As entrepreneurs, we get confronted with situations that will really test our limits and dedication to our businesses. Kicking off Plant Problems, host Anthony Frischknecht opens up about one of his most trying times when starting out in the medical marijuana field. As he takes us back to 2006, follow him in this nerve-wracking time of hiding out in a small basement area with 70 plants. At the end of it, Anthony imparts great insights on what it really means to find business success amidst all the intimidating times.
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Pushing Through Hard Times
This is an exciting start where I’m at right now and I feel I want to share some unique and interesting stories that I’ve had. I was kicking around the idea of what I should share with you first. I was thinking about my past and where I’ve come from and to where I’ve ended up now in 2019. I started thinking about some stuff that I had written in my book that I launched in April 2019. One of them was a period in time where I was learning how the risk of your own business is a lot more challenging until you actually go through some of the stuff, some of the trials and tribulations of business. I thought back a little bit and I was playing it around in my brain here and I wanted to share with you a building moment for myself personally. It’s very exciting and scary all at the same time.
This is back in the 2006 time period. I had just rented a five-bedroom home and I had started to grow my operation in the basement in the college area of Fort Collins, right next to CSU. There were a lot of younger kids at the time. I was in my late twenties. I think it was 27. In the early stages of this business, you had to be very quiet about what you were doing because it was still pretty much the gray area that medical marijuana was taking shape, but not too many people knew about it. I’ll take you back to my little business area where my grow was at. I had set up a small basement area of about 1,000 square feet and I had six lights and 70 plants. While working there, when I would go to my shop, I would enter through the garage. I had a garage door where I just press the button and drive my car in and shut the door. I was pretty secretive about it. Generally, when I was at my shop, I wasn’t taking deliveries or anything like that and I was hypersensitive. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a situation like that, but when you hear every little pin drop, you’re like, “What was that?” That was what it was like working in my shop. Since there was no human contact, I didn’t have a lot of distractions happening. It was very quiet most of the time.
I drive into my garage, shut the garage door. I push the button on my garage door opener, shut it. I would exit my car quickly, shutting the door quietly and I would step off the garage right into the house. I would walk down just a flight of steps to the basement. There were many times where I’d be working there early in the evening and afternoon. Evening time was a pretty good time. One day, I was doing some trimming on some plants. I had just started my harvest process. I’d be down there in the basement and I would be listening to music, drowning out in different sounds because it would make the process a lot easier for me. It was like, if you heard that saying, ignorance is bliss. If I didn’t hear it, it wasn’t happening and so on. I would say about 90% of the time that’s how it was around my shop. I’m downstairs in the basement. I’ve got a little table that’s like a picnic table. It’s probably 6×3 feet wide. I have a chair there, like a desk chair, swivel chair and I’d have my little stereo sitting on top of the desk. I’d have some different CDs playing a multitude of styles. I would be listening to my music and jamming away and trimming on the flowers and getting them ready to hang.
As I’m in the midst of finishing up one bud here and one bud there, I hear the doorbell ring. Once you hear a doorbell ring at a place where nobody knows you, you don’t even have a mailing address tied to it. You’re basically non-existent. Anytime you hear those noises before, especially a doorbell, your heart rate would spike. The feeling of having your blood pumping and your heart pounding harder, it’s almost like if you are to get into an altercation where your adrenaline is pumping. That doorbell rings, my adrenaline starts pumping harder and harder and I’m thinking in my mind, “Do I answer it? Do I not answer it? What’s my next step?” I think most of the time, I wouldn’t answer it but every now and then, I would get a feeling in my stomach like, “I should probably answer it and make sure that I am not ignoring something that could be important.”The key to becoming extremely successful is pushing yourself to the limits during intimidating times. Click To Tweet
Who knows what would have happened? Probably nothing. I should have ignored it 100% of the time. Sometimes I didn’t. This particular time, I thought to myself, “I might as well get up. Let’s go see what this is about.” I’ll make it short and swift. I actually had my girlfriend’s dog there with me at the time. He was a good means of distraction. I decided, “Let’s head up the stairs.” I started heading up the stairs. As I start getting closer to the door, it’s amazing how my heart rate pounds even faster. My heart rate is pounding, getting up to the top of the stairs. I’m walking through the kitchen to the front door. I take a right turn and I look at the front door. I walk up to the door and I look out the people. As I’m looking out the people, it’s a man but I can’t make out who it is. Right now, the doorbell rang ten minutes ago in my head, but it really was only a couple of seconds.
I’ve got my girlfriend’s dog, this black lab, his name was Zeus. He was a big dog. He was like 90 pounds. As I opened the door, I thought, “I’ll act like I’m blocking the dog so I can’t open the door all the way as I talk to this person. I’ll do that. That will make sense.” I take a big deep breath and I unlocked the door and opened it up. I said, “Excuse me, what can I help you with?” This guy, he’s probably in his mid-40s at the time, early 50s. He goes, “I’m looking for the owner of the house.” Right then my adrenaline spiked. I’m like, “Why is he looking for the owner for? Why does he need to talk to the owner?” That’s what I’m thinking in my brain at the time. He continues, “We want to talk to them about some stuff that’s happening with the property.”
I’m like, “What’s going on with the property?” I don’t know what is happening. Do they know what I’m doing here? I couldn’t follow what he was asking for. All I could tell is that he wanted to talk to the owner. I said, “Do you have the owner’s name?” “Yeah, I got the owner’s name.” “Do you have their number?” “Yes.” “Just try giving them a call. I’ll let them know that you stopped by. Is there anything else?” He said, “No, there’s nothing else right now at this time.” I remember looking at him thinking, “I feel like he knows something, but I just can’t put my finger on it.” I took a deep breath and told him goodbye and have a great afternoon and shut the door.
It took me several minutes to calm down after he had left. I went back downstairs, relaxed, went and tried to recoup and understand what happened. I think at that time too I probably poured myself a drink, vodka and soda and I was like, “That was intense.” There’s something about it that you can go out of control where it’s like, “What’s next? What’s happening?” I tried to block that part of my thoughts out. Part of that was I was able to have a drink or two probably. That made this business real for me. I had a lot to risk at the time. I figured out a way to mentally work through that issue of potentially getting some law enforcement involved. I’ve got several stories like this and then I’m going to be happy to share them with you. The intensity of that situation changed my life and how far I was willing to go to be successful in this industry.
I think that a lot of us out there, they are weighing options on what will they do to become successful, pushing through those hardest points and understanding who you are and what you are is key to your success. It doesn’t have to be that extreme, but there will be situations where you will be put in a position of, “How far am I going to take this and how far do I want to go?” That’s a little insight on some stuff that’s happened with me and I look forward to sharing some more with you. I write about the risk tolerance in my book. That’s something that is key to becoming extremely successful. It’s pushing yourself on those limits and those intimidating times. I look forward to sharing some more with you very soon. Bye for now.
About Tony Frischknecht
Tony is currently the Author of From Black Market to The Man. It was just released April 20th 2019. 10 steps to becoming a multi-millionaire in the legal cannabis industry.
Born and raised in Colorado, He has always enjoyed the challenge of starting and building a business. That is why it became a natural progression at the age of 25, he became an entrepreneur, with two small construction companies. In 2005, he got his start in the medical marijuana industry in Fort Collins, Colorado, building a small MJ caregiving business, Highway to Healing.
By the time he was 35, he had two dispensaries with sales of $6.5MM annual revenue, including two indoor grow facilities, with a combined 20,000 square feet of production in Denver, Colorado. All four locations consisted of 19 city and state licenses. Tony then joined a group of five industry leaders and started a successful cannabis brand O.penvape in late 2012. The maker of vaping products and edibles posted a top-line sales of $100 million in 2016 and sells a product every nine seconds. Its busy lab creates over 1 million grams of concentrated cannabis oil a year and it buys 10 tons of marijuana a year. Organa Brands is the only cannabis company with products on the market in 10 states, including at 1,200 dispensaries. Subsequently, Anthony has moved on to other ancillary businesses involving small scale extraction and commercial grow technologies.
If you ask Tony about his favorite part of this industry? His response, “watching how fast it is evolving. It’s becoming a real industry and getting accepted by many, many of those who used to be skeptics. “ Due to this, we are seeing great leaps in innovation and technology. And this is exactly why Anthony says he is in admiration of this industry. Tony has been successful in the Cannabis industry for over 14 years and has been featured on the cover of Newsweek: October 29, 2012; The New Pot Barons and Cannabis Business Times: September/October 2016.
When Tony’s not working, you can find him working out at the gym, mountain biking and enjoying the Colorado Rocky Mountains in Steamboat Springs Colorado. The things he loves most in life, traveling with his amazing partner Stephanie, and their dog Lewy.
His colleagues refer to him as a fair person, man of his word, and also, friend. Even though climbing the ranks in the marijuana industry over the years has created a thick and rough skin for him. He continues to build strong and ethical business practices.