Blogger Confessions #13: The Physician Philosopher
Happy Saturday and welcome to the 13th episode of the 'Blogger Confessions' interview series on the blog. Today, I'm bringing in The Physician Philosopher to talk about blogging and how they've managed to keep everything straight as a personal finance blogger.
TPP, take it away.
Blogger Confessions with The Physician Philosopher
1: In at least 100 words, describe the target audience of your blog.
The target audience of The Physician Philosopher includes medical students, residents, attending physicians, and other high-income earning medical professionals. The goal of the site is to combining wealth & wellness by helping others use financial independence as a tool to escape the burnout that is so rampant in our field.
My goal is to stop the common road to burnout in medicine (particularly at steps 5-7 before the road to burnout is cemented), which often goes something like this:
- 1. Sacrifice your 20s for an altruistic profession hoping to help others - forcing you to miss birthdays, funerals, weddings, soccer games, recitals, parties, and reunions.
- 2. Get accepted to residency and soon find out your hours are longer than anticipated and respect is even shorter.
- 3. Get inundated with non-physician tasks, condescension, and overall poor moral. Burnout starts.
- 4. Push through training with the hope that the light at the end of the tunnel - becoming an attending physician - will solve your burnout problem.
- 5. Become an attending physician and realize that light at the end of the tunnel isn't as bright as you thought - get hammered by administrators, insurance companies, and bureaucracy.
- 6. Realize the burnout is still there and it’s a raging fire set to consume you. You just aren't happy.
- 7. Being unhappy, you buy into consumerism to try and make it better. You buy the house, the cars, the private school education, the designer clothes, and gadgets. All in an attempt to fill that void while inundated with student loans and consumer debt.
- 8. Career burnout persists and eventually extinguishes any joy provided by your job.
Again, stopping this process before it becomes permanent is the key.
If people can be taught to keep their expenses low in training to prevent a larger accumulation of debt, to avoid inflating their lifestyles when they start earning a big paycheck, and to - instead - put their money to work for them… well, this will provide them with options to escape the problems that exist in medicine.
Financial independence is power. My blog exists to help show them that.
2: What makes your blog different from other blogs in the PF blogosphere?
My blog focuses on the medical profession. I guess you could say that I am in the physician finance niche. Within that niche, I emphasize the intrinsically-linked nature between wealth and wellness.
It is difficult to have one without other. I spend ⅓ of my time discussing wellness topics, and ⅔ of my time talking finance.
3: What’s the thing that you’ve struggled with the most since starting your blog?
Finding my target audience. I know exactly who they are, and that my message will resonate with them when they find it. However, finding out where “my people” hang out has been tough. I’ve gotten better and better at this, but it was a huge struggle in the beginning.
Initially, I thought all traffic was “good traffic.” That simply isn’t the case as not all traffic “sticks”. If my message doesn’t resonate with a reader, they are unlikely to come back. Most of the time, this simply means that they weren’t my target audience.
I’ve learned that getting more traffic is not the only key. It’s about getting the right kind of traffic.
4: Do you publish your net worth on your blog? Why or why not?
Yes, I do. This isn’t a big deal for me, though, given that I blog anonymously.
I blog about this quarterly for two reasons:
- To follow my own progress towards financial independence as a case-study of what it might look like for others, and
- To allow other brand new attending physicians and medical professionals to know that it is possible to do the same if they simply live within their means and follow The 10% Rule when they finish training.
Giving a case study of how I managed to improve my net worth by $250,000 in one year by living on 20% of my income while putting away 90% of my increase in pay towards loans and retirement is important. People need to see that it’s possible if they can just formulate a plan and stick to it.
5: Have you monetized your blog (ads, affiliate marketing, etc)? Why or why not?
Yes, I have.
I want my blog to be a great source of information for my readers. In order to do that, I need to be able to spread the word about it. This requires money invested in the business, which means that I need to monetize my blog.
I also plan to openly use the money from the blog as a passive source of income while I give 25% of the revenue to charities that support the mission of the site. To date, I mainly have monetized through sponsorships and affiliate links. I am not a huge fan of advertising, though I haven’t ruled that out as a possibility at this point.
6: Would you rather be loved, hated or controversial? Explain, please!
I’d rather be loved by those who believe in the message I bring and hated by those who disagree with it than to have people feel “lukewarm” about my message.
If I am in the middle, that means that I have not expressed my feelings openly enough.
In the end, the posts that seem to do the best are the posts that are raw and honest. They present the exposed nerves of the burnout epidemic that exists within medicine.
In the same way, my posts slanted towards building wealth and obtaining financial independence help provide the options for treatment: going part time, taking time off, changing jobs, starting your own business, finding passive income streams, and even leaving medicine all together when absolutely necessary. All of this is extremely controversial.
For example, right now, if I went part-time I’d be the only young male in my department to do so. The idea of balancing work-life at a young stage is counter-cultural.
7: Who would you be horrified to know read your blog?
My hospital administrators.
I am not sure what they would think about it, though I hope - if they had their “thinking caps” on - they would realize the blog should be a tool for recruitment and not a possible source of embarrassment. My residents have loved learning from me because of the way that I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I am not sure my administration would feel the same way.
Hence, the anonymous nature of the blog.
8: What’s your most favorite, least favorite and most embarrassing post on your blog?
Most favorite: After attending FinCon and being asked a lot to describe the purpose of my blog, it helped me really solidify exactly what that was in my mind. This led to a post where I discuss the purpose behind my blog. It describes my “why.”
Least favorite: My first post. Man, I have grown a lot. That was terrible! The advice on how to choose a medical speciality is still spot on, but the format, appearance, and delivery are all terrible.
Most Embarrassing: That time when my chair and program director (for our residency) didn’t choose me to become an assistant program director despite my clear interest and the residents’ desires for me to fill one of the three spots. You read that right, not one open spot for the job. Three. I didn’t get chosen for any of them.
9: Explain your writing process
Every post takes between 2 and 3 hours. I post three days per week and stay two weeks ahead of my post schedule in case something comes up. Writing usually occurs when my young kids are taking a nap or have gone to bed.
The process unfolds like this.
Step 1a. I keep ideas for posts in my “keep” app on my phone any time I think of a post. Anytime I think of a post idea, I stop and write it down so that I’ll remember later.
Step 1b. When I think of an idea, I create a quick/general outline for my post.
Step 2. Pour my thoughts out on a page, regardless of how it looks/sounds.
Step 3. Go back and read through it. Revising for flow and content.
Step 4. Read through it again to proofread for grammar and syntax. Consider begging my wife to read/listen to it, too.
Step 5. Make my post’s image, title, and excerpt.
Step 6. Determine if I can optimize SEO for the post.
Step 7. Schedule posts for sharing on social media.
10: What is your favorite blog in the PF blogosphere (other than your own!)?
My favorite is Physician on Fire. POF has been a huge help to me in my journey starting my blog, and I’ve read his posts for a couple of years now. His Four Physician series changed the way that I thought back then.
He deserves all the praise that he gets. And he is a fellow anesthesiologist, which means he has to be a good guy!
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