One of the biggest issues we face in medical school is money. But there are creative solutions to that. Solid business ideas for medical students? Should be within the realm of possibility.
The following list includes several real-world examples. Showing you that ideas like starting courses, selling notes and providing services to the community around you can indeed work.
But there’s more. So read on for further inspiration.
#1: Preparation Course
Preparing for medical school, although I do my best to give some good advice, is very case-specific. Different countries have different processes. As well as pre-entry examinations and complex application processes too.
Starting an information service that could help students apply could be a great business to launch while in medical school. Specifically if you target entrance exams and build a course around them built on your own experience.
This is exactly what YouTuber Ali Abdaal did with a couple of friends from Cambridge University. They built out a course around the UK pre-med exam, the BMAT. And delivered it both in-person and online.
Ali talks more about this in the video below.
Perhaps there’s space for you to do this around a different entrance exam? You can start small just by approaching applicants for one-on-one help. Possibly scaling it up from there.
A good way to start could be with a basic blog to share your tips.
#2: Medical Education Agency
International students like myself, studying in Europe, need to arrange a mountain of things ahead of starting their medical degree. Visas, accommodation, flights, bank accounts etc – these are all major considerations!
And can be very overwhelming if tasked with taking them on by yourself.
Personally I have a couple of medical school friends operating in this space. Targeting students from particular regions of the world and helping bring them to European medical students in places like Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Czech Republic and beyond.
But there’s still so much I think can be done better. Especially when it comes to transparency, honesty and delivering on relevant, up-to-date information.
Often times being an actual student studying in a country abroad helps you better identify the challenges of these students in the first place. So you can build from there. Addressing your own pain points and working out how best to solve them.
#3: Examination Guides
A medical degree is a medical degree. The content is broadly the same no matter where you go to school.
For entrepreneurial-minded medical students then this is a good thing. Especially as they can built out course-specific examination guides designed to help students ace their internal tests and exams.
One particular example of a group of people successfully doing this is the Ninja Nerd Science channel on YouTube. Focusing on many areas of a medical core syllabus, the videos put up by these guys are a top-tier resource for better understanding lots of different medical and science-related topics.
They also divide subjects into playlists for a better user experience too.
These guys mainly monetise themselves via YouTube ads (more on this later) but also through donations via Patreon.
Elsewhere there are sites like Radiology Masterclass (a personal favourite of mine) that even offer individual examination certificates for taking part in their online courses.
What’s to stop you doing something similar for a less competitive medical subject; like bio-statistics or parasitology for instance?
#4: Medical School Notes
Selling both your medical school notes and pre-medical notes is another great idea you could look into. Especially if you have a knack for making them look pretty.
What you might not know is that Etsy is actually blowing up with lots of medical students selling their notes independently too. So there’s opportunity for you there too – without the need to even start a blog, YouTube or platform too.
Another real-world example? UK-based medical school blogger Life of a Medic. She even set up her own independent eCommerce store selling her own A-level Biology and Chemistry flashcards and notes. As well as UCAT cheat-sheets.
Maybe you can do something specific for your country of study?
#5: App Development
Another idea, borrowed from all the funny medical mnemonics out there, is to develop and launch your own app. Something like the popular Med Mnemonics on the Apple Appstore, that thousands of med students get great value from, for example.
You don’t even really need to worry about coding that much if you have some capital. You come up with the concept first and outsource the building, design and coding to freelancers on places like Upwork or Fiverr.
Focus could be on a specific area of med or even on any of the ideas already outlined. Something that would be useful as a quick point of reference for students on the go.
You don’t even need to build these apps either. You can build a whole business around the use of an open source app like Anki. Just as US-based med student Anking is doing with his brilliant Anki preparatory courses. All about the effective use of flashcards.
#6: YouTube Channel/Blog
I’ve mentioned how easy it is to set-up and get going with online platforms like YouTube and blogging. But I’m surprised by how few medical students attempt it.
Successful ones like US-based surgeon Kevin Jubbal however, who started the wildly popular Med School Insiders while still in medical college, are great examples. Here he is on the topic of entrepreneurship itself.
These channels make great money from YouTube advertising alone. And that’s without the up-sell of their viewers on the many digital-based courses and services they offer too.
#7: Medical Illustration
Medical students reading this have probably heard of Netter’s Anatomy right? But did you know the founder of the series, Franklin Netter, actually started out in illustration rather than medicine?
His first degree was actually at the New York National Academy of Design. Before he transitioned into healthcare after taking on regular medical illustration based gigs.
Needless to say it worked out well for him. But what’s to say, particularly if you’re good at drawing (or want to get better) that it couldn’t happen for you?
Just check out Armando Hasudungan if you don’t believe me. An Australian-based resident who actually combined drawing and illustration with YouTube and exam preparation (numbers #6 and #3 on this list) while at med school in Sydney.
Proof that any kind of hybrid combination of these suggestions is possible also!
#8: Physical Products
Partha Shukla and his colleague Neal Dharmadikari started a project in med school designing notebooks for doctors and students to better take detailed patient physicals. They then took their product into another 25 US States in the short space of six months. Successfully growing a new company, Perfect H&P, that comes up with physical solutions to real healthcare-based problems.
If you think about there are countless opportunities like this to explore in med school. From scrubs, to shoes, to bags and everything else.
So if you’ve got an idea on something you’d like to design as a physical product that could solve a real need, take confidence from the fact plenty of others have had success in med school doing exactly that.
#9: Essay/Application Writing Service
Another possible idea for solving a big pain point many students have is essay writing. It’s one of the longest and most arduous tasks in med school. And it’s also probably the least favourite examination or assessment method of students too.
Starting a business offering to do the research and writing for your colleagues then could be a potential win-win. Especially if you’re a fast writer and researcher and they’re massively strapped for time (or maybe just lazy).
You can also do the same for med school applications of CV’s. Although this might fit more broadly with the preparatory suggestion, there is scope for this on YouTube or a blog, offering general tips etc.
#10: Conference/Fairs Coordinator
One final suggestion but potentially very lucrative is setting up medical school related conferences or fairs.
In Germany, for example (hat-tip to my German colleagues), there’s a conference called “Medimeisterschaften“, which roughly translates as “medical championships”. It’s an event where med students from all over Germany (and those at European international schools) come to take part in various events (sports etc) all with the common theme of being future doctors.
Nothing like this, to my knowledge, exists in the UK or US but could be potentially very rewarding for some entrepreneurial-minded students interested in setting something similar up.
The same for general meet-ups too. Especially things like tours, activity-based events etc designed to bring med students together outside of study.
The idea of this article isn’t to suggest you actually go out and do any of these things. I understand myself how much time and money are constraints for full time students in med school!
So rather it’s designed as inspiration. To suggest that it is possible with a good amount of discipline, luck and perseverance.
As for generating even more ideas on ways to start a business while plugging away at medical school (ways that didn’t make it on this list), here’s a process that can help:
- Come up with a list of problems students at your school consistently face
- Canvas your friends/colleagues to see if a solution to any of these problems would be something they’d be willing to pay for
- Test the reception to a solution by building out a cheap prototype
- Google like mad to look for other innovative ideas
- Hang out on Reddit and other med-school based forums to see what other challenges med students are struggling with
- Rinse and repeat the process until you find a winner
Starting a business in medical school isn’t easy but, as I’ve showed with all the above examples, it is definitely possible.
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in digital marketing and journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.