Two months of 2017 are finished! Time flies whether you’re amazingly productive or surprisingly unproductive.
January was a month of setting up 2017 for success. And February was a month of introspection. Sadly, I found myself lacking. I made this comment to my mastermind group: “I should be farther along than where I am today.”
My mastermind group agreed.
The main reason I haven’t progressed as a side hustle entrepreneur is my lack of commitment to ONE thing for an extended period. Over the last nearly 5 years of entrepreneurship (on the side), I switched my focused about every 8 months on average.
Significant Accomplishment: Choosing a niche
Momentum is created only after diligent action.
That’s why I committed my next 18 months to ONE project: Project White Coat Freedom (unspecific tentative title).
My goal is to help pharmacists create inspiring lives and careers. I will accomplish this goal by speaking, writing, coaching, and creating courses.
I will share more developments below and over time.
Current Clients: 5
I gained a new client and finished two contracts in February.
My process to grow my coaching practice is simple: coach, coach, and coach.
I aim to coach one person per week (who isn’t a client) and provide them with an excellent experience. Whether or not they choose me as their coach isn’t my decision. I know that many will say no to my service, but I eventually find the right client who is ready to rock.
Mastermind: Wake up and Hustle
This continues to be a value-add service for my coaching clients. I added 2 people into the group who are not my coaching clients. Why, you may ask?
Building a business on the side isn’t about making money fast. The most important step you can make in growing your business is growing relationships. I don’t grow relationships because I want money. I offered value to these 2 people who joined my mastermind because I know it will help them and they will help me in the future.
Side Hustle Course for Pharmacists
Five students signed up for $50. My goal is max of ten students.
I made the price so low because I want people to sign up fast. Make it a “hell yea” as it were. I’m after people who want quick wins because I’ll use their testimonies for the next round of sales.
Action Journal + Feedback
Initial feedback is coming in from Action Journal users. The feedback I’ve received thus far is: we need a weekly page to guide us throughout the week.
Loads of fun. Jared Easley and Dan Franks did a great job hosting this small and intimate experience. A cruise conference is my favorite type of conference thus far.
Add 2 Testimonials – finished
You can see Karan and Daniel’s testimonials.
Invest “more” with lending Club
I signed up for $100/month deposit a few weeks ago. Time to get serious this year with investing. You can see my portfolio performance over 2016 here.
Coach 4 people “for free”
This is a simple coaching process to grow my business. I know that about 50% of the people I coach will say “yes” to my coaching program (based on my track record). However, I don’t coach simply to make money.
I coach because I love coaching. I love helping people get closer to their goals
Gain 2 Client
Coaching 4 people should yield 2 clients based on my performance.
I love having a full practice. A full practice means cash flow and I’m more productive.
Launch the “Side Hustle Fast Track for Pharmacists” Course
I love teaching, and I love creating courses. This time (after creating 5 courses online), I’m doing things right. I presented at 2 webinars and closed 6 spots for the beta course. My goal is 10 people.
Launch new pharmacy website
I committed the next 18 months to helping pharmacist love their work (outside or inside the profession). I thought about using this website to host this, however I decided to go for a new website to build brand and authority quickly (also for SEO purposes).
Create funnel for Pharmacy Career Course at RXVIP
I joined as a partner with RXVIP. You probably never heard of this company. What they aim to do is to revolutionize the way pharmacy is practiced in your doctor’s office. Yes, a pharmacist will be your home clinic.
Our first initiative is to create courses on how any pharmacist can do this.
Imagine for a moment that you are a parent. If you’re already a parent, imagine you have this conversation with your child.
Child: Hi Mom/Dad!
You: What’s up?
Child: Could I have $100?
You: That depends. What for?
Child: An art class
You: I didn’t know you were interested in art.
Child: Yea, I think it’ll be a lot of fun. Plus, I love drawing. You know I spend more time drawing in class than taking notes. I could even try to sell what I create and save up for a car, because you won’t buy me one.
You: Har, Har. Very funny. Well, you could take that class, or you could spend more time watching TV, hanging out with friends, or getting a “real” job. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Heck, you might as well not learn how to draw. You’ll never make money from doing that. Others have tried to do that and failed miserably.
Child: But you don’t know that.
You: Trust me, I know. I’ve been around longer than you. That kind of stuff doesn’t make anyone money. I don’t want to waste money on something that won’t be worth it. If you want to go to the class, you can figure out how to raise the money yourself.
Sounds like a silly story, right? Well, after interacting with hundreds of professionals (especially pharmacists), I discovered the majority of people convince themselves that their dreams aren’t worth investing in.
They tell themselves things like,
If you wouldn’t say “screw your dreams” to your child, then why do you tell yourself that your dreams aren’t worth investing in?
If your dream is
wWhy wouldn’t you invest money for the potential return?
Is your dream so cheap to you that you’d rather buy a new TV than create a better future for yourself?
Imagine if JK Rowling spent her cash on a better home, rather than invest in an editor before Harry Potter was published.
Imagine if Warren Buffet spent his first dollars on a new comic rather than a new book on investing.
Imagine if Steve Jobs bought a new car rather than his first computer parts that later built his first computer.
Each had a dream that was worth spending thousands of dollars, and their investments paid off over time.
Would you deny investing in your child’s dream? If not, then why wouldn’t you invest in yourself?
Does hiring a business coach waste money?
I remember when I first heard the term “Life Coach.” Immediately, I judged it as a job taken by a college drop out.
One of my favorite shows Parks and Recreation has a few skits poking fun at the idea of life coaching.
Over the last 4 years of my entrepreneur journey, I hired 5 coaches.
I hired each of them to help me with aspects of my side business. But I found our discussions often turned to answering questions about my life like,
While I received valuable advice about business from each coach, I am more excited about the changes within myself. One of my clients had a similar experience, “You’d think the extra money would be the thing most people would be thrilled about, but I’m more excited about the positive mental changes. I faced my own negativity for years. I would tell myself things like, ‘No one will buy from you,’ or ‘You don’t have enough credibility.’ With Alex’s coaching, I found myself telling myself a different story. I’m hopeful for the first about my business!”
What I learned over the last 4 years of hustle, if you can change the way you think, then you can change the way you act. My five coaches helped me evaluate and change my thinking (especially all my negative thoughts), which allowed me to take faster action.
I track how much money I spent on coaches over the last four years, and how much revenue is generated from my endeavors. And if you check out my homepage, you can see how well those investments paid off. I paid coaches $125 to $400 per hour of time. But my return on my investment is calculable
Is hiring a coach worth the cost?
Perhaps a better question is, “Are your dreams, goals, and ambitions worth the investment?” or “What are your dreams worth to you?”
If your dream is not worth spending a few hundred dollars, then your dream isn’t worth much to you. Think about all the little things you buy throughout the week that give a momentary pleasure (coffee, fast food, Netflix subscription). Those dollars spent could be used on your big dream.
Imagine if J.K. Rowling thought her book idea wasn’t worth spending money on editors before submitting Harry Potter to big publishers, or if Chris Pratt didn’t pay for acting classes because his dream wasn’t worth it, or if… You get the picture.
You could set aside a few dollars every month and invest it in yourself. Use this month to buy a course to teach you a specific skill, or hire an expert to do it for you.
Don’t view your money a zero-sum game. Your money won’t be wasted on any coaching because, if you find a good coach, you will change the way you think and thus the way you act.
Anyone who tells you the path to success is clear hasn’t walked the path yet.
I won’t pretend that I have it all together, as much as my inner pride wants me to pretend so.
My greatest struggle as a side hustle entrepreneur is choosing a business model and sticking with it.
I realized that over the last 4 years, I changed my path 4 times.
I started with leadership and self-development for 8 months on the Leadership Dojo.
I did Pharmacy education on pharmacyschoolhq.org for 8 months.
I tried for 10 months to grow a self-development podcast called the 66 Day Experiment.
I did coaching for side hustlers for the last 8 months.
I know those months don’t add up to 4 years. That’s because I distracted myself with shiny objects (distractions) in between projects.
These businesses generated awesome revenue, but money is easy to make. I could do just about anything and generate a profit.
My burden is knowing that I’m at a crossroads as my next step as an entrepreneur. I could do so many things, but I am not 100% confident in a single one. Plus, if I choose a new path to walk, a new niche if you will, then I question myself by asking, “When will you give up on this endeavor? When will you grow tired and shift your focus on a new topic?”
I don’t know the answer yet.
But that’s okay. There is no success roadmap. My wife reminded me today that Edison failed 1000 times before finding the right filament for the light bulb.
I may have “failed” 4 times, but that doesn’t mean I can’t succeed in the future. Plus, those failures did make money!
There’s hope for you if you feel the same as me. You may not be sure what to do next. But what I do know is this: take one small step forward to the next idea.
This morning I faced my fear of hosting webinars: by hosting a webinar. eeck!
Well, I hosted it. Totally messed up the tech side of it, but I rocked it with all that I had.
I found out 32 minutes before the webinar of my grave error. Fortunately, I recorded myself quick using Zoom and uploaded it quick as I could.
Even after my techie failure, I found the medium fun and thrilling to teach! I will do more webinars in the future for certain.
My wife and I talk about failure once a week.
Every day I struggled with my challenge and my motivation to follow through with writing every day. And because I struggled, I told myself that I’m a failure. And so, I didn’t write! I fulfilled my own negative-prophecy.
And that is when most people give up. We tell ourselves that we will never succeed because we messed up once.
Imagine if we told our inner doubts to infants learning how to walk. “Well, you fell on the ground again. I guess you can’t walk.”
Like any infant would, we need to get up and try again.
I spoke with a frustrated pharmacist last week. He wrestles with the decision to quit his disappointing job. He reached the “top” of the corporate chain, or at least as high as he wanted to go. This pharmacist spoke powerful words about how much he hated his position, “I jump from job to job and can’t seem to find the right fit. Is *this* all that life has to offer me?”
I speak with at least one pharmacist a week who wants to leave their job.
I felt his pain, because I was there too.
I hated a past pharmacy job with burning passion. My reason was slightly different than most because I dealt with bullies. My life was miserable. I wanted to quit. I remember coming home to my wife and saying, “I don’t know how much longer I want to do this.”
Pharmacists everywhere know there is rising tension in our profession, especially in retail pharmacy. The latest polls show retail pharmacist job satisfaction declining at an abysmal rate.
If you are a stuck pharmacist (or any job) who hates your job, don’t fear. You’re not alone, and there is a way out.
The First Step
Give yourself the room to accept where your current situation.
You see, a part of me felt like my situation was all my fault. I felt almost like I deserved my predicament. I felt trapped.
It was like I tried to deny my situation to myself and others. I didn’t want people to know that I was unhappy with my job. I felt like if people knew, I would be labeled a failure, an idiot, a fool.
I felt like if I tried anything new, like a side-hustle business, I would be seen as a failure because I can’t figure out my career or that I would be labeled one of those weirdo’s who talks about dreams and goals.
The first step I took was admitting, “I’m here for a reason. This isn’t my perfect career position. I need to create a plan.”
I had to accept where I was, so that I could move on.
So many pharmacists I speak with blame themselves or others for their dissatisfaction.
Let go and move on.
Overwhelmed and Stuck Pharmacists
There is no end to the things you could start in order to change careers or start a business idea.
If you considered changing jobs, you could…
update your resume
update your LinkedIn profile
reach out to your network
attend a networking event
join a pharmacist association
search job websites
ask a friend for a recommendation
I felt overwhelmed just writing all those tasks. Being overwhelmed is like looking up to the top of a skyscraper and being told, “Make it to the top” without knowing there are stairs. It’s impossible!
So rather than trying to do too many things at once, we feel stuck, overwhelmed. It is easier to not take any action at all.
We tell ourselves it feels better to not do anything. We would rather accept our current amount of stress in the moment, than to push forward in making a change. Which in turn, only creates more stress and anxiety.
Take ONE Small Step
The way to the top of a skyscraper starts with one step. You don’t have to do everything at once. You simply need to take one step to get out of your situation.
Make the next step so small and easy that others would laugh at you.
For example, find and open your CV on the computer.
You may roll your eyes at this example, but that’s the point.
You don’t want to commit to a large task if you have too much resistance. You’re likely to say no to anything that sounds too big to do at once.
If you don’t take small step now, no one will take it for you, and you’ll continue in the same state.
One definition of insanity is doing the same over and over and expecting different results.
Take one small step.
Open your resume
Ask a friend for feedback about your crazy business idea
Heck, send me a private message
Don’t let your inner resistance stop you from making a change that could make your life better.
The job market is too big (despite what you may think). There are too many ways to make a living in this life.
There is no reason why you work at a job you hate.
As of February 2017, I currently coach 5 side-hustle entrepreneurs who have day jobs. Each of them live busy lives. One of them works a full-time pharmacy job, has 2 kids, stays involved with industry groups, and has a few hobbies too. Life is busy for the side-hustle business owner.
I offered a coaching session to a fellow side hustler back in August 2016. We talked about his niche website, his following, and how to grow his audience and business so he could one day leave his soul-sucking day job.
We spent the majority of our coaching session together discussing his biggest obstacle: perfectionism. He wanted to launch a course for his email list, but felt like there were too many things stopping him from finishing it.
Have you felt like that?
Maybe you feel the urge to check one more blog post before moving forward. Maybe you believe you need to do more research before you work. Or maybe you want to scrap the entire approach and start a new one.
Whenever I hear about a project like this from a coaching client, like a book, course, or product, that is not finished, but in their words “requires more work”, I know there is a procrastination issue.
There’s something major missing from the client’s life:
A quick story about the power of Deadlines.
Évariste Galois was a young French mathmatition during the early 19th century. One night, he got into a fight with another young man over a woman, and Everest was challenged to a duel.
Everest knew he would likely die in the duel, because he was a nerd (I know from experience as a nerd who fights a masculinity battle he can’t win).
Everest had so many ideas about theoretical algebra in his mind, but never put it on paper. He thought to himself, “If I don’t write this now, it’ll be lost forever.”
He wrote in his journal all night and into the early morning hours up until his duel. Sadly, Everest died in the duel as he predicted.
Months later, a friend sorted through Everest’s belongings and found his journal. As a fellow mathematician, he couldn’t believe Everest’s theoretical writings. The friend sent the journal to the local college, and later, Everest’s theories about algebra became breakthrough discoveries in the math field.
Deadlines are required for dreams
As a side-hustle entrepreneur, we begin our journey with passion to chase our dream. Our passion is quickly tested with trials, obstacles, rejections, and disappointments. We find ourselves lackadaisical about the journey after defeated by our obstacles.
Take the step now to set a deadline for yourself. Don’t think far off. Identify your first simple step that can be done in 15 minutes, then set a deadline for when it will be completed.
Bonus step: give yourself a reward when you complete your deadline. You’ll find yourself creating a new habit if you continue to give yourself rewards when you complete tasks.
Goals without deadlines are simply dreams that won’t happen.
Don’t let another wasted hour go by without identifying your deadlines!
I spent two years of hustling in business asking for sales from people who didn’t know me well. Whether I was promoting a course (like my mastermind course) or I sell my coaching as a “leadership and podcast” expert, I tried too hard to chase money.
There are a few problems with this mentality.
1) You can never have enough money.
I pursued the almighty dollar before my relationships when I started.
In my first year of business, I made an extra $5,000. Which sounds like a nice side-income, however, it quickly became not enough for me. I wanted more and the thrill of making money only pushed me down the path of desiring more income.
I suspect I could have made more over time if I pursued relationships first.
2) You see people as an avenue for your success
I know a fellow who started in the online world about the same time I did. If you just take the image he presents online, you would think he has it going on. He is doing well with his business. I’m happy for him.
But here’s what I know about him after receiving emails and talking with him.
He would rather have money than a relationship with people.
If you become an affiliate for him, you may find yourself uncomfortable opening his email promotions. He uses the sleazy internet marketing tactics that cause cringing.
I appreciate his boldness, but you can tell he cares only about one thing: money.
A Different Path
I was reminded today of the right path by a friend and fellow mastermind member Azul Terronez.
His business has been all about giving first. He started his “business” by making connections with the right people at conferences like Tropical Think Tank. He put relationships above closing deals. He genuinely cared for the attendees.
His approach lead to get a great client: Pat Flynn.
As a millennial, I know that I’m addicted to microwave solutions.
I become disappointed when people tell me “No” to my coaching. But Azul taught me that if I keep serving others first as a friend, it will return to me.
The Lesson Comes Full Circle
A friend and fellow side-hustler joined my mastermind over 12 months ago. He wanted to continue coaching with me after the mastermind ended, but he decided that it wasn’t a good time.
I was disappointed at first, but I kept in touch. I served him by helping him through a few challenges, and I didn’t ask to start a coaching relationship with him.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, he contacted me asking for another coaching experience. That’s when I finally asked for a sale with him.
The real solution:
Be patient. Put people first.
You have to play the long game when playing business.
If you’re a coach, consultant, or freelancer, the best strategy is patience and valuing relationships over money.
Could you imagine taking movie recommendations from a complete stranger?
Anytime I feel iffy about seeing the movie in the theaters, I’ll reach out to my personal network for their recommendation. I trust my friends. Okay, I’ll admit it I trust my acquaintances on Facebook too.
Testimonies are a must for any coach. Potential clients want to know that you have helped other people succeed. Something interesting I noticed about testimonies on my website is that it is a one-way conversation. Most testimonies talk about how amazing the coach was and what the coached help with. You miss out on what the coach thinks about the client.
A reverse testimony is the coach’s opinion of how the client performed.
Here’s why I think all coaches should consider writing a reverse testimony.
1) New insights into your ideal client
When a contract ends with a client, one of the first things I set up with them is a time to record a testimonial. I have a list of questions for the client to answer over the phone. I began to see patterns emerging from my clients. After some reflection, I found common themes about the people I was coaching.
So I let my observations simmer for a while. Eventually, I asked myself this question, “What did I love about my clients?”
This created all sorts of new information about who I love to coach and why. It created this story about my ideal client that I hadn’t seen before. Whenever I’m talking with someone who’s interested in coaching I can see them at the beginning of my ideal client story, and I’m better able to connect with them or rule them out based on my ideal client criteria.
My ideal client characteristics began to form, and now I meticulously look for them in any prospect. By creating a reversed testimonial about how great a client is, you are able to discover qualities that you since research out in every prospect.
2) Gratitude is happiness
I experimented with the five-minute journal for six months and loved it because one of the questions is asked is “what are you grateful for today?” But focusing on the things that I am thankful for in my life I can change my mindset from scarcity to abundance.
Creating a reverse testimonial for your client shows them how much you meant to them. It demonstrates to them that if the relationship that you created isn’t all about money. I think coaches get a bad rap especially new coaches because they seem her act desperate to get new clients. And that scarcity mindset leads to actions that show and desperation for money.
3) A gracious word is more than a gift
The testimony is beautiful to receive. You feel validation, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Gratitude is not common, even if you feel like the gratitude message is everywhere online (which is how I felt). I show my genuine thankfulness via a video recording from my phone, people remember me and are thankful.