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Personal branding and Side Hustle - website, youtube channel, life coaching

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  • Personal branding and Side Hustle - website, youtube channel, life coaching

    Hey everyone,

    I'm a Psych PGY-1 going to PGY-2 and have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. I envision my long-term game plan to have some component of fully owning my own practice with a emphasis on telepsych. It is my hospital policy that I cannot moonlight until PGY-3, otherwise I was going to try and launch an online telepysch business sooner than later.

    In the mean time, I wanted to start a side hustle to pay off some of my loans!! I thought I would begin by branding myself and start selling pre-med consulting services and life coaching type stuff. I've already registered the domain name "Doctor Sandor Clegane . com".

    What I wanted to know, was if I were to start this business and start social media accounts like Instagram, SnapChat, TikTok, etc.; and also a YouTube channel as "Doctor Sandor Clegane" -- as long as I made it explicitly clear that I am not offering medical advice, would it be acceptable to brand myself as "Doctor Sandor Clegane" and talk about topics on Youtube such as the pre-med process, health, fitness, psychological well-being, "Wellness," etc.?

    I also wanted to ask your advice generally about things I should know or be aware of, or issues to consider while I undertake this endeavor. Thanks.

  • #2
    Maybe someone else can chime in as well but as long as you’re not offering medical advice there’s no harm of branding yourself as a doctor on social media.

    You would just be another social media “influencer”.

    Look into your residency contract to make sure there’s nothing else that could be a conflict of interest. Case in point Dr Eugene Gu (but that’s a whole other rabbit hole).

    Otherwise if you’re an influencer then there’s possibly a lot of stuff you can write off on your taxes. Then you can sell out and get sponsorships/ad revenue as well as you get more followers.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't see any problem in providing coaching services as long as you make it very clear that it it not medical advice. Any indications of clients requiring medication or psychotherapy need to be referred for treatment. I would check with your state to be sure that certification is not required for coaching. It is not required in most states.

      I have a telehealth coaching practice for pain management coaching and physician coaching. I have been winding down my psychotherapy practice while transitioning to to coaching so I can assist people while I snowbird in Costa Rica. I don't need to continue working, but I love it and coaching allows me to work around the state licensing requirement of sitting in my state while treating patients.

      Social media, including youtube and blogging are a great way to get your name out. I have been busy, so I haven't put in the time or effort, but it seems worthwhile. I would recommend having a blog with your associated website which may help lead clients toward you. I have several websites which are geared toward general pain management coaching, CRPS/RSD coaching and physicianlife. coach websites which have helped direct clients through google searches. On these sights, I clearly delineate between coaching and psychotherapy. I also explain the benefits of having an experienced psychologist as a coach, vs a coach that can pays for a 'Certification" with no real requirements or experience. This should give you a leg up on competing coaches.

      In addition to reviewing your residency contact as Nysoz recommends, You need to confirm that your malpractice covers coaching services. This is not a risk worth taking.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nysoz View Post
        Maybe someone else can chime in as well but as long as you’re not offering medical advice there’s no harm of branding yourself as a doctor on social media.

        You would just be another social media “influencer”.

        Look into your residency contract to make sure there’s nothing else that could be a conflict of interest. Case in point Dr Eugene Gu (but that’s a whole other rabbit hole).

        Otherwise if you’re an influencer then there’s possibly a lot of stuff you can write off on your taxes. Then you can sell out and get sponsorships/ad revenue as well as you get more followers.
        Thanks- do you know think this means that I should form an LLC or something then, for the tax write-off stuff? I am not familiar with how being an influencer would allow me to write anything off on taxes. Do you know, or could you point me towards a resource?

        I just re-read my residency contract. Nothing at all that could be applicable, except "resident agrees not to pursue any activity which materially intereferes with their successfully carrying out training duties" and "at all times act in a professional manner, indicative of good moral character, and comply with the standards of ethics applicable to the resident's profession."

        Ok that Eugene Gu thing is mind-blowing on so many levels.... I don't intend to get mixed up with anything too controversial, none of the social justice stuff, or really anything beyond pre-med coaching, wellness, life coaching, etc.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by PainShrink View Post
          I don't see any problem in providing coaching services as long as you make it very clear that it it not medical advice. Any indications of clients requiring medication or psychotherapy need to be referred for treatment. I would check with your state to be sure that certification is not required for coaching. It is not required in most states.

          I have a telehealth coaching practice for pain management coaching and physician coaching. I have been winding down my psychotherapy practice while transitioning to to coaching so I can assist people while I snowbird in Costa Rica. I don't need to continue working, but I love it and coaching allows me to work around the state licensing requirement of sitting in my state while treating patients.

          Social media, including youtube and blogging are a great way to get your name out. I have been busy, so I haven't put in the time or effort, but it seems worthwhile. I would recommend having a blog with your associated website which may help lead clients toward you. I have several websites which are geared toward general pain management coaching, CRPS/RSD coaching and physicianlife. coach websites which have helped direct clients through google searches. On these sights, I clearly delineate between coaching and psychotherapy. I also explain the benefits of having an experienced psychologist as a coach, vs a coach that can pays for a 'Certification" with no real requirements or experience. This should give you a leg up on competing coaches.

          In addition to reviewing your residency contact as Nysoz recommends, You need to confirm that your malpractice covers coaching services. This is not a risk worth taking.
          thanks for the reply. My malpractice does not cover anything outside of clinical duties connected with my official duties at my hospital. I don't understand how life coaching or pre-med consulting would be applicable to medical malpractice in any way, could you tell me your thought process on this? thanks

          Comment


          • #6
            I’m sure there are online resources out there. Not sure if you need an llc or not.

            Things you can potentially write off, especially if you actively seek to make money off online stuff as a youtuber.

            Computer expenses, microphone, cameras, home office, internet, website fees, video editing software, advertising. Basically anything that is used in your business. Make sure you talk to your own cpa and all that stuff.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SandorClegane View Post

              thanks for the reply. My malpractice does not cover anything outside of clinical duties connected with my official duties at my hospital. I don't understand how life coaching or pre-med consulting would be applicable to medical malpractice in any way, could you tell me your thought process on this? thanks
              My concern is about being sued if a client commits suicide or harms someone. Although it is not medical treatment or psychotherapy, that would not preclude a family member, for example, from suing. You could check where to find liability coverage for coaches. I'm sure it is available, and would at least cover defense costs.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SandorClegane View Post

                Thanks- do you know think this means that I should form an LLC or something then, for the tax write-off stuff? I am not familiar with how being an influencer would allow me to write anything off on taxes. Do you know, or could you point me towards a resource?

                I just re-read my residency contract. Nothing at all that could be applicable, except "resident agrees not to pursue any activity which materially intereferes with their successfully carrying out training duties" and "at all times act in a professional manner, indicative of good moral character, and comply with the standards of ethics applicable to the resident's profession."

                Ok that Eugene Gu thing is mind-blowing on so many levels.... I don't intend to get mixed up with anything too controversial, none of the social justice stuff, or really anything beyond pre-med coaching, wellness, life coaching, etc.
                From what I’ve read, an LLC would be of no benefit. You’ll be able to use the same deductions as a sole proprietor. The LLC is for liability protection and you should have an insurance policy covering your professional services.

                Please consider a relationship with a CPA experienced in working with small businesses, particularly physicians who come from WCI (there is a world of difference). S/he w/b your best and most concise resource.
                Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

                Comment


                • #9
                  you are entering a very crowded space.

                  it's going to be very hard to stand out and generate real revenue as a junior resident. not to be a jerk, but junior residents tend to benefit from coaching, not offer it to others.

                  the chance that you are going to make money at this is very low, the chance that trying to become a social media influencer could harm your reputation as a resident are not as low.

                  as a psychiatry resident/life coach i think your line between "life coaching" and medical advice is going to be very blurry and therefore likely problematic with your GME office. when does coaching become psychotherapy? i don't know and you will have a bad incentive to not have a clear sense either. having done a lot of resident supervision in my day i can tell you that if you want to even dip a toe in this water you need to make sure you have all your ducks in a row with residency -- logs, evals, quizzes, etc. when residents are not performing a very early step in the coaching process is strongly suggesting (very strongly) that they declare a moratorium on side projects. if you aren't doing your case logs, you don't get to try to run a website.

                  i would buckle down and focus all of your energy on residency if i were you. this is a moderate risk/low reward scenario for you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PainShrink View Post
                    I don't see any problem in providing coaching services as long as you make it very clear that it it not medical advice. Any indications of clients requiring medication or psychotherapy need to be referred for treatment. I would check with your state to be sure that certification is not required for coaching. It is not required in most states.

                    I have a telehealth coaching practice for pain management coaching and physician coaching. I have been winding down my psychotherapy practice while transitioning to to coaching so I can assist people while I snowbird in Costa Rica. I don't need to continue working, but I love it and coaching allows me to work around the state licensing requirement of sitting in my state while treating patients.

                    Social media, including youtube and blogging are a great way to get your name out. I have been busy, so I haven't put in the time or effort, but it seems worthwhile. I would recommend having a blog with your associated website which may help lead clients toward you. I have several websites which are geared toward general pain management coaching, CRPS/RSD coaching and physicianlife. coach websites which have helped direct clients through google searches. On these sights, I clearly delineate between coaching and psychotherapy. I also explain the benefits of having an experienced psychologist as a coach, vs a coach that can pays for a 'Certification" with no real requirements or experience. This should give you a leg up on competing coaches.

                    In addition to reviewing your residency contact as Nysoz recommends, You need to confirm that your malpractice covers coaching services. This is not a risk worth taking.
                    I don't know much about coaching but the little I do know it seems they often use cbt or MI. So I'm kind of confused as to how life coaching isn't therapy? I honestly thought it was just a way to do therapy with people who don't want to admit they're doing therapy. As a psychiatrist, I feel like I'm often providing life coaching to my patients but I just call it therapy. I really don't know how you tease out the difference.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wideopenspaces View Post

                      I don't know much about coaching but the little I do know it seems they often use cbt or MI. So I'm kind of confused as to how life coaching isn't therapy? I honestly thought it was just a way to do therapy with people who don't want to admit they're doing therapy. As a psychiatrist, I feel like I'm often providing life coaching to my patients but I just call it therapy. I really don't know how you tease out the difference.
                      Yes, there is a fine line between psychotherapy and coaching. There is a significant amount of overlap, especially with CBT. You are correct, there is a lot of coaching in psychotherapy.

                      Coaching is more proactive, goal oriented and client directed than psychotherapy. It helps clients to focus on where they are presently, what they want to change and how to achieve those goals. A coach helps one to identify and develop skills, clarify goals and create an action plan. It also creates a level of accountability.

                      For my pain management coaching, for example, I provide the same level of pain management education (understanding the chronic pain cycle, pacing, prioritizing, behavioral management of flares) and focus more on empowerment. Likewise, for physician coaching, we focus on burnout, life balance, communication, goals, etc. I am clear that treatment with a psychiatrist or psychologist may also be required if there is significant mental health diagnosis or medication requirement.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Looks like you are trying to be the next "Dr. Mike".

                        Honest question, how many people actually pay money for a "life coach"?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "branding myself and start selling pre-med consulting services and life coaching type stuff."

                          Just playing devil's advocate, no offense intended.
                          Branding - good idea to start formulating a plan.
                          Pre-med consulting services- experience is one real life pre-med experience.
                          Life coaching - one year of residency (assume much more training and personal experience to be gained)

                          I wonder what the value and program based upon training and experience you actually are selling. Anecdotally, Student doctor dot net has many of these types of forums and questions. I found my son offering advice on SDN as a high school sophomore! His older sister was exploring the med school application process taking the pre-med courses. Yes, I stopped it.

                          You are offering "consulting" for which you want to sell your time. You are the solution based upon limited experience, but it is a solution in search of a "problem". How are you going to find people that have that "problem" and are willing to pay?
                          There are a ton of "consultants" for pre-med. How is your pre-med or life coaching more valuable than my son's advice? No professional qualifications needed for the services you describe.

                          I have one friend that runs an admissions coaching service for the top MBA programs. The difference is he has a top MBA and an actual service and network of connections with the top MBA schools and partners that each have graduated and a minimum of 10 years independent success.

                          I have another friend that has a side gig (psychiatrist) that he and a top b school partner that provide C-suite team building 1 day programs.

                          I clearly see the value to you, I suggest you focus on the value of the "consulting gig" you are selling. The time it takes to work through the details of life or the pre-med process in order to provide meaningful advice on an individual basis is significant. It will be tough to get people to pay for a chance to talk with you for an hour.

                          More meat on your services is the primary point. MPMD gave very good advice. He has provided the "consulting services" in real life to real med-school applicants and residents. Including making career choices and how to transition to an attending position. Finish your residency seems to be sound advice.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jfoxcpacfp View Post

                            From what I’ve read, an LLC would be of no benefit. You’ll be able to use the same deductions as a sole proprietor. The LLC is for liability protection and you should have an insurance policy covering your professional services.

                            Please consider a relationship with a CPA experienced in working with small businesses, particularly physicians who come from WCI (there is a world of difference). S/he w/b your best and most concise resource.
                            Thanks, do you have any recommendations of such CPAs? Also do you have any insight into the liability issue - as a sole proprietor would I need to have liability insurance also? What about malpractice insurance like PainShrink above mentioned?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MPMD View Post
                              you are entering a very crowded space.

                              it's going to be very hard to stand out and generate real revenue as a junior resident. not to be a jerk, but junior residents tend to benefit from coaching, not offer it to others.

                              the chance that you are going to make money at this is very low, the chance that trying to become a social media influencer could harm your reputation as a resident are not as low.

                              as a psychiatry resident/life coach i think your line between "life coaching" and medical advice is going to be very blurry and therefore likely problematic with your GME office. when does coaching become psychotherapy? i don't know and you will have a bad incentive to not have a clear sense either. having done a lot of resident supervision in my day i can tell you that if you want to even dip a toe in this water you need to make sure you have all your ducks in a row with residency -- logs, evals, quizzes, etc. when residents are not performing a very early step in the coaching process is strongly suggesting (very strongly) that they declare a moratorium on side projects. if you aren't doing your case logs, you don't get to try to run a website.

                              i would buckle down and focus all of your energy on residency if i were you. this is a moderate risk/low reward scenario for you.
                              You raise valid points and I certainly appreciate them. My goal isn't to make a boat load of money as a junior resident, but to begin the long process of branding myself as I begin my entrepreneurial journey. While I do hope to make some money, I am more interested in the process of starting a business as preparation for future endeavors.

                              Though I am a junior resident, I am in my mid 30s now, having come to medicine after a fairly successful but unfulfilling career in sales and marketing. I do believe I have value to offer pre-meds, especially non-traditional pre-meds; though I concede the space is crowded. I don't really want to be an "influencer" in the sense that I want to have tik tok videos and all; and I really don't want to weigh in on current events; just want to put myself out there and my value proposition and have students or people interested in my pre-med consulting or possibly life coaching be able to use my services. I take your point about the line between coaching and psychotherapy being blurry, though I hope that if I act in good faith and honesty that this wouldn't create a headache for anyone. So far, I am up to date on all my residency obligations including quizzes, evals, etc. I believe I am currently handling my residency obligations very well, and would definitely priority residency after all else.

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