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Sunday
Nov282010

5 Reasons For Physicians To Start An Online Business

Can you build an online business outside your medical career? An unequivocal YES!

When I started my business that originated from a hobby several years ago, I was only able to work on my internet business from 5am – 7:30am. Why those hours? The reason being, that was the only time period I had available outside of my clinical hours. Building a business these days is different from how it used to be. Today businesses can be built virtually with little overhead. Here are five reasons why you need to be starting an online business today.

1. An online business is inexpensive to startup. This isn’t the case with most medical practices. You can start a business with the price of a domain name (around $10 from Godaddy.com) and monthly hosting (such as from Hostgator.com). I have personally built businesses for the price of a cost of a good dinner for two.

2. An online business can be run from nearly anywhere. I have run a business from sitting at the back of a Starbucks, to flying at 30,000 feet with airplane wi-fi, to sitting on the beaches in Australia. Wherever you can bring a laptop and a decent internet connection, you can run the day-to-day your company – what other type of business can you say that about?

3. An online business can be outsourced. I have a physical office with less than 10 employees for my software company, however I also hire workers as independent contractors from around the world. I have writers who are based in the United Kingdom, programmers in Eastern Europe, and web designers in the Philippines. They all do quality work but they don’t need to be in my office for me to maintain it. You can work with independent contractors with sites such as elance.com or odesk.com  (For more resources check out my blog at IncomeMD.com)

4. An online business can start out small. Great websites start from simple ideas. Who would have thought businesses would have started from sending DVDs by mail (Netflix), project planning software (Basecamp), and coupons for local businesses (Groupon)? However, don’t feel you have to have a killer idea to start a sustainable business. Can you improve on an existing idea that will save people time and money?  If so you have the foundation for a successful business.

5. An online business can be scalable. Once you have an offer that works, you can grow your business in a systematic, simple approach. Most initial methods to market your practice can be done free or inexpensively, so there are fewer startup costs compared to a franchise or brick and motor company, and then you can reinvest your profits back in your business.  Unlike most practices, you no longer have to be the sole breadearner for your business. Hopefully this article sparks your imagination - I'd love to hear your ideas!

Reader Comments (1)

I agree that there are several opportunties for docs who want to start online businesses. However, a few caveats:

1. For a business to be profitably sustainable (assuming you are doing this to make money), it needs a business and revenue model that generates a profit. Several of us created our medical tourism/ travel company, www.medvoy.com , and we constantly tweek and change the model to identify how we can maximize revenue. Getting there might take several years and lots of effort.
2. Customers want lots of choices-bricks and mortar, catalogues,and online websites. We're all familiar with blockbuster stand alone websites like Amazon and eBay. The more digital the content, the less need for buildings and people.
3. What originally started as a sideline that might generate some additional income has evolved into a growing business requiring constant care and feeding. Be careful what you ask for.

Good luck with your online adventure.

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