Employer: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians, Hoosick Falls, New York
Name: Disha Spath, M.D.
Undergraduate: University of Georgia, Athens
Medical School: Medical College of Georgia, Augusta
Residency/Internship: Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital, Nashville
Disha Spath, M.D., created and maintains “The Frugal Physician” blog. She created the blog to reflect the way she and her husband paid their way out of student loan debt and to empower other physicians to take control of their finances. Spath also contributes to the PracticeLink Magazine Financial Fitness column.
What do you like about being a physician who blogs?
I love that it stimulates another part of my brain than what I’m doing in medical practice. It’s a completely different skillset. I love building the entrepreneurial aspect of it as well. I really enjoy getting to talk to physicians and trying to heal the healers. It’s an immense privilege to be able to do that. I find a lot of meaning in helping another doctor be happier and practice medicine on his or her own terms.
What’s the most challenging part of blogging?
Sometimes I don’t like the attention. I’m not looking for fame. I think it’s important for me to share what I’m going through personally in order for people to understand where I’m coming from. Hopefully, it resonates and they learn from my mistakes and experience.
How often do you put out a blog?
For the first three years, I put out a blog once a week. Consistency is key initially. Now that the site is more established, I have started to focus on quality rather than quantity. I’m now working on a podcast as well.
Was there anything about blogging that surprised you?
I went into it from a purely hobby perspective. I quickly realized that in order to sustain the website and get the word out, it had to become a business. That’s something I hadn’t expected but I’m enjoying the challenge of learning how to run a business and building the skillset of managing people.
How do you come up with ideas for your blogs?
Every year, I think about which direction I want to go in. For example, do I want to continue with the frugality theme or do I want to go into the investing side and earning more money? I want to focus on what I’m feeling the most passionate about and what my audience needs right now. Over the years, I’ve refined my area of expertise.
How would another physician get started in blogging?
It’s relatively easy to get started, but it’s a much bigger commitment than I ever imagined before I started it. When you begin, you need to commit to a schedule of blogging every week or sometimes every two weeks. You’ll need to put a lot of extra time into the content creation, as well as content promotion. That’s the way you get the message out to help the people you want to help.
Can physicians make extra income from blogging?
It can be a business. I will tell you that most bloggers don’t make that much money. It’s mostly a passion project for me because it sustains itself but doesn’t bring me much income personally. However, I have also made the decision to reinvest in the site. I would tell doctors to give it a shot for a year or two and you are going to have to sustain the site. If you can do that, then perhaps you can get into the income building side of it. I found that it’s a good way to diversify income rather than rely on that income. Also, it’s a very good way to tax strategize because you now have the benefits of running a small business. I have also been able to get into speaking at conferences about finances due to the site.
Anything else to add?
Stay humble and authentic if you want to be a physician blogger. You will need a lot of self discipline to keep it going. Eventually, if it becomes a business, you will need to learn how to outsource and manage people.