Are you a healthcare academician or healthcare clinician that has a relatively large amount of student loan debt looming over you? Join the club!
I am Dr F Scott Feil, PT, DPT, EdD and I had $140,000 worth of student loan debt and 2 doctoral degrees I don’t even want to use (at least traditionally).
Let me step back a little bit and explain to you my story...
I was an English major at Wake Forest University. My dad, being an English teacher on Long Island, NY for 30+ years named me after F Scott Fitzgerald, but his actual first name was Francis and he didn’t want to name me that, so he just left it as F (which is cool until you turn 16 and all of your legal documents are first name, middle initial and everything gets screwed up). Thanks to my mother and father’s deep rooted love of reading and writing, they started my brother and I doing that at a very early age. Having placed out of two freshmen English classes thanks to my AP Test scores I was finished with all of my required courses by first semester senior year. That left me with a schedule of Golf, Bowling, and Intro to Japan left to graduate and a whole lot of free time to ponder life and what I was doing with mine. I started volunteering at the local hospital and they put me in the PT department. I thought, “This is neat...I could do this all day!” until I saw the pre-requisites.
Then I realized I hardly had any of them. So I graduated in 4 years with a BA in English, took another year of pre-requisites only, then got into a PT program at East Carolina (which was a Masters program at the time). I was then offered a transitional doctorate in PT (t-DPT) if I stuck around for another year. I started that program at ECU, but my dad was having some health problems and ended up passing away while I was in that program and the window of opportunity closed for me to finish at ECU.
Luckily I was able to continue the t-DPT program at the University of St Augustine, who accepted a few of my ECU credits to lessen the load and I finally completed my t-DPT there. While in that program, the head of the EdD program asked if I was interested in teaching because three of the classes from the t-DPT overlapped the EdD program which would have made a 4 year program into a three year program. I told him I was not interested, but I started thinking if my back health ever went South or my knees gave out or may hands gave out and I could no longer do Physical Therapy, teaching would be a good fall back option, so I pursued it and just recently defended my dissertation and graduated in December of 2018.
I feel it is important to tell you all this because I am not a smart man. I am just persistent as hell. So if teaching in academia is your dream, I assure you if you stay persistent, it can be done.
That being said, upon graduating I realized I had to figure out a way to pay off those $140,000 worth of student loans, because even a six-figure PT job wasn’t going to cut it. And it wasn’t fair to my family to have to deal with the debt that incurred over the course of my academic career.
I just did not see how the top 4% of people in the nation with terminal degrees had the largest amounts of student loan debt and were getting paid very modestly salaries at best.
So I started dabbling in every side hustle and side gig I could imagine and tried connecting as many of them as I could to my expertise and experience in both Physical Therapy and Education. There were many that failed, and a few that worked. Jobs like digital marketing and lead generation for other healthcare clinics, copywriting and email sequences for healthcare clinics, helping other clinicians with curriculum development and online course content creation, and even a mobile physical therapy business.
I picked the best, most lucrative side hustles (that I truly enjoyed) over the course of three years and organized them into one giant business plan with several layers called The Feilgood Method. Aside from being a clever play on my last name, it is the method I use with all of my business coaching students and the one that can be found in my book: PT Educator’s Student Debt Eliminator - Multiple Streams of Revenue for Healthcare Clinicians and Academicians.
My phase one goal is to help 222 PhDs, EdDs, DScs create multiple streams of revenue so that they can aggressively pay off their student loans quicker by utilizing skills sets they already have from completing high level degrees. I chose 222 because at the inception of my coaching program (PT Educator’s Student Debt Eliminator MASTERCLASS) that is the number of Physical Therapy Programs there were in the nation. So if I could help at least one professor from each program pay off their student loans quicker, then I will have accomplished my Phase 1 goal! And if they are not all PT Professors, or from every program in the nation, it is just my Phase 1 goal, so that is a great start in my eyes.
So while my largest umbrella holding company is Feilgood Industries, PLLC, I help people in various numbers of ways.
- Epic Therapy and Wellness is my Mobile PT clinic.
- FGI Consulting is my digital marketing and lead generation business that also handles ghost writing, copywriting, consulting, and live speaking opportunities.
But my main focus in this last year has been adapting and growing PT Educator which is an online practical knowledge platform that helps people via online courses on fun topics of interest to me such as fantasy football injuries, video game injury prevention, How to Start a Mobile PT Practice, and several other books, eBooks, and courses. I basically took all of my Physical Therapy knowledge, my Educational Doctorate Knowledge (both learned from university) and combined them with my digital marketing and online business knowledge that I learned from people like Paul Gough, Danny Matta, Gallant Dill, Greg Todd, Sam Ovens, Dan Kennedy and many more. I took a few courses online, attended a few live events and Masterminds, read a few books, listened to many podcasts, and crafted the ultimate book and Masterclass on layering multiple revenue streams to pay off student loans faster than the 25 years that I currently was on pace for.
What has been my biggest struggle a healthcare entrepreneur?
My biggest struggle with my current journey has just been finding the time and the financial resources to finish my book, finish the beta course, and then scale and grow this movement to help eliminate as many folks’ student loan debt as possible. It is especially difficult for one man to do all of this while working a 9-5 due to “The Golden Handcuffs”.
My wife is a Type-1 Diabetic and a stay at home mom, so finding healthcare insurance benefits (or Golden Handcuffs as they care commonly known for keeping people at a certain job) for her was near impossible (any if anyone is a Type-1 and has an answer or solution, I’d love to chat). Even with owning my own business, I was unable to find anyone to insure her, so I have to maintain a job that gives us not only benefits, but good benefits or I would be paying exorbitant amounts of money for diabetic supplies and insulin every year.
So I just go about my days working a very flexible home health job for the benefits, and then I find every spare hour I can to work on my side hustles and side gigs, because most of them are passion projects that I truly enjoy and find a purpose in. I also make sure not to get down on myself or put pressure on myself if I don’t finish something by a certain time or miss any self-imposed deadlines like I used to. That helps me step away from the extra work and spend time with my family whenever I want to or need to.
What would I do differently on my journey to student loan freedom and passive income?
If I were to start this journey all over again and change the way I did certain things, the one thing I would change would be to publish my book first and way earlier in my career. I feel like this would have been a good approach because not only does the book tell my story and outline my framework for my last three years of messing around with all of these side hustles, but it really sets the ball in motion for an online course and coaching program, and then lends itself to more public speaking opportunities. A book tends to help lend credibility to your cause and helps you get your message out to a larger audience who then in turn wants to hear you speak at events (and is next on my list of revenue streams to layer onto my business).
I am still not sure if I will venture into academia anymore than the adjunct positions that have come my way (mostly thanks to The Healthcare Education Transformation Podcast), but for now I feel like I am still fulfilling my need and desire to teach and educate via the book and the Masterclass.
So if you are a healthcare academician or clinician, and you have what seems to be an insurmountable amount of student loan debt remaining, and you are looking for a solution to pay it off quicker, visit PTEducator.com for all of the updates and release dates of the books, the book club, and the Masterclass or reach out to me personally on social media. I am always generally available and love to chat about this looming issue in American education!