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What a Doctor Should Consider When Offered a Consulting Job

Dana Corriel, MD, answers the question: how much should I be getting paid as a physician consultant?

Someone in a physician FB group asked what the standard rate was for being paid as a consultant, and I found the question to not only be a fair, but representative of what so many of us in medicine have wondered these past few years.

As communication and connection is evolving, and becoming more rapid and easy, so are the opportunities. Experts that were typically less seen or heard are now stepping out from behind the shadows, re-energized to make a name for themselves and get involved with innovation.

(A quick heads up: we’re rebranding the SoMeDocs Fb Group as the Doctor’s Networking Club, to get even more of these connections facilitated!)

My answer to the doctor’s question: the amount you get paid as a consultant varies widely and can truly span the gamut.

It all depends on what you’re consulting about.

How valuable are you to the startup/company? This included how replaceable you are. How many others, for example, can provide the very same consulting as you and do it just as well? Do you have special credentials that make you stand out?

By the way, the answers to these may not be so obvious to the recruiting company that’s looking for a consultant. And that is where SoMeDocs comes in. We help you figure out your goals, polish that online presence, and circulate your thought content, so that the companies looking for their consultants already know that they want you.

Convincing them ahead of time gives you much more leverage in any ensuing negotiation.

 

A company looking for a consultant may not recognize your unique skills and talents. SHOW them what they are even before they make contact. Convince them ur the consultant for the job. Click To Tweet

 

Nowadays, the amount you’re compensated as a consultant can also depend on other variables, such as whether you can help leverage their needs.

Examples include your connections as it relates to their service, or even your social following if, for example, they’d like to embed an ad within your work. The reach of your work (your articles, your podcast, your website, etc) can dictate how many eyeballs will land on their own product or service, and thereby make it more likely that that product or service is purchased/used. By the way, in the trade, this is called a “conversion”.

Let’s also not forget a little magic negotiating tactic called “equity”. Plenty of companies today, esp those that are just starting out, will offer health superstars this type of skin in the game, so to speak, in exchange for consulting time. This works in lieu of money (it’s essentially payment in IOU’s rather than actual dollars), which has to be carefully weighed. You’re essentially betting on the company “making it” here, because if it doesn’t, then your consulting for it will be worth zero, zilch, bubkes, at the end of the day.

To lay out concrete numbers, I’ve personally – as a physician with years of clinical experience AND a digital strategist and consultant) been paid anywhere from free to $250 to upwards of $1100 per hour. I know I’m an internist (we get paid much less per hour for seeing patients, yes), but I’m skilled and I’m good at what I do (btw, I built this entire site and regularly run and grow it).

So remember, when you’re being courted as a consultant, the specifics of each offer matter. Don’t let anyone tell you there’s a one-size-fits all solution. Be sure to weigh them all!

If you’d like to know what others are making, in the field of your specialty, we will be throwing out this exercise in the upcoming Doctor’s Networking Club, debuting Oct 31st (yep, on Halloween!). This will be a monthly virtual “summit” held in our FB group, with structure and real networking. Planning session is already underway. All doctors are welcome.

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