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I've been running an online CBD store for 6 months now and I've learned a lot about e-commerce as well as the CBD communities that are out there. I first found CBD as a way to help me quit smoking and I wanted to create a business to help spread CBD awareness and reduce nicotine usage.
Since starting my company, here are a few things I've learned:
- Payment processing is a nightmare. A payment processor is a company that charges a customers' credit card and then puts the money in your bank account. If you want to process payments as any significant scale, you have to accept ridiculous terms or hope to fly under the radar with a large payment processor. Currently, the processor takes ~8% of each transaction and then 10% more is put into a reserve that I cannot touch for 6 months. Other internet businesses usually have no reserve and face ~4% all in fees.
- There's a lot of BS about CBD and Cannabis in general. I see misinformation all the time and it's hard to resist typing a response to every wrong comment I see.
- E-commerce is hard. Everything from fulfilling orders to customer service takes a lot of time. Running an online store means that you're always open. Also, social media never slows down. It's my personal goal to answer every question and comment within 12 hours. This means you're always online and you never get much of a break. In the last 6 months, I've taken maybe 5 days off work total. Weekends don't exist.
- A lot of people will assume you're selling weed to get high. Sometimes I feel like it subtracts from all the other non-recreational uses of the Cannabis plant.
- Lots and lots of different people use CBD. I've heard so many wonderful stories of how CBD has impacted people. Everything from PTSD, depression, pain, anxiety, opioids, and more. These are the stories that give me hope and keep my determination strong.
- You know you're on the right side of history. CBD is in a legal gray area but by running a company focused on transparency and quality, you help advance the cause. I truly believe the faster we grow the CBD industry the more we will reduce opioids, nicotine, and alcohol usage. I believe entire industries will fall to this one plant.
- People in the CBD business are some of the kindest people I've ever met. The CBD industry is so small right now that it doesn't feel like other companies are competing. It feels like we're all in the same fight to legitimize and grow the industry. For example, when I was starting out, another CBD company CEO took 2 hours to teach me about the industry and what it takes to run an e-commerce business. The passion in the industry is strong. It kind of feels like we're all on the same team.
Overall, I cannot be more happy with the path I've taken. Through the ups and downs, I know that we're pushing society in the right direction and helping people in the process. We'll continue to overcome obstacles and assist those helping move the industry forward.