It’s Important For The Cannabis Industry To Create Trusted Content, With Max Simon
Max Simon is the Founder & CEO of Green Flower Media, the world’s most trusted platform for credible cannabis information, training, and guidance. Prior to Green Flower, Max built and ran Deepak Chopra’s products business where he re-branded the company, developed and launched 49 of his signature products, created his digital marketing strategy, and personally taught tens of thousands of people to meditate. In the same way that Max helped meditation and mind-body medicine become mainstream, he’s now on a mission to educate the world about the value of cannabis.
Can you share with us the story of what first introduced you into this business or helped you get interested in the business?
I have been a medical cannabis consumer my entire life, but like many, always kept it very private and hidden. Yet as I started to do my own research about the science and benefits of cannabis, I was shocked to discover just how much research and evidence there was about the effectiveness and safety of this plant. But finding that information, and more importantly trying to digest that information, was very difficult, time-consuming, and not very enjoyable. We created Green Flower to become a trusted source of credible cannabis information and education with video content delivered by the world’s top experts, and the rest is history.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most interesting stories are undoubtedly the personal results people get with cannabis. At this point, we’ve received thousands of notes from people all around the world telling us how using cannabis has totally transformed their lives. From people going into remission with cancer, to completely eliminating their anxiety, to just getting a full 8 hours of sleep after not sleeping in decades, these stories are deeply powerful and inspiring to our mission.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest (but also kind of sad) mistake is how often we get turned down from normal business activities just because we are in the cannabis industry. I’ve had 5 different landlords reject our application, because they didn’t believe we were a media company and instead thought we were secretly trying to grow weed. What I’ve learned is that even if some people don’t totally “get” what you’re doing, you should still stand up for what you believe in and hold your ground. Eventually we found a landlord that did believe us, and we now have our own production studio that creates cannabis content 7-days per week.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
I’m very excited that colleges and Universities throughout North America will soon be offering cannabis courses powered by Green Flower. Students will be able to learn the business of cannabis, medical cannabis applications, the science of cannabis, and much more. Not only is this an amazing distribution channel for our cannabis education content, but it’s also very exciting that schools will start serving the exploding cannabis job market with classes by Green Flower.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My greatest mentor was an incredible businessman and teacher named John Assaraf, who starred in the movie “The Secret”. He taught me the art and science of running a business, merged with the mindset techniques of getting clear on what I want to achieve and visualizing those results on a daily basis. Building a business can be so hard at times, and if you’re mindset breaks down, everything else goes with it. I learned such great resilience and vision because of John’s support.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I don’t think big companies do a very good job at creating content that builds trust and connection with that company. That means having the CEO, or the management team, actually show up on-camera and talk to their customers. Yes, ads can market a product. But showing the people behind the company is such a significant tool for building trust, connection, and loyalty with your customers. I just don’t see enough companies bringing that personal touch to their brand-building efforts.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
1) I am excited that legalization is sweeping the United States and the rest of the world 2) I’m excited that people are becoming increasingly open to giving cannabis a try to help with their ailments and conditions 3) I’m excited about the incredible innovation around cannabis products, giving people so many different options to find what works best for them.
1) I am concerned that small cannabis entrepreneurs will not be able to start or compete in this over-taxed and over-regulated environment 2) I am concerned that big alcohol or big tobacco is going to take over the industry and the quality and authenticity of products will suffer 3) I am concerned that reefer madness propaganda is still being shared and spread, even after myths like cannabis causes cancer have been completely and totally debunked.
Can you share your top “5 Things You Need To Know In Order To Run a Successful Cannabis Ancillary Company”? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Get really, really clear on the niche you’re serving in cannabis. Cannabis attracts an unbelievably wide and diverse range of people, and so the more focused you are on serving a very clear and specific demographic, the more likely your products and services will resonate.
2. Being in the cannabis industry is actually extremely challenging, because it changes so fast and there are so many hurdles to normal operations. Be extra prepared to be resilience, flexible, and willing to shift your focus if you’re hitting a lot of roadblocks.
3. Don’t try and build your business alone in cannabis. You really, really need a strong and dedicated team to help since everything is so complex and ever-changing.
4. Focus on building strategic partnerships from the start. Our relationships with many of the top experts in the space like Steve DeAngelo have been so valuable in helping us become well-known and trusted.
5. Raise more money than you think. I always say that everything in cannabis takes twice as long as costs twice as much. Spend the extra time securing the proper funding you need to expand, because you’ll need it in order to succeed in cannabis.
Aside from your particular vertical, which other cannabis ancillary industries to you think have very strong potential in the next few years? Can you explain why?
I believe the medical cannabis space is still completely and totally wide-open, and I don’t see many people doing a great job there. Create products and services for specific demographics like Seniors, or specific products like sleep. The truth is, a huge number of people use cannabis for health and wellness purposes, and yet that market is being largely over-looked in the hype to build recreational cannabis brands.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Invest the time, energy, and money into building your culture. At Green Flower, we do team retreats, we make sure every person on the team has goals and motivations that are personalized to them, and we spend time together as an entire company every month. These small but important steps help everyone to feel like they are truly making a difference and contributing to our greater mission of helping people benefit from cannabis.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
It’s exactly what I’m doing now — inspiring the world to embrace the value and benefits of cannabis :)
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Jilea Hemmings is the CEO & Co-Founder of Leaf Tyme. She is running a series on Leaders In The Cannabis Industry.