After eleven years as a retail pharmacist, Dr. Jamie Wilkey, PharmD decided it was time to ditch the 9 to 5 retail pharmacy job and transform herself into an entrepreneur by combining two of her greatest passions: consulting and online education in pharmacogenomics.
Dr. Wilkey’s one-year metamorphosis into entrepreneurship began by becoming certified in Pharmacogenomics (PGx) and starting her own business, Arches Health.
This relatively new field of Pharmacogenomics is an emerging ground-breaking branch of medicine that combines both pharmacology (branch of science which deals with study of drugs) with genomics (the branch of science which deals with study of genes) for development of effective doses and safe medications tailored according to an individual patient genetic makeup.
When used appropriately, pharmacogenetic testing can be a practical tool to optimize drug therapy and avoid medication adverse effects. In layman’s terms, it is an examination of how genes affect an individual’s response to drugs.
Like most entrepreneurs, Dr. Wilkey felt a rooted desire to share her knowledge and passion with the world, however, she knew going into business for herself was not going to be easy, nor was there an established path for success as she pioneered her pharmacogenomics consulting practice into a successful business.
A Pioneer Entrepreneur
Dr. Wilkey cited the following motivators for her decision to exit a safe career as a retail pharmacist to start a unique practice in a new field as:
• She was becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of long-term opportunity as a retail pharmacist for advancement.
• She noted while she had great experience and a terrific education to become a pharmacist, she constantly felt she was underutilized.
• The inability to innovate as a retail pharmacist was a constant disappointment.
• The onset of COVID-19 put her squarely on the frontline, at risk, and away from her isolated kids and work-from-home spouse.
For Dr. Jamie Wilkey, the transition involved much more than just embracing a new discipline and carving out a new niche in a very competitive industry, the move involved immersing herself in learning how to become an entrepreneur able to organize, launch, and manage a new business complete with service offerings, marketing campaigns, accounting, e-commerce, and time management.
Removing Obstacles & Implementing Sales & Marketing Automation
One of the greatest obstacles Dr. Wilkey faced began with not knowing anyone else who had built a Pharmacogenomics consulting practice. In addition, she had no experience in launching or running a small business that required sales and marketing activity, and she had limited resources at her disposal.
Before meeting the Co-Founders of the Automation Agency (Jason & Therese Benedict), Dr. Wilkey admitted she didn’t know what a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) was or how significant the ability to create an effective and consistent “customer journey” would be to her new business. Upon hiring the Automation Agency Dr. Wilkey received expert coaching, a proven and tested lifecycle marketing framework (used by thousands of small businesses), along with her own account to Keap, the leading CRM for Sales & Marketing Automation (SMA).
Generally, a lifecycle marketing plan is a three-phase framework, Collect Leads, Convert Clients and Create Fans. In Dr. Wilkey’s case the Automation Agency identified that her new startup needed to focus on collecting leads and converting clients to help drive immediate revenue to sustain her PGx-Based consulting practice.
When Dr. Wilkey received access to Keap she immediately saw the value in having all of our data in one centralized location (which helped her to save time and get better organized), while also creating a customer journey that would help her remove many manual tasks and obstacles that she faced on a daily basis and replace it with sales and marketing automation.
“Specifically, from the moment the Automation Agency introduced me to Keap, I was able to abandon my notebook approach, categorize prospects, and identify the most likely to become my customers. Since every interaction is trackable, you can see your database grow and understand through email opens and click-throughs which communications are the most effective in creating engagement,” said Dr. Wilkey.
Creating a customer journey is the process that small businesses can use to align their marketing efforts with different stages of a customer’s life cycle. Lifecycle marketing is the process of providing your audience the kinds of communications and experiences they need, want, or like as they move from prospects to customers then, ideally, to advocates.
“It’s important for small business owners to know exactly where their prospects and customers are in the buying cycle so they can provide them with appropriate information at each stage: collecting leads, converting clients, and creating fans,” said Jason Benedict, the Co-Founder of the Automation Agency.
This ensures entrepreneurs and business owners like Dr. Jamie Wilkey are spending time and money on initiatives that will generate revenue for them in the long run (rather than just focusing on short term gains).
“By following the Automation Agency recommendations, I was able to quickly replace the chaos of ‘all over the place’ note taking and scrambling through notebooks to figure out who, when, and how to appropriately follow up with my prospects with compelling messages,” said Dr. Wilkey.
After devoting months of research and conducting due diligence before attempting to launch her first online training course and consulting practice (tailored to other pharmacists looking to break free from their day job), Dr. Wilkey hired the Automation Agency to expertly assist her in developing a go-to-market strategy that included sales and marketing automation to scale her business quickly and minimize the potential pitfalls and obstacles.
The Automation Agency started by helping Dr. Wilkey create a unique and memorable customer journey that fast-tracked her success and allowed her to attract several new clients and collect $18,000 in revenue from launching her first online course, PGx Confidence Course, which teaches other pharmacists how to start their own consulting practice.
The Agency’s experience in creating highly customized individual communications, suitably segmenting prospects by category, and focusing on the prospects with the highest probability to become customers, had an immediate impact for Dr. Wilkey. The Keap CRM tools recommended by the Automation Agency helped to jumpstart Dr. Wilkey’s new endeavor. From the beginning, the agency believed what she had to offer was unique and valuable. They had a significant track record in delivering the most efficient and effective way to communicate a complex subject.
“The Automation Agency helped me understand how to target and automate the communication timing as well as the message to a seemingly overwhelming potential universe without sacrificing the personal touch. This is of particular importance to me in pursuing my goal of helping my individual patients to thrive in health using personalized, precision medicine,” said Dr. Wilkey.
The Future is Bright
With every passing day Dr. Wilkey’s positive mindset contributes to the formation of an even firmer business foundation for her future. She has continued to gain confidence in her value to other health professionals and enjoys spreading the news of the success of her company and the pharmacogenomics field.
When asked what advice Dr. Wilkey would recommend to other pharmacists and healthcare professionals who are considering starting their own business or breaking free from their day job, she replied, “invest in yourself and go all in. It’s easy to doubt yourself or to wonder if it’s right for you. But you need to invest in yourself and believe in a brighter future and take action on it. Taking action opens up so many opportunities.”
Dr. Wilkey also adds that you need to put that belief into action by hiring experts like the Automation Agency who can help support your growth and fast-track your success. “When you make a monetary investment, your skin is really in the game, and you are held accountable. And when you work with experts you can achieve remarkable success. Engaging the Automation Agency was the best move I ever made.”
Dr. Wilkey concluded that there was more risk in not initiating a career change in the long-term, than going forward in pursuit of the vision of her new endeavor. Pharmacists interested in learning more can visit: www.DrJamieWilkey.com.
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“The Automation Agency set me up with all of my contacts and communications in one place. The notebook approach I was using just wasn’t effective or sustainable. By deploying CRM tagging and segmentation tools, I have been able to appropriately communicate with every prospect in the database with the right messages at precisely the right time”, Dr. Wilkey noted.
“All of your communication is 100% trackable. It is fun to watch your database grow, the percentage of your emails that have been opened, and where exactly clicks occurred, so you get a real picture of how engaged your prospects and customers are with your message. You have a clear picture of how and when to nurture your prospects and customers.”