Moonlighting can be a great way to jump start your career. It is more than the obvious income boost. Learn how to be a “moonpreneur”. Learn why you don’t need to put all your eggs in one basket and how it open doors that you that you couldn’t have imagined existed! Optometry is a great profession. There are so many opportunities. Take advantage of filling in for a second job, make great income, build a network, develop career skills and learn all the aspects of an optical business and specialized areas of optometry. Expand your horizons with something as simple as moonlighting.
- Networking. We don’t network as much as we should as Corporate ODs. We need to get off our little islands and meet other Eye Care professionals. Usually jobs that are available are not always advertised. Looking for fill in work can be a great way to get yourself out there and start networking again. You’ll be surprised of what opportunities show up that could be a great advantage for you. You can try a job before you start to know if it is the right position for you. Referral networks improve your resume as it shows that you are a hard worker. As a resume builder it illustrates traits that all employers or partners want. It shows strong worth ethic, positive attitude, constant learner and being flexible to different environments.
- Income. Moonlighting can create cash reserves for your business. You can use it as additional income to use toward your business for marketing, pay off loans, saving for retirement or for 529 plans. The income potential for traditional fill in can be substantial if you have the right opportunity as an independent contractor. This can be done by networking and being aware of opportunities out there even if it is for a short period of time. It can even provide financial flexibility to pursue other endeavors within optometry that you would have hesitated to start.
- Security. If you are concerned about your job not being secure moonlighting could be a good job to fall back on or expand on if you need to move your office. It’s always a great idea to have a Plan B so that you can keep your finances and career secure during any emergencies.
- Freedom. It can bring benefits of not being held back and pursuing passions in optometry. It can keep optometry more interesting and prevent burnout. Not only that but it can make optometry more exciting because you’re able to “mix it up”. Do fill in work at another corporate optical, health center, OMD office, try consulting other ODs or for companies in the industry, or even selling products on the web. It will be difficult but by persistence making small strides in your side hustle can lead to great accomplishments in personal and professional development.
“Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.”- Michael Jordan
- Skills. Working in the same setting can make you fall into a comfortable routine. By doing fill in work at other opticals or OMD offices you can expand your clinical skills and learn valuable skills that you can take back to your own office. Exposure to different sectors of optometry has its positives. It enhances your entrepreneurial skills. We don’t get a lot of practice management education in school and nothing is better to learn from than experiencing it firsthand and learning from failures. You’ll gain soft skills by multitasking, perfecting communication skills with patients and staff and learning how to deal with different personalities. Master your hard skills, too. These are measurable skills that are invaluable that take time and experience to master as an optometrist. As you become more established making better rates this experience can be invaluable. Perfect your skills on difficult contact lens fits, refractions, efficiencies in the office and clinical management of diseases. You can never have enough experience; the more patients you see the more skills you develop. It builds confidence for your ultimate end goal and elevates your career to becoming successful faster.
- Challenges. Moonlight is a great way to challenge yourself. When work becomes the same old routine and your current job does not have room for a promotion, a side job can offer that challenge or new growth projection for your career.Work during the busy times and slow down during the non-peak times. It is a balancing act and there are learning curves with EMRs, credentialing, licensing and malpractice insurance, but the benefits overcome the challenges over time. The more you know about the optometry business from the bottom up the better you will be in the long term. Check your non-compete agreements with your employer or partner to see if some these benefits could be available to you.