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What Kind of Cannabis Entrepreneur Are You?

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. Find out which approach best fits your style.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

People pursue cannabis entrepreneurship for many reasons: 

  • a sense of pride in business ownership
  • being one's own boss
  • controlling one's schedule
  • making more money 
  • love of the plant

And with the rise of the internet and eCommerce, the traditional barriers to entry are no longer in place. You don't have to own an expensive grow or retail location to make money; you can pursue entrepreneurship by utilizing your experience, not your bank account. 

As individuals of all backgrounds with varying amounts of capital pursue launching their cannabis or ancillary businesses, they may face challenges that can significantly differ in their journey to success. Here are a few different types of cannabis entrepreneur trails.

Related: This Is How To Break Into the Cannabis Business

The Influencer

In the past, you had to be in the movies or on TV to generate a following, but platforms like YouTube and TikTok have now created the opportunity for any entrepreneur to become an influencer. Look at cannabis influencer Koala Puffs who has amassed 723k Instagram followers even amidst strict cannabis posting guidelines. 

But becoming a social media magnate has its risks and issues when involved in the cannabis industry: social media censorship. Platforms have unexpectedly shut down the accounts of many cannabis-related businesses due to strict community guidelines against cannabis.

For this reason, it's best for cannabis influencers to have a presence across multiple platforms so that their income isn't tied solely to one app. Using apps like Linktree to link all of your social media accounts together in your bio helps followers find you on other platforms, increasing your overall reach. Using built-in app features such as Instagram Analytics will help influencers track the app with the most engagement. 

The Visionary 

Some entrepreneurs have a perspective or "vision" that well-established brands or "suits" don't seem to understand, which can cause partnerships and projects to take longer to execute. These entrepreneurs are wildly creative and can often dictate the culture based on their actions, such as fashion, PAX vaporizers, the highly-esteemed Cookies brand, etc. 

This type of entrepreneur benefits from having a thorough business plan that investors can easily understand and shows the brand's added value. Products like QuickBooks offer business plan templates so that you can create your presentation for potential investors. If you need more hands-on assistance, apps like Fiverr provide professional help with various business tasks at a low cost.

The Family Entrepreneur

Often people enter into cannabis entrepreneurship because it's in their blood -- both in THC content and their family trees. Even as children, some families instill the value of creating one's job security through entrepreneurship. Having a family business can be rewarding since the financial benefits can be shared. But mixing family and finances can get complicated due to the complexity of relationships. While using family funds has more benefits than getting a loan from the bank, it is essential to manage all parties' expectations. 

That said, setting clear roles and responsibilities among family members within the business will help ensure operations run smoothly, even if you may have to endure an awkward dinner table conversation here and there. Family members can also have varying degrees of involvement in the business. For example, if someone doesn't plan on working for the company, you can set them up as a chairman of your Board of Directors or even give them a consultant role.

The Career Switch Entrepreneur

Meanwhile, some entrepreneurs start in corporate careers and opt to switch to being in business for themselves within this newly burgeoning industry. This is a popular segway because of the ability to learn skills on the job and perfect them before branching out. Instead of continuing to climb the corporate ladder, they utilize their professional expertise to offer consulting services.

The critical obstacle for those who wish to transition from employee to entrepreneur is to avoid signing non-compete agreements that may hinder the opportunity to start a consulting business. Additionally, keep in mind that non-compete agreements restrict one's ability to become a company's competitor.

No matter one's walk of life and the variables that impact the type of entrepreneur they will be, starting a cannabis-related business is an exciting and attainable venture. Navigating the start-up phase of a business can be challenging. Still, increasing social reach, having a solid business plan, managing investor and employee expectations, and avoiding binding contracts are critical steps to help achieve overall success. With what many call "The Great Resignation" upon us, now is an opportune time to start a small business, with the potential of growing it into something even greater than you had envisioned.