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Nik E

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Dec 14, 2021
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Hello people of the Fastlane!

Joining this forum seems like a big step towards a change that I am looking for. I am a 26 year old medical doctor, and for the past year I have been working in the emergency medicine department. I enjoy my job, but I don't feel that being a part of the big medical system is a right path for me, mostly because I sensed that a lot of my colleagues, old or young, are quite unhappy and work way too much. I come from a country where being a MD will earn you a decent living, but far from rich, and the amount of overtime work is just crazy. People my age that are starting families along with a job like this are living on the edge of a burnout and don't have enough time for their families, and even less time for themselves. It makes me sad, thinking that I might end up the same, so I want to change that, and have more time for the people and activities I love. As you can probably tell, I was tricked into the slowlane - finish a good school and you will be successful; I was never really an entrepreneur kind. Luckily, I stumbled upon The Millionaire Fastlane , and even though I had no interest about such topics, got the urge to read it. And man, did it change my perspective on things, especially on the idea of success! Really, a life-changing book; even though my change hasn't started yet, but it made me feel ready for it. But I still have no idea what I want to do! Med school maybe didn't bring me the passion for that profession I was hoping to find there, but made me confident that I have the discipline to do anything. So I am hoping that engaging in this forum will bring inspiration and good connections - my eyes, heart and mind are open.

N
 
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Boogie

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Hello people of the Fastlane!

Joining this forum seems like a big step towards a change that I am looking for. I am a 26 year old medical doctor, and for the past year I have been working in the emergency medicine department. I enjoy my job, but I don't feel that being a part of the big medical system is a right path for me, mostly because I sensed that a lot of my colleagues, old or young, are quite unhappy and work way too much. I come from a country where being a MD will earn you a decent living, but far from rich, and the amount of overtime work is just crazy. People my age that are starting families along with a job like this are living on the edge of a burnout and don't have enough time for their families, and even less time for themselves. It makes me sad, thinking that I might end up the same, so I want to change that, and have more time for the people and activities I love. As you can probably tell, I was tricked into the slowlane - finish a good school and you will be successful; I was never really an entrepreneur kind. Luckily, I stumbled upon The Millionaire Fastlane , and even though I had no interest about such topics, got the urge to read it. And man, did it change my perspective on things, especially on the idea of success! Really, a life-changing book; even though my change hasn't started yet, but it made me feel ready for it. But I still have no idea what I want to do! Med school maybe didn't bring me the passion for that profession I was hoping to find there, but made me confident that I have the discipline to do anything. So I am hoping that engaging in this forum will bring inspiration and good connections - my eyes, heart and mind are open.

N

I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but in almost all jobs people think they have to work too much. Yours is special in that it involves helping people through tough times, has specialized knowledge, and requires extra responsibility.

You didn't say what country you're in but being an MD can be very fastlane. It may depend on what you do with it.

I am not an MD. I'm generally a software guy.

I knew an MD who co-founded and was CEO of a health insurance company with a focus of providing the treatment doctors wanted. He also started a medical software company for MD's to fill in the blanks as they evaluate patients and then save the patient records and push prescriptions to the appropriate pharmacy. He has made a lot of money. He still practices as an internist.

Here's an example of a guy who is making bank with regenerative clinics. Genesis Lifestyle Medicine | Las Vegas, Henderson, Nashville, Greenville & Indianapolis
He was a doctor at a prison and moved on to having 9 clinics as he builds this business across the USA.

I have a multimillionaire friend whose husband does hand surgeries in the US. He has a very good practice with other orthopedic specialists.

I designed and developed mobile health software for visiting nurses to take to people's houses. The founder of that company was an MD. This was a large team effort. I designed a careplan builder, a patient teaching module, a distributed database, and I wrote drug interaction software, but that whole thing was his brainchild. He was an emergency room doc who took up bioinformatics and had a masters degree in it and wanted greater software standards and integration of standards for the health care software industry. We utilized the evolving standards to codify treatment for nurses doing home healthcare visits and incorporated them into a product. I honestly don't know how he did financially in that company. They got in over their heads with expansion in their company. I was in a group of consultants that was designing and building their core in St. Louis where it started, but they hired a bunch of guys in Georgia who to me were beyond their skill level. He ended up having to sell the company. But he ended up involved in the W3C standards committee.

Years prior to that I also wrote software for a group of doctors in a non-invasive cardiology department at a university. They made good money here in the USA because that skill is highly paid. The MD who ran our lab made $450k per year decades ago. I would think that we probably could have sold some byproduct of our software if we had been doing this outside of a university. We wrote software to evaluate both exercise ECG's and resting ECG's for different clinical trials. I was supposedly the first person to use something called the Minnesota Code (which was a way to rank ECG measurements) in an automated serial manner to tell if heart disease was progressing or regressing in patients involved in thrombolitic therapy health trials and trials involving evaluation of outcomes of bypass surgery vs angioplasty. Unfortunately, I left the university to go to take a corporate job and my name was pulled off the paper before it was published. The reward for loyalty there was being put on papers. It was kind of funny since I wrote every bit of that code and designed the database and someone else took my co-author slot.

Many MD's in the USA get involved in creating medical products either as their job or as a side gig as a consultant. Here, that can be very lucrative if you have the right mix of experience for the company.

My nephew knew someone (not sure if he was an MD) who designed some sort of neck immobilizer to be used for accidents many years ago. It was better than what had been there because it was some sort of foam that was disposable and relatively inexpensive to replace. Again, I have no idea how well it did, but it's just an example of the kinds of thinking people do to come up with companies.

I met a guy who was not an MD, but he created a plastic sled that could be used to put a deer on after hunting to pull it out of the woods. He also realized that it could be used in buildings to pull injured people to safety in case someone had to be moved quickly like terrorist victims or whatever. You just never know what kinds of things you could update or repurpose to fit into your industry or to move to a different industry or discipline.

In any case, there are definitely things that you might be able to find to do with your MD. It's a great specialized skill. Congratulations for having it.
 

GIlman

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Although I don't really discuss it much on this board, but I am an MD. Up until COVID I never really discussed my medical background here at all, but during the early days especially I was involved in many different discussions here. I also have been fortunate to personally know MJ as well as many of the other long time members on the board here, and these personal friends know my background and history.

Granted I live in the USA, so the dynamics may be different in your country. But, I have found medicine to be a great adjunct to business. Based on your age, I assume you are a newly minted MD, possibly in residency training. Either way, you can make some decisions about your career and easily have the financial benefits without the time constraints many physicians have.

I'll tell you my story, because you might find it useful, and hopefully it can help you design a dual life to allow you to do what you want.

Although I went to medical school, I have always been very interested in technology. However, everything I know is 100% self taught, I have never had any technology or computer class in my life. I think this is important, because especially with the internet today anyone has the opportunity to learn any skills or gain any knowledge they need. I'm a tad older than you, 46...so early on most of what I learned was from books.

During college, as a side hustle I started working on peoples computers, which led to me upgrading them, and then finally starting a computer company building them. This was the very early internet days (early 90's). To promote this business I built a database of computer hardware companies with tech support links and drivers. It was called driverupdate.com, and it completely blew up on me. It was one of the primary go to websites for tech support at the time and we had massive traffic to it. I basically used this site to advertise our computer hardware company. Both companies did extremely well, but since I was in pre-med and had planned to go to medical school, I sold the hardware company but kept driverupdate.com which I continued to run throughout medical school.

For much of medical school, I did not do any non-medical things other than run my tech support website. After medical school I entered training in Plastic Surgery, which was and is a field that I loved. However, at the beginning of the residency there were new regulations enacted about how many workhours residents could work. I saw an opportunity to create a SAAS product to help residency programs manage their residents, because there was literally nothing on the market at the time to document and track compliance.

As a surgical resident, I was constantly on call overnight. So I would take my laptop with me, and in every moment of downtime that I had I would program and program and program. We released the product online, and it was very very well received. Within 6 months we had over 15,000 medical residents that we were tracking and managing. Granted this was a significant pull on my time, and I had to make a decision. I realized that it was not feasible to be a surgeon as well as run a demanding business. So 1/2 way through my plastic surgery training, I made the switch over to Radiology. I was definitely more passionate about plastics, I truly loved it...but in the grand scheme I realized I needed a medical career with unlimited flexibility.

I chose to go for a Radiology specialty degree. Radiology as a residency was much much less demanding, and I was able to run this business throughout my residency and into practice. Ultimately this business was offloaded due to getting divorced...which I was really upset about, but that's how the cookie crumbles. After residency I joined a partnership, but I was able to craft a schedule that was 7 on/7 off. This gave me tons of time to pursue my business interests further, although after my divorce and losing my company in the process I was pretty down for several years and just kind of floated along doing my medical stuff.

Around 2015 I was trying to get out of my funk and so I did a search for Entrepreneur Forum, and that's how I ended up here. I joined several discussions, and then in 2016 got back on the Pony as it were and started programming again. Someone on the forum here told me that I was wasting my time, and I should leverage my time earning money in medicine and then hire people through upwork to do my programming for me....it was a valid point since I could pay for an entire weeks programming in an hour or 2 of my time doing medical stuff.

So I began outsourcing, I had some problems with the agency I was using, so I asked the guy working at the agency if he wanted to work for me directly. He started off working for me on nights and weekends. I wanted to make a stronger relationship with him, so I booked a ticket and flew over to Vietnam to meet him. While I was there I offered for him to come work for me full time, but he was understandably hesitant. However, about 4 months later, he was experiencing some issues with his bosses at work, and agreed to come work for me full time....I made it worth his while and doubled his salary, which only seemed fair to me because he was taking a risk leaving a job where he was the #3 person and had a long track record.

One thing led to another, and some of his friends from his old job also wanted to come work for me....so we created a corporation over in Vietnam. Our business model has been to do outsourced projects, as well as our own internal company projects for direct sale. We ended up building an office in Ho Chi Minh, and currently we have about 20 employees working full time for us.

In 2017 I quit my medical partnership, and started doing per diem medical work. The reason that I did this is that I wanted to have 100% control of my schedule. Now I work the days I want to work. I work anything from 0 to 20 days a month, but I try and average 100-120 days a year of medical work. If you select specialty such as Radiology, Anesthesiology, or Emergency Medicine you can easily setup something like this. Anything where you have actual recurring patients this will be nearly impossible. But the point is if you want to manage your medical career to fit your needs you have options so long as you plan correctly.

About a year ago I entered into a joint venture with some other very experienced and successful people in the Mortgage and Refinance space. We have been creating a SAAS product to meet some unmet needs within this space, I provide the technical side and they provide the marketing and insight into the industry....so far this has worked out very well, and I have high hopes the company will continue to grow and expand.

I don't see anything I have done as difficult or that unique. The only thing is that if you want to do things you have to put yourself out there and run with it. I have failed plenty, I've had several projects crash and burn. I'm sure I'll have additional failures and additional successes. But this is the one nice thing about having a foothold in medicine, you always have the security of that in the background. And if you setup your career path the right way you can have as much flexibility and time to pursue other things as you want.

One bonus of having a medical title behind your name, is that at times it will buy you credibility (often unwarranted) and access to some people that might be harder to get otherwise. People will tend to take you more seriously at times.

Best of luck to you.
 
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Last edited:

Andy Black

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Although I don't really discuss it much on this board, but I am an MD. Up until COVID I never really discussed my medical background here at all, but during the early days especially I was involved in many different discussions here. I also have been fortunate to personally know MJ as well as many of the other long time members on the board here, and these personal friends know my background and history.

Granted I live in the USA, so the dynamics may be different in your country. But, I have found medicine to be a great adjunct to business. Based on your age, I assume you are a newly minted MD, possibly in residency training. Either way, you can make some decisions about your career and easily have the financial benefits without the time constraints many physicians have.

I'll tell you my story, because you might find it useful, and hopefully it can help you design a dual life to allow you to do what you want.

Although I went to medical school, I have always been very interested in technology. However, everything I know is 100% self taught, I have never had any technology or computer class in my life. I think this is important, because especially with the internet today anyone has the opportunity to learn any skills or gain any knowledge they need. I'm a tad older than you, 46...so early on most of what I learned was from books.

During college, as a side hustle I started working on peoples computers, which led to me upgrading them, and then finally starting a computer company building them. This was the very early internet days (early 90's). To promote this business I built a database of computer hardware companies with tech support links and drivers. It was called driverupdate.com, and it completely blew up on me. It was one of the primary go to websites for tech support at the time and we had massive traffic to it. I basically used this site to advertise our computer hardware company. Both companies did extremely well, but since I was in pre-med and had planned to go to medical school, I sold the hardware company but kept driverupdate.com which I continued to run throughout medical school.

For much of medical school, I did not do any non-medical things other than run my tech support website. After medical school I entered training in Plastic Surgery, which was and is a field that I loved. However, at the beginning of the residency there were new regulations enacted about how many workhours residents could work. I saw an opportunity to create a SAAS product to help residency programs manage their residents, because there was literally nothing on the market at the time to document and track compliance.

As a surgical resident, I was constantly on call overnight. So I would take my laptop with me, and in every moment of downtime that I had I would program and program and program. We released the product online, and it was very very well received. Within 6 months we had over 15,000 medical residents that we were tracking and managing. Granted this was a significant pull on my time, and I had to make a decision. I realized that it was not feasible to be a surgeon as well as run a demanding business. So 1/2 way through my plastic surgery training, I made the switch over to Radiology. I was definitely more passionate about plastics, I truly loved it...but in the grand scheme I realized I needed a medical career with unlimited flexibility.

I chose to go for a Radiology specialty degree. Radiology as a residency was much much less demanding, and I was able to run this business throughout my residency and into practice. Ultimately this business was offloaded due to getting divorced...which I was really upset about, but that's how the cookie crumbles. After residency I joined a partnership, but I was able to craft a schedule that was 7 on/7 off. This gave me tons of time to pursue my business interests further, although after my divorce and losing my company in the process I was pretty down for several years and just kind of floated along doing my medical stuff.

Around 2015 I was trying to get out of my funk and so I did a search for Entrepreneur Forum, and that's how I ended up here. I joined several discussions, and then in 2016 got back on the Pony as it were and started programming again. Someone on the forum here told me that I was wasting my time, and I should leverage my time earning money in medicine and then hire people through upwork to do my programming for me....it was a valid point since I could pay for an entire weeks programming in an hour or 2 of my time doing medical stuff.

So I began outsourcing, I had some problems with the agency I was using, so I asked the guy working at the agency if he wanted to work for me directly. He started off working for me on nights and weekends. I wanted to make a stronger relationship with him, so I booked a ticket and flew over to Vietnam to meet him. While I was there I offered for him to come work for me full time, but he was understandably hesitant. However, about 4 months later, he was experiencing some issues with his bosses at work, and agreed to come work for me full time....I made it worth his while and doubled his salary, which only seemed fair to me because he was taking a risk leaving a job where he was the #3 person and had a long track record.

One thing led to another, and some of his friends from his old job also wanted to come work for me....so we created a corporation over in Vietnam. Our business model has been to do outsourced projects, as well as our own internal company projects for direct sale. We ended up building an office in Ho Chi Minh, and currently we have about 20 employees working full time for us.

In 2017 I quit my medical partnership, and started doing per diem medical work. The reason that I did this is that I wanted to have 100% control of my schedule. Now I work the days I want to work. I work anything from 0 to 20 days a month, but I try and average 100-120 days a year of medical work. If you select specialty such as Radiology, Anesthesiology, or Emergency Medicine you can easily setup something like this. Anything where you have actual recurring patients this will be nearly impossible. But the point is if you want to manage your medical career to fit your needs you have options so long as you plan correctly.

About a year ago I entered into a joint venture with some other very experienced and successful people in the Mortgage and Refinance space. We have been creating a SAAS product to meet some unmet needs within this space, I provide the technical side and they provide the marketing and insight into the industry....so far this has worked out very well, and I have high hopes the company will continue to grow and expand.

I don't see anything I have done as difficult or that unique. The only thing is that if you want to do things you have to put yourself out there and run with it. I have failed plenty, I've had several projects crash and burn. I'm sure I'll have additional failures and additional successes. But this is the one nice thing about having a foothold in medicine, you always have the security of that in the background. And if you setup your career path the right way you can have as much flexibility and time to pursue other things as you want.

One bonus of having a medical title behind your name, is that at times it will buy you credibility (often unwarranted) and access to some people that might be harder to get otherwise. People will tend to take you more seriously at times.

Best of luck to you.
What a great story. Thanks for sharing @GIlman.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Although I don't really discuss it much on this board, but I am an MD. Up until COVID I never really discussed my medical background here at all, but during the early days especially I was involved in many different discussions here. I also have been fortunate to personally know MJ as well as many of the other long time members on the board here, and these personal friends know my background and history.

Granted I live in the USA, so the dynamics may be different in your country. But, I have found medicine to be a great adjunct to business. Based on your age, I assume you are a newly minted MD, possibly in residency training. Either way, you can make some decisions about your career and easily have the financial benefits without the time constraints many physicians have.

I'll tell you my story, because you might find it useful, and hopefully it can help you design a dual life to allow you to do what you want.

Although I went to medical school, I have always been very interested in technology. However, everything I know is 100% self taught, I have never had any technology or computer class in my life. I think this is important, because especially with the internet today anyone has the opportunity to learn any skills or gain any knowledge they need. I'm a tad older than you, 46...so early on most of what I learned was from books.

During college, as a side hustle I started working on peoples computers, which led to me upgrading them, and then finally starting a computer company building them. This was the very early internet days (early 90's). To promote this business I built a database of computer hardware companies with tech support links and drivers. It was called driverupdate.com, and it completely blew up on me. It was one of the primary go to websites for tech support at the time and we had massive traffic to it. I basically used this site to advertise our computer hardware company. Both companies did extremely well, but since I was in pre-med and had planned to go to medical school, I sold the hardware company but kept driverupdate.com which I continued to run throughout medical school.

For much of medical school, I did not do any non-medical things other than run my tech support website. After medical school I entered training in Plastic Surgery, which was and is a field that I loved. However, at the beginning of the residency there were new regulations enacted about how many workhours residents could work. I saw an opportunity to create a SAAS product to help residency programs manage their residents, because there was literally nothing on the market at the time to document and track compliance.

As a surgical resident, I was constantly on call overnight. So I would take my laptop with me, and in every moment of downtime that I had I would program and program and program. We released the product online, and it was very very well received. Within 6 months we had over 15,000 medical residents that we were tracking and managing. Granted this was a significant pull on my time, and I had to make a decision. I realized that it was not feasible to be a surgeon as well as run a demanding business. So 1/2 way through my plastic surgery training, I made the switch over to Radiology. I was definitely more passionate about plastics, I truly loved it...but in the grand scheme I realized I needed a medical career with unlimited flexibility.

I chose to go for a Radiology specialty degree. Radiology as a residency was much much less demanding, and I was able to run this business throughout my residency and into practice. Ultimately this business was offloaded due to getting divorced...which I was really upset about, but that's how the cookie crumbles. After residency I joined a partnership, but I was able to craft a schedule that was 7 on/7 off. This gave me tons of time to pursue my business interests further, although after my divorce and losing my company in the process I was pretty down for several years and just kind of floated along doing my medical stuff.

Around 2015 I was trying to get out of my funk and so I did a search for Entrepreneur Forum, and that's how I ended up here. I joined several discussions, and then in 2016 got back on the Pony as it were and started programming again. Someone on the forum here told me that I was wasting my time, and I should leverage my time earning money in medicine and then hire people through upwork to do my programming for me....it was a valid point since I could pay for an entire weeks programming in an hour or 2 of my time doing medical stuff.

So I began outsourcing, I had some problems with the agency I was using, so I asked the guy working at the agency if he wanted to work for me directly. He started off working for me on nights and weekends. I wanted to make a stronger relationship with him, so I booked a ticket and flew over to Vietnam to meet him. While I was there I offered for him to come work for me full time, but he was understandably hesitant. However, about 4 months later, he was experiencing some issues with his bosses at work, and agreed to come work for me full time....I made it worth his while and doubled his salary, which only seemed fair to me because he was taking a risk leaving a job where he was the #3 person and had a long track record.

One thing led to another, and some of his friends from his old job also wanted to come work for me....so we created a corporation over in Vietnam. Our business model has been to do outsourced projects, as well as our own internal company projects for direct sale. We ended up building an office in Ho Chi Minh, and currently we have about 20 employees working full time for us.

In 2017 I quit my medical partnership, and started doing per diem medical work. The reason that I did this is that I wanted to have 100% control of my schedule. Now I work the days I want to work. I work anything from 0 to 20 days a month, but I try and average 100-120 days a year of medical work. If you select specialty such as Radiology, Anesthesiology, or Emergency Medicine you can easily setup something like this. Anything where you have actual recurring patients this will be nearly impossible. But the point is if you want to manage your medical career to fit your needs you have options so long as you plan correctly.

About a year ago I entered into a joint venture with some other very experienced and successful people in the Mortgage and Refinance space. We have been creating a SAAS product to meet some unmet needs within this space, I provide the technical side and they provide the marketing and insight into the industry....so far this has worked out very well, and I have high hopes the company will continue to grow and expand.

I don't see anything I have done as difficult or that unique. The only thing is that if you want to do things you have to put yourself out there and run with it. I have failed plenty, I've had several projects crash and burn. I'm sure I'll have additional failures and additional successes. But this is the one nice thing about having a foothold in medicine, you always have the security of that in the background. And if you setup your career path the right way you can have as much flexibility and time to pursue other things as you want.

One bonus of having a medical title behind your name, is that at times it will buy you credibility (often unwarranted) and access to some people that might be harder to get otherwise. People will tend to take you more seriously at times.

Best of luck to you.

Wow, nice write up. Any doctor here seeking a transition while not forsaking years of medical traning should read this. I'm going to mark it NOTABLE for this, plus the prior post by @Boogie.
 

Nik E

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Dec 14, 2021
4
7
I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but in almost all jobs people think they have to work too much. Yours is special in that it involves helping people through tough times, has specialized knowledge, and requires extra responsibility.

You didn't say what country you're in but being an MD can be very fastlane. It may depend on what you do with it.

I am not an MD. I'm generally a software guy.

I knew an MD who co-founded and was CEO of a health insurance company with a focus of providing the treatment doctors wanted. He also started a medical software company for MD's to fill in the blanks as they evaluate patients and then save the patient records and push prescriptions to the appropriate pharmacy. He has made a lot of money. He still practices as an internist.

Here's an example of a guy who is making bank with regenerative clinics. Genesis Lifestyle Medicine | Las Vegas, Henderson, Nashville, Greenville & Indianapolis
He was a doctor at a prison and moved on to having 9 clinics as he builds this business across the USA.

I have a multimillionaire friend whose husband does hand surgeries in the US. He has a very good practice with other orthopedic specialists.

I designed and developed mobile health software for visiting nurses to take to people's houses. The founder of that company was an MD. This was a large team effort. I designed a careplan builder, a patient teaching module, a distributed database, and I wrote drug interaction software, but that whole thing was his brainchild. He was an emergency room doc who took up bioinformatics and had a masters degree in it and wanted greater software standards and integration of standards for the health care software industry. We utilized the evolving standards to codify treatment for nurses doing home healthcare visits and incorporated them into a product. I honestly don't know how he did financially in that company. They got in over their heads with expansion in their company. I was in a group of consultants that was designing and building their core in St. Louis where it started, but they hired a bunch of guys in Georgia who to me were beyond their skill level. He ended up having to sell the company. But he ended up involved in the W3C standards committee.

Years prior to that I also wrote software for a group of doctors in a non-invasive cardiology department at a university. They made good money here in the USA because that skill is highly paid. The MD who ran our lab made $450k per year decades ago. I would think that we probably could have sold some byproduct of our software if we had been doing this outside of a university. We wrote software to evaluate both exercise ECG's and resting ECG's for different clinical trials. I was supposedly the first person to use something called the Minnesota Code (which was a way to rank ECG measurements) in an automated serial manner to tell if heart disease was progressing or regressing in patients involved in thrombolitic therapy health trials and trials involving evaluation of outcomes of bypass surgery vs angioplasty. Unfortunately, I left the university to go to take a corporate job and my name was pulled off the paper before it was published. The reward for loyalty there was being put on papers. It was kind of funny since I wrote every bit of that code and designed the database and someone else took my co-author slot.

Many MD's in the USA get involved in creating medical products either as their job or as a side gig as a consultant. Here, that can be very lucrative if you have the right mix of experience for the company.

My nephew knew someone (not sure if he was an MD) who designed some sort of neck immobilizer to be used for accidents many years ago. It was better than what had been there because it was some sort of foam that was disposable and relatively inexpensive to replace. Again, I have no idea how well it did, but it's just an example of the kinds of thinking people do to come up with companies.

I met a guy who was not an MD, but he created a plastic sled that could be used to put a deer on after hunting to pull it out of the woods. He also realized that it could be used in buildings to pull injured people to safety in case someone had to be moved quickly like terrorist victims or whatever. You just never know what kinds of things you could update or repurpose to fit into your industry or to move to a different industry or discipline.

In any case, there are definitely things that you might be able to find to do with your MD. It's a great specialized skill. Congratulations for having it.
Thank you very much for your reply @Boogie !

By working too much, I meant the amount of work that starts to affect your health and relationships, which then also affects the quality of your work, and the way you treat your patients.

I am from Croatia, and we have a universal healthcare system, so the opportunities here might be a bit different. Its main downside is that people have to wait for years to get some checkups, due to the shortage of doctors in the public healthcare system and the government not really doing much about it except talking about making a reform, while using silly regulations to keep all the doctors chained to the public system just to keep it alive. Some private clinics are thriving. Most doctors and nurses just go abroad. Problem with private healthcare is that most people here simply can't afford it, but the future of our system is still uncertain, and at this point everything seems to be at the brink of collapsing. So from the fastlane perspective, there is a lot of room for improvement, which is a good thing.

The stories you shared are very valuable for broadening my perspective. I have always envied you software guys for having endless choices and directions you can take, but I am starting to realize we all do. I feel very thankful for finding this pool of wisdom and knowledge.
 
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Nik E

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Dec 14, 2021
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Although I don't really discuss it much on this board, but I am an MD. Up until COVID I never really discussed my medical background here at all, but during the early days especially I was involved in many different discussions here. I also have been fortunate to personally know MJ as well as many of the other long time members on the board here, and these personal friends know my background and history.

Granted I live in the USA, so the dynamics may be different in your country. But, I have found medicine to be a great adjunct to business. Based on your age, I assume you are a newly minted MD, possibly in residency training. Either way, you can make some decisions about your career and easily have the financial benefits without the time constraints many physicians have.

I'll tell you my story, because you might find it useful, and hopefully it can help you design a dual life to allow you to do what you want.

Although I went to medical school, I have always been very interested in technology. However, everything I know is 100% self taught, I have never had any technology or computer class in my life. I think this is important, because especially with the internet today anyone has the opportunity to learn any skills or gain any knowledge they need. I'm a tad older than you, 46...so early on most of what I learned was from books.

During college, as a side hustle I started working on peoples computers, which led to me upgrading them, and then finally starting a computer company building them. This was the very early internet days (early 90's). To promote this business I built a database of computer hardware companies with tech support links and drivers. It was called driverupdate.com, and it completely blew up on me. It was one of the primary go to websites for tech support at the time and we had massive traffic to it. I basically used this site to advertise our computer hardware company. Both companies did extremely well, but since I was in pre-med and had planned to go to medical school, I sold the hardware company but kept driverupdate.com which I continued to run throughout medical school.

For much of medical school, I did not do any non-medical things other than run my tech support website. After medical school I entered training in Plastic Surgery, which was and is a field that I loved. However, at the beginning of the residency there were new regulations enacted about how many workhours residents could work. I saw an opportunity to create a SAAS product to help residency programs manage their residents, because there was literally nothing on the market at the time to document and track compliance.

As a surgical resident, I was constantly on call overnight. So I would take my laptop with me, and in every moment of downtime that I had I would program and program and program. We released the product online, and it was very very well received. Within 6 months we had over 15,000 medical residents that we were tracking and managing. Granted this was a significant pull on my time, and I had to make a decision. I realized that it was not feasible to be a surgeon as well as run a demanding business. So 1/2 way through my plastic surgery training, I made the switch over to Radiology. I was definitely more passionate about plastics, I truly loved it...but in the grand scheme I realized I needed a medical career with unlimited flexibility.

I chose to go for a Radiology specialty degree. Radiology as a residency was much much less demanding, and I was able to run this business throughout my residency and into practice. Ultimately this business was offloaded due to getting divorced...which I was really upset about, but that's how the cookie crumbles. After residency I joined a partnership, but I was able to craft a schedule that was 7 on/7 off. This gave me tons of time to pursue my business interests further, although after my divorce and losing my company in the process I was pretty down for several years and just kind of floated along doing my medical stuff.

Around 2015 I was trying to get out of my funk and so I did a search for Entrepreneur Forum, and that's how I ended up here. I joined several discussions, and then in 2016 got back on the Pony as it were and started programming again. Someone on the forum here told me that I was wasting my time, and I should leverage my time earning money in medicine and then hire people through upwork to do my programming for me....it was a valid point since I could pay for an entire weeks programming in an hour or 2 of my time doing medical stuff.

So I began outsourcing, I had some problems with the agency I was using, so I asked the guy working at the agency if he wanted to work for me directly. He started off working for me on nights and weekends. I wanted to make a stronger relationship with him, so I booked a ticket and flew over to Vietnam to meet him. While I was there I offered for him to come work for me full time, but he was understandably hesitant. However, about 4 months later, he was experiencing some issues with his bosses at work, and agreed to come work for me full time....I made it worth his while and doubled his salary, which only seemed fair to me because he was taking a risk leaving a job where he was the #3 person and had a long track record.

One thing led to another, and some of his friends from his old job also wanted to come work for me....so we created a corporation over in Vietnam. Our business model has been to do outsourced projects, as well as our own internal company projects for direct sale. We ended up building an office in Ho Chi Minh, and currently we have about 20 employees working full time for us.

In 2017 I quit my medical partnership, and started doing per diem medical work. The reason that I did this is that I wanted to have 100% control of my schedule. Now I work the days I want to work. I work anything from 0 to 20 days a month, but I try and average 100-120 days a year of medical work. If you select specialty such as Radiology, Anesthesiology, or Emergency Medicine you can easily setup something like this. Anything where you have actual recurring patients this will be nearly impossible. But the point is if you want to manage your medical career to fit your needs you have options so long as you plan correctly.

About a year ago I entered into a joint venture with some other very experienced and successful people in the Mortgage and Refinance space. We have been creating a SAAS product to meet some unmet needs within this space, I provide the technical side and they provide the marketing and insight into the industry....so far this has worked out very well, and I have high hopes the company will continue to grow and expand.

I don't see anything I have done as difficult or that unique. The only thing is that if you want to do things you have to put yourself out there and run with it. I have failed plenty, I've had several projects crash and burn. I'm sure I'll have additional failures and additional successes. But this is the one nice thing about having a foothold in medicine, you always have the security of that in the background. And if you setup your career path the right way you can have as much flexibility and time to pursue other things as you want.

One bonus of having a medical title behind your name, is that at times it will buy you credibility (often unwarranted) and access to some people that might be harder to get otherwise. People will tend to take you more seriously at times.

Best of luck to you.
Thank you so much for sharing your story and taking your time to write it @GIlman !
I really admired people who had side jobs while studying medicine, I cannot imagine having the energy to do so, I was quite depressed and lost during university years, so I mostly spent free time in nature or doing something creative to soothe my soul.
I am from Croatia, and our public healthcare system doesn't allow a lot of flexibility, and the private sector is still developing and the future of both are quite uncertain at this point, as debt is accumulating and experts are leaving the country, and at the same time most people can't afford private healthcare.
I am currently working in prehospital emergency medicine (we don't have paramedics, but doctors and nurses in the ambulance vehicles) and most doctors after university do so for a short time before choosing a residency. The trouble with residency contracts here is that you are obliged to work for the hospital that you signed the contract with, usually for the next 5 years after residency. If you quit, you have to give them back a large sum of money. Which means being forced to stay in the same institution for at least 10 years. Not to mention that almost all my colleagues that did so are quite unhappy, and are being exploited, for salary that is not nearly worth it, in my opinion.
So currently, I am ok with being where I am, collecting experience, and not in a hurry to sell my soul to some hospital. But I guess some form of change is coming, because with our brain drain things are becoming unsustainable. Maybe then I will choose some residency, if the conditions are better.

I was unsure about becoming a doctor in the first place, but as you say, the title gives you credibility and a secure job, which I am now thankful for. But seeing people that took that "standard" medical path in my country, it seems to me that too many of them are frustrated, and that is not how I want to end up. I come from a slowlane background and environment, and I did my best in that setting, but sensed something was wrong.
Reading TMF was my very own "Lamborghini moment" from the book - a realization that my life does not have to be average. As I am a beginner, stories like yours are very inspiring. Currently I am educating myself in business and finance as much as I can, it is something I found boring my whole life, but it suddenly changed. This forum is amazing, so much to learn here. Thanks @MJ DeMarco ! I hope that one day I also have a success story to share.
 

MDelete

New Contributor
Jan 17, 2022
1
1
Thanks a lot for this topic, it just helped me in a period of doubts. I'm also an MD who quit his job, and maybe my story can help some too.

I started my medical school spending half my time learning how to code. It has been very hard to keep these two passions alive during my whole training. My target has always been to mix computer science and medicine. I quickly launched a SaaS on my free time, which aimed to dematerialize graduate tests with specific features dedicated to medicine. I did this on my own and talked about it with almost no one. So I had absolutly no clue if my skills and my creation were valuable at all. But without any marketing (not even heard about SEO then), I got 3K subscriptions the first month! I discoverd after that there was no real challenger on the market at this time (around year 2005). But if I had asked anyone about the project or just googled enough to find some beautiful landing page about similar projects, I probably never would have launched this SaaS: so just do it and see if it works! and don't focus on competitors.

Then it got complicated. My code was a mess, written in a month between midnight and 6am. Hopefully there were not that many bugs but the whole thing was not written to scale up to thousands concurrent users (poorly optimized). It was not possible to keep both worlds upfloat anymore. Some medicine professors heard about my story and offered to discuss. I met these great professors full of charism and experience and they all told me that my priority should be studying medicine, that my skills would be more profitable in this domain. I didn't really thought about it and just applied their advises. So I did the minimum to make current customers happy : adding expensive servers to assure scalability whatever the cost, closing new subscriptions to shut down the whole projet and paying few devs to fix some bugs.

I realized much later that it was a huge mistake. Even if it probably wasn't THE project of my life, that could have been a temporary ticket for financial independance, or a source of investment for something bigger. And until now I struggle to replicate this success. Today I would rather have paused my studies to make this project stable enough before continuing.

I kept coding small apps during the rest of my studies as a freelance and was promised by these same professors that, one day, I'll be allowed to participate to great projects with them. During these years I've taught thousands of useless details about rare deseases, and a few concrete elements on how to cure daily patients. Hopefully, I discovered the semiology (the science of examining real patients with your hands) and the amazing value it can provide to diagnose diseases. This knowledge made me choose a medical specialty accordingly. What a surprise when I did my first year of practice: 80% of my time was spent in administrative tasks! I managed to keep contact with patients by doing a lot of overtime at the cost of my private life. The rythm was so inhuman, I had to find an exit.

I then reached the professors I knew since my SaaS experiment and started to work in their teams. Sadly, nothing came up from this. They were tight to the academic research rules, meaning that if it cannot be published, you are not allowed to work on it. So as soon we published a PoC in a scientific article to answer a call for tenders, we had to move on prematurly. All these papers make great resume but don't cure people.

All these years to end like this? It was unacceptable!
I turned my practice to public health, with a new goal: to free our practionners from administrative tasks and give them their patients back! I think a huge part of healthcare degradation in my country is caused by this phenomenon. I've been studying the problem for many years now, and found a theoritical solution that would imply AI and Big Data. I took me 2 years to create a prototype and got great results. I showed it internally to my peers and hierarchy: I was allowed to continue this work if it could fit into a call for tenders to finance it. Nice! But wait... how can you fit a gamechanger idea into a list of very niche calls? Waiting for the right call was like trying to win the lottery. The only way to get it financed by a call would be to ask the board who write them to think about my idea, which is of course forbidden (would result in a conflict interest). Even if I've seen big research teams using this path to win calls, I was very reluctant to do so for ethical reasons. Instead, I used my network to submit to a specific board the following idea: could they make a call broader enough to allow original ideas in a specific domain? And it worked, the call was published. We submitted the project, waited, and lost the call. One more occasion to learn from failure? Of course but from a new perspective: the dice was rigged. All selected projects were poorly written and came from one unique team which a former member is now at the head of the board who made the call. So what did I learned here? As MJ DeMarco said in Unscripted : your work should not depend on elements over which you have no control.

So I quit my job with the intent to fullfill my idea from the outside. I've been doing so for 4 years now but it was harder than expected. First, I had no more income. I started working as freelance dev which gave me decent revenue and left me bunch of time to work on my project. Then I had to rebuild my project from scratch (because of IP tied to my previous job, but I was allowed to recreate it). Finally, I had no more access to clinical data that healthcare environment could provide, meaning I had to generate huge amount of fake data. I tried to sell the MVP with a small team of devs to healthcare facilities. They all were very interesting by the projet but I got many different exit speech like: "hey, there is no budget line in which this amazing product can fit by its nature!" or "I think we've got this other editor with which we have an exclusive partnership that may cover this field, even if they have nothing to offer in this domain" (strange but usual...). But still.. this idea is working! I know it can change a lot the way we practice medicine.

A this time, I was out of ideas. I made a break with the project and aimed for lucrative occupations which would buy me more time once back to the project. On day on a whim, I decided to create a fake one page website to offer a niche service to practitionners (something that could easily be reproduced by anyone). It had few lines of text describing the service, few royalty free pictures and a contact form. I published it and put the link in a very old forum in which the subject was discussed 10 years ago (had to go to 5th page on google results to find this). The next hour I got 5 emails. I still don't understand how it happened, the site wasn't indexed by Google at the moment. So the next few days I transformed the fake website into a real one and customers were buying it. The next few months I made 2-3 times my previous income as an MD. Once again the scaling problem striked, with one major issue: this service cannot be fully automatid. The following year I was overhelmed by orders with up to 5 times my previous income. After 6 months I doubled the price and managed to keep the same revenue with only half of the orders and tried to automate what could be. Then orders kept increasing up to some point, and then decreased a lot.
In the meantime I discovered Unscripted and thought: at last! All of this is not a delusion, some have been through the same. It helped me a lot to put words on phenomenon I encountered and to focus on what matter the most. Then it was obvious that this side project was a mistake: I was aiming for money (value was there, but not the primary goal here) which somehow could explain the lost of customers. It was a very small niche and with a service that cannot scale. Wrong, wrong and wrong!

I now have plenty of new ideas to sell this product to healthcare facilities and am testing them right now.

One last thing helped me to focus back on on my main project: with the time I forgot how medicine is itself a high barrier entrance. I still have to cross some of it, but the whole training and field experience is part of it and is already behind. This topic helped me remember this, thanks for that!

Edit: as it was my first post here, I received the instructions to create a dedicated topic for my introduction just after submiting it. Oops. Feel free to move it in a new topic @MJ DeMarco.
 
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