The gig economy is booming. There are now flexible opportunities for everyone from artists to surgeons to earn additional income or to find full time work.
Freelance opportunities are often overlooked by physical therapists, but for recent grads who face mounting debt, freelance roles could be a great way to supplement full-time salaries while also gaining differentiated experience.
Here are four types of freelance opportunities to consider.
As a resource, telehealth offers additional care options for providers to use, and for many patients, telehealth is a great way to access quick and convenient care.
Certain patient-facing telehealth websites and apps also enable a new way for providers to earn income via freelancing. There are no large telehealth platforms solely focused on pain and injury care, but there are several opportunities for physical therapists within larger telehealth platforms that offer a range of available care services.
Here are two websites that offer freelance telehealth opportunities for physical therapists:
Doctor On Demand offers patients a fast and efficient way to see doctors and therapists all via telehealth. Doctor On Demand offers patients a range of pain and injury care services, including visits for sports injuries, sprains, and medical advice. Visit their website to learn about their full and part time and independent contractor positions.
Maven is a digital clinic for specifically for women. Maven users can get book video appointments with women’s health experts including primary care doctors, nurses, physical therapists, nutritionists and mental health practitioners. Apply to provide telehealth services via Maven’s platform.
2. Mobile and On-Demand Care
There has been a recent trend of physical therapists providing freelance mobile care services where they treat clients at a client’s home, office, or gym, often on a cash-pay basis. An equal number of new companies have started to focus on making it easier for a physical therapists to build a mobile practice.
Starting a mobile business, either as a freelance side hustle or as a full-time gig, offers a number of advantages including scheduling flexibility, control over pricing and services, and an opportunity to have greater impact with patients.
The downside is that there are a number of steps a physical therapist needs to take in order to establish a mobile business. These steps include: creating a legal business entity, finding insurance, and setting up systems for accounting, documentation, scheduling, and payment processing all while ensuring HIPAA compliance. Establishing referral sources and finding new clients can also be a challenge starting out.
However, there are online communities, like The Mobile PT League, that are full of like-minded physical therapists offering advice on everything from establishing to growing a mobile PT business. There are also technology companies (like Patch!) focused on providing the technology tools - practice management, documentation, and client communication - that make it easy to build a mobile practice.
If the thought of venturing out solo is overwhelming, there are also opportunities to find freelance work through on-demand physical therapy websites/apps, like Kulagy. Physical therapists working with these companies often work for set prices and keep on average 70% - 80% of the visit fee, earning about $100- $150 per visit, depending on your location. In exchange for charging a higher fee, these types of companies offer a built in referral network to provide continuous access to clients.
Traditional PRN positions at home health companies are another option for recent grads. Even adding a few visits on the weekends with a home health agency can add couple hundred extra dollars to the wallet every month.
3. Content Creation
Content is king these days. Producing relevant, interesting content is becoming increasingly more important for companies as they compete to gain traction and find new customers or patients. This trend opens up an opportunity for physical therapists to earn extra income simply by writing about topics that they have knowledge on and are passionate about.
The benefits of freelance writing do not stop with an income opportunity. Producing content for respected and well-trafficked publications can help physical therapists showcase skills, increase professional exposure, find new connections and resources, and begin establishing themselves as an expert in the field.
When it comes to content, physical therapists are able to share insights to both consumers and industry insiders:
With training in everything musculoskeletal, physical therapists are uniquely positioned to write about topics that are highly relevant for consumer-facing publications, companies, and blogs like SHAPE, OSCAR, and Parsley Health.
Many outpatient physical therapy clinics also have a patient-facing blog that is aimed at improving patient engagement and bringing in new clients.
For physical therapists interested in creating content that is read by other physical therapists and industry insiders, it makes sense to focus on publishing work in industry-specific publications. Healthy, Wealthy, and Smart are three great examples of industry-focused content producers.
How to Get Started with Freelance Writing:
Start by building out a portfolio of work to share, whether that is through your own blog or finding guest post opportunities on other sites. Any new writer needs to build out a portfolio that showcases high-quality work prior to finding paid writing opportunities. The more published articles in the portfolio, the easier it will be to start earning income.
Physical therapists can find guest post opportunities on the consumer-focused content side by reaching out to clinic owners, editors, CEOs, or content creators and pitching headlines for articles aimed at helping or educating patients. Some ideas could be:
- 4 Stretches to Help You Avoid Low Back Pain at Work
- 5 Common Running Injuries, and How to Avoid Them
On the industry side, find publications that allow guest posting and provide good exposure. A great example is NewGradPhysicalTherapy’s guest posting opportunities that help freelance writers showcase their writing ability, grow professionally, make connections, and have an impact on the overall physical therapy profession.
3 Pro Tips for Aspiring Content Creators:
- Startups or smaller blogs / publications are often time strapped and willing to publish guest posts or take a chance on new writers, so if you are new to writing, targeting smaller organizations may be your fastest route to publication.
- Sites like Contently and Muckrack offers freelance writers a simple to use online portfolio that showcases past work and could also help find new writing opportunities.
- Keep going! After establishing a writing portfolio, opportunities may open up at larger companies for staff writing positions. (NewGradPhysicalTherapy states that many freelancers become paid staff positions)
4. Freelance Marketing, Strategy, and Operations Roles
There are countless websites that connect freelancers with large corporations, small businesses, and startups to work on everything from strategic plans to presentation creation. The best part? Most of the jobs can be completed from anywhere, making it convenient to work from home or even earn some extra cash while on vacation.
Here are two sites to find freelance roles for physical therapists:
On Upwork, freelancers can find both short and long-term projects and can choose to work on either an hourly or per-project rate. Freelancers can set their own hourly rate, or search for jobs within their expertise and accept rates posted by hiring organizations.
A search for “physical therapy” shows physical therapist freelancers working on everything from writing to strategic planning. Posted rates for physical therapists range from $20 - $70 per hour, so working just 5 hours a week could earn a recent grad an extra $100 - $350 per week or between $400 - $1,400 per month.
On Fiverr, individuals offer their services to customers worldwide, starting at $5 per job. A freelancer can post projects or services that they would like to offer, and clients interested in the project / service will hire that freelancer.
A search for “physical therapy” on Fiverr produces individuals offering ergonomics consultations, powerpoint presentations, and physical therapy exercise videos, all tasks that recent grads would be great at. There are also freelancers offering blog post creation and wellness services in the Health, Nutrition, and Fitness section.
Whether a physical therapist has experience in writing, operations, strategy, or simply working in a clinical setting, there are plenty of freelance opportunities available that can help pay off student loans or supplement full time salaries.
Why not start trying out freelance opportunities this week?