Start a Side Hustle With Help From These Courses

The ‘Complete Start a Side Business Bundle’ shows you the ins and outs of earning cash from a second job.

2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Relying solely on your 9-to-5 is becoming more of an anomaly every day. In 2018, a survey showed that nearly 4 in 10 Americans earns cash from a side gig — to the tune of an extra $8,000 (on average) per year.

Those side-gig numbers show no sign of slowing down. Employers’ growing reliance on remote workers, plus increasing options for flexible hours at traditional workplaces, make side gigs a good horse to bet on.

If you’re already busy working your way up the ladder at your current gig (or building your own dream empire), you might not have time for side gig trial-and-error. A set of guided courses, like the ones in The Complete Start A Side Business Bundle, can help you quickly forge a successful path. Who knows — your side gig may grow into a full-time gig.

Drop Shipping

Importing and drop shipping are demystified in this bundle’s classes. You’ll learn how to order in bulk from China, set up your own WordPress site, and sell your imports for a profit. The classes also cover marketing for your drop shipping business: you’ll discover how to build email lists that pay off and become fluent in Facebook marketing strategies.

Private Label Products

If you’ve got your own private label product that’s begging for an audience, The Ultimate Guide to Selling Private Label Products will show you how to market and sell your wares to the masses. You’ll go beyond Amazon and eBay stores to build a private empire. Common beginner mistakes, keyword research for your brand and increasing conversions are all covered, too.

Freelancing

Freelancing is a great starting point for side hustlers. The Freelance Client Mastery course shows you how to create an awesome profile on UpWork, one of the world’s top resources for freelance gigs. You’ll also learn how to get quick side jobs on Fiverr, an online marketplace for smaller jobs.

Online Courses

Are you already a master in your current industry? Put your know-how to work by helping others with your own online course. The Ultimate Online Course Creation Blueprint shows you how to film your lectures once and get paid every time someone signs up for your class.

With The Complete Start A Side Business Bundle, explore all of your side gig options now for $29 (98 percent off).

Google Misses Revenue Estimates, Has Worst Day on Stock Market Since 2012

Plus, the tech-heavy Nasdaq falls from its record high.

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The stock market recovered from a sharp drop this morning, but the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.66 percent from a record high yesterday thanks to Alphabet Inc. and other weak technology stocks. The S&P 500 index was up 0.1 percent while the Dow gained 0.15 percent.

The Entrepreneur Index™ fell 0.7 percent with the tech sector being the biggest drag on performance.

Shares in Alphabet Inc. had their worst day since 2012, after the company missed revenue estimates for the first quarter. The stock was down 7.7 percent from a record high on Monday after the internet giant reported results after the market close yesterday.

The drop puts Alphabet’s return for the year at 14.7 percent, the lowest among the FAANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet — formerly Google), that have propelled the ten year bull market forward. The company blamed “product changes in ads” for the shortfall, but didn’t provide further explanation. Wall Street analysts resumed their calls for better disclosures from the company, famous for being one of the least transparent of the major technology companies.

Much of the rest of the tech sector struggled as well. Facebook (-0.71 percent), Amazon.com (-0.61 percent) and Netflix (-0.35 percent) were all down today. Adobe Systems Inc. (1.09 percent) and chip-makers Analog Devices (2.07 percent) and NVIDIA Corp. (0.93 percent) were notable exceptions in the sector.

The REIT sector posted some of the biggest gains on the Entrepreneur Index™ today. Interest rates were down and most of the REIT market responded positively. Essex Property Trust and Boston Properties had the biggest gains among the nine REITs on the index, rising 1.75 percent and 1.65 percent respectively. Mall REIT Macerich Company, however, fell 2.93 percent. With many of its large retailer tenants struggling, Macerich has also struggled. It is down 7.1 percent this year and 30.2 percent in the last twelve months.

Other good gains on the index today included Fedex Corp. (1.52 percent), Chipotle Mexican Grill (1.5 percent), insurer Aflac Inc. (1.33 percent) and Ford Motor Co. (1.26 percent).

Other notable declines included Wynn Resorts (-2.9 percent), Tesla (-1.15 percent) and Simon Property Group (-1.17 percent).

The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.

Taking a Stand Used to Be Taboo in Business. Now, It’s Almost Required.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I started my career in brand management at Johnson & Johnson, a classic packaged-goods marketing organization within a top pharmaceutical company. My first assignment was on Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. I was twenty-six years old and I’d never held a baby in my life. I was very low on the learning curve!

Johnson & Johnson was a conservative company at the time, as were many, and we followed a classic marketing approach driven by insights and fueled by creativity. We typically targeted new moms, and in fact, my thinking was considered radical when I suggested we should consider dad in the equation.

We would never comment on a social or political issue. No way, no how. Why would we risk alienating a portion of our consumer base? Back then, even the slightest move sparked a boycott, and we were terrified of the backlash.

When I took over the marketing lead for Clean & Clear, we were the first Johnson & Johnson brand to advertise on MTV, and several activist groups threatened to boycott. I argued that we were merely reaching our target audience of teenage girls on an entertainment property that they frequented. That was about as far as I could push it — going anywhere any further was taboo.

My, how things have changed! Blame it on the digital revolution, millennials, social media or brands becoming more active in communities. Probably all of the above. 

Whatever the reason, brands are now breaking taboos and taking a stand on social issues that matter.

They partly have no choice, which is funny because I felt like I had no choice to make that sort of stand back in the day. Consumers now want to know where a brand stands on issues that matter to them. They’re looking for brands to make a positive impact on the world. 

Patagonia is suing the government over the protection of public lands. Nike is supporting its athletes in their personal passions, be it social or otherwise. Dick’s Sporting Goods changed its policies about gun sales, after yet another mass shooting. Starbucks is working to address racial bias.

These brands know what matters to their consumers, so they are taking matters into their own hands to have an impact. We’ve never seen this before. It’s always been taboo.

But not every brand should take a stand on every issue. As a brand manager, how do you know where to go?

How to find out what matters.

Look to your consumers, your customers, your employees and any other constituents that matter to you and find what matters to them. Talk to them, follow their social channels, discover their influencers and uncover their concerns. If they are concerned about a particular issue, then you should be too.

I would encourage you to take some meaningful action. Keep in mind that it doesn’t always have to be controversial. To this day, Johnson & Johnson supports careers in nursing because nurses are central to healthcare. NYU grants free tuition to its medical studies to keep the pipeline of medical professionals robust. Countless brands and organizations are working to close the pay gap. Not a lot of controversy in any of those issues, only opportunities for brands to bring about change that matters.

You don’t even have to take a public stand. Understanding a social issue and being conscious about its importance may be all you need to do. That understanding can help shape your overall programming, and just acknowledging the issues may be enough for your business.

Certainly, that can’t be taboo anymore.

New Study Finds People Who Use Marijuana Weigh Less Than Those Who Don’t

The munchies are real but, even stoned, people can choose good food instead of junk food.

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There’s an established mythology very firmly in place when it comes to marijuana and weight: You smoke weed, you get the munchies, you eat stuff that’s usually not the healthiest food in the house, you gain weight.

That’s just a given. So much so that stoner snacks are a focus of Quora topics and popular Google searches. Which makes the findings of a new study somewhat perplexing. It found that those who use marijuana are actually thinner than those who don’t.

Related: How CBD Could Be Used to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Not losing weight but gaining less.

The study, conducted by the University of Michigan, involved a group of study subjects which included both those who used marijuana and those who do not. The results were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Over a three-year period, every participant showed a weight increase. However, “Those who used marijuana had less of an increase compared to those that never used,” said Omayma Alshaarawy, assistant professor of family medicine at Michigan State University and the lead author of the paper, according to Futurity. “Our study builds on mounting evidence that this opposite effect occurs.”

What’s more, the cannabis users in the study were less likely to be obese. Only 15 percent of those who used cannabis were considered obese, compared to 20 percent of those who did not use cannabis.

Related: Marijuana the Feds Allow for Research Is More Like Hemp Than Real-Life Pot

Two-pound difference, on average.

The study found the difference between those who used marijuana and those who did not was, on average, just two pounds. 

The study involved measuring the body mass index of 33,000 people, all over the age of 18. The researchers used data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), which was designed to produce a sample that is representative of the United States population.

Two pounds might not seem like much but, again, it runs contrary to the myth. It also went a little way toward clearing up a contradiction in research

According to the study, “pre-clinical studies indicate increased food intake and weight gain as cannabinoid effects.” However, past “cross-sectional epidemiological studies…indicate lower prevalence of obesity among cannabis users.” The cross-sectional studies — which are observational studies that use data analysis of a representative subset of a population at a specific point in time — seem to have been providing a more accurate result.

Does this mean the munchies are not real? No. The munchies are most definitely real. But maybe having healthy food on hand is something marijuana users are doing more than people previously suspected.

Follow dispensaries.com on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest cannabis news.

How to Help Friends Who Struggle With Self-Confidence

If you or a friend need to get out of a rut, a shift in mindset can make all the difference.

2 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It can be highly frustrating to watch people hold limit themselves due to a lack of self-confidence. But, how can you help them? 

Entrepreneur Network partner Jack Canfield says you should remind others that nervousness and excitement are two sides of the same coin. If someone feels nervous or self-conscious, a shift in mindset can lead that to become excitement and a boost in confidence.

Facing fears is another surefire way to get past seemingly insurmountable barriers. Ask others what is the worst-case scenario, and they will often realize failure will only lead them to where they currently are. 

Click the video to hear more.

Related: Are There Health Consequences for Constant Complaining?

Entrepreneur Network is a premium video network providing entertainment, education and inspiration from successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders. We provide expertise and opportunities to accelerate brand growth and effectively monetize video and audio content distributed across all digital platforms for the business genre.

EN is partnered with hundreds of top YouTube channels in the business vertical. Watch video from our network partners on demand on RokuApple TV and the Entrepreneur App available on iOS and Android devices.

Stuck in a Dead-End Job? Oguz Konar Is Here to Help.

Start your own business, work from home, and become financially independent. Here’s how.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Oguz Konar, founder of Merchant Cash Advance Success Blueprint, which helps growth-minded people become business loan brokers. It was condensed by The Oracles.

What was a defining moment early in your life?
Oguz Konar: When I was 7 years old, my father lost his job as a plumber, leaving our family of four without any source of income. Tired of living paycheck to paycheck, he made the bold decision to move to the U.S., leaving us in Turkey.

My father wanted to build a better financial future for our family so we would never have to experience that again. That decision kept us separated for 11 years. As a result, I grew up with a deep understanding of the importance of financial security.

Share an interesting fact about yourself that not many people would know.
Oguz Konar: I majored in biology and chemistry, so my formal education has nothing to do with marketing, training, or coaching. Most of those who know me don’t know that I published a peer-reviewed scientific research article on crickets’ behavior. It was actually the first time anyone in the scientific community had researched that particular behavior.

Today, the skills I acquired still help me simplify complex topics for everyone to understand.

What excites you the most about your business right now?
Oguz Konar: Watching and helping my customers transform excites me beyond description. I usually meet them when they are in a dead-end job or a business they don’t enjoy, trying to make ends meet financially. They feel like they are stuck and can’t move ahead in life. They need an opportunity to start fresh.

It’s priceless seeing their journey as they reach beyond what they ever dreamed of and gain freedom in terms of their time, location, and finances.

What book changed your mindset or life? 
Oguz Konar: “The Road Less Traveled” by Dr. M. Scott Peck was my first exposure to true human potential. That’s how I realized we are the product of our habits. The book helped shape my belief that we are in control of our destiny and it’s up to our decisions, actions, and commitment to make a change.

When you decide to change your life, your “why” is the most important driver. That motivation is what strengthens your decision and creates the desire to change. Desire leads to actions, which turn into habits, which create results. But it all starts with the belief that you can make a change.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Oguz Konar: Like most people, I have been through many tough times both financially and personally. If I could whisper into the ear of my younger self, I would say, “Don’t doubt your potential. Don’t even think for a second that all this effort is for nothing. Keep pushing and keep building momentum.”

How do you define great leadership?
Oguz Konar: Great leadership is the ability to identify what drives, motivates, and moves your followers so you can help them ignite that fire within themselves.

I enjoy reading the biographies of famous historical figures. One thing they all have in common is their ability to show others what is truly possible. They help others believe in a purpose much bigger than themselves and feel included in the pursuit of that purpose.

How do you evaluate a good business deal?
Oguz Konar: I have started and owned multiple businesses along my entrepreneurial journey. Through my successes and failures, I have learned that a good business deal must have three things.

First, you need a well-thought-out plan with a clear path to sales, profits, and success. Second, you need irrefutable proof that the market wants your offer. Finally, you need a strong product or service that differentiates you from the rest of the marketplace.

What’s your daily routine for success?
Oguz Konar: I wholeheartedly believe that we are creatures of habit. I also believe most of us aren’t truly aware of the habits we have developed over time. Your situation is a result of your habits, so I try to be aware of mine.

My morning starts with 20 minutes of meditation. Then I check our sales, leads, and my personal and business bank accounts. Next, I consult my plan for the day, which I prepare the night before. I don’t check email and social media until I am done with most of the key tasks I need to complete for the day.

In the evening, I seek quiet. I read for an hour and work out one hour before going to sleep.

What are you working on right now?
Oguz Konar: I am working on transforming the alternative lending industry. I am showing people how to start their own business, work from home, and make a difference in their personal and financial lives — even with no prior experience.

It’s difficult for small businesses in the U.S. to raise capital if they want to rely on sources other than their bank, which often can’t help them. By becoming alternative loan brokers, my clients can build great companies quickly and help other small businesses get the capital they need. To me, that’s a win-win opportunity.

What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Oguz Konar: I searched for an answer to this question for years. I thought I’d wake up one day, and the answer would appear in front of me. But that’s not how it happened.

Two years ago, I noticed that great people who make a difference and leave a legacy don’t make it about themselves. They make it about helping others. I want to be known as the person who helped 1 million people start their own successful businesses so they don’t have to work for a paycheck ever again.

Connect with Oguz on Facebook and YouTube or visit his website.

‘Leftover Women’ Documentary Chronicles the Story of China’s Attack on Unmarried Professional Women

China’s gender imbalance — 30 million more men than women — is the reason why being single and older than 27 has become a social crisis.

5 min read

Most Americans are aware of China’s one-child policy, the population-control rule that from 1979 to 2013 sharply limited the number of Chinese births. Less well known outside China is an offshoot campaign currently being run by the government that targets and shames sheng nu (leftover women) for the “crime” of being an unmarried educated professional woman older than 27. 

The systematic disparagement and discrimination these women face is the subject of Leftover Women, an affecting new documentary by Israeli filmmakers Shosh Schlam and Hilla Medalia which had its New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this week.

Related: 4 Mistakes We All Make to Perpetuate Gender Bias

Due to its one-child policy, China today has 30 million more men than women of marriageable age. The government views this gender imbalance as a threat to the social order. In an interview with Entrepreneur, the filmmakers detailed its effects. “One side effect is women trafficking,” said Shosh Schlam. “Another side effect is that more men will not have the traditional role of head of the family,” meaning the opportunity to father children and continue the family name. The government, Schlam said, fears that a glut of unmarried men could cause violence or, worse, that these men might “turn” gay — which is illegal in China and subject to harsh penalties.

Whatever the government’s motive, sheng nu is stigmatizing urban professional women who want to start businesses or pursue careers in law, media and academia as being selfish.

“When these women [from China’s educated class] are growing up, they have a lot of pressure to succeed — to be the best in their class,” said Hilla Medalia. And their parents really push; the whole society pushes them to succeed and go to university. Then they start their career. But then they have to stop everything and get married. Their entire value is based on this one thing.”

Related: Sexist Job Ads Discriminate Against Women in China — Even Specifying Applicants’ Required Height, Weight and Facial Structure

To document the impact, Shlam and Medalia returned to China, site of their first, 2014, collaboration, Web Junkie. They conducted a lengthy search for single women using Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Dozens of women came forward, the filmmakers said, but the vast majority wanted only to discuss their woes with sheng nu off camera, for fear of bringing shame to their families. Ultimately, the filmmakers found and focused on three ambitious and brave Beijing women:

Qiu Hua Mei, age 34, is a lawyer who faces an uphill battle for finding an educated mate given her (socially lower) rural village roots. She is cruelly criticized by her family (“Schooling makes you dumb,” her illiterate father says, expressing regret for having paid her university tuition). In another disturbing scene, a dating counselor tells her, “You’re not beautiful in the traditional sense. You have a tough personality and need to soften yourself.” A prospective match, meanwhile, who’s similarly well educated and similarly from a rural village, announces that once he marries, he intends to be the “dominant” spouse.

Xu Min, 28, is a radio talk show host who lives with an overbearing mother who tells her, “You’re not old. You’re not a ‘leftover woman’ yet.”

Gai Qi, 36, is an assistant professor of film. She does marry and has a daughter during the course of the film, with a husband the filmmakers call “extraordinary” for his social faux pas — marrying a woman older than himself — and for his willingness to follow her to a better job in Guangzhou.

Over the span of three years, Hua Mei and Xu Min are individually followed by cameras as they attend a massive government-sponsored “annual blind date event,” check out a Valentine’s Day dating party and visit a gynecologist’s office (where Hua Mei is told it’s illegal to freeze her eggs). Then there’s the “relationship expert” Xu Min consults, who ends up delving deeply into her emotions. Breaking into tears, she admits that she is so obedient to her mother, she can’t actually date a man her mom dislikes.

A happier note is the joyful wedding of Gai Qi, who tells the filmmakers she was so worried her marriage might threaten her career that, “I was not planning on a happy ending.” That happy ending, however, is short-lived; later in the film, Gai Qi admits she finds marriage boring.

Hua Mei, meanwhile, is the polar opposite. She wants to date, but not marry, she tells her parents back home in their impoverished village. But, after months of sitting alone in desolate bars and getting the third degree from mothers of sons in public parks advertising their sons’ eligibility, Hua Mei gives up: She abandons her home country altogether to study in far-off France: “There are voices all around me,” she tells the filmmakers. “I want to have a life without those voices, just to live my life.

“I could live a wonderful life,” Hua Mei continues. “All this [grief occurs] because I’m not getting married. I live in a constant fight, a life of exile.” She even compares sheng nu to China’s infamous practice of foot-binding: “I have big feet,” she sighs, describing herself and her ambition, borne out by the fact that she has recently moved to Munich to start a business.

Related: China Considers Law Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Small Team? No Problem. Here’s How to Multitask With Efficiency.

Asking staff to take on multiple responsibilities doesn’t have to mean chaos. Here’s how to keep the office calm, happy, and productive.

4 min read

This story appears in the April 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: How can I help create in-office efficiencies, especially when my team is small and we’re all juggling tasks and responsibilities? — Michelle N., Nashua, N.H. 

Put 10 entrepreneurs in a room, and you’ll hear the same mantras recited: Hustle. Focus. Do more with less. Survive.

As inspiring as those words might sound, they can’t ensure success. There’s a reason that more than 50 percent of startups fail in the first five years. 

Creating efficiencies means establishing an infrastructure that can help your business in multiple situations. After all, failure isn’t always a by-product of a bad idea or a bad team. Sometimes everything is going right until it goes wrong: the website that gets too much traffic and crashes, or a product so in demand that inventory needs can’t be met. I even read about a restaurant that, after being voted best burger in America, faced such intense crowds that it had to shut down. 

These examples are everywhere, but the common denominator is the same. Every business, no matter the size or stage, needs systems that allow its team to move fast without breaking (too many) things. 

In the early days of my branding agency, Pen Name Consulting, we were faced with a big challenge. In a span of three months, we landed contracts with Equinox, Dollar Shave Club, and Microsoft. It was exciting news, but scary, too: We were a tiny team of just two full-time employees and some contractors. Still, we managed to make it work and renewed longer-term contracts with two of those clients. 

How? We built checks and balances that began at a macro level and worked down to the micro. It might seem like a lot of work, but a little bit of extra planning can go a long way. 

To keep a small team functioning at maximum efficiency, consider these five key principles.

Related: The Rules for Leading a Navy SEAL Team Are the Same as Leading a Startup. I Know, I’ve Done Both.

1. Set expectations. 

When you build your team, it’s important for new hires to understand that the job will require work outside their typical scope of expertise. Teams that thrive are aligned on the bigger mission and have a clear understanding of how additional responsibilities are tied to success. 

2. Learn from others. 

People are more willing to pay it forward than you realize. Find someone who has walked in your shoes, explain one problem you have, and see what their advice is. If you focus on a specific hurdle, you’re likely to receive a very specific answer. 

Related: 10 Best New Age Business Ideas

3. Assign project managers.

Every aspect of your business should have a “keeper” — someone who keeps all the chess pieces from falling off the board. I assign a different keeper to client services and internal functions, with each maintaining a macro view of responsibilities. Lean on apps like Asana or Slack to create an extra layer of visibility in case anything breaks down. 

4. Weekly check-ins. 

At each of my businesses, we gather at the beginning and the end of the week. On Mondays, we run through each team member’s primary goals for the week during a 30-minute meeting. On Friday, we block out an hour and check in on those goals. That way, if goals weren’t met, we have time to discuss why and outline a solution. 

Related: 4 Ways to Grow Your Business Fast (Without Rushing)

5. Daily check-ins. 

Meeting culture can be a problem, yes, but if you keep daily check-ins to just 15 minutes, they don’t feel like meetings. Instead, they’re quick conversations that are more about support and care than tactical solutions. When things are moving fast, it’s important to make sure your team is doing well and knows you have their back. 

Remember, multitasking doesn’t have to mean inefficiency. But it requires transparency, planning, and backup systems. In the short term, it will improve the function of your business. In the long run, it will help identify where you need the most support as you continue to grow.

5 College Degrees That Prepare You for Small-Business Success

Liberal arts degrees are a better foundation for entrepreneurship than many despairing graduates realize.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Think you need an MBA in order to be a successful entrepreneur? Think again. There are many aspects to founding a successful business, and a foundation based on “business” (which is highly subjective) is just one of them. In fact, almost any degree you can imagine can bolster small business success if you look at it from the right angle.

Art history majors, English majors, and geography majors, unite! Your degree is perfect preparation for entrepreneurial success. I’m surprised at how many things I use daily that I learned while in college. Here are a few of the most “unorthodox for business success degrees” worth having and how to put them to work for you.

Go ahead and tell your parents and Sallie Mae to relax. Maybe you really knew what you were doing at 19 years old after all.

Related: How to Save for Your Kid’s College Tuition If You’re Not Felicity Huffman or Lori Loughlin

 

 

 

Listen: MedMen’s Adam Bierman on Building the Apple Store of Weed

The CEO joins our podcast to talk about how the mega-brand came to be and his tips for budding entrepreneurs.

15+ min read

Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As co-founder and CEO of marijuana giant MedMen, Adam Bierman’s watched the company grow from a few dinky, medical marijuana dispensaries on the west side of LA to a behemoth, which includes 70 dispensaries and cultivation centers across 12 states and a new product line.

But Bierman won’t stop until a gummy edible is as mainstream as a glass of chardonnay.

On this episode of the Green Entrepreneur Podcast, Berman talks to us about his journey to the dank side, and what he’s learned along the way.

Jonathan:  I’ve had the chance to meet Adam twice. The first time was last year at their 12,000-square-foot sprawling office complex in Culver City. I asked him how he got started.

Adam:  In 2009, Andrew and I had a business that we were running together, branding, design and construction company, out of our apartment. It was a solid, local business for two twenty-somethings, and we got a phone call one day and she’s now affectionately forever known as the Blue Haired Lady. We got a phone call from the Blue Haired Lady, who said that she had a marijuana dispensary on Sunset Boulevard, and she wanted to come talk to us about hiring us to provide services to her.

I knew nothing. I didn’t know marijuana was a business. As I drove the streets of LA, I was naively driving around not understanding that the green crosses meant marijuana, because I wasn’t a marijuana user. Especially back then, there was this kind of commitment that marijuana users wouldn’t tell non-marijuana users that they were marijuana users, even if they were friends with them, so I didn’t have an understanding of the fact there was this entire culture that existed.

I showed up and it was a 600-square-foot dump, **** [0:01:22.8] and this Blue Haired Lady with crazy blue hair sticking straight up told me she was doing $300,000 a month in revenue out of her place. I corrected her multiple times and said, “No, no, I’m trying to figure out what is your monthly revenue, monthly customer count, so we can address where it is you’re trying to go with marketing solutions and rebranding and rebuilding this place out of whatever.” She kept going back and said, “No, no, that’s not my annual. I do 300,000 a month. I want to do 600,000 a month.”

I left there dumbfounded and had a conversation with Andrew. I said, “What is going on?” Andrew has been a marijuana user, so Andrew is way smarter than I am. He had been a marijuana user. He knew—because he grew up in LA—he knew what it was all about. I said, “Yeah, that’s going on, but what are we doing?” That was our introduction.

Jonathan:  The next time I met Adam was at the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas, where I was in town for the opening of MedMen’s new store, just off the strip.

Adam, welcome to the podcast.

I had the opportunity to go up to your Mustang factory in Reno, Nevada and I noticed in huge writing on the wall, there was a sign that said, “Mainstreaming marijuana.” I wondered if you could tell me about that. Is that a central premise of your company?

Adam:  It has informed basically every decision we’ve made over the last nine years.

Jonathan:  Okay.

Adam:  You know, we had this vision that we could build this marijuana company through brand, through accessibility, by way of destigmatizing cannabis, knowing that it’s something that people could benefit from accessing and using, but in order to build the business, we had to simultaneously build this industry. When we started this, there was no such thing as a successful marijuana business that was legal, at least. So, if you have to build this industry while simultaneously building this business, the way that we look at that is you have to mainstream marijuana. Marijuana can’t have the stigma that it had when we started nine years ago, and an industry be built, or a business long term be viable.

I think the latest numbers or projections from Callan is that this is a $75 billion-plus opportunity in the U.S. The best part about that is six months ago they came out and said it was a $50 billion opportunity. Then it was updated and it’s a $75 billion opportunity. Two years ago, it was a $25 billion opportunity. We think it’s $100-plus billion opportunity and we think that it is so big, in large part, because of, you know, as a consequence of it becoming mainstream because of all those new users that aren’t currently being accounted for.

I say it all the time, the chardonnay moms. What is it going to take to get them to replace chardonnay at brunch with a couple hits of this statemade vape pen? Are they really accounted for in that Callan projection of 75 billion?

What mainstream consumer product does not cater towards the sensibilities of women and that is just any mainstream product that understands, or company behind that CPG product, understands that women are making the majority of household buying decisions. If we see a future where marijuana is mainstream, then marijuana is one of those decisions, or the purchase or marijuana is one of those decisions that will largely be made by women.

Statemade is really about accessibility back to the mainstream concept to the mainstream. I think that there are plenty of, you know, what we call the legacy core users that don’t need attractive packaging, don’t need real straightforward kind of descriptions, don’t need—they don’t need all this stuff. They know what they like, what the strain is called and what it does to them, but that’s not who we’re catering to. We’re catering to the future. We’re catering to the user of tomorrow.

That user of tomorrow, whether it’s a woman or a man, is somebody who is going to be attracted to this product line because of how mainstream it feels.

Jonathan:  So, MedMen stores have been called the Apple Stores of cannabis, which I’m sure you take as a compliment, and it is obvious that you were inspired by the Apple Store. The simple design, lots of glass cases. Talk to me about the thought process behind that design idea.

Adam:  Same consistent answer. I like the theme of this discussion, but it’s good, right? How do you make something accessible? Whether it’s a product or it’s a retail store, we’re not reinventing anything. Nothing we’ve done over the last nine years have reinvented anything. We’re just applying it towards cannabis maybe for the first time.

We take a lot of pride in the stores, my partner and co-founder, Andrew Modlin, the stores are really his vision and he deserves a ton of credit for it. But I think when we use the term vision, it wasn’t like Andrew envisioned an entirely new retail experience. What Andrew has done is he’s envisioned what a cannabis retail experience could look like, if you pretended it wasn’t cannabis. If you forgot for a second that it had somehow to be different because it was cannabis or you needed to apply some type of different thought process, how about if you just applied the same thought processes any retailer would apply towards optimizing an experience for a consumer, and it just happened to be a marijuana store.

I think when you walk into that store, what our hope is, is that but for the product inside the cases, you wouldn’t necessarily know what it is that that store sells. I could tell you that store sells electronics, I could tell you it sells makeup, I could tell you it sells clothing, and it would all work.

All we’re doing is applying best practices from retail. The fact that we’re applying it for the first time to cannabis, I think we get a lot of credit, which we’re really humbled by and flattered by, but it’s really just about the vision to mainstream marijuana.

Jonathan:  All right. How do you attract that chardonnay mom, that canna-curious customer who might have had a horrible experience when they were younger or a terrible experience with an edible?

Adam:  We take a long approach. We’re looking at this, what will this business be in five years? What will this industry be in five years and where will the world be in regard to its perception of cannabis in five years.

I think first and foremost, for us, it’s about retail. The reason that we’re making such a concerted effort around retail is we believe that that is the door or that’s the window through which people will climb or the door through which people will walk into this light. I look at it, it’s like walking from the black and white into a rainbow, right?

So, where we put these retail stores and the effort that we put into building out those stores and making them inviting and welcoming and accessible—the store that we’re opening is not nine miles from the Las Vegas strip, in a strip center, in the back with a discrete, small green cross. I mean, this store is literally across the street from McCarran Airport, where everybody who exits McCarran will drive past in their car, their Uber, or their taxi and they’re not going to see a small sign. They will see a very proud MedMen sign.

You know what? They may have to drive past that store four visits in a row to Las Vegas over the course of 15 months until they finally say, “Let’s pull over, let’s see what that’s about.” When they walk in for the first time, they may not buy anything. But when they walk in for the first time, we built the store in a way that will make them feel good, will not make them feel anything that has to do with shame.

The training programs and the hours and the investments that we put into our staff, so that the interaction they’re going to have with the people that work there is going to be so positive and so informative that even if they might have to drive by it four times, walk in and out of it twice, and then eventually, you know what? They’re going to go ahead and pick up a statemade vape pen.

One thing I do know, now being in this for as long as I’ve been in this, is that this works. This statemade vape pen, this will work. This will have its desired effect on you and when it does, you know what’s going to happen? You’re coming back. And it’s not just that you’re coming back to MedMen. We feel really great about the fact that we do think that you will come back to MedMen, but you’re going to come back to cannabis, to use it responsibly and substitute other things out of your life that aren’t as healthy, that aren’t as positive. You’re going to substitute them for cannabis.

Your question is, how are you a part of this kind of transition that society is going through right now, and that’s how we see kind of our leadership role in it, is by welcoming. Welcome to the new world. We can touch you and welcome you in in all these different ways. You mentioned it, from a billboard to a wrapped taxi, to just the sign outside of the store, to the open glass windows. Wherever you are around the country, when you see our store, you can see what’s going on inside and it looks normal, right? All those touchpoints welcome you into this new world of legal pot.

Jonathan:  You admittedly started off in the business knowing nothing about pot.

Adam:  I think our naivete is core to the success or the progress we’ve made to date. In all fronts.

I don’t know what would’ve happened if we fell into this industry the way we did, and our background was traditional big box retail. I don’t know what would’ve happened if we fell into this and our background was agriculture. I don’t know if we had fallen into this and our background was anything else. We fell into this and we were young. We didn’t have much experience.

Jonathan:  You’re still young, really.

Adam:  Well, thank you. I’ll take it. We didn’t have much experience other than just living in the world ourselves and being really entrepreneurial from a really young age and kind of looking at the world through an entrepreneur’s lens, but I think that’s been such a benefit. It’s not like we stepped into this and said, “This is how it should be. This is how everybody does it.” We stepped into this and said, “Well, look, if we’re going to do this, we know that we don’t know. Let’s just be pragmatic.”

We’ve looked at everything through this practical lens and as we look at these stores, I remember in California, when we opened our first store we went around, and we saw all the stores that we could go visit and up and down California. They all had these systems where bars on the windows, blacked out, green cross out front. You walk in, a security guard that looks like he’s ready for a full invasion somewhere in the desert buzzes you in, asks for your ID. Then you get buzzed back through another steel door to a room where there’s jewelry cases.

When we did that, I guess if we had come from being marijuana people, we’d say, “That’s how it is.” But we didn’t. We said, “Why is that how it is?” As we looked at it and talked to everybody, it was like, “That’s just, ‘That’s just how it is.’” And that was never enough for us.

We said us as consumers, we wouldn’t want that and then we started looking at casinos. We started looking at big box retail. We started looking at restaurants. We looked at all these different industries that we felt like had analogous pieces to what it was that we were trying to create, and we just ripped off, essentially, best practices from all of them. You think about the way a supermarket is laid out. You think about the way that a casino floor is designed. You think about the way that these really mature kind of industries have figured out how to optimize for a retail footprint or just a footprint where you’re trying to drive consumer behavior and we just applied it.

Jonathan:  Talk to me about the importance of consistency in the marijuana business. You drink a bottle of wine and you pretty much know what you’re going to feel like every time you have that sip of that wine, the same bottle of wine. Are you going for the same kind of consistency in marijuana?

Adam:  Look, it is a crop. It is a plant. No, even though all the Driscoll’s raspberries look the same or all the orchids looks the same, there’s absolutely some very minor deviation in there.

Jonathan:  Yeah.

Adam:  No two living things are necessarily exact-exactly the same. It comes down to the mainstreaming concept. We don’t believe that you can go mainstream marijuana, transition all these people that are using other products and goods and drugs to using cannabis as a substitute unless it’s consistent. Because you know what? That chardonnay mom, she knows that if she has two glasses of a certain chardonnay at brunch, it’ll taste a certain way and it will have a certain effect.

We are creatures of habit and we just don’t believe that unless you can provide that type of consistency in these products, that you can get people, to bring them in and make them habitual, make them part of their routine, “mainstream” them. If we want to take what Callan thinks is 75 billion and turn it into 100-plus billion of opportunity, we’ve got to have all those people come over. To get them to come over, we have to create consistent products.

What we can’t have, now, look, there can be minor deviation, especially in the raw material, the flower itself, with the tissue culture and all the other measures that we take in these factories to create consistency, it’s going to be very minor deviation. But outside of the raw flower itself, when you get into these vape pens and the tinctures and the rest of it, we’ve got it down. It is consistent. You will have the exact same experience every single time. Furthermore, with us and the statemade concept is, have that exact same experience everywhere in the country.

The one thing—and I know this is a business podcast so we can get a little more business in it—because of the fact that you cannot cross state lines with this product, you realize how unique of a proposition that is as an industry. There is no item and the answer is none other. But what we have to do is we have to create that consistency in that vape pen that you have here that, you know—what is this? Max. So, the Max vape pen, statemade vape pen, has to taste and smell and feel the same, whether you buy it in Vegas, whether you buy it in Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Scottsdale. It’s got to taste the same.

Which means that each of the factories in all those states that we have, have to grow it the exact same way from the exact same base material, extract it the same way, manufacture it.

Jonathan:  Interesting, yeah.

Adam:  So that you have the same experience. Until we can do that, it can’t truly be mainstream, and I think with the launch of this product and all the new states that we’ve recently entered, we have the opportunity for the first time in the history of this industry to create that kind of consistency across the country. Which I think will just, will bring this into the mainstream by leaps and bounds in a way that we just haven’t yet experienced.

Jonathan:  Okay. You started in the dispensary business but now you’ve launched a new line of products called statemade. Was that all part of the plan? Was to first open up a bunch of dispensaries and then have products to sell in the dispensaries?

Adam:  Yeah. I mean, the way we look at it is shelf space. When we’re talking about retail, what we’re really talking about is shelf space. We’re now at a place between California, Nevada, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Arizona, Illinois—that’s as of this taping, so check back in.

Jonathan:  I’ll check back in.

Adam:  Every week there’s something new. But we’ve looked at it as these primary markets, really. Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Manhattan, Southern Florida, those are the places. The shelf space in those places are where brands are built, globally.

First, it was about the shelf space, which the way that that happens in this industry is the retail. We got the shelf space now. What are you going to do with that shelf space? It’s always been about brands. I think that to our credit, we’ve been patient. We haven’t launched something like this until we had the shelf space, until we had critical mass in regard to the shelf space until we had the factories up and running. Because we weren’t going to launch this thing if we couldn’t completely control the entire supply chain. From the input, the actual raw material, to the manufacturing process, to the distribution, down to the actual retail. We control all of that in every market we’re in.

Now that we have what we believe to be the premiere shelf space in the world of marijuana in our possession, what are you going to do with it? You’re going to build amazing brands. You’re going to put them on those shelves and those are going to be the brands that the marijuana consumers of tomorrow are going to become familiar with and they’re going to be the brands that they stick with for the rest of their lives.

Jonathan:  You introduced statemade. What is next?

Adam:  Yeah, the way we see this is we have the shelf space now. This is the first brand we’re launching, statemade. We certainly see additional brands coming on to fill up more shelf space with, that we’re in control of.

Now that we have the footprint in the markets that really matter when it comes to brand building, you’ll see us start going deeper in those markets. For example, on one hand, really excited about Q2 of ’18. It came out and the best analysis anybody could do is that we did about 6% of all of California’s sales. But we did that with like five or six stores or something like that.

Jonathan:  Right.

Adam:  Only in Southern California and really only in LA. Awesome stat, which means, for me, the challenge then is, okay, Adam, how do you get that to own 15% of the California market? Well, you got to be in Northern California. You can’t just be in Southern California.

I think you’ll see us go deeper. Not just be in LA, but have a real strong presence in North Cal, have a much bigger presence in San Diego. We just entered Arizona and we acquired what we believe to be the premiere retail asset in Arizona, in Scottsdale, that will work for MedMen, but adding a couple more dispensaries.

So, going deeper in these markets, I think you’ll see that over time and then that combined with launching these additional brands, really kind of solidifying our place in the hearts and minds of these consumers going forward.

Jonathan:  What are some brands that you guys look at that inspire you? I think of a Red Bull, which started off as one thing, a sports drink, and then became a lifestyle brand. Do you think of MedMen as a lifestyle brand?

Adam:  Yeah, we definitely do. We were talking about it at length in our last board meeting. We happen to have Jay Brown from Roc Nation on our board and he is just a dynamic guy. The way he looks at culture and lifestyle, it’s incredible. It’s fascinating just to be around and listen.

I think for us, we look at Red Bull, we think what they’ve done is awesome from a lifestyle standpoint. We look all the way at Starbucks and the way that Starbucks has ingrained itself into the daily life of the Starbucks consumer. So impressive what they’ve done.

I’m not a “every morning has to be coffee at the same time,” but Andrew definitely is, and he’s got his Starbucks mobile and I mean, it’s just part of his day. To be able to become part of a routine, a daily routine, for people that way is so impressive.

From a business model standpoint, it’s really Luxottica that we look up to. For those that aren’t as familiar, Luxottica owns Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters. Most people don’t recognize that they also own all the sunglass brands on the shelf as well. It’s an incredible business concept. A consumer walks in and goes through Tom Ford and Prada and Gucci glasses and all the rest, but at the end of the day, they’re all being manufactured at the Luxottica plant. Those sunglasses themselves are all owned by Luxottica through licensing deals with those third parties. And they own the retailer itself as well. What a fascinating business model they are and something that we look up to as well.

I mean, look, we’re just trying to pull the best of all this. We’re here in Las Vegas today. Harrah’s Corporation, now Caesar’s Entertainment, the way that Harrah’s—and it’s really, I look like a guy like Gary Loveman, the former CEO, started in the marketing side and became the CEO of that company. We look at Harrah’s, the way that Harrah’s used data to completely fundamentally change the way that the gaming industry worked.

Before Harrah’s, there was no such thing as a loyalty program. There was, “Hey, we have a high roller, we give him a nice suite and give him tickets to a fight.” Harrah’s came in and used real analytics and really broke down data for the first time.

Another really cool thing Harrah’s did, is Harrah’s looked at gaming as if it wasn’t gaming. At the time that Loveman started, you talk about stigma. Nobody wanted to touch casinos and gaming. That was dirty stuff. He said, “Well, let’s pretend it’s not casinos and gaming. Let’s hire a bunch of MIT guys to come in, guys and girls to come in, and let’s really analyze the data here. What do our consumers want? What is important to them? What motivates them? What will get them sticky? What will get them coming back and not going anywhere else?”

They created the loyalty program that they created that I think not only changed gaming, it kind of changed the world.

Jonathan:  Right.

Adam:  When I talk about, you know, we’re hiring people that want to be best in the world, want to be in a history book, I look at Harrah’s for that and the way that they looked at gaming, forgot any of the shame, forgot any of the stigma, and said, “How do we turn this into the best business we can turn this into?” That’s a business that we look up to as well.

Jonathan:  You talked about the importance of asking yourself why not as an entrepreneur. Tell me a little bit about that.

Adam:  It’s really just about asking the question, “Why not?” If you can’t get a great answer, then go do it.

If you are a sports team and you’re saying, look, I understand, I’m a baseball team. I understand that the way that the positions are supposed to be played is you have two guys on the left side of the infield and two guys on the right side, but I’m paying attention and these pulled hitters are getting up and 90% of all the balls they hit on the ground are to the pull side of the diamond. Why not put three guys over there? “Well, because that’s not how it’s done.” No, no, that’s not a good enough answer. I’m asking why not? If you can’t give me a great answer, then I’m going to do it.

I think with us, it’s why not? Why can’t you build a $50 billion marijuana company? Why not? Why can’t you make marijuana mainstream and have a store across from McCarran Airport that looks the way this store looks? Why not? Why can’t you have products that look like this, that will have this desired effect for people? Why not?

Everything MedMen does is informed by why not, but I think, yeah, I think that’s the best advice I could give to an entrepreneur.

Jonathan:  Ask yourself why not.

Adam:  At the end of the day, why not? You know what? If you’re too scared to go there and ask that question and actually follow through based on the answer, being an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily like what everybody should be doing. I think in this interview we’ve used the word lunacy a few times.

Jonathan:  Right. Yeah.

Adam:  Yeah, and it’s not like suggested. We all should be doing the things that we are happy and excited to do, but at the core of any entrepreneur should be a why-not attitude.

Jonathan:  Let’s talk about the Green Rush. I mean, these are big heady days for cannabis. Do you foresee what happened to the dot com business in the early 2000s happening to the cannabis business? The dot com boom, the dot com crash?

Adam:  Well, I think half and half. You talk about dot com, so half and half. Will a lot of the businesses that are currently in the marijuana industry fail over the next five or ten years? Absolutely. And you know why? Because this is a real industry.  And if that wasn’t the answer, there would be a problem. So, we will see a lot of failure. There’s so much excitement, so much hype, so many people flocking towards this, so much money that’s going to be attracted into this. Of course, there’s going to be failure and some of it will be epic.

Will there be successes? Absolutely. Some of it will be epic, too, and we very much hope that we’re in that category and we work tirelessly to do everything we can to ensure that.

But as far as the industry goes, when you talk about dot com, first of all, there were failures in businesses, but there was certainly no failure in industry when you’ve got trillion-dollar companies that now exist as a result of it. We sit here interviewing this podcast in a small conference room with all this technology, right?

That for the most part emanated from that. But as an industry, the marijuana industry, we’re way past the potential of failure. You talk about red states, you also want to talk about a presidential election a few years ago where the State of Arkansas cast their vote for Donald Trump and concurrently cast their vote for legalized medical marijuana, you realize on the same ballot.

How crazy that is! You’ve got over 90% of the United States in favor of medical marijuana. You’ve got the majority of the U.S. in favor of recreational marijuana. You have the country of Canada legalize marijuana recreationally at the federal level. Marijuana will be legal, fully legal. Whether it’s in two years or three years or five years, like prohibition is ending in marijuana.

The industry itself, when you said like what’s the doomsday scenario, we’re past that. Now it’s really a question of how big—let’s go back to the beginning—the question is how mainstream does it get, how quickly.

Jonathan:  What would you like to tell the 23-year-old, naïve, entrepreneurial you now? If you could go back and talk to that person?

Adam:  You know, I’d say the biggest shift—and it’s hard when you say 21. I mean, I’ve been in business essentially since I was 14.

Jonathan:  Okay. Maybe the 14-year-old self, yeah, I don’t know.

Adam:  For the next time I’m on your podcast, ask me about my Black Eyed Peas story when I was 17 years old.

Jonathan:  Is it a long story, because I kind of want to hear it.

Adam:  It’s a good one. The 17-year-old, again, naïve self of mine, somehow figured out how to convince the Black Eyed Peas to come perform at a show I put on in a roller rink in Oceanside, California.

Jonathan:  Wow!

Adam:  Keep in mind, I had no money and no means to do this, but I put this crazy deal together where I rented out a roller rink in Oceanside. I signed a contract with the Black Eyed Peas to come play the roller rink, along with other people, and then when out and sold tickets to high schools for an all-ages dance party.

I didn’t do very well on the deal and the Black Eyed Peas ended up not being paid and left pretty upset. But hey, you know?

Jonathan:  Why not?

Adam:  Why not? Yeah! That was 19 years ago.

Jonathan:  Okay.

Adam:  And we’ve come a long way since then.

Jonathan:  So have they.

Adam:  But I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned since I started trying to make deals happen and be an entrepreneur, is how to lose. I’ll tell you, the Black Eyed Peas, the 17-year-old me did not know how to lose. The 21-year-old me didn’t know how to lose.

Learning how to lose is something that’s way more recent for me and I can’t give some kind of generic advice to all entrepreneurs out there. This is how you lose.

 But I would give this generic advice:  Learning how to lose is such an amazing skill when you are an entrepreneur. Whatever it is for you, how do you embrace loss? How do you embrace failure? Not just that you’re good with it and you get back up off the mat. Like that whole stuff, like that’s not the answer. That was me. Get punched in the face, get right back up. Turn a no into a yes! You know, whatever it is.

That’s not the answer. I think that for those seeking real, true, sustainable success, whatever that means, is you’ve got to know how to lose. How do you lose? How do you compliment the other side? Because when you lose, that means there’s another side that wins most of the time, right? Or prevails. Even if it’s them telling you no, they don’t want to invest in your business, they have prevailed in that debate or conversation for the day. How do you give them credit and say, “You know what? You came to that conclusion. I respect that. Good game, good job, good day.”

And then how do you go back and reflect on that? Not from a place of being vindictive. “I’m going to go get them! They were wrong! I’m going to prove them wrong!” How do you react to that and say, “What is there to learn from me losing? I’m not going to win all the time, but I can see why they did that, why they said that, why they chose that. I can see that. How do I learn and grow from that?”

Jonathan:  Adam, thank you so much for your time.

Adam:  Thanks for having me.

Jonathan:  And that’s our show! Thanks so much for joining us. If you like what you heard, don’t forget to subscribe to Green Entrepreneur Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Play or any other place that you may find podcasts.

I’m your host, Jonathan Small. If you want to reach out to me directly, hit me up at JSmall@Entrepreneur.com.

Until we meet again, always remember, yes, you cann-abis.