Since 2008, after embarking as a full-time entrepreneur, my career has been a series of peaks and valleys. By 2016, I had achieved FIRE status in my mid-thirties by investing in residual income-producing investments, including real estate and equities.
As a result, I was able to take a year-off sabbatical to contemplate my next career move. In 2017, I then started my consulting company to reach more people and make a larger impact. I saw the impact that technological innovation was creating in the healthcare field. For the next three years, my company was growing and expanding. It was doing well, but I knew going into 2020, I would have to develop and expand into different skillsets and areas to take my company to the next level.
Right when everything was in place for 2020 expansion, COVID-19 hit. All of my business plans for scaling and implementation were sidetracked. I had to adjust and pivot quickly. COVID-19 forced me to amplify my reach by building out my social media channels, and figure out how to create new business opportunities and revenue streams through purely online channels. As a result of greater technological adoption, I secured multiple online speaking and business opportunities and pivoted more into the digital world during a time when human-human contact wasn’t allowed. This alone mitigated over 90% of the sudden business disruptions.
COVID-19 has forced all of us to use technology to a greater extent to adapt to the sudden disruption. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has spurned a huge wave of innovation introducing new business models and transforming existing business models in every sector, including healthcare. Moving forward, technologies such as telemedicine, VR-AR-MR, and the blockchain will play a huge role in bringing about new ways of educating, interacting, and communicating with each other, whether it be in the office, social, business events, and other ways currently unimaginable.
Moreover, social media will play an even larger role in our profession because now each individual physician has a plethora of media distribution channels to amplify their voice and spread their message in creative and innovative ways, something that was not present in 2008. Not only will physician burnout, finances, and well being be continually addressed but other emerging issues including alternative careers, income streams from non-clinical means, and a whole host of other topics will be brought to the forefront as a result of the COVID-19 technology acceleration.
As a result of the last four months, I’ve seen that we live in a time where there are infinite resources, abundance, and opportunity. It all depends on who accepts and embrace that idea. I’ve trained in times when there was no social media, to the rise of the first physician blogs such as the White Coat Investor and KevinMD, to today where every physician can have a voice through so many different social media channels, and they can use the various mediums to address the complex issues plaguing the profession today.
COVID-19 was a blessing in disguise, working in a pressure incubator akin to the “startup” culture. From our lowest and most uncertain points, COVID-19 has given us the strength and resolve to recreate, reestablish, and define our lives based on our own individual values, and not those that have been conditioned or assigned to us. Having grown and learned so much over the last four months, this experience has given us the tools, resources, experience, knowledge, skillset, and confidence to go out, expand, and make more of a positive difference in our profession using the technological acceleration brought about by COVID-19.
Christopher H. Loo is a physician and author of How I Quit My Lucrative Medical Career and Achieved Financial Freedom Using Real Estate.