eBiz Facts is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn More

How a physical therapist earns $4098/month from online side hustle

Physio Memes: Dr. Andrew TranThree years ago, Andrew Tran searched online for memes pages related to physical therapy. Finding none, he decided to “scratch his own itch” and create his own page.

He called it Physio Memes.

Fast forward to the present day: Andrew has grown his fun hobby project into a successful online business, boasting multiple income streams and tens of thousands of followers on social media.

Business Breakdown
Average Revenue 28
Average Profit 29
Time In Business 30
30 months
$0 → $1k/month 31
10 months
Starting Capital 32
Workload 33
30 hours/week
eBiz Purity 34
Passivity 35
CENTS Score 36
Business Model 37

ecommerce, freelance

Lead Generation 38

paid ads, SEO, social media

Monetization 39

affiliate marketing, hourly rate, one-time sale

Niche 40

health → physical therapy

Skills 41

web development, 10 more…

Tools 42

canva, shopify, slack, 7 more…

Resources 43

smart success PT, 1 more…

All info self-reported by Physio Memes.
Case study published July 18, 2019.

🔎 About Physio Memes

Dr. Andrew Tran is a physical therapist who has been practicing for three years.

Physio Memes logoA few months after graduating in 2016, Andrew went looking for memes pages related to physical therapy. Disappointed by what he found, he decided to create his own memes page on Instagram, and Physio Memes was born.

About a year later, Andrew was looking for funny physical therapy shirts but couldn’t find a store that was selling any PT apparel or products. Scratching his own itch yet again, he started designing and selling shirts himself and sales began to trickle in.

Nowadays Physio Memes sells all types of PT-themed apparel and products via a Shopify store.

Physio Memes products
Above: A selection of items for sale at Physio Memes.

What started off as an ecommerce side hustle for a physical therapist has evolved into something much more.

Andrew explains the Physio Memes vision:

Many people aren’t exactly sure what a physical therapist does. PTs clearly have a branding issue. Are they like a personal trainer? Do they do a lot of massages? They actually need a doctorate degree to do their job? The list goes on.

Many people go for unnecessary surgeries and we have a huge opioid crisis that is killing more people from the medication than heroin itself. Physical therapists can help people avoid the aforementioned by proper education, movement, and empowerment.

The goal of Physio Memes is to not only brand the PT profession in a funny and positive way, but to create a movement so we can end the opioid epidemic and prevent premature and unnecessary back surgeries.

🤑 Revenue, Profit, Monetization

Average Revenue 44
Average Profit 45
Monetization 46

affiliate marketing, hourly rate, one-time sale

Andrew’s comments:

With Physio Memes, I started off monetizing with a print on demand ecommerce store. I sell funny physical therapy related designs on apparel, drinkware, home decor, shoes, etc.

I had other physical therapy business owners asked me how to do this and created a course for it. I have transitioned to mainly consultation and done-for-you (DFY) services, as many business owners do not have time to set up a store, upload their designs, and research the best stores to work with.

Physical therapy school does not teach business, marketing, sales, or branding. I learned a lot of the business side through a mentor who has helped me monetize a memes page and now transition it to a full-time business.

I am a proud affiliate and coach for my mentor’s program – Smart Success PT – where I help other business owners reach their goals of time freedom to enjoy life on their own terms.

Andrew’s revenue breaks down like this:

Physio Memes revenue breakdown

He charges an hourly rate for consulting, but also has flat-rate pricing for setting up a whole store.

🚀 $0 → $1k/month

$0 → $1k/month 47
10 months

It took 10 months of work before Physio Memes started earning $1,000 per month consistently, through a combination of affiliate marketing and ecommerce.

Andrew gives a lot of credit to the Smart Success PT course:

That’s where I learned marketing and business, since physical therapy school doesn’t cover more than a couple of hours of outdated and unrealistic visions of business.

⏱️ Time In Business

Time In Business 48
30 months

Physio Memes didn’t start off as a business.

Andrew explains:

A few months after I graduated (2016) I was looking for memes pages related to physical therapy and couldn’t find anything that was consistently posting memes.

I decided to create my own memes page on Instagram called Physio Memes.

It wasn’t until about a year later that it became a business.

The first year I was just having fun without direction or thinking about monetizing it.

But then I started looking for funny physical therapy shirts but couldn’t find a store that was selling any PT apparel or products. I started creating a few shirts and slowly got sales.

Although Physio Memes has only existed as a business for 1.5 years, we believe that the first year of growing an Instagram following was crucial to later success. With that, we’ve decided to count the extra twelve months and list Physio Memes as being “in business” for 2.5 years.

💰 Starting Capital

$70.95 was the total cost for Dr. Tran to get the business running initially.

He spent that money on:

  • Shopify (ecommerce platform)
  • Canva (cloud-based design software)

🏋️ Workload

Workload 50
30 hours/week

Andrew notes:

On average, I’ve spent ~30 hours a week on the business for the last 1.5 years.

It is still a side hustle as I write this, taking the leap to go full time (hopefully by the time this is published).

I have held both full-time and part-time jobs along the way.

I will increase hours at work if I need to spend more money on investing in learning (coaching, courses, etc), and have been scraping by with bills on occasion.

I have finally brought on a small team to help me out with the day-to-day tasks as I start to grow. Working on automating more of the ecommerce side while I focus on growing out the brand and consulting/DFY services with other businesses.

💻 eBiz Purity

We’re nitpicking here and scoring this a 4 since Andrew did have to receive physical samples for his products before selling them.

With that out of the way, Andrew now runs everything from his laptop and phone.

Here’s how it comes together:

With print on demand, I work with a 3rd party company to do my fulfillment so I never have to touch the products.

Once the orders get placed on the store, the company prints, packages, and ships it out for me with my company’s details on it.

I have changed 3rd party companies a few times to continually improve quality but also customer service. I currently use four 3rd party providers to fulfill my orders depending on the products. Customers do not know that it comes from multiple places as each company puts my business name and address on the products.

🔥 CENTS Score

🎮 Control – 1/1

Physio Memes is well diversified, with 4 income streams, a large following on 2 social media platforms, a growing mailing list (2000+ subscribers), and partnerships with 4 different fulfillment companies.

As such, there doesn’t appear to be a single “Achilles’ heel” that could cripple the business.

🚪 Entry – 0.5/1

There are no significant barriers to entry for competitors, but Physio Memes is now well established in the PT world and thus enjoys a respectable “moat” around the business, making it hard for newbies to compete.

Andrew also notes that he’s not worried about competition:

I do not have much competition in my field as there are a few other PT stores (the main reason why I started mine).

I believe I stand out from the others as I have put myself and personal brand behind the company.

I have taught a handful of other therapists to do exactly what I do as well. I believe it’s all abundance mindset and my main competition is my current self.

🙏 Need – 0.5/1

We asked Andrew what specific need Physio Memes solves for people. His response:

I help Physical Therapists solve the branding issue of our profession with marketing through apparel while spreading humor and positivity.

Not many people are clear on what PTs do. No one else is specifically helping with marketing in our profession through apparel and merchandise.

🕓 Time – 0.5/1

The nature of ecommerce means that Andrew often earns money while sleeping, but only half marks here since he still works an average of ~30 hours per week on the business.

📈 Scalability – 0.5/1

Physical therapy is a decent sized niche (see below), and there’s clearly lots of room to grow the business.

Andrew notes:

I have been limiting myself with selling apparel and merchandise directly to PTs and PT students across the world.

I now have expanded to consulting for both online and brick and mortar businesses. I help business owners design and set up stores so they can create passive income.

🏖️ Passivity

Andrew explains:

I still have to actively post on social media and create ads to make content with memes and new releases of products and income.

I have a team of people to create designs I think of, manage the store, and manage ads.

On the consulting/DFY side, I have to actively reach out to business owners and create connections to help set up their stores.

🤝 Lead Generation

The traffic to the Physio Memes website breaks down like so:

  • 40% organic search (Google) + direct
  • 35% organic from Facebook and Instagram
  • 25% from paid ads on Facebook and Instagram

With paid ads, Andrew is able to target a very specific audience:

My niche is physical therapy students and new grad physical therapists, ages 22-28. Focusing more on women since the profession is 70% women.

🎯 Niche

Via Wikipedia: 54

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 210,900 physical therapists employed in the United States in 2014, earning an average $84,020 annually in 2015, or $40.40 per hour, with 34% growth in employment projected by the year 2024.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that there were approximately 128,700 Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides employed in the United States in 2014, earning an average $42,980 annually, or $20.66 per hour, with 40% growth in employment projected by the year 2024.

That’s a decent sized niche with a high-income population.

However, Andrew notes that his target audience is actually a subset of physical therapists:

My niche is physical therapy students and new grad physical therapists, ages 22-28. Focusing on women since the profession is 70% women.

🎨 Key Skills

Andrew has had to learn and develop a number of new skills while building his business:

I have learned how to set up the Shopify website on my own and tweaked things for the first year without any help.

I have since invested in an ecommerce course – Justin Cener’s Bootcamp – followed by one-on-one coaching, which has helped me out tremendously since revenue was plateauing for 8-10 months.

I have learned Facebook ads, marketing and copywriting from various mentors, coaches and courses in the last 2 years.

I was designing for my store somehow surviving off Canva for the first year. I have not taught myself how to use Photoshop nor any other professional graphic design software.

In the last few months, I have a VA who runs my ads, freelancing between 4-5 designers with currently 1-2 main ones, and a few interns who are helping me with managing the store and doing emails.

Given all that, here’s an attempt to list the primary skills that Andrew has utilized to build the business:

  • Copywriting
  • Customer Service
  • Email Marketing
  • Facebook Ads
  • Graphic Design
  • Project Management
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Video Production
  • Web Development

🛠️ Tools and Resources

Primary tools:
  • Shopify – hosting and managing the ecommerce store
  • Canva – graphic design, email template designs, creating social media content
  • Camtasia – creating/editing videos for memes/content
  • Loom – screen recording, much easier than Camtasia and it’s free
  • MailChimp – mailing list, free to start
  • Upwork and Fiverr – for finding/hiring freelance designers
  • Trello – task board for project management
  • Slack – communication channel for the team
  • ClickFunnels – course creation and training modules for team
  • Placeit – mockup generator
Resources Andrew found helpful:

👣 Want to follow in Andrew’s footsteps?

Here’s Andrew’s advice for doing just that:

If you want to start your own ecommerce store, I 100% recommend starting with Shopify. It only costs $29/month to get started. It is the most recommended site by almost every expert out there and has so many great apps and tools integrated with it.

I have a 100% print on demand store. If a design doesn’t sell, you don’t lose any money since shirts/products don’t get printed on until after the purchase is made.

Physio Memes shirts
Above: Some of the shirts available at Physio Memes.

To make sales, Facebook/Instagram ads are the best way to go at this point since it’s a visual business looking at designs. Unless you have a huge social media audience already with an account that is highly active. Even then, it will never replace ads as they pop up continuously when you retarget people.

Continually test new products and ads.

Don’t tie your emotions to your favorite designs. My #1 design is probably the cheapest design I’ve paid for and I don’t like it that much, but I let the audience dictate. Once you find a winning product, don’t be afraid to scale.

I recommend learning each part of the business and then delegating/hiring a virtual assistant to do the things you don’t like. Create video recordings of exactly how you do everything and upload it to one place for them to watch.

(Since I created my course on ClickFunnels, I use that to house my training for my VAs/Interns like a course with modules.)

There are many proven experts and courses out there. There are multiple pathways to success.

I recommend working with one expert at a time and implement exactly what they teach you. Go back and rewatch videos and recorded one-on-one trainings if needed to get your money’s worth.

Learning from multiple people at once and implementing multiple strategies will waste a lot of time, money, and energy.

👇 Get more Physio Memes

Here’s a short episode from the Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast where Andrew talks more about building his business…

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *