Mia Shark: 00:00 For me, I ended up in the restricted industry, which is quite frankly where I belong. I’ve never really fit in the box and I really like breaking rules. And, I then opened an advertising agency that specializes in restricted industries; CBD, to Kratom, to supplements, to all sorts of different other things that are restricted. So, that’s what our marketing agency specializes in, and immediately, right off the bat, we acquired some of the biggest CBD sellers on the market, and other monsters in different respective industries
Intro: 00:34 From ABC News Radio, KIBT 1490 in Southern California, this is BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio, with your host, Tyler Jorgenson.
Tyler Jorgensen: 00:48 Hey, welcome out to BizNinja Entrepreneur Radio. I’m your host Tyler Jorgensen, and today I have the one and only, the legendary Mia Shark. Thanks for coming out Mia.
Mia Shark: 00:57 Aloha. Thank you so much for having me on today.
Tyler Jorgensen: 01:00 That’s right. Aloha. You’re coming to us from Hawaii.
Mia Shark: 01:03 I am coming to you from Hawaii.
Tyler Jorgensen: 01:04 Now, is that where you’re from or just where you get to enjoy your life right now?
Mia Shark: 01:10 That’s where the shark life takes place. I was actually born and raised in Canada, but I got sick of the snow and decided to live the life of my dreams.
Tyler Jorgensen: 01:17 So this is interesting. So, we’re going to talk a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey, about how you help people sell and have resources in the restricted industry space. We’re going to talk a little bit about that. I once had a diet product that was kind of in the restricted space and I did almost all of my sales in Canada. So just kind of one of those funny little caveats of things, but so let’s talk a little bit about you and your entrepreneurial journey. Let’s…, you know, kind of talk about getting started. What’s your quick elevator pitch of who is Mia Shark and what you do?
Mia Shark: 01:49 Oh, the quick elevator pitch was like, quite frankly, when I was young, I just kept getting fired because my bosses were like, “This girl is going to take my job.” And I was like, “I can’t do this anymore.” The last time it happened I was like, “That’s it. That is all.” And, I was 18 years old, and so I decided to start my own business. Since then, I’ve never had another job or worked for anybody. And so, I guess we’re at number, the last count was 12, with three major exits, but over the last two months or so, I’ve acquired at an additional two. So, I don’t even know what the counts are right now, but definitely a serial entrepreneur.
Tyler Jorgensen: 02:30 Yeah. Entrepreneurship is hard to keep track because there are projects, there are full business launches, there are…, you know, collaborations, and all that kind of stuff. How did you end up into what now is considered the restricted space, and maybe tell our listeners what that is?
Mia Shark: 02:45 Yeah, absolutely. So, for me, I ended up in the restricted industry, which is quite frankly where I belong. I’ve never really fit in the box, and I really liked breaking rules. Maybe not breaking rules, but you know, finding those loopholes and pushing the boundaries always in business and life. I mean, you know, jumping out of a plane on a regular basis is kind of pushing the limits, but so I ended up getting into restricted industries after my last company, which was a B2B Tech company sold. I traveled the world for a little bit, but then, you know, inevitably I got bored and I was like, “Hmm, what should I do now? And, I ended up getting into CBD because it was super, super trending. Like as you guys know, CBD is so hot right now, it’s absolutely on fire, And I saw that hockey stick curve that you want to see when getting into any business.
Mia Shark: 03:34 And, I was just like, “Okay cool. Well, this is what I’m going to do.” So I opened up my company, it was called Caliber Health. And, at the very beginning of starting Caliber Health, I was faced with a lot of challenges. Banking was a huge challenge, getting a payment processor was a huge challenge, even doing a Shopify site was a bit of a challenge, because you can typically like do the normal things like if you were selling socks, for example, there were so many regulations. And then I found that I had to set up different accounts for different things and different companies and I’m like, “Wow, this is a lot and I haven’t even launched yet.” But finally, I made it to launch and I was like so happy. And we launched and I was like…, and there were no sales. And I was like, “Oh crap, I have to learn how to market this thing.”
Mia Shark: 04:29 And, so that’s what I set out on a journey to do. And, in December of this year, just after the farm bill got passed, according to Facebook, that’s what our account reps said to us. We became the first account to be able to advertise CBD as CBD actively. And so, we’ve been doing that for a while now, and it has been absolutely amazing. I then opened an advertising agency that specializes in restricted industries; CBD to Kratom, to supplements, to all sorts of different other things that are restricted. Think about what you might not be able to advertise on Facebook, you know, Vape. I wouldn’t advertise smoking because that’s an ethical issue, alcohol, that kind of stuff. Those are restricted industries. I really specialize more in the supplements, Kratom, CBD area of it, but my advice is applicable to all different kinds of restricted industries. So, that’s what our marketing agency specializes in. And, immediately right off the bat, we acquired some of the biggest CBD sellers on the market and other monsters in different restricted industries. And so, all of a sudden, I have a booming CBD company, and I’ve got a booming marketing company, but I found that there was a challenge with the marketing company, and that’s what I couldn’t help everybody. And that’s why I came up with my course, which is actually launching on 4/20.
Tyler Jorgensen: 05:58 Awesome. We’re going to unpack that a little bit before we go into all this other cool stuff you’re building. Yeah. I think it’s amazing how much work goes into launching a business before you even get that first sale. Right? And there’s always that balance of how much do you put in before you even test the marketplace. Now, with you and with CBD, right? You knew that the market was hot. It wasn’t a matter of the industry or if the market was going to want your product, it was just how do you actually get it in front of them. But I think a lot of times people don’t realize how much work they have to do, just to be able to open up a Shopify store, or open a marketplace, or open an eCommerce store, and some products are really easy, right? You’re going to open a press, go on the Shopify site, you’re going to plug in a theme, and you’re gonna load the products, and you’re ready to go.
Tyler Jorgensen: 06:37 You can use Shopify payments, you can do everything and you’re easy to go, you know, ready to go. But in restricted space, which for those of you listening or watching, it can be anything that just isn’t vanilla product base, right? And some things that you don’t think are restricted, are things like supplements, right? A lot of times people, they think, “Oh, well it’s in GNC or it’s at Vitamin Shoppe. It must be a no problem.” But again, my background was in diet and weight loss, and I used to be able to advertise that on Facebook without any issues. And then little by little, they started making changes. And anytime there are those little changes in mine and Mia’s world, those are restrictions, and being able to navigate those restrictions can be really tough. What were some of those first obstacles that you had to overcome? Like, I mean, obviously there was probably quite a bit of work between not knowing how to advertise and getting approved on Facebook. What were some of those first obstacles and how’d you overcome them?
Mia Shark: 07:28 The first obstacles that it came across in terms of marketing, or the business?
Tyler Jorgensen: 07:32 Either one.
Mia Shark: 07:33 Well, the first one was payment processing. We are considered high risk, and there is a lot of turbulence in the industry right now surrounding that, and it’s a big problem for us. And so getting a reliable payment processor that’s not a scam is a really big challenge. And so, that was obviously problem number one. In fact, we launched without having the ability to do credit card processing, which was like, massive issues, right? And it really, really stifled our checkout, right?, which was a big problem. Eventually, we got credit card processing, but again, just last week Elavon announced the only…, you know, real big American Bank, they announced that they’re no longer taking CBD, and I’m like, “Oh my God, here we go again.” Thankfully, I’m on top of it. Definitely on top of it this time. And then the next thing was the shocker of Facebook being like, “Uh, uh, uh”,but I’m like, “But it’s legal”, and they’re like, “mmh, mmh, mmh”, and I’m like, “Aaww”, so I fought them for so long, and thankfully, I had a really outstanding older age Facebook account that I was able to work with, that had spent several million on Facebook ads and stuff. And so, from that point I was able to get a really high level rep, and they then actually assisted me. Otherwise, I mean, I don’t know if you guys do any Facebook advertising, but Facebook’s customer service is anything but. So, it’s always a little bit of a challenge.
Tyler Jorgensen: 09:05 Yeah, I mean. I started advertising on Facebook in the very early days before there was a business manager, before there was any of that, and I have gone through several versions of how things work, and watching things get shut down, and in the first wave of the Facebook slaps, before they really had rules, you could do anything. And so, it’s been interesting watching, because we kind of call it a pendulum, right?, and as it swings back and forth, and how strict things are in this space, you know, some people think, “Oh, if it’s legal then it must be okay and easy to collect…, you know, get a payment processor, and do advertising.” It’s like, “Well, Mastercard and Visa might have different rules than the FTC, or than the federal government, and in order to use them, unfortunately, we got to follow their rules. And so, you guys worked through that basically by using kind of high-level contacts. Obviously, not everyone has multi-million dollar Facebook accounts. How are they going to be able to get through stuff?
Mia Shark: 09:57 That’s a really good question. Honestly, there is in the course that I’m launching on 4-20, I’m teaching the whole nine yards. And, the fact of the matter is that right off the bat, you are not going to get approved to be able to do that, and you’re also going to get shut down, but I teach you the methods to ensure that when you get shut down, your income doesn’t go to zero, and we teach you those things that would trigger like, you getting shut down. And so, we give you all of that information that I’ve learned over the last year or so in this business, and you know, after spending so much money, and then just, you know, getting shut down having a pixel information like, go bye-bye like, we teach you all of that in that course. And so, thank goodness, I mean, for that. The people who have gotten that information so far are doing absolutely fantastic. We’re scaling them up to a million dollars a month right now using the information, and the strategies, and so, it’s just really exciting that I’ll be able to help more people with the launch of the course. I’m really, really stoked.
Tyler Jorgensen: 11:00 Yeah. And so you’ve got a course coming out, but you’ve already published a book on this subject, right? Tell us a little bit about your book.
Mia Shark: 11:05 Yeah, so I published an initial volume of it in December, and it was called “Secrets to Marketing in Restricted Industries.” And then, just recently, actually last Friday, I launched the uncensored version of it, which actually gives a lot of my tips away. And so, we teach you the different tools that you’re going to need to be able to use to create your marketing machine, how to put it together, some tips and tricks for Facebook ads, some tips and tricks for your ClickFunnels, for your bots, for your SMSs, for your Shopify store, for your private label, a whole bunch of stuff. And the best part about the book is that if you get it now, I think we have like 7, we’re giving away. We gave away 50 free copies. I think we might have about seven left. And so, if you guys nip over to the website and claim it now, you’ll actually get a free copy. Otherwise, it’s going to be $59.97, and so, nip over there and get it. But the best part is, is that you get my bots, you get my email sequences, you get my funnel, so hack it and use it, because I’m using the same template for everything. So, take a look at it and use that stuff.
Tyler Jorgensen: 12:09 Awesome. Yeah. And so that’s SharkLifeMedia.com, right?
Mia Shark: 12:13 Yeah.
Tyler Jorgensen: 12:15 Okay, so we’re going to go into your course a little bit, but I’m wanna…, you know, I like to kind of…, we move two steps forward, and then go backwards into the backs. So, growing up in Canada, you realize, “Man, I’m not an employee. That’s just not who I am. That’s just not who I am.” What was your very first foray into entrepreneurship?
Mia Shark: 12:34 Okay, this is actually kind of funny because it really fits with what I’m doing right now. So I was 16 years old, and I always loved planning events and stuff. And so, I call it the summer of 16, it was my first summer living alone. I was up at a beach, it was called Sauble beach in Ontario, Canada. And, me and my friends decided that we wanted to throw a “rave”, and we had a whole bunch of friends that were really good DJs, and had contacts and stuff with other people, and I was like, “Yeah, that’s awesome.” So me and a group of my friends threw a gigantic, crazy rave, and it was amazing, and I ended up kind of being the project manager for that. And, it was a whole ton of fun. And of course, it was really interesting for me to actually sit back and watch too, because I’m pretty sure I was the only sober one, but it was a really good experience to watch like how organized chaos like unfolds if you plan it right. So, it was very, very neat. That was my first entrepreneurial event, was a rave.
Tyler Jorgensen: 13:37 That’s pretty big. And I think for a lot of teenagers that have a little bit of that entrepreneurial spirit, they probably were that friend that organized that thing, but it sounds like you took it to a whole nother level, and that’s just how you do it, right? Like, Mia doesn’t play small.
Mia Shark: 13:51 Yeah, it’s true. Plus, I mean there was nothing else to do up there, so I had to do something. I get bored real quick. So…
Tyler Jorgensen: 13:58 Alright? So, that’s 16. What’s round two? What was the next thing where you’re like, “Okay, I can tell I’m not following the same pattern as everyone else.”
Mia Shark: 14:04 Round two was when I got called out in college, breaking rules again, one of my mentor teachers was like, “Mia, I see what you’re doing.” And what I was doing was I was learning everything I needed to do, but I was paying other people to do some of my assignments and stuff. He’s like, “You’re never going to be a designer. You’re never going to be a programmer. You are going to be a project manager. So, I’ve selected five people out of a class of a thousand, to come into my project management specialization, and you have to be there because you’re going to fail if you don’t, like, this is what you need to go. And so, here’s your opportunity.” And so, that was an incredible opportunity that I didn’t even realize at the time. We ended up working on a couple of different accounts that were absolutely out of this world. One of them ended up being Etsy, and one of them ended up being BaseCamp. And so, it was just crazy to be at the very, very, very, very seed beginnings of those incredibly huge companies, and see what a startup really has to go through. And so, that was super unique.
Tyler Jorgensen: 15:11 How cool that you had a professor that saw that and didn’t see it as a negative, but instead helped you nurture it.
Mia Shark: 15:20 Exactly. I couldn’t agree more.
Tyler Jorgensen: 15:22 Yeah. I think there’s a lot of times entrepreneurs don’t fit into the educational system, not because they don’t need to go get an education, but because people within that system aren’t willing to adapt to their level of creativity, but that’s just really cool experience that you’re able to…
Mia Shark: 15:39 Yeah. I couldn’t agree. And folks, don’t pay your fellow students to do your work. It’s not good.
Tyler Jorgensen: 15:45 No. Not without permission, right? Not without it. Unless you’re in a project management class.
Mia Shark: 15:52 Exactly.
Tyler Jorgensen: 15:52 Yeah. That’s funny. When I was working on my MBA, there was a point where I’m like, “Man, I’ve got this huge project to do. I don’t really want to do it.” And so, I just looked and just was curious how much would it cost to have someone else do it. And I ended up doing it myself, but I realized there is a massive program, I could hire MBAs that have already graduated, that are in the workforce, to do it for like $300, and I’m like…, so I brought it forth to my teacher, and I was like, ‘Hey, FYI, I did it myself, but…”, and I kind of talked to him about what the value really was, because the value really isn’t IN how to get and gather information, its how to apply. Right? And what you can actually do with that. You can hire people to do and gather information, and even put together business plans, but the real value is in actually executing.
Mia Shark: 16:41 Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I’m so grateful for that one teacher, his name was Peter DeSouza, and he really changed my entire life. He really did. And I’m so grateful for him.
Tyler Jorgensen: 16:51 Awesome. So tell us a little bit about the course that you’re launching.
Mia Shark: 16:54 Yeah. Okay. So actually it’s two.
Tyler Jorgensen: 16:58 Of course, you don’t play small. Got to go for two at the same time.
Mia Shark: 17:01 Right. It was going to be three, but the third one is going to launch a little bit further down the road. There are two courses. The first one is called “CBD A to Z.” And, in CBD A to Z we cover CBD A to Z. So we go through what is CBD, I mean we start at the very bottom of the chain of what is a restricted industry, and then we go into a couple of different restricted industries. I actually also talk about Kratom and supplements in this course, even though it’s called CBD A to Z. And so, we talk about those different things, and what they are, and then we talk about where to find a supplier, how to test your different products and stuff, and how to choose a really great supplier, what business model to go with, how you’re going to handle fulfillment, then we get into how to private label. And, that’s a lot of fun for me, because I’m going through that with a whole bunch of different people right now. And the design is just the funniest, funniest part for me. I always love getting the design deliverables. So we talk about the aspects of private labeling. Then we talk about day to day operations, and we talk about how to set…, we do actually meet. It’s done with you. And so, you guys get to sit over my shoulder while I build out an entire Shopify store so you don’t have to pay somebody, you know, $2,500 to build that out for you. I’m going to show you step by step exactly how to do it. So, it’s a big course. It’s a lot of fun. There’s tons of information in there. I mean we cover even the little tiny things that you don’t even think about, like how to open a restricted bank account for…, you know, an industry that’s maybe grey area, how to set up your LLC to protect you, et Cetera, et cetera. So there’s a lot of teeny things in there that you guys don’t think of. Payment processing, for example, how to not get scammed by a payment processor. Like, somebody that, you know, got 40 grand or 50 grand, you know, taken last week kind of a deal. There’s a ton of little things in there, that you guys wouldn’t even think to think about when you’re opening up, you know, a regular eCommerce.
Tyler Jorgensen: 19:01 Who’s that for? Is that for someone who wants to launch a business in CBD or someone who wants to launch any kind of business in the restricted space, someone who already has a business? Who is the ideal person for that course?
Mia Shark: 19:01 The ideal person is going to be somebody that is just starting out on getting into CBD, though to be fair, a lot of the people that already have CBD companies, I see them doing little things that are maybe not quite right, and would benefit from that as well. So, people that are making, I would say under $5,000 from their store per month, that’s probably going to be a really, really good starter for them.
Tyler Jorgensen: 19:29 Awesome.
Mia Shark: 19:29 Yeah.
Tyler Jorgensen: 19:35 And then you…, course number two.
Mia Shark: 19:36 Course number two is actually made for everybody that’s in eCom. It’s not just for restricted industries, but it works specifically for restricted industries, unlike other marketing schemes that…, well, plans that would work for, you know, selling socks or something like that. This is how you have to market restricted industries from my experience. And so, what we talk about in course number two is called “Marketing Uncensored.” And, the campaign associated with that is absolutely hilarious. So, stay tuned for those commercials. And so, in that course we talk about laying out your marketing machine, so we go through how to lay it out and funnelytics, and then we go into exactly what you’re going to need to build out, and we do it with you. So again, you’re sitting over my shoulder while I’m building out an entire funnel series, when I’m building out an entire box series, as I’m building out an entire series of text message campaigns, as I’m building out bots (chat bots), oh and email sequences, they’re super, super, super important. So we go through that as well. And then, of course, once you’ve got your marketing machine built, you’re going to need to fuel it with traffic. And so, obviously, we go into Facebook ads and how to actually get your ads approved, and use them to scale using your marketing machine.
Tyler Jorgensen: 21:02 Very cool.
Mia Shark: 21:03 Yeah.
Tyler Jorgensen: 21:03 I love it. That’s good. I mean, obviously, every entrepreneur thinks they have an amazing product and offer, and then they don’t know how to actually get it to the marketplace, right? But I’ve made this amazing, you know, when I talk with a lot of what I would call more kind of like old school business consultants, they’re talking about…, they just talk about building a better mousetrap. Well if you build a better mousetrap, then the whole world will beat down your door to get to you. Well, and I’m like, “Ah. They still have to know” You still have to at least tell somebody about it. Right? And you can wait for that to spread one to one, or you can amplify it by paying for that traffic. Right? More strategically. So, have been some hurdles? Like, what made you want to do a course and has it been something that you just saw, “This was really easy.” What challenges have then as you put this together?
Mia Shark: 21:49 So, the reason that I started this actually was because, in the industry, as it began to evolve, I watched it make some mistakes and spread misinformation quite consistently, have product out there that isn’t up to standard, using just really crappy things, CBD companies pushing CBD that doesn’t contain what it says it contains kind of a thing, and that really bothered me. The reason that that bothered me is obviously because it’s not an ethical thing to do, and that’s not the way you should conduct business, but more importantly, is that because our industry is at the infancy of its lifespan, we have to nurture it like a child right now. And it is so important that all of us in the industry, we stick together, and I’m getting goosebumps because I really mean this. Like it’s so important to me that we all stick together, and we all act responsibly and behave in an ethical way.
Mia Shark: 22:44 And so, for me, I saw it happening, and at first it made me upset, but then I looked at it from a different perspective and I was like, “Okay, I have the opportunity to change this, and make this better.” And, for all of those people that are coming into the industry, and maybe they don’t even know what they’re doing wrong, I can educate them, and I can teach them, and I can help them make it better. And so, that for me was a catalyst to getting into the course. But, I feel like the real catalyst is the fact that with any agency, there is a ceiling where you can only accept so much. And given we are very high end, we’ve only been able to work with a number of the high-end CBD sellers on the Internet and actually in retail outlets and stuff. And it didn’t allow me to be able to get in and help other people that are, you know, at that smaller range (under $10,000 a month) And so for me, I really do still want to help them. It’s just, unfortunately, I can’t, like I don’t have enough bandwidth to be able to help everybody.
Mia Shark: 23:50 So, I decided that I was going to do the “Done with you course”, so I could teach them all how to start a responsible CBD company and get that up and going, and using the techniques and the methods that have worked for me and my clients, that I’ve made us millions and show actually how to do it one-on-one. I’m super, super techie, and so, I teach tech really, really good over my shoulder and so, we walk, you know, I walk you through it like one-on-one and then, of course, I get to interact and be on the one-on-one Facebook groups that we have for our exclusive course attendees. So super excited about that.
Tyler Jorgensen: 24:30 Very cool. I love it. Yeah, I think that’s a natural thing, right? We can only help so many, either one-to-one or even one to, like a group of people. And so, the course allows you to really help more people. I think you’re absolutely right when you say, especially young markets, if you don’t really nurture them, then a few people, a few rotten eggs can really spoil the whole batch. Right? A few bad apples spoil the whole bunch. And so, it sounds like what your goal is with the course, is to really help everyone stay in compliance, do it correctly so that the whole industry rises together, which is pretty… To me, entrepreneurship is all about building the life that we want rather than being subjected to write somebody else’s vision. What’s one major item on your personal bucket list that you’re going to accomplish this year? It sounds like you’re diving out of planes and doing crazy stuff already, but what’s, you know, what else?
Mia Shark: 25:23 Okay, so there are a couple of things. I’m working on getting my pilot’s license.
Tyler Jorgensen: 25:27 Very cool.
Mia Shark: 25:28 Yeah. Which is really, really cool because I want to buy a plane. That’s awesome. People could buy cars and Rolexes, and I go and buy planes. So, I’m hoping to do that, and there are two other things. One is that I’m doing a trip to Europe. I’m going to do France, Spain, Italy, and Greece. And then, I want to write a book. I want to sit down, go hibernate somewhere for a couple of months, and I want to write a book.
Tyler Jorgensen: 25:55 Cool. You got a lot going on this year. You’ve got to launch a few more companies, a couple of courses, you know, finish scaling the current book you have, and then you’ve got a whole other book coming.
Mia Shark: 26:04 Yeah. Yeah. I’m talking like a big book though. Like, I’m talking like a novel style, like crazy, probably a series of three. So…
Tyler Jorgensen: 26:13 Nice. So actually like a fiction based book or like a…
Mia Shark: 26:18 Based on a true story.
Tyler Jorgensen: 26:19 Very cool. Alright. I’m excited for that. When that happens, you have to come back on the show and we’ll talk about it.
Mia Shark: 26:25 Absolutely.
Tyler Jorgensen: 26:25 Alright. What…, We’re getting ready to sign off here. What’s your one piece of advice for all the entrepreneurs out there, if they’re feeling stuck?
Mia Shark: 26:35 If you’re feeling stuck, just never give up, because that’s the only way you can lose, is by giving up. Never give up. You’ll find your way.
Tyler Jorgensen: 26:42 Awesome. Alright, Mia. Thank you so much for coming out. Please, guys, follow her at SharkLifeMedia.com, you can find links to all of our social profiles from there, and now it’s your turn to go out and do something.
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