Million Dollar Side Hustle

Real Estate RPH

Six years and a six-figure salary. Pharmacists are fortunate to graduate and make great salaries right out of the gate. Like it or not, this is one of the reasons many students choose to pursue a career in pharmacy to begin with. Unfortunately, that high floor comes with a low ceiling. Today’s market is seeing reduced hours, pay increase freezes, and limited overtime opportunities. Combine these stagnant salaries with a tightening job market and soul-crushing amounts of student loan debt – and it becomes clear why so many pharmacists are pursuing a side hustle.

The popularity of side hustles means lots of people are talking about them and options for where and how to make extra income are limited only by your time, skills, and imagination. Alex Barker, the Happy PharmD, lists 53 Side Hustles any Pharmacist Can Easily Start. He also recently published The Pharmacy Side Hustle: How to Turn Your Expertise into Income. Tim Church from Your Financial Pharmacist wrote about 14 Practical Ways to Make Extra Money as Pharmacist in 2019 and he regularly features pharmacist side hustlers on the YFP podcast. Episode 63 is the intro to the ongoing series and well worth checking out. The point is, there are a ton of ways to earn extra income as a pharmacist.  My flavor, as you undoubtedly guessed, is real estate.

I remember the moment I first considered getting my real estate license. My wife and I were visiting her parents in Pittsburgh and my father-in-law and I were chatting while getting the grill ready for dinner. I had been reading about real estate investing and wanted to pick his brain about the best ways to get started. You see, my father-in-law had graduated with a great engineering degree from a prestigious university but had spent the greater part of his career as a real estate agent and developer. When I asked about investing and expressed my interest in real estate he immediately suggested I get my license. Our conversation spanned several beers and extended well beyond dinner. Ultimately, there were 3 things that convinced me to pull the trigger.

  1. Understanding a market is key to real estate investing and there’s no better way to learn that market than to be in it. You can make money while developing contacts and learning the industry from the inside.
  2. The right brokerage won’t care how often you check into the office or even how often you work on deals. In general, they make money from monthly fees and when you close deals.
  3. Most brokers will pay for you to get your license. This makes the startup cost effectively nothing.

So, in 2016, I started classes with my local business college and a few months later I was a fresh new agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. I sat back and waited for all my friends and family to start calling; eager to buy and sell their homes with me as their agent.

I waited a month.


I waited two months.


I waited three months.

What was going on?

It took me six months to realize the most important lesson there is in side hustling. The money isn’t going to come to you. YOU HAVE TO GO EARN IT.

So I changed tactics. I starting signing up for lead services. I started networking with fellow agents. I started covering open houses for other agents in my brokerage. Bottom line: I started focusing on the HUSTLE instead of just the SIDE.

All this grinding helped me find my niche (working with pharmacists) and actually taught me how to be an agent. Just like in pharmacy school, the classes only give you the background you need to be successful. They don’t teach you how to be a real world, day-to-day pharmacist. That ability comes only with time, experience, and hustle.

In 2018, my wife and I were expecting our second daughter in July. I knew I wanted to focus on our growing family and decided I’d only do real estate for the first half of the year. I just couldn’t see myself running off to open houses and second showings while my wife stayed home with #twoundertwo. So I set my mind to focus on January through June. In those 6 months, I closed well over $1 Million in deals. All while maintaining my regular 9-5 as a clinical pharmacist. And I loved what I was doing.

The point here is this: a side hustle can be as simple as picking up extra shifts at the hospital or as involved as running a separate company. Both have their pros and cons. What I’m advocating for is that you find something:

  1. You enjoy.
  2. Has million dollar potential.

The first one is obvious. If you are going to take time away from your friends, your family, your life – make sure it’s for something you are passionate about. There are lots of crappy ways to make a few extra bucks. It might be worth it in the short term but burnout is not a cure for a light wallet.

The second part is that a truly excellent side hustle should provide you with almost limitless potential. Don’t misunderstand my earlier story, I didn’t make a million dollars in six months. But I did have the potential to. Not only is my side hustle something I love doing, it also has no ceiling. That potential becomes immensely powerful and it is the kind of thinking that leads toward financial freedom.

What’s your million dollar side hustle?

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