The Best Side Hustles for Doctors, Lawyers, and Other Professionals
Nearly one in three American workers earn income through independent work and the “gig economy,” according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute. This sector of the economy is largely associated with the likes of freelance writers, Uber drivers, and people doing odd jobs on platforms like TaskRabbit. But recently, more and more people with advanced degrees — among them doctors, lawyers, consultants, and other professionals — are finding opportunities to gig their way to a new income stream.
The top 10 lawyers on the platform earned about $250,000 on average in 2016.
After you sign up and provide documentation proving you’re active and in good standing, approval time ranges from 24 hours to a couple of weeks.
If You’re a Therapist…Talkspace
Talkspace was founded in 2012 by a couple who saved their marriage through therapy, then wanted to help others overcome barriers to marriage counseling — including cost, convenience and stigma. Here’s how it works: Clients pay for different subscription levels, then write as much as they want to a therapist using secure, HIPAA-compliant text messaging. Therapists respond twice a day. It’s also possible to leave video and audio clips, as well as schedule live video. (The cheapest subscription option is $128 per month, which allows speaking with a therapist up to five days a week.)
“As a therapist myself, it’s been really cool because I get a much more holistic view of someone’s life when I hear from them every day,” says Shannon McFarlin, director of clinical experience at Talkspace. The average number of clients per therapist is about 30, and therapists are paid roughly 50 percent of their clients’ subscription costs. Since not every client writes daily, the average therapist ends up sending about 15 responses per day, says McFarlin. Close to 1,500 therapists now work with the company as independent contractors, and the onboarding process begins with a routine background and license check. Then, there’s a four- to six-week training program for translating face-to-face skills to an online format (you’ll get your first paying clients during this period). It’s followed by being part of an orientation group for 60 days with a community of other new therapists and senior members who can answer questions.
If You’re a Consultant: Catalant
If you’re a consultant of any kind, it’s likely you’ll be able to find a side gig “home” in Catalant, which markets itself as a community of independent consultants or boutique consulting firms. Over 40,000 experts in fields including business development, sales, corporate strategy, commercial operations, finance, marketing, and more are listed on the site. When it comes to making the green, you get to set your own rates. Consultants typically charge between $100 and $500 an hour depending on experience, and the website usually takes about 20 percent, says Andrea Black, director of supply at Catalant. As for the sign-up process, consultants fill out a profile, then let the website’s algorithm review it and match you with opportunities that match your expertise.
If You’re a Computer Programmer: Gigster
Gigster bills itself as a hub for the highest-quality software developers — particularly ones who have worked at tech giants or founded their own companies — and it’s known for specialized digital capabilities like machine learning programming and certain kinds of web architecture. Clients include IBM, Digit, Square, OpenTable, Mastercard and eBay.
You apply through the site to “become a Gigster” and they evaluate the quality of your work to see if it’s up to par. Full-time employees then match developers to projects, and interface a lot with the client so the developer doesn't have to. Programmers typically make anywhere from $500 (for taking on a small project) to $500,000 in a year. Projects are billed on a fixed-price basis (the project manager sets payments) with incentives for high-quality work, not for number of hours. The fee is taken from the companies that commission the work, while budget comes from a Gigster project manager.
If You Do Almost Anything Else: Upwork
Upwork is a hub for all sorts of freelance professionals: Web developers, designers and creatives, writers, virtual assistants, customer service agents, sales and marketing experts, accountants, and consultants. If your advanced degree didn’t fit into the other side gigs, it’ll likely fit here. There are about 12 million registered freelancers on the site who earn a collective $1 billion annually. Upwork takes 20 percent from each transaction you complete until you reach $500 (per client), says Shoshana Deutschkron, VP of Communications. After you’ve reached a total transaction history of $500 with a client, the fee goes down to 10 percent, and after a total of $10,000, it’ll decrease to 5 percent. The website also handles billing and offers a payment guarantee. As for onboarding, once you create a profile, you’ll hear if you’re accepted within about a day and can then add a portfolio of work or take skills tests to prove your qualifications.
With Hayden Field