Category Archives for Non Traditional Pharmacy Careers

Success Stories: Tim Ulbrich Completed His Personal Finance Book in 6 Months – And Sold 700 Copies in 6 Weeks

About Timothy: Timothy is a pharmacist and founder of He works full-time as an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Associate Dean of Workforce Development and Practice Advancement at Northeast Ohio Medical University. After Timothy and his wife paid off $200,000 in non-mortgage debt, he created a successful blog to help other pharmacists with personal finance. His big goal was to write a personal finance book for pharmacists.

How He Used Alex’s Side Hustle Coaching Services: After working with Alex, Timothy was able to set his priorities and focus on completing his book, Seven Figure Pharmacist. He also gained the confidence he needed to successfully promote his book, increased his understanding of social media platforms and developed a strategic marketing plan. Timothy also became more accountable and learned how to challenge himself by thinking critically about his goals and ideas.

Results: Timothy and his co-author, Tim Church, were able to finish writing their book in six months. Timothy gained confidence in his product and is now comfortable selling his book by engaging with his audience using social media. He and his co-author developed a marketing plan that allowed them to sell 800 copies in six weeks.



When Timothy first started writing his book, one of his big challenges was staying focused and prioritizing.

“I had to get through the mental block of getting the writing finished and sorting through my priorities.”

He also needed someone to keep him accountable to the tasks he needed to complete in order to finish his book.

Hear Timothy talk about how Alex helped him to stay focused and complete his book.

After he found his focus, he knew he needed to piece together a marketing and promotion plan that fit his brand and accomplished his goals.


Before Timothy started working with Alex, he knew he had great content for his book—he just didn’t feel confident about selling it.

“Six months ago, I never would have felt comfortable jumping on a Facebook live video to engage with my audience with little preparation. Now, I am fine with that.” Hear Timothy’s dramatic shift in mindset as he gained confidence and an understanding of social media platforms.

By working with Alex, he discovered that a grassroots approach to selling and marketing was right for his brand.


Before working with Alex, Timothy struggled to determine the true value of the information contained in his book. Now, he feels comfortable holding true to his book’s value and has confidence in what it is really worth.

Based on that value, Alex helped Timothy to develop and refine his marketing approach.

Timothy and his co-author created a website, drove traffic to the site and used Facebook, the blog and speaking engagements to connect with their audience.

“Alex helped me to see the power of that approach and helped me to maximize what worked.”

Hear Timothy discuss the highlights of his coaching experience with Alex.


Timothy connected with Alex during weekly meetings and throughout the week to talk through book content and his progress on his “to-do” list. These calls reminded him to stick to his prioritized list of tasks and helped him realign his priorities as needed.

Alex helped Timothy to think critically about his priorities and plans by asking challenging questions—and these questions ultimately trained Timothy to think on his own.

Hear Timothy discuss how Alex was a coach, not just a cheerleader.


As a solopreneur, Timothy initially had some reservations about coaching and believed that he could accomplish his goals on his own.

Now, he sees the benefit of Alex’s input, experience and feedback—especially when it came to his marketing plan.

Learning about what worked for Alex—and what didn’t—helped Timothy craft an effective marketing approach.

Hear Timothy describe his coaching experience.


Because he also works a full-time job, Timothy found that he was often making decisions quickly for efficiency’s sake. Working with Alex helped him to thoroughly vet his decisions and get feedback from trusted sources.

Ultimately, working with Alex helped Timothy to move his idea forward and create a better end product.

Hear Timothy discuss how Alex helped him to create a better end product.


Although Timothy had some initial reservations about coaching, he described the experience as “enlightening.”

“I felt like Alex was opening doors to a world I knew nothing about.”

Hear Timothy give his “10 Second Pitch” for Alex’s coaching services.

If you are ready to start or grow your side hustle business and achieve amazing results, contact Alex for a free consultation.

Announcing A Free Non-Traditional Pharmacy Career Conference

After writing for four years about the pharmacy profession, one issue comes up again and again:

career dissatisfaction.

Studies show many pharmacists are unhappy.

Over 50% of community pharmacists wish to quit their jobs. APhA reported Pharmacists from all practice areas are experiencing more stress, difficulty seeking a new job, and lower satisfaction.

There are nearly 300,000 pharmacists in the USA alone. According to the research above, there are possibly 100,000 unhappy pharmacists.

This should not be true, but it was true for me.

When I started my first pharmacy job, I was miserable. I dealt with bullies, monotonous work, and office politics. I felt like I made a mistake choosing pharmacy as a career. I thought I wasted seven years of my life becoming something that I did not find interesting.

One day I read a book that changed my life: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. The book made me realize that if I wanted to change my situation, then I needed to take action.

Now, I find myself in a fulfilling pharmacy role. I have joy again. My wife and I do not argue (as much). Moreover, I find my hobbies more fulfilling.

When I first interviewed a pharmacist about her pharmacy position for my column, I found what I was meant to do and what I love to do: tell stories.

This Summit Announcement is a conference about stories. It is about pharmacists who love what they do and sharing how other pharmacists can do what they do.

The Happy PharmD Summit - The First Non-Traditional Pharmacy Career Conference.

The Summit is Free to attend. You can view each session a for a few hours after it appears live.

The conference will host over 20 speakers from different pharmacy career niches. Along with our speakers, we have multiple bonuses for Access Pass members, which are those who want to take their career transition seriously.

For Access Pass members, we have:

  • A free copy of the book The Seven Figure Pharmacist
  • A Secondary Income Strategy Session with our Business Coach
  • The Pharmacist’s Salary and Benefit Negotiation Guide
  • A 3-Part Webinar series on Salary Negotiations from 3 Negotiation Experts

Plus, I’m working on a Career Transition Mentor Program where all Access Pass members gain mentor access to provide support during a transition.

As of August 1st, we have over 1,000 members registered, and my goal is 5,000 people signed up! If you are considering a career transition or looking for a new job, join our free summit!

How Multiple Investments in This Young Pharmacist’s Future Created Freedom

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.

The results

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.”

How One Pharmacist Published a Book—and Sold 700 Copies in 6 Weeks

Timothy Ulbrich is a pharmacist who had a big goal.

After working with his wife to pay off $200,000 in non-mortgage debt and creating a successful blog at, Timothy knew that he wanted to share his message about personal finance with more pharmacists.

He started talking to lots of pharmacists and found out that, despite earning a six-figure income, many needed help managing their finances. He consistently heard pharmacists say, “I am living paycheck to paycheck.”

Timothy always says that he is a pharmacist by day and a financial nerd by night. Plus, he has a ton of personal experience with paying off debt and working toward financial freedom.

He could relate to what these pharmacists were feeling.

So, he decided to write a book.

His book, he decided, would be unlike any other personal finance book on the market. It would provide quality personal finance advice tailored specifically to pharmacists.

It would be exactly what pharmacy schools were NOT teaching.

And, it would focus on one of the things that resonated most with the readers of his blog: one of his most successful posts, entitled My Top 10 Financial Mistakes.

By his own admission, Timothy made some mistakes with money.

He wanted to prevent people from making the same mistakes that he did, and he figured that this book would be a great way to do it.

And that’s how the idea for Tim’s new book, Seven Figure Pharmacist, was born.

Setting a Goal

Timothy and his co-author, Tim Church, who is a pharmacist at the West Palm Beach VA, started outlining the book in summer 2016.

He and his co-author tag teamed the project and decided to emphasize the pharmacist perspective by including stories that are relevant to pharmacists.

They finished writing the book in six months (which Timothy said he would not recommend—a year or 18 months would have been much more comfortable considering that has a full-time job as an Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Associate Dean of Workforce Development and Practice Advancement at Northeast Ohio Medical University).

Because of his full-time job, the rigorous writing schedule was tough to stick to at times. But Tim got through it by creating a prioritized list of tasks and staying accountable.

Creating a Buzz

Timothy hired me as a coach to help him through the complex task of writing his book and figuring out the best way to promote it.

Because Timothy and his co-author decided to self-publish the book, they also needed to come up with a marketing and promotion plan.

Ultimately, Timothy and his co-author decided to take a grassroots approach to marketing because it seemed right for their audience and their brand. Eventually, Timothy began to see the power of that approach and began to maximize the tactics that were working well.

Timothy learned how to use social media platforms for optimal marketing, created a website, drove traffic to it, started a blog and booked speaking engagements.

His coaching experience helped him to prioritize more efficiently and to make the best possible decisions—which he believes led to a better end product.

Most importantly, Timothy grew more confident in his product and became more comfortable with selling it.

At first, he didn’t feel comfortable jumping on a Facebook live video and engaging with his audience with little preparation. Now, he is fine with it because he understands that video is more engaging for his target market than reading a blog post.

Also, Timothy understands the true worth of his book.

As part of their review process, Timothy and his co-author created a group of 50 pharmacists to give them feedback on the content, title and promotion plan.

One of Timothy’s former students was a part of that group. After reviewing one of the chapters, she told Timothy that she took a specific action based on what she read.

Timothy said hearing this news provided him with the assurance that the book was truly valuable and achieve its intended purpose, which motivated him to continue with the project when the going got tough.

The Final Product

Timothy and his co-author did a pre-launch in March 2017 and officially released the book on April 17, 2017. They sold more than 700 copies in the first six weeks.

They also went on the road to four Ohio colleges and the Ohio state pharmacy convention to promote the book—which they jokingly called their “Book Launch Tour.”

Timothy said he is hearing great stories about how the book has helped people relieve stress in their lives. He’s even had people tell him that they are taking the book on vacation with them.

As word starts to spread about the book, Timothy and his co-author plan to reach out to pharmacy schools about incorporating the book into their curriculum.

To find out how to order your copy of Timothy’s book, visit For more personal finance advice for pharmacists, you can also check out Timothy’s blog at

Tim and Tim are gracious enough to allow any reader from The Happy PharmD to get 15% off the price of any package. Just use the coupon code BARKER on their page.

Achieving financial freedom is a great goal for any pharmacist to have. If you want to learn more about how you and other pharmacists can create their best life and achieve career satisfaction and financial freedom, check out my website,

How Three Preceptors Used Their Experience to Help Pharmacists Obtain Residencies

Brandon Dyson is a board-certified, residency-trained pharmacist. He’s also a preceptor.

In March 2016, Brandon and fellow pharmacist Sam Oh launched a website,, which helps pharmacy students and practicing pharmacists by providing them with information and tools to become better pharmacists.

Among other things, the website offers a blog, professional development information and cheat sheets.

But as residency season 2016 approached, Brandon noticed a demand for information about the residency process.

Sure, he received questions from his followers, but he also received questions from his students. And many of them sounded terrified.

Brandon said that he remembered feeling that way, too.

When he thought back to his own experience as a prospective resident, he knew that there was a huge market for this information.

Statistics from the ASHP Resident Matching program show that of the 5,438 residents who participated in the matching program in 2016, 1,817 were not placed.

It can be tough to land any residency, Brandon thought, let alone the residency you really want. And he wanted to find a way to help students achieve their goals.

Writing the Book

After validating his idea with a test blog and an email to his followers, he decided to work with Sam to write a book.

Brandon and Sam’s goal was to write down all the things that they wished they would have known when they were applying for residencies and to share all the lessons they learned.

So, Brandon and Sam began outlining.

But because they were both balancing full-time jobs and families, they weren’t making progress as quickly as they hoped.

Instead of waiting until their book was finished to get feedback, they offered an incomplete version of their book to their email subscribers at a very low price. Much to their surprise, about 15 people purchased the book.

Selling these few initial copies helped the pair to become more motivated; they knew that they had to meet certain deadlines in order to provide these buyers with content in advance of important events in the residency timeline.

Although Brandon and Oh were excited to complete the book, they knew that they were going to need some extra help. They brought in Stephanie Kujawski, another residency-trained pharmacist and preceptor who is a frequent contributor to their website.

The three authors found that their writing styles were very compatible, which helped to establish continuity and flow throughout the book.

Another benefit of having three authors was that there was a higher chance that another author would be interested in writing about a topic you didn’t particularly like.

“Sam was super into writing about how the match actually works, but I didn’t want to touch it,” Brandon said. “It helped to have someone else available to write that part.”

Publishing the Book

After months of work, they digitally published their book, Mastering the Match: How to Secure a Pharmacy Residency, in March 2017.

They presold the book to a select audience at a discount, but missed the 2017 residency season. However, this allowed Brandon, Sam and Stephanie to incorporate the valuable feedback they received into the digital edition in time for the 2018 residency rush.

“The book will tell you how to make yourself the most attractive candidate you can be,” Brandon said. “Obviously, we can’t guarantee a match, but prospective residents will feel a lot better after reading it.”

Achieving the Goal

Brandon’s main goal is to help students feel less confused and more confident going into the residency process. He wants students to feel like they can accomplish their goal of landing a residency—and that they are worthy of the opportunity.

Brandon said that what makes the book especially valuable is the perspective of the authors. All three authors have been through the residency process and ended up matching with their No. 1 ranked program. They all ended up working at the residency facility after their program was complete and are now preceptors.

The book also focuses on common mistakes that prospective residents make, such as not answering questions, failing to ask questions about the program and choosing the wrong topic for their presentation.

“You have one chance to make a first impression, and you are going up against 100 people for two or three residency slots,” Brandon said. “You really have to shine and put your best foot forward.”

Although the book is geared toward P1 – P4 students, the chapters on interviewing, presentations and cheat sheets on interview questions could benefit almost anyone.

Some schools are great at preparing students for residency and others are not, Brandon said. His book is intended to help fill these gaps and help students to stand out.

“Everyone has research and a publication on their CV and everyone’s GPA is above 3.5,” Brandon said. “All residency candidates look the same on paper, so you need to stand out by being yourself.”

And Brandon’s book aims to give prospective residents the confidence to be comfortable doing just that.

If you are thinking about residency, Mastering the Match: How to Secure a Pharmacy Residency is the book for you. If you are looking to express yourself and do something you love while still pursuing a career in pharmacy, check out my conference on non-traditional pharmacy career paths.

How One Pharmacist Became a Holistic Health Coach and Herbalist

When she was in pharmacy school at St. John’s University in Queens, Marina Buksov was very happy with her studies and excited to become a pharmacist. Then, something changed.

As she was considering her options after pharmacy school graduation, she started to feel nervous because none of them appealed to her.

After deciding not to pursue several fellowships, Marina accepted a full-time offer from a small, local pharmacy where she already worked. Unfortunately, that offer fell through because the owners decided to sell the pharmacy.

She started looking for random jobs and eventually ended up at a natural pharmacy. She had always been interested in herbal and holistic medicine, so this job was a good fit for her.

“My philosophy is to do no harm and start with the least harmful treatment and go up from there,” she said. “I use lifestyle, diet and herbal remedies whenever possible.”

An Early Interest

Marina said that she has been interested in holistic medicine ever since high school. When she went to the doctor for her own medical issues, she was shocked by how many medications her doctors wanted to prescribe.

But it wasn’t until her pediatrician took the time to counsel her about her diet that all her issues finally went away.

After taking alternative medicine courses as part of obtaining her pharmacy degree, Marina decided that she wanted to obtain additional training in using natural remedies and nutrition to help her patients.

She took a course at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in clinical nutrition and began studying at Arbor Vitae Traditional School of Herbalism in New York.

She also started her own health and wellness business, Raw Fork, to help her share her knowledge through blogging, offering health coaching services and selling holistic health products. On the site, she offers some of her own herbal tea blends to treat conditions including low-functioning immune system, sleep problems, cough and stress.

Promoting Wellness

Although Marina believes in promoting wellness through the use of natural and holistic remedies, her pharmacy school training has taught her that pharmaceutical medications can save lives, especially in emergency situations.

However, she believes that many chronic conditions don’t have to be treated with medication. Allergies and autoimmune disorders are a few examples of conditions that can be treated safely and holistically.

After all, herbs have been used to treat medical problems for centuries, Marina said. In fact, she noted that 70 percent of today’s medications—or the ideas for them—come from herbal remedies.

But perhaps most importantly, Marina said she helps her patients get in touch with their bodies and find a connection to their own healing.

“Patients can listen to doctors, pharmacists, health coaches and herbalists, but healing really starts with self-care,” she said.

Herbal medicine also is about connecting to the land, she said, and is much more intricate than finding one solution for an individual health problem. When it comes to using herbal remedies, her advice is always “start low, go slow.”

Many health problems can be traced to harmful behaviors or foods that people in our society routinely consume—and they can’t be solved with capsules that come from strange places, she said.

“People need to get to know their medicine,” Marina said. “In herbalism, the taste, texture and feel are very important.”

Making the Transition

In order to make time to pursue her passion of holistic healing, Marina had to transition from full-time to part-time pharmacy work. And because Marina lives in Brooklyn, earning enough to keep pace with the high cost of living was a big factor to consider.

Thanks to the many self-improvement books and tapes Marina has read and listened to over the years, she said she didn’t hear the fear of failure; instead, she made a plan.

She calculated her expenses and figured that she could try working part-time for six months or a year. If things weren’t working out, she could always pick up an extra pharmacy shift or two and fall back on her savings in an emergency.

Although Marina knew she was choosing a non-traditional pharmacy path, she found inspiration in her close friend and fellow St. John’s pharmacy graduate, Christina Tarantola.

Christina, along with pharmacist Adam Martin, created The Fit Pharmacists, which offers holistic and lifestyle coaching for clients and teaches pharmacists how to include nutrition and alternative medicine into their practice.

With Christina leading the way, Marina knew that she could make a difference for her patients by providing holistic pharmacy services.

Making a Difference

Marina went from feeling frustrated with her pharmacy career options to feeling like she could really make a difference for her patients.

Before finding her niche in holistic pharmacy, Marina said she felt like her actions were dictated by the prescriptions doctors wrote and the medications that insurance covered. And she often didn’t agree with either.

Now, Marina feels like she can make a difference for her clients because they actually listen to her—not their doctor or insurance company. She said that her pharmacy degree combined with her knowledge of herbs and education in nutrition helps her to understand the full spectrum of health.

She plans to continue making a difference by working on her business website, cultivating her list of online followers, teaching online and local courses, and reaching out to more people to promote the benefits of herbal medicine.

She also plans to explore herbalism as it relates to female health and fertility. She has met many women in the field of holistic medicine and is considering the possibly of opening a birthing and nutrition center in upstate New York for women and babies.

For more inspiring stories about pharmacists who are creating the careers and lives that they want, visit our success stories here.