The Hemptress (Kelli Brown) is a entrepreneur, speaker, owner of www.marijuanainfographics.com. She's a talented graphic designer, an active tweeter (17k twitter followers) with a client list as for as the eye can see. Naturally I wanted to know what makes her tick.
The answer apparently is not smoking weed and doing nothing. Of course like any business it takes hard work and focus especially in the ever increasing industry of cannabis. So I reached out to learn a little about how she works.
What does a typical day in your life look like with regards to running marijuanainfographics.com?
I usually wake up around 5:30am and start checking my email, twitter, linkedIn, etc to catch up on what's been happening over night. I respond to anything that I handle quickly and easily. Then I have "mommy work" until 8:30am which is when I'm at my office after dropping off my kiddos at school. From about 8:30-10:30 it's all about emails, proposals, and networking. After that I get busy doing graphics until around 3pm then it's back to the school and my job as Mom. I return to graphic work in the evenings from 8-10pm...then fall into bed ready to start all over again the next day.
Is marijanainfophics.com your first cannabis venture? If not please tell me a little about the others
What events/decisions led you to open your cannabis business?
I was an elementary school teacher for many years. During that time I loved making fun visuals that helped my students understand and remember complicated information. I've also always supported the movement to end cannabis prohibition. When CO went legal in January 2014, I got involved with social media and began posting graphics about cannabis. People seemed to really enjoy my graphics so it just grew from there.
Do you have a mentor? If yes what are some major lessons you learned from her/him.
My husband has helped shape my business skills and the way I handle workflow. He's an amazing business professional and I can always get his opinion on anything that has to do with MarijuanaInfogrpahics.com & business.
Has there been a single event/decision that lead to growth in your company?
No single event other than making the leap from employee to self-employed!
Do you have employees? if so how many?
Most of Marijuanainfographics.com is just me. However, it's growing fast & furious. I have job ads out right now sales, and graphics positions. We are officially hiring and that's really exciting to me.
What type of paperwork was involved when starting your company? i.e. licensing, incorporating etc.
A LOT. Forming the LLC, taxes, business checking account, business office address and all in the South where anything and everything cannabis is still very much frowned upon.
What podcasts do you listen to?
PotStockRadio & Cannabis Marketing Lab
What blogs do you frequent?
I tend to visit more graphic design blogs than anything else. I'm always looking for new ideas and graphics that stand out.
What is your favorite mistake you’ve made while working in the cannabis industry?
Favorite? Hmmm... I once caused a near twitter riot when I posted "Go Ohio!" with an article about Ohio cannabis legislation. I was quickly realized that most of Ohio is NOT in favor of this particular legislation.
What takes up most of your time with mairjuanainfographics.com?
Creating graphics. But it's also the part I enjoy the most.
How long have you been in business with marijuana infographics?
going on 6 months
How do you network? via twitter, going to events?
LinkedIn, Twitter, Email, etc. I also speak at industry events.
How has changing legislation (I.e. legalization of cannabis), affected your business so far?
More and more people are seeing cannabis as a business opportunity and not just a stoner drug. The changing legislation helps bring more businesses looking for great custom graphics.
Was it difficult to get the funding you needed?
Yes, it's hard to get funding in this industry. I've had to self fund everything.
What's your strategy to get clients/sales?
I am very type A and commited to my clients. With me you get the creative type + the business type. I meet deadlines, answer emails, and am 100% professional. That's tough to find in this industry.
Who are your most popular type clients? i.e. dispensaries, cannabis growers?
Mid to large businesses who need their marketing freshened up a bit or business that have a great, yet slightly complicated, product that they need customers to "see" and not just read about.
What were your biggest costs when starting up?
LLC, advertising, website development
what are the absolute essentials for starting a business like yours I.e training, schooling, etc.
Just patience and real desire to be part of this movement
How do you stay organized? What technology do you use? do you have an assistant?
Desktop, laptop, phone, ipad. I'm always checking in and reading up. Trying to stay ahead of the game.
What three things do you need to be successful in your business? What are deal killers for you?
Successful -passion, patience, purpose. Killers - "stoner mentality", lack of drive, poor work ethics.
What advice would you give to others looking to start a business like yours?
Just because it's cannabis doesn't mean it's all smoking pot and chilling. It's pretty much the opposite. Expect to work much harder than you thought and to be happier than you thought.
If you could start all over again what would you do differently?
I would attend more industry events just to meet people. Always a good time and good networking. :)
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