Innovative yet controversial technology and medicine are making waves as consumers look to new products and services to solve complex problems.

Whether it’s a new form of cryptocurrency like bitcoin or etherium, or a new way to consume or use cannabis, these risky business sectors are becoming unstoppable.

While growth has been on their side, these industries don’t come without problems. Actually, they present more challenges than other mainstream industries! To make matters worse, legislation and the federal government will often delay, or bring a halt to the innovation process. Fortunately, the significant economic opportunity on a national and international level keeps these businesses alive.

This is exactly what we’re seeing with the Cannabis Industry. This once taboo industry is now making massive progress as more and more research finds health benefits from utilizing the drug, as well as its increased presence as a mainstream recreational substance.

If we take a look at November’s election, seven states in all legalized marijuana in some form, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada showed up to support recreational marijuana, while Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota passed ballot initiatives legalizing medical marijuana.

One successful entrepreneur who’s become a successful businessman and expert in the Cannabis Industry is, Michael “BigMike” Straumietis, CEO and founder of Advanced Nutrients. Advanced Nutrients generates over $90 million in annual sales to customers in 91 countries.

BigMike’s determination and personal story can teach entrepreneurs some very important lessons about persevering in controversial industries. Here are five.

1. Bullies Are Just Obstacles We Have to Tackle Everyday

Being at the forefront, BigMike has been involved both politically and financially in his industry, especially when it comes to competition.

“People ask why I stand up to Big Marijuana. “Aren’t you scared these guys will bury you,” they say, “with their billions of dollars and roided-out legal teams?” BigMike says “No,” he won’t back down.

When the industry was still very controversial and illegal in many ways, BigMike experienced life-crushing failures:

“As an outlaw grower I experienced crop failures, arrests, and rip-offs that amounted to millions of dollars. I had dozens of indoor and outdoor grows seized by the police, was kidnapped, exiled from a country where I was living with my wife and child, and had a dear friend and grow partner fall from the sky in my ultralight and die in my arms just yards from the wreckage,” he shared.

“Since going legit, I’ve been sued, had partnerships sour, and had government agencies try to shut me down because of my outlaw past,” he shared. But, he knows the good outweighs the bad.

2. Address Problems Early On

“A lot of people aren’t willing to have crucial conversations. The sad fact is most folks will shy away from a confrontational conversation, and you can’t do that. The earlier you address the situation, the better it’s going to be because otherwise, it’s like a Jack-in-the-Box where it just ticks ticks ticks, then boom – you have this massive explosion on your hands. So getting in there early, often, and not being afraid of a tough conversation, a tough situation, will make all the difference in the world for both your personal and business life.”

BigMike has had plenty of these conversations.

3. Stick to Being Honest

BigMike was the first in his industry, and also the only one for a number of years, to openly admit and also advertise that his products were for growing marijuana. Take a look at his instagram and you’ll see that the doesn’t shy away from being open about his passion.

Because of his honesty, the largest distributors in the industry would do everything in their power to get Big Mike’s products blacklisted from stores. This presented challenges but he continued to be authentic and stuck to the truth.

“I didn’t fall in line with the status quo and bullshit my way around the truth by saying my products were for orchids, roses, and tomatoes like all the other companies did. I yelled from the highest mountain top I could find, at the top of my goddamn lungs, that my nutrients were for growing the big, stinky, tasty, sugary, potent buds,” he said.

This gave BigMike an advantage.

4. Utilize Your Unique Selling Proposition Successfully

BigMike’s honesty gave him a unique selling proposition and his superior products and customer service made it so that he could be “grabbing a large piece of the pie they’d been sharing amongst themselves for years.” And, while the others may have tried to play dirty and get him “locked out of the industry,” BigMike persevered.

He shared his story on his Grower’s Underground piece: “I used it to my advantage and shared videos with our community, explaining how I was being persecuted for telling the truth about who I was and what my products were designed for.”

He even decided to start a charity after his Super Bowl party was canceled and some of his executives threatened. The night of his press conference, he announced that he had donated $100,000 to the fund to help fight the battle and discrimination that his industry faces everyday.

That same weekend he donated all the food that was intended for his party to the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, feeding over 1000 homeless individuals.

5. Use Your Strength as Fuel.

BigMike stresses that we have to “man up.”

“That’s where a lot of people make mistakes… they get beat down once or twice and they don’t get back up.  They don’t figure it out, research, experiment, and figure out why it happened so they can avoid the same mistake again.”

He reminds us that, “as your business grows, so will your problems. They’ll become larger and grow fangs. And you won’t be able to overcome them unless you prepare yourself by tackling the challenges in front of you today, next week, next month, and next year.”

What are you willing to do to persevere and succeed? How far would you go to save your company?

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