State & Federal Regulations

Here are some key regulations to keep in mind:


  • Verify Your Medical License: Ensure your license is valid in the state(s) where you plan to work. Use the FSMB website for state-specific information.

  • Check Specific Requirements: Some states have unique licensing requirements for moonlighting physicians.

  • Apply for Additional Licenses if Necessary: Meet all licensing requirements if planning to work in multiple states.

Malpractice Insurance

  • Review Your Current Coverage: Understand what your malpractice insurance covers and its limitations.

  • Contact Your Provider: Discuss your side hustle plans and determine if supplemental coverage is needed.

  • Purchase Additional Coverage if Necessary: Ensure all activities in your side hustle are covered.

Tax Implications

  • Consult a Tax Professional: Seek advice on how your additional income will impact your taxes.

  • Understand Tax Obligations: Learn about estimated taxes, deductions, and record-keeping requirements.

  • Plan for Tax Payments: Set aside a portion of your side hustle income to cover tax obligations.

Choosing the Right Side Hustle: Aligning Interests with Compliance

Now, let's explore how to choose the perfect side hustle:


  • Identify Your Strengths and Passions: Reflect on your professional skills and personal interests.

  • Evaluate Your Available Time: Calculate the amount of time you can realistically allocate to a side hustle.

  • Match Interests with Opportunities: Choose a side hustle that excites and fulfills you professionally.

Compliance Evaluation

  • Research Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Investigate the specific licensure, insurance, and practice guidelines required for your chosen side hustle.

  • Consult Relevant Authorities: Contact your state's medical board or other regulatory bodies for detailed information.

  • Prepare Documentation: Ensure you have all necessary permits, licenses, and insurance in place.

Popular Side Hustles for MDs & DOs: Compliance in Action

Here are some popular side hustle options, along with actionable steps to ensure compliance:

Locum Tenens

  • Action: Search online locum tenens agencies or national physician job boards. Carefully review contracts to ensure they align with your location and schedule preferences.

  • Compliance: Verify your license validity in the locum tenens state and confirm malpractice insurance coverage extension.


  • Action: Research telemedicine platforms that cater to your specialty and target patient population.

  • Compliance: Verify state licensing requirements for telemedicine practice in the state(s) where you'll see patients. Ensure the telemedicine platform complies with HIPAA regulations to protect patient privacy.

Medical Writing

  • Action: Connect with medical writing agencies, pharmaceutical companies, or academic institutions seeking medical content creators.

  • Compliance: Ensure your writing aligns with your contractual obligations and avoids disclosing confidential patient information. Consider copyright and intellectual property ownership clauses in your contracts.

Taking Action: Building Your Side Hustle Journey

Market Research

  • Assess Demand: Research the demand for your chosen service by studying your target audience's needs and identifying existing competitors.

  • Understand Your Audience: Define your target audience and their needs.

  • Position Your Services: Differentiate your offerings to stand out in the market.

Business Plan

  • Outline Your Plan: Develop a basic business plan including your target audience, service offerings, pricing strategy, and marketing approach.

  • Set Goals: Define short-term and long-term goals for your side hustle.

  • Review and Adjust: Regularly update your business plan based on market feedback and performance.

Building Your Brand

  • Create an Online Presence: Build a professional website that highlights your expertise and details your services.

  • Leverage Social Media: Use social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with potential clients and promote your side hustle.

  • Join Online Directories: List your services in relevant online directories to increase visibility.

Beyond Compliance: Building a Fulfilling Side Hustle

While legal compliance is crucial, remember, the ultimate goal is to find a side hustle that complements your primary career and enriches your professional life. Here are some additional tips:

Set Realistic Goals

  • Start Small: Begin with manageable projects and gradually scale your side hustle.

  • Monitor Progress: Track your progress and adjust your goals as needed.

  • Celebrate Milestones: Recognize and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Maintain Boundaries

  • Define Work Hours: Set specific hours for your side hustle to avoid burnout.

  • Communicate with Your Employer: If necessary, inform your primary employer about your side hustle activities.

  • Balance Work and Life: Ensure your side hustle does not negatively impact your primary practice or personal life.

Seek Support

  • Connect with Peers: Join online forums or physician communities for support and advice.

  • Find a Mentor: Seek mentorship from experienced physicians with successful side hustles.

  • Attend Networking Events: Participate in events to expand your professional network.

Continuous Learning

  • Stay Updated: Keep abreast of the latest advancements in your field.

  • Invest in Education: Take courses or attend workshops relevant to your side hustle.

  • Apply New Knowledge: Implement new skills and knowledge to enhance your services.

The Side Hustle MD: A Rewarding Journey

By taking a comprehensive approach that prioritizes legal compliance, aligns with your interests and skills, and fosters a sustainable work-life balance, you can embark on a rewarding side hustle journey. This path can offer financial security, industry expertise, or the opportunity to delve deeper into a specific area of passion, all while enriching your overall professional experience. Remember, the key is to take calculated steps, prioritize compliance, and leverage your unique skills and knowledge set to build a fulfilling side hustle alongside your successful medical career.

Ready to take the next step? Legal Strategies for Mid-Career Physicians: Contracts, Partnerships, and Expansions

With Chuck Kable, JD 🟢

1. Book Your Strategy Session

2. Address Expansion and Partnerships

3. Plan for Strategic Growth

Expanding Your Horizon with Legal Clarity: Aimed at established physicians planning to expand or partner, offering insights into legal preparations and considerations.

For established physicians considering expanding their practice, entering into partnerships, or exploring new business models, this session offers targeted legal strategies. Understand the nuances of partnership agreements, expansion considerations, and how to navigate potential legal pitfalls to ensure your practice’s growth is both strategic and compliant.

Disclaimer: The content provided in this session is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will be created by attending this session. For decisions regarding specific legal issues, consult with a qualified attorney.

Read more by Chuck Kable, JD

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