Wow, it’s been a while. So much has happened since my last update – a global pandemic, starting a job at local cannabis dispensary Doobie Nights after being laid off, exploring my newly discovered polyamorous-ness and developing two amazing relationships, becoming an auntie to my sister’s adorable kiddo Nico, adopting two kitties Mochi and Boba, many fun adventures, and riding the waves of the tumultuous cannabis and events industries. Definitely all worth their own blog post(s)!
What has prompted this long overdue update is that I’m in the market for a new job, and/or freelance projects, so it’s time to stop neglecting my own business in favor of working on my clients’ / employer’s. After almost 4 years as Marketing Director at Doobie Nights, the struggling business (by no fault of their own really – California cannabis is rough) is making cuts, and, well, Marketing always seems to be the first to go (which is not usually a wise move, IMHO). My hours have been cut from full time to very very part time and I’m going back to how I began this role, as a contractor working mostly from home. Ok, maybe that last part is a wise move.
I joined the team at Doobie Nights just before they opened the store, while they were finishing building the unique experiential space. I slowly added more responsibilities to my role as a one person Marketing department over the years, adapting to the changing needs of the business and industry. I led brand and marketing strategy as well as all aspects of digital marketing, website and social media management, graphic design, customer retention and communications, PR and media, event planning, partner marketing, and eventually I supported with operations administration, sales, and nurturing vendor relationships as well. I’m really proud of the marketing strategies and systems that I created and refined, the campaigns and connections I built, and everything I contributed to the company that will serve them for years to come. But with increasing competition, high tax bills and a struggling industry, they eventually could not afford a full time Marketing manager and weren’t able to offer me much room for growth.
So, here I am on the job hunt again and a little uncertain about not only how I’m gonna pay rent next month, but whether it’s time for another industry switch. As I mentioned, the cannabis industry in California has been hard, mostly because it operates in a legal gray area – totally legal locally and in the state, and still a Schedule I illegal substance federally (while that’s up for review at the moment, DEscheduling is definitely what we need, not this REscheduling nonsense).
Which means that cannabis companies are allowed to exist in California, but we are very limited especially when it comes to advertising and banking options, we cannot sell anything outside of the state or ship our products, and we are strictly regulated and over taxed. The worst hurdle we have to deal with is 280-E, a federal tax code regulation that makes it impossible for businesses engaged in anything federally illegal to write off most business expenses (like Marketing or labor costs) like any other business can. Let’s just say the only people making actual money selling legal weed are the regulators collecting the taxes (at the city, state, AND federal levels, I might add).
Luckily I am always up for a challenge, and have actually been involved in this industry in a variety of ways (from medical patient to activist to trimmer to grower to distributor) since the legacy market days. I truly believe in the power of this plant that has transformed my life. It’s a big part of why I left Idaho for California – those greener pastures! So I know this niche pretty well and have worked in the legal industry since 2018. Our clients at The Hybrid Creative were usually in cannabis, and I have learned a ton being a one person Marketing Department at a dispensary in the heart of NorCal’s weed country.
With this niche experience I know I can be a huge asset to any company in the cannabis industry. Most of my professional experience is in this arena, or other smaller niches – events and non-profits – which all align wonderfully with who I am so it that I can do my best work promoting something I actually believe and specialize in. But this has definitely hurt my job prospects. I don’t have a lot of “traditional” or corporate experience – because I dislike mainstream corporate culture and I do not thrive in that environment. Even though my Marketing skills are universal and transferrable, a lot of my specific platform experience is not (cannabis requires its own proprietary software due to all the legal restrictions and need to connect with the METRC track and trace system). I’ve sent SO MANY applications to all kinds of mid to senior level marketing positions across a variety of industries and haven’t heard anything back from any of them, the only responses I’ve gotten from applications have been within the cannabis industry.
Luckily I have worked on projects for a variety of clients in my freelance career over the years – from personal trainers to nutrition coaches to festivals to fertilizer companies to CPG to community organizations, and I’ve picked up a bunch of new skills like project management, data analysis, video editing, social media management, marketing strategy, budgeting and coordinating a variety of teams. I’ve also learned platforms like Hubspot CRM, Google Business Suite, WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, Google Analytics, Trello, Alpine IQ, Mailchimp, Asana, SEO, etc. I tend to pick up new tech platforms and skills pretty quickly, since I am what you might call a raging nerd.
I’m keeping my mind open about what’s next, but if I can summon my manifestation powers a bit, let’s imagine my “dream” career… Ideally I would like to be able to buy a small house in Sonoma County at some point soon, which is an extremely tall order with housing prices here, but I’m quite over the constantly increasing rent. So I really need to stack some coin, as they say. I am ideally looking for a remote or hybrid role that’s close to full time and flexible, and/or a few more ongoing freelance projects. But no matter what structure my next role or roles takes, my top priorities are feeling respected, appreciated, and fairly compensated for my work; flexibility and the ability to take my work with me when I travel and work mostly from home; and working for an organization I believe in. I have to believe in the company’s mission and offerings if I’m going to successfully market them, because authenticity is the only way, and that cannot be faked.
While the cannabis industry would be the best fit for my experience, I’m also open to branching out and trying something new. I know my skills, adaptability and quick learning would be a great fit for just about industry. Sonoma County has a lot of wineries, and as a regulated industry I think I’d be a great fit there. Or I’d really love to get back into non-profits and doing something that allows me to support a good cause or an organization that serves the community. My friends used to ask me how many animals I’d saved that day working for PETA (my first job out of college was a web designer there). Not that I could ever give a real numerical answer, but I miss knowing my work has a direct positive impact on society. Getting people high and providing relief is nice too, but addressing climate change is probably more pressing and impactful. Can I do both? I’m definitely a fan of “Yes, And” solutions, so let’s see!
I turned 40 this year. I definitely don’t feel middle aged, or ready for menopause at all, and I hope I don’t quite look my age despite all the gray hair (at least until I dye it some wild color again). My 30s were amazing and so full of healing, adventure, growth, discovery and friendship. I needed that after spending most of my 20s in an abusive relationship. I always was a late bloomer, but in the last decade I definitely have come into my own and I’m very proud of where I am now – mentally, professionally, emotionally and sometimes physically. I have built an amazing life for myself and I have a wonderful community, but the one thing missing is financial security and a career I can pour myself into.
One thing I have discovered about myself over the last few years is that I care WAY less about what people think of me – that’s their business, not mine – and I’m much less afraid to be myself, take up space, be heard, and most of all embrace my WEIRD than I used to be. Life is too short to let anyone else tell you how to be you or how to live, and society is pretty messed up so why should I force myself into its boxes? I wish I would have discovered this superpower back in my 20s and stood up for myself a LOT more, and in some areas I still struggle with advocating for myself (especially professionally). But I think I am finally hearing the feedback of my past employers and clients, as well as coworkers, partners, and anyone I have worked with and realizing and embodying my inner badass. I still believe in humility and putting in the work rather than talking a big talk without backing it up for sure. But this timid hesitancy to toot my own horn needs to end, NOW.
I am a badass. I have done a lot of hard work, contributed to the success of every team I have been a part of, learned a ton and met so many amazing people along the way. Even though I am constantly learning new things and trying to improve my skills, I am experienced and knowledgeable and I know what I’m doing. I am enough. And I am worth investing in.
Can I be a badass for your company? Can I support your team and help you reach your marketing goals? Can I add some creative spark to your marketing or some organization to your administrative systems?
If you’re hiring for mid to senior level marketing, creative, operations, or administration related roles that you think I’d be a good fit for, or have a freelance marketing project you’d like to discuss, hit me up! I’m open and ready for a challenge and some new horizons. Check out some of my past work and my resume, and if any of it resonates, let’s connect. Thanks for reading and sending any leads or projects my way!