Side hustle helps OUWB Class of 2022 grad earn $117K during med school


When OUWB’s 2022 class graduates this Friday, one of the new doctors will have an economic advantage thanks to a side effort that helped her earn $ 117,000 during medical school.

Since 2019, Olivia Hillier has made money selling over 4,700 items through Poshmark, an online marketplace of new and second-hand styles for women, men, children, pets, the home, and more.

Hillier says selling at Poshmark has made it impossible for him to borrow for a living. He was also able to buy a home near the University of Kansas School of Medicine, where he will soon begin residency in family medicine. In addition, Hillier, introduced in 2021 in the Delta chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, has already begun repaying the student loans he had to take out.

“Selling at Poshmark has helped me tremendously,” Hillier says. “I’m no longer worried about my financial situation, which is a good advantage of my business.”

Amber McCasland, vice president of Global Brand and Communications at Poshmark, says Hillier’s story should inspire others.

“Our vibrant sales community is really what sets Poshmark apart, and Olivia is the ultimate reflection of that,” McCasland says. “Olivia’s journey is the epitome of the modern businesswoman and we are honored to have her as a key member of the community.”

Saving clothes from landfills

Hillier earned his college degree from the University of Iowa and began attending OUWB in 2018.

In 2019, Hillier says he was talking to friends about a lesser interest he had in selling some of his clothes online to make money. At his suggestion, Hillier says he downloaded the Poshmark app “hesitantly” and listed some items in his personal closet.

Hillier organizes the inventory that is for sale in Poshmark.

So, she says, some of those items have started to sell. Hillier was hooked.

“It was nice to see the items she no longer used sent to her new homes to enjoy,” she says. “I also loved getting extra money as a medical student, especially when money was scarce and I lived off government loans.”

In August 2020, during his Step 1 study time, Hillier says he wanted to find an activity that would offer him an occasional study break. As she enjoyed selling her own items online, she decided to look for clothes out of her own closet.

She turned to local thrift stores and started buying some items. Whenever he did something like buy a shirt for $ 5 and resell it for $ 20, Hillier reinvested his profits to build inventory.

“My grandmother had a boutique in New York where they bought celebrities, so I’m convinced I got those genes from her clothes,” Hillier says. “I love the idea of ​​storing clothes from landfills and making my interesting finds accessible (through the online marketplace).”

Hillier says it had a slow start, but it didn’t take long to find out which brands and styles sell best. (Vintage clothing is often your best-selling item.) It has also expanded its inventory sources, even selling consignment items to others from time to time.

“It’s like medicine: it takes time and practice, but over time you start learning to master it,” she says. “You’re constantly learning.”

Navigating medical school while running a business

Successfully selling 4,700 items through Poshmark requires more than a desire to make money. There are cost, space and time factors.

In terms of cost, Poshmark takes a cut for every sale ($ 2.95 for every sale under $ 15; 20% of every sale over $ 15, according to its website). Hillier points out that the $ 117,000 he earned is after Poshmark fees.

Keeping sales stable also requires a large inventory, which requires space. Hillier says he had an inventory in the basement and a guest room in his house.

It’s also a matter of time. Specifically, how did Hillier successfully navigate medical school while running his business?

“I list and find items when I can, and then I send them out every two days,” Hillier says.

“Selling in Poshmark is also great because I can run this business from anywhere, even in the hospital on my lunch break.”

At times, like when he had a big test or “just needed to focus on medicine,” Hillier says he would simply use Poshmark’s “Vacation Hold” feature, which allows sellers to set items as “Not for sale” on specified dates.

“Selling (online) works great for medical students or anyone who has a lot of things because of the flexibility,” Hillier says. “It’s nice to be self-employed: I can choose when to work and not feel overwhelmed.”

A “best medical student”

Hillier’s so-called “lateral preface” yielded endless benefits.

One of the biggest, and perhaps most amazing, were the positive mental effects.

“Selling … makes me feel revitalized to see patients,” she says. “After all, medical school is long and it’s great to have hobbies outside of school.”

Hillier says he has made her a “better medical student and a better person overall.”

“Even though the resale is online, you still connect with new people and personalities,” she says. “You can learn to work with clients and negotiate to make everyone happy, which is similar to what a doctor does. It’s also not a bad idea to learn how to diversify your income and run a business, especially if you’re interested in starting your own business. own private practice ”.

Perhaps the biggest question, however, is what happens to your business as you head to the residence?

The answer, in short, is that Hillier plans to stay. Your new home has a “huge room” dedicated to your Poshmark business. She will carry with her her inventory of more than 1,100 items from Michigan to Kansas.

“I see my Poshmark wardrobe as an investment, which is potentially worth more than $ 100,000,” says Hillier. “Although I don’t have much time to work in the business, I can team up with my husband to send sales.”

As he did in medical school, Hillier will save money and list articles in his spare time.

“I’m doing a family medicine residency that focuses on full spectrum medicine, so my first year will definitely be busy, but I should have more and more free time as the residency continues,” Hillier says.

For anyone considering selling in Poshmark, Hillier suggests that potential sellers not be fooled by the process and “go for it.”

For more information, please contact Andrew Dietderich, Marketing Writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu.

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing website.

NOTICE: Unless otherwise stated, all articles are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. You may copy, distribute, adapt, transmit, or make commercial use of this work as long as you attribute the University of Oakland’s William Beaumont School of Medicine as the original creator and include a link to this article.

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