Alex is the Founder of The Happy PharmD. He loves anime, his family, and video games, but not in that order.
The Pharmacy Side Hustle: How to Turn Your Expertise into Income
A side hustle is an awesome way to bring in extra income, whether to take a vacation, to pay off some debt or maybe to buy that jet ski you’ve been dreaming about.
Whatever your goal, I can help you get there.
I’ve successfully coached quite a few people and helped them turn their side hustle businesses into full-time efforts. The following ideas will help you get started.
Turn your knowledge into dollars.
We live in an information economy where you can pay to learn practically anything.
Since you have knowledge that other people want, start by thinking about these questions: What do I know that I could teach others? What am I passionate about that others are willing to learn?
My colleagues have turned their expert knowledge into books, courses, in-person training seminars, and more. My own story is a testimony to the possibilities of the side hustle, as I now specialize in helping pharmacists find better jobs after quitting my own.
Colleagues like Eric Christianson, a pharmacist without a residency, began writing about clinical information after accepting a clinical job. He turned his blog of case studies, Med Ed 101, into educational books that help students pass medical examinations. He’s written multiple books and recently announced that he is leaving his full-time job to work on that business.
Providing continuing education is an excellent way to make an extra buck. I previously used my knowledge about anticoagulation to create a CD, and I was hired to speak to a group of nurse practitioners about it as well.
If you do something once, chances are you can be paid to do it again. You may even be able to use the same presentation multiple times to different groups.
Be aware that it takes a significant amount of work to put together a presentation and to deliver it well. You should be paid for that effort. Don’t allow Imposter Syndrome to convince you to do important work for free.
I remember telling my grandfather about a speaking engagement I had, how I wasn’t getting paid to speak and how I was also expected to provide my transportation and lodging. My grandfather, a pastor, told me I was an idiot. He pointed out that even pastors get paid to speak at events. I am an idiot no longer.
You are a pharmacist commanding over six figures. Your expertise is valuable, and it is only fair that you should be compensated when sharing it.
Become a spokesperson for a pharmaceutical company.
A lot of people view this opportunity in a negative light, but I disagree.
If you can speak truthfully about a drug you believe in, one that is safe and does what it says it does, and if you are interested in promoting that drug, you should.
Still need convincing? Pharmaceutical companies have found that using celebrities in their commercials offers a great way to get a leg up on the competition. Arnold Palmer, Ray Liotta, and Kevin Nealon have joined the effort, promoting medications they trust to treat afflictions they have personally dealt with.
Become a medical writer.
Medical writing is another excellent way to share your knowledge. I am working now with a full-time pharmacist, and she has already dramatically increased her income by writing continuing education articles.
Reach out to your state or local associations with an offer to write an article for them. You may not get paid for the first article, but when it is published, you will have solid proof of your ability to create valuable content worthy of compensation.
The beauty of medical writing is that it is possible to do it for more than one company. My client has been so successful that she is now deciding whether to continue with her pharmacy position or to accept the numerous offers she continues to receive to write more articles.
That is the beauty of side hustles: They can become more than just extra income. In many cases, they result in entire new careers.
Become an expert witness.
This is a relatively new side hustle that I am currently learning more about, having just interviewed a pharmacist for my HappyPharmD Summit.
Essentially, an expert witness reviews court cases and offers a professional opinion on the case, without having to go into the courtroom. They are often paid many times over the average pharmaceutical wage. Some even set their fees up to $100/hour for their expert opinion.
Websites exist that serve as databases for those seeking experts in a variety of fields. You list your credentials and your experience and wait for clients to find you.
Become a college instructor.
Pharmacists can earn extra income by taking on students through student preceptorships and by teaching college-level classes.
The pharmacy department will sometimes receive the monies paid by the college while sometimes the money goes directly to the pharmacist. Talk to your manager to determine how it works in your situation.
One of my colleagues taught college courses full-time simply because he didn’t enjoy his pharmacy position and wanted something new. Another colleague taught a pharmacology class once a week to a group of physician assistants and earned an extra $15K a year.
The best way to get involved is to teach at local colleges and make your connections.
Become a consultant.
Practically anyone can be a consultant. From technology to leadership, and team building to systems management, consultants exist in every industry.
Begin by offering help to people who work in the area that you are most interested in. Even if you work for free, once you have achieved measurable results and testimonials, you can use them to get referrals for paid work.
Become a coach.
Health and fitness coaching is an easy mix for practically anyone in a health profession, including pharmacists. Our whole industry is about helping people become healthy and stay healthy, yet most of the focus is on treating disease rather than on prevention.
You can help turn that around.
People understand the benefits of hiring a personal trainer to meet their fitness goals. As a health coach, you can help them take control of their bodies and revitalize their health.
Provide other options in place of another doctor visit or another medication. Help people understand the importance of proactive behavior to head off health problems.
Try good old-fashioned moonlighting.
The most traditional side hustle, of course, is picking up weekend or evening shifts.
A friend of mine is a respiratory therapist who he is paying down his loans simply by working midnight shifts, with differential pay.
Moonlighting can also help you add to your skill set and develop new capabilities that will benefit you in your primary work.
Find ways to improve your work environment.
Technology is continually advancing, yet there is always room for improvement. What if you were to create a solution to a common tech complaint in your profession? What if you were able to research the problem and hire the right people to fix it? That is how start-ups happen.
I recently interviewed a couple of pharmacy students - not even making a salary yet - who saw a problem with medication non-adherence and addressed it by creating VoixRx. The phone app allows patients to listen to their medication instructions in 22 different languages so they can access information beyond the pharmacy.
Imagine what you could create!
Become something new.
Just because you are in the health industry now doesn’t mean you have to have a side hustle in health.
I coached a pharmacist this year and helped him launch his own real estate empire, which now brings in a significant portion of his monthly earnings. He has control of his life back, more time with his family, and his dreams of an early retirement seem likely.
Another client, while working with me on his “passive income business,” realized that what he really wants is to create something completely different around something he truly loves: Brazilian Jui Jitsu.
That is what happens though when you are on a journey: You learn about yourself, what you love doing, and what you love working on.
If moving out of healthcare seems intimidating, change begins when you broaden your thinking.
Enroll in my side hustle course.
I’ve helped dozens of pharmacists develop side hustles in countless different industries. Some of them were seeking additional income, while others wanted a creative outlet since their day jobs didn’t encourage creativity. Some pharmacists were looking to create options beyond pharmacy.
I understand the struggle of needing the pharmacy income and the dangers of pharmacy burnout. I’ve walked the road myself, and through my own experience, I’ve helped others take small steps toward better options.
I’ve created a side hustle course that will help you initiate the process of finding fulfilling work outside of your primary pharmacy work. My Masterclass will walk you through the three phases of how to create your own side hustle:
- Creating an idea
- Validating the idea
- Scaling the idea
It is one thing to have an idea but something else altogether to receive money for it.
To eliminate any hesitation, I am offering the course at 30% discount to the first 50 people who register using this link.
Don’t wait. No one is going to walk up to you on the street and hand you an idea. You have to get out there and create one for yourself.