There’s an old saying that goes a little something like this…real recognize real. If you need an explanation for that then, it’s probably not meant for you to understand. But that’s how I feel about the subject of our next conversation, Eric Patrick.
Before this, I’d never met him but like so many others in the personal finance space, I felt like I knew him. I distinctly recall seeing him at FinCon in 2017 and 2018. Earlier this year, after supporting an event organized by a mutual friend [Steve], I learned that Steve and Eric were good friends. Lastly, both Eric and I found each other in a private Facebook group as students of the same online course. It felt like he was always one degree of separation away.
So when I saw that he retired from his job as a pharmacist after 15 years, I decided to reach out to him. First, I wanted to congratulate him for his accomplishment and learn more about his journey. But really, I wanted to understand his mindset and what led him to where he was today.
Why would a young brotha, married with two kids, choose to walk away from a lucrative career at the age of 33. There had to be more to this story, so I shot him a DM to see if he’d be willing to chat with me.
Not only was he was willing to, but he mentioned r&R was a bit of an inspiration to him as he made the decision to walk away. It meant a lot to hear that because we surely hoped we were inspiring others to rethink their relationship with money and the traditional career path. We just never thought we would also be helping people who didn’t really need financial help.
Now, before we get into the conversation , it’s important to mention that Eric is a big fan of hip hop. It was one of the other things I could tell about him through his online social media presence. Specifically, he’s a HUGE fan of Nipsey Hussle, who was unfortunately killed earlier this year.
Well, it just so happened that the day we spoke was Nipsey Hussle’s birthday so Eric already had Nip on his mind. So when we spoke, naturally the conversation started with our shared appreciation of hip hop.
Mr. r&R: Bro, so if you’re anything like me, then I know you had a song in your head as you were pulling up to the job and getting ready to quit. What was it?
Eric: “Nip. “He starts out the [Victory Lap] album saying …
I’m the type thats gon’ go get it…no kidding.
“I was just like…that’s me right there. But there’s this Biggie song that’s always in my head. [Pardon my language but] he starts out with “F_*** all you hoes”. That’s what I was saying in my head [LOL] but Nipsey’s Victory Lap was my theme music for sure.
Like fans of hip hop do, we went back and forth trading a few of our favorite bars and how they’ve motivated us to get through some tough days. Nipsey’s music was particularly impactful to Eric because of the consistent references to equity and entrepreneurship in his lyrics. The late rapper meant so much to Eric that when he had the chance to actually meet him, Eric had Nipsey sign the first dollar he earned through his online business. Of course, he still has that autographed dollar and reflects on that moment regularly.
But Eric’s passions extend a bit further than just music. He spent 15 years working in pharmacy, starting at the age of 18 in a Walgreens. Over that time, he attended and graduated from Howard University until finally walking away from that career, last month [August 2019].
Like many people, myself included, his job was a huge part of his identity. I asked him how he dealt with walking away from it all. More importantly, I wanted to know what lead to this decision
Eric: “October 10, 2015.”
He went on to describe a particularly long and stressful work day and a series of events that I knew all too well; a toxic work environment. His version included having a manager that he just couldn’t see eye-to-eye with, dealing with human resources and going consecutive years without a pay bump despite doing the work and having the tenure.Fed up with being over-appreciated and under-valued Eric decided he would take matters into his own hands. Click To Tweet
Eric: “It’s not a retirement like we’re going to go to Bora Bora and look at the water all day. No, that’s just not who I am…but at the end of the day, we have a cushion, we know how to get money so…”
I found his confidence to be refreshing. Honestly, I just don’t meet that many men who are so sure of themselves with respect to earning money in non-traditional ways. After learning more about him though, it became clear why he was so confident in his ability to take care of his family.
First, he’s a savvy investor and has been investing consistently for years on auto pilot. He used the check from his paid-time-off payout to payoff the notes on the vehicles he and his wife own. Also,they were in the process of selling some of their stuff and preparing to sell their home. With the proceeds, they’d pad their cushion even more, downsize their living space and live as renters for the foreseeable future. After years of being homeowners, he and his wife came to the conclusion they were not interested in dealing with the constant headaches of home ownership.
On top of that, over the years, Eric has been slowly building side hustles. He has an online business, Black Market Exchange, where he offers investing courses. He has Doc Designs, a web design and social media management business that he started a few years ago and has blossomed to replace half of his old job income. Lastly, he’s invested in a medical cannabis business based out of California. Like us, Eric refuses to let the Green Rush blow up without taking advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity.
After a few minutes of chatting about each of his businesses, I gotta say…I was impressed.I've long held the belief that more people need to fall out of love with the idea of six-figure jobs and fall into love with developing passive income streams. Eric is the perfect example of this. Click To Tweet
I was curious about how he overcame the mental hurdle that he could only be one thing. I mean, I could understand how a pharmacist created an opportunity for himself in medical cannabis but I wasn’t so sure how he got wrapped up in personal finance and social media marketing.
Eric: “Steve laughs at me whenever I say this but I have what I call my rule of 3. When 3 people ask me a question about something, I believe I can probably make money from it. I’ve sold CD’s, candy, lunch coupons; a lot of stuff over the years! It’s not that I love money, I [just] love what money allows me to do. To be dependent on somebody else to make that happen is honestly…backwards [to me]. You shouldn’t have to depend on somebody else [and] I’ve never been afraid to just try something”
He’s right. We had a long talk about the black community, the importance of entrepreneurship and the role it plays in helping to protect families from layoffs and other financial downturns. Given the lack of financial literacy and the absence of a safety net, I wondered how he felt about the current state of our community.
Eric: “I’m not pessimistic, but…I’m definitely concerned”. I feel like “budgeting has hit an apex. You can only cut your expenses so much…[until] you have to just earn more money. The lowest you can go with your expenses is $0, but your cash flow and earnings are infinite. I always tell people, you’re not going to save your way into wealth”.
Our call was only supposed to be for an hour but it turned into an hour and a half. Towards the end, he shared that he’d recently started a Marriage Ministry with his wife. A place where people can go to talk about marriage. Eric feels like marriage gets a bad wrap so he and his wife are starting that conversation with friends, family and encouraging others to join in.
It was dope hearing how his mind works and how he’s always found ways to take ideas and turn them into action. I’m confident that by the time I actually meet Eric in person, he’ll be able to rattle off progress made from the wide variety of nets he’s cast in the ocean of entrepreneurship. Dude is a true hustler and naturally, his story can be summarized by a few bars from his favorite rapper.
Dedication, hard work plus patience/the sum of all my sacrifice/I’m done waitin’…told you that I wasn’t playin’/now you hear what I been sayin’/Nipsey Hussle, Dedication
And while Nip won’t be there to sign the first dollar bills earned from Eric’s future endeavors, I’m sure he’d give an official stamp of approval. #themarathoncontinues