John Wiesehan III is the founder and CEO of Direct CBD Online, a marketplace for the best CBD brands and products. John and his team started this marketplace to help people live well and be well.
In this episode, John shares why he left a successful career to join the cannabis craze, how he’s making the consumer journey super easy. Unlike most cannabis businesses, they do not focus on a particular niche. Tune in to learn why.
We always thought it was extremely important in the beginning to control data that comes in and control the customer experience from start to finish. – John Wiesehan III
Some Topics We Discussed Include
3:18 – From a successful sales and business development career into a cannabis and hemp marketplace owner
7:08 – Advantages of doing business online
10:15 – A marketplace with no particular niche?
15:24 – Navigating through the competition and attracting new vendors to list their products on their website
18:14 – Why they focus on the direct to customer business model
21:44 – Criteria for selecting a product/brand they list on their platform
25:29 – Social responsibility: Customer first
34:34 – Key pieces of advice to budding entrepreneurs
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with John Wiesehan
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up, guys? Sonia Gomez coming to you from Denver, Colorado on another rock your socks 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 and changemakers who are transforming this industry right before our eyes.
Even faced with troubling times, it is our mission to empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated decisions about how you want to care for yourself and the people that you love or otherwise participate in the growth of this incredible and yet very challenging industry.
If you are someone looking for products that you can depend on to deliver the results that you’re looking for, check us out at medicalsecrets.com. We have vetted almost 2000 products over the last three years and have selected some of our favorites for you to be able to share in and if you are a budding entrepreneur or business owner in this space, I’d love to hear your story. Shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be super excited to connect with you.
You guys can thank me. Sorry, not sorry, but I have once again pulled an incredible entrepreneur out of thin air, not thin air, but you guys know how I do it. John Wiesehan III is the CEO and founder of Direct CBD online. John and his team started this marketplace with a simple yet ongoing commitment to help people live well and be well. John wanted to incorporate values of transparency and education about the CBD industry, as well as aspire to provide the largest online selection of the highest quality products at affordable prices.
Here to share more about his story and his journey as a hemp entrepreneur. Help me welcome my good friend, John Wiesehan. Did I say your last name right?
John Wiesehan: You know, it’s like 90% of the time nobody does. You we’re really close. So, John Wiesehan III.
Sonia Gomez: Oh
John Wiesehan: No ‘N’ in the middle, right?
Sonia Gomez: So close.
John Wiesehan: You’re close. I’ll give it [inaudible]
Sonia Gomez: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate it. Hey, welcome. Thanks so much for being here.
John Wiesehan: [unintelligible] about it.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, me too. Why I’ve done some pretty extensive research into who you are. Me and my minions we go through and we select the best of the best to come onto the show and share their story. And so we’re super excited to have you here. For folks who have not been so privileged to do the research into who you are and where you’re from and all the things why don’t you do a quick and dirty and let us know what your background is and how you ended up in the hemp revolution?
From a Successful Sales and Business Development Career into a Cannabis and Hemp Marketplace Owner
John Wiesehan: Yeah, you know, it’s really interesting. So I mean, look, I’m relatively young compared to a lot of CEOs out there, but I think we’re doing a really good job. In my career. I’ve always been in sales, business development, and really consumer packaged goods and taking just normal general merchandise, whether it be a cell phone charger, a pair of sunglasses, electronic cigarettes, we took all these products, you know, thousands of different products over my career into places like Walmart, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Speedway, Circle, K, you name it.
And after a successful journey in that space, it just I sat back and looked at Hey look, I’m really young. You know retail isn’t dying but it’s changing. The Walmart you walk into today isn’t the Walmart you walked into 15 or 20 or even 10 years ago and there’s a huge massive world out there and e-commerce where people are being really successful but I don’t really think are much smarter than me. They can do it why can’t I?
Sonia Gomez: Yeah
John Wiesehan: After the whole electronic cigarette boom, which we partake in very successfully I said, Hey, what’s next? I started looking around started talking to my network and people that I knew in Denver, in LA, in Boulder, Colorado, and everyone was just started chatting about CBD CBD. I started doing some research on like, you know, there’s something to the CBD thing.
We built brands before. And we’ve been successful in building brands, but you’re really isolated when you build a brand. Right? So we wanted to create a marketplace for CBD For everyone in the country to be able to go to one spot and be able to buy the best CBD brands, the best products on the market today. And that was the birth of Direct CBD online back in. In July, we launched the website on July 1 of 2018.
So I mean, we’re really not even two years on yet. And here we are, you know, offering, shipping thousands of orders a day, out to people all over the country who needs CBD products in their daily life. And we feel like it really helps people live well be better and be well in their daily life. So that’s the long and short of it.
Sonia Gomez: I love it long and the short is good. It’s good stuff. And so one of the things that I always try and touch on here, and especially when selecting my guests is, you know, there’s about 500 to 1000 different facets of this industry and the ancillary aspect of this industry is even sometimes more fascinating than working with directly with the products and you know, consumer sales.
However, online versus offline, it can be pretty daunting for folks who don’t understand and not everybody has the cojones or resources to make the online decision, which can be pretty intense when it comes to cost and, you know, trying to figure out all the technology and so on and so forth.
Talk to me a little bit about owning a business, an online e-commerce business in CBD. Many of the challenges that I’ve heard from other brands that are, you know, selling direct to consumer online is, you know, marketing challenges, banking, and merchant processing challenges. And then they’ve talked about the supply chain and things not necessarily being stable.
However, you come from a background where a lot of these challenges may have already been solved for you and you could pull directly from your network. I’d love to hear from you why you selected to be online versus offline. And, you know, what have been some of the challenges and benefits to being an online marketplace?
Advantages of Doing Business Online
Sonia Gomez: Yeah. So I mean, that’s a pretty loaded question, right. So I’ll take my time to dissect it a little bit here. If I missed something, just we can circle back but to be online gives you the most opportunity to scale and reach as many people as possible quickly, right.
Literally, the only thing that we have stopping us is server capacity. And that is endless in today’s world, through things like Azure, Amazon AWS and the whole technical side of things, we can scale the resources of our server and our back end for millions of people [crosstalk]. So it was really how quickly can we get these CBD products out to and in the hands of consumers who need them the fastest and online was a no brainer choice to be able to scale quickly.
And that’s what really excited us as we said, Hey, we can really be something for everybody. I mean, it’s male, it’s female, it’s old, it’s young, it’s middle-aged, it’s, you know, all socioeconomic backgrounds, whatever it is, everybody can use CBD for something. Right? And that this was the fastest way to build it out.
Now, when we started, payment processing was the biggest problem in the beginning, right, but because of my past history in regulated environments with electronic cigarettes and things like that, I had a, you know, pretty robust background in dealing with those regulated environments and all the headwinds that they have, whether it’s payment processing, it’s, you know, somebody to host a website like Shopify or WooCommerce, or somebody like that. So I knew kind of all the boxes to look at before we started.
So I did all my research and then when we had kind of the whole group there, and this is what we’re gonna do for payment processing based on you know, what My network said, this is how we’re going to use the host the website, this is the team we’re going to use to build it out. Here’s all the vendor connections. Once we had it all, we just went fast, we went hard and went fast. And, you know, we launched I think with six or seven different brands in July of last year. Now we have over 120 different brands on directcbdonline.com and 4000 different items. So we’ve come a really long way. We have grown wickedly fast in a period of 18 months.
Sonia Gomez: man, you’re not kidding. I’ve been watching. I’ve been watching you. It has not been the slow boat to China, that’s for sure. You guys are extremely explosive, which is really cool. And so two things I want to touch on from what you just said. And we’ve had guests come on who are branding experts and the number one thing that they preach and teach is all about knowing your avatar and building a brand that’s really specific for your avatar.
However, what you’re talking about nearly completely contradicts that because you’ve created a space where anyone or everyone can come in and shop. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that and how did you do that without having to select a particular niche?
A Marketplace with No Particular Niche?
John Wiesehan: Yeah. Okay, so our marketing we have to stay extremely disciplined on. So our Director of Marketing, her name is Tori and Tori has an amazing content creation team around her design team around her. And I mean there I cannot speak highly enough about our team who’s actually based in Knoxville, there’s we have 12 employees in Knoxville, Tennessee, who are what I really would call the backbone of what you visibly see on the website, right, and how it functions on the back end too.
But we have created a marketplace that we believe is user friendly. We have stayed true to our brand and built our brand around the brands of those we carry. And look it’s really hard for a brand to exist on our platform that doesn’t have any consumer awareness today. So if you want to launch a brand, we’re probably not the best place for you to come, because we can put it on the site. But if nobody’s looking for your product, it’s going to be hard to sell it. Because there’s so much competition on our platform between the brands themselves, people generally know what they’re looking for, by the time they get to us.
So because of certain regulations and kinds of barriers that we have to provide, I guess contextual information around brands or the CBD in general and what people use it for. We try to stay away from that people generally go to review sites for that. they go to content only sites. So it makes it really challenging to provide objective content around the category.
So when people get to us, they usually come from these other sources, right? So they come from a content site or what do I use CBD for or an information guide or something like that before they land to us, by the time they get to us, they generally know what their purchasing decisions going to be, or at least guided towards what it’s going to be.
Sonia Gomez: Makes so much sense. Yeah, it makes so much sense because I am one of those resource centers, that directs people. And with 1200, we’ve been doing this since before it was cool. We’re publishing content for the last three years, many folks were just like going direct to consumer PPC, you know, paid traffic. That’s how they were generating their sales. And we did this huge community service of generating content and organic views. And we’re still organically reaching a half a million people a month right now before we spend $1.
And a lot of folks are like, you know, we’re writing articles and publishing content like this to send people to sites like yours, so that they can select products because as a media company, I can say whatever the fuck I want. I’m unregulated, I’m Uncensored, I can do what I want and say what I want. I can tell the story of the consumer, which is a huge benefit to the businesses that have these products because they can’t say anything.
John Wiesehan: Exactly. That’s exactly right. We want to be a home for the customer once they start their purchasing journey. So when a customer comes to our site, they earn rewards points on purchase number one. You know, it’s funny, our average items per box are 2.73 items. Of those 2.73 items. 1.7 of them are from a different brand. So you’re going to have somebody buying a Social CBD Patch of Lazarus naturals high potency tincture oil and a Marley tea, which I drink barley tea a lot. They’re really good.
Sonia Gomez: I love Marley tea. I remember when they came out they’re so good.
John Wiesehan: We are an exclusive online provider to sell Marley CBDTonline.
Sonia Gomez: Well done.
John Wiesehan: Yeah, no it’s good, but when so I’m going back to the consumer journey because that’s where we focus. So you’ve you do an amazing job at focusing content on why people should have CBD and telling that customer story.
Sonia Gomez: Yup.
John Wiesehan: We try to create a customer journey. Once they’ve established they want to be a CBD user. Again, rewards points. We offer promotions, they can redeem these points. They can share and get points. They can order five different brands have it show up in one box on their doorstep, one credit card charge, wow, the whole nine. all looped into one platform or one marketplace. So we make the buying and consumer journey super easy.
Sonia Gomez: nice love that. This is going to be somewhat of a naive question, but I think that there’s a lot of people who have considered this as a business model and have stopped for a couple of different reasons. One mainly is how to navigate your way through creating a competitive environment. And it’s the Amazon model, right? There are 12 different Amazon stores were selling the same outdoor garden umbrella, however, you choose to buy from one. How did you navigate your way through? Or how do you navigate your way through the competition that is surrounding any one of these products? And how do you continuously attract new vendors to want to list their products on your site?
Navigating through the Competition and Attracting New Vendors to List Their Products on Their Website
John Wiesehan: Yeah, that’s a great question. So when we started the company, we started to get a lot of traffic. So when we started, I mean, this domain I bought for $12 on GoDaddy, right? One of these things right and have any SEO value is zero. So we literally started from nothing. And we had, you know, we were excited when we had 10 users a day on the platform. Now we have over 10,000 a day on the platform, and it’s phenomenal and it’s growing every day, organic traffic.
So if you Google, you know, social CBD Patch, you know, we’re I think we hold positions two and three, if you google Lazarus now. Or, you know, three, four and five or something like that. Anyway, 85% of the brands were generally on page one, organically. And the competition is very interesting. And we made a strategic decision when we started the business, me and my business partner to not take paid advertising.
So when you see a slider on our homepage, I think there’s five or six sliders that go through a couple of the top brands. That’s our decision. And we have the freedom to change that when we want. We’re not bound by an advertising contract. And that’s, you know, that plays into a couple of different aspects. How quickly can we get the product? How much does that product sell? How much inventory do we have? You know, are we confident that that brand is going to be around for a long time, right, because there’s a lot of brands that are.
So we made the decision from a marketplace standpoint, that nobody can outspend anybody else, and what lives on our homepage and how we decide what products go in emails, that’s solely our discretion. Those can’t be bought. And I think that creates a very level playing field amongst our competition because I don’t get a call from somebody who’s starting, who’s done really, really good in Denver, for example, gets outspent by canopy growth on first and free. Right.
What lives on our homepage and how we decide what products go in emails. That's solely our discretion. Those can't be bought. - John Wiesehan III Click To Tweet
So I think that creates a really level playing field, where literally the consumer dictates what sells we don’t do anything to take away from the consumer’s ability to drive those decisions.
Sonia Gomez: Okay, yeah, that makes good sense. So then let’s discuss the business model. How are you guys the whole selling or purchasing product and sending it to your own warehouse? I’ve also seen models were being listed on the site and being able to take advantage of the traffic companies will consign or forward or front the product and send it to the warehouse until you sell-through. I’ve also seen business models where there’s a profit share, and that product company does their own fulfillment. There are six different ways to do this one particular model, what’s your way?
Why They Focus on the Direct to Customer Business Model
John Wiesehan: Again, another strategic decision we made in the very beginning is we warehouse everything that we sell.
Sonia Gomez: Wow.
John Wiesehan: I mean, it’s very, very bare-bones, give me your best price. We’ll send you a PO you sent me product we pay you either, you know with a credit card or on terms whatever, it doesn’t matter, relevant. We write you PO, you ship us the product, every single thing that goes out of the store that the consumer gets from purchasing on our site has hit our warehouse first. So that gives us a really unique ability to communicate with the customer.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah
John Wiesehan: keep unique coupons in there, put freebies in there. But you know, they order a big order we put a T-shirt from a brand and they gave us for free in there.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah.
John Wiesehan: Get back to the customer and we can completely control that customer experience. We always thought it was extremely important in the beginning to control data that comes in and control the customer experience from start to finish. And that’s what we’ve done. [crosstalk]
Sonia Gomez: It’s so important.
John Wiesehan: Yep, there are no variations to that. There’s nothing we buy the product and we resell it strictly direct to the customer. So no wholesale, nothing like that. It’s all b2c direct to consumer.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, so important. And for those of you guys who are tuning in, I know many of you are considering you know, how to improve in different facets of your existing businesses, or how you can come into this space and improve things that are already in existence.
And the number one thing for you to remember, at the end of the day that the one thing that will give you the most versatility as you’re moving around life and business is owning the data. And so the model that you have put together really solves the problem that every entrepreneur goes through is how do I own the data and how do I not have those crosshairs to where two people are sending the same customer, two different offers for the same product. That’s a huge challenge. There’s all this crossover and mix up. And you’ve really created a very clean, very clear road that takes a lot of the guest’s workout and again, really caters to the customer experience.
And for those of you guys who are listening, take note because it’s so important, every single piece of this detail is just so important in the way that the brand gets built the customer experience, the faith that they have, the trust that they have, and then they’ll keep buying from you if you can cover those bases.
John Wiesehan: Yeah, it’s fun. I mean, it’s all about customer experience. Yeah, want to make it super easy for the customer to make a decision and buy from you time and time again. One of the biggest acts or attributes on our website that our marketing team really put their heads around and in May great was our auto ship.
John Wiesehan: So if somebody can Sign up, if they’re a normal daily user like myself, they can get the same product at any frequency they want it delivered to their door without having to do a thing. And that has been a tremendously wildly successful program for us, which we continue to improve, you know, every single day.
Sonia Gomez: So awesome. What is your guys’ future vision for this company? I’m as I review your site and I’m going through it’s just so clearly articulated what you have who you have it from. So, one thing I want to ask before you answer that previous question, one thing I want to ask is what are your criteria for selecting or listing a product on your platform?
Criteria for Selecting a Product/Brand They List on Their Platform
John Wiesehan: Excuse me. Look, new brands, like I said in the beginning brands who don’t have a following yet, very hard for them to succeed on our platform is there are so many different brands people generally know what they’re looking for. By the time they get to us, so like we’re open to new brands all the time, we generally like to focus on brands that are going to have reach and scale across the country. So we can be successful with that brand as well and leverage any sort of marketing dollars they’re going to spend.
I mean look that like, number one barrier, right, if you got that we’re probably going to list you and if you got that, then you probably have COAs, you probably are pretty buttoned up on packaging, you probably have all the other checkmarks that you generally need to have a product with good efficacy and that works right if you’ve done all those things. You’re pretty good.
But if you’re you know a brand out of you know, I hate to say it but out of Denver that doesn’t have a lot of reach in here and you know, it doesn’t store in the Boulder area. It’s probably I mean, we’ll put we can put you on if you really want to be but it’s just not going to work well for anyone you know,
Sonia Gomez: Yeah. Managing expectations is probably the most difficult thing of working with the brand.
Managing expectations is probably the most difficult thing of working with the brand. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
John Wiesehan: We didn’t use to. When we started people are people who are you? You know, why should we care? We had to sell ourselves. Yeah, totally reverse. But we also like to be that home where we could maybe help build a brand. That would make a great, but that just takes time.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely. Well, everything takes time. When we’re discussing marketing, and I love how you’re edifying your marketing team, because it’s just team buys you the time to stay in your genius. And you know, the things that marketing– marketing really encompasses so much, right? You’re talking about the design team that your girls running, and all of these different things. There are so many things that go into building an engaging a massive audience who’s begging to buy your shit.
And that’s basically what you have right now you have to capture the attention of an audience who you are the trusted authority and when it comes to featuring and then helping to select or deliver specific products, we built and engage a massive audience of over 1 million people. We serve them with education and information and then direct the traffic to any one of our partners after we take them through a 10 point checklist as well.
We tend to work with startups a lot more. But they have to have like just the best, absolute best and very unique formulations inside of the bottles. And they have to be really specific about who they’re targeting because, in our audience, we’re the second-largest influencer next to Cheech and Chong for instance. So as an influencer, I get to market directly to my audience, which is a completely different type of marketing than paid advertising, for instance.
Everything no matter whether I have a push button, you know, traffic source or I’m doing paid traffic, everything takes time so patience is super, super key. What is it that you guys are setting out to do? Are you building in? Do you have a social responsibility or a giveback plan through your guys’ organization? This is a question that I asked all entrepreneurs in a space? How is your company or your community a reflection of the success that you guys are building? You know,
Social Responsibility: Customer First
John Wiesehan: This is not the first time we’ve been asked this question, but we feel that we have a responsibility to our customers first and foremost, though, you know, we could give to certain agencies and different things like that, but that that doesn’t necessarily benefit our customer. And we have customers in all socio-economic backgrounds, all income levels, and you know, we don’t know who is who, but we feel like whenever we can give some of the profits or via a discount or rewards program back to the customer, that’s when we’re really winning. Because they’re going to take that and maybe it’s to feed their family, maybe it’s to get medicine that they’re on in conjunction with CBD. We don’t we don’t know. And we have a responsibility to our customers first. After that. We don’t know. I mean, we’re launching a this is not a plug. This is more, I’m just telling you.
Sonia Gomez: I’m asking please talk about the stuff that you have going on.
John Wiesehan: Well, when we started the company, we had the vision to help people live well and be well in their daily lives. And we generally define that as small things that you can do in your daily life that compound over time to make a big difference.
Sonia Gomez: Mm-hmm.
John Wiesehan: So as a part of that, we believe CBD was a huge component of that. We also are launching a podcast called the Live Well. Be Well Podcast on April 1. So I’d love for you to be a guest at some point.
Sonia Gomez: I would love to. I would love to.
John Wiesehan: We’re launching that. So that’s new. We don’t know where that podcast journey is gonna go. But we’re always gonna have a guest on and a subject matter expert that speaks to the lives of everybody.
Sonia Gomez: Love it.
John Wiesehan: Whether it’s a female practitioner, a CrossFit coach, a lifetime athletic trainer, nutritionist [unintelligible] somebody could get a little bit out of, to maybe incorporate into their daily life and compounded over time makes a big difference.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, love it.
John Wiesehan: I know, that’s not necessarily the traditional answer of giving back. But our version of giving back is the customer first and then providing our customers with knowledge to make themselves better.
Sonia Gomez: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I really love that. There are 1000 different ways to do it. And we were very similar in our first three years of business online. You know, when we were offline, we did a campaign here in Colorado, which was actually mentioned on all of the late shows like you know, Jimmy Kimmel, The Tonight Show like all of these different things to build up our campaign.
We did something called cans for cones. And people would bring in a certain number of cans. I think it was like 15 cans got you one gram joint. And people were bringing in like, I got so excited. I just through my headphones out, people are bringing in like, they were buying out the local Safeway’s and bringing in these cans. We had, I think, in the first 15 days, we had over 10,000 pounds of food.
And the Christian church that fed the most homeless people over the holiday season, wouldn’t take our food. They would not take it because we were a cannabis company. So when we moved online, we were like, Well, fuck that we’re not going to give the future of our business, or how we can show up in the community over to another organization. Let’s make sure that we just give as much as we possibly can for quote-unquote, free and that way people built trust and rapport and we can move into other things.
Now that we’re in Three years mature we have found a few things that are really near and dear to our heart one of those things is sex trafficking and human trafficking.
John Wiesehan: huge problem
Sonia Gomez: huge problem and near and dear like it is outside waiting on the corner like it is everywhere.
John Wiesehan: [unintelligible] It’s one of the hot spots in the country right?
Sonia Gomez: Oh my god. Oh my god. right down the street from us is a huge hub for like, where kids are going in. I mean, it’s just absolutely insane. So we have decided like, okay, Medical Secrets we’re going to be we are definitely want to be able to give information but also access to these products and we want to start pulling from these product companies. This is an initiative for us this year.
We’re going to be pulling from product companies and distributors, donations to be and to be able to sponsor these women or children or, you know, people who are rescued from sex trafficking instances and rehabilitating. So we’re doing things like job skill training, we’re doing things like confidence building, we’re giving away care packages, making sure that the resources are available that they need, whether it’s financial or otherwise so that they can start to rehabilitate and get some sense of normalcy.
That’s what we’re building into our company. We’re also building in for families, of course suffering from domestic violence. In their transition, we’re helping them get to established in homes of their own where they’re safe with their kids. And that’s a story that’s connected deeply to myself as well. So people do things in all different capacities. And I always love to ask the question, because I believe that it’s important for our communities and our families to be a reflection of the success that we are building.
You know, and I think that that’s a responsibility and something that sets our industry apart is the fact that we’re consistently thinking about those things and staying really committed to excellence in each step that we take to build success in our businesses.
John Wiesehan: No, I love it. And I think, you know, we can brainstorm after the fact. But I think something that our listeners would probably like to know is, you know, we have a unique platform, we offer over 100 brands, we’re not a brand. So when you’re a brand, you’re constricted to the amount of traffic you have, because not everybody may buy your brand, right.
And you’re unique in the fact that you reach so many people through education, where we could do something together for maybe a week, or a month or a month, probably a day or a week or a couple of days and say, hey, look, all sales through this time frame, we’re going to give 5% of it to the Hemp Revolution to support xy&z and that type of collaborative effort based on the scale that we have, as business owners could really give a lot back to the people and I think it’s super strategic initiatives like that, that we could do. Again, a little bit over time adds up to a big amount.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, hell yeah, I love it. I’m already when I’m listening to you, I’m finding multiple points. The thing that you’re going to find when you’re launching your podcast is that the most incredible people come through and offer so much inspiration on how you can just uplevel the game. And right now is such a trying time.
And for those of you guys who are tuning in, I know that every community, every family, every individual is affected differently by this COVID craze. And it is a craze and this too shall pass. You know, and the one thing that I love about this subject matter is and the guests that are coming into this environment, and I believe you’ll find the same thing as always being super inspired.
This is a place where I can come to be inspired and feel like things are on the upward trajectory rather than spiraling out of control and downward. You know, and so this is something that I enjoy most I’ve been really inspired so far to listen to what you have going on and how I might be able to pour the gasoline on to make a greater impact.
Because I know that with the impact that we’re making the income is a natural result of any of that. What would be some key pieces of advice you’ve obviously experienced, you know, success from different facets of your skill sets, you’ve applied skill sets that you are acquired in your previous career to this new career.
Many folks ask me all the time, how can I get involved in this industry and I tell them, there’s really three ways. Number one is to acquire new skill sets to get a job and work for an existing brand. That’s probably where you’re going to get your best education anyways.
The second way is to use and this is what you did, use your existing business or skill sets to cater to this company in this industry. And then finally, is to start your own business. You’ve done a combination of the two.
Everyone, no matter how little or how much skill sets they have, they want to just go straight into business ownership. Not always the best thing, it’s not always the best thing to do for everybody. You have to have, you know, certain resources and skill set to make that a success. However, I’d love to hear from you one or two key pieces of advice that you would offer the budding entrepreneur or beginning business owner in this space on how they can be successful or what are some keys considerations that they should be aware of while they’re building and growing their business?
Key Pieces of Advice to Budding Entrepreneurs
John Wiesehan: Yeah, look, it’s between you know, you look at hemp as marijuana and CBD, right and hemp, but it’s an explosive industry. And where there’s explosive growth, money is to follow and growth is to follow and responsibility is to follow. Nobody can do it alone, right?
I love what you said earlier, the team around you helps you, buy your time and help spark the genius, right? Yeah. And I’m not self-proclaiming I’m a genius by any stretch of the imagination. Wild ideas, right? But it’s surrounding yourself with people you trust.
John Wiesehan: Everybody has different skill sets, right? If I had never owned a business before in my life, probably me venturing into owning my own business probably wasn’t the best idea. But, you know, I know a lot of aspects of running my own business already. So I was able to just take that and roll with it. But it’s surrounding yourself with people you trust. And you know, a lot of philosophers have said, you are the sum of the five most people you surround yourself with the most, right?
So if you really want to be great at something, surround yourself with people who are like-minded, but also are different minded from you. Because if you always surround yourself with people who are like you You’re never going to get a different view, viewpoint, or opinion, to always be better.
If you really want to be great at something, surround yourself with people who are like-minded, but also are different minded from you. - John Wiesehan III Click To Tweet
One of our core values that I love and we tell our team all the time is always be better, figure out a way to always be better. I don’t care what it is, I mean, eat better, you know, talk better, you know, whatever it is, again, little changes over time compound to make a big difference.
And I know I’m not directly answering your question, but I think there’s a lot of variables to what people could do to start their business. Just surround yourself with people you trust, and the ideas will come, whatever those ideas are. And if you’re out there, use your skillset and join one of those companies. I mean, they’re explosive growth. If you get into one of these companies today. Over time, you will make a huge impact. You know, responsible impact socially, as well as through your career. You know, there’s just so much opportunity, so much opportunity.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, so much opportunity. I’ll second that. What I heard you say and I call this section the words of wisdom. Because this is where we get to just bestow upon you some words of wisdom that you might utilize to make a difference in your life. Get your shit together. No, I’m just kidding.
So what I heard you say was that teamwork makes the dream work. And you’re only as strong as your team, and you’re only as successful as your team. I absolutely love this and have not really understood the power of empowering your team and taking a backseat to let their genius flow and circulate until recently, when I started to actually build a team.
I was somewhat of an obsessive control freak, in the sense that I feel like I can do it. I’ll just do it myself because I don’t want to have to tell somebody else how I want it done. And members of my team, I had a really high turnover because it was difficult to get me to delegate tasks to other people. And so they felt like they weren’t making use of themselves. And that’s a big challenge.
When people don’t feel useful, they don’t want to contribute anything, they just sort of wilt. Now it’s a completely different dynamic. We started to follow a gentleman by the name of Roger James Hamilton, who created something called wealth dynamics and wrote a book called The Millionaire Master Plan, which has taken 5000 years of the E Ching and paired it with modern-day entrepreneurialism to create wealth dynamics and this whole idea that you can actually leverage your team to buy your time and stay inflow in your own genius with the area that’s most natural to you.
So for me, I’m a connector. I’m a communicator, and I tend to build my business the way that Oprah or Ellen DeGeneres or Beyonce would being a front-facing figurehead, the voice, the talent, the person that does is the shiny object to attract me to the offer. There are people like Jeff Bezos, who is like you, a very systems-oriented person who could recognize what step needs to be taken at what time to provide a specific experience that people want to build and grow to be involved with over and over again, it’s a systematic approach to building success
John Wiesehan: Inherently, I’m an executor. I have an idea. We know what needs to be done, and then, you know, help the team achieve the goal.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, absolutely. And then there are people like Warren Buffett, who won’t make a single move or spend a single dollar until he has watched the timing of something come into perfect alignment. And he makes all of his decisions based off of timing, all of these different things as a different type of entrepreneur we’re asking different questions.
I’m always asking the question who, you’re always asking the what, what needs to be done, and how does it need to get done so that we can get to this end in mind? And so I have to second what you’re saying in this segment about how important it is not only to build the right team, but to instill trust in your team so that you can use the most amount of leverage to bring the most amount of value into the marketplace with the least amount of resistance.
John Wiesehan: Yeah, if you don’t mind, I’ll jump in there real quick, you know, what’s really important, I think with what you just said, and I hit I think you hit the nail on the head, but you have to have a foundational set of core values around your team that everybody is always working towards. And those are usually overarching values that drive every single decision in the company.
And sometimes it’ll prevent people from joining the business, right? I mean, there’s been scenarios where we’ve had people come in and say, Hey, here are our core values. If you don’t believe in what they are, then this probably isn’t the right fit for you and people want and you just got to be on board. You know, everybody’s rowing the boat the same direction or you know, finding another boat.
Sonia Gomez: You have to be unapologetic And this is sort of my position with COVID, with this whole virus, you have to be unapologetically committed to your excellence, your well being and the safety and security of your business just like you do with your family, unapologetically committed to the health and well being of your family.
John Wiesehan: Unwavering conviction
Sonia Gomez: Unwavering conviction, and that comes with needing to develop a great amount of confidence. And that comes from competence. And the more that you can feed the need for information, the easier it’ll be for you to execute and then attract the people that you want to work with.
I will second the teamwork bit and bring things down to the very beginner level and tell you that your vision that you have for your business already exists, and you have to find the most comparable projects to find how you can improve what is already in existence. And the name of the game, Dan Kennedy said it best is to figure out a way for people to pay you so that they can pay you and buy from you again and buy from you again. That’s how you create a success wheel and extend the lifetime value of your customer.
So measure twice, cut once, spend 80% of your time on planning, and 20% on execution. And with a strong vision. You don’t tell me you don’t have money. Don’t give me your reasons why not. Ask the question, How can I? And I’ll tell you with a really strong vision, you can enroll and attract the right people who want to be a part of the project that you are beginning to build. So stay committed to that.
John Wiesehan: Yeah and one other thing I’d say on that topic and sorry, got comfortable, a little bit I was–
Sonia Gomez: No.
John Wiesehan: Execution is so important. And sometimes the lack of a plan is the best plan sometimes, right? where sometimes you just have to throw it up the wall and see if it sticks. And we have gotten a lot where we’re at, by trying shit and stuff that we thought was a crazy wild idea that when you look back into it, well that worked.
John Wiesehan: How do we make that better? How do we build on that? And I think so many times people sit around and I get it, we have a, you know, a sustainable business model now. It’s getting more mature. It’s relatively mature in this space, at least. And we have to plan 80% of the time and execute 20. Like, that’s correct. But when you’re starting and you want to make a change, it’s all about going and you’re going to fail. And but you got to keep trying because people sit around say, oh, maybe I can maybe I can’t Well, guess what, you’re going to be sitting here 25 years from now saying maybe I can maybe I can’t. Just do it.
Sonia Gomez: talk about the glory days?
John Wiesehan: Just get in there and get it done? And if it works, awesome, you found something? If it doesn’t, that’s okay. Pick it up, try it again. It’s all right, you’re gonna fail, you’re going to fail. And I think that is like, Don’t ever think you’re not going to fail because you will at certain things.
Don't ever think you're not going to fail because you will at certain things. - John Wiesehan III Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Absolutely. One of my mentors. When I was in analysis, paralysis, the perfectionism in me was kicking in hard that day. And he was like, you know, two things. I’m going to tell you Sonia, number one, nobody likes to drink stagnant water. If the waters not moving, don’t put it in your water bottle to drink it.
And I thought about it for a second and I was like, yeah, you know, stagnant water creates disease. like nobody wants to drink stinky, stagnant water. Fine, I take it. The next thing he said to me was 99 yards does not make a touchdown. It doesn’t matter how fast or how hard or how quickly or how many records you broke when you’re running the 99 yards, if you don’t make it over that finish line, it’s not a touchdown. If the other team does make it, they just beat you in the game. 99 yards does not make a touchdown.
John Wiesehan: I love that. That’s so good. I haven’t heard it before. But I like it. And it’s funny because I know so many people in my network that they’re really good at 100 things 80% of the way for people at five 100% of the way and you’ll end up being more successful than what you’re good at.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah
John Wiesehan: People with 100 ideas a month and it’s like, What am I supposed to do with this? Figure out what you’re really good at, run. Run hard and go 100%. Go ahead.
Sonia Gomez: I love that. Where can folks find you? I mean, we could literally bat that badminton back and forth right now, but I’m going to cut it off before it gets too good. Where can folks find you if they’re interested in following along with the journey or checking out new products in your marketplace?
John Wiesehan: Yeah so Live Well Be Well podcast, launches April 1 intro episodes 3.5 minutes super short but subscribe and we’ll have some cool people like Sonia on here and then directcbdonline.com directcbdonline.com use code pod25, P-O-D 25 for 25% off your order for listening today.
Sonia Gomez: Amazing and thank you that’s so generous. And for those of you guys who are tuning in, make sure that you take advantage. all of the social media handles, as well as the websites, will be posted around this episode along with the honorable mentions, the blog posts that you definitely want to read into that will give you more information and background on the story here today as well as the transcription just in case you missed anything.
I also want to invite you guys and thank you for the number of times that you have taken this simple action to like and share and tag five people that, you know, this episode will make a difference for because you have taken this very simple, impactful action, we have been able to reach over 200 million people’s lives around the world and quite literally are responsible for transforming the way that we think about and talk about cannabis and hemp health, in our families and inside of our communities.
When you like and share this content, you are quite literally helping us move the needle and creating safe and legal access to these incredibly life-changing products. At the end of the day, you know it is our mission to empower you with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated decisions about how you join the growth of this industry or otherwise care for this beautiful gift of life that you have. And so that you can feel and function better every single day. I’m your hostess with the mostess Sonia Gomez and this is the Hemp Revolution. We’ll see you on our next show, guys.
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