5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a CBD Business: “There is very little knowledge about CBD” with Shelly Schneider and Fotis Georgiadis
Spreading knowledge about the products and educating customers will be a full time job. There is very little knowledge about CBD or what it does or how to find quality products. You will have to provide that information to people multiple times.
As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Shelly Schneider, President of 113Solutioncbd.com, an e-commerce company that provides only the highest quality products to take the guesswork out of shopping for CBD. She runs her business, loves to spend time with her children and husband, and loves living the life that she and her husband have created through purpose and hard work. She also loves to keep life as close to natural as she can and grows a large vegetable garden which is canned for winter, keeps bees and chickens, and makes homemade bread, wine, and cheese.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I became interested in CBD when a friend posted on social media that it had helped her lower her cholesterol by 50 points. I am a skeptic by nature but needed to get my cholesterol down so I contacted her and bought a bottle of tincture. After taking it daily for a week I noticed that my anxiety and panic attacks were gone. After a few months I stoped having endometriosis pain. If you know anyone with endometriosis, this is a huge deal. I became excited about these products and what it could offer. Upon doing more research I found out that the CBD market is similar to the wild west right now. It is really difficult to find a trust worthy product. This made me decide to start my own company so that I could offer high quality, 3rd party lab tested, hemp based CBD products that people could trust. We built 113solutioncbd.com based on our high standards of quality and wanting to make shopping for CBD easier.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I have had so many things happen since starting this company that it is hard to pick just one to talk about. The thing that I have found most interesting is that there is very little education on these products out there yet. This means that when I try to discuss my CBD business with people they either think I am a drug dealer or get very excited. I have found that people I would have never thought would be interested in CBD products are the most excited and some people that I thought would be interested are not. It is about finding your market and niche I guess. This also applies to other businesses that are or are not willing to work with me.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Right now, the only funny mistake I can think of was NOT funny when it happened. My developer had asked that I follow a link to purchase a plugin for my website. When I did that, everything was going great until I accidentally added my email address with an extra “A” after the @ symbol. When I realized my mistake and that it would mean never actually getting the link to download the plugin, I freaked out. I cancelled half of my order, sent the company an email, started a chat session, and messaged my developer all within 5 minutes. This resulted in me making everything much more complicated than it needed to be. My developer called and spoke to me about the incident. I learned that I need to take a deep breath and wait 30 minutes before reacting. Everything does not need to be done right this minute. Sometimes, it is better to sit back and reflect first. I’m just glad that I learned that lesson before it cost me more than a lecture from my developer.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
I am working on a giving back campaign where I donate to a charity each month. I am very passionate about helping foster children and want to continue doing so through my business. I am hopeful to have the campaign up and running with in the year. It is important that 113 Solution gives back to the community because it is my passion to have a conscientious and caring company.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My biggest helper has been my husband, Nic. He has stood by me through the entire journey and I would not have gotten this far without his support. There are days when I feel like I have done everything wrong and want to throw in the towel and he kindly points out that this is the journey of an entrepreneur. My office is based out of my house and he also works from home so we have had many days where I bounce ideas off of him. He is like my coworker in some ways since I don’t have the usual office staff around me all of the time. For example, on a particularly hard day when I was first getting started I was overwhelmed. No one tells you all of the fine details you have to figure out when starting a business, and it can be hard. I had no idea where to start. Nic stepped in and helped me get moving. He helped me keep my eyes on the prize and reminded me that if it were easy there would be a lot more people doing it. He likes to tell me that if I don’t feel like I’m going to fail then I am not doing anything worth taking a chance on.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
The reason that the industry is so creative with marketing is because it has to be. None of the standard marketing methods are allowing cannabis based businesses to advertise. That means that you cannot place ads on most social media, google, radio, etc. You have to be creative and dynamic to get the word out or you don’t get noticed. I am constantly trying to up my creative game. Some days, I think that it would be great if someone would just take my money. I am sure that there are a lot of other ways I could be marketing that I have yet to discover as well.
Large legacy companies don’t face as many hurdles with marketing but they could benefit from thinking outside the box a bit more as that is where a lot of today’s marketing is headed.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
I think that this industry is exciting. We are sitting at the edge of a big movement that is just taking off and has so much potential. It is amazing to be a part of. However, there is still a lot of groundwork yet to be laid. It is also exciting to watch the public learn about CBD and then seeing customers find relief with the products. It is great, especially when they had been on pain pills that didn’t work or had no source relief before CBD. It is exciting getting to dig further into the industry and meet new people and network. I love learning more about what CBD is, how it can help, and the science behind it. It excites me that there are new research studies being done to see what the full range of benefits could be. This will help in so many ways, it is great.
It is concerning that laws are changing very quickly and you have to stay abreast of the new changes which can be difficult if you are a smaller sized company. It is also concerning that there is so much, well let’s just say so much mis-representation in the CBD industry right now. It makes it so hard for those of us that are trying to sell quality products when companies come in with products that are not what they claim to be and mislead customers. It makes it even worse as most customers don’t have much education on CBD to begin with so these companies have easy prey. I also worry about educating people on these products and how to be safe with them. I always tell people to check with their health care professional before starting any new supplement. I feel that you need to be safe with what you put into your body and I want others to make informed decisions.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Companies will not want to work with you. You will have a hard time finding an accountant, bank, web hosting, etc when starting this business. Even the SBDC turned me away and I live in Michigan.
2. When you do find service providers, they will give you a lot more hoops to jump through than a lower risk business. For example, our SSL gave us a very hard time when they tried to verify we were a real company. We were listed with our state as a company, we had a letter from our lawyer, we got a DUNS number and still they gave us a hard time. I never expected to have so much trouble.
3. Your family and friends will call you a drug dealer. You will have to explain it over and over again that, no, you are not a drug dealer. You do not sell marijuana even though they are both members of the cannabis family, they have different laws and guidelines for businesses.
4. You can’t advertise. No one wants your money. Not social media advertisers, not google, not your local radio.
5. Spreading knowledge about the products and educating customers will be a full time job. There is very little knowledge about CBD or what it does or how to find quality products. You will have to provide that information to people multiple times.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
You need to build a culture that works for your company. People stay with a company or leave based on the culture. It is so important. Treat them like you trust them and value them and they will be willing to treat you and your company in the same way. Even though you are busy, take time to know each person’s name and a little about them. I still remember a past job at a corporation with 5000 employees. The CEO and President both knew my name and remembered things about my life. They even followed up on stuff like asking if my new iPad had come in the mail yet. I wasn’t in management, I was just a standard project manager, but that culture still sticks with me. I think that as you grow it is important to keep that kind of culture alive. That is how you gain loyal employees. Good benefits and pay also help a lot.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
People are going to think that I am nuts but I think we need to all go back to basics a little bit. Step back, reflect. As I age and learn more about what actually matters in life I realize that many of us don’t get to spend our lives in pursuit of that. I want people to know that you can be simple, grow a garden, can your food, have fresh eggs, raise bees, and basically be really self reliant and still be a normal part of our world. You can incorporate giving back to the environment and spending time with your kids outdoors by having them help with the garden and prepping the food for storage. Cleaning the chicken cage. I would love to see more urban gardens and co-ops. I would love to see more suburban gardens and backyard living. I made a conscience decision to shift my life away from what was causing me stress and it has been scary but amazing. My kids are happier, my family is less stressed, we have more quality time together. You also don’t have to worry about organic because you know exactly where your food came from. My kids love going out and looking at the bee hives and getting chicken eggs. It is something I wish more people would do. Go back to nature. Much like anything worth doing, it is scary and hard at first, but just like starting a business it is worth it.
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This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a CBD Business: “There is very… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.