I wish someone told me that I don’t have to have the lowest prices. I’m finding that may people purchase brands and how they are perceived, along with a quality/organic product. Lifestyle brands are doing very well because of the angle they are taking to market their products.
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 Rob Boirun. Rob is the CEO of CBDopolis.com which is an online mall for CBD products for humans and pets. He is also the CEO of PopNet Media LLC out of Huntsville, AL which focuses on Professional Web Design and Digital Marketing.
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?
Glad to be able to share my story, thanks for the opportunity. Basically this career path was placed in front of me and it was a fork in the road type of decision that I had to make. Before starting CBDopolis I was mainly creating websites for clients. One client was a Cannabis grower and mentioned to me that CBD is the next big thing in health. So I started a journey of researching the industry to find out what it was all about. That led me to talking to many top minds in the industry which also led me to really research more about the health benefits and potential side effects of CBD. After all this fact gathering, I started talking to manufactures to find out what really make a good tincture or blend and what to watch out for. The industry is basically the wild wild west at the moment and there are some bad seeds for sure but there are many more good seeds that are growing the best plant they can, having the best extraction methods, as well as high standards to production. So after all this I was armed with enough info to start CBDopolis.com which is essentially a CBD mall where I feature the best CBD manufacturers products at a discount. I’m constantly talking to new manufactures and getting them into our pipeline for testing before we add them to the catalog.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
One interesting story that happened once I started my business happened earlier in my career when I was a ‘DVD Burning Insider’. Back in the day optical recording was all the rage and I found myself immersed in the industry by providing burning apis to Apple and Symantec as well as many government agencies. Out of the blue I was contacted by The Complete Idiots’ Guide book publishers who need a forward and endorsement or one of their Idiots Guide on DVD burning. I was honored to be able to do this.
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?
Circling back to my latest business, when starting CBDopolis I was unaware of payment processing limitations on the CBD Industry specifically. Initially I was taking payments via PayPal, 2 weeks in and all of a sudden the account was shut down because they don’t support CBD transactions. This was a major oversight on my part and this should have been researched. So the lesson learned here (especially in this industry) is to learn, ask, ready, listen to anyone that has already gone before you and are learning the hard way and the right way.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, in addition to growing CBDopolis I have also started a review site at https://reviewster.com and a CBD Directory at www.cbd-directory.com Both of these sites will help the CBD Industry by offering a place to lease reviews and feedback on CBD brands as well as helping people find CBD near them or to reasearch specific CBD brands.
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?
Yes, there are many angles in this industry along with the bad seeds. Starting out its hard to determine who those are. You need to do a lot of networking. I was fortunate enough to find an active Facebook group that is run by Matt Siebert who has something pretty amazing going there. I’ve learned almost everything about this industry from him and a few others that are extremely helpful in helping inspiring CBD entrepreneurs.
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?
Yes marketing in this space is tricky as you can’t currently run ads for CBD products with the exception for a few on some platforms. One of the best approaches to market CBD is to not market CBD. Instead make your advertising campaign around a specific ‘ailment’ or ‘issue’. This way you can advertise without getting banned but still market your CBD product in a roundabout way.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
One thing that is exciting is obviously the jobs that this is and will create. Secondly is the billions in sales that this produces annually which is only to help the economy. Thirdly, if cannabis was legalized that would save billions on law-enforcement costs.
A few concerning things would include the amount of waste currently in the industry. Plastic waste is a major concern that needs to be addressed. Another hurdle is with financing, there are many hoops to jump through currently to get financing in the US which has many restrictions still in place. Lastly, the current laws and regulations are very stifling for people wanting to start a business in the industry. Work still needs to be done on both a state and federal level to ease restrictions.
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) I wish someone told me to get payment process through a provider that deals with ‘restricted industries’. That would have made the process of taking payments much easier. Of course the transaction fees are higher than what you find with a regular payment processor but being able to take credit card payments is worth the cost.
2) I wish I knew beforehand that niching down to your customer segment is a quick way to ‘win’ and a long term play as well. Many people are getting into the industry just to get a piece of the pie. But if there is not a long term play involved then you will be short lived.
3) I wish I was told to join networking groups in my local area. There are strength in numbers and by joining a local group where everyone is involved in the industry in one way or another, you can literally speed up the startup process because of the collective minds that are already doing it.
4) I wish someone told me that I don’t have to have the lowest prices. I’m finding that may people purchase brands and how they are perceived, along with a quality/organic product. Lifestyle brands are doing very well because of the angle they are taking to market their products.
5) I wish someone told me to only work with organic farms. At first I was looking at only pricing, but because this is a medicine, you only want to offer the highest quality you can to your customers. Once you realize that people are using this to feel and get better then I can only feel good sleeping at night if I am providing the best I can find.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Be who you are and offer products that reflect the type of person that you are. If you set out to help cure or alleviate a symptom then let that be your main message across the company. From the top down eat, live, and breathe, your message.
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. 🙂
I would like to create a movement that gets people to look more inward and become more conscious of their selves. This is by not living in your ego but more in harmony with your spirit. We are all bombarded daily in pretty much everything that we do and we need more quiet time to reflect on what we are doing it and why.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Please follow us on Facebook at https://facebook.com/cbdopolis
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!