I recently wrote an article about overtime for EMS providers and when it’s time to get a part-time job. One of things I mentioned is starting your own side business. This is one my favorite ideas as I feel that EMS is the perfect job for someone looking to start a business. Being that we work 12, 24 and sometimes 48-hour shifts, this leaves us with a lot of downtime that most people don’t have. This also gives us an opportunity to spend our off-time focusing on something we are passionate about, which naturally creates a level of balance in our lives that we desperately need.
I have long felt that EMT’s and Paramedics make the perfect entrepreneurs, but that’s another article for another time. The benefits of starting your own business go far beyond residual income. If you play your cards right, manage your money well and find something that you’re truly passionate about doing, then you can really do some amazing things. Early retirement, switching to part-time work, paying cash for a house, and building wealth are just a few reasons why someone might want to give entrepreneurship a try.
Now, having said all that, I have a few ground rules that I like to preach when it comes to taking on ventures like this:
- Never go into debt to start your business.
Start small and work your way up. If you have to pull some overtime, sell something or even work a part-time job temporarily in order to fund a purchase or get started, then do it. You want to minimize your risk as much as possible.
- Find something that you’re passionate about.
Mowing lawns may be an easy business to get started, but if you’re not passionate about it, it will become just like any other job. You have to find something that motivates you to put in the extra work.
- Set time limits for yourself.
I have been very guilty of letting my side-ventures completely run my life. I’ve had it damage relationships, cause stress and even make me resent the people I was serving. Setting a daily time-limit really changed all that and actually made me more productive. Remember the idea of going into business for yourself is to create freedom, not tie you down.
So without further delay, here are 4 side business ideas for EMS providers. Remember, these are just ideas and are meant to be a creativity booster, not a blueprint.
CPR / Educational Classes
This one can be really fun if done right. Many of us in EMS thrive on teaching and sharing our knowledge, so it would only make sense to consider making a living doing it! Now, I know a lot people probably looked at the “CPR Classes” and cringed….but hear me out. When you’re looking to start a business, you have to start small, and you have to do some “grunt work” to get the wheels rolling. I’m not saying that CPR classes are grunt work, but they are very scripted and often not the ideal venue for an educator. Having said that, if you approach them with an open mind, they can be fun, build a client base, and bring in much needed revenue for more advanced teachings in the future. Where this starts to get fun, is when you can get your own CE number and start creating your own classes.
EMT / Paramedic Student Tutoring
I got this idea when a paramedic student of mine offered to pay me to help tutor him through some tough sections of paramedic school. Think about an area of this job that you are strong in. Maybe it’s cardiology / ECG’s, pharmacology, trauma, etc. Perhaps you could offer tutoring in a specialized area like that. Spending a little time to keep up on the current EMT / Paramedic curriculum or NREMT standards could make you a very valuable asset to the up-and-comers. Perhaps you could even consider offering discounts for tutoring study-groups. Maybe even offer a National Registry prep / boot camp. The possibilities are endless, and you could really make a positive impact doing it.
A “While You’re at Work” Service
You could really get creative with this one. EMT, Paramedics, Nurses, Firefighters and Police Officers all work crazy hours and often find it difficult to get things done. Think about someone in your field that works a lot of overtime and doesn’t want to spend their off-days doing things like getting the oil changed on their car. You could come up with a list of “to-do” items that you offer for members of public safety. You could even get really specific and combine something you love with providing a service for your fellow members of public safety. For example, if you’re a dog lover, you could offer to watch dogs overnight. Maybe market that as a service you offer on “A-Shift” and find 2 other people to cover the other shifts. Use your imagination here!
I know I’m going to get some eye-rolling here, but before you trash the idea of network marketing, hear me out. If you can find a product or service that you’re truly passionate about, then network marketing could be a very viable option. I was extremely against this business model for a very long time. However, I found a product that really helped me achieve something I was passionate about. I grew to enjoy the products to the point where I wanted to share it with others. Now, between that and my writing, I have been able to eliminate overtime and do some serious saving.
I’m not asking anyone to jump on the first company that comes your way, but just consider it as an option. Shop around a little and see if you can find something that would truly make a difference in your life.
Creating a business out of something your passionate about can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Seriously consider this next time you’re looking at all the overtime shifts you’re pulling. What do you really want to do with your life? For me, my goal is to do EMS because I want to, not because I have to. The time will come when I have duplicated the income from my full-time job, and it’s coming fast. So when that happens, I’ll make a decision to either go down to working part-time, or continue full-time. Either way, it will be because it’s what I want to do, not because it’s what I have to do.