Things to do when you're not in the clinic
If you decide to do some non-clinical work-consulting, writing, or starting a side business- you'll want to be able to keep track of your revenues and expenses and present yourself and your new business http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/articles/taxes/003797.html Here are some New Year's resolutions to get you started.
Create an LLC for your new business
Creating a Limited Liability Corporation for your new business allows you to keep track of revenue and expenses and do business independently from your medical practice. LLC's can usually be formed inexpensively by going to the website of the Secretary of State Business section and filing the form. Be sure the name of your new business is not already taken by someone else . Following that, contact your accountant and apply for an employer ID number (EID) from the IRS so you can use it when you file subsequent tax returns. Revenues (or losses) are passed through as personal income but will be accounted for separately.
Start a separate business account and get a credit card or debit card in the company name
Use the cards when you are buying things that are business related or spending money on business related expenses. If you really want to get fancy, integrate your account with Intuit (http://www.intuit.com) or online accounting software so you won't have to rummage through the proverbial shoebox at the end of your tax year.
Get separate business cards for every new business
Your medical professional business cards simply won't tell someone the new story. Get new ones and feel free to give yourself whatever title you'd like. Try not to get too cute. There are already lot's of Chief Innovation Officers and Directors or Imaginative Thought already out there. Also, keep the cards simple and easy to read with large font type that makes then usable in digital card readers. My favorite business card boo-boos are:
- You have no idea what this person does because the card is so cutesy,
- The person who gives it to you didn't include their e-mail addresses on the card, and
- The card has so many colors, designs and gimmicks that you can't use an optical character reader to enter it into your CRM (customer relations management) tracker.
Create a website
This is your chance to get really imaginative in creating your new identity. Readers of these posts have already been sent to the websites of my co-authors who are writers, kick-boxers and wine afficianados. Again, templated website services that are inexpensive, easy to design and maintain, and readily updatable are a good way to start (maybe the topic of another posting stream?) For an example of what I mean, check http://www.the-international-entrepreneur.com/
Craft your new pitch
At first it might seem awkward to introduce yourself as a business development consultant, not a head and neck surgeon. But, remember, the idea is to get people interested in what you do. After all, wasn't that the whole point of venturing out into a non-clinical interest?
Start a SEP
An article in the WSJ recently noted that profits can be sheltered in qualified retirement plans, and the 2010 rules remain relatively unchanged from 2009. For example, a corporate owner or self-employed person whose salary or net earnings are sufficient can contribute a maximum of $49,000 to a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) plan, scoring a tax deduction while saving for one's golden years. For more information, read "Retirement-Plan Options for Business Owners."
Up until now, you have probably organized your financial and professional affairs around your medical career. When you step out of the clinic, step into your new life with a new set of tools to keep track of your inevitable success.