BETHANY STILES is breaking barriers as a successful female entrepreneur who has carved out her own space in the budding cannabis business. Bethany is both the CEO of Stiles Consulting Group and Founder of the female-focused CBD tea brand ‘Empress’. At just 30-years old, Bethany has proven to be a motivational leader passionate about mentoring and supporting cannabis brands across the US.
AC: What does success mean to you?
BETHANY STILES: To me, success isn’t about how much money I have in the bank or how esteemed my title is at my job. It’s about how fulfilled I feel when I am doing my work. Finding the right combination of what I’m good at and what I enjoy has been the key to my success. I perceive myself to be successful because of how generated I feel from helping people around me when using my talents for good.
How has your perception of success changed over the years?
I used to think that I needed to work much harder than I actually do to be able to achieve success. I was using an unhealthy and outdated approach to my work ethic, thinking that if I sacrificed more personal time it would take me further in my career quicker. Slowing down and becoming balanced has shown me that it’s all about working smarter, not harder.
Do you have a daily routine?
I’d love to say that I stick to my daily routine, but it’s constantly in flux. My current daily routine consists of waking up and journaling, eating healthy, making time to work out or stretch, taking mental breaks throughout the day to read a chapter in one of the books I’m reading, and having a creative outlet through writing or brainstorming a new branding idea for my CBD tea brand, Empress.
How do you keep track of your short and long term goals?
Lists, lists, lists. I have a spiral notebook where I log my long term goals as I come up with them, and then break them down into shorter-term goals in a separate notebook and in daily to-do lists in the notes section on my phone. Oh, and I have a wall in my bedroom that has become a living vision board, where I tape up print outs of the goals I am trying to manifest, like being a New York Times Best Selling Author, the home I’d like to own one day, and having gratitude for the challenges I face.
What were the biggest obstacles you faced in becoming a successful entrepreneur?
One was external and one was internal. The biggest external obstacle I face to this day, is being in an industry that has ever-changing regulations. Working in cannabis and CBD is not easy when every day has new challenges. The biggest internal obstacle I’ve faced is learning to slow down and get out of my own way. I am learning every day how to be more balanced and less attached to the outcome, and drop into the lessons I’m learning along the way.
How do you deal with rejection and failure?
I’m actually learning right now through personal development that although I may have seemingly dealt with rejection and failure well in the past, I actually wasn’t. I was suppressing the emotion and “staying strong” which wasn’t helpful in the long run. Now I’m learning how to feel it fully, and go through the feelings of sadness or anger, to get to the other side.
Let’s talk about your new CBD brand. How did you become interested in the CBD space?
Having worked for cannabis and CBD companies for years, and seeing how incredible the results were for our consumers, I knew that I wanted to create something that helped women feel more empowered to be healthy. CBD doesn’t get you high and it has so many health benefits if you’re getting it from a quality source. I want the women who drink Empress CBD Tea to feel safe consuming our products. They can trust that my team and I have worked in this industry for years and have sourced the best possible ingredients for the best results.
For all the dreamers reading this now, what mindset do they need to turn their vision into reality?
A mindset of action! You don’t have to have the entire path mapped out from conception to realization, you just have to start. I strongly believe that you can shift the course along the way as obstacles come up, but if you don’t just start somewhere, you’ll never get to the end.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?
I’d judge myself less for not having all the answers and I’d ask for more help from those who I admired along the way.
How did your childhood inform your business success?
From ages 7-13, my mom used to take me with her door-to-door around the neighborhood raising money for local charities which basically taught me the foundation for sales. She was a serial entrepreneur with a number of small businesses, and I loved working with her and learning all about managing a company from the ground up.
What is your biggest source of motivation?
My biggest source of motivation is my sisters. I have 4 younger sisters who are my absolute world. I want to empower them to feel safe and supported to live their dreams by living by example and leaving a legacy of empathy, strength, and vulnerability.
Tell us about your business. How did you manage to scale it?
My consulting company was easy to scale because I had built up a vast network in my industry over 7 years through my sales hustle and being social every chance I got. My CBD brand, Empress, is about to launch and hopefully, the scaling process will be similar since I am finally utilizing many of the advisors and mentors I have met along the way in my career.
How do you approach marketing and brand building?
I try to use a healthy mixture of instinct and market research to build the brands I consult for and the ones I am launching myself. It’s important to base many marketing decisions on what is tried-and-true, but certain aspects of brand-building require forward-thinking and seeing holes in the market that can be filled.
What do you look for in an employee?
Authenticity, passion, and a team-player mentality. Certain skills can be taught as long as they are honest with themselves about what they are passionate about and where they feel they can contribute.
What are your responsibilities and obligations as the business owner?
It’s my job to be the captain of the ship and make sure we are staying on course, even if that means we need to divert from the original trajectory in order to stay afloat. I have to be constantly looking ahead for potential pitfalls for us to avoid and stay calm when things are hectic to keep my team motivated to stay positive. I have to put the company’s goals above my own, and make sacrifices as needed to support the wonderful people who work with me.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
“Only hire all-stars”. I used to hire people for critical roles that weren’t quite ready to step into those positions, thinking that I could mentor them to be more qualified for the position as time went on. After hearing this advice from a dear friend and mentor recently, it clicked with me that in the start-up world where I am building my business, I don’t have the luxury of taking the time it requires to teach someone how to be the right fit. I have to be more selective with who I bring in to build this company because any one of them could be steering the ship one day.
And the worst?
“Never hire women in marketing positions”. It’s so sad to say that this advice was given to me just a couple of years ago, while in the midst of the “Me Too” era. The startup world can attract some very unsavory characters, and I’m happy to say that I don’t interact with this person anymore.
Do you have a business rule that you live by?
Never seek revenge and always operate from a place of integrity. Karma is real, and you never know who could end up back in your immediate circle.
PHOTOGRAPHY: STORM SANTOS
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES