Start Receiving Our Blog In Your In-Box Regularly

Providing content that inspires and informs doctors on how to thrive as micro-corporations!

Begin Your Self-Employment Freedom by Downshifting Your W-2 Job

Mar 08, 2024

Traditional Employment Vs Self-Employment

Currently, a significant number of young doctors are opting for traditional employment as the starting point of their careers, with up to 90% of new graduates choosing this safe path. The financial incentives associated with this choice are quite high, and due to their training focusing primarily on medical expertise rather than small business training, many doctors simply follow the lead of their peers without actively considering alternative options.

It's what I did, and it made sense at the time. However, as time went on, the control my employer had over my personal and professional life became increasingly suffocating. I realized I needed to make a change, and that's when I started my own professional micro-corporation. I began using it in the marketplace by combining a primary job with an employment-lite contract, along with a variety of side jobs..

That transition changed my life, and it's a transition that many doctors are not even aware is an option for them. This is why I am writing this editorial. Our tribe needs to be empowered with this information, which provides an alternative path to traditional W-2 employment.

In fact, I am so passionate about this subject that I wrote an Amazon best-selling book about it, dedicated to my son, who is currently in his family medicine training program. The book serves as my best "dad's advice" to him, providing guidance and illuminating a path for him to thrive. Spoiler alert: it doesn't involve following a traditional employee path.

That project inspired me to start an online business called SimpliMD, which aims to educate physicians about their micro-business options in the marketplace. By educating physicians about these options, every doctor can be provided with valuable professional micro-business knowledge that empowers them to make informed decisions.

It’s Tough Out There

In the fast-paced world of medicine, numerous physicians often find themselves entangled and trapped by the demands of a full-time W-2 position that seems to control both their personal and professional lives. The dependency on regular paychecks and the lifestyle built around it can make it challenging to break free from this cycle. However, there is a transformative concept gaining traction among our peers nationwide: it involves making a micro-change in their W-2 position.

As a fellow physician, I empathize with the challenges doctors encounter when trying to find a balance between their careers and personal lives. Drawing from my own experience, I have personally witnessed significant improvements in both my well-being and professional autonomy after transitioning from W-2 employment to self-employment. Therefore, I strongly advocate for every traditionally employed doctor to consider making a similar change. However, there are barriers to making this transition.

Adding self-employment to your arsenal comes with four main challenges:

  1. Dependency The fast-paced and revved-up lifestyle, the burden of a large house mortgage, the reluctance of your family to relocate once again, and the predictable paychecks all contribute to a co-dependency on your employer. This dependency can make it increasingly challenging to make significant professional changes as each year of work at your job passes by.

  2. All or Nothing Mentality Many doctors believe they can only be either a W-2 employee or a self-employed 1099 worker, but the reality is that they can actually do both simultaneously. This false dilemma erroneously imposes limitations on available options.

  3. The Fear of Managing A Business. Being a professional micro-corporation does not necessarily mean you have to navigate the complexities of managing multiple employees and insurance contracts like in private practice. In fact, it's much simpler than that. It's a business where you can leverage your expertise in a specific professional service. There is a high demand for your small small business product in today’s marketplace, your professional specialty services, thus your business starts with a robust business plan. However, since your services are not easily scalable, you will have to limit the number of contracts you can handle simultaneously. On the bright side, your overhead expenses are minimal, and you only have to manage yourself. Managing a professional micro-corporation only involves managing one person.

  4. Your Business Knowledge Deficit Your training has led to a deficit in business knowledge, which compels you to rely on large corporate employers who dominate the marketplace. These employers offer so-called "safe harbors" for you to operate in, while they exploit your minimal business acumen for their own gain. This leaves you under their control. However, the time has come for individual physicians to be empowered and set free in the marketplace through micro-business competency. Achieving this freedom doesn't require an MBA; instead, you simply need access to practical, self-directed micro-business resources.

Finding Freedom

These four barriers can make doctors who begin their careers as traditional employees feel trapped by employment year after year. You can become paralyzed by a deep-rooted dependency on large employers.

The solution does not involve simply changing jobs and moving from one employer's safe harbor to another. Although this may offer temporary relief, it is not a long-term solution because it keeps you ensnared in broken system.

The key is to start breaking free from this paralyzing labor system by taking small steps towards self-employment through your professional micro-corporation.

Many employers are open to flexible arrangements that allow you to transition from full-time employment to something less, giving you the opportunity to create a margin in your schedule. This newfound margin can then be filled with self-employed side jobs (1099 income) that flow through your professional micro-corporation.

Micro-Changes in Traditional Employment

This important strategy allows you to "have your cake and eat it too," involving downshifting from a 1. 0 full-time equivalent (FTE) W-2 position to something like 0. 7 to 0. 8 FTE. By gradually reducing your hours, you create a valuable margin in your life. This micro-change then opens the door to a more fulfilling professional life by adding self-employment to your income channels.

You can fill this newfound margin with self-employed side jobs (1099 income) that flow through your professional micro-corporation. This practice is known as job stacking, where you can keep your primary W-2 job while also earning professional income from self-employed sources. Job stacking breaks through the "all or nothing barrier," which is more of a mindset barrier than a real one. You no longer have to believe in this myth.

Four Steps

The steps to empower yourself as a W-2 employee involve the following four steps:

  1. Create Margin for Self-Employment and Well-Being:

    • Most employers are open to the idea of downshifting your full-time equivalent (FTE) status. With more than half of physicians being women, there is a growing demand for this option among young doctors who are striving to balance their home and work lives. However, it is important to note that this option is available for both men and women. By reducing working hours, individuals can create a margin of time that can be strategically utilized for self-employed endeavors.

    • I encourage you to view this margin not just as a reduction in workload, but as an opportunity to explore and cultivate self-employed (1099 income) side jobs. However, it is important to prioritize your personal well-being. If reducing your workload enhances your well-being, you don't have to fill the entire margin with side work. The power of job stacking lies in the ability to build the preferred income and work balance that aligns with your desired lifestyle.

  2. Flow Through Your Micro-Corporation:

    • Your professional micro-corporation is more than just a business entity; it serves as a catalyst for change. You simply need a set of tools and resources that will assist you in establishing and effectively managing your micro-corporation. The crucial step is to start your micro-corporation now. I will note here that while a sole proprietor business structure is an option, it does not offer the same level of liability protection, asset protection, tax advantages, and retirement options that a micro-corporation can provide you.

    • By channeling your self-employed side jobs through your micro-corporation, you can maximize tax advantages and create a streamlined financial structure for your burgeoning entrepreneurial journey.

  3. Easing into Self-Employment:

    • I understand that making the leap into self-employment can be daunting, especially if you feel you have knowledge deficits in the business realm. However, this is a way to ease into the world of entrepreneurship without jumping in full force. By gradually downshifting and incorporating self-employed opportunities into your professional micro-corporation, you can navigate the transition more comfortably.

    • This small-scale approach will allow you to gradually develop competence and comfort in managing and operating your micro-business.

  4. Future Adjustments:

    • Once you have successfully implemented this micro-change in your W-2 job, you will be in a position to make further adjustments to your income streams through self-employment 1099 income.

    • Over time, you can make additional changes that will further reduce your reliance on W-2 income channels and increase your 1099 income channels. This will give you greater control over your professional destiny.

Regain Control Incrementally

I believe that every employed physician has the potential to redefine their professional trajectory. Making a micro-change in your W-2 position, such as downshifting from a 1.0 FTE position, can be the catalyst for a transformative journey towards professional freedom.

Embracing professional freedom can lead to increased job satisfaction, reduced burnout rates, and ultimately allow physicians to make the most out of their careers while maintaining overall well-being. So I encourage all traditionally employed physicians to considering making a micro-change in their job that could be the key to helping them thrive!

SimpliMD Products to Support Your Journey:

At SimpliMD, I am here to offer you a range of products designed specifically to support your quest for professional autonomy. Here are some key offerings available on our website:

  1. Micro-Corporation Formation: SimpliMD simplifies the process of forming your professional micro-corporation, guiding you through the necessary steps to establish your business entity efficiently and compliantly. You can engage with SimpliMD here to let us help you set up your micro-corporation. Or you would prefer to explore things first, you can start with a $99 business consultation here.

  2. Business Coaching: I am here to provide personalized guidance and support as you navigate the transition to self-employment. Whether you're exploring new income opportunities or optimizing your existing ventures, I am here with coaching services to help you succeed.

  3. Courses and Resources: You can access my library of courses, webinars, books, blogs, and resources designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to thrive as a self-employed physician. From financial management to marketing strategies, I cover all aspects of running a successful micro-corporation. You get access to all of this by simply being a subscriber.

  4. Community Membership: Take the next step by joining our SimpliMD community as a member and and receive over $2500 in SimpliMD micro-business products as well as members only exclusive deals. Members connect with like-minded physicians on a similar journey. You can share experiences, seek advice, and find inspiration from others who have successfully made micro-changes in their careers.