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7 Tips to Keep Track Of Your Nonclinical Life


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. Here are some things to put on your to-do list.

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. Here are some things to put on your to-do list.

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. LLCs can usually be formed inexpensively by going to the website of the Secretary of State Business section and filing a form. Be sure the name of your new business is not already taken by someone else. Next, 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 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 lots of Chief Innovation Officers and Directors of 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.

• 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 aficionados. Again, templated website services that are inexpensive, easy to design, and maintain, and readily updatable are a good way to start. Click here for an example of what I mean.

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 an SEP

There are many ways to shelter income in qualified retirement plans and limits vary from year to year. For example, a corporate owner or self-employed person whose salary or net earnings are sufficient can contribute to a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) plan, scoring a tax deduction while saving for one's golden years. There are many other options as well.

Use free apps to organize your time and connections

Free apps are great way to organize your time, work in international teams, and track your charges.

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.

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice