Podcast The Hemp Revolution

Learn How to Measure Success in your Business with a Master of Strategy, Dr. Jim Alvino

Episode 77 - Dr. Jim Alvino

Dr. Jim Alvino is co-founder of Cannabis Health & Wellness Center and CBD Health & Wellness Center; and founder of Medical Cannabis Royalty Income Fund (MCRIF), whose underlying premise is that revenue royalties are superior to debt or equity in financing privately-owned companies.

He’s an international business coach, speaker & speaker trainer, who has worked with dozens of start-ups and entrepreneurs all over the world to help them build their business model, branding, marketing and distribution.

In this segment, be nourished with Dr. Alvino’s amazing ideas on how to create a movement behind the products he carries and the coaching expertise in the CBD industry.

We believe in innovation, in alternative modalities of healing. So that’s where I think the medical side can really contribute to what’s going on in the health and wellness industry. – Dr. Jim Alvino

Download The Episode Companion For This Episode


Some Topics We Discussed Include

2:24 – Kick-off in the cannabis industry
4:21 – Differentiating approach as a brand
16:57 – FDA regulations on CBD
22:55 – CBD Health and Wellness Center
31:50 – Medical Cannabis Royalty Income Fund
36:28 – Facing unique challenges
42:17 – Words of wisdom
53:47 – Where to find them

People Mentioned / Resources

Connect with Dr. Jim Alvino

Connect with Sonia Gomez


Sonia Gomez: What’s up everybody? Sonia Gomez coming to you from Denver, Colorado. This is another bad ass rockstar episode of The Hemp Revolution podcast where we are sharing and telling the stories of the people who are behind the products and brands that we know and love. If you are a consumer, a patient, a everyday person looking for natural alternatives and products that you can trust to deliver the results that you’re looking for check us out at medicalsecrets.com for some of our favorite picks and recommendations for products and brands. 

If you are a business owner or budding entrepreneur and you’re looking for some direction, resources, relationships, tips and tricks on how you can break through the inevitable glass ceilings and bottlenecks that come along with this incredible industry, check us out at theemeraldcircle.com where we have all the things that you need for your toolkit to succeed in the fastest growing cash rich industry in the world. 

I’m your hostess with the mostess, Sonia Gomez and in today’s episode, we are going to be visiting Dr. Jim Alvino, who is the co-founder of Cannabis Health and Wellness Center, and CBD Health and Wellness Center and the founder of Medical Cannabis Royalty Income Fund or MCRIF, whose underlying premise is that revenue royalties are superior to debt or equity and financing privately owned companies. Dr. Alvino is an international business coach, speaker and speaker trainer, just like yours truly, which is this is going to be such an exciting episode. 

He has worked with dozens of startups and entrepreneurs all over the world, helping them to build their business model branding, marketing and distribution so that they can share their magical messages with more people creating more impact and more income living the life of freedom that they have always wanted. This is work that is very near and dear to my heart and at the end of the day, everything that you do is about passion purpose so that you can build profit in your incredible lives and businesses here to share his story, his wisdom, and all wealth of knowledge, Dr. Jim Alvino. Hey Jim, how’s it going?

Dr. Jim Alvino: Hey Sonia thank you for that bad ass introduction! 

Sonia Gomez: You’re welcome.

Dr. Jim Alvino: You’re tough to follow energetically–

Sonia Gomez: Well, thank you so much. It’s always been more of an accusation than a compliment, especially coming from my parents. But here we are. So tell me straight from the horse’s mouth a little bit about who you are, what you’re up to, and how you got involved in this crazy industry.

Kick-off in the Cannabis Industry

Dr. Jim Alvino: Absolutely! Fundamentally, I’m a business coach. I’m a business coach, speaker, trainer and speaker and author. And a couple years ago, to be honest with you, I my speaker training and business coaching, took me all over, [inaudible] all over five continents. Two weeks, I was away, two weeks I was home and it was wonderful. There’s no question about it. I met a lot of wonderful people, dozens of clients I had and it was just a fantastic experience, but very tiring. 

So when I got finished that European tour, I said to my wife, you know, two things. One, I can’t sustain this and number two is I’m really not doing what I’m teaching other people to do. I haven’t started a business in years. My coaching business is called “Monetize your niche” and I started that in 2009. So I had been doing this for 10 years. And it was time again, to look for the opportunities in the world. One was cannabis the other was Bitcoin. I know nothing about Bitcoin, cannabis was it. So I decided to found a company and go from there and it’s been really good. It’s a roller coaster ride as you know, things are a moving target in this industry, which makes it especially challenging for entrepreneurs and challenging for those people coming into the industry to think well, this is it, I’m gonna make my fortune and the rest will be. I’ll live happily ever after. That’s what got me to where I am right now.

Differentiating Approach as a Brand

Sonia Gomez: Okay, awesome. That’s, that’s fantastic and I think it’s important to acknowledge, a lot of people are making what I call the corporate to cannabis jump or coming out of the cannabis closet expressing with confidence, their interest, their involvement that in most cases have been pretty extensive but very private. And I love to see and hear and tell the stories that the folks who are making that transition because I think that that is you know, we’re in this third wave of the industry develop the industry’s development right now the first wave was this dragon known as, and our heartfelt hippies who are coming out of the woodworks, the ones who have sacrificed family and freedom and all of these things to battle out on behalf of our industry. 

Wave two where the rockers who had some I call them the trust [inaudible] people who had some money, but maybe not as much business know how the right partnerships. But now we’re in phase three where the corporate to cannabis jumpers are coming in, you know, VC money is coming in. Big business is on its way. And it’s our time to build a recognizable, respected, trusted brands implementing key differentiators. And I really truly believe that it takes somebody with your kind of business savvy, understanding message to market match, how to effectively build a brand. 

These are the things that I want to talk with you about today, because we are in a me-too industry. And it’s really, really difficult, there’s only a couple of things that can help differentiate who you are and what you stand for and what you’re providing or what problem you’re solving. So, talk to me a little bit about your approach and your ideas around what it takes to differentiate yourself as a brand or a brand owner in a meat-too industry. 

Dr. Jim Alvino: Sure. Let me respond to the me-too in the third wave. Because it’s not only a me-too and it continues to be a me-too. But, in the probably the first and second wave, it was a field of dreams. Build it and they will come. Yeah, it’s all we have to do. Let’s open up a dispensary. We can we can make our fortune. And of course there’s a shakeout now and stage three as you describe it is probably that shakeout where the big money’s coming in. 

Stage one and stage two people who who typically were not business people, like you say stage one might have been the hippie type, stage two might have been those with money and figure they could put their money in the investment. But bottom line is neither people of stage one or stage two knew or know how to run a business and they’re still people coming in who don’t know how to run a business. And first and foremost the cannabis business is a business. So all the things that you think of that are necessary in running a business apply to this industry. It’s not a field of dreams it’s not build it and they will come and I will make my fortune. 

If that’s where you’re thinking still is it’s going to be open the doors and close the doors, because there’s no room for a dispensary on every corner. That’s the joke about about Seattle. You know, there’s there’s a Starbucks on every corner and a dispensary on every corner. Yeah, sooner or later, the Starbucks maybe stay open, but the dispensary is closed because there’s not enough differentiation.

Sonia Gomez: Yeah. So I wanted to just throw this piece in there because I think you know, it the idea of running a business is pretty unique in this industry similar to sports, gambling or crypto-currencies, the rules do not apply here. And what you feel is most natural or necessary as a part of your business, ie. advertising, banking, distribute– those things proved to be some of the most challenging aspects of running a cannabis or CBD company. So go ahead and dive right in. But I just wanted to throw that out.

Dr. Jim Alvino: No, I think that I think the clear, the clear set of questions in thinking about differentiating yourself, whatever side of the industry, you’re on, whether you’re on the growth side, whether you’re on the dispensary side, whether production, manufacturing, whatever it is the three questions that you have to ask yourself. Number one is why should anybody buy from me or invest in me? 

Number two question is probably the most unique and that is how easy is it to imitate me and if it’s easy to imitate you, then there’s no reason to buy or invest in you. And then the third question is would they think of me first or second or not at all? And you want people thinking of you first even at the dispensary level, why should I go to this dispensary and not that dispensary? What are the value ads that I get from going to dispensary A and not to dispensary B? You carry the same product typically carry the same brands. What we know is that even in this industry in the absence of a value proposition, why go to me versus another person? The consumer will always go with the cheapest brand will always go with the least amount of cost, that’s a problem today, because there are things on the market that purport to be CBD which are perhaps only hemp seed oil. Retrace right there’s only trace amounts of CBD and hemp seed oil. 

So when you can buy something called CBD, at Whole Foods I looked at I saw some at Whole Foods the other day, or Costco, or sprouts or wherever you get, it’s not the real deal. So the one of the value ads that any business can offer is that education that you refer to, there’s a there’s a huge gap in education. And if I can help educate you about what the product is what it really does, what’s the purity, the efficacy, the potency of the product of my product compared to your product, or this product or product that you think that you can get in a in a big box store so to speak, then that’s going to be part of the of the value ad, that any company can benefit from. 

So one of the value ads that any business can offer is the education that you refer to. - Dr. Jim Alvino Click To Tweet

Another is innovation, clearly, you differentiate yourself by innovation. I have it– for the sake of transparency, I have a small interest in another company called Smart [inaudible]. And they have an app that helps growers monitor and regulate their growth. Okay, this is innovation. So if you can, if you look at technology side of it, if you’re if you’re into that dimension, where can i innovate in this industry to bring new technology fresh technology that helps the industry overall? Okay. So that would be an example product innovation company innovation is absolutely critical. What– Go ahead.

Sonia Gomez: I was just gonna say it’s really funny because I, you’re one of the only other people that I hear talk about product innovation. In a similar capacity as I do, and I think a lot of people’s best efforts are going into innovating, but I say this all the time, I probably in the last three episodes, I have said, there are no new ideas, there are only opportunities to innovate the ones that are already in existence, you have to put your own, spin your own version, try and break it and figure out what how to make it better. Because there are no new idea– I mean, we are literally flooded with every version of what is possible right now. And it’s just a matter of tailoring what’s already in existence to be the new, bigger, better, faster thing.

It's just a matter of tailoring what's already in existence to be the new, bigger, better, faster thing. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet

Dr. Jim Alvino: And part of that is assessing need in the marketplace, which means being able to recognize the voids. And you recognize the voids are able to in processes like strategic planning processes, which I’m an expert at I’ve done a lot of this all over the place. I’ve worked with Hilton Hotels in, excuse me– in strategic planning and, and branding work with McDonald’s, in working with their, their owners and their their supervisors to see if I can, you know, help them do a better job in in what they do. So where’s the need? Where’s the void? And unless you’re looking at that, then you’re not going to you’re not going to be able to innovate. 

Assessing needs in the marketplace means being able to recognize the voids. - Dr. Jim Alvino Click To Tweet

There’s an enormous amount of creativity in product naming. I mean, that’s incredible to me. I mean, I just think that all kinds of product names are, are crazy. They’re wonderful innovations, but it’s the product different, and does it add to the medical side of the industry or the recreational side of the industry? When we founded our company, we made a deliberate effort to choose the medical side, and hence also the medical cannabis royalty income fund as a as a spin off of that, because we believe in innovation in alternative modalities of healing. So that’s where I think the medical side can really contribute to what’s going on in the health and wellness industry. Recreation is great, I mean, it’s the markets glutted in the recreational side. In the medical side, there’s still opportunity, I think, for growth. 

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I would have to agree. Well, they said that that there’s some studies out and I’ll have to reference back to the article. But there’s some studies out showing right now that the quote unquote medical market is disappearing, and I have to completely disagree. I think that the medical market is actually thriving, but what’s different is the regulation around availability and accessibility for patients, they’re in the time of 1996 to 2018. And then likewise here in Colorado from the year 2000, all the way to 2009 you were required or till 2013 you were required to have a medical card and register yourself with the state and it was all of this like hyper invasive, invasion of privacy, really, to in order to gain access, and people were, you know, emphasizing pain conditions and creating manifesting, pain condition, so that they could get their cards and get access to cannabis. 

Now that it’s a recreational market and anybody can get access to it by flashing their driver’s license and walking into the door. There isn’t that need to claim yourself as an medical patients. Although I still believe that the majority of folks, especially new users, are coming on board for medical purposes or some sort of physical, emotional, mental release, or relief, I don’t believe that those metrics indicate or showcase how many people are in fact benefiting or using cannabis or hemp based products for medical purposes. So I think that those numbers are quite a bit skewed and especially because the baby boomers are the fastest growing demographic to adopt cannabis use. You know that they’re not just getting rebellious when they write a 55 they’re not just like, Fuck this, we’re coming in hot like, no, they’re feeling the effects of aging and trying to kind of deal with it.

FDA Regulations on CBD

Dr. Jim Alvino: Yeah, I don’t think the medical piece of this is disappearing. It is evolving in an interesting way. I mean, you take a look at FDA regulations for example and the FDA is going to get its hands as already has its hands in it. Even with labeling, it’s unbelievable, that you cannot put any claims of what the CBD is. My company for example focuses on CBD, we don’t sell a THC products. Again, there’s no principle behind that other than– we believe in CBD and THC can go with the it has medical benefits, but we’ve kind of separated that out of what we do. But even with CBD products, whether it’s based on CBD isolate, whether it’s full spectrum CBD with THC out of there, you cannot put on the label of your bottle or the box, the purported value or use of the CBD. You can just put CBD sublingual spray, CBD pills, you can’t say maybe beneficial relieving anxiety. Here’s a pain relief for you try this. You can’t even say that anymore.

Sonia Gomez: No, you can’t eat as a matter of fact, anything. And this is how I’m advising my clients right now there are loopholes and I know them well because I’m all over the damn internet talking. But the loopholes are as long as it’s not a medical diagnosis. That’s right You can refer to it. So a occasional discomfort, occasional sleeplessness, like stress, rather than anxiety. It’s crazy to me crazy and not the self identifiers.

Dr. Jim Alvino: No, even with the FDA, everybody puts the FDA disclaimer. You know, on your on their on their products. You know, this product has not been evaluated by the FDA. It’s not meant To treat cure, diagnose disease, etc. Even with that, it’s a it’s a challenge to put your product out there and be able to say, you know, say what it does. We’re in the process right now, re-labeling because in the early days, and we got out there early relatively early, we had claims, quote unquote, on all our groups, but we’re re-labeling right now to take all those off so that we can be more FDA compliant. 

Another way Sonia, in which I think that the the medical side is evolving and it does also reflect one of the principles in strategic planning that I teach and it has to do with who you choose to your strategic alliances and we are aligned with other companies who are really specializing in the medical space. So one of the ways in which we differentiate our side, our our company is to make that choice and these include companies in California, these include companies in Colorado, that are focused on medical, and so we do as well. And we’re happy, we’re happy in that space. I have a call from a woman in Seattle, who discovered us somehow, probably on the internet, who is right– I mean, it’s she didn’t come here. She didn’t come to California, but who is purchasing product from us, because she can’t get this particular product elsewhere, can’t find it elsewhere. It’s certainly available. But again, she’s there for for the medical reasons and she’s using a lot of it because of various ailments that she has that CBD helps with.

Sonia Gomez: It’s so incredible to me and a huge motivator when I’m hearing the stories from the patients whose lives are being transformed by these products is like, Ah, it is like– what at the end of the day when every discouraging thing could ever happen, and then you get that one three page email from a mom who’s just like, telling her holster, you’re just like, Alright, fine, I’ll get back up and go back towards that. It’s so incredible to hear the transformations and I got to be honest, I was a naysayer when the CBD market started, because I was so heavy in the cannabis industry. 

I was so immersed in the feeling that like God created the plant as it should be and any benefits that we’re receiving from it or because of the way that God made it. And, you know, forget science coming in here and start to pick the whole thing apart I was very opinionated about it. But then I started to get people’s emails and and communications and hearing their stories and I was like, I was totally thrown off my soapbox around CBD being diet weed. I used to call it diet weed, and and now I still I mean even still to this day I tease because I think I’m I approached using CBD looking for a feeling like I’m wanting to feel it like I do cannabis. But what I recognized was CBD wasn’t something CBD products, at least the ones I was taking. Were not something that gave me a recognizable feeling so much as it was something that suddenly eliminated the my suffering.

Dr. Jim Alvino: And alleviate feeling.

CBD Health and Wellness Center 

Sonia Gomez: Alleviated feeling rather than gave me a new one. And I really love that key differentiator and self awareness that I was able to come to in my own personal experience and I think a lot of other folks, especially new users, who are just feeling the endocannabinoid system getting like sparked jumped, you know? Yeah, it’s such an incredible thing to hear them talk about their own personal experiences. Why don’t you take a moment and share with us a little bit about what cannabis Health and Wellness Center or CBD Health and Wellness Center actually does? And then I’d love to hear more about the cannabis– the Medical Cannabis Royalty Income Fund too.

Dr. Jim Alvino: Sure. Well, the company per se is actually called CHWC group. And we have that’s our LLC, and we have two divisions. One is cannabizsolutions.net is for our education, insurance and business opportunity website. And second division is our online store and that’s mycbdforwellness.com like which is our CBD store. So, we made the decision that we wanted to be full service companies, a company for people and that includes the, again, business opportunities for strategic planning, education, insurance, we offer insurance, my co-founder is an insurance broker. 

So we also offer insurance in cannabis industry and we’ll insure anything and everything. We have appointments with all the major cannabis insuring companies. So we do that as well. We put out, of course put out blogs and anything related to education that where we can educate the public about CBD in particular and why it’s a good thing. 

mycbdforwellness.com is our online store, we have our own brand, My CBD for Wellness brand, but we carry a number of other brands too. And what we decided Sonia was it would be a good idea to be a bit of a hub of recognized CBD companies, some of the brands are sort of unknown brands, some are that are really are more known. But so we position ourselves also as a hub. So we can help people do the education, the strategic planning, the business development, I mean, I help people build their business model. And I take them through seven or eight step strategic planning process that involves first team building and we need to get everybody on the same page, and maybe in cannabis companies, everybody is on the same page. 

But often we have an expression in strategic planning where it says you can’t plan your way out of the present. What that means is, if you’ve got any issues with your team, any issues with your current company, one form or another, directly or indirectly, they are going to sabotage your efforts to grow. So we take care of team building, we help them build a mission and a vision. 

If you've got any issues with your team, any issues with your current company, one form or another, directly or indirectly, they are going to sabotage your efforts to grow. - Dr. Jim Alvino Click To Tweet

We create what are called quantifiable measures of success, which are really goals and action plans and that sort of thing. When people look at their their exit strategy, which should be one of the number one things you look at, believe it or not, when you launch a company, what’s my exit strategy? A little aside, if I may, when I launched the company, my coaching company, monetize your nation. I really liked that phrase. I had to go after somebody had already gotten the domain name. So I track that person down even In the UK, I bought the domain name from that person. And I said to my trademark attorney, all right, Stephanie, I really want to go all in here. I think I’ve got a really good niche name, business name, monetize your niche. And I want to trademark that and go from this was even before I launched the company, Sonia. And she said, that’s great, Jim, we can do that. What’s your exit strategy and my jaw dropped? I said, I don’t even have an insurance strategy yet. But that’s how you reverse engineer what you do. What are you planning to do? Are you planning to acquire more you’re planning to reach a certain amount of revenue and then and then sell what’s the game plan? What’s the exit strategy? Yeah, we do action plans and financials and so forth. So that’s our that’s the skinny on the strategic planning process that I work with people and helping them build their business model on the medical side on the CBD. side. 

I’ve got a number of small investors in my company. My company is small and we started with friends and family. And one of whom is a kinesiologist. Who uses CBD. It was Rick Simpson oil, which does have THC in it, but Rick Simpson oil cured his son, you know, you’re not allowed to say CBD, cured anything THC cured anything, but he had a very severe, I guess, autistic-like high anxiety kind of behavior, a lot of anger, a lot of ticks, you know, and that sort of thing. And, um, it Rick Simpson oil really calmed him down. He became one of my investors, and he’s a kinesiologist he has white-labeled our product sells a lot of it out of his clinic and nothing really we’ve devised, we’ve devised it a test to back up the lab results. Everybody has to have lab results. Okay, granted, but the lab results are always going to say oh, yes, this is great. I mean, yeah. Okay, like between you and me, this is what they do. And you’ve probably already heard stories of companies buying the results they want. But we’ve he’s created together we’ve created sort of akinesia logical test to test for efficacy, potency, and purity of a product. And we have tested we had we set an arbitrary scale of 100 hours being 100. Right. And it tested at 100. And we brought another we brought a variety of brands into test kinesia logically speaking, and couple tested. 

Back there was a there’s a company I’m affiliated with in Colorado, definitely geared toward the medical side. [inaudible] is tested at 100. But we brought other brands in more popular brands who have tested at 30 on a scale of 100. Okay, plus also tested for the presence of allergens, as opposed to no allergens. So I won’t name names, but there are a lot of products out there that don’t do what they say they’re going to do. And they’re full of allergens. So we take it very seriously. When we look at brands to carry we test them ourselves through this particular method of seeing the purity potency efficacy of this product. efficacy meaning does the product do what it’s supposed to do.

How to Measure Success in your Business

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, when it’s supposed to do it every time

Dr. Jim Alvino: Yeah, let’s test it on on your body and see if it actually works. So we’re very committed to this. very committed to this we’re, we’re committed to bringing on more and more good brands that we can market and and I would invite them People to to, in that regard to get in touch with me if they have product that they would like to advertise or market on our website, we’d be glad to, to take a look at it.

Medical Cannabis Royalty Income Fund

Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I have actually a handful of brands that I’ve personally nurtured, that are just fantastic and they’re diverse. So I’d love to share those with you offline. And that’s a lot of what I’ve focused on is helping brands and businesses really raise the bar and get up to par where they should be so that they can be you know, differentiated from the rest of the crowd as being a product that is trusted, recognized, respected for delivering consistent, reliable results over and over again. And then tell me about the fund that you have created.

What I've focused on is helping brands and businesses really raise the bar and get up to par. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet

Dr. Jim Alvino: Okay. So I’m I’m working on creating 100 million dollar medical cannabis royalty Income Fund Okay, yeah, I know, I know. It’s a it’s a mouthful. It’d be a wallet full of 45 degrees if I could raise that money, but basically the premier and I’m working with and I won’t share his name because he did not know I was going to do this podcast, but I’ll say simply say, I’m working with probably the world’s foremost authority on revenue royalties. Okay, so I’ll just for now, I’ll just leave it at that. But basically, it is it is a a fund that allows investors to make financing available to entrepreneurs, for a percentage of their revenue for royalties on their revenue. 

So entrepreneurs love this because you don’t have to give up equity in your company or you don’t have to go into debt so we think it’s superior to debt or equity in financing. Companies applicable, obviously to cannabis companies, established companies would be better, but startups are, are possible. The so the as far as the the entrepreneur is concerned, I don’t have to give up equity. I don’t have to, you know, let’s face it, CEOs of companies often engage in a number of shenanigans to show a, a lower bottom line, a lower profit than then they might otherwise you know, for tax purposes. For you know, the investors don’t get as much back. Oh, I’m going to buy all my staff a Mercedes because I’ve got the money and it’s a cost, you know, okay. So the investor doesn’t have to worry about management shenanigans like that. They don’t have to worry about management deciding how they’re going to use their profit. The royalties are based on only on revenue. So the fund is investors would buy into the fun buy units into into the fund and literally purchase royalties from a company purchase royalties from a company. And these things are monitored. There are lots of investment investor protections with that. 

And let’s say that the company is really, you know, really, really crushing it and saying themselves, you mean I have to pay these revenues for the next royalties for the next 20 years? Now? There are ways out for both the investor and the company, um, to get out of the agreements, if you will, for to renege. Well, there are conditions there are conditions written from the outset. So that, for example, if I were, if I were an entrepreneur, my company is doing really well. I would really like Say you were the investors only I really don’t want to pay these royalties to you anymore. You say, that’s fine, Jim, you’ve been in it. We’ve been doing this for five years, you will pay me five times my investment minus the royalties that I’ve already received as an example, or if we’ve been in it 10 years. That’s fine. Jim, you want out? No problem. As we’ve agreed, you will pay pay me 10 times the money that I invested minus the royalties that I’ve already been paid. And I’m happy with this because I’m crushing it. And now I no longer have have to pay the royalties. 

The the investor has a lot of protections we’ve details we probably don’t have time to, to to go into. But suffice it to say that the investor doesn’t have to worry about the kinds of things that most investors do when they are equity investors and they’re, you know, they’re pressing the company to go out to go public, or they’re pressing the company for a sale or they’re public. For the company to cut its expenses. investors don’t care now, what I care about are documented revenues that I get paid quarterly as part of our agreement. So that’s a very superficial presentation on what the model is, is, is about, but it has advantages. It has advantages for both investor and entrepreneur.

Facing Unique Challenges

Sonia Gomez: Amazing what cool businesses I absolutely love. And tell me a little bit about as, as we both know, being a part of this industry, any business really, but specifically in this industry, there are some unique challenges that different business models will face. What for you were some of the biggest hurdles that you have to or have had to overcome in order to get to where you are right now?

Dr. Jim Alvino: Yeah, I’ll catch you One it’s kind of silly. But it was it was done out of ignorance on my part. We opened up, we opened up a bank account, we opened up a bank account. Again, I won’t mention the bank. But the bank opened up that

Sonia Gomez: politically incorrect?

Dr. Jim Alvino: No. Well, you know, we opened up a bank account, the the bank allowed us it’s a big bank. It’s a huge bank, and the bank allowed us to open up an account under the name, Cannabis Health and Wellness Center. This is a couple years ago. Perfect, got the account. Everything is copacetic 60 days later. I get a letter that says we no longer want a relationship with you. We’re closing your account. We’re closing your business account. We’re closing your personal account. We’re closing your father’s account. Okay. I mean, they just went all out. 

Sonia Gomez: They closed your dad’s account. 

Dr. Jim Alvino: Because my personal account was linked to my dad’s account, he was up in yours at the time and you know, I was paying your bills, his bills, and so, so they closed all these accounts. And, and that’s, that’s one thing I learned. So I counsel people be careful what your name is, you know, um, I was really I was really naive. I thought, Well, hey, this is pretty good. I have I have several accounts in this bank that this is really great. So I’m and I’m on a list at that bank that I can never again, open an account at this bank.

Sonia Gomez: Oh my god. 

Dr. Jim Alvino: So it’s, who cares? It just has to be– So banking is it continues to be a big challenge continues to be a big challenge. Merchant processing is another big challenge. Yeah. Um, I had a situation again, a personal situation. So I know these things firsthand where the merchant account no problem. All of a sudden, one of the major merchants pulled out of the cannabis industry. And there went my visa. I could take the other cards, I couldn’t take visa. Most people have visa. So we had to do work arounds until visa got reinstated. Finally, through other banking sources, it’s opening up but banking is still is still an issue.

Sonia Gomez: You’re so positive you’re like it’s opening up the manifestation.

Dr. Jim Alvino: Yeah, there’s there’s actually yes I am. By personality, highly optimistic and highly

Sonia Gomez: Perfect.

Dr. Jim Alvino: It is it does appear to be objectively speaking, hoping But

Sonia Gomez: No, it’s definitely opening up and you know, thank God because they’re really leaving a lot of money on the table by not giving it up. Anything else that was that that was a drop in the road?

Dr. Jim Alvino: Those were the the major in the in the early days I mean prices have really changed for example or I sold my products based on again on the isolate my my I was paying when we first started, I was paying $12,000 a kilo that’s down to 4500 $4,000 and it’s it’s and it’s good product. It’s it’s good product so that has changed that’s again for ya. There is an awful lot of hemp on the market. There’s a lot of marijuana I guess that just went up in smoke a few months ago that you know, just too much product. So that’s that’s something that this industry will also see. I mean supply and demand. 

You know if you’re if you’re running a company, if you’re running a [inaudible], and you’re producing on that side, and you’re not thinking about distribution, or what the competition’s doing, or what the market is, like, you just think you’re going to grow, grow, grow, and it’s going to, you know, I’m going to be able to sell, sell, sell. That’s not the case.

Dr. Jim Alvino: So, I think I’m also optimistic that they’re the companies, whatever they’re doing, are coming to see that the business principles actually do a prime apply to this industry. And we better have some basic understanding of economics, basic understanding of supply and demand. And and also recognizing that this industry is still a moving target. It’s still evolving. The regulations are still involved evolving. The watch the, the parameters of what you can do, and not do the legality The bank, everything is a moving target right now. So get in at your own risk, but but at least at least put together a strategic plan. So you have some idea of where you’re going and what you want out of this.

We better have some basic understanding of economics, basic understanding of supply and demand and also recognizing that this industry is still a moving target. - Dr. Jim Alvino Click To Tweet

Words of Wisdom

Sonia Gomez: I think that that’s extremely sound advice. And I was actually just going to ask you every episode we do some words of wisdom, where we might use our own experience or the experience of some of our clients or colleagues to shape the way that we would advise somebody to who is getting started in this industry or who might be a few steps behind us. What would be some key pieces of advice knowing that what you know now that you would offer somebody if they were just getting started in this space?

Dr. Jim Alvino : Number one, and I believe in very strongly is get somebody such as myself to do strategic plan for you know where you’re going. Jack Welch, legendary CEO of GE says, you know, if you don’t have a competitive advantage don’t compete. Well, you can’t just believe you have a competitive advantage when you go into this industry or any industry, do some planning, consult some, consult some experts pull a team together, do some thinking, do some, build some strategic alliances, build some relational capital first. Yes, relational capital is even more important than capital capital. So that would be that would be one of the very first pieces of advice. I would give somebody, know where you’re going, know what you want to get out of it and don’t just jump in because if you just jump in, you’re going to lose, you’re absolutely going to lose. That would be my major piece of advice on it.

How to Measure Success in your Business

Sonia Gomez: I think it’s excellent, excellent advice. All right, channeling in For my words of wisdom, what would I piggyback on to that? I love what you said about the business model and really understanding what kind of business you actually are. Are you a community business? Are you a product business? Are you a media company? All of these different kinds of businesses have different road maps to success and different ways to approach creating strategic partnerships pulling resources together, and what the strategic planning is associated with the business model. 

It is not a one size fits all. I don’t care what industry you’re a part of really understanding who you are, and what marketplace you’re serving. And becoming a contender will allow you to properly create the foundational pillars that you need in order to build the skyscraper of a company that you are envisioning. The second thing that I would say is crafting a message that matches your marketplace and authentically, captures the attention connects with that ideal prospect or person and then effortlessly an automated AI with some automation can convert them into a sale. This is how you get the mailbox money, men, you know sort of advantage of digital marketing and whether or not you are doing this online or offline. You should at the drop of a hat be able to say who you are, what you do, what problem you’re solving for whom, in a way that tells somebody that makes somebody say like, really I want to know more.

Dr. Jim Alvino: You’ve just given the components of a fantastic mission statement.

Sonia Gomez: Yes, absolutely. And having that clarity will instill confidence in who you are as a brand as a business owner. And that is so necessary when you’re building your team. If your team doesn’t have confidence in the direction or vision of the company. It’s easy to hire hard to fire but it’s way easier for people to take your IP and take it to another company that has clarity in their vision. 


Next, the final thing that I will say is don’t skimp if you skimp in your investment, investing in yourself, whether that looks like getting a proper mentor or support system around you so that you yourself are nurtured and nourished into the areas of expertise that you are necessary to develop in the next phases of growth. If you do not have that type of mentorship, or relationship around you that is nurturing and nourishing you as a leader of a team, you’re going to find yourself in trouble because you don’t know what you don’t know. And you need someone who’s navigated those waters on your side, helping you map out your direction. The other reason the other areas that you should be investing heavily into is marketing, and advertising. There are many creative ways to loophole your way into being able to advertise and market and gain trust and exposure inside of the marketplace that you want to serve. You have to be creative and you have to be willing to put your money on the table. Because these things are not free. They’re not free for us to do, they’re not free for you to do. It’s just the way of the world and what you put in is what you’re going to get out. 

It’s all a numbers game. So knowing what your resources are ahead of time will help you to manage your expectations and opportunities. As you are growing and building into this business. That’s true across the board no matter what business that you’re in, but especially in this one. Do not skimp and do not underestimate always overestimate the amount and be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t take the amount of money that you have available to build and grow.

Knowing what your resources are ahead of time will help you to manage your expectations and opportunities as you are growing and building into this business. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet

Dr. Jim Alvino: Let me piggyback on your piggyback real quickly. First thing with regard to strategic planning is a bit of a cliche, but it’s true. If you fail to plan you plan to fail.

Sonia Gomez: Oh, yeah, I say 80% on planning 20 on execution factory.

Dr. Jim Alvino: Second thing is with regard to coaching. Absolutely. Have a coach have a mentor. I have several. I’m a business coach. I have several coaches. You don’t know what you don’t know. And we get locked into our own blinders.

Sonia Gomez: Well, we’re a product of our own best thinking.

Dr. Jim Alvino: Yes, we are and the third thing when you referred to the numbers, and I also mentioned relational capital, put 70% of your time into relational capital 20% of your time into marketing. Marketing, like you, like you said, or percentages might be different, but 10% of your time in knowing yourself. Numbers, what are your numbers? What are your ratios? What, what what do you have? Where do you have to get in order to be successful? 

Sonia Gomez: Yeah. So important I allocate about 30%. To my marketing critical. Yeah, so critical and my strategy is a little bit different in the sense that I don’t necessarily have a physical product that I am selling. But I put so much money behind my marketing and exposure because I’m an immediate company and I provide marketing for exposure for other companies. So I know that if I invest 30%, I can provide somebody a 60% return, you know, so this is you doing things over time, everything compounds, you’ll see a 10% return the first month, you know, maybe 20%, the second month up to 40%, depending on the channels that you’re developing. So it’s really important to have a full picture and get the people who Don’t have the blinders on right? Your focus is right here and how am I going to tunnel vision win this race and your support system the way that you build your team? First of all, hire your weaknesses. Don’t try and play all of the roles, ask better questions. Don’t have to be the one that has all of the answers. There are two different types of leaders. There are the teaching teacher and the leading learner. For you to be successful in what you’re doing in a leadership role. You have to be the leading learner. And you have to check the quality of the questions that you are asking if you want to get a different answer. Exactly right.

Dr. Jim Alvino: And we know we know you are brilliant and relational capital building relational capital, let’s face it, you have to be like you say you’re a media company. You need to you need to know how to reach out and to reach out well, and to build those networks. And obviously, you’re doing a brilliant job and a wonderful job in this industry.

Sonia Gomez: Thank you. It’s been a lot of fun if you would have asked me even two years ago, three years ago when we first started this thing as a hobby project, by the way, my mentor right here, Mike Koenigs, who helped me publish my first book and all of this stuff. He, he looked at me one day and was just like you’re an idiot, if you don’t market the fact that you have specialized knowledge in what will be the fastest growing industry in the world. And so as a hobby, while I was on my deathbed pregnant with my fourth, fourth child, my husband started legalize it, don’t criticize it. 

And every once in a while, he’d walk by my bed and be like, Oh, we hit 5000. Today. Oh, we hit 20,000 today. Oh, we have 50,000 people on our follower. I’m in labor, and he’s like, Hey, we got 90,000 people. I’m like, I’m having a baby. And then a week later, he says, we just hit 100,000 people on our page, you should probably do a video. I’m like my hairs like this. I’m like, you know, there’s breast milk everywhere. I wanted to talk about Nobody, but I popped on and I did a video and this is the importance of message to market match and where I really first hand experience this. I had I have seen it and witnessed it with my clients but never experienced it myself. I jumped on, made a quick video, this is like in the early days of Facebook Live, did a quick video talk to my audience. And somehow I just hit the nail on the head I would there was no plan around it. It was just I took some time to read the comments and I responded directly to the things that I was reading. In 45 days we grew to 345,000 followers. 

And it’s the power of creating that personal connection with your with your community that will start to move them into a different type of engagement and action with who you are, what you do and the end the way that you do it. mission that you have is to create a movement behind the product or brand or service that you’re providing. And if you can do that it’s something that’s becomes bigger than yourself. The money is just a natural, exactly the natural result of the value that you’re bringing into the marketplace and the leverage that you’re using to do it.

Dr. Jim Alvino: Well put.

Sonia Gomez: Thank you and this has been like such a great interview for me I’m like fully nourished by by our exchange. What are some words some some final words of wisdom that you’d like to share with our community before we end our conversation? 

Dr. Jim Alvino: I would also like to send people to our website.

Where to Find Them

Sonia Gomez: Oh, please do Yes. Where can folks find you if they would like to find you

Dr. Jim Alvino: mycbdforwellness.com and if you go there, and you make a purchase of our products, our brand and put in the coupon code, JIM50, we’ll give you 50% off on anything that we sell.

Sonia Gomez:  Yeah, you guys 50% off coupon using Jim, what was the coupon code, bro?

Dr. Jim Alvino: JIM50

Sonia Gomez: We’ll get you 50% off.

Dr. Jim Alvino: Yeah. And probably the final word words of wisdom has to do with more of having the character trait of persistence. But at the same time flexibility, you know, know when you’re beating a dead horse and going and should go in a different direction. But at the same time, don’t give up is that that book says don’t give up three feet from gold. You know, pursue persistence. And do the right things. And you will be rewarded. 

That has been my experience in working, as I say, Sonia with dozens, dozens and dozens of people all over the world, in helping them create their talks in helping them build their business model. And the answer to you know, what is my business model is a very simple question, how do I make money. And if you get clarity on how you’re going to make money, directly and indirectly, you’ve got it made.

If you get clarity on how you're going to make money directly and indirectly, you've got it made. - Dr. Jim Alvino Click To Tweet

Sonia Gomez: I’d love to have a follow up interview where we’re talking more specifically about identifying your business model and taking them through a little bit of an exercise, I think it would be so super valuable. 

Dr. Jim Alvino: I’d be glad to do that. I use mind mapping when I’m helping people build out their business model. I don’t know if you if I

Sonia Gomez: Love it, you know what would be really fun. And now we’re getting into our cliff notes here. But what would be really fun is if you wanted to take me through the exercise, and we could use we could use it as like a hot seat sort of version. To show them like what is necessary and then we can we can be terrific because I

Dr. Jim Alvino: Know all of the components in a business model. You’re already there. So what we would what we would do what it would be the illustrating your business model to your your people, your viewers.

Sonia Gomez: I’m happy happy to lift the skirt y’all take a look at my legs. No, I’m just kidding.

Dr. Jim Alvino: So yeah, I would love to do that. 

Sonia Gomez: Okay, you guys, stay tuned for the follow up on this. We’re gonna make it good. And bring you guys some bonus value and lift the skirt on Sonia’s business or you’re too much. Gonna be like crazy. I better wear fullback underwear that day.

Dr. Jim Alvino: Depends on how far you lift that skirt.

Sonia Gomez: I’m gonna wear some fullback underwear that day. Hey guys, for those of you who are tuning in thank you so much for being a part of this incredible community is you know it is our mission to bring you the truth about cannabis and hemp while sharing the stories of the people who are pushing this incredible industry forward and show you the faces behind the products and brands that you know and love. 

We are committed to helping you make educated empowered decisions so that you can know exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it when it comes to taking care of yourself, the people that you love and the conditions you may be suffering from if you are looking for products that you can trust to deliver the results you’re looking for check us out on medicalsecrets.com and if you are a budding entrepreneur looking for some direction on how to do what you want to do the way that you should be doing it., check us out at theemeraldcircle.com. I am your hostess with the mostess, and this is The Hemp Revolution podcast. We’ll see you on the next show, guys. Thanks so much, Jim. 

Dr. Jim Alvino: Ciao Sonia!

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