Steve Smith is the president and co-founder of Pet Releaf, the industry’s pioneer of and market leader for products for pets. In addition to his role at Pet Releaf, Steve is on the board of directors of the US Hemp Roundtable. The group that assisted in drafting and passing the 2018 Farm Bill and provided the seed funding for the US Hemp Authority Certification Program.
As part of his work with this US Hemp Authority, Steve also sits on the FDA Committee, the new member of the vetting committee, and the Marketing Committee. Before founding Pet Releaf, Steve spent over 14 years as the president of Playa Bonita Consulting, where he was the owner and developer of multiple successful real estate developments and projects in the Treasure Coast area of Florida.
Listen to this exciting episode as Steve shares more of his story and how he made the corporate cannabis jump and built a company specifically serving all of our fur babies.
The most important thing that sets us apart is, and it’s our trademark saying is from seed to sale, from plants to pets. – Steve Smith
Some Topics We Discussed Include
3:40 – Journey to the cannabis industry for pets
7:23 – Product suite
25:40 – Main driving goal
31:10 – Key challenges along with the cannabis space
35:40 – Words of wisdom
45:56 – Where to find them
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with Steve Smith
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: Hey guys, Sonia Gomez here coming to you from Denver, Colorado. This is another badass Rockstar episode of The Hemp Revolution podcast. And we are exploring the stories and journeys of the entrepreneurs who are pushing this incredible industry forward as you know it. Our mission here at the hemp revolution podcast to share with you the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated empowered decisions about how you want to care for yourself, the people that you love the pets that you love, and the conditions that they may be suffering from. Or if you’re trying to otherwise preserve an already healthy and beautiful lifestyle, this is the place for you.
If you’re a person looking for products that you can depend on to deliver the results you’re looking for. Check us out at medicalsecrets.com for our favorite pics. And if you are a budding entrepreneur looking for some tips, tricks, resources, relationships that you need to blow past the glass ceilings, and break through any of the challenges that you might experience inside of this industry, go ahead and check us out at theemeraldcircle.com. That is where we put all of our golden nuggets that you need to succeed in this space.
Today we are going to be visiting get another entrepreneurs incredible stories. Steve Smith is the president and co-founder of Pet Releaf, the industry’s pioneer of and market leader for products for pets. In addition to his role at Pet Releaf, Steve is on the board of directors of the US hemp Roundtable. The group that assisted in drafting and passing the 2018 Farm Bill. Rock on. And also provided the seed funding for the US Hemp Authority Certification Program. As part of his work with this US Hemp Authority, Steve also sits on the FDA Committee, the new member of vetting committee, and the Marketing Committee. Prior to founding Pet Releaf, which you’ll find out more here in a minute, Steve spent over 14 years as the president of Playa Bonita Consulting, where he was the owner and developer of multiple successful real estate developments and projects in the Treasure Coast area of Florida. Steve began his career as a CPA working as a senior auditor for the Deloitte before moving in, in-house as a corporate controller for learning technologies LTP. Here to share more of his story and how he made the corporate to cannabis jump, and is now building a company specifically serving all of our fur babies, please welcome Mr. Steve Smith. How you doing, Steve?
Steve Smith: Oh, I’m doing great, Sonia. Thank you so much for having us this morning. It’s truly an honor to spend some time speaking to someone such as yourself that a key person of pushing the author side of the cannabis world forward. So thank you very much.
Journey to the Cannabis Industry for Pets
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely. It’s my pleasure. I’m super excited to hear about your story and how and your products and everything that you’re doing for our fur babies. As a pet lover myself, I’m always excited to see and explore new products that can benefit them. Intros are awesome and all but I’d love to hear Straight from the horse’s mouth a little bit about who you are your background and how you ended up in the CBD space?
Steve Smith: Yeah, I know we’ve shared some stories previously Sonia, but you know I grew up surfing in Florida such as you did grew up surfing in California and so had some familiarity with the cannabis plant didn’t know the science and all the medical pined it but wasn’t afraid of it didn’t classify it as the devil’s lettuce as so many people called it back in those days.
Steve Smith: But you know, just kind of with following your normal career path and you know how to run business in Florida after I traveled for about a year and a half surfing, actually around the world came back to Florida and what do you do in Florida, you’re either a doctor or work at a retirement home or you build houses.
So we are doing real estate development and enjoying life, living by the beach, and we had a beautiful family member named Mattie. She’s a Collie Mix. She’ll run to three miles four or five days a week on the beach with me. As she started getting a little bit up there and age, she wasn’t making the full three miles. She would jog, she would run halfway, stop and wait for me to make the turn and come back. It progressed to the point where she would just sit on the boardwalk and wait for me to do my run in and then, you know, come back to the house. You could just see her steadily getting worse and worse with hip and joint pain that became arthritis that then just continued to get worse.
So we were working with our vet there in Florida who was holistic minded but it was a shocker and an eye opener, the absolute dearth of holistic type products for our furry loved one, I mean, she a family member and she was there with our two younger boys were born. Just truly a family member. So watching her start to suffer. And the only choices were pharmaceuticals. Not to say that in a completely anti-Western medicine way. But the side effects as we are all so aware of open. We know what opiate side effects are for humans. What our furry loved ones for Mattie didn’t know what was going on other than she was a zombie on the floor. The pain wasn’t going away. The condition wasn’t getting better. But she was just a pile of jello, and it was so heart wrenching that I was we were frantically searching for something.
I started looking into medical marijuana and discovered that there were over 1000 true first world clinical studies that had been done, as you know, Sonia pretty much all in Israel at that point. And realized, hey, there’s this other side of the cannabis family that does not require one to have the intoxication effect. So you won’t you know “scare” your dog or cat, and that was the, you know, no pun intended to see it there. We up and moved to Colorado eight years ago, which, you know, that would be 2011, 2012. We moved to Colorado to start our business, to change what healthy means for pets, and it’s been quite a mission so far.
We moved to Colorado to start our business, to change what healthy means for pets, and it's been quite a mission so far. - Steve Smith Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: That’s incredible. I love how this industry always comes with some like transformational story. And most of the people who are in this, I almost never hear a story where they were like, Yeah, well, you know, I saw the opportunity and so I decided to jump in with both feet. It was more– I always hear some sort of like personal transformation story or a family member who has had a direct impact from cannabis and hemp. And I love how this plant is pulling so many people from so many different parts of life into the same circle and giving us this one piece of Mother Earth is what I say this one piece of Mother Earth to connect and collaborate around. So incredible story and I’m super happy that your experience in your family brought you to creating products that can help other families provide relief for their pets. Can you share with me a little bit about your product suite and what makes your product unique?
Steve Smith: Absolutely, and that I think you hit the nail on the head there, Sonia. The people that came and found this plant, I’ve got a beautiful friend that does president over at the Hemp Industries Association, which is kind of our sister organization for positive reinforcement of our movement in the hemp and cannabis world. And he’s got a story of how the hemp plant is so intelligent, that the cannabis plant literally waited until now to there was the right people on the planet to make sure that you, he was successful, to come out of the dark ages that the human race is stuck or into.
Steve Smith: So people who have found themselves, like yourself like me and some other people that come the founders of this movement are absolutely in it for the right reason. And now the ones of us that really, really care like you did podcast, us on the board of the Hemp Roundtable, now the authority we’re trying to protect the plants from the people that are coming in that see, oh, I lost my money in Bitcoin. Let me jump on this CBD bandwagon now. So that’s part of our mission over there at the round table in the hemp authority but specifically the Pet Releaf.
The biggest, most important thing that sets us apart is, and it’s our trademark saying is from seed to sale, from plants to pets. Those are not just words. When we started researching cannabis, quickly found out that cannabis is essentially a vacuum cleaner. So if you put in hemp in any soil that used to be sprayed with roundup with corn that used to be grown there, that roundup is going to end up in the hemp plant. So we quickly saw that we had to control the entire process.
So we partner here in Colorado with the largest hemp farming group in the United States. And our organic acreage is there’s not another organic hemp acreage farmer, even in the same universe as our group. So we start with certified USDA Organic hemp, and we follow it all the way through; we only use supercritical co2 extraction. We can we do the baking ourselves, or partners in the bottom line. So we’re literally involved in every single facet. So that’s the product [unintelligible] are made. But now, how do you make sure the products are safe, efficacious? How do you make your usage or “dosage recommendations?”
That’s why we moved to Colorado because we did the heavy lifting for the industry in the pet space. Is that we spent a year and a half doing, we’ll call it r&d, where we enlisted some holistic veterinarians here in Colorado, with volunteer pet parents to make sure yes, we all have the endocannabinoid system, but how effective and how pervasive is it within a dog or a cat? We did the hard work, and I truly believe that’s why we’re the most trusted pet CBD company by far because we like to say around the company that we do things the right way even when we’re not looking.
Sonia Gomez: I love this so much. It makes my heart sing literally not to be like cheesy or anything but I love when business owners really put the added effort that it takes to create a brand and products that they know will stand the test of time. And one of the biggest challenges that I know the industry is facing, especially right now is the shift in compliance. And you know, all of the different things that we’re going to be looking at when FDA and FTC comes in to regulate and I know that you’re sitting on the FDA committee, so I’m going to dive into that with you here in just a minute.
But really going to cut above to prepare yourself for what is coming rather than what is true right now and seeing what loopholes holes you can jump through really says something about, you know, the potential of your company, but also who you are as a person and I know from firsthand experience interfacing with millions of people from around the world who are a part of our community, online.
You know, people are not buying products anymore. They want to know who the people are behind the brands, and they want to understand that the thoughts and the feelings and the goals and the mission of these people are truly to create transformation. So it just moves me to hear the focus and dedication that you have to excellence went all the way through from, from soil all the way to sale.
Can you share with me your key roles in the US Roundtable and sort of what it was like. I think everyone is in celebration mode. And what I experienced with the legalization of cannabis was everyone was in celebration mode and forgot what it took to get to that place where we could celebrate and actually have our storefronts and know our businesses were operating.
I know a lot of my friends who are still in the industry are still up against significant struggles and challenges. And nobody thinks about the 22 hour days that we pulled or sometimes working through the night to do edits on the you know on the bill in order to get to where we wanted to go and be prepared for this now. next meeting and you know, sometimes not sleeping or having to sleep in shifts, it was just a crazy, crazy time. Tell us a little bit of the behind the scenes and as much as you feel comfortable sharing, but tell us a little bit of the behind the scenes imagery or movie if it was a movie, how would you paint the picture to us of how you worked in assisting and drafting the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Steve Smith: It’s so funny. So the the guys and gals on the on the board, we tried to say, Hey, we should all get 1% of all the sales of every one of these CBD companies that can now follow us into this business. But we all look at each other. You know, I’m the lonely pet guy on the board. All the other board members are either human CBD companies. We’ve got a couple farms. We’ve got a couple lab testing laboratory, people that are on the board, but it’s just a great group of people because we’ve all put all the competitive juices out the door in deference to protecting and professionalizing this industry.
Because there’s still a lot of soccer moms out there, believe it or not, I know you know, Sonia that has no idea that CBD for example, is not for marijuana. And they just think CBD is CBD oil, it’s going to solve, it’s going to grow my hair back, it’s going to make me lose 50 pounds, it’s going to replace the, you know the Viagra that’s in the cupboard, you know, whatever it’s being sold is literally snake oil. So that’s why we got together as aboard. And Pet Releaf, we were one of the founding members of the board of four companies that started it. And then we came on we were asked to join shortly after that. And it’s just been an honor and a privilege to hang around and just work these long, long hours.
We have a weekly mandatory phone call on the board every week. You have to prepare for these calls. So just like you mentioned, I enjoy it but I invest anywhere from 10 to 25 hours in a week on on matters that are not related to please other than industry wide, meaning Hemp Roundtable FDA committee So, you know, there’s a lot of heavy lifting, but you know, it’s okay because in the long run, the people that follow the rules and do things the right way. Humans are not stupid. And particularly in the pet world research like you were speaking about. They do two to four times the amount of research before they’ll buy a product for their pet than they do for themselves, or their own children, their human children.
Sonia Gomez: Ain’t that the truth?
Steve Smith: So let me give you a little insight on the FDA because that’s kind of the elephant in the room and then most misunderstood, or I should say the least understood of anything going on in the hemp world because if you go ask the average person trying to get into business or whatever they think the 2018 Farm Bill completely legalized anything and everything, which is absolutely the furthest thing from the truth. It’s technically still not a legal product is the FDA has not written the rules, and they have not been implemented yet.
Steve Smith: Now, what the FDA has said is they’re essentially giving us a runway where they’re going to take a hands-off approach, unless you’re making disease claims, such as by my CBD is going to cure your cancer. They’re going to come after you pretty hard if you break those types of rules. So that’s what they’ve said. They said the people that are, you know, self-regulating and trying to play by the rules; they’re going to take a hands-off approach for now while the rules are being written the rules big picture I’ll give you this one, Sonia.
What it looks like and I’ll tell you this is about a 95% certainty that it will happen this way is there’s going to be what’s called swim lanes. So you’re going to have, it’s looking like a maximum daily allowance of 20 milligrams of CBD per day. If it’s in a food or drinks something such as that, if it’s a supplement form such as a capsule, a gel cap, a tincture bottle, so picture something that’s an OTC supplement, they’re looking at probably 50 milligrams a maximum daily allowances, and that there’s some science behind that because there’s a called the hundred factor or something like that. So if you took 20 times 100, that’s 2000 milligrams in some stuff. A couple studies, they showed some contraindications with pharmaceuticals and some other conflicts that started showing up in certain humans. If they had other condition and things such as this. So therefore 2000 milligrams is a potential danger limit for certain people.
So you divide by 100, that’s where you come up with the 20 milligram per day maximum allowance. So the people selling, super high potency, CBD products are pretty much going to be out of business here and within 18 months when the rules are officially implemented. So if you want to sell products that are that high potency, those will strictly be under the guise of a medical professional. So in my world, if it’s over 20 milligrams a day, then a veterinarian has to be the one to be recommending it to the patient.
Sonia Gomez: Okay, so for clarity and I absolutely have to agree with you. Like there’s just so much that you said in those like nine sentences. I have another podcast where we’re only talking about This because there is not a day that goes by where I am not confronted with these types of challenges and misunderstanding the legislation. Right? But you can and cannot do and people are really skating, I call it their figure ating through the fine line that allows the company to operate, quote unquote, legally. At the same time, there is not, I mean, confirm or deny, but there is not the personnel to be able to go out there and regulate the hundreds of companies out 10s of thousands of companies that are popping up, you know, every year, and I mean, I’m personally consulting hundreds, if not thousands, inside of groups, you know, and advising them on their branding and the marketing and all of this stuff. And I’m like, does anybody care about compliance? Anybody at all?
Steve Smith: No, they don’t, Sonia. So amazing that you make that you mentioned that because I cannot tell you how many of our pet store retail partners call us to complain because they know my position on the board. They’re like Steve, something, shut these people up. It’s 12 noon here in Georgia, and I’ve had two phone calls. And two people literally walked in my small pet store in a smallest town suburb of Atlanta, for example, or people trying to hawk their own CBD, that’s the best ever, ours is the only organic, ours is this ours is that it’s unbelievable. It’s literally the wild west on steroids. And you’re absolutely right, the FDA, they don’t have 5000 enforcement officers around the country. And they’re tasked with things you know, from any type of food. So if there’s you know, an appendage that has been contaminated on or someone talking bad data pens or fake weight loss products? CBD is on their radar, but they don’t have the manpower, it is physically impossible for them to regulate at this point.
Sonia Gomez: I mean, yeah. By the grace of God, the industry is making legacy money in some cases right now because they don’t have the personnel. And I’m really interested in, I quite literally we’re going to have to have an entirely different podcasts specifically talking about FDA regulation, what we think the landscape is going to look like. This is probably one of the burning topics of conversation in any one of my communities right now. And there’s so many assumptions, misconceptions I work with an FDA consultant, somebody who’s worked with Big Pharma and, you know, done advertising for them, but made the jump into our space to help regulate and ensure that people are getting as close to compliant as they possibly can.
There’s just, what is the fine line really and I and again, I want to talk about more about that in a separate interview because I think it’s just such an important topic to give the time and attention that is necessary to bring clarity and true understanding so that both entrepreneurs and consumers can make educated decisions about what companies they want to align with and work with—moving forward. I think now is the time where every like you said, it’s the wild wild west on steroids. The consumer is just looking for a product that they can depend on delivering consistent, reliable results. And they want to know that the people behind the brand that they’re selecting care enough to ensure that that quality and consistency available long term business owners, I mean, I see them on both sides of the extreme.
There are people who are churning and burning brands putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into their daily marketing budgets, blowing out email lists, offering products making, doubling their money, and then burning the brand after a week to start a new one. And this white sort of fanatical process that people are going through, there’s very little creativity in it, there’s very little thought process. And then on the other side of the spectrum, we have folks like yourself and a few of my clients who are trying to understand the person that they’re serving the problems that they’re solving and the products that will continuously deliver that trust and earn respect and recognition from the consumer audience.
So I love to see the contrast in both without the problem we can’t have the solution and vice versa. But at the same time, I’m, as a patient who’s had to go through the struggle and to find quality medicine and brands and products that we can trust. Whether it’s you know, you’re giving it to your turtle, you’re taking it yourself like it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. It’s using it for people that you care about, or for pets that you care about, you want to make sure that like the choice you’re making is a good one and then just going to improve quality of life and not bring harm. So I know that there’s also a lot of folks who are very angry with the FDA and FTC. And so, I want to have a more in-depth conversation specifically about that because I just think it’d be such, so much value for our community to be able to hear and truly understand.
Make sure that the choice you're making is a good one and then just going to improve the quality of life and not bring harm. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
Main Driving Goal
Well, for now, will you share with me a bit because not everybody is aware of the different associations? You know, entrepreneurialism in itself can be pretty lonely, specifically, cannabis or hemp entrepreneurial-ism because it’s such an infant industry can feel pretty lonely. Can you share with me a little bit about the work that the US a Hemp Roundtable and the National Health Association organizations like that? What is your guys’ main driving goal? And what do you work to provide to the industry?
Steve Smith: And I love that you went to this topic now, Sonia, because this is the number one way that a consumer can guarantee themselves that they’re getting a safe and legal and reliable and consistent product. The only way you absolutely unequivocally can guarantee yourself that as a consumer, whether for yourself is to look for a stamp on the front of the package that says the US Hemp Authority, so it’s a kind of an orange circle. It’s got a white background with an orange H. It’s called the United States Hemp Authority. So you’ll see that orange age with a white background. That is an extremely intensive third-party audit conducted by where food comes from if people have seen that show it’s kind of an expos day on probably would scare anybody ever to eat food ever again. But the audit they come in.
Steve Smith: So, for example, we have it on our products. Our farmers had to go through this intense audit from seed all the way till harvest then the extraction facility has to be certified are cooking and manufacturing facilities. Every single step of the product’s lifecycle until it’s in the hands of the consumer has been verified that it’s good manufacturing practices CGMP good farming practices without sneaking chemicals and pesticides etc. clean safe extraction methodologies, etc, etc, etc. And the fact that what you say you have in the bottle is actually in the bottle. That’s what one of the dark little secrets with the companies you’re talking about that they burn a brand up and a month later they shut it down because people start testing and they find out that 500 milligrams on the label is actually 10 milligrams and the whole bottle or something like that, right?
Our farmers had to go through this intense audit from seed all the way till harvest. - Steve Smith Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, totally.
Steve Smith: So that’s the Hemp Authority seal. If your listeners if there’s one thing they take from this podcast, other than the least the best pet CBD company, of course, is that the champ authority seal, that it’s kind of like a USDA Organic seal. That is proof positive that you can trust what is in your hands if it doesn’t have it. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad product, but you have no idea it’s buyer beware at that point. So that would be the number one advice I would give them on the topic at hand. Now as far as the board the Hemp Roundtable board.
Our stated mission is to expand and properly regulate hemp across all 50 states. So that there’s an even playing field, an even set of rules with respective states rights, so a state like Idaho, they have not implemented any hemp programs, you still cannot legally sell CBD on a retail shelf in Idaho. So we respect states, right? We think they’re making a mistake because it’s innocuous it’s literally just a standard farming crop to commodity crop according to the to the US government now, but nevertheless, our goal is to standardize regulations so that the consumers when they are buying a hemp-derived product, they know that it’s been subjected to proper and reasonable regulations because God forbid we have a rogue person trying to do CBD as an adulterated product, somebody hurts a dog that could be really bad news CBD industry, so we’re trying to get all these rules written to get the bad guys will go away soon enough, but we just need them to go away.
Our stated mission is to expand and properly regulate hemp across all 50 states. - Steve Smith Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, that’s for frickin Sure. I mean I’m looking at it so of course we both were running successful businesses of course you know all of these things are inevitably true about many of the folks who are in this space for God’s sakes it’s the green rush you’re practically giving away you know, gold on the street that’s it’s pretty tough to not be successful in this space. And yet my true passion and experience comes from being a consumer in this space. And watching, and knowing personally how difficult it is to find products that you can trust and depend on. And I’ve gone through this for my own pets. I’ve gone through this what as a person myself, and had to go through a pretty significant learning curve.
Key Challenges along with the Cannabis Market
I would love to hear from you. And in this segment of our of our podcast, I call it the words of wisdom. I’d love to hear a little bit from you from the entrepreneurs perspective, what are some of the key challenges that you are still facing in this industry right now that prevents you from impacting the number of people or growing your business to the level of success that you’d like to achieve?
Steve Smith: Yeah, Sonia, that’s a great question. And I will tell you, without even thinking of a second-place answer to this, our biggest headache. If we keep smiles on our faces every day at the all-around Pet Releaf, the family stays positive because there’s not a day that goes by that we don’t get a phone call from one of our fur parents in the year 2019 that they’re picking the phone up, not just sending in a little Yelp. Hey, you guys are great things online. Picking the phone up demanding to talk to somebody you know one of our people answer the phone because they want to literally share the story of how it’s changed your pets lives.
Here, jerker calls literally every single day. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. And that’s why we do things the right way every day, all day. Our biggest challenge right now is cutting through the noise. We have our pet parents, and our retailers. So we’re in well over 6000 stores around the United States right now. And these stores are being bombarded with false information, misinformation, Voodoo science. So with our team, we’re going to be spending. I mean, I shouldn’t say this on air, but I will anyway, we’re going to be spending close to a million dollars this year, just on education related, b2c communications.
So not even a Pet Releaf advertisement. It’s literally information to try and educate the consumers. Because they’re being bombarded with 5000 stories of what CBD is, what CBD isn’t. And it’s, it’s a challenge. We’ll overcome. We’ve talked about that quite a bit at the Hemp Roundtable, we’ve hired a PR firm at the round table to help us magnify our messages that the individual companies are each doing. So hopefully one plus one equals five as far as the education campaign goes, but that by far is our biggest challenge, not just for Pet Releaf but for the entire CBD industry right now.
Sonia Gomez: Heck, yeah, I couldn’t agree more with you. And that’s why my whole business model has been on what I call story selling, and really helping people understand who we are, what we do, why we do, what we do, the way that we do it, and more importantly, what it matters, why that matters for them and in our short time in public education, I should say, we’ve impacted 10s of millions of people around the world and crafted a method of being able to share, you know, the mission creating movements, and long term brand loyalty with the customer base where people are actually going into their local retailers and requesting specific products and demanding that these retail stores bring them in based off of the education that we’re able to provide. And now I facilitate a lot of that education or allow companies like yours to come onto my platform because that’s all that I’ve focused on is building the community of consumers who need and what to understand the different brands that are available and where they can access those brands so that they don’t have to guess anymore.
And that’s what I love about my group. And for those of you guys who are listening to much love to you all, thanks for being here. But I love, that’s what I love about you guys. That is that you trust and believe in our community enough to use us as a resource center and brands like Pet Releaf can come onto our platform and share what they do, how they do it, why they do it the way that they do it and really instill trust and confidence in you guys so that you can make educated empowered decisions and feel really confident but more importantly competent, that the choices that you are making are the absolute best for the well being of your family and loved one. So happy to help any way that we can.
Words of Wisdom
Steve, this is my passion being able to share the story and have these incredible companies and entrepreneurs to humanize another wise, pretty outrageous industry and time in our history, knowing what you know now. And then here’s where the words of wisdom come in. I’ll type in after you knowing what you know now, and for as long as you’ve been into business, if you had to go back and tell yourself, give yourself some pieces of advice that would help you to achieve your goals faster, or achieve success faster or miss the many potholes that are on this road to success in the CBD and hemp space, what would be two or three key pieces of advice that you would offer?
Steve Smith: Well, I think if I could go back a year, so when we moved to Colorado, I would first tell myself, hey, you weren’t absolutely crazy. You haven’t gone bonkers. My parents, my wife’s parents, my co founder, we’re both you’re going to Colorado to do what? They’re like, you know, my parents were actually embarrassed. You know, they wouldn’t tell anybody around their church. There’s Oh, yeah, they moved to Colorado. We’re not quite sure what they’re doing. And it was like pot for pets, oh my gosh. And then actually, a member of their church ended up having our one of our T-shirt bottles on their kitchen counter, like a year into us launching. And then it was okay all the sudden, but that would be my first piece of advice to myself because there was, I have, like you mentioned earlier the life of an entrepreneur, I’ve heard so many people over the years, I’m going to start my own business. I’m going to start my own business. I always say good luck. Best of luck to you. Happy trails. And, if you haven’t failed once, twice, three times as an entrepreneur, you’re not really an entrepreneur.
So, we hit a couple of hiccups in Florida. So that at least prepared us for struggles of starting a brand new industry. Literally, it’s not Oh, I’m going to open up a restaurant. We started a brand new industry, Sonia, that has never been on the face of this earth. Cannabis was legal way back in the 1800s. But CBD and this side of the cannabis family has, this is a brand new industry. And in the pet industry it was even harder I got F bombed out of I can’t even count how many pets [inaudible] first one, but that would be the second piece of advice is, we’ve always been very positive-minded and Alina, my wife co founder always said these days he’s like there’s no way we were going to fail it was the universe was never going to let us fail. And so I guess maybe enjoy the struggle a little more because sometimes this alone the man and you’re sitting at home and you know we emptied all of our savings. You know, we don’t have a big private equity backer we’re not a public company. It’s a family owned business. We believed in it that much. Literally. emptied all the bank accounts, empty the 401k started borrowing money off of our parents just to make it through. The last six months so we finally were able to ourselves [inaudible]
As far as changing anything, I don’t think I would. It’s been such an amazing journey and the hardships and the struggle and those f bombs, get out of my pet store. Those all strengthened our resolve. And really, I guess in some crazy, weird way, it gave us affirmations that we absolutely did things the right way. We refused to cut corners when it could have been easier to do and maybe, made more money quicker, but we just don’t never even a decision that could that ever even made it onto the table, let alone being even thought about so.
Yeah, it’s been quite the journey. And we’re expanding internationally and going back to Europe next week. finalize our deals for our European launch. So, it’s really been a worthwhile struggle. And, I look at some of the people that have jumped in in the last year. Now that the trail has been blazed and you have to make sure you don’t kind of feel resentment but like look at him and go, geez, you’ve got an easy just show up with your rich uncle half million dollars. So you can do the SEO and show up number three on the Google search must be must be nice these days. But like yourself, being one of the original pioneers of the whole cannabis space and [inaudible] for proper reforms and proper regulations. I mean, you’ll be remembered long after we are gone. They’ll look back and go those crazy people, how the hell did they do it? So yeah, it’s been definitely worthwhile struggle.
Sonia Gomez: I have to agree, there’s definitely the saying the struggle is real. But it’s also worth every moment of it, especially because I again, we get to hear those. There’s those moments where you get to connect directly with the people whose lives are impacting. I’m going to throw in some pieces of words of wisdom to the entrepreneurs out there who are just getting started and trying to navigate your way through. And I’ll just piggyback off of what Steve is saying.
Struggle or not, this is a journey, and it’s one that you are consciously taking, making a choice to be a part of every single day. And you have to enjoy the step that you take because it’s bringing you, it’s bringing you closer, no matter how slow it feels like it’s moving. It is in fact, bringing you closer to where it is that you want to be. The piece of advice that I would offer is, if you are not clear about where you are trying to go, it’s going to be pretty challenging to get there.
Having absolute clarity on where you think you would like to go allows you to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be and reverse engineer the process. If you’re just going for the sake of going, you’re going to find yourself going into loops and circles all the way through and running up against the same mistakes. Have absolute laser focus and understanding exactly what your goals are. Because when you have that bright and clear vision, you’ll be able to enroll people into that vision and keep them aligned with the mission and the movement that you have to transform the way that this industry is operating but also the ripple effect of the work that you’re doing every single day.
No one in this space is an expert. That’s the great news that everybody here is on equal playing ground, and the ones who are setting themselves apart are the ones who are doing the one more rep, which is my second piece of advice. There’s a whole theory around one more rep. And one of my close mentors actually said 99 yards does not make a touchdown. You can run as hard and as fast as you want to. And you could be playing in the Super Bowl game. And that’s how I look at this industry. This is a Super Bowl Game of history, right? We’re never going to see an opportunity like this, or the changing of the tides, the way that we’re seeing it right now many people who are generations ahead of me, and generations behind me would never have imagined that we would be where we are right now celebrating and experiencing this transformation in legislation that is allowing this herb to be available to us.
And at the same time, you can run as fast and as hard as you want to hit that final winning touchdown in the Super Bowl game. But if you only run 99 yards and you don’t make it into the end zone, that’s not a touchdown my friend. So one more Rep. One more yard you always have to push be willing to push a little bit harder and a little bit, and get a little bit a little bit stronger than your counterparts.
The final piece of advice that I would give you is while you’re pooling the resources that you need to succeed in this space, I would make sure that those resources include education. Money is not always the biggest determining factor of success, although it helps quite a bit. But having a competency that instills confidence in the people that you want to attract to work with will often bring about the resources that you are looking for in the way of team time and money that comes with your clarity and vision. And also, really having a unique competency in the area of this industry that you want to serve the riches are in the niches so make sure that you understand the person that you want to solve problems for the passionate about it so that you can build a profitable company. Those are my words of wisdom Steve, out of time. Can you see any final words in today’s interview?
Steve Smith: I would say quickly to echo along with what you’re saying, an entrepreneur to be successful must be doing it for a passion, a life mission or a passion, not how much money can I make. So I really love that you made that point. Because if you’re just chasing money, when you hit those speed bumps and struggles, you’re going to lose the plot, and you’re going to diverge and you’re going to give up too easily. So that that would be my follow up advice, as far as words of wisdom, but the last thing I wanted to just say once again, thank you so much, Sonia for doing what you do. Spreading the good word about the cannabis plant, spreading the positive message, and Pet Releaf we’re just so proud to be part of it as well. And I just thank you so much and much love to your sister and your audience.
An entrepreneur to be successful must be doing it for a passion, a life mission, or a passion. - Steve Smith Click To Tweet
Where to Find Them
Sonia Gomez: Thank you so much. Where can everyone find you when they want to check out Pet Releaf products?
Steve Smith: Sure, absolutely. So our company is easy to find, but you have to make sure you spell it correctly. So it’s Pet Releaf. And then spell it like leaf on a tree. So Pet Releaf like leaf on a tree. So petreleaf.com. And then, like I said, we’re in over 6000 of the independent pet stores all over the US.
Sonia Gomez: Amazing. Hey guys, all of the social media channels and websites will be posted inside of the blog surrounding this video. Make sure that you check out the show notes and highlights from today’s show. We are super honored and excited to have Mr. Steve Smith, the President and co founder of Pet Releaf as a part of our podcast here today. Make sure that you check them out at any one of his local retailers or online at petreleaf.com. Again, all of the social handles as well as the websites we posted inside of this blog. I’m your hostess with the mostess, Sonia Gomez and this is The Hemp Revolution. In you are a budding entrepreneur, check us out at theemeraldcircle.com. And if you are a person looking for products you can depend on for either yourself, your fur babies or the people that you love and care about, check us out at medicalsecrets.com for all of our favorite pics. I can’t wait to see you guys on our next episode. And we’ll see you guys soon. Bye for now.
James Brinkerhoff: Thanks for listening to this episode, we took notes on this episode for you along with all the links and resources mentioned in the episode. Get them free on the show notes page here at www.medicalsecrets.com. If you love this show and our content, please subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you really want to help us get the message out there, please rate review and tell all your friends with your help. We can continue to reach the world with our message. And until next time, we hope you join The Hemp Revolution and we challenge you to change dream big and love the life you live.
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