Side hustles are popular- they’re IN right? In healthcare, many professionals are developing side hustles and working full-time or part-time shifts to create more balance in their lives and do the things most meaningful to them. These two full-time physical therapy students didn’t wait to get out of school to begin their healthcare side hustle. They began their side hustle together and gave their best advice on how to start your own side hustle in healthcare.

JJ Carr, SPT, CSCS and Jake Herberger, SPT, CSCS, ATC founded The Athlete Engineers, a comprehensive resource that provides only the best information that is diligently researched and scientifically proven. Their goal is “engineering athletes to optimize results through better education and strengthening programs, injury prevention strategies, and post-injury adaptation to training and sport.” They provide customizable programs for people of all ages and athletic ability. No matter what skill level of the individual, they are determined to help everyone achieve their goals and become the best athlete possible in the safest and most effective manner.

Takeaways from our conversation:

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What inspired JJ and Jake to create a business together is the desire to create their own world and focus on athletes. They wanted to create something sooner rather than later and get a head start on their entrepreneurial journey. JJ and Jake have witnessed the healthcare epidemic first-hand: quantity over quality. As forward-thinking pre-professionals, they want to open their own clinic and get physical therapy back to quality. They also want to tie their practice into a gym and telehealth practice. Telehealth is something that can benefit people, especially in rural areas where it’s harder to access services. 

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Find what sets you apart- what differentiates you from others in your field, whether it’s in your side hustle or in your practice? JJ and Jake attribute their unique factor as their passion for helping athletes. You don’t have to dye your hair purple (although if you do, that’s awesome) to stand out. Think of the things right under your nose- is it your passion? Or your creative copywriting? Or your dog is in every video? Think about how you make your side hustle stand out from the noise.


Always be aware of the things you like and don’t like when you’re a student shadowing, in an internship, fieldwork, etc. You can piece this information together to create what your ideal work life will look like. The healthcare side hustle keeps JJ and Jake motivated as students to build something valuable that will benefit them in the future.

A side hustle is not for people that easily get overwhelmed. There are so many steps that go into being self-sufficient in your side hustle. You must be able to balance school/work load, self-care, and building your healthcare (or not healthcare) self hustle. What has helped JJ and Jake is adding to their existing toolbox from their previous backgrounds before physical therapy school. Use your backgrounds, strengths, and resourcefulness to build a valuable side hustle.


The biggest thing for your side hustle is a good idea and a business model. The logistical stuff will come- thank goodness for Google (i.e. how to file for an LLC). Get your thoughts and ideas organized on paper and seek mentorship and support especially when you’re first getting started.

Messy action is great action. Start little by little. When you want to go for something, it’s easy for analysis paralysis to get in the way. Don’t let that happen- instead, start with small, actionable steps.


Although it’s difficult to find the ‘balance,’ you must create a balance that makes sense for you. JJ and Jake suggest having a life outside of school and an outlet that can help you to de-stress, like working out, playing with your pets, having outside relationships, etc. 

Find the time that works for you. You may be more productive early in the morning or later in the evening. It’s hard to force something that doesn’t feel nature, so it’s important to maximize your most productive times of the day to do your most important work.

Connect with JJ and Jake:

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