Making Passive Income as Doctor Mom


(Editor's Note: I'd like to introduce my amazing partner in crime, Mrs. PIMD, and welcome her to the blog! She's the person that truly makes this family work so I thought it'd be awesome to hear from her as well. Enjoy!)

I want to be everything for everyone – a respected physician, a present mother, and a supportive wife.  However, being available to my children (shuttling to and from school and activities, being there to wake them up and rock them to sleep, etc.) often means reducing clinical hours and cutting into my ability to help support our family financially.

As many of us already know, the physician burnout epidemic is at an all-time high. This is largely due to that fact that physicians feel they are working harder and longer for less money and less time with patients.  I certainly do not want to contribute to my husband's own burnout, so what are my options?

My goals are not different from Mr. PIMD's – finding alternate sources of passive income, so that we can work smarter, not harder, and devote our energies towards our family.

As you've been reading, Mr. PIMD and I are invested in the “traditional” avenues of passive income like real estate, but last year, I came across the opportunity to join a network marketing company (also known as multi-level marketing) and run a business from home. I had seen some posts on Facebook from a former residency classmate of my husband, touting her new skincare business, and we were intrigued.

I’ll admit that despite my curiosity, the skeptic in me recoiled at the idea that this was another dreaded “pyramid scheme.”  That term is a buzzword, really, and I admit I didn’t fully understand it.  All I knew was that the posterboy for these schemes was Bernie Madoff and he had ripped off tons of celebrities.

But as I learned more, I discovered that it wasn’t the same thing at all. In pyramid schemes, there isn’t a product being sold. It’s essentially just an upward flow of cash where new investors “give” money to older investors.  Obviously, this is 100% illegal. Legit network marketing companies sell products – you've seen them – ranging from leggings to shakes to jewelry.

This particular company was founded by physicians, so in some small way, I felt a little more at ease. We talked to other physician friends already in the business and were shocked to learn that they were making money equivalent to (in some cases more than) what they were making per hour as physicians – from home!

As you may have guessed by now, we decided to give it a shot. We’ll go into the details of what our business entails in a future post, but suffice it to say, you can see the impact it’s had on our monthly cash flow in the latest income report, just 18 months later.

This method of income is not necessarily for everyone, and I can only share our personal experience. But I can honestly say that we’re glad we took the leap. The benefits are many and have actually improved our life in several ways:

1) Job satisfaction. We’re treating patients directly. No paperwork, no JCAHO regulations, no typing on the computer while talking to patients. People are looking for solutions to their skincare issues, and while we know we’re not dermatologists, we understand basic physiology and pathology and can provide solutions with what we have. The results have been amazing and surprisingly gratifying.

2) Better income & more choices. Because of the money brought in by this side business, I have been able to cut my clinical hours by half, and I took a real maternity leave after our second child (4 months, instead of rushing back after 6 weeks after our first).  I don't stress about what reducing my work hours means for our family's finances, because I can compensate for it with this home business.  In time, I may even make more doing this than seeing patients.

3) It’s just plain fun. I enjoy running this business with my husband so much that we feel it’s actually brought us closer together. We don’t engage in many shared hobbies, so having the opportunity to put our intellectual skills into a joint venture has been very fun. I've also enjoyed the friendships formed with like-minded people – strong, intelligent women with the same ultimate goal of freeing up their time to do the things they enjoy with their loved ones.

Network marketing may not be for everyone, but it might be a viable way to have it all. I can safely say that, so far, it’s been a perfect business and source of passive income for this physician couple, and we feel very fortunate to have found it.

In fact, I've asked Mr. PIMD to add this to his list of perfect passive income ideas for physicians. I think it should be on there, what do you think?


  1. I have been reading your wonderful blog for a few months now and, needless to say, I love it! I share your views and strategies on life, work and retirement 100%. Therefore, I am very interested to know some about about your passive income streams. Can you please share what/which opportunity is this Network Marketing business about? Thanks!

  2. Hi there, fellow physician here. I think I know what kind of skin care network marketing company you are talking about and I am curious about it too. I just had a few questions before diving in too. Are there any potential downsides of such a venture? Is there a potential to lose money? Do friends ever get bothered by facebook posts that are not unlike advertisements for your business? If a client happens to develop an adverse reaction to the product, are you legally responsible?

    • There are huge pros and cons. Before we started we had heard amazing success stories from our friends and also some light cautionary tales. There are always downsides to anything that takes extra effort and money, but we felt the upsides were too tempting to ignore completely. So far it’s worked out well and sounds like I need to post more about our experience.

  3. Hi there, I have been reading your posts and this one really intrigued me as I’ve been reading internet and affiliate marketing. Just like other physicians i am interested with the kind of skin care internet marketing. Can you share what skin care networking marketing business is this as I would like also to achieve financial independence just like you.?

    • Hi, thanks for stopping by! Yes, it’s actually been quite life-changing for us and has only improved since the time I first posted this. If you can wait a couple weeks, I’ll have a whole post dedicated to the details. Otherwise you can always contact me privately in the meanwhile!

      • Thanks for your reply. I would wait for your post regarding your awesome marketing business..?

  4. Looking forward to this post. My fiance has a friend who does Rodan fields, needless to say they aren’t friends anymore, she couldn’t stand the copy and pasted text messages and “phony” invites to discuss the product. My cousin whose a broke lawyer for the NYC dept of ED sells nutritional shakes. Its become her whole life, her facebook is now just her business… but bravo to her since I think she pulls six figures from it…. I’m sure passive income will go into the annoyance aspect of network marketing.

  5. I wish my real estate investments would give me a return… right now I own 2 properties – single family houses- that are rented to the max the area will support. It still doesn’t cover the mortgage. Got to put in about $500/mo to make minimum mortgage. Can’t sell since houses are upside down and it would have to be a 1031 exchange. I wish I could get out of the real estate market and get the money I put down in each of the properties. On top of that had an AC go out in the summer (Phoenix!) Choice Home Warranty (never use them!!!!) refused to pay because the AC was too old and they “were not in the upgrade business”. Am taking them to court, in the mean time had to shell out $7000 for a new AC! These properties are killing me. Any word of advice?

  6. I will admit I’m a critic here, but I’ll explain why. I worked in medical sales for years before getting tired of sales and got an MPH and transitioned my career. Now that I’m a doctor’s wife and a SAHM, I get BOMBARDED by MLM companies that literally everyone and their mother is selling left and right. With my professional sales background and large network of “target customer base” (mom friends from local social groups, FB groups, friends with higher tax brackets after moving across the country several times, etc), I get approached at least once a month, usually more, by almost everyone to join their team. I actually even sold Pampered Chef for a few months after college, and so I have officially done an MLM, in addition to hosting countless parties for countless products on FB.

    The problem is, everyone is already selling everything. I have 8 friends selling Rodan & Fields, at least 6 or 7 doing Beauty Counter, Arbonne, etc., I also know a number of people selling It Works, LuLaRoe, Usborne Books, Herbalife, doTerra, Young Living, Thirty One, Beach Body (I know at least 8 Beach Body “coaches”), Jamberry, Juice Plus, Lipsense, Younique, etc. The list literally goes on. You get the point. I know fewer people NOT selling something than selling something (some people selling for more than one company at once).

    I feel like more people have tried to get me on their team, aka to sell under them so that they can make commissions on me, than have actually tried to sell me their products. Another problem is that if they buy your products, you now have guilt to buy their products, and how can I sell the product when so many people that I know are already selling the same products? It’s a great opportunity for the few that get in at the top and are successful at building a business and selling, but there is little to know financial gain if you are low on the pyramid downline. Almost every MLM includes a buy in where you have to buy products and that is where the company makes a portion of it’s profits. I wonder if anyone has ever tallied all the sales from failed sales reps/MLM reps for a company to see how much they sell just off starter sales kits.

    I just think you should be wary of promoting MLM when the vast majority of people do not make more than a few thousand a year profit, if that, including the many hours of work each week put in, the conference calls, and annoying their friends trying to constantly sell products and potentially alienating relationships. I have stopped talking to more than a few people who would not stop harassing me to buy their products. Generally, MLM’s are a huge trap, so you may be successful and actually making money doing it, but you are a minority, and it is misleading to readers. Additionally, you can get great quality organic skin care and makeup on Amazon for a fraction of the cost of the MLM companies. At the end of the day, lower price for equal quality will beat out any relationship guilt of buying from a friend.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Nothing wrong with being a critic, and you have the experience to explain why.

      We try to be careful in not painting too much of an optimistic picture about MLM. In fact, with my last post about MLM, we had people in MLMs saying we seemed to talk about it negatively and I have others telling me we’re promoting it quite a bit. I figure that means we’re in the middle somewhere which is where I’d like to be as much as possible.

      Making a good income from it is definitely not guaranteed. Just because we do, doesn’t mean others will, just like any other business or investment venture. However, we also can’t deny that it’s made a big impact on our lives, so we share a few things about it. Interestingly, we actually make more than our upline. My hope is that if people do decide to join one, that they go in with eyes wide open to both the possibilities and the negatives.

      Sounds like you’ve come to a good place that works well for you, and allows you to rest easy at night, so that’s worth quite a bit.

  7. Thank you for the great article! Passive income especially from multiple sources is becoming more important with declining reimbursement and less financial autonomy as physicians in healthcare. This year we launched Carelumina, a new MLM company targeting health and wellness with beauty, salon, cold press juices and telehealth. We are finalizing the ability for online physician consults to offer prescription strength beauty products such as hydroquinone, tretinoin and Latisse. And all of the products are significantly less than comparable products in other MLMs. Being new to this business, any advice you could give to improve our business model would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for the article!

    • My wife and I have been involved in a grand total of 1 MLM company in our lives and it brings in a significant enough income to give us freedom & flexibility. Plus, she just really enjoys it. Like with every other venture I’m part of, I tell people what we do and what it’s done for us. There are a significant number of physicians in these businesses, and I personally know a good number that are quite successful. I would also venture to say that the percentage of those who lose money is lower for the physician population. (Make your own conclusions here.) At the end of the day, it’s a true business if the goal is to make money, a hard one and I don’t pretend otherwise.

      • Are you able to disclose which MLM you have had success with? I love your blog and am an anesthesiologists as well in CA, always looking for ways to improve passive income besides taking more call!

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