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Of all the standard professions available to ambitious people, none has the moneymaking allure as the medical profession. Becoming a doctor is widely viewed as the ultimate professional career. It offers personal satisfaction, prestige, and very high incomes.

Reality is different.

First, you spend four years studying like a fiend in college. Then four years in medical school, followed by three or four more years as an intern and resident. After all that, the typical doctor (say, a pediatrician) earns on average only $130,000 a year.

Some specialists, such as heart surgeons, can earn several times that. But unless the doctor becomes a businessperson, running his own medical practice, the chances of earning more than half a million dollars a year are very slim.

And there are significant expenses that go along with running a business. These include office costs, personnel, and insurance.

On top of that, there are long stressful hours. The average general practitioner works 52.5 hours a week, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. In other words, being a doctor is not what it’s cracked up to be.

Dr. Lissa Rankin discovered this the hard way—by experience.

Dr. Rankin was seeing 25 patients a day when she first started. It eventually grew to 40 patients a day. That means five patients an hour—assuming a nine-hour workday (with an hour for lunch) and only 12 minutes per patient.

The time spent with the patient is closer to five minutes because of paperwork. Spending so little time with her patients frustrated Lissa.

Plus there was pressure from her partners to work even more. Not to mention, their reimbursements were shrinking, while their overhead and malpractice insurance costs were skyrocketing. And there was no solution in sight.

In 2007, Lissa decided to leave her practice. It wasn’t an easy decision. The financial burden of breaking her contract cost the doctor her retirement savings. She also lost her house.

“I couldn’t do it anymore. It wasn’t fair for my patients or me. I was devastated,” she said.

For several years after quitting, she made ends meet by selling her artwork and taking on odd jobs. Then, spurred by something she read, she started a blog (Previously called owningpink.com, now called LisaRankin.com) on health.

A blog is a great way to turn your passions or expertise into a reliable, continuous income stream. Done right with proper planning and dedication you can easily earn $5,000 a month or more.

Her experience as a doctor and her view of medicine gave her a unique perspective.

Lissa’s blog soon gained traction. By 2011, it had 30 contributors. Last year she began offering coaching courses, which have given her an income of more than $300,000 so far with much more to come. She also signed a six-figure deal for a new book “Mind over Medicine,” which is coming out this summer.

Lissa now has no plans to practice medicine again.

Could this work for you?

Blogging about just any old thing probably won’t make you stand out, and therefore won’t be very profitable. But if you find an ideal topic that you are very knowledgeable about, I’m sure you can do very well.

Per Lori’s suggestion, I’ve split this essay into four parts and we’ll discuss this tomorrow.  If you can find a good topic (an intersection between two hot topics like travel and pets or travel and wine is preferred), you can make good money as a blogger.  

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]  

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