The internet is an amazing thing. One of the downsides to practicing dentistry is that dentists are physically tied to an office and our earning potential decreases signficantly when we leave the office.
This is something that I knew prior to dental school, but didn’t really think about because the Internet as we know it today is dramatically different than the Internet of the 90s and early 2000’s. Furthermore, both my parents reported to work to earn an income, so the idea of working for yourself or as part of a team from anywhere in the world with access to a cellular network or WiFi was a foreign idea.
When considering dentistry as a profession, many students acknowledge that dentists typically have or use to have shorter work weeks. It certainly seems that the general public perceives dentists to have an easy work week, but this is becoming less of the norm as 5 or 6 day work weeks are becoming more common. Something to note here is that while many dentists may say they work 4 days a week, they are typically talking about their clinical time. For example, if a dentist says that his office is open Monday – Thursday and closed Friday-Sunday; that does not necessarily mean that the dentist only works Monday – Thursday. When a dentist says he works 4 days a week, that most likely means that the dentist limits his clinical practice to Monday – Thursday and completes admin work on Fridays. Very few of use get to just pack it up on Thursday and leave our work behind until Monday. Quite the contrary, many of us are completing what others would describe as work on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Today, I am in Big Sur, enjoying some time away from clinical dentistry and catching up with some friends during a wedding. The bride is a close friend of my wife’s, and I have some time to myself today, so I’ve taken to a stream to catch up on non-clinical tasks and attend to Embrasure Space, this blog, and some client related work.
Technically, I’m working right now, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. I am using a 5th generation iPad that I recently purchased from Best Buy for less than $200 and a Logitech Keyboard that I picked up for about $75. I’m working online, in a place where “work” was not necessarily possible less than 5 years ago.
I make more money working as a dentist that I do on the Internet, much more. However, the work I do on the Internet has significantly less overhead and is much easier – it is physically less demanding and orders of magnitude less stressful, but still intellectually stimulating. On the Internet, I’m free to work where I want, when I want, and on the types of projects I want. I’m sharing these thoughts with you today because I think everyone should build something of their own using the tools available in the cloud because the cost of entry is so low. I’ve made it easy for everyone to build their own online courses and issue CE credit for those courses with EmbrasureSpace.com. If you want to sell your own course without having to maintain your own website or provide your customers with support (we do that for you), Embrasure Space is a good place to start. But you can sell anything you want online. For example, before going to dental school, I sold shampoo, conditioner, and other salon grade hair and skincare products online. I closed the store before going to dental school in 2011, but looking back, it was a pretty good gig that was probably worth trying to operate while in dental school.
The point of this post is that as you increase the percentage of your income that you earn online (or anywhere other than clinical dentistry) there is less pressure to produce dentistry while at work; the amount of stress you experience goes down, and the freedom to work when and how you want becomes more attainable. Just as we diversify our retirement savings, diversifying your income streams should be a primary focus for all dentists.
[Some limitations: There’s no cellular connection here in Big Sur, but I bet that will change, especially with the roll out of 5G networks across the US underway. For now, the hotel provides WiFi, so as long as you’re within the range of the WiFi signal, you can access the Internet. Working with files in excess of a few MB is cumbersome. Uploading the photos above (each between 4 and 5 MB) took about 15 minutes and a few attempts (photo upload failed due to poor connection)].