Chris Martin is a kid from the streets of Topeka, Kansas who survived a violent home life and a broken foster care system. Martin went on to become one of the nations first medical Marijuana pioneers in the state of Arizona. A state where he would eventually serve two prison sentences for the very plant that helped save his life and his battle with Chron’s disease.
“One Life” is a testimony of pushing the boundaries and persevering despite the curve balls life throws at you. Chris stepped up as a fighter and a leader in his community and there’s no end in sight to his journey.
He talks with a sense of mission into this CBD-Hemp space, in terms of the benefits it significantly provides to the medical field and which in contrast, the odds with the government’s rules and regulations.
Be inspired as Chris, continues to live in the moment, despite the hectic days spent at the boardroom planning ways to make the business a much better one in order to serve those who needed it the most, himself included.
I feel like if we’d fix one and not the other, we’re chasing our tail. We’re not going to end this war, this system. So, we felt that it was kind of twofold that we needed to attack with the nonprofit. – Chris Martin
Some Topics We Discussed Include:
01:15 – How he got started into the CBD-Hemp space, the struggles he went through and the disease he is born with
05:35 – Recovering from setbacks
11:53 – How does his non- profit organization help in rehabilitating and giving opportunities to people from prison
13:56 – On getting a donation from Sonia Gomez and raising funds for the organization
21:55 – Why the need to put up a business with a cause and not just for profit
23:22 – Giving praises to his wife
28:28 – How’s the growth of his business for the nine years it has existed and what is the key driver for it
34:11 – How is he able to maintain a work-life balance considering the hectic schedule spent at the boardroom
39:42 – Inspiring words for everyone
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with Chris Martin
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up guys? This is Sonia Gomez tuning in from Denver, Colorado. This is another rock star episode of the hemp revolution and I am super excited for today’s guest. Our guest today is a Virginia, Kansas native, former semi-pro baseball player and Crohn’s disease sufferer who has now the founder of Hempful Farms, a multi-location hemp company, which I’m super excited to share with you guys. We are seeing more and more hemp collectives popping up all over the United States and I’m so excited to introduce you to Chris Martin, who is our special guest before the day to get down and dirty and into the weeds on the hemp collectives popping up all over town. What’s up Chris? How are you?
Chris Martin: Great. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it so much. I love coming on and sharing my story.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, man, this is the cool opportunity. And you were just telling me that you’re starting a podcast of your own, which we’ll talk about here in a minute, but for our guests who haven’t met you before, why don’t you go ahead and just take a second and tell us a little bit about who you are, your background, and what you got going on in the industry today.
The Struggles At The Onset
Chris Martin: Well, my name is Chris Martin. Many might know me as Billy’ Zonca. I was also known as Billy Zonca for the last 10 years here in Arizona. I got into the cannabis community quite a long time ago. I was a Crohn’s patient since I was born. So cannabis has always been helpful to me. But I was diagnosed in those seven. We went legal here in 2010 medically and I decided to start a company because our law here was crazy. Our medical law stated you could have 12 plants and grow it, but you could only have two and a half ounces of finished product. So once my wife and I harvested our 24 plants between the two of us and that 25 pounds, we didn’t want to become drug dealers. We didn’t want to become, you know, we definitely didn’t want to throw it away. So I being a chef and my wife being a nurse, we created an edible line and within about seven months we were all over the state and that pissed a lot of people off. So we got rated. We were made the example of here in our state in 2012, my wife and I were faced in 27 felonies. I was looking at life, 127 years to be exact because I had a prior felony charge for a joint when I was a teen. So they use that as an aggravating factor and wanted to give me a a lot of time over those charges. So we fought our case three and a half years. In the interim of fighting my case, one of my farmers called me up and said, Hey Chris, I’ve got pimple oil and you could reproduce all of the products that you made with Zonca with your edible line and do it with him. And it would be completely legal. You could still help out all those same people that you’re helping. And at first, you know, you’re taken back on, you’ve been rated, you’re looking at life. The last thing you need are more friends, offer you sweet deals on the side. As I researched oil and CBD, especially as a patient myself, it actually worked. It started doing things for me that vitamins couldn’t do and supplements work. So I created a six-line brand, I’m copying. What we did was Zonca and we did a lotion, a salve, a tincture and we launched it. We put it online just saying from the creators of Zonka and the people fighting for their life in court. And the story you really got traction because no one could understand why we were looking at so much time for something that was said have helped heal so many people.
With that being said, we pushed the brand really hard. I set it up strategically because I felt like if I didn’t come home from prison, my wife and kids need a way to feed themselves. So, I literally set up corporations. I structured all my companies separately. Once I was sentenced to prison, I was only sentenced for two years. And the reason that the drop in time is because we had discovered that evidence had been planted. We had discovered that the police had lied to the grand jury to get an indictment that they had post-dated their warrant to put the GPS on our vehicle. Just lots of crazy stuff that’s not allowed in court. So we hired a private investigator, we hired an attorney. And, once we disclosed all the information that we had found, they came back with a two year plea. The two year plea I didn’t want to take it.
I wanted to ball up the paper and throw it on the floor. My lawyer told me better. He took me in the hallway and said, look man, when they’re offering you a two-year plea, that’s them waving the white flag. But because you’re here and you’re a prior felon and you have tattoos and you’re your big scary looking guy, the jury is not going to listen to all your field good stories. You have prior felons, you will go to prison. So, and it won’t be for two years, you know. So he felt that it was to my best interest to just really build my empire and write my books and do everything that I wanted to do while I was in prison and actually have the time to sit still and do it. And although it was against my better judgment, I agreed to the time. And, I literally went into prison and spent the next two years building my empire, guiding my wife, pended down a real thin path and she took it from there. She built this brand. She went onto a show called, the marijuana show.
Sonia Gomez: They’re dope.
One Success Led To Another
Chris Martin: Yeah. Her and my son went on the marijuana show and the whole theme of the show is actually changed, for us. It was, it used to be about, you know, cannabis entrepreneurial ship and getting into the industry. And when she met my wife and my son and my story, when they met us, they felt like it was time to shed more light on the prisoners and the court system and our people out of jail and not throwing them in there for plants. So they really focused the whole season on what we had been through. And my nine-year old son went and pitched our pitch deck to investors and got my product launched in the four States that we’d never been in while I’m sitting in prison.
Sonia Gomez: My God, this is..
Chris Martin: It’s what dreams are made of. I can’t be more proud. I was released in 2017 and we have hit the ground running. We’ve opened up four retail stores. We’ve opened up two yoga studio wellness centers with massage. We’ve opened up a cafe. We plan, we’ve got two of my books launch, which one is One Life, one is a cookbook. Um, we’ve launched the documentary that comes out in September called haters make me famous and it’s about exactly that. No one knew who I was until they tried to make an example, put us on the front page, winning their case in the media. We just didn’t let it happen. So here we are. This is where we sit now.
Sonia Gomez: Fucking A right, my friend. That’s the best story. And you tell it really well, like some people have great stories, but have no idea how to tell it. You know how to tell your story. It’s fantastic. I’m like right here rooting for you because my rights were also violated as a California patient and I had to go up against both the medical and the legal system for my rights to safe access. I relapsed into my condition once I was arrested. I was, you know, such incredible turmoil and such a tumultuous process that quite literally could have turned me into any kind of statistic. I mean, I could have been a victim of the opioid epidemic. I could have been a victim of just being a Hispanic female who was unable to work because of the restrictions of the court system. I mean, it was just insane what they put us through. And for me, I was a first-time offender, so it was even more alarming to see how they throw the book at you and try and make an example out of you when you’re one of the good guys. I mean, quite literally we were doing incredible things and anyways…
Chris Martin: That’s why we started a non-profit because a lot of people end up in the situation like I’m in where you get in trouble and you get so afraid of fighting after you’re done that you run, you get away. You don’t want anything to do with the industry per se. You only use the medicine because of necessity and everything else you want away from you. And I didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t want my time to be in vain. I didn’t want the four years that my children suffered to to be forgotten. My 14-year old who is the CEO of my backup was since he was nine years old as PTSD so bad. He hasn’t been to public school seven years, seven years! He hasn’t been allowed back in and it’s not the schools that won’t allow them back. It’s me because when I look at my son and I dropped him off in seventh grade and I tried to implement it back into school, but as as I turned to leave, he ran out crying because what happens if that gets rated? What happens if that gets arrested? Thats his two first questions are if you don’t come back to pick me up from school, where do I go? Why does a 14-year old have to worry about that seven years later? Those are the things about these kinds of stories that we bring out that the book and the documentary talk about because even after the raids and the story in the court room, the police forget about this stuff, yet, we talked about their PTSD and the things that they live with. But look at the things that we deal with as families and children of families that are part of this drug war because of a raid, you know, no one talks about seven, 10, 12 years later what these guys are still going through.
Sonia Gomez: Absolutely. And it’s, it’s amazing to see how many families have been affected. I was actually just talking with di does she to Dawson who’s heavily involved with the minorities for medical marijuana and looking at how many families in, I would say underprivileged demographics, what are affected by the war on drugs, you know, and how many families. We’re literally having to watch our Hispanic and African American men go to jail on behalf of this plant medicine and what they’re doing in their communities. Now I’m not painting a rosy picture. I know that there’s other shit going down that affects it. But I also know that there are, is very real targeting and you’re absolutely right. We’re not talking enough about the adverse effects that it has on the families and on our kids. Forget the victim of the arrest.
Let’s look, you know, pay attention to the ripple effect and how that translates over into our kids. Like it is a generational transmission that fear, that concern, that worry. And it never leaves. I can totally, I mean I’m so proud right now that I have you on my show in that we’re talking about, you know, how you are protecting your child from the effects of your choices. I mean, quite frankly, it was your choice to get into the cannabis industry. It was and you had all of the right reasons in the world to want to do it. And at the same time, when we make those decisions as canapreneurs, we know what the risks are. We know that we’re putting our kids in a position that they don’t have, they don’t get to choose. They don’t get to choose what mommy and daddy do to bring home the bacon. Right. And so they’re just, they in themselves are a victim of our good and bad. Absolutely. You know, and however that translates. So I commend you for the way that you are supporting him in his own recovery and how you’re empowering him to be a part of the change that you want to see in your family and your community and in the world. This is like such a fantastic thing to be in support of. Like, first of all, let me just say, does your non-profit organization support people who are rehabilitating from the prison system and give them opportunities for work and things like that?
A Community Service-Driven Non-Profit Organization.
So I feel like if we'd fix one and not the other, we're chasing our tail. We're not going to end this war with the system. So,we felt that it was kind of two-fold that we needed to attack with the non-profit. Click To Tweet
Chris Martin: Yeah. Our non-profit is two-fold actually. So me being a child of the state growing up as a kid, I’ve seen both sides of the pendulum. I’ve seen how our childcare system really promotes these kids into the prison system, mainly from a monetary standpoint. So, I’ve seen both sides. I was a Casa worker that worked with them until I was 18. And then as soon as you turn 18, bam, you’re off the system. You’re out of the state’s custody and you’re expected to be an adult, reintegrate into the life that you don’t understand. So our non-profit, does two things, it not only does it help the drug offender and helps the cannabis offender, the drug offender, the people that have those tags from prison that make it very more, so much more expensive to come home when you come home from prison with a drug offense, you have to go to programming, counseling, you have to go to a halfway house, you have to go, you know, you have all these different labels on you that you have to jump through. Now think if you’ve been in prison for a long time, you probably lost all those contacts within the first year or two of your family, your support system. So it’s even harder. And now our prison systems, 1099 you have to make $600 or more working for them. So, you not only do you have that tag, but you come home with the bill. So the non-profit, it’s really geared to help those inmates that need that help coming home, that have lost everything in this drug war that that can’t implement back in because now they have to go to a halfway house, they have to pay their drug fines and their fees and their probation fees, but don’t have a job or can’t write a check. So we take care of those guys. And then also the kids coming out of the programming and the childcare system, once they turn 18 they’re cut off and there’s no help for them. We want to prevent them from going into this system. We want to show them why they don’t want to be a cog in that wheel with the long-term, we track this. So I feel like if we’d fixed one and not the other, we’re chasing our tail. We’re not going to end this war with the system. So we felt that it was kind of two-fold that we needed to attack with the non-profit.
His Non-profit Organization Receiving Support From Sonia Gomez Herself
And everyone's just looking for that hand up. Not a hand out. They are going to have to work hard to be successful, but I am willing to give them all I got to help. So we'd like to do those certifications. Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: So let me ask you this. Let me share a little bit about what we got going on and what I’m thinking and you tell me if it’s a good fit. I’m just going off the cuff here. So, I started an education company called the Leaf Academy and we produced two different certification programs. One is called the CBD ambassadors program where we teach people everything they need to know about how to effectively sell hemp, share hemp within their family, whether they’re using it to preserve the life, a healthy lifestyle or they’re trying to make a living with it. CBD ambassadors program allows them to work with the hemp products in an educated way and inform and educate their community as well. The second certification that I developed is called the natural health coach certification, where I have partnered with some of the world’s leading experts on cannabis and hemp health. And we help them start a business of their very own from scratch that they can operate from the comfort of their computer. Now, um, I was really inspired to work with people who were rehabilitating from being incarcerated, or even as a preventative when I saw, of all people, Kim Kardashian working to get people released from prison who had, you know, outlandish, anyone can do it that broad. So, anyways, I got a lot of respect and admiration for her. So, as an entrepreneur, so I was really inspired. I was like, you know what, this is so perfect. Like these inmates or you know, folks who are trying to stay out of prison can do something really positive. Working in a field with a product that they love, that allows them the time and location freedom that they want.
You know, who wants to go to a job everyday. They, everybody wants to, you know, have the American dream and feel like they have ownership of the job that they’re working. And, so, I reached out to her to give, to donate a number of certifications.The value of the certification is $6,000 and I would like to donate certifications. The natural health coach certification to 10 of your inmates. Start there. We’ll start there. But I just, I think that it would be such an amazing contribution and I really, really want to be a part of that transformation that you’re working towards and especially the youth who are coming out of the system and are looking for a place to be found and recognized and just that shot that you need. You know, like everyone’s just looking for a chance and when they don’t get that chance, they go out and they take it. And unfortunately there’s not a lot of opportunity for folks like that. I was raised in a very humble environment. My father was an immigrant. We had to run out of the house. You know, when I was a 12 year old girl running away from a domestic violence situation and I started my first day of seventh grade living in a stranger’s living room like behind her couch and watching my mom, you know, crying on the phone trying to figure out what she was going to do next. And everyone’s just looking for that hand up. Not a hand out. They are going to have to work hard to be successful, but I am willing to give them all I got to help. So we’d like to do those certifications.
Chris Martin: That is so amazing of you. We work really hard to get help for these people. And honestly, if people aren’t involved, they don’t get involved. If, if they haven’t been touched by prison or court system, nobody really wants to go around that or talk about it. So people like us that have been through this, well it’s our job. This is our duty. We have to do this. But that doesn’t make it any easier to raise funds. But it doesn’t make it any easier to really get the job done. So, we just want to tell you thank you. I started two programs and and it was just like you, it was inspiration that did it for me. When I went to prison. I’m not an artistic person at all. My wife sent me coloring books, adult coloring books, and just said, here, get your head right. Stay focused on what you’re doing. So I did these coloring books. Well, I noticed the other men that were super excited about these coloring books, which is really funny if you think about it, a bunch of grown, tattooed men running. They’re all excited about coloring books. It’s amazing in its own right. So I started to hand out these books. They would turn their artwork to me, and I would send it home to my wife. When my wife starts posting it on Facebook, showing everyone like look at with these guys doing their with their time off, she starts to auction that work off. Now it’s turned into a huge program where we do, it’s called Coloring Books For Contracts on my Facebook page where I sell hobby craft and inmate artwork non-profit. We put all the money back on their books and their drug offenders. We don’t take artwork from everyone. You know, we’re not selling violent offenders or whatever. Yeah, no, nothing like that. It’s all drug offender, low lying fruit. People that keep going back because they can’t get out of their own way. So we take that and we sell it for them and it’s turned from that and now it’s turned into a cooking show. We started a cooking show called Convicted Creations. I wrote a cookbook of nothing but prison food tamales and ice cream made in the dryer. And it’s just things that I created while I was there because I’m a chef and things that these guys have done forever because they live there now. Now, I start, if you go to YouTube, look up Convicted Creations, we have 14 episodes and I bring the inmates home. When they come home, we put them on the set. We have them filled with their favorites meal. We have them talk about a story. It’s really just counseling to show that, you know, hey, you’re not a victim anymore. You’re not, you made a mistake. Move forward. There’s good life out here. So, with your help and with that donation, I can announce that on all those platforms and really helps so many people out. We are so thankful. If there’s anything we can ever do for you, just just holler. You know that we’ll be here .
Sonia Gomez: Man, we’re gonna, we’re going to be doing some cool stuff together for sure. Like, I want to come out, I have a whole video team. I’m going to come out there. I really want to shine some light on what you guys are doing. This is going to be a really amazing project. I’d love to come on to your guys’ shows too, and talk about, you know, the Leaf Academy and the, I mean it literally comes with everything products that comes with, um, business training. It comes with a website of their very own, access to the doctors. Like, they’re really gonna build a lot of confidence working with this and they’re gonna be able to run a successful business when they follow the system. You know, and with, with that little boost of confidence that you give them validating the stuff that they do know and that they did learn, it just opens up a gateway for them to understand like you are of value. You have something of value, you’re a powerful person and you could make a lot of positive change in the world and here’s your opportunities. So, I’m so happy to do that. It’s a significant donation and we’re just so proud. We’re so proud to be able to do it and so happy to align ourselves with other entrepreneurs who are focused on the change and not the and not the case that comes with the industry. For me, I always say this, like, the income is a direct relationship with the impact that you’re bringing into the marketplace. If you’re so focused on like chasing the money, the money is going to get the better of you. You’re going to always be asking, you’re always going to have your hand out for a fundraiser. You’re always going to have your handout, you know, trying to get the capital you need to operate your business. There’s, you’re not going to have the same kind of commitment or conviction from your community that you’re serving because you’re in it for the money. Philosophy brands for me, like I tell people all the time, people don’t buy products. They buy people. Dude, where’s your story? Like what’s your message? What’s the mission? Let’s get committed here. So…
Chris Martin: Our company survived nine years and, honestly, three years in prison. I’ve watched companies come and go and I started my own company, what, nine years ago, we were snake oil salesman. Nobody wanted to listen. And now, all those same people are doing the exact same thing. They’re, which for us, we’re just happy people are talking about it and using these products. I don’t care where they come from as long as you, know they’re tested and that they’ve got CVS and you’re safe with that. That’s great. I just know we’ve done for nine years from seed to sale and we’ve driven that model into the people’s faces. I know, to me, watching all these other companies pop up, it’s a sign of flattery. Are you almost like, hey, we nailed something here.
Sonia Gomez: Yes. I love it. You’re, you guys are my new spear animals. Okay. Talk to me a little bit about the boardroom. You’re a family owned business. You’ve got your 14 year old in the board room and I mean I work with my husband. That is like the best and the worst thing ever. Give me the temperature of your guys’s boardroom. When you guys go into the boardroom and you’re planning and you’re looking at, you know, the different facets of your business and what needs to be done here. How involved is your son, how involved is your wife? Are you really the head of all of this or is it truly a collaborative effort?
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
Chris Martin: You know, it’s truly collaborative. I’m the face because I’m the one that ugly enough to survive prison. Honestly, that’s the truth. You know, people think that, you know, in my case that I was the warrior and I don’t want to take all that credit, you know, prison sucks. I’m not going to lie. But coming from a childhood like I came from, it was easy. I’m two fifty six one covert and that dues really don’t have a problem. And on the other aspect, I’m not in there as a bully. I’m in there to help heal it just like I do out here. So these programs that I started out here, they actually started in there. There were programs. I started with people in there. So now that I’ve gotten home, the one lesson that my wife and I have both learned through all this, after 20 years of marriage and five kids and two grandkids, because you know what, I need to shut my mouth sometimes. That’s what it taught me. I need to go to prison. I need to sit back and let my wife do what she’s good at. And what my wife learned was that she’s way more important to this whole situation than she gave herself credit for it. She an art, you know, she’s in the medical field. She’s been in the aspiring RDN for 10 years. She has helped formulate a lot of our products on the topical side. But she doesn’t want credit for that. She doesn’t want to be in the camera or on the books or magazines. She doesn’t care about all that. She likes to, when people come back saying, man, that really worked. Oh my goodness. Show me that again. That’s what she’s here for. And this lesson taught her like, look, when I went to prison, she had to step up.
And so many ways, not just on the business aspect, but the family. She carried this family, she carried my, you know, kids going to school every day and homework and the sprained ankles to the sick babies, the you name it, she, she did all of that with maybe a one 15 minute phone call for me. And a lot of the times, so most 15 minute calls came, they were used to discuss business plans or were on conference call with dispensaries or I mean literally, I’ve never been in a conference call with the business from prison. I have to tell you what a humbling experience that is. But my wife ran it, my wife owned it, my wife set every bit of it up. All I did was make sure the numbers made sense and that it makes sense for our company. I got threatened for running illegal entity in the enterprise and in prison because I was trying to show my wife how to read a P and L and I make sense of it.
So it just shows you the battles. So when it comes to the boardroom, it’s really all of us. It’s everyone. My son created the dog line. I had 35 products under Weedless and under Hempful and he came to me and said, Dad, our eight year old Rottweiler limps really bad. What can we do for that? I’m like, Oh, give him the oil. He’s like, but not every dog wants the oil. Next thing I know, being in the kitchen, making a biscuit and we started making dozens and dozens of biscuits by hand. And it’s really, that’s one thing we pride ourselves on in this company is we’re still family. No matter how much we grow, my uncle and my cousin run my Chicos store, my best friend and his wife run my young town store. My kids work here, production. My wife’s best friend and her son are my two managers. Like even throughout my grow and yeah, I come home from prison, I got to grow back. I got my brand back, I got 16 staff over there. So for us it’s all about all of them. I can’t do any of this without any of them. I’m just, I’m merely the presence. I’m the guy that lights the fire. I walked in the room and people automatically walk up and shake hands and give hugs. That’s that presence I bring. That’s, I pride myself on that. I’ve worked hard for that and I think it’s earned us a little bit of respect here. I’m not just from the story standpoint, but from a business standpoint because we keep our word, we still shake hands, which is very unheard of anymore. But we keep our word because of that hand shake.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah. Yeah. My husband’s family built an entire empire with handshake deals. Then I think it’s a lost art. The art of trust. It’s a lost art. So, with the mention of business, I want to dive in a little bit because we have a lot of our listeners who are considering getting into the hemp space. They’re trying to figure out their entry point. They’re doing their risk to reward ratios right now. Some of them are dabbling in, you know, buying penny stocks online and on the stock exchange. Some of them are existing entrepreneurs or patients who just love this product and want to be in support of the movement overall. But I want to speak to those entrepreneurs who are curious or hungry and are considering making the moves in. What kind of potential are they looking at if they follow this, this model of community contributions and really building a company that has these fundamentals build into the foundation. What are your revenues looking like now that you’re nine years in and you’re doing all of this seed to sale, fully integrated company or fully vertical company. What are your revenues looking like right now? What do they have to look forward to?
Steady Growth For Years And Just Getting Better.
I think sticking to our model was the key and still is and always will be. Even though we still walk the tight rope on that corporate side. Click To Tweet
Chris Martin: You know, honestly, my first year in prison, my wife did 1.5 while I was gone that year and before that we did maybe 40 grand. So, just to show you the growth alone right there. I think sticking to our model was the key and still is and always will be. Even though we still walk the tight rope on that corporate side, you know we just got approved on Range Me where it’s a B2B situation like Big Box. So, everyone from Altro to Safeway, Albertsons, those guys, that’s where they can come look at you. So you still have that, you know, you still have the decision to make when these companies call, are you going to be able to produce that much? Are you going to be able to jump in line with these guys? We keep that model seed to shelf handshake deal and we just choose to do it our way. You know if those big box, which we just had a call about, you know, a multiple store deal and we just tell them look we’re here to grow with you and if you’re honest with what you are and who you are and when you come to the table, I think that’s where longevity comes in. You have to really stick to your game plan though. But also that would that be instead being open to change? I think not, but not being willing to change in this market will vary your company. We’ve had to change quite a bit growing in those nine years without losing that integrity, without losing that staple of why we built this company. Like, yeah, we’re going to grow, we’re in 300 stores nationally right now, but we still do small batch. We still do small batch testing to make sure we control the milligram and know exactly what’s in everything so we don’t lose that touch.
So I think if people stick to their guns in their model, you’re always gonna have those people that come to this game with short term games that are going to want to get in and get out. I don’t see how we avoid that unless we do away with some of the pennyy stocks you speak about. I’m not a penny stock guy. I’m not a side guy.
Sonia Gomez: I noticed that guy there.
Chris Martin: I’m a tangible person. You know what I mean? I want you to come see what we do, believe in what we are and go from there. Stock to me is like going to Vegas and at least up there you get to go see some nudity and big difference. Big difference. You know, I think right now it’s a huge time to be in this game. You know? And if you find your niche and what I mean by that isn’t just cute little brand or a label on a logo or a logo on the label. That what I mean by niche finding your in, you know, like I had a company, I do a lot of consulting that a company could ask me the other day, you know, I’ve got land and I want to farm and I want to get involved. What do I do? And then they think it’s really that easy. They’re going to walk out, they’re going to throw some seeds in the ground and they’re going to walk away and go ahead. Yet, I’ve got money now and I tell them to look at your demo, look at where you’re at, look at what you’re doing. You know, every demo is going to be different. We’re, we’re talking about Arizona state that just allowed growing in June. It also, these guys are already looking at out extra strategies and in games and I’m trying to explain to them like, look, if you pay attention to now, like we don’t have a processor here. We’ve got people getting in and starting to get involved, but all these people that want to go out and grow him, where are you going to process your hands? You know? Yeah, I’ve seen him go bad. I’m watching him mold because they don’t have anywhere to take it. So if you pay attention to you around you and what’s happening around you, I think that’s what’s gonna help you. I think that’s really what’s going to keep this thing moving and how you’re going to be successful. Don’t sell yourself short. You know, I’ve told more big companies know I had a huge company come here from California that one department wanted to probably take my edible line to the next level. But that also met me given up a lot more than I was willing to give up because I thought, why I’m here. I don’t have this four year in extra strategy and end game, you know, a Crohn’s isn’t going to be over for me next year.
I’m not going to just all of a sudden it’d be better. And I know a millions of people that feel that same way. So I owned a business and started a business out of necessity out of one to always have access and always have safe access. I feel like a lot of people have that same thought processes that either they want to know they have that access or that they can do it better or that they can put out a better product. I think that’s great. Just know your demo, know the people around you. And honestly, my one piece of advice, Google search, Google searches go so far. You know how many people I’ve had to send cease and desist on using the word info. I mean, I didn’t fight six years in prison and spend thousands of dollars on getting trademarks. And lawyers and insurance, all these protections to what some person not know what a Google searches and then start their whole company and get their dreams destroyed. Because I had to send them a letter saying, hey look man, you can call it whatever you want to. But, I only say that because it’s a respect issue. You know what I mean? On top of a smart decision in business, it’s just a respect thing. You know what I mean?
Sonia Gomez: So, when you come from the neighborhoods, we come from, no, you all better step. You don’t want me at your front door talking about ..
Chris Martin: Zonka is a lot like Wonka. But we made the changes necessary. We went out, we got the proper licensing for it and the trademark and you know, we made sure we followed our P’s and Q’s and we’re even about to go through a whole new rebrand. So that way as nothing to do with the child candy bar. And you know, we don’t want to make that correlation with people and confused people. We want them to understand the differences. It’s just having that common sense sometimes isn’t always Tom. Yeah. Read the book or asking somebody a question just goes a long way.
Sonia Gomez: I love it. How do you fit time in with the wife for and I’m asking for a friend myself and I’m asking for brand, you know, one of the biggest challenges for us as canapreneurs and Mama and Papapreneur. It’s like, there is very little time that is not dedicated to the board room and to planning and to business conversation. How do you guys balance the love life with your love for business?
Maintaining A Work-Life Balance.
We have that availability between the two of us, but we also make sure that we, you know, for us families, number one, we've been on the other side where we got to see our families through video screens and chain link fences. So every single day is… Click To Tweet
Chris Martin: Well, you know, for one, we haven’t worked a day since we started this company that old adage of, if you’re doing what you love, it’s never work is true. I’ve ran restaurants my whole life, so to do what I do now, it was heaven compared to the restaurants. I love being a chef, but it’s hard work. You don’t sleep, you don’t sit down, you’re not home on holidays or weekends. And that’s 25 years of my life. So now that I actually get to sit in the office with my wife or go through production and talk about what we’ve got coming out on the new rollout, it’s a dream. For me it’s honestly a dream. Now, we have good, bad days, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve been together 20 years. So it’s really easy for us to look at each other and go, you know, I’m going to go home today and work from home and it works that way. We have that availability between the two of us, but we also make sure that we, you know, for us families, number one, we’ve been on the other side where we got to see our families through video screens and chain link fences. So every single day is just a blessing. And I hate to sound really cliche, but I literally wake up and I go kiss my kids. I wake up and I, I kiss them on the forehead. I tell him, good morning, I tell him I love you. Because I love her because I want to. So, we make it happen. You know, my wife is very stickler with that calendar when she says, hey, you know, Chris, I’ve got four days planned and we’re going to the grand Canyon on this. It’s happening and that’s how our family works. If it’s not on the calendar, I’m not showing up. I’m going to probably at best be late. So, she knows if it’s on the calendar, I look over, Oh hey, we got a vacation for four days. I got to leave. I think that’s very important for everyone to make happen. Make that time. This life goes by so fast. We’re not here very long. I mean, I remember being in high school now, I’m almost 50 that happened so fast. I have to make that time. Yeah, it can happen. You can talk about it all day long, but until you make it happen, you’re not helping your family heal or grow together. Nothing’s more important. I don’t care. At the end of the day, what bills do we, you know, what money is going out on the bank account. It’s nothing to go walk this, the shoreline of the Lake and throw a Pullman with your kid or you know it, you have to make it happen. And until I sat in prison for that many years looking out the window going, man, I missed all these things, I probably wouldn’t have thought of it that way. If I can share that opinion and change a vision, then that’s what we’re here to do.
Sonia Gomez: Well, I’m just being in this, just being in this interview, like I’m so super motivated and inspired, like the mentality shift. I am one of those people who absolutely love what I do and it can be overwhelming. I quite literally get a message every three seconds with a million followers, 350,000 subscribers. You know, like there’s times, there is not a moment in the day where I don’t get and I’m so compelled to help. Like, I personally reach out and I’m over here messaging and you know, so my kids are like, Hey mom, you know what about me? And I really have to be more conscious about spending the dedicated time. And so I’ll start, started to like turn my phone off on the weekends and you know, from this time to this time on Friday and Monday, I’m not available. And really taking more time to be with them because it’s those little things that make all of the big efforts every day worth every minute, you know, and to those people who are aspiring entrepreneurs listening in on this.
And this is a perfect time. I, you know, I always try and give you guys little tips and tricks that you can use to get started in this space or start to evaluate your entry point. And last in our last episode we talked with deshita about, you know, knowing your, knowing your avatar and the problem that you want to solve. Um, understanding what products and delivery systems are going to be most effective and really having a business model that allows you to live the life that you love instead of the other way around. But I want to add some things onto that because it’s important for you to know in your consideration of starting your business that if you are not passionate and purposeful about what you’re doing, the profits are not going to turn out or pan out the way that you want them to have, to have passion and a real purpose.
I’ll say it again. People are not buying products. They’re buying people who, your story, your message, your mission, and connecting those things directly to the avatar or demographic that you want to serve. Solving those problems first and falling in love with the people that you are serving is going to take you so much further down the line than somebody who is heavily capitalized and just in this for the money. That is how you build legacy. That is how you build longevity for your company. Um, and for you as an entrepreneur, how to avoid the burnout. Be passionate and purposeful about what you’re doing. Um, any last words, Chris, this is just been such an incredible interview for me to do today. I’m like energized. I love what you guys are doing and I can’t wait to talk more offline about the other things that we are definitely going to be collaborating on.
Chris Martin: No, I just appreciate you. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said legacy. Legacy is what it’s about for us. That’s why we started this. I don’t remember anything about my parents now that they’re gone and I don’t like that it hurts and I want even through the troubles, I want my family to remember what we did, why we did it, because there’s a purpose behind it. This wasn’t about like you said them the duckets. This isn’t about the money. My documentary costs me more money than I had. I really did it for a message. It’s a purpose. My message and purpose to people is just don’t quit. Don’t give up. You can never give up no matter what the circumstances you’re talking to. A guy that did 42 group owns as a kid and moved on to seven different prison yards in six years. I easily could’ve fell victim to anyone of those circumstances and been a statistic, a number of bed space and I chose not to. The world’s a bigger and better place and I want to be a part of it.
Sonia Gomez: Spoken like a true King, big up to your wife and your family. Man. This is a beautiful company that you guys have built, excited to do further collaborations and you to tell your story. Guys, for those of you who are tuning in, check us out on the emeraldcircle.com for more transformational stories from the inside of the hemp revolution. I’m your host, Sonia Gomez, and we’ll see you on our next episode.
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