Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Elizabeth has a foundation in sales and marketing, and moved into writing and directing in the film and television industries. Always a cannabis advocate, Elizabeth’s Master’s thesis at the American Film Institute (1999) addressed the absurdity of the illegality of marijuana in conversations ahead of their time. After working in kids TV and seeing the opportunities arising in Canada with cannabis legalization, Elizabeth moved down a different path and directly into the cannabis space. Today, Elizabeth is a passionate entrepreneur, having found her calling developing and launching a platform that will galvanize a global community called HiBnb.
Where did the idea for HiBnb come from?
Canada had just legalized cannabis and I saw how excited people were and how much they wanted to engage in a commercialized, legalized cannabis industry. Seeing that the regulations repressed the industry, I wanted to create something that would allow for consumers to jump in, and at the same time assist the producers to connect with and advertise to their market.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Productivity is my primary focus and I work all through the day. Sometimes through the night as well.
How do you bring ideas to life?
That’s an interesting question. I suppose they have to speak to me. If I don’t feel it in my gut then it’s not worth putting any time or energy into it. And if an idea does come to me in that way – if I feel it as an instinct – it’s almost like I become dedicated to it’s manifestation. It becomes the process of creation and as I said, productivity is my primary focus. It makes me feel alive!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am excited by seeing that the world is changing so rapidly. In my lifetime I can see the collective conscious becoming so much more educated and mature. I’ve always wanted to be an instrument of change for the betterment of society. I never thought it would be by getting everybody high, but cannabis does bring a lot of good into the world and I’m thrilled that I can help open people’s minds to realize this.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My superpower is my ability to focus. It’s like a laser beam. And with years of meditation behind me, I feel I’ve really learned how to use it as a tool. It’s kind of like a blessing and a curse because it’s like I can move mountains with my focus. At the same time, don’t try to interrupt me while I’m focused like that because it’s a little intense and not that enjoyable for the people around me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I look back at my younger self and I was so anxious to make a big splash and do something great. And it just didn’t happen like that. So I guess my advice would be to listen more – listen to the path that life is leading me on rather than trying to direct where my life is going.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
People are inherently good.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am always making revisions. Growing a business is a process and sometimes you have to take a step forward in order to see what the next step needs to be. So while it may be frustrating to some people where I’m constantly making adjustments, this is necessary to ensure the business is staying aligned with the customer need and reception.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Well, I am at the very beginning of growing my business and it’s been helpful to reach out in the world, to people who are already and more established than me and to ask for help. There is so much to learn from others. We all have our own unique abilities and areas of expertise, but no one can fill all voids. So it’s important to know when and how to rely on others. The smartest thing I did was put together a stellar Board of Advisors. I heard the saying that a good entrepreneur should surround themselves by people who are smarter than them and I agree wholeheartedly with this.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’m not sure I can speak to a failure as my business hasn’t been operating long enough to be able to see the mistakes, but I’ve definitely had challenges. I had to change very quickly when I started this business. The business required my personality to change. There’s no more being Mr. Nice guy. This is the lesson I learned. I have to be able to make hard decisions and not everyone is going to like it. Or me. So I have overcome the challenges by putting the business first and not being afraid of the consequences on a personal level.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Ha – I’ve had so many business ideas. They come to me all the time. In the end it’s not just the idea you have, but the commitment and time it takes to bring it out into the world that is the challenge. The last business idea I had was more of a product than anything. Maple milk. Why has it not yet been done? We all know chocolate milk and strawberry milk, even vanilla milk! But why has nobody brought maple milk to market. It tastes sooooo good!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Buying a three course meal for delivery at dinner time so that I didn’t totally drop the ball as a mom. It’s not easy to straddle the line as a parent when working around the clock as an entrepreneur. The business requires 100% dedication and commitment. It’s like the demands of having a newborn. But human beings adapt and I’ve been able to juggle the needs of both my daughter and the business…. With a little help from some outsourced meals once in a while.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
BugHerd is a tool I use to communicate with the web developers and I couldn’t function without it because it allows me to be very precise and make notes directly on the website. Without this precision in communication, there would be too many gaps to close.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson is a must read for all entrepreneurs if they don’t have a background in finance. Understanding the process to work with VC’s, your capitalization table, and the difference between different structures of fundraising is paramount.
What is your favorite quote?
I have a favourite poem that has driven me in my life. It speaks to the strength of the mind and how it frames your actions in life. I want to share the whole thing with you. It’s called “The Thinker” and it goes like this:
If you think you’re beaten you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you’d like to win but think you can’t it’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose you’re lost. For out in the world we find success begins with a person’s will; it’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed you are. You’ve got to think high to rise. You’ve got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the one who wins is the person who thinks he can.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.