Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicklas Brandrup, co-founder of Neurogan, located in San Diego, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Neurogan is a San Diego-based CBD company with Scandinavian roots. It offers the most potent CBD on the market with its CBD, CBG, and CBN products, including gummies, oils, topicals, teas, mints, and smokables. Neurogan is a really innovative brand, and we pride ourselves on being able to offer the highest quality and the highest potency CBD on the market at competitive prices. We can guarantee this because we make our own CBD at our San Diego-based facility located in Miramar.
We source our ingredients from local farms in the San Diego area, creating CBD that’s artisan-batched, high-quality, and high-potency. As we were building Neurogan, we saw a lack of high-potency CBD products on the market, which is what we are filling for our customers today. We see a huge need for this as people start to see more and more medicinal potential for people’s health. There is currently a lot of research being done on the health benefits of CBD. We are excited to be able to continue to offer consumers high-potency CBD at affordable prices and make a positive impact on their health journeys.
Our customers are anyone who’s looking for added focus and mental clarity, anxiety and pain relief, support with getting better sleep, etc. Essentially anyone! We also love to partner with entrepreneurs and businesses who want to enter into the CBD industry and bring their own unique product to market as their white labeling partner. Having put all of the pieces into place ourselves over the past five years, we love being able to help others by offering them our proven roadmap to success. It’s fun to see others wanting to enter the industry to make CBD even more accessible to consumers, and we are excited to see the impact we can make in this way as well.
Tell us about yourself
I’m a Danish native, although not from Copenhagen originally, but rather a tiny town with a population of less than 500 people that’s formally known as the oldest zip code in Denmark. As an energetic kid with a taste for adventure, I had my sights set on moving to the city as early as possible; hence when I turned 18, I left the nest and settled down in Copenhagen to pursue a degree in International Business at the Copenhagen Business School.
Immediately upon graduating, I had a great desire to test myself in an entrepreneurial setting. In addition to being an entrepreneur, I also had big dreams of living and working in the United States, so my brother and I decided to make a move together and start a business.
Our first venture together was in the world of LED lighting. Right out of the gate, we experienced quite a bit of success and mastered the art of sales and e-commerce on Amazon. That said, I’ve always had a deep desire to create a business that would have a positive impact on people and their health and well-being. Being originally from Denmark, my family and I take a lot of pride in our heritage. We’ve always wanted to incorporate our Scandinavian values into our business.
Growing up, I watched my grandmother drink hemp tea every morning using the hemp that she grew in her backyard to help her lessen the pain from her arthritis. I was always amazed to see the powerful impact of hemp on reducing her pain and its overall health benefits. In 2016, when the conversation around CBD started to grow in the US and lawmakers were opening up to the idea of expanding research around cannabis and cannabinoids for medicinal purposes, I knew right away that I had to pursue this path.
Natural remedies and plants such as hemp have always been a really big part of my life since childhood. As a young kid, my brother and I loved to hunt for mushrooms in the woods and would bring them to our local botanist to get an idea of which ones we could cook and which ones were poisonous. These early experiences have inspired me to live a life that’s more connected to nature and aware of all of its natural remedies. So, with everything happening in the CBD space, this was a natural springboard into entering the industry.
We founded Neurogan in 2017 in San Diego, with my father and brother as key members of the company, and we set out to build our family legacy together. Professionally, I’ve always enjoyed building businesses with the triple net bottom line approach to profit, people, and the planet. My vision is to make the world better by making products that leave a negative carbon footprint, in particular through reducing senseless harm done to animals. Making employees happy while keeping the company profitable. On difficult days when I feel like we’re not making progress, I’ve made it a habit that I spend 10 minutes reading the most recent batch of authentic product reviews. Seeing that we’re changing lives in such a significant way touches my heart every time. I’ve read some incredible transformations through detailed “thank you” letters.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been creating a business platform that has allowed me to bring on my family members to work on building a legacy together! I am also really proud of being able to make a positive impact on the world through the success of my company. At Neurogan, our vision is to make a positive impact on this world, which is why we partner with local San Diego farms, give back to the community, support students in attending college, and as well as leaving this world a better place by reducing our carbon footprint.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are many challenges that I face daily as a business owner. As the co-founder of Neurogan, I built the company from the ground up with my father and brother, so I have worn a lot of hats over the past five years. There are always fires that need to be put out, basically on a daily basis, so it’s really important to be solution-oriented.
Letting go of employees when it doesn’t work out is hard, and it just never gets easier. I’ve worked with some amazing people throughout the startup years of my ventures. But as a startup, you have to make swift cost-cutting decisions when your revenue fluctuates. That includes letting employees go when the fit just isn’t there. I’ve calibrated my hiring strategy a lot over the years to avoid ending up in those situations as much as possible. It’s one of the things that’s hard to learn in any other way than “doing it.” The one book that helped me refine my hiring skills was “Who” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Establish mentorship from the very start. Pick someone that loves to share their do’s and don’ts. A friend that’s been successful already and asks nothing in return. Also, don’t trade mentorship for equity; that’s just a board member.
- Establish company culture early on, and PUT IT ON PAPER. It’s going to be very difficult to change once you hit larger numbers, and having an idea of your culture in your head won’t cut it.
- Have fun! I can’t stress this enough. It can be so easy to take everything super seriously and get caught up in the “doing” that a business requires. But try to remember why you got started in the first place, the excitement of becoming an entrepreneur and a business owner, and “be” in that place! The years go by FAST, and it’s important to enjoy the early years and have fun along the way.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my journey as an entrepreneur and co-founder of Neurogan CBD. Check out our blog for lots of great CBD-focused content and new product updates.
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 email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.