So maybe you are a long time user of CBD and can attest to its benefits, maybe you are looking to start your own business and see hemp is on the upward tick – tremendous upward tick. And you want to start your own website to sell CBD. Unlike mostly anything else, CBD is definitely in its own ballpark.
Why? Well as of writing this, hemp is legal on the federal level after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that stemmed from the 2014 Farm Bill, which allowed growing and processing of a plant that has been used for thousands of years and was once hailed one of the most essential crops to grow. In fact at one point you were required to grow hemp or face trouble. Industrial hemp alone has more uses than a lot of other crops; anything that cotton can do, hemp does it better. But on that later, let’s start with the first few things you will want to do.
- Check the legalities in your state. Though it is federally legal, each state has its own laws on hemp. So before you decide anything or spend your first dollar, look into your states laws by contacting them if needed, but you can pretty much find all legalities out online.
- Research MORE! I cannot stress the enough, make absolutely sure that all will be legitimately legal in your state, last thing you need is legal letter or phone call from the state
- Once you have done the above two items, and all is well, next is to get your company incorporated, for this to be done in a rather quick manner and done properly is go to Legal Zoom, at first I was skeptical, but they know what they are doing and are very friendly and will assist you with ANY questions you may have
When you start the legal process of incorporating you business, the first thing you want to do, besides coming up with a name, is get an LLC, of all the corporation options, LLC is simply the best due to the protection an LLC offers any legal entity. Now remember, this LLC does NOT have to be your websites name, it will be, however, your legal entity name and the federal tax ID number will stick to this name – look at it like the father name of your company.
What was done next is not necessary but I chose to also apply for a DBA (Doing Business As) after I chose my websites name. There are various reasons doing this. A major one is you will speaking with a lot of vendors, and vendors need to know you are who you say you are, as if you give them a site name, and it doesn’t match your FEIN (aka Federal Employer Identification Number – your tax number) you might run into a few issues. From experience in buying nothing instills more trust than a company knowing you are the real deal and tend to sell online at their prices, otherwise a few people can get together, with an old FEIN and get wholesale prices with no intent on selling. Good luck with a major brand trying to explain this; it’s much easier to submit a copy of your DBA reflecting your site, instant transparency. But that’s later after you are all set up.
All the paperwork and such takes about 2-4 weeks, so in the meantime, get your site started – this part can be tricky or not. Reasons being that every CBD/Hemp site must have the legal verbiage in the correct space and it must be correct. After your site is started make sure its on a good platform, there are a few:
- WordPress (WooCommerce)
Now why it matters what platform you decide to go with is because you will need something called “plug-ins”, so for any transacting of money, whether it be just eCheck or credit cards, some banks will not work with certain platforms as they do not have the plug-in needed to let any transacting to take place, and this is the last place you want to be. If there is no support for your platform you may have to skip over that processor you wanted. BigCommerce and WooCommerce and lately, Shopify, have become friendly to the CBD banking world. So make sure you have a site built on a strong, supported platform. Also keep in mind there are other platforms, of newer technology, but also keep in mind it might keep you limited in options such as plug ins that you might want for user experience, instant chats, rewards programs, etc. Unless you know how to code, it’s easier to stick with a plug in, look at them like little apps for your site, and they, just like most apps, are frequently updated, which is good, as code is a bit more tenuous, and not updateable on the fly like a plug-in. Plug ins are downloadable, then integrated rather easily into the platform you are using. With WooCommerce (which is basically a plug in for WordPress) there are many free ones, and since it has had a longer tenure than most, the support is a lot better. There are premium ones as well you pay a one time fee to obtain, but most are free then you can get the full version later if you like it and feel the premium features will help your ROI (Return On Investment).