After graduating from pharmacy school in 2009 and working in pharmacy for several years, Christine Tsakiris couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t on the right path.
She spent one year of her eight-year pharmacy career in managed care and the rest of the time working a hospital setting. Despite trying out two different work settings, she still felt like her job wasn’t right for her.
Although she enjoyed being a pharmacist, Christine found that she was encountering patients after they were already sick and experiencing critical health issues—and she believed that she could use her education and expertise in a different way to help patients.
“I was at the hospital interviewing an amputee patient for his medical record, and he had the trifecta—diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension. I could tell he had given up on taking care of himself,” she said. “I felt like I was on the wrong end of medical care; I wanted to be more proactive and work on the preventative side.”
After taking a close look at her lifestyle and finances, Christine determined that she needed to cut expenses and generate passive income to provide the cushion she needed to pursue her dream.
To cut expenses, Christine made the decision to sell her home and pay down her debt. She also spent time working on personal growth.
“I looked at my life and the things that were holding me back personally and professionally,” Christine said. “I also got into the mindset that if I want to change something in my life, I can.”
Creating passive income
Around the same time that Christine began to consider a different career path, she heard about investing in oil wells from a friend. She learned that when an oil company drills a new well, the company provides a portion of the funding and obtains the rest of the money directly from investors.
She began learning more about the oil industry by doing research online and reading books such as Investing in Oil and Gas: The ABCs of DPPs. For example, she learned that investing is typically done by the acre and each acre costs a few thousand dollars, depending on the specific site.
She also learned that investing in oil wells before drilling begins is riskier, but cheaper. That’s because the company can’t be 100 percent sure that they will hit oil before they actually drill. And, although some people invest millions of dollars into oil wells, she learned that you only need $10,000 to $20,000 to get started.
After extensive risk analysis and research, she decided that this was the passive income venture that she was looking for.
So, Christine created Sirikast Energy LLC as a vehicle to allow her to invest in oil leases. To get her start, she used some of the savings she accumulated while pulling down a pharmacist’s salary.
Although she put about 20-30 hours per week into her passive income business while she was learning about the oil industry, Christine now describes her investments as “set-it-and-forget-it.” She invested in a few wells, completed the initial paperwork and now receives monthly revenue checks. Christine said she also has the option to invest in more wells when she is ready to grow her business.
“Passive income will involve time upfront, but I didn’t want to spend time on it on an ongoing basis,” she said.
Christine is now debt-free at age 34. She quit her full-time pharmacy job in March 2017 and is putting her time to good use by pursuing her passions.
Because she enjoys writing about things that interest her such as health policy and history, she is putting a blog together and has started a Twitter account. She also is working with children at the American Heart Association’s Halle Heart Children’s Museum to teach them about their heart, circulatory system and how to be healthy.
Although she said her passive income isn’t anywhere close to her pharmacist’s salary, it enabled her to leave her full-time job and pursue a career that is meaningful to her. And, she realized that she didn’t need her pharmacist’s salary to survive.
“We make awesome money as pharmacists, but we don’t need as much as we think,” she said. “After I started focusing on cutting expenses, eliminating debt and living within my means, my life got a lot easier.”
When asked to compare her life now to her life five years ago, Christine says she’s “100 times happier.”
“I was placing a lot of value on the amount of money in my bank account, and I was miserable,” she said. “I was working all the time and I didn’t know what I was working for.”
She said that going through her work and lifestyle transition has led her to feel more in control of her life and career. As an entrepreneur, she learned to work through self-doubt and perfectionist tendencies that almost every business owner struggles with at some point.
And she has no regrets about her journey.
“I wouldn’t change a thing, because it got me to where I am today,” Christine said.
She said she also learned a valuable lesson about relying on herself and taking ownership of her life.
“You can’t rely on a company or anyone else to create a perfect job for you,” Christine said. “You need to take ownership of your life. If you’re not happy, you need to value yourself enough to live the way you want.”
Ultimately, Christine said she believes that your mind is your biggest asset—but it can also be your biggest downfall. As a big believer in positive thinking, she says that success or failure all comes down to your thoughts.
“If you are resourceful enough to create the life you want, you can be much happier,” she said. “If you want something, imagine it; then, do it. Don’t be afraid.”
Alex is the Founder of The Happy PharmD. He loves anime, his family, and video games, but not in that order.