You will have imposter syndrome for the first year of your startup. I had no idea what I didn’t know, after running the company for a year, I was an expert. No one knows my company better than me.
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 Betsy Scanlan of The Good Patch.
While engaged in an 18-year career in Real Estate, ranging from agent to contractor to investor and property preservation company CEO, Betsy Scanlan acted as the primary caregiver to four family members during their losing battle with cancer and the chief cheerleader to one whose fight is so far successful. From the fear she witnessed at the initial diagnosis to the pain and fatigue brought on by various treatment protocols to the grim courage required to soldier on and finally to the grace she beheld in late night prayers and early morning goodbyes, she was profoundly moved and inspired to participate, advocate and contribute to the important work of using cannabis to alleviate both the agony and the anxiety of those who are suffering.
Ms. Scanlan began participating in the medical cannabis industry as an investor in 2012 through The Arcview Venture Capital Fund. She was the founder and CEO of The Downing Group which was developing OTC products integrating CBD into gels, creams and patches in order to reduce inflammation, pain, fatigue, nausea, anxiety and loss of appetite for those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. In mid 2017, she was contacted by a close friend to help create CBD and Plant based ingredients for the topical patch market. The Good Patch was born. She is also an active investor and participant in the process of gaining legislative approval for the use of medical marijuana in Tennessee.
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 had several family members succumb to cancer and wanted to find a way to lessen their suffering. My initial goal was to create products that would mitigate the side effects of chemo and radiation. While pursuing that goal my sister in law called me to join her and a friend to get in the CBD world and my trajectory changed. I am thrilled she thought of me, we’ve had a blast!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The one thing I have learned from leading, in any capacity, deals with ego or the loss of one’s ego. It’s like being a parent — there is no more “me” it is about this entity that is totally dependent on you to provide its every need.
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?
I have made so many mistakes on this journey and most of them weren’t funny. However, on one trip to the West Coast, I was so tired that I rubbed tincture on my face thinking it was face serum and my partner Kelly looked across the table and commented on how strange my complexion looked. We laughed so damn hard. We try to be on top of everything, but sometimes it’s not possible! Of course, this was after we had been traveling nonstop. The lesson learned — look at labels!
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We are constantly working on new and exciting products. Usually, our customers reach out and ask us to create something they wish they had. That is usually the genesis of our products, and all our products aim to help people with life’s everyday ailments.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My husband, Bill, he is a husband extraordinaire! Anytime I, or the company, needed someone to do something he was always there! Once we needed a PO in an emergency, so he got in his car and drove all day and night to get it to the warehouse — I’ll always be grateful for all his help.
Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
The CBD industry is notorious for having to be clever regarding social media. I would love to be able to have a level playing field with other industries but we just aren’t there yet! If anyone has anything to offer, I am all ears!
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
I get really excited about new products, delivery mechanisms and what new discoveries are happening in research.
Research into Cancer and Cannabis — those results I believe will be momentous in years to come.
This plant is amazing, we know just a fraction of its potential, I can’t wait to see what transpires in the future.
One of the most disconcerting issues is the delay of the rules and regulations we have all been waiting for from the FDA. Shady players concern me, they can be detrimental to the whole industry.
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) You will have imposter syndrome for the first year of your startup. I had no idea what I didn’t know, after running the company for a year, I was an expert. No one knows my company better than me.
2) Educate yourself with all things financial: board meetings, terminology: preferred stock, common stock, cap tables, contracts, liquidation preferences etc. Early on an investor walked up to me and started a conversation and asked what our cap table looked like; I had heard of a cap table but not much other than that. My response was a mumble. Since then, I understand what a Cap table is and know that it’s no one’s business unless they are in due diligence with a serious term sheet.
3) 1 Startup year in Cannabis = One Dog year = 7 human years — no explanation needed
4) Watch out for the unscrupulous. I learned this one in the school of hard knocks! I got into the business in 2017 and a large majority of players were conmen/conwomen. Lesson learned: keep my mouth shut and listen. Watch what people do and not what they say. If you are around long enough, you know who lands in which category: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!
5) Follow your own True North. Everyone will have an opinion on how to do something better than you. Remember no one knows your business better than you
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Have a quick weekly update where everyone can talk about updates (hits/ misses). This keeps everyone connected in this remote and isolated world. Face to face as much as possible and always be available.
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. 🙂
Already done- Pay it forward- regardless of the context or business!
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