3 Personal Branding Tips for the Master Grower
As the medical cannabis job market blooms, society is starting to accept and adapt to this new (old) practice as it blends casually into our everyday lives. Brands are making grand entrances into the market with serious dollars and research to boot, and they need the best talent.
In these formative years, the opportunities available for entrepreneurs and job seekers in the cannabis industry are bountiful. If you have the experience, track record, and cultural fit to compete, landing a dream job as a Master Grower for a forward-thinking cannabis company is totally doable.
But it’s never that simple, is it?
Even if you’re good, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the job. Sure, the legal cannabis market is new, but the practice of growing marijuana isn’t. It would be safe to assume the competition for Master Grower jobs and anything at the Manager / Director level to be quite fierce.
With that in mind, how do you truly stand out in a crowded room filled with veteran growers and quirky horticulture grads? How do you take your experience and certifications and land a six-figure Master Grower job that fills your life with passion and purpose (and company stock)?
The answer, my friends, isn’t anything new: personal branding.
What is Personal Branding?
The art of personal branding involves establishing a defined image, tone, and timeline of yourself, your specialties, and what you have to offer. The authors of Be Your Own Brand explained it best: “Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.”
Though personal branding is often overlooked, the perception of your presence online (and in person) is critical to making a first impression that is memorable. As someone who is often responsible for hiring and firing, I can say with absolute certainty that the first thing I do when considering a job applicant is type their name into Google search.
So before you log into LinkedIn and start gutting your profile, let’s go through my five (5) personal branding tips to ensure that you’re marketing the best version of yourself, in the best way possible.
1) Define Your Brand Identity and Tone
In order to provide a consistent experience when people meet you, read your social media posts, or view your resume, you must first define (and design) your brand image and tone. Do not skip this part.
Putting in the legwork can make all the difference in the world, think about the following points when defining the identity of your personal brand as a Master Grower:
- How do you want to be perceived by others? Write down a few words that best describe how you want people to perceive you. Reliable? Passionate? What are your favorite parts of your personality?
- Do some research on your audience and your competition. For this use Google. Type in the name of a popular grower you know of, or your favorite cannabis brands. How are they branding themselves? Are they promoting certain cultivation techniques? Do they attend industry events?
- What is your tone of voice? Find examples of companies who have great content (in your opinion). Are they casual and sarcastic, or reserved and well-mannered? Maybe somewhere in between.
- Is there a font style that you like? You’re not looking to reinvent the wheel. Are there any brands which you really dig the font in their logo or commercials? Write them down.
- Is there a color palette that you like? Colors have a very real impact on perception and mood. If you have a favorite set of colors, do a little bit of research to ensure they are delivering the right feels to your audience.
- Do you need a logo? Yes, people can have logos too. Having a logo is critical for keeping consistency online across your social media profiles etc. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a designer these days to create a custom logo.
While researching your brand identity basics, collect any design inspiration that you feel is a good representation of you as a future Master Grower. Are there any cannabis brands with a great design that you love? Remember: the visual aspect of your identity is super important, so give it the love and attention that it deserves.
2) Establish Your Online Presence
When Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich, there was no digital aspect of reputation or self-promotion. Today, your digital footprint is everything, and the Internet is the single most important component to effectively branding (and selling) yourself to cannabis companies.
Thankfully, there are ten zillion blog articles and videos available about how to establish your online presence. Being a digital marketer, this has always been a big deal for me. When someone searches my name or a product or company that I’m affiliated with, I want to ensure the results are accurate and on (personal) Master Grower brand.
Some of the most common ways to establish your online presence are:
- Create a website. This could be as simple as buying yourname.com and setting up a free Wix or WordPress template. What’s important is the information you have on your site. Be sure to include a biography, your cannabis training, and certifications (like your Master Grower Certification or Alaska Marijuana Handler Permit Training), your services and core specialties, as well as links to your social media profiles and any media / third-party publications. Remember your logo, colors, and font style? Be sure these are incorporated in your website as well.
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is by far my favorite social network for, well, networking. A well optimized LinkedIn profile has almost replaced the need for a resume, so ensuring you have your profile filled out accurately is critical. Ask colleagues (and even friends/family) to recommend you on LinkedIn. This works great for establishing credibility regarding what you do, and how good you do it.
- Join relevant cannabis communities. Web forums and social networks are a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader. Niche-specific cannabis communities such as Leafly and Lift have a ton of exposure online. When you join either of these websites, you’re prompted to create a user profile – which is the perfect opportunity to paint it with your personal brand identity and story. And a link to your website!
Here’s the cool part: once you have a website, a slick LinkedIn profile, and a couple user profiles created in relevant communities, when a hiring manager types your name into Google, the above items will very likely show up. This is good. You don’t want random web pages showing up so you want very specific, tailored pages which are consistent in tone and timeline.
3) Embrace Events & Thought Leadership
In my opinion, there is no better way to sell your personal brand story than in person, face to face. I’ve told my story so many times over the years to so many different kinds of people. I’ve landed jobs, clients, and even made some great friends and mentors by simply putting myself out there.
Sure, a free cannabis growers meetups might not seem like a killer opportunity for a Wednesday night, but how do you really know unless you go? Maybe they don’t have a ton of in-person events or conferences where you live. That sounds like a good opportunity to start one.
You get the point. If you want to be the best candidate for that master grower job, you have to be out there (and it helps if a few credible people can vouch for you too), so what are some of the best ways to put yourself out there?
- Identify where the next big cannabis convention or conference is and be sure to attend. And while you’re at it, print up some business cards so you can hand them out to any vendors or randoms you encounter. Don’t forget to ask for business cards too. Heck, you can even get a custom t-shirt made with your website URL on it. Though it might cost a pretty penny, the inspiration you’ll take away will be worth its weight in gold.
- Find a local cannabis meetup, or if that’s not an option, start one. With a quick search, you should be able to find marijuana focused meetups happening, maybe try a different one each week until you find a group that you really vibe with. And don’t forget your business cards/custom t-shirt.
- Join active cannabis Facebook Groups. Honestly, Facebook Groups are an untapped resource for almost every market imaginable. As a budding Master Grower, you can establish your presence in the community by participating in cannabis-related groups. Answer questions, ask questions, share links, and flex your expertise.
If you’re curious how to become a grower for a dispensary, certification is definitely a good first step. Even if you might have years of experience, whether small or large scale, there’s definitely an advantage to having cannabis specific training from a recognized institution.
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