Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marie Saloum, Founder of GreenPharms Dispensaries, located in Mesa, AZ, USA.

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

I'm the founder and CEO of GreenPharms, a cannabis dispensary with two Arizona locations, one in Flagstaff and the other in Mesa. In addition to the dispensaries, we have a cultivation site, including an extraction facility that powers our Mad Terp Labs extracts brand. Our clientele is diversely composed of people from all walks of life who seek out our products for a wide range of benefits.

Tell us about yourself

I started in the industry 13 years ago after learning about the healing properties of cannabis. It happened by chance, to be honest. My husband was in a serious car accident, which he thankfully survived. During his recovery process, however, he encountered a great deal of difficulty trying to adequately manage his pain, trying a number of prescription medications to no avail. Eventually, he turned to cannabis, and the change was almost instantaneous.

Once I saw how this fascinating plant could be used to restore someone's health, I became very interested in helping spread the word so that others could discover this safe, natural, and comparatively inexpensive alternative to some drugs at the center of the very serious opioid epidemic. That same desire to make a difference in the lives of those living with pain drives me to continue the work that has been so rewarding.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

There are a number of things I consider to be my greatest accomplishments in business. For one, I've built a successful company from the ground up in an industry where it hasn't always been easy for people like me–a Hispanic woman–to succeed at the executive level. Additionally, I've worked very hard to remain at the cutting edge of the industry while striving to find ways for GreenPharms to be innovative in its own regard. I feel the creative approach we've taken to aspects like marketing and merchandising, for instance, has reflected that.

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

The hardest thing is finding ways of being at the top of your game at all times–or as much of the time as is humanly possible. At this level, it takes a lot of determination and perseverance to operate in a way that keeps you ahead of the curve. There is only so much coffee you can drink in a day! However, there is nothing quite like the feeling of achieving your goals, much less the feeling of true confidence in the level of quality you are putting out. The hardest parts of the job are also the things that make you feel accomplished and satisfied at the end of the day.

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

The first thing I would suggest is to ignore anyone trying to discourage you from trying for your goal. Without trying, you have a zero percent chance of making your dream come true. Even if there's a chance that things will not go according to plan, the only way to know for sure is to try. There were people who told me the pursuit of my dream would end in failure. If I had listened to them, I wouldn't be where I am today, doing what I love!

In addition to that, I would say it's important always to expect the unexpected. Things invariably go off-plan, even when it comes to so-called foolproof plans. Every new business goes through a period of trial and error when it's first starting out, and there's definitely an adjustment period when it comes to finding your rhythm. Even 13 years into this business, plans always change on me. I've always been able to adapt by remaining as flexible and amenable as possible while still being confident and decisive as the captain of the ship, so to speak.

Lastly, I think you just have to put everything you've got into whatever you're doing. Take a good look at virtually any successful person. A common theme you'll notice is that they are seemingly never satisfied sitting still for very long. They're always trying to find ways to create, innovate and bring positive change to the world, and they're doing so with a tireless work ethic. I have found that effective time management is crucial when it comes to the endurance needed to maintain this level of performance with any kind of longevity—especially in this industry.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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