The cannabis industry is diverse and competitive. In California alone, starting with the legalization of medical cannabis via Proposition 215, and especially since the voter initiative of 2016 for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, it has grown exponentially. With it, various sectors have delved into cannabis, whether for medical reasons or the potential to go big in the business. Many seniors and women, for example, are finding greater relevance in cannabis use and commerce. According to a Marijuana Business Daily survey, in 2015, 36 percent of people involved in the cannabis industry were women. The numbers went down to 27 percent in 2017, which is still a significant showing in a male-dominated industry.
Many women are stepping up to the plate and making names for themselves in the cannabis trade. Rachel Garland is one of the few who realized the opportunities out there just waiting for someone with the right mindset. She started out doing freelance writing online. Rachel did not have a degree in writing and had not been published in a major publication before, but she overcame hurdles. For her, everything you want must start with you having the initiative to go, making your move and getting it. Self-education and utilizing the power of information available on the Internet became her tools as she slowly but surely built her virtual career. However, she faced a dilemma: Rachel was not passionate about the topics she was writing about.
“I realized I needed to specialize in something. Why not cannabis? This began an incredible period of researching, studying and writing about this plant. The more I learned, the more my passion grew. Eventually, I was able to write for cannabis publications across the globe. While I loved sharing cannabis education, I was eager to create something to support and connect with more women in the space. This led me to launch Women of Cannabiz in June of 2016 with the mission of elevating women worldwide.”
Rachel took a leap of faith. She gave up the security of a full-time startup job as a sales and marketing associate in a company to focus on writing. She was 22, paying for student loans and other bills, with less than $700 to her name. The skills she had acquired in that former job were perfect for her new venture. Knowledge about online marketing, customer service and team building contributed to her success in developing Women of Cannabiz.
“Women of Cannabiz is on a mission to elevate women worldwide,” Rachel explained. “This online platform provides virtual cannabis business education, inspiration and resources that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. It is a space dedicated to empowering women by combining passion and purpose in the cannabis industry. As a global community of cannabis women, we seek to inspire, empower and support one another on our entrepreneurial journeys.”
The company offers cannabis business advertising, promotion, education and coaching, as well as consulting for those who wish to start as entrepreneurs. Women of Cannabiz caters to various interests, be they marketing to promote a business or coaching assistance to grow a cannabis business. Rachel realizes that there are numerous barriers that can hinder anyone in the cannabis trade.
“The most challenging aspects in the cannabis industry, I would say, are the legal, cultural and financial barriers that exist. Operating online, the advertising restrictions are a barrier I’ve repeatedly faced. So many of the tried-and-true digital marketing tactics you would normally rely on to grow your business are not accessible. This really challenges you to be more creative. I’ve found that I have become a much better marketer because of it. I believe this is, hands down, one of the most important things for anyone involved in the cannabis space to remember–every challenge we face can be used as fuel for making us stronger.”
These days, everyone has an idea about advertising. With information all over various media, especially the Internet, entrepreneurs can choose what suits them. Proper advertising is one of the major factors in the success of a business. Entrepreneurs have to reach out to their target customers while considering their wants and needs. That is what Women of Cannabiz is there for—advertising strategically and intelligently.
Rachel advised, “What may work one day may not be the case tomorrow. Therefore, remain flexible and persistent. The most effective form of marketing for cannabis brands right now, in my opinion, is influencer marketing. Partnering with the right cannabis influencers can put your business directly in front of your target audience’s eyes—often for a fraction of the cost. So, take advantage of these opportunities now! In addition, never rely on a single tactic. Diversify your marketing strategy as much as possible to expand your reach.”
Launching Women of Cannabiz not only fulfilled Rachel’s dream of having a job that is also a passion, it also led her to a path of advocacy and inspiring other women to dream big in the cannabis trade.
“The biggest piece of advice I would give to women starting out is to—number one—know yourself. It sounds cliché. Yet, too often, we’re not actually clear on why we’re here. Understand what your strengths are, where you want to be and what you bring to the table. The opportunities in the cannabis industry are enormous! Nearly any skill set is applicable to this space. So, double down on your strengths, and don’t look back. Yes, there will be challenges. However, if you know why you’re here, listen to your inner guide, put in the work, and offer real value to others. You will grow.”
Rachel concluded, “When I’m not interviewing inspiring cannabis women, coaching entrepreneurs on how to grow their vision or sharing how to build a cannabis company online, you can find me anywhere with palm trees and warm beaches.”
Women of Cannabiz can be reached online at www.womenofcannabiz.com or by giving them a like and leaving a message on their Facebook page.