How to Make Money in Medical School
Are you worried that your cash flow is less than 0.5ml/kg/hr? No stress.
In this article, I’ll let you in on some critical financial hints and tips to help you make some money during medical school and rehabilitate your bank balance from pathological to physiological in no time.
Here is a quick summary of everything I talk about in this article.
In a rush and need those tips STAT?
I’ve got you covered.
These are the main points of the article:
- Start a blog/Youtube channel – making regular and consistent online content is a great way to make money in the long run.
- Tutoring – taking on a few GCSE/A Level students, while daunting at first, could see you taking home plenty of cash.
- Selling services – using sites like Fiverr can earn you some much-needed £££.
Food for Thought
Before I start, I want to discuss some things you should consider before looking for an income in medical school.
If you are struggling to make ends meet (e.g. you can’t afford enough food or your uni accommodation is beyond your budget), you should seek help from your university’s finance department or pastoral team for assistance.
They may be able to offer a bursary, scholarship or even a small emergency grant if you are facing financial hardship.
This article should not be taken as financial advice. It is for education and entertainment purposes only. For financial guidance, please get in touch with professionals or your university advisors.
Do You Need the Money?
Yes, it is nice to have financial freedom, but studenthood – especially medical studenthood – has never been associated with being flush with cash.
Much as we hate to say it, your first taste of independence may be a little restricted by limited funds. It’s tough, but your autonomy as an adult learner comes with responsibilities. Sometimes this means saying no to the things you cannot afford or making compromises.
Additionally, you don’t want to fail your med school exams because you work 10+ hours weekly on a side hustle.
If you are getting enough money from other sources like a scholarship, grant or loan (or rich/ generous parents), then you need to decide if it is worth trying to earn extra cash.
When you graduate and start working as a doctor, you will most likely earn enough to get by (unless you’re in central London – our apologies). I agree that five or six years of medical school is a long time to wait, but perhaps there isn’t as much urgency as you think in trying to earn as much money as possible while you study.
Of course, if you enjoy earning money or have other financial goals beyond scraping by, that’s what I’m all about. Read on, future moneymaker!
Playing the Long Game
First, let’s talk about some of the best long-term strategies for earning money. In this section, I’ll discuss building a business from scratch to support your financial ambitions.
Don’t be scared, it’s easier than you think.
In life, it’s often true that the best way requires the hardest work. A Get Rich Quick scheme may sound appealing, but they are often too good to be true or could leave you worse off than when you started (looking at your MLMs). With grit, determination and motivation, you can begin building the foundations of a business while you’re still a student.
My personal experience in this area is, well, this blog you are reading. So, without further ado…
Why You Should Start Developing an Online Presence ASAP
An online presence will set you apart from your colleagues and allow you to build something unique. This could be a blog, curated Instagram shop or even a Youtube channel. Pick your passion and start creating content.
With this blog, I can tell you it’s a great feeling when people read your work and gain from your words of wisdom. Earning money through ad revenue is also good, opening the door to a passive income.
If you choose to start a blog or put out online content, you will have to put in a lot of effort upfront, but once those cogs start turning, you can let it run and earn cash for you in the background.
Sound like a good idea? I’d struggle to think of a better job in the world.
A sustainable passive income could be your ticket to financial flexibility, allowing you to decide how to work after graduation. From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow.
So, how do you go about planting those seeds?
Laying the Groundwork
Regardless of your platform, there are two main directions to take your content. You can choose the personal route and have your name as your brand. Or, you could have your online presence as a named brand (like Revising Rubies). There are advantages and disadvantages to whichever path you choose. You might prefer the anonymity of a brand name or the personal nature of putting yourself out there.
Now, that’s not to say you can only do one. There’s no reason why you can’t set up two separate sites for branded and more personal content. It depends on how much time you want to invest and what sort of content you like to produce.
Here are some of the advantages of using your name to start a business:
However, you might not want to put your name out there. So don’t worry! Building a standalone business has its own advantages.
Now, that’s not to say you can only do one.
For example, you could have a branded business like my friend’s Medmentor site (an excellent site for those applying to medical school), and still have a separate blog which is yourname.com.
It is up to you to decide how much time you can invest. If you feel like you can make a new blog post every day, then you can certainly do both and make a few pieces of content for each site weekly.
For most people, though, I recommend you pick one idea and stick to it. Once exams come around, you will be able to stay consistent and not feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do.
Blogging to Pay the Bills
Starting a blog may seem like a difficult way to earn money, and you are right. It isn’t easy. It’s not only the writing that is important – online design, editing, and content management are also challenging.
If you are creatively gifted, coming up with good ideas is where the fun begins. If not, don’t be dismayed.
There are other options – I particularly like looking at Google autocompletes and seeing if you are inspired (try typing “why do medical students” and see if you can answer the questions yourself). Regardless of your niche, I suggest you write at least 1500 words per blog post. This helps search engines rank you higher, making clicks more likely.
Be careful, though.
Going for obvious terms and topics could lead to issues. Common things are common – everyone and their aunt will have written a page or made a video about how to study as a medical student. If you go for these more apparent topics, you may find yourself lost a million miles deep into google along with everybody else.
Before this whole post becomes a how-to guide on blogging, I’ll hand over some extra resources if you’re interested in taking this route.
I suggest you check out the Income School YouTube channel, which provides some great insights into long-term money-making. Their video, The Complete Guide to Blogging for a Living, inspired me a few years ago.
YouTube Your Way to Riches
YouTube is where all the eyes are. It is the second biggest search engine after Google and has millions of watch hours daily. And – if you want your piece of the action – you don’t need any fancy equipment to get started.
How to Make YouTube Videos
I use a free software called iMovie on my MacBook to edit videos for the Revising Rubies YouTube channel. I bought two things before making videos: a £100 Blue Yeti microphone and a PowerPoint presentation allowing for fancy-looking slides.
However, you can get started for free using your phone’s camera and a willingness to learn a new skill.
You could even link your blog in the description of your YouTube videos, allowing users to find the website from sources other than Google.
Knowing how to present yourself on camera and edit videos is a skill which will undoubtedly be useful in the future. Combined with the potential for fast growth with lots of views and it’s a no-brainer to start a YouTube channel.
How Often to Upload
As a busy medical student, you probably want a side business that will not be too overwhelming. Therefore, spending 20+ hours making four videos weekly is not an option.
I personally only upload videos once a week.
This allows me to spend a reasonable amount of hours on each video while not getting too stressed about the university work I have to do.
If you want to upload twice a week, then go ahead. You can decide later if you want to reduce this.
This excellent video by Cathrin Manning tells you exactly how to get started with your channel.
Just Create Content
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what platform you use. You could even use websites like Medium to put your ideas.
The main thing is that you are creating valuable content over the long term. Once people trust you and engage with what you produce, the opportunities they will produce will genuinely blow your mind.
Critical Points for All Online Creators
Here are some tips to remember. If you keep these points in mind, half the battle is done.
- No one is watching your videos/reading your blog at the beginning – Use this to your advantage. You can be creative and try new things out, which you might not be able to do once you have an audience.
- Consistency is vital – You need to constantly be making something for a long time to see success. Don’t give up in the first few months because no one is watching your stuff.
- You have a lot to learn – Even after blogging for over a year, there are still soo many things that I need to learn. It is almost endless. Therefore, keep taking in information from different sources and researching new ways to do things. The more you know, the better you will do.
How Does All of This Result in Money?
So, after all that, you might still be thinking about making an income online. There are a large variety of ways to make an income.
Some of the most common ways include:
- Sponsorship deals
- Affiliate programs (e.g. Amazon links to products)
- Making an online course
All of these sources require one thing: an audience.
If you have a large enough audience, you can easily earn from them. The tricky part is getting that audience in the first place.
How Much Could You Realistically Make?
Many claim to earn millions of dollars from their blogs and YouTube channels.
Although there is no guarantee that you will get to that level of success, it is realistic that you can earn a full-time income within a few years of starting your journey.
For example, Ali Abdal only started his YouTube channel in 2017 but now has over a million subscribers as of writing.
Even if you could get to a fraction of that, you could still earn upwards of $1000 a month. From then on, it can grow exponentially.
If you want a breakdown of how much you can earn from YouTube, check out Ali Abdaal’s video, which talks in-depth about his earnings.
If you are more into the blogging side of things, here are some articles you can check out.
How Long Would It Take?
This isn’t easy to answer.
Although for most people, it would only take a couple of years to start building an audience, getting a sizable income from it may take a lot longer.
It is down to luck. But there are ways to improve your luck.
Uploading higher-quality content regularly is a surefire way to amass a large audience. Unfortunately, this often requires two things medical students don’t have: money and time.
But don’t worry. Even uploading once a month can get you success.
Mark Rober only produces 12 videos a year and gets upwards of 20 million views on each one (with his most viewed video being over 110 million views!
So to answer your question, it would probably take a couple of years before you could earn anything substantial.
You need to start with something.
There is no point in wasting your time saying that you will do it later. You won’t.
If you don’t have any money to spend but want a high-quality set-up, earn some via tutoring (which I will talk about later) and get a few hundred pounds saved up. Buy everything you need (whether a website or camera equipment) and just get started.
You won’t regret it.
Learning More About Making an Online Income
I haven’t gone into much depth, so here are some resources you can use if you are interested in taking this further.
- Income School’s video – The Complete Guide to Blogging for a Living
- Neil Patel’s article – How to Start a Blog That Generates $3817 a Month in 2020
Tutoring – The Go-to Job for Medics
Tutoring is one of the most popular ways for medical students to have a side hustle. It is perfect for someone who has smashed their exams and can easily attract high-paying customers willing to spend big on their kid’s education.
If you have decided that you don’t want to build an online business or need some quick cash, then tutoring is the best way to get a good income in medical school.
It is an easy job for a medic as you can do simple GCSE tutoring (or the equivalent for whichever country you are in) and earn up to £50 an hour.
That may seem unrealistic, but trust me, it is possible.
Of course, you cannot start with such a high hourly rate. Instead, you should start with £20-30 an hour and work your way up.
There are plenty of websites out there, depending on which country you are in. However, because most of the tutoring is now done online, you can tutor anyone in the world at any time.
Here are some of the websites that are good starting points:
- Tutorful (UK)
- Neraplatform (a new site made by the same people who make Medmentor)
These aren’t the only websites I would use, though.
To set yourself up for success, I suggest signing up for at least four websites. It will be a lot of work in the first week as you will have to make a profile for each. However, you can copy and paste a lot of the detailed information.
Just search Google “best tutoring websites”, and you will see which sites are currently ranking at the top. Those are the ones you want to be using as your potential customers will all be going there.
Here are some tips on maximising the income you gain from tutoring.
- Get a review from every person – After four successful lessons, you can safely ask for a good review from your student. In my experience, if you ask after you have finished tutoring, you are unlikely to get any response. This also makes it more likely for them to give you a good review.
- Focus on your current students – You may only have one or two students initially, but make sure you give them your full attention. Prepare notes for each lesson, and have a PowerPoint presentation made. Anything to make you stand out. They are much more likely to give good word-of-mouth reviews if you do this.
- Ask what other tutors did wrong – It is often the case that the student you are tutoring has already tried out tutors in the past. Ask them what they didn’t like about those tutors and see that you don’t make the same mistakes as them.
- Have a fantastic profile – Your profile is the first thing your students will see. If you have a picture of you in scruffy clothing and only a few lines in your bio, you aren’t going to catch anyone’s eye. Look at what other people have done and see what the best have done. Take inspiration from them and turn your profile into a showcase of how awesome you are.
Providing Services – Fiverr, Uber and More
There are plenty of ways to earn money besides starting a business and tutoring. It might be difficult, but you can easily earn upwards of $5,000 a year from these service jobs.
There are plenty of other short-term strategies that can earn you some money in medical school.
Think about the skills that you have.
You might not feel like you have any, but remember, you are a medical student! You have plenty of skills. Even if you don’t, there are so many free resources for you to learn from online.
Fiverr is a place where you can sell your services online.
Those services could include:
- Editing people’s writing/videos
- Coding for a website/app
- Making a website
- Language translations
- Providing audio voice-overs
- Even couching people at Fortnite!
The possibilities are endless.
And the great thing is that as you build your reviews, you can increase your price accordingly.
So make sure to get over there and make a profile today!
Working for Uber is another way that you could earn some cash. Although it doesn’t have the potential for growth that online business or tutoring does, it is certainly something you could consider.
It would help if you got started, and you will be good to go. Even if you don’t have a vehicle, there are options on their site for how to get a car. You can get a car via:
- Finance – Paying a deposit and the remainder over 3-5 years.
- Flexi-lease – Allows you to own the car but return it if you aren’t happy.
- Leasing – Long-term rental where you don’t worry about insurance or maintenance.
- Rental – Rent a car for £180-240 a week.
Finance or Flexi-lease are fantastic options for students who want a job earning cash on the side and end up owning a car after a few years.
Other Job Ideas
Although I have gone in-depth as to some of the potential options for how you can earn some cash on the side in medical school, I have by no means given you all the possibilities out there.
Therefore, if you are still stuck on what to do, go through the list below to give you some ideas.
- Healthcare Assistant
- Research Assistant
- Donate plasma/sperm
- Medicine-related prizes (entering competitions which have cash prizes like Duke Elder Exam for Ophthalmology)
- Enter online surveys
Now that you know how you can make money as a medical student, you might wonder if there are ways of making more money that only involve being a doctor.
And there is one way. Moving to another country!
Therefore, you might want to learn about which countries offer high-paying salaries. Check out this detailed comparison of US and UK doctors’ salaries.
It took a lot of effort to put this article together, so if you could share it with your friends and colleagues who might find some value in it, that would be amazing.
Have a good day!