The Medical Student Guide to Physician Entrepreneurship

The Medical Student Guide to Physician Entrepreneurship

Some of you might have taken my advice to a premed, and, despite your misgivings, are now medical students.

Being a medical student is an all consuming experience. Consequently, having the time and energy to pursue an entrepreneurial career or side gig at the same time is a challenge, particularly since we need more entrepreneurial medical schools and interprofessional entrepreneurship. That's just one of many problems facing medical schools.

Fundamentally, to be a physician entrepreneur you will need education, resources, networks, mentors, access to experience, peer to peer support and non-clinical career guidance. Here is your career planning guide.

Unfortunately, future doctors are not being educated and trained to win the 4th industrial revolution. How many will graduate with these work of the future skills?

Here are five key traits you should start developing as a medical student.

Some other key attributes are :

1. Mindset :Innovation starts with the right mindset.

2. Talent.

3. Opportunity.

4. Luck.

5. Knowledge, skills and attitudes. Unfortunately, doctors get duped into thinking that getting an MBA gives them the right to call themselves physician entrepreneurs. More often, they are trained to be managers. Here's how to be a physician entrepreneur despite your MBA.

6. Networks and becoming part of the expanding network universe.

7. Mentors and sponsors and knowing the difference and how to find them.

8. Resources.

9. Experience. Here are some tips on how to get started as a physician entrepreneur.

10. Emotional internal motivation.

11. Social and emotional support networks.

12. A sandbox where they can play and experiment with the right leadership, structure and processes.

13. Humility. A learning mindset requires humbleness.It requires a willingness to admit "I don't know".

14. Coming down off the mountain. What got you to where you are now won't get you to where you want to go.

15. Finding your blind spots.

16. Making it personal but not taking it personally.

17. A personal brand.

18. At first, be a problem seeker not a problem solver.

19. Entrepreneurial habits.

20. Strategic thinking.

If you are a medical student, you might be thinking about quitting or not doing a residency. Think twice before quitting or becoming a drop out doc. It's called physician entrepreneur for a reason.

Here is some more advice about how to progress along your physician entrepreneurial pathway and the things you can do now in medical school and what to consider when it's time to pick a residency if you are interested in entrepreneurship

Good luck and be sure to learn from your inevitable failures. The entrepreneurial mindset is not the same as the clinical mindset. However, much like how clinical judgement comes from mistakes and experience, business judgement results from the same things.

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD and Co-editor of Digital Health Entrepreneurship.

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  • Christopher Mitchell

    It takes more than a great idea to get seed money.

  • Robert Johnson

    Be prepared for some tough times

  • Kerry McVey

    It's a great feeling to have created something that we know is helping save lives.

  • Christopher Shaw

    Excellent piece

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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