Five months ago, I had a dream: The Happy PharmD Summit. I’ve been in the pharmacy space writing about careers for a little more than three years. If there’s one message that I’ve heard loud and clear—and repeatedly—from angry pharmacists, it’s that many people feel stuck in job situations that they hate. They feel stuck because they make a lot of money, but there’s little room for career movement and enhancement. They also can easily be replaced by another pharmacist, especially if they work in a retail or hospital pharmacy and don’t specialize. More and more experienced pharmacists feel like they are being forced out of the profession and replaced by younger pharmacists. And after a while, many pharmacists begin to wonder if they are really cut out for the life of a pharmacist. Some even feel unsure about whether their career is what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
I created The Happy PharmD many months before I had this dream with the sole purpose of helping pharmacists live inspiring lives and find inspiring work. The Happy PharmD Summit was my first major project to fulfill that objective. I created a test website five months ago and started sharing it online and through LinkedIn. I asked people whether a virtual conference about non-traditional careers would inspire and help them. Within a week, I had more than 100 people sign up. That’s when I knew that I could turn my dream into a reality—and deliver great results. More than 2,600 pharmacists signed up for the event, and 150 pharmacists signed up for the Access Pass membership. Within a week, 3,817 individual views were captured. The average time for a view was 21 minutes. Total time watched equaled 56 days and 10 hours.
The top 10 countries in attendance were:
- United States
- St. Lucia
- Saudi Arabia
Twenty-one speakers presented during the summit and we had six additional bonus speakers for Access Pass members. Bonuses for Access Pass members included:
- The Seven Figure Pharmacist by Tim Church and Tim Ulbrich
- A negotiation expert seminar
- A salary and benefit negotiation e-book
- A coaching strategy session
- A career coaching strategy session
- An investment strategy session
What to Went Wrong
Although the The Happy PharmD Summit was well received and provided fantastic value for participants, there was room for improvement. Here are some areas that need work:
1. Minor technical issues.
We have a few tech issues, which is to be expected with anything online. A few pharmacists were not able to get their Access Pass membership immediately, and that was due to things like members not inputting the correct email address or failing to check their spam filter.
2. Time management.
I initially thought that five months was quite a bit of time to plan an event while working a full-time job and running a business. I was wrong. Now that I know how much work was involved, I will not make the same mistake again. Next year, I will begin planning further in advance and I will block activities by the month. For example, this year I recorded three additional sessions two weeks before the event. That was stressful and I don’t want to do that again.
What to Improve
As I think about next year, I’d like to make the following adjustments to provide even more value to participants:
1. Access Pass system enhancements.
I’d like to improve the Access Pass system so pharmacists can seamlessly get their password, log in and receive all required information.
2. Relationship-building with sponsors in advance.
Although we had six or seven sponsors for our event, I didn’t get sponsors so I could get money. Creating a relationship with sponsors is much more valuable to me that receiving a few hundred dollars for an event. Going forward, I will try to develop relationships with businesses in advance and only create mutually beneficial sponsorships after the businesses realize the value of my services—and understand that they can trust me. Telling a company that I’m looking for sponsors and not charging anything because it’s a first-time event and asking for $1,000 for an annual event require two different approaches.
3. Onboard new speakers.
There are a couple of very interesting non-traditional pharmacy careers that I want to highlight at next year’s event, but I also want to provide increased coverage of the career transition process. I want to cover career transitions in-depth, and possibly provide a mini-course in career preparation that would discuss CVs, interview preparation and job research.
4. A focus on entrepreneurship.
I’m an entrepreneur myself, and I find this area fascinating—regardless of whether people go into pharmacy entrepreneurship or are looking to start a side hustle to supplement their pharmacy income. Overall, the inaugural event generated an overwhelming positive response. I had a few negative nay-sayers, but that’s to be expected when you create anything online. I’m excited for what the future holds, and in six-month’s time I plan to re-launch the event with additional content, interviews and bonuses. For those of you who participated in my first Happy PharmD Summit, I’d welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvement and look forward to giving you more of what you want in years to come. If you didn’t participate in the Happy PharmD Summit this time around, no worries. You can head to thehappypharmd.com and join my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out next time!
Alex is the Founder of The Happy PharmD. He loves anime, his family, and video games, but not in that order.