We had the good fortune of connecting with Cody Stevenson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cody, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always been fascinated by business from a young age. The idea of creating your own thing and growing it was very appealing to me. It wasn’t until I got my first real “corporate” job in the defence industry that I knew I would not work for other people for long. I watched people drone away from 9 to 5 with hopes of climbing the corporate ladder. The problem was the people at the top looked like zombies and they were physically aged much more than their actual age. Then I started realizing if I kept at it and climbed the ladder too I was essentially capped at what the executive pay scale was. Being capped at a certain income and the time it would take to get there was not going to work for me. By year 3 of leaving that position and starting my own company, I was making more than what any executive at my previous company would make. More importantly – I was happy – and you can’t put a price on that.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am currently on my 3rd successful business and in my 3rd industry – cannabis. I have always built creative agencies helping grow brands in the digital space. I am currently growing www.bluedream.com in the cannabis space with my partners who are the original founders of www.ganjapreneur.com – the largest B2B publication in cannabis.
Getting to this point has not been easy. Notice I said 3rd “successful” business. I have started countless businesses that went nowhere. Most importantly though – I learned from every one of those “failures” and applied what I learned to the next venture. The key is to not give up and be persistent. Most people ultimately don’t get where they want to be because they give up or get frustrated. I am a firm believer in staying focused and not letting your failures get the best of you.
It also took me a good amount of time to realize that I couldn’t do everything myself. Once I realized the importance of building a core team around me that was like-minded and had the same type of drive as me – that is when I really started to see success and get over that next goal line. I would always get stuck before this and cap out at a certain revenue point.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I currently call Denver home and love the city as well as everything that the Rocky Mountains have to offer. We would check out Work & Class – an amazing tapas-style restaurant in the River North (RiNo) district. I’d also take them to The Broken Cage cocktail lounge in LoHi. From there we would probably hit the road exploring the mountains. Visiting Breckenridge while grabbing a beer at Ollie’s for their famous burgers and wings. They would have to see Crested Butte as well since it is one of my favorite places in Colorado. We would stop at Secret Stash and get some pizza here (my favorite pizza in all of Colorado). Maybe it’s July and we are in CB for the wildflower festival. Eventually, we would make our way over to Rocky Mountain National Park and go over Trail Ridge Rd – the highest continues paved road in America. From here we could swing through Boulder and stop at Rayback Collective for some beers and cornhole before we got back to Denver.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The most important person in my life has been my wife. I would not and could not be where I am today without her. She has always encouraged me to follow my passions, walk away from jobs that I was not happy at regardless of the pay, and taken the same risk I have to get where we are today. I can’t stress how important it is for your significant other to be on board with your entrepreneurial endeavors. If they are not supporting you it is going to cause a lot of problems progressing. Starting a business is hard and there are going to be some rough patches that you have to get through together.
I also think anyone starting any kind of business that deals with customers should read Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness. It is a great bio of Tony’s early life and gives some amazing advice on how to treat your customer and grow your business.