Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Connor Morris, co-founder of Coffee But Different, located in San Luis Obispo, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Coffee But Different brings something new to the beverage industry, combining CBD with caffeine. As we like to say - it's coffee without the jitters, giving you all the wanted energy from caffeine without the anxiety-inducing side effects.

Coffee But Different aims to provide the everyday coffee drinker with a premier cold brew experience while simultaneously delivering a positive utilization and message for CBD. We know it isn't always easy to be both physically and mentally present, so let Coffee But Different help you harness the power of the mind-body connection.

Tell us about yourself

I began by adding CBD Oil into my Coffee. After weeks I realized that CBD Oil doesn't mix into Coffee, and that's why I wasn't feeling anything from the CBD Oil. You have to put CBD oil under your tongue for 30 seconds- 2 minutes for the CBD to get into your bloodstream and actually work. We were wrapping up our senior year at Cal Poly and wanted to start a business out of this. We partnered with an owner of a local brewery here in San Luis Obispo, which gave us a lot of industry knowledge. It took months of failed batches and R&D to get to where we're at today. We use a nano-emulsified hemp CBD Isolate, which means our CBD actually works! Thankfully we found our CBD partners at Vertosa pretty early on, which let us know mixing CBD into beverages was actually possible.

Every day I am motivated to share Coffee But Different to hear feedback; I love it when people come up and tell me they've tried Coffee But Different and loved it. We pride ourselves on having two low-calorie beverages. Our Vanilla, for example, has 3 grams of sugar and 30 calories total. Our Original flavor has five calories. This was something that we planned on from the beginning; we grew tired of having really no healthy Coffee options at the Gas Stations and Grocery stores we went to. We're both very into health and fitness and wanted something healthy, great-tasting, and with CBD. We really just combined two things that we love, and thankfully by finding Vertosa, we use the best CBD in the world.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Sticking through the hard times. We had two batches of Coffee But Different, which we immediately recalled. We didn't want anything less than perfection, which meant months of waiting, R&D, phone calls with Coffee wizards, calling co-packer after co-packer. We've now re-launched four weeks ago in San Luis Obispo. We are back in stores, are in discussion with multiple distributors, and are actively trying to find more in which Coffee But Different would fit into their current portfolio. We plan on launching in southern California in the next month northern California in the next month, we're actively looking for a partner in Texas, Oregon, Washington, and then we'll grow from there.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Compliance and Accounting. Most businesses fail by being overwhelmed by the operating costs of staying compliant and needing lawyers and accountants straight off the bat. We thankfully partnered with someone who had these taken care of for us. In the beginning, it really is just an idea, so people will remind you of that when you talk about your plans. Staying positive during times of people not believing in you is huge. Everyone talks but ignores the noise.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Call manufacturers, multiple manufacturers. Call formulators. Call competitors and pretend you're a student doing a project and ask questions about things they've done wrong. Don't assume anything, don't believe anyone without calling around to similar people. We trusted our first co-packer; he lied to us multiple times. Find someone in the industry you want to be in, and try to partner with them. Do this after you trademark your name.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Outwork, Outlast and Never Quit!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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