Cannabis Entrepreneur Adelia Carrillo Talks with Atypical Latina
Adelia, can you start by telling us a little bit about your background?
I was born in Northern California, however, spent most of my childhood and adulthood living in Southern California (San Diego). Growing up, I never thought I would become an entrepreneur, however, now looking back I see many attributes that most common entrepreneurs have, I worked a variety of different jobs, always working hard and moving up quickly, but getting bored by routine, I always was eager to learn and wanted to do more. Finally, in my early 20’s I found a career that kept me engaged. I began working for a larger startup company in the Consumer Electronics Industry. I finally felt like I found my people, I started as a temporary data entry position and quickly moved up to Sales Admin then Sales Project Manager then Business Development Manager working directly under the VP of Sales and managing our clientele of Fortune 500 companies. Life was great, I was moving up with a company, I had an amazing salary with amazing benefits, however, the company started hitting some financial troubles and at the same time I was hit with life pretty hard. My fiance and I found out I was pregnant and initially we were so excited, but quickly that changed. I had to have an emergency surgery which led to a pregnancy loss. This completely turned my life upside down, I lost myself and could barely leave the house for the first year. I found the medicine was not helping and my fiance suggested I turn to Cannabis. It was not a conversation I expected, but I was at a loss of what else to do. Cannabis honestly saved me and turned me into a better human both physically and emotionally. That journey soon led to a whole new outlook on life and led to the development of my company, Direct Cannabis Network. DCN is a B2B digital media news network that covers the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry.
What are your greatest strengths as an entrepreneur?
Business Focus: Emphasizes profits, goals, and metrics; aligns employees with company goals
Determination: Tremendous work ethic, confronts and overcomes obstacles, undeterred by obstacles and roadblocks.
Knowledge seeker: Acquires business-relevant, in-depth information; uses knowledge as a competitive advantage; anticipates information needs.
How do you stay motivated?
Honestly, I am the kind of entrepreneur that loves to work, knowing that an idea I had, and a business I launched initially in my bedroom on my laptop that has scaled with no marketing budget and by organic growth amazes me at times. However, I have gotten close to burnout and because of those times, I have found that my daily meditation, journaling and creating weekly and monthly goals keeps me focused and aligned and lessens the distraction that can happen in life and in an emerging industry, like the Cannabis Industry.
Why did you decided to start the Direct Cannabis Network?
When I became a Cannabis patient, as I mentioned it completely changed me, I began researching this plant, learning the history, why the government turned it into a schedule 1 drug, how California turned medicinal. Next, I began researching the things I personally geek out about which is tech, startups, entrepreneurship, and innovation in Cannabis. I couldn’t relate the current resources and saw that the community/industry was going to need a ecosystem catering to the entrepreneurial community that would strive to keep the WHY an important subject for entrepreneurs. See, nowadays people are so focused on the terms, that “cannabis is a greenrush”. There is so much more to this plant than dollar signs and I saw that as this industry emerged entrepreneurs were going to need a voice that could educate and help them learn to become better entrepreneurs, learn about their peers and the latest innovative companies along with connecting them together to learn how to work together and so that as a community, we all could make a difference in building the foundation in this industry.
What differentiates DCN, from your competitors?
I would say our mission and values is key to what makes us different and through that how we have presented and built out business models reflects that and continues to make us different. For example, when looking at the media landscape I knew we didn’t want to build the traditional “pay to play” business model, although it was going to be challenging and push us to be creative in our business model, we wanted to give a voice to these entrepreneurs and startups not because they had the money to pay for it, because they were doing something cool or because their WHY was important. When looking at our content, we strive in original content, whether it is by our team or by those who contribute to DCN. And last would be through our experiences we create, whether it is on our online shows or through our B2B events, we provide value for our readers, viewers and community no matter whether it is online or offline.
How did the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada affect DCN?
The changes in Canada didn’t affect DCN, I always saw Cannabis becoming a global industry, I think what gets hard is that we are a bootstrapped startup and at times it is very challenging trying to keep up the pace. My current focus is on building stable consistent revenue so that I can begin expanding the team so we can start covering more stories of these startups and entrepreneurs that are coming into the industry globally.
Where do you see the company in 5 years?
I see DCN being a global entrepreneur ecosystem for cannabis startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals. Highlighting and releasing content hourly, with online shows being released every week and our B2B events going Nationwide and our entrepreneur summit going global.
Did your upbringing affect or spark any ideas for your business?
No, actually looking at my upbringing, to others it may be very surprising that I went this route. My mother worked for the District Attorneys office as a paralegal and my stepdad was a San Diego Cop, then Sheriff and then became a District Attorney Private Investigator Specialist. I was always told how Cannabis was going to destroy my life. Once I became a patient, I hid it from my parents for a while, until it finally came out. However, what surprised me and relieved me was how supportive they were as they saw how much Cannabis helped me during such a critical time in my life.
What advice would you offer to a Latina looking to become a cannabis entrepreneur?
My best piece of advice is to realize that you don’t need to work at a dispensary or become a grower to get into the Cannabis industry, look at your skill-set and bring that into this space. Being this is a new industry, many companies and services still don’t work with the Cannabis industry for many reasons, which means there is a lot of opportunities to be able to solve a problem, whether it is an ancillary service, consumer product or medicinal product, etc. Also, start attending business events, networking events while also learning about the plant and its history. By gaining insight and feedback and knowledge, you can have a better understanding of the industry and also learn about the pain points and how right now it’s still a very unstable industry with it just becoming an emerging market. Which in turn, could help you figure out if your business idea is solving a problem and would be needed. My final piece of advice is if you are passionate about cannabis, don’t let other peoples opinions hold you back, as you learn about this plant you can educate others in your life which in turn could potentially allow them to understand why you want to become a Cannabis Entrepreneur.