In this episode of The Hemp Revolution Podcast, we are following the story of Jake Williams, a cannapreneur who has been in the industry for over 15 years growing, formulating products and educating people about cannabis.
Jake personally experienced the incredible power of cannabis in managing the pain caused by multiple sports injuries when he was in college. He also witnessed how cannabis helped his mother when she was going through cancer. In return, he decided to go full-pledged with this plant.
Join us as Jake shares the obstacles he faces in trying to get his business started, things that he’s most afraid of and most grateful for being in this industry, and some inspiring words of wisdom.
There’s a lot of slices of the pie still out there so instead of stomping on your competitor, why don’t you work with your competitor to actually build each other up right now. – Jake Williams
Some Topics We Discussed Include
1:54 – Jake’s background pre-cannabis and how he ended up in the cannabis industry
4:38 – About his business and its focus
6:43 – The obstacles he faces in trying to get started and raise sales
12:16 – How much time and money he invested in getting his brand going
14:57 – Key pieces of advice to the listeners
23:04 – What Jake is most afraid of and most grateful for being part of this business
26:33 – Where to find them
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with Jake Williams
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up, guys? Sonia Gomez coming to you from Denver, Colorado. Super excited to be here on another episode of The Hemp Revolution Podcast, where we are sharing and telling the stories of the entrepreneurs who are pushing this incredible industry forward. It is our mission to help you understand the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make empowered decisions about how you want to care for yourself, the people that you love, conditions you may be suffering from, or helping you build a successful business inside of this incredible and very exciting and yet kind of challenging industry.
Today we are going to be following the story of an entrepreneur who has been around cannabis for over 15 years growing–product formulation, RSO or Rick Simpson Oil, education and CBD farming, as well as being a brand owner. Our guest today has seen and done quite a bit in his years involved with the canna hustle. Ladies and gentlemen, help me welcome our good friend, Jake Williams. What’s going on, Jake? How’s it going?
Jake Williams: Well, Sonia, I appreciate it. Thank you for having me on here. I love discussing anything canna related. So I look forward to this.
Sonia Gomez: Okay, awesome. Well, let’s dive right into– let’s dive right into the meat of it. Why don’t you share a little bit with us about your background pre cannabis and how you ended up in the cannabis industry.
Jake’s Background Pre-cannabis and How He Ended up in the Cannabis Industry
Jake Williams: Absolutely. So really, what started with me was finding a different method to help my pain and issues. I went to multiple sports injuries in my freshman year of college. That’s what kind of stopped me from going in, and playing football in college was due to my shoulder injuries and my knee injury, torn ACL, multiple dislocations on my shoulder, had major shoulder surgery, have two anchors that are drilled into my shoulder joint that prevented from dislocating. That’s when I was 18 going on 19, and the doctor described me tons of pain meds, and I just realized from the first two weeks 10, I’m like yeah, this is not going to do well. I didn’t feel well. I was lethargic. I just wasn’t living a quality life. I grew up in Northern New Mexico, right out to Colorado. So, cannabis was kind of always around, and I did consume it, and I knew this plant has a reason it makes me feel better, and I knew that it was a reason for this plant to be around.
So after realizing that actually helped me out with my pain and just quality of life, and this was in the early to thousands that I just decided to kind of go full fledge with this plant and find out where it would take me to help other people and to hear other people to see through the years how it’s helped them in their struggles from everything that they’ve been on prescription pills to cancer meds to even my mom going through cancer and her chemo, how we helped her with her cannabis. Just to see it firsthand effect, how it helps people that it doesn’t matter what the government reports say or any of their studies.
I know firsthand how it truly helps people and to be a part of this and not to be in my office and my real estate building, in my cubicle working, I would still rather be out here helping people being around this plant and educating and just being a voice for this plant to help people out and to make a better choice for their body and their quality of life.
Sonia Gomez: Love that. Absolutely. Is your mom still around is she well and today?
Jake Williams: She is. Yes, she is. She’s a lot better, and she still likes her gummies here and there because really makes feel better and I have another friend going through breast cancer right now that I made some Rick Simpson oil for and I check in with her about once a week, once every two weeks just to see how she’s doing. And she even says it’s amazing how much it helps her sleep. And when you’re going through chemo, you could go up and down, up and down. But with her being able to sleep, that’s when your body repairs itself is during sleep, so she’s able to get her sleep and really just get that energy back that she needs during her day.
Sonia Gomez: Nice love that, and well congratulations. I’m so happy that she’s still around and doing well. I’d love to hear a little bit more in detail. Because I know that in the cannabis space, you’re covering quite a few bases, so why don’t you share with us your brand your business and what your guys’ main focus is?
About His Business and Its Focus
Jake Williams: Absolutely. So my brand– we have a couple of brands we’re just getting started right now. One is the Yellow Jacket Company, which represents our farm in Yellow Jacket, Colorado, within the South Park Southwest part of Colorado. And we really focus on kind of full-spectrum really want to have that full cannabinoid profile for every person to have their tinctures or muscle rubs, their lotions and we’re gonna be offering some honey. We have some honey boxes out here on a box this year on our farm that we partnered with. So we have a bunch of honey that we want to do too.
And then also we have a THC free brand, RE-CBD for repair, recover restore because there are people that do want that THC-free that due to a drug test or a job. And I know it’s hard telling people that yes, it is THC-free. And you do definitely have to explain to them the difference between an isolate product and a full spectrum and so that they’ll know.
And also we’re working on two tattoo aftercare products that I’ve worked– we kind of work on task 8-9 months on talking to multiple artists, and also just the individual people with tattoos kind of what they’re looking for. And we’re getting ready to come out with a new brand called CBD Ink. And we’re going to have a petroleum jelly product kind of like an Aquaphor because a lot of people do like the Aquaphor and then also we’re gonna have a lotion.
Sonia Gomez: Nice.
Jake Williams: Beyond that, we are a farm. We grow here in Colorado, which is a perfect climate for hemp, and then we partnered with a lab all the way North Carolina, but it’s a wonderful up and coming lab, cannabis labs. And they wanted Colorado specific hemp. So we partnered with them to kind of really grow our brand other than doing the biomass, but we actually get the oil, because we want to use that oil in our products and also sell it retail and wholesale throughout the country and also the world.
Sonia Gomez: Yes, nice. Share with me a little bit about the challenges that you are facing as a new company in the hemp market. We know that there’s a ton of saturation right now as far as brands go. And a lot of companies who are developing products or looking on how they can move their product distribution online, share with me a few of the challenges that you’re up against right now and trying to get started and increase sales for your brand.
The Obstacles He Faces in Trying to Get Started and Raise Sales
Jake Williams: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we’re just a little guy in the space compared to like you said, there’s so many people coming on and companies and brands, and then there’s some big companies–
Sonia Gomez: Little people are people, too.
Jake Williams: Yes. Let’s say like Mile High Labs, they have a pretty good grip on the industry, and now they’re offering let’s say their wholesale or their private label brands.
Sonia Gomez: Yes.
Jake Williams: Whereas anybody could call them and get their tinctures or muscle rubs and just put a label on it and sell it. So we compete with everyone in the market, which is fine because competition really brings out the best in brands and companies and just the products themselves.
Sonia Gomez: Yes
Jake Williams: But first and foremost, we’re located in Southwest Colorado, so not even hemp-related, just in general life-related. Everything’s harder to get out here in Southwest Colorado. It takes longer for trucks to get here so getting anything from dirt to equipment to anything just takes longer to get out into [00:07:42 inaudible]
Sonia Gomez: Yes
Jake Williams: We’re not like Denver, you’re right I25 and I70, so it’s easy to fast. And now where we are, it always takes a couple of days to get things out here, but more as even hemp related. Yes, it’s a very emerging industry. There’s a lot of people jumping in, and my– distribution is the main thing. Yes, I could have products. What makes my product unique compared to all the other ones, so that’s kind of where I’m going to be kind of gearing towards is the tattoo industry right now. Just because to me CBD, inflammation, skin repair it goes hand in hand with that so I really just want to kind of maybe focus in on that little part of the industry, go to trade shows because yes, I can go to CBD trade shows, but there are hundred other booths carrying the same thing as me. So I’m going to plan on going to some tattoo trade shows coming up because there’s going to be hundreds of booths, but yet I might be the only CBD aftercare product that has a booth right then.
So at least want to kind of want to jump in early. I think that’s the key to this is kind of getting in early and trying to get your market share and really just trying to build that that brand and also customer service and having a really solid product and really be geared towards the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant and not geared towards profit. So that’s kind of my thing is really focused on the product itself and also the people how we could benefit their life because you’re really bringing value to them. If you bring them a product that increases their life or makes them better, you’ve already brought them value to their lives.
If you bring them a product that increases their life or makes them better, you've already brought them value to their lives. - Jake Williams Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: I have to 100% agree with you on that. So going into trade shows and tagging into a market that may not have such a saturation as a really good strategy. I’ve talked to a lot of brands, who are leveraging the trade show and trying to find related industries to start a featuring app because you go to a farmers market or you go to anyone of these trade shows that are industry-specific. There’s 10,000 me-too products out there. And everyone right now is looking for the key differentiator. So I’m talking to hundreds of retail store owners. I’m talking to hundreds, if not thousands of brands and business owners, and the biggest challenge right now is standing out in a noisy marketplace and then also being able to effectively market online. Do you think that most of your distribution is going to be happening on or offline?
Jake Williams: I think in the beginning it is going to be online due to we’re just launched our website is just getting ready to get launched, we’re going to be started doing $300 a month in paid ads and just to see if we can bring in something like that. But I do anticipate bringing in a lot of more business offline just by going to those trade shows and getting those business to business relationship started and just word of mouth. Hopefully, we’ll start to take it off versus just doing an online platform and putting something live and helping funnels or traffic, and things will come your way.
I believe it’s a two-fold you need to do all of it you need to do that you need to do the business to business or the peer to peer and really just build everything organically. Whereas other brands already have that, the cash flow or just that market viability where they can market themselves already out there versus just someone starting out at the bottom up. So we plan on doing both, and I do see more coming online. Through my cannabis experience through the years, a lot of it is word of mouth right now through people I know and things.
I do hope to add more value with search engine optimization, and when we go to events tagging photos on your website to that event and to that city so Google will find that tag and will relate you to someone’s search engine that searching you in that same area. And it’s really, yes. It’s just building that brand from the bottom up, and doing both of those is kind of what we’re going to be focusing on.
Sonia Gomez: I have a lot of brands in the business and let me know if you don’t want to show your underwear, it’s totally fine. But I want to ask anyway, I have a lot of folks who are watching the industry watching the business, they’re wanting to get started, but don’t really understand how capital intensive it can be to get started. Now, there’s some businesses who’ve started with $1,000, then our white labeling product and doing all of their distribution online. There’s others who invested 10s of thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started here. What for you was a startup capital to get to where you are right now? How much time and how much money do you have invested in getting this brand going? And again, you can answer that, or you cannot answer that. But we like to ask what color underwear you’re wearing.
How Much Time and Money He Invested in Getting His Brand Going
Jake Williams: Yes, yes. Well, that’s the easy part because, to me, starting the brand was on the cheaper side compared to starting a farm where we had to go buy land and equipment and things. But for me starting the brand, I had about $5,000 wrapped up into the beginning from hiring product designers or label designers and thinking of ideas and going back and forth. A lot of the product formulation has been done on me for my terpenes–what we use in our muscle rubs, to also our tinctures. A lot of that was kind of done in house and just playing around with stuff on kind of low budget, and just once we figured out what we liked, but yes, in the beginning, I had about $5000 wrapped up into just to get started.
So, if you’re talking on the farm, there’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in that, too. So it’s twofold, if it’s just for a brand person, I think minimum, someone should invest at least $5,000 to work with on the minimum. Yes, people say 40 to 50, absolutely. It’s just what you have to work with. I think you could still make something great off of $5000. If you’re starting in, especially if you’re in the city, let’s say like Phoenix, where you have a population around you. I think you’re able to work without a lot better than just a small town, anywhere else, because you don’t have that foot traffic or all those extra storage you could reach out to. So, at least for me, yes, it was $5000.
Sonia Gomez: Okay, awesome. Love that. In this segment of the show, we love to share some words of wisdom. And as I mentioned, there’s a mixed bag of people who are listening to the show. That’s right, listeners. I just called you a mixed bag. Don’t hate. But literally, there’s a good group of folks from all different walks of life, all different levels of experience who listen to our show, perhaps some of them want to get involved with the industry but are walking cautiously because they don’t want to hit any snags.
I was speaking with my dad last night, and he was like– he’s from Argentina, so he’s got this thick accent, which is just the best thing ever. “Because you know, Sonia in life, there’s a lot of traps in the road.” Like, yeah, there are traps in the road. And the people who are listening to us, they want to make sure that they avoid as many of those bear traps as possible while they’re cruising down the line. Likewise, for brands that are already established, or maybe a few miles down the road, are trying to figure out how to break certain glass ceilings or just need that word of encouragement to stay on track when they feel like they want to jump ship. So I would love to hear from you. What are some pieces of advice that you could offer our listeners that might help them troubleshoot any of the challenges that they’re up against, or perhaps gain the confidence that they need to get started in the industry?
Words of Wisdom
Jake Williams: Absolutely. And that’s a great thought because with this being such a new industry, there are pitfalls. There are so many traps I could go into, and I have a farm two miles away from me that planted 70 acres worth of plants that they partnered with the place that I thought they were getting feminized plants come to be there were just regular plants. 50-50 that males and females, and we’re here beginning of December, and they still have 60 acres worth of plants out in their field. They didn’t even chop it or anything. We lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. So first and foremost is know who you partner with. If you’re a brand or if you’re a farm, know who is in that circle of sphere that’s with you. Who are you partnering with? Know who you’re dealing business with. Ask for referrals. If you’re talking to a consultant, ask them for 5-10 other farms that they work with, so you could actually call them and ask them but really know who the people you work with.
First and foremost, I also have a vision and mission or a mission and vision statement. So in times you do come back, and you feel lost, you could go back to your mission and vision statement and reread it, and really, maybe you’ll realign you on your thoughts or how you feel. And also, this is cannabis, and this is a plant, and yet it is still so new. And there’s not a lot of studies out there to exactly tell us what it is good for. We, as humans know, this is a good plant. So you need to realize that this is for health and medicine, and really have that in your alignment that you’re here to help people and that you want to help people. Yes, this is capitalism here in America; everybody has a right to make a profit. Absolutely. But still, know that at the heart of it that you’re here to help people to make their life a better quality of life.
Even at me at the end of the day when I hear some of the stories that have helped– I have a gentleman in his, I think the late 60s that’s diabetic, and he’s had these skin issues, and when he started taking this tincture and as high as full spectrum lotion that I would make them, it cleared up the skin instantly. And it just seems like I’ve been on medications for 20 years trying to do this, and your lotion that you made me cleared it up in months.
Just to kind of revalue, hear those stories, and maybe even pass those stories on. I plan on doing some, some digital marketing but also some digital content with some of these actual stories and get them on the website so people can hear because I knew there was a report that came out last week that said, the FDA said CBD could be toxic to the liver, or there was something along those lines, but it seems like there’s more negative stuff that comes out about cannabis than positive. And then you realize, oh, it comes up from a government-funded agency or things like that.
You really got to understand where things come from. Whereas if you’re doing business with or also if you’re looking at a study definitely know where anything is that coming from and again, it’s really teamwork. Team to me stands for together everyone achieves more. So if you align yourself with people that are gonna bring you up and make you better as you can provide them something, too, it’s a success by numbers. So if you could align yourself with the right people, I think that is going to be key for someone starting off just right now in the industry, that let’s say is coming from a marketing background or even just a growing aspect of an alfalfa farmer. If you align yourself with the right people in that sector of the industry you’re going to deal with, I think, will add to your success.
Sonia Gomez: Wonderful. I mean, literally badass, I love it. Okay, let’s see what kind of value I can piggyback on because that’s some pretty good stuff right there. Number one, I’ll say for those of you guys who are just getting started or who are a little bit further along in your business, this is a blanket statement that applies to everybody. You don’t know what you don’t know. I come across this in my own business all the time, where I’m having to reach out to folks who are further ahead than I am, who have accomplished things that I have not yet accomplished. What I’m finding out is that the theory of something versus the actual putting it into practice are two very different things.
The theory of something versus the actual putting it into practice are two very different things. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
And it’s tough to navigate your way through unchartered territory. So if you haven’t achieved a certain level of success, or you haven’t tested or tried a specific strategy in your business, or you’re trying to implement a new tactic, it’s really, really important for you to have a mentor. Really invest into your mentorship and your coaching and your consulting.
I absolutely get the credentials, but having that person, even if you keep them on retainer to call during those tough moments where you’re like, “Hello, I’m getting ready to do this business.” or “I’m getting ready to make this partnership. What do you think about this?” or “Have you ever done, X, Y, and Z, and what were the results?” Just having that sounding board of somebody who can listen to you as the leader is so super important.
There’s two different kinds of leaders. There’s the teaching teacher and the leading learner and you as the leader in your business, whether you’re a two-man team or a one-man show, you really have to invest into having that access to those higher-level people who have made it a little bit further down the line and can bring the value that you need to make those quantum leaps in short periods of time.
The second thing that I’ll say is that time is money. So the more time that you take time to figure it out on your own, the more money you’re going to spend, and potentially waste. Again, trying to navigate something on your own. There are thousands of very smart people in this industry who can support you getting to where it is that you want to go. And sooner than later, we are going to find ourselves in a situation where we have to adopt the mentality of together as one, all for one and one for all.
How you do business is going to affect the way that I’m able to do business. And it’s going to affect the way that this industry is being viewed from the outside looking in. So it’s really important that we as an industry decide and hold each other accountable to be operating at a certain level of professionalism and adopting the good practices from other successful industries and applying it to our own.
And then the final thing that I will say is that this is a numbers game. There’s no secret sauce. There’s nothing new. There’s no new ideas. There’s only ways that you have to innovate what’s already in existence in order to survive and thrive in this space. So my recommendation to you is to find the capital, the resources, the team, and the time to apply yourself to situations where you can be in front of the most numbers. And if you get in front of 100 people, 10 of them are bound to buy, right? If you get in front of 1000 people, 100 of them are bound to buy. Whether you’re on or offline, this is a numbers game.
This is a numbers game. There's no secret sauce, there's nothing new, there's no new ideas, there's only ways that you have to innovate what's already in existence in order to survive and thrive in this space. - Sonia Gomez Click To Tweet
So get your resources together and make sure that everything that you’re doing is putting your brand and your product in front of as many people as possible, so that you can generate consistency in your sales and more importantly, build brand recognition, trust, and respect with the consumers who are following you. Those are my words of wisdom.
Jake Williams: I like it, I like it, and to piggyback too, it’s kind of like the 80/20 rule. If you’re familiar with that.
Sonia Gomez: I am.
Jake Williams: You know, 80% of the business is done by 20% of the companies, and through the years, it will come to be where the cream will rise to the top, and you want to be a part of that cream. Whereas if you do the things that you just listed out, that will absolutely help you with success.
Sonia Gomez: What do you most grateful for being in this business. I’m going to ask this as a two-fold question. I’d love to know what you’re most afraid of as a business owner, knowing how quickly the times are changing, but then I’d also like to ask you the question, what are you most grateful for being a part of this business?
What Jake Is Most Afraid of and Most Grateful for Being Part of This Business
Jake Williams: For sure, we’ll all just do the worst one first, you know, the negative comment. Of course, what I fear is losing everything. Let’s say if– you know, even this year, we had a late plant, and we didn’t produce as much as we wanted, but we still had a successful year for year one here at this property. So definitely, losing it all is my number one fear, but sometimes you let that fear spark in your ass, and it gets you to work.
But really what I’m grateful for is everything is from my family through all this to really bring it in because we’re a dynamic family business out here with my dad, my stepdad, my mom. We have all the workers that I brought on to actually knowing the people that we help is really what I’m thankful for because this plant has a reason to be on this earth. This plant has been here since before biblical times. This plant is here for a reason and for us to finally be able to get some of the handcuffs taken off and for everyone to work with it and really realize, and I look forward to where it’s going in the future because I’m a big proponent of THC and, and all other cannabinoids so I can’t wait until– it’s easier to really expand my farm and my business and other brands just not from CBD or CBG or other cannabinoids, but also THC because there are clinical studies to show how THC shrinks tumor cancer growth.
So to me, it’s just I just can’t wait to really work with the world because this is a worldwide product and I look forward to next year and the year after and into the brands to start to grow because talking to other people and seeing their brands and it just makes everybody like you say work together. Like I said, teamwork or team stands for together; everyone achieves more. So if people aren’t, you know– if two brands instead of fighting against each other, they can somehow realize how they can work together. I think that’s where it’s going to go in the future where everyone’s working together to really build this since it’s so new. That’s kind of I think, that mindset where everyone has to have is, let’s work as a team. There’s a lot of slices of the pie still out there so instead of stomping on your competitor, why don’t you work with your competitor to actually build each other up right now. So that’s what I look forward to
Sonia Gomez: love that, I absolutely love that. Well, I’m so grateful for the work and the time that you’re putting into building your brand. I love the small-town vibe of the brands– the brands that are coming from the small town vibes are always have a place in my heart because I come from the old school of the industry and I really believe that the folks who have been out in the hills doing this for a long time, 15 to 20 years deserve the opportunity to succeed here because they’re most familiar with the plant and what it’s actually capable of. So really super grateful for that and excited to continue to celebrate your success and even contribute to your success. Now that we are in contact, I think if you continue to support you and really excited to be working collaboratively to raise awareness around your brand. Can you share with our audience where they can find more about you or your brands?
Jake Williams: Yes, other than Facebook which is my name is Jacob Williams, my website is yellowjacketCBD.com, and that is yellowjacketCBD.com, and it’s just about to get launched where I’ve been adding more pictures, more products, we’re going to have some more interactive videos coming up this wintertime, and then next spring and summer. We’ll have updated videos of the procedures of the plants growing and everything, so I look forward to adding more content to the website.
Sonia Gomez: Amazing. You guys heard it here yellowjacketCBD.com is where you can check them out and all of their products. Check out Jake Williams on Facebook, and you will continue to hear more as that they are growing on their internet at least we will be continuing to check in and check up on these thriving businesses that you guys are getting exposed to here on The Hemp Revolution Podcast. I am so super excited to be in service to every single one of you guys who are listening and whether you’re a business owner or a brand ambassador or perhaps just somebody who loves the CBD and cannabis products and movement.
Thank you so much for being a part of this incredible community. If you are looking for brands that you can depend on to deliver the results, check us out at medicalsecrets.com and if you are a business or budding entrepreneur looking how to break through the glass ceilings and accelerate your success in the fastest growing industry in the world, check us out at theemeraldcircle.com we are happy to help. Any last words take before we finish today’s interview?
Jake Williams: No, I appreciate it. I always love chatting with fellow canna people, and especially when it comes to brands and marketing. It’s so new in this industry because cannabis has always been illegal. It’s always been meeting your friend in a parking lot or something like that. But now that it’s coming on legal and where the brands and packaging and everything is going to be taking off, I look forward to talking to you in the future and getting feedback and things like that.
Sonia Gomez: Remember when you had to tell your mom that you’re like, “I’m gonna just go get a slushy at 711” and like, come back–
Jake Williams: My mom was like, make sure [00:28:40 unintelligible]
Sonia Gomez: No slushy and red eyes.
Jake Williams: [00:28:45 unintelligible]
Sonia Gomez: I know, I know. So funny. Thanks so much for being on the show. And for those of you guys who are tuning in, I’m your host with the most Sonia Gomez, and this is The Hemp Revolution Podcast. We will see you guys on our next show, guys, thanks so much for tuning in.
Jake Williams: Thank You.
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