Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with James Matuszewski, Managing Partner of Monarch Life Sciences, LLC., located in Centennial, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Monarch's core business is alternative advanced aerosol delivery systems for the cannabis industry. We focus on making full-spectrum cannabis products in conjunction with complimentary herbs and botanicals that create an optimally effective product for remedy-specific issues or conditions. Our customers are anyone wanting a more efficient delivery of cannabinoids at a lower cost per use for specifically targeted ailments or out-of-balance health conditions. Aerosols are faster, more efficient, cheaper, healthier, and convenient to use...what's not to like?
Tell us about yourself
I come from the wine industry, and I'm a certified Level II Sommelier. I spent almost a dozen years in the Napa and Sonoma wine regions doing tastings, private tours, and events. After several life-changing events (fires/covid) from 2017-19, I began to look for some alternatives outside of California. My brother was just getting going on some new products and aerosol delivery systems for cannabis and asked me to come on board to launch the e-commerce platform.
I had many years of experience in direct marketing, and I was intrigued by cannabis as a whole. I took a few cannabis education courses and was hooked on the plant and its possibilities. I never stop learning about new things cannabis can accomplish, and I really feel it has the power to heal naturally if we dedicate more resources to research. There is a reason so many states are adopting it and legalizing it like never before. Our federal government just needs to catch up.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As an entrepreneur, you're rarely fully satisfied unless you grow something that gets bought out at maximum value... which is rare. Not that it's always the end goal, but it helps to be recognized. I think the biggest accomplishment for entrepreneurs is completing something just the way you envisioned it, maybe not perfectly, but when you can sit back and look at your work and breathe out comfortably. Again, rare as you are always trying to make things better, which is an endless task as well.
Overall, I think the biggest accomplishment so far is entering a saturated marketplace in a very difficult operating environment that is seeing signs of success when many are failing or exiting. Monarch is seeing more strides now, finalizing our first full year, and we have some very exciting things happening in 2023. Sometimes just survival is the biggest accomplishment of all.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think one of the myths of owning your own business is that you have all the freedom in the world in your daily work life. Almost the opposite because you have to constantly be "on" and have the ability to address the constant flow of problems that are inevitable in starting a small business. As most entrepreneurs will attest, the work never really stops, and you're emotionally always being drawn to whatever issue(s) of the day ends up being. You're constantly tweaking and looking for ways to do or be better in all aspects of the business. It becomes so personal that it's hard to separate sometimes. Lastly, one of the most challenging things is that you rarely get the 'pat on the back' for a job well done...it is almost always self-congratulatory, and that can take its toll as well.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Expect the unexpected. Things almost always take longer, cost more, and are more difficult than first anticipated. Plans are great, but being nimble in solving problems is more important.
- Ditch the ego and listen. Some of the best ideas come about from truly stepping back and letting your customers tell you what they want or like best. If you are a true business leader, you don't do what YOU think works best but what the market tells you works best.
- Surround yourself with good people. As much as you like to think you can do it all on your own and your expertise is the most important, find people that allow you to truly focus on what is going to grow the business most effectively. Put people in positions that allow them to take certain burdens off your plate, even if it is an area that you've held on to closely all along.
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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