Robb Auspitz is a professional web designer with high-level skills in WordPress and e-commerce. He worked in a chemistry lab for three years and has extensive experience in IT.
After 20 years in IT and 15 years in web design and e-commerce, he looked for new opportunities. That’s when he discovered the CBD industry.
In this episode, Robb shares how he accelerated his learning curve, how he came up with the simplest way to educate people about cannabis, why he chose to sell somebody else’s brand instead of producing his own, and why he veers away from venture capital.
My advice is to have a really good game plan, have a really good website, be better financed than I was. Be honest. I would also very strongly recommend that you do what I did, which is to do your homework and really know what you’re talking about. – Robb Auspitz
Some Topics We Discussed Include
4:08 – Robb’s background and what he did to accelerate his learning curve in the cannabis industry
9:46 – Groovy Hemp Company’s banking and payment solutions
14:35 – How he educates somebody about cannabis in layman’s term
20:03 – Why he’s selling somebody else products
27:54 – Why he prefers to be self-funded over venture capital
35:00 – Key pieces of advice to budding entrepreneurs
40:48 – Marketing initiatives to boost sales
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with Robb Auspitz
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up, guys? Sonia Gomez coming to you from Denver, Colorado on another Rockstar episode of The Hemp Revolution Podcast, where we are sharing and telling the real story of cannabis and hemp through the eyes of the entrepreneurs who are transforming this incredible industry.
Today. We have an amazing guest and I want to welcome you and invite you to like and share this content. When you like and share this content make sure that you tag some folks that you believe are going to get a benefit from this. We are working every single day on our mission to help empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated decisions about how you want to care for yourself, the people that you love, and the conditions you may be suffering from.
Check us out at medicalsecrets.com if you’re looking for some recommendations for products and if you’re a business owner or budding entrepreneur in this space, I’d love to hear your story and connect with you further. shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be excited to hear your story.
You guys I’ve once again pulled some of the best of the best of the industry and my guest today is no different. A professional web designer with high-level skills in WordPress and e-commerce. Before he got involved with web design. He works extensively in IT and how to experience and expertise in applications and hardware.
His degree in biology, as he worked in the clinical chemistry lab for three years was extremely beneficial. Additionally, he has had a high-level writing skill, which came very handy while he developed GroovyHempCompany.com. Those skills are used every week on his blog, groovyhempblog.com. A little bit of a tongue twister there, I like it.
Looking for some new opportunities but could not find a match and when a couple of friends suggested that he investigates CBD as a business, he was intrigued. He learned very quickly that selling organic CBD oil products online is an exciting new industry filled with all types of opportunities while presenting some pretty unique challenges. To say the least he’s been one of those folks who has been able to overcome a lot of those challenges.
And here to share some of his words of wisdom and a more about his story, help me welcome my good friend, Robb Auspitz.
Robb Auspitz: That’s it, you guys.
Sonia Gomez: I’m an international pronouncer at this point. Okay, I’ve had guests from all over the world. And now I’m like, let’s see if I can do this one. I have somebody from Russia the other day. Well, 15 letters, last name, and I got it. It was awesome. Anyways, Robb, thanks for being on the show. I’m super happy to have you.
Robb Auspitz: Thank you. And thank you for the opportunity, Sonia. It’s very much appreciated.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve done some pretty invasive investigation into your background. No, I’m just kidding.
Robb Auspitz: Wait, Mark Zuckerberg?
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, almost. I know quite a bit about you and I feel privileged to know, especially in the sector of the business that you’re in. I’m super excited to highlight all the different facets of this business. And I’d love for you to just take a minute to introduce yourself. Let us know who you are, what your background is, and actually how you ended up in the cannabis craze.
Robb’s Background and What He Did to Accelerate His Learning Curve in the Cannabis Industry
Robb Auspitz: Basically, what you mentioned earlier is pretty much my background. I have a degree in biology. I worked in a clinical chemistry lab for about three years and I hated it. It was a good learning experience. But it wasn’t for me, got involved, kicked around for a little bit, got involved in the PC industry starting selling custom Dbase applications, moved into some consulting then got put together a network, a company selling and installing computer networks.
I did that for about 20 years and finally burned out on that. And I was always good at page layout, doing a lot of good stuff with really early on with a package called Ventura Publisher, which I doubt if 10 people out there even remember, I started doing web design, learned it, got involved with it. Learn e-commerce done fairly well with it.
But you know, I’ve been doing this for almost 15 years and I said, You know what, let’s move on to something else. There’s an opportunity out there. There’s a lot of different things and I started looking about four years ago, then couldn’t really find anything that I felt was a match that I would be comfortable with. On Sunday’s I go to a terrific, terrific diner in Doylestown, [unintelligible] Cross Keys Diner. Sunday, so you know, you’re going to wait for a table. I’m waiting for the table. And a couple of the part-timers Abby and Hannah, Were talking about CBD. I’d heard the term this is about a year and a half ago, I guess it was August 2018. And I’d heard the term I kind of had an inkling as to what it was, but I really really didn’t know and I just started asking them some questions and they very graciously gave me some very well informed answers. And one of them said to me, I think it was Abby perhaps said you know You should really look into this. I think you have a match here.
And, you know, I went home and started researching it and researching it and researching it. The more I looked into it, the more interesting it got. I will tell you I flailed away for the first week I was just like looking here and looking there and looking everywhere. And kind of spinning my wheels when I realized even with my background in biology, etc. I don’t understand any of these terms. I didn’t know what a cannabinoid was. I didn’t know what a terpene was. I didn’t know what THC was. I had some hands-on with that. A lot of hands-on experience with that.
Sonia Gomez: Haha
Robb Auspitz: delayed reaction, I love it. But I didn’t know any of this other stuff. And I said to myself, I need to really learn the language of this industry before I go any further. So I started working on writing a glossary. The glossary you see on my site, I think there are about 50 terms there is really started late in August. And it was really a learning tool, initially for myself, because I didn’t feel I could learn this industry, or learn anything about it without really understanding the language. But yeah, it’s just how I learned I have to, you know, go to the basics and learn it from the ground up. Otherwise, it’s not gonna work for me.
Sonia Gomez: Totally.
Robb Auspitz: So, basically, as I worked on the glossary, I started really learning how things work in that industry, learning the products, learning the biology, learning, the botany, learning some of the chemistry. Going back to the genus and the species and all that good stuff you learn in college. It is amazing a zillion years later after I had those courses. It’s amazing what resurfaced in whatever members. You know, it was like, Oh, yeah, I had that cell biology. I know what that is. That type of thing. I had cell biology in the late 70s. You know, like, Well, how do I remember that? I had a terrific professor. That’s how I remembered it.
But seriously, it came in handy at that point in time, and it really accelerated the learning curve for me. And trust me, as I’m sure you know, there is a learning curve. I think what I had to learn more than anything else, was what I wanted to learn more than anything else after reading tons and tons of information and doing teardowns on websites. I really literally went through about 30 websites and just tore them down. Meaning taking notes on them, seeing what they’re doing, see how they’re doing it, what platform they were using, just really really refining and defining what was going on and seeing all kinds of information, that didn’t strike me as being entirely accurate.
And I knew fairly on part of my mission was to learn to discern the signals from the noise. And as we both know, as we all know, there’s a lot of funny stuff going on in our industry, and you got to get a handle on the facts. And I’ve worked very hard at making sure I have totally accurate information on my site and my blog. Because if you go to a lot of other sites you’re like, it’s like, really, it can cure, it can heal a broken leg in three days, get out that type of thing. And I’m not gonna have that kind of stuff on my site. I’m just not having to represent myself.
Sonia Gomez: What do you mean, don’t you want all of the propaganda on your website?
Groovy Hemp Company’s Banking and Payment Solutions
Robb Auspitz: Funny, you should mention that. I’m jumping the gun a little bit here. But one of the reasons I was able to get the very reputable gateways I have, I have an ACH gateway with Hypur which is a terrific company. That’s big in the cannabis industry. And I also have a normal quote, regular merchant gateway, where I can take credit and debit cards with Square.
Hypur really had me go through a lot of compliance stuff, which was very, very good. You know, they wanted t know who they’re doing business with. And what Squares requirements were, we don’t want any crazy medical claims. And I was able to really blow through the process of Square because I don’t have any, anything that was maybe borderline. I was able to get rid of it in maybe two hours, rewrites, or just delete it. So that approval process was very quick because I didn’t have any crazy medical claims. I’m not telling you that I can cure heal your broken leg in three days. You know, I just really keep it as straight and informational as possible. When I did the teardowns, I’m reading stuff It’s like, no, that’s just not possible, you know, that type of thing. And I think that’s part of what that geez, that’s what got the FDA interested is all that bad stuff.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, you know, I think it’s been really polarizing in a lot of ways to hear such opposing opinions. You know, on one hand, people are willing to do anything to make the sale and on the other hand, there’s a lot of folks who are fighting for the truth of the space so that we can really represent professionalism and our realism when it comes to talking about Holistic Health and Medicine rather than just CBD or cannabis as the miracle drug. It’s my opinion that we don’t have to go on such an extreme to say, you know, this will fix everything for everyone, but really helping people understand their unique biology and how they can work with plant medicines as a whole, including but not limited to CBD and cannabis.
Robb Auspitz: I agree with that. 100% and I personally believe that long term, cannabis and I use cannabis as an umbrella term because to me it’s marijuana and hemp. Like all of the marijuana is no longer in our lexicon, dude, it’s still in mine, you know. And I feel that THC and cannabinoids in general, have a really high ceiling, but it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of money to see what that ceiling is. And the long term we’re going to see some very specific types of products get developed under responsible and ethical clinical circumstances that will really help us reach the potential of cannabis.
Sonia Gomez: I agree 100% What I love about your site is the focus on education and I love finding out that you’re new to the industry, because in a lot of cases, you know, I’m a similar business type as you were. I’m a publisher and an educator. I’ve never done well– Yes, I have. I’ve done a select few, like joint venture deals where I’ll run promotions for products that I’ve done extensive testing and betting on. But in some cases, I feel like because I and my husband, we have about 35 years plus in this industry. It’s funny. I’ve been saying that for about four years now.
And I somehow I just feel like if my amount of time in the industry stays young that I’ll stay young too. But what ends up happening and so we’ve been in the industry for like 35 years, and I feel like a lot of the information we have to share is from deep inside of that Web of Knowledge and sometimes I skip over the bare bone basic questions that people need to understand or want to feel comfortable asking that can help them build an understanding of this plant and its potential, you know from the ground up.
And I think I take it for granted sometimes that I’m, you know, I’ve been in this space for so long so I that actually caught my attention about your site, that you’re educating from the very beginning, all the way into the advanced education. Talk to me a little bit about your vision and why you chose to go that route with your publication.
How He Educates Somebody about Cannabis in Layman’s Term
Robb Auspitz: I’ll break it up into both sites. I’ll start with the actual e-commerce site, then I’ll explain why I’m doing what I’m doing with the blog.
With the e-commerce site. I’m pretty well-educated, pretty well-read. You’ve already gone through my background. Again, I didn’t understand what a lot of that stuff was. And initially, I started writing that glossary, just so I could understand what the hell I was reading And then I realized point x it’s like you know, your real educated guy and you have that science IT background and technology background, if you don’t understand this stuff, how is somebody who has less of a technical or life science education than you ever going to understand it?
And then I really got working on the glossary and really wanted to make it as strong as possible, but to me strong is writing it in simple, clear, easy to understand language. You know, I’m not helping you, I’m not helping you learn the product, or learn the business or learn the industry if I’m giving you all kinds of $5 words. So I reduced it to this.
Sonia Gomez: $5
Robb Auspitz: Yeah, you haven’t heard that one in a while, huh? I’m giving away my age. Oh my god, they’re all gonna know. I’m 800 years old.
Sonia Gomez: That’s okay. You know, fine wine ages over time, so
Robb Auspitz: how about beer. Never mind.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah beer, too, except beer, that’s more of like a fragmentation.
Robb Auspitz: Yeah, kind of ages the wrong way.
Sonia Gomez: It’s okay, I’m positive that you’re like in your prime right now, I love that you’ve also– one of the other things that caught my attention about you, like many entrepreneurs, everybody has gone through these like phases and stages of inspiration. And you gave me like three really clear, you know, you spent a significant time doing each one of these things. And you know, when you just sort of breeze through the past that you spent 15 years doing one thing and 20 years doing another thing. And you know, now you’re doing this new thing. And so it’s pretty interesting to say the new entrepreneur, and the second chance at life starts at 45, what an interesting time and a great industry to be a part of. What’s your vision, with the two websites, and finish explaining how the two work together.
Robb Auspitz: Well basically, my vision with the e-commerce site is to continue to educate the consumer and make purchasing the product as easy as possible. Long term, I would like to add more products. I’d like to add different kinds of products perhaps expanded to superfoods. giving people more choices and groovyhempcompany.com is about giving people choices. I want to give them choices by helping to educate them.
My vision with the e-commerce site is to continue to educate the consumer and make purchasing the product as easy as possible. - Robb Auspitz Click To Tweet
If you’re an intelligent consumer and I want to give people credit for being intelligent consumers. You want information right then and there. That’s why you can find lab results very quickly. That’s why I have the mini glossary for underneath ingredients you can access the ingredients very easily. Underneath the ingredients, you have the mini glossary, I want you educated I want to continue to educate you so that you really do Know what you buy.
And if you feel confident about what you buy from me, hopefully, you’ll come back and buy some more. But also, even if you don’t come back to me, you’ll be able to make better-informed buying decisions and long term we want the buying public that knows what they’re buying and can make those informed decisions. I think it helps everybody if we do that.
These guys who want to throw all the rhetoric and propaganda at you, they’re not helping themselves and not helping anybody. And they’re certainly not helping the consumer. They’re confusing the consumer. And you know, we have enough confusion as it is, let’s have some clarity. So that’s really my long term vision is to continue in this vein, add more products, and make people happy. I wasn’t joking when I said the customer is priority number one. Without the customer– I learned this. When I was in college like everybody else I had about a zillion jobs. A couple of them were in retail and you’ll learn if you work with the right people you learn that in retail customer is priority number one through 8000. And that’s the philosophy I have with this site. You know, it’s I’m not just trying to sell you a bottle, or a vial. I want to sell you something that will help benefit your life. I don’t know if that makes sense.
I'm not just trying to sell you a bottle, or a vial. I want to sell you something that will help benefit your life. - Robb Auspitz Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, it makes perfect sense. I feel like a lot of companies have a similar mission. However, not everybody has done that so well. You know, what I’ve recognized is that a lot of people have focused either on education or on the product, but somehow haven’t been able to marry the two very well. I think compliance certainly steps in the way of that. But you know, what I really admired about your business was the fact that you were doing both simultaneously and in a way that keeps you compliant, which is a unique situation. Now, let me ask you this. Do you have your own production company?
Why He’s Selling Somebody Else Products
Robb Auspitz: No, I do not. I am basically shipping other people, really drop shipping other people’s products. I don’t have the resources. Well, there’s two things here. I don’t have the resources to develop my own product. But I’m also thinking, how much of that is a vanity play? There’s a lot of good stuff out there. Or there’s a lot of terrific products out there that you can sell. And from a business perspective, does it make more sense for me to continue to sell other products from people who really know what they’re doing? Who’s put in the hard work and the time, who spent the money on really good people in their labs, and just work really hard at developing these products.
Or say, Oh, I want to have my own Groovy Hemp Company that’s that the other thing and even if you private label it, you know white label it. You know, is the money you’re investing in Gonna give the customer a better product? Are you going to make more money? Are you going to alienate your current vendors? Yeah, that that type of thing. I don’t know, you know, and I really went through that I, me being me I, of course, agonized over that for like, weeks, months.
Sonia Gomez: There’s no question that right now I’m like, I’m like, I love all of these products that are out there. Could I do something that’s unique and different? Absolutely. Would it make that big of a difference when there’s so much good stuff out there? Not sure. I’ll just write another article. How it goes in my head.
Robb Auspitz: Oh, and I understand that implicitly because I, having worked in a lab, having the degree that I have had worked in IT, where you see how things get done in the nuts and bolts matter. I’m looking at it. I’ve had the privilege of working for a few companies back in the ’80s and ’90s that were very geared toward accounting and finance, and I learned some stuff from them. And what you’ll learn is how much it’s going to cost to put this product together. And is it worth the investment? And are you going to do something that’s really revolutionary, and so much better than the other guys, that customers are going to jump all over it?
Or is it going to be something that’s like, Well, so what VFD? And I’m not sure that you know, I’ve only I haven’t been in this business for two years. I don’t know if I have enough knowledge and experience to make that decision. That’s another thing you and your husband and you’ve been at it for 35 years, maybe 30. And now cut you five years there, lady.
Sonia Gomez: Sound good to me.
Robb Auspitz: But seriously, if you’ve been in the business with your husband for 35 years, both of you collectively have been in the business for 35 years, and you’re still agonizing over that question, then that enforce me tremendously because you know about it at least 1000 times more about this than I do. And if you’re still agonizing, I’m not even gonna give it a second thought at this point, you know, I’m gonna stick with my decision.
Sonia Gomez: it just has to do with a crowded marketplace. And you know, this from web design, and all of that stuff is like, you know, the most important thing is to understand who you’re serving in the industry, right? Like, don’t start a product for the sake of starting a product. And I think a lot of companies are really finding that to be a huge hurdle for their growth, right [unintelligible], they decided to print a label and slap it on a bottle and there are very little unique differentiation and people are having to spend more and more money or create partnerships with publications on platforms like yours, you know, in order to stand out and it’s been quite difficult.
I mean, many people have been faced with challenges with things as simple as banking and merchant processing, let alone compliant, marketing on the internet, and direct to consumer sales. So, I think it’s pretty interesting beyond my years of experience, everyone is still learning. Like, this industry is so young, no matter who says that, if somebody tells you they know without a shadow of a doubt everything about cannabis and hemp because of how much they’ve done, run the opposite direction. They’re full of shit.
Robb Auspitz: Yeah, and run fast.
Sonia Gomez: There’s plenty of educated people out there, but we’re all still learning. And some people are just more inquisitive than others. So they might have a little bit more knowledge. But no one’s a true expert, that’s the real fact. You know. And so for me, it’s more of that question of like, who would I be serving and what would be the story behind my brand that would make it different from anybody else’s and therefore creating my product is the best choice for the demographic that I wanted to serve?
Robb Auspitz: Yeah, and that that’s a very expensive proposition because you have to do a crazy amount of research to figure that out. And then you have to hire some top of the rotation people to work in your lab, or for a top of the rotation company who can sit there and you give them the specs. And you have to make them be honest with you. It’s like, can you do this? Can you put this together? How much will it cost? Is this going to be–
Sonia Gomez: I don’t know. I don’t know that it has to be that difficult anymore. Fortunately, the manufacturers and processors of the industry are really super smart people. And they already have incredible formulas and then formulations and things like that. And I believe that there are ways to customize based off of the fact without having to you know, that’s how you can leverage like a lot of the resources that are already in motion. You work collaboratively with an existing formula to improve it and tailor it to whatever you want.
Because let’s face it, like if you’re starting from scratch, whether you’re creating an artisan product or a more commercial product, there’s going to be, if it’s an artist, an organic product, it’s the same base. And the same thing in the commercial product, it’s the 12th ingredient ingredients that are going to make the base of it where the real sauce comes in, is like the other herbal or terpene, or, you know, medicinal infusions or additions that you put inside of each one of these formulas. You know, that’s where things start to become unique. Otherwise, it’s all the same stuff.
To be clear, and I serve a lot of people who are my clients who are starting their own brands. It’s not out of reach it but it is a commitment that you have to be 100% with, you know, whether that’s a website of information or a physical product, you have to commit 100% and be willing to go really deep. And that was one of the things that there was like absolute when I was looking at your websites and looking at how everything is sort of tied together, I was really curious because it looks good and it feels good and it’s easy to navigate. So I was really curious, you know, what were some of the challenges that you faced in getting started, you’re in your first year of business, inside of your two years of business. It’s a really fragile time and at the same time really exciting because this is when a lot of growth happens. The industry could not be more primed for the kind of education that you’re offering. When you were getting started did you decide to take on VC money or are you self funded?
Why He Prefers to Be Self-Funded over Venture Capital
Robb Auspitz: I’m self-funded. The funny thing about web design is People who don’t have a clue as to what they’re talking about meaning clients, there, I said it, will tell you, I want this and I want that. And I want that. And you and you’ll very politely and diplomatically say, well, that’s really not going to help you. I don’t care. That’s what I want. I’m paying you. And I mean, I’ve had literally had those conversations, where people would just throw– you know just freak out. And it’s like, dude, whatever you want, man. And I don’t want partners. I don’t really want investors because I knew I had a certain level of clarity.
Really, in by January of 2019. By mid-January, I had a pretty high level of clarity of what I wanted, how I wanted to do it, and how I wanted it to look. And believe in it that I actually started this in Shopify. That’s another interesting adventure in the world of CBDs and finance. But the point is, I didn’t want somebody’s saying, well, I just paid you $50,000. And this is what I want, like, No, dude, I don’t care. This is– I didn’t– And I knew it would be a lot harder to do it this way. And it has been.
But I also knew that long term, the way I’m going about it is the right way. You know, I’ve been doing web design long enough. I know it works. I know it doesn’t work. I’ve done a lot of e-commerce. What I don’t have, what I didn’t put down is I’ve done like 20 sites in Volusion. A bunch of sites and Shopify, one real interesting site and big commerce. I had done work with WooCommerce previously. So you know, this was not hardly my first e-commerce rodeo, and I know how people buy in the real world.
I completely reject the concept of making your site sticky, meaning an e-commerce site. It’s like no people want to go in they want to find what they need as quickly as possible. Buy this quickly as possible and get on with your day or night, whatever the time is. That’s what they really want. That’s the real world telling me that. And I didn’t want to have a lot of fancies, gorgeous graphics, etc, etc. I wanted a very pleasant looking site that was informative, but very useful and very, very easy to navigate. That would give people what they wanted in the shortest amount of time. And that’s what you get from doing this hands-on over a long period of time, that kind of life experience.
So I just didn’t want a partner or VC I just could– To me, it was like that old song by the Supremes. Nothing but heartaches.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah.
Robb Auspitz: So you know, I did it first in Shopify, and I respect Shopify as a platform. It is a terrific platform. I think they’re a terrific company. But when things started to get hot, really about a year ago is really when they got hot look, banks and merchant gateways just really freaking out. They treated CBD besides CBD vendors like we’re treating the whole Coronavirus thing. They really I mean, it was really crazy. There was a period of a few months where you could not get a business banking account for a CBD business. You couldn’t. I mean —
Sonia Gomez: that the elavon Exodus when so many people got shut down. It was just like absolutely crazy.
Robb Auspitz: And I didn’t realize this was happening because I was pretty much ready to go literally a year ago. And I’m like, Well, yeah, I’ll get a business out of my bank and get a business account, you know, and then Shopify, it’s like, well, no, you can’t sell CBDs through Shopify pay. Okay, then I talked to my bank then that we can’t handle, we can’t give you a business account for CBDs and I called about 20 some other banks and got the same answer. Called banks all over the country got the same answer. I’m like, oh, man, this is not good. This is not good at all.
Sonia Gomez: Well, I gotta warn you here and for those of you guys who are tuning in, you should know this as well Square is starting to shut folks down. So I would get a double backup plan on that right away and if you need a recommendation, I can give you one but I’ve started to see multiple letters coming in and I was actually with many of that, you know, top lending agents of Square who informed me recently that now Square because they on boarded, so many people are actually going to be shutting folks down because there’s no way for them to monitor compliance.
And where most of the merchant processors really did quite a bit of invasive digging into who you are and so on and so forth. You know what the nature of your business was Square onboarded 400 to 450 people a week in the first three months of them taking processing. And many folks have been found to be selling counterfeit or [crosstalk] product and it’s jeopardizing it for everybody. So I highly recommend that if you do not have an alternative solution to Square’s beta program that you get one fast.
Robb Auspitz: I actually do have a backup as [unintelligible].
Sonia Gomez: That’s good. You You definitely need multiple solutions. And that’s really the name of the game of CBD and cannabis in general is just knowing what your backup plan is to the backup plan and it couldn’t be any more relevant. So I think people in cannabis are immune to the fear of Coronavirus because we’ve been, we are calloused with how many times we have to shift and pivot and change and follow the new rules and every 30 minutes it’s something different and then you have to pay another $10,000 fee and it’s pretty mess in the industry, especially if you’re in the physical products realm.
So, to me, I’m feeling like, it’s really similar to the fear and panic going on now just you always have to have a backup plan for your backup plan. I want to ask you a different question, Robb. And I’m just curious to know, I asked all my folks this, you know, again, being in your first two years of business, there’s some times the growing pains of any one business can be right at the surface, but they’re also some of our most important learning lessons and how we continue to push forward.
So for you, what would be some key pieces of advice that you could offer a budding entrepreneur or somebody who’s considering getting into this space? Do you still feel like there’s room here? number one, and number two, what would be one or two key pieces of advice that you could offer that would help them sort of shortcut their path to success here?
Key Pieces of Advice to Budding Entrepreneurs
Robb Auspitz: I think long term there’s room right now it’s very crowded. It’s very, very tough to make headway. You know, I work very hard on search engine stuff and getting on, you know, trying to get the name out there and that type of thing. And yeah, it’s an uphill battle, I’m going to be very honest with you, it’s your flight and throw it. My advice is have a really good game plan, have a really good website, be better financed than I was. Be honest. I would also very strongly recommend that you do what I did, which is do your homework and really know what you’re talking about.
If you have something inaccurate on your site. You're going to get nailed. - Robb Auspitz Click To Tweet
And just don’t walk in there and throw it together and just say, oh, here we are, because you’re going to get shut down. If you have something inaccurate on your site. You’re going to get nailed. There somebody out I forget what state it was. It was a woman who’s a neurobiologist, has a brick and mortar store and she was somewhat somehow kind of connect the CBD with curing Coronavirus, something like that. FDA sent her a cease and desist. So you better have dead solid accurate information on your site or you’re gonna get shut down.
You better have dead solid accurate information on your site or you're gonna get shut down. - Robb Auspitz Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Don’t mess around.
Robb Auspitz: Yeah, they’re done playing. They are done playing. They really are.
Sonia Gomez: No, they really are. And I’m glad to see it. You know, I think everything is gonna settle down quite a bit once there is a standard of operation. And right now, we’re still self governing industry, which has been true for decades, but it’s just never been more, you know, prevalent than it is now. And the need for, you know, governing and standardization and just stabilizing so that there’s not such a waste of resources. I think so many resources are being wasted right now when they don’t need to be.
So that’s– I mean, that’s just an age old challenge of this industry but new industry in general, I think that that’s really super sound advice. I being somebody who’s been in publishing for over three years, we’ve built a community of over 1 million people. We’ve generated 10s of thousands of dollars in sales and you know, in 72 hours launching new businesses off the ground, or helping to acquire hundreds of new customers for existing businesses.
We have run really successful campaigns for both brick and mortar and online and we’ve educated over 200 million people around the world, we’ve published about 1300 articles on our blog, and haven’t really done a lot of quote-unquote affiliate promotions or anything like that, but it’s actually initely something that we’re thinking about adding to our platform. I think it’s just so important to bring that conversation full circle is like, once you educate somebody on the product, you want to make sure that they have the opportunity to get their fix, right, like you’ve gotten them all hot and heavy on the ingredients in education, but then you don’t sell them the product.
And I definitely think that we’ve left a Ferrari’s worth of money on the table because we didn’t integrate that ahead of time. And I think you’re really proud to do the great thing, because where so many people are pushing brands, there’s not so many people pushing the education. And if it’s done, right, it’ll really you know, it’s like the tortoise and the hare like, you will win the race that just takes consistency and diligence, which is the piece of advice that I’ll throw on to this episode.
The fortune is in the follow up and the The more that you can be consistent, and the more that you can be diligent and as somebody that somebody can build trust with your forum or platform, or even product, the better off you’re going to be. So many people in this industry just act like they’re stoned and they forget to follow up and they forget to do things. I’m guilty of it myself. I just talked to somebody earlier today who was like, Oh, my God, thanks so much for you know, this interview.
And by the way, can you send me that stuff that you told me you were gonna send me and I was like, holy shit, there’s one that slipped through the cracks and said, Sorry, you know, but it happens all the time. And you just have to get a really good system in place to make sure that you are consistently following up because at the end of the day, this is a relationship-based business and they can trust you.
Whether they can see you or not your platform, your education, your information, your product has to deliver consistent, reliable results, even if the result is getting somebody that feeling of belonging. And so I encourage you guys, as you’re considering getting into this space, while you’re building out your incredible products that’s going to be filled with unicorn farts and fairy dust. [crosstalk] Congratulations on your brand new product. And if you don’t think about the follow up in the follow through, you’re going to be leaving about 70% of your money on the table. That’s my word of wisdom.
Final question I have for you since you’re in the e-commerce space, what are and and you’re, you know, self funded, like so many businesses in this space are, what is one or two marketing initiatives that you’re going to be putting into play to boost your sales and exposure?
Marketing Initiatives to Boost Sales
Robb Auspitz: Well, the answer to that is because Shopify risk department was so intransigent about letting CBD vendors use their platform. That was a whole crazy email conversation that I’m not even going to waste anyone’s time on. It was thoroughly aggravating. I ended up with WooCommerce and back with WordPress, which is fine. And I was able to use my WordPress skills to put the site together the way I really really wanted it. So it was a case of, I have greater latitude with search engine stuff. I have greater latitude with my writing ability. I have greater latitude was my design ability. So I’m trying to leverage that to get to move up in Google for various keyword phrases.
Understand. I literally didn’t start until around Halloween. That’s how long it took me to get merchant gateway. So I’m really– the site being live. It’s we’re talking four and a half months ago. That’s how long it’s been live. That’s it. So I’m still climbing up through the SEO adventure. But I would say the next thing for me is to get on more and more directories, start doing press releases to very targeted groups.
As we all know, advertising on Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, etc is not gonna happen. Not yet. Maybe it’ll happen after the safe backpack finally gets past maybe, but not till then, if at all. So it’s a case of just really getting the word out there through search engine stuff at this point for me, and press releases. And using social media the best way I can I’m not a social media maven, but I’m working at it.
Using my blog writing different interesting articles in the blog, look, this 18,000 zillion CBD blogs out there and most of them flat out suck. They all say the same thing. They all do the same thing. I set mine up to be different. I wanted it to have a broader appeal. I didn’t want it. I made it separate from the website, even though I certainly do it within the website. I mean, it’s WordPress, you can do what you want with that. And I wanted it separate. I wanted it to stand alone and stand on its own two feet and get traffic for itself. Because you need to have a broader appeal long term for the whole CBD saying the whole hemp thing to work. You need a broader appeal, just a bunch of stoners, or a bunch of, you know, people who are really into the herbal lifestyle. You have to reach people in general. I don’t know if that makes sense. But that’s my approach.
Sonia Gomez: Makes perfect sense. And it’s really good advice as well. That you’re offering. I love the value, no question. Read the value answer. I think that it’s a really important thing to diversify your marketing attempts. I love absolutely love influencer marketing. I love social media marketing, we’ve done really, really well there. There are some definite hacks to doing it. However, when you don’t have your own product brand, I think what you’re doing is way more valuable, you know, doing SEO, doing writing and creating organic content. We just found out on our back in our like in our back end discovery of our website and stuff, 70 sites had siphoned our traffic by duplicating and rerouting the clicks to the images.
And to be clear, I’m I’m pretty tech tarted period. Like I’m not a very technological person. However, I can see when someone’s Stealing traffic. So what you’re saying about the trusted resources? Yeah, like, everybody, it’s somewhat incestual that people are taking organic content and claiming it as their own, when in fact, it’s counterfeit. So I highly suggest that if you as a company, you guys are educating but creating organic content and not stealing from other people’s sites, be original for Pete’s sake,
Robb Auspitz: That will be helpful. And it’s not to interrupt you, but that’s another reason why I wrote the blog the way I did, because anybody’s gonna look at that some of the stuff I’ve written and they’re like, wait a minute, I really wrote this and they’ll find me. You know, a lot of people are not going to want to get a copy what I’ve written because it’s just too off the wall. And they’re like, Oh, no, that’s not what we want. I like good, go steal from somebody else.
It’s me there, what you read on the blog is me. It’s not. It’s not what some vendor wrote. It’s not what some manufacturer wrote. That was somebody else wrote, it’s me. And I’ll be amazed if somebody steals that stuff. Not that they can’t go in and copy whatever you want. But I’d be amazed if somebody would do it because it’s just different. And I don’t think most people out there who are thinking along those lines, but different, they want to do what everybody else is doing. And that’s the big fallacy is all the other CBD boxes. They’re just still stealing from each other. It’s kind of funny, actually.
Sonia Gomez: It is really super fun. Well, it’s not funny. It’s sad. I think you people can be original. Get original.
Robb Auspitz: That would be helpful.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, totally. Robb, where can folks find you if they’re interested in following your journey or finding out more about what you’re doing and where you are?
Robb Auspitz: Then go to groovyhempcompany.com Where you can buy the product. And if you want to read some of the stuff that I’ve written about, not just CBDs, but other things, including the latest Jimi Hendrix album, and wrote a guide to navigating the CDC, partial navigation of the CDC for the Coronavirus and other things and I’ll be writing other non CBD articles for the blog. And that’s groovyhempblog.com. And some of you will find that I have some very unique things to say. And some of my CBD articles. This is not your run of the mill stuff. I try to sell a story whenever possible in my blog posts because people like stories, people will relate to stories. So those are the two places where you can find me.
Sonia Gomez: Awesome, thank you so much for spending your time with me here today. I really enjoyed having you on the show. And I’m super excited to continue to follow your success. We fished you out for sure. And we’re just so honored to have you on. So appreciate your time with us today. And for those of you guys who are tuning in, thanks so much for being a part of the Hemp Revolution Family and Medical Secrets community. We are just honored to serve you guys every single day with the truth about cannabis.
We are publishing five days a week now. So make sure that you like and share this content, subscribe to our channel. And we are having just the best time sharing and telling the real story of cannabis through the eyes of the entrepreneur that are pushing this industry forward. If you have topics that you want us to follow up on. Let us know in the comments. Make sure that you check out the blog and all of the social media handles of websites that were mentioned in today’s episode. I’m your hostess with the mostess Sonia Gomez and this is the Hemp Revolution. We’ll see when the next show guys
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