In this article, we’ll take you through any CBD business ideas, opportunities, and jobs within this constantly growing industry. From the more obvious options, such as starting your own CBD brand, to more unique niches, such as working in CBD fashion, security, and content creation, there are endless options out there that can fit your individual skillset.
The CBD industry is an ever-growing adventure, projected to be worth over $13 billion before the end of the decade, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of roughly 20%. As such, more and more people from a diverse array of different backgrounds are looking for their own slice of the CBD pie. Many are asking the question: do I have to start my own CBD brand to benefit from the compound’s rise in popularity? What are some other CBD business ideas?
In this article, we will show you how to leverage existing knowledge you likely already have, and provide you with CBD business ideas that can fit into a variety of pre-existing industries and skillsets.
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a cannabis-derived compound (typically extracted from industrial hemp) that’s quickly gained traction in the wellness industry for its potential effects on symptoms of:
- Anxiety, depression, and general mood issues
- General health
And products such as CBD:
- Oil and tinctures
- Gummies and treats
- Edibles and drinks
- Pet products
- … And more!
CBD’s wide-reaching influence has garnered the interest of just about any adult with a pulse. As a result, the market has been consistently expanding for the past few years, with a flood of new products and fresh technology. The broad appeal of the compound means that consumers are interested in everything from CBD oil to CBD vapes. Combined with the wide variety of potencies on the market, it’s clear that there is ample opportunity to ‘cash in’ on just about every level of the production ladder.
It’s also worth mentioning that, as the target market for CBD increases (alongside ever-relaxing legislation and restrictions), the amount of CBD business opportunities throughout the industry will only increase. Some brands in the UK, US, and Canada are already looking towards overseas expansion and international partnerships!
Sectors already warming up to the CBD industry include:
- Fitness and sports
- Mindfulness and yoga
- Food and beverages
- Cosmetics and beauty
- Pet treats and other products
As the CBD industry expands, we’re likely to see more opportunities than ever for those who have pre-existing experience in the above sectors, and far more. As such, opening your own CBD store is no longer the only option for those looking to profit from the public’s love of CBD.
The list below should give you more than enough of an idea of where and how you can get involved with CBD, whether you’re looking for a big or small business venture. There’s something for everyone on this list of eight CBD business ideas, from graphic design to manufacturing.
Why do people love CBD?
People take CBD for several reasons, with the most commonly cited being:
- It’s generally deemed ‘safe’ and non-intoxicating, meaning it won’t make you ‘high’.
- It’s legal in a sizable amount of countries throughout the Americas and Europe.
- It has a large number of purported benefits for a wide range of common health issues.
- CBD is natural, and many products are organically grown.
- It’s available in a range of strengths and varieties, including full-spectrum (which contains all the compounds from the original hemp plant, as well as trace amounts of THC); broad-spectrum (which contains all the plant compounds apart from THC); and CBD isolate (which is CBD on its own, without any other plant compounds).
- Numerous anecdotes and scientific studies indicating that CBD has a lot of potential to be incredibly effective.
CBD Business Ideas & Opportunities
With the above information about the basics of CBD in mind, where do you fit into the CBD industry? There’s no shortage of options. In this article, we’ve narrowed it down to eight broad sectors:
- CBD Retail Opportunities
- Selling ‘traditional’ CBD products (oils, skincare, edibles, etc)
- Selling CBD for pets
- Selling CBD fashion and other niche ‘non-CBD’ items
- Marketing CBD
- Manufacturing CBD and related objects
- CBD Distribution
- Creating CBD-related content
Join the thousands of ‘cannapreneurs’ already involved in this genuinely expansive industry, or operate as you please on the fringes.
CBD Retail Opportunities
Selling Retail CBD Products
This section of the CBD industry is so expansive and diverse we have dedicated an entire portion of this article to how to sell different types of CBD products. However, for now, this explanation will do: retail is essentially what you probably think of when you hear a phrase like ‘CBD business’. It’s simple- CBD retailers sell CBD products, either through a website, brick-and-mortar store, or both.
When pursuing a career in retail CBD, you’ll need to be aware of how the industry is developing as a whole, the goals of the brand you’re working for, and how to educate your customers in order to keep them up to date with the latest information and studies about CBD. Before we get into how to sell different types of CBD products, let’s first examine the overarching job opportunities associated with retail CBD.
Establish a CBD Cooperative
If you want to be involved with the retail side of the CBD business but don’t have the funds to stand on your own, you should look into forming a CBD cooperative. A cooperative business is essentially a business owned by multiple people in order to save on the standard costs of owning a business, such as taxation. When you run a CBD cooperative, you are less inclined to depend on investors for all your capital, and can instead turn to your fellow business owners for funds. Most successful cooperatives will be owned by 5-10 people with a mutual interest in the CBD industry.
Likewise, a CBD cooperative can be made up of several different brands or dispensaries who can agree on common economic and marketing goals. When they decide to collaborate, these brands may for a franchise and agree to sell their products under the same name and brand identity.
To begin a CBD cooperative, you should:
- Ensure your business and products meet all guidelines for how to sell CBD.
- Register your business as a cooperative.
- Discuss how profits will be shared and where funds for all parts of the business will come from, as well as how things relating to the brand and business will be decided.
CBD Human Resources Training
If you have prior experience in HR training, why not apply your skills within a CBD company? While this might not be your go-to idea when someone mentions ‘CBD business ideas’, it’s no less valid. Start-up costs for beginning your own HR agency are minimal. As most CBD businesses are new, they are also in desperate need of someone who knows how to establish the best hiring, termination, and other practices involving interpersonal relations.
To become a CBD retailer in the classic sense of the word, you should:
- Be aware of the relevant laws around advertising and selling CBD products, as well as any licenses you and your employees need to obtain.
- Consider branding and marketing costs. Once you know who your target audience is, you can sell to them most effectively and begin to bolster brand awareness.
- Find the best CBD producer (often in the shape of a wholesaler or manufacturer) who can provide you with the best white label CBD products that suit your business needs and target market without sacrificing any of the quality and consumer assurance. The best CBD manufacturers will use proven extraction methods and provide you with a certificate of third-party lab analysis for every product.
- Buy CBD products from a wholesaler or manufacturer and sell them in a brick-and-mortar or online store. This will involve factoring in markup costs and the price of storage for your products (unless you’re involved with CBD drop shipping, which we will discuss shortly).
- Ensure everyone you work with has a stellar reputation within the industry, as the majority of brand loyalty is built with a strong foundation of trust within your CBD brand and the efficacy of your products.
CBD Security Services
From in-person security at CBD dispSelling CBD Supplements (Oils and Tinctures)
ensaries and growth operations to high-tech cybersecurity services for online shops, your opportunities within the CBD industry are relatively endless if you have the relevant skillset. There’s something of a stereotype within the sector that CBD is overpriced- while this is a generalisation, premium CBD is still a valuable resource that demands protection, especially when it comes to dispensaries that can handle a great deal of cash on a daily basis.
Establishing a niche in CBD security is an excellent business opportunity if you have pre-existing experience within the private security sector and are looking to specialise.
Become a CBD Consultant
Suppose you’re already a dominating presence within the CBD industry, with knowledge and experience about all things deriving from industrial hemp. In that case, the best CBD business opportunity for you is likely becoming a CBD consultant. You’ll be working directly with brands and businesses to help them develop the best products and practices to turn a profit.
While many CBD brands are popping into existence daily, many are ill-equipped to understand what sells and why, much less how to set up the best processes and how to know if they’re working with the industry’s best manufacturers. Many are looking for people with proven knowledge of all things CBD, with the industry experience to back it up. CBD consultants are paid a pretty penny for their time and expertise on everything from the best growing practices to how to label products in the way that best appeals to the customer.
Manage a CBD Dispensary
A CBD dispensary is simply industry-speak for a CBD shop. Suppose you’re interested in becoming a CBD dispensary manager. In that case, you should have a good deal of retail and leadership experience under your belt, and understand the complex processes that come alongside running a store. You may even have a background in more scientific contexts, such as pharmacology, biochemistry, or another similarly scientific discipline. With lots of potential to earn a six-figure income if you have the talent and patience to stick it out in the CBD industry, becoming a CBD store manager can most certainly serve you well. Unlike many CBD business ideas, it doesn’t involve any hefty startup costs- simply find out who’s hiring, and send in your CV for consideration!
Similarly, you could seek out other jobs in a CBD dispensary, such as:
- Cashier (Dealing directly with the buying and selling parts of products)
- Receptionist (Dealing with the selling of products and picking up relevant phone calls, answering emails, etc.)
- Budtender (essentially a sales assistant who helps customers choose the best product for their needs)
Get Into CBD Drop Shipping
Considered one of the cheapest CBD business ideas you can pursue throughout the EU and US, CBD drop shipping is also reasonably simple to implement, as long as you have a knack for networking and a little bit of technical know-how.
Essentially, as a CBD drop-shipper, you’ll negotiate a deal with a CBD manufacturer or producer. You’ll sell their CBD products on your website, and the manufacturer will ship the products directly to the customer. This CBD business opportunity eliminates costs such as tracking shipments and warehousing, meaning all you have to do is set up your website, pay for decent marketing and branding, and engage with one or more CBD drop-shipping companies.
Start a CBD Subscription Box Service
With the ever-growing sector of subscription services showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon, some brands may wish to sell CBD subscription boxes in order to forecast their monthly profits better. Essentially, consumers will pay you a set amount of money each month in order to receive a gift box of different CBD items, usually unchosen by the customer, lending an air of mystery to the practice. The best part of this business idea is the consistent payments you’re likely to receive if the venture is successful, as well as the large variety of consumers who may sign up to your service. Not only this, but learning how to manage a subscription service teaches you a good deal of general business management skills, such as:
- How to attract a wide range of people to your business
- How to retain customers
- How to network with all manner of industry professionals
- General customer service and satisfaction skills
This CBD business opportunity isn’t just for the average consumer market, either; you may also want to look into supplying industry events and festivals with CBD gift boxes and other such pleasantries.
If you have industry connections (or would love to create some), then setting up deals with individual brands in order to create CBD subscription boxes may be precisely the business opportunity for you. Many brands will be happy to have your help introducing a whole new base of customers to their products each month.
Before starting such a service, you should examine:
- The platform you would sell your CBD subscription boxes to
- How you’ll garner investors
- Whether you have the business experience and knowledge to maintain and build up your subscriber base
- What products will you use? Most CBD subscription boxes are under £40, so the CBD products you use should collectively cost less than that, while still being a convenient buy for your potential consumers.
Selling Classic CBD Products
Deciding on the Basics
Depending on where you live and what you’re selling, CBD products may be classified as supplements, food, skincare, or medication. This particular pool of CBD business ideas is significant enough on its own to be separate from simple ‘CBD retail opportunities’ (which we will dive into later).
While you don’t have to manufacture the CBD products you sell yourself, there are still a few decisions you should make when deciding to sell ‘classic’ CBD products:
- What type of CBD product (or products) will you sell?
- Will you sell online (like roughly 40% of the CBD industry) or in a physical store/dispensary?
- What will your brand tone be?
- What kind of consumer will your brand speak to? What problems do they have that your products will solve?
If this route interests you, you likely already have a product type in mind. Let’s take a look at the minutiae of your options:
Selling CBD Supplements (Oils and Tinctures)
CBD marketed as a supplement can be a risky venture, as many countries are on the fence concerning whether or not CBD can be considered a ‘drug’ with ‘medicinal properties’. While studies exist affirming some potential therapeutic properties (such as anti-pain and anti-anxiety), factors such as the proper dose and risk factors, particularly regarding how the compound may interact with certain mainstream medications.
You should consider:
- Where you’ll source your products from
- Training costs
- The price of where you will sell your CBD
- Where you will store your products
- Marketing and sales regulations surrounding CBD where you live
- Certifications for your business (even if it all takes place online)
- The price of marketing
Common forms CBD can take are as follows:
- Sublingual CBD (oil and tinctures to be placed under the tongue)
- CBD capsules
- CBD vitamins
- CBD topicals
It’s also worth noting that the most significant forces of e-commerce in many other industries- places like Amazon and Facebook- forbid the marketing and selling of CBD products, so your marketplace will likely have to operate independently of ‘big names’ outside of the industry.
However, as most people are interested in CBD for the purpose of supplementing symptoms of a health condition, CBD supplements can be a simple product to market, providing your products target one of the three main reasons why people take CBD:
- Anxiety & stress
- Pain (typically as a result of inflammation)
- Sleep issues
Some brands even create products a little outside the norm, all in the interest of targeting one or more of these issues, such as a CBD pillow spray for those suffering from lack of sleep.
Selling CBD Skincare, Beauty & Topicals
A favourite for many, ‘CBD topicals’ is a category of products that encapsulates CBD skincare, soaps, bath products, cosmetics, and beauty products. Those whose health issues are localised to their skin or muscles prefer to use CBD topicals for possible targeted relief of symptoms.
When selling topical CBD products, you should decide:
- Are your products targeted more towards health or beauty issues?
- Where and how will you advertise?
- Where will you sell your products?
- Where will you store your stock?
When selling a CBD topical product, you should always ensure the amount of CBD included in each product is clearly and accurately labelled. Most products also include a whole host of all-natural ingredients known for their nourishing and aromatic properties, such as coconut, rosehip and jojoba oil, lavender, and more.
Out of every respective CBD niche, skincare is one with the most potential for growth, expected to be worth almost $2 billion by 2025. This is in part due to the fact that CBD is purported to be rich in anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory properties (which may help acne and arthritis symptoms) as well as being packed with antioxidants.
More outlandish topical CBD products are also gaining traction, such as CBD hand sanitiser, lubricant, shampoo, massage oil, and other self-care products.
Opening a CBD Spa
Opening an online or brick-and-mortar store selling CBD skincare is one thing. However, opening a spa centred around CBD products could have immense payoffs for all involved, if done correctly.
Remember, CBD is known for potentially helping to tackle symptoms of:
- Muscle soreness (often caused by exercise or underlying health conditions)
- Pain in the back, neck, shoulders, and more
So, any reason why one might want to visit a spa in the first place is also a reason why they may wish to try CBD. Therefore, a CBD spa is potentially a match made in heaven!
Before starting a CBD spa, you should consider:
- The immense start-up costs (which could surpass hundreds of thousands)
- The price of the premises and staffing
- Necessary certifications for you and your staff
- Training and insurance
- Advertising costs
- Equipment and supplies
Likewise, suppose you already own a spa or similar establishment (such as a massage parlour or yoga studio). In that case, it may be worth looking into ways to incorporate CBD products into your workshops and sessions, potentially partnering with different brands to agree on mutually beneficial prices and deals. Even burning a CBD-infused candle in the corner could lead to a sale!
Whether it’s oily, dry, or combination skin, issues such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and general redness are all common issues that CBD cosmetics and skincare such as lotions, balms, serum, lip balms, face masks, patches, and creams all claim to help supplement.
As well as the other factors listed for CBD topical businesses, before selling CBD cosmetics, you should also consider:
- Branding and marketing for your products- how will you differentiate your product from the wide variety already on the market?
- Where will you source your products from, and what natural ingredients will you spotlight?
- Where will you sell your products? Many CBD cosmetic brands prefer to partner with existing retailers in order to find their products on in-person shelves.
- The cost of insurance and manufacturing.
CBD Food & Drink Business Ideas
CBD-infused food has been a rising trend since 2019, when a survey by the National Restaurant Association found that 76% of chefs considered CBD food and beverages to be rising in popularity. However, whether or not CBD can legally be considered a ‘food’ varies from country to country and even state to state, so it’s always best to check the regulations where you live. If possible, consult a lawyer before you begin selling CBD food and drink.
Selling CBD Edibles
From CBD-infused chocolate, honey, and other snacks, to CBD cocktails and fizzy drinks, there’s just one rule when thinking about selling CBD edibles: if you can eat it, you can add CBD to it! Products with natural flavours and a proven organic history are most coveted in the current industry, but just as important is offering a range of flavours for consumers to choose from. Opportunities in this sector are likewise endless, with products like:
- CBD protein products
- CBD gummies
- CBD cakes, cookies, brownies, and other sweet treats
- CBD-infused salad toppings and dressings
- CBD smoothie powder and additives
CBD edibles are beloved by customers all over the world for a few simple reasons, number one being: who doesn’t love food? Due to the potential benefits of CBD, edibles are considered to be that rare balance of healthy and delicious. Known for their comparatively lower dosages and longer-lasting possible effects, CBD snacks are the perfect answer for consumers who want to try CBD but don’t feel comfortable handling an unfamiliar product like a pipette or vape pen. After all, everyone knows how to eat!
Many CBD edibles are sold from places like supermarkets and gas stations- meaning that if you already own one of these, you could partner with a pre-existing CBD brand and sell CBD edibles that way. Alternatively, if you have the patience and drive to create your own CBD brand from the ground up, you could theoretically exhibit far more control over the edibles you’d be selling. However, by running your own brand, you may have a more challenging time keeping up to date with the latest CBD legislation.
Before selling CBD edibles, you should also consider:
- Are CBD edibles legal where you live?
- Which necessary permits and licenses are required in your area?
- Where will you source your CBD from? Do your products come with trustworthy lab results and seed-to-sale tracking?
- Can you afford the cost of production and licenses, which are often considerably higher for edible CBD businesses than for other ventures?
- Who is your target audience? This will impact the type of edible CBD you sell, as some companies sell ‘sporty’ CBD protein products, while others give out more of a ‘treat yourself’ vibe by offering CBD cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats.
- How can you appeal to as broad an audience as possible, while still being specific enough to draw in your target market?
Selling CBD Beverages
Do you know anyone who doesn’t drink coffee, tea, or a cocktail from time to time? Neither do we. Many CBD drinks come infused with vitamins, minerals, protein, and other natural compounds, which may complement the potential anti-inflammatory, calming effects of the CBD. Thanks to their widespread appeal and wide range of possible benefits, many see CBD drinks as a healthy answer to the alcohol industry, and is only expected to grow in coming years.
Examples of common CBD drinks you’ll see on the market are:
- CBD coffee
- CBD tea
- CBD-infused water
- CBD beer, cocktails, and other alcoholic drinks
- CBD mixers
Most of the costs, drawbacks, and benefits of selling CBD beverages are the same as those for selling CBD edibles.
Open a CBD Restaurant
If selling CBD edibles and beverages through standard retail methods isn’t quite your style, a creative alternative may be to open a CBD-themed restaurant. Especially if you hold relevant qualifications in customer service, baking, or the culinary arts, opening a CBD restaurant is the perfect way to channel your creativity and business acumen, if the regulations where you live allow for it.
Opening a CBD restaurant means you can add CBD to any food you’d make at home, with an elevated twist. You’re also able to more directly interact with your customers in order to see what works and what doesn’t. Your CBD restaurant will also give you the space to go beyond simply selling CBD food:
- You can use the restaurant space to host CBD cooking classes, giving customers the choice to buy your CBD oil or other additives for a discount when they attend. Many customers will be eager to learn how to bake with CBD, for example.
- You can use the restaurant’s name to produce a CBD cookbook, making your brand more accessible to a larger audience.
While the cost of opening a CBD restaurant can run into the hundreds of thousands, you should also consider many of the costs and variables involved with selling CBD edibles and beverages, such as licensing, insurance, and branding- not to mention the cost of kitchen tools and staff training.
Other CBD Products
While CBD oil, edibles, and topicals are the three major product categories if you’re interested in selling CBD directly, there are a few other options if none of these spark passion for you:
- Selling CBD Vape Products- from vape juice to pens and equipment, people love a CBD vape. This may be because they’re already interested in vaping and the product is easy to integrate into their current routine, or because vaping CBD is one of the fastest ways to find a potent dose of CBD.
- Selling CBD themed objects- many people are embracing the ‘green wave’ via merchandising. From t-shirts to kitchen equipment, curtains, bedsheets, pens, phone cases, and any object you can think of, selling CBD products that don’t contain any CBD, but do feature a cannabis leaf or the logo of a well-known brand (with their knowledge and support, of course) can be a great way of getting involved with the CBD industry without worrying about many legal issues that impact the sale of CBD-infused products.
- Selling CBD production equipment- this may not be legal where you live. However, selling the plants, incubators, and other equipment for at-home cannabis growth can be a profitable venture if the legislation where you live allows for it- particularly as many people become increasingly interested in growing their own CBD.
- Reviewing CBD Products- with so many CBD brands competing for attention and regulations constantly evolving as the market expands, many customers are unsure of where to turn and which brands are trustworthy. If you have a large online following, reviewing CBD products (and finding brands willing to sponsor your content) can be an excellent way to support your existing platform, spread awareness of the best CBD brands, and make a little income on top.
CBD for Pets
CBD has shown some possible similar benefits for pets as it has for humans. While some places may ban using CBD and other cannabis products on animals and pets, many more are warming to the potential benefits of CBD for dogs, cats, and other animal companions. The market for CBD for pets is still relatively small, meaning there’s plenty of room for those looking to develop and sell:
- CBD pet food
- Cat and dog treats
- Potential pain relief and capsules
- Pet topicals
Some people even like to invest in all-natural vegan pet food infused with CBD. A study by Brightfield Group highlighted several exciting facts about this burgeoning piece of the cannabis sector, the main two ideas being:
- More than half of those who buy pet CBD are looking to reduce anxiety or pain in their pets.
- The market will be worth almost $2 billion by 2025 as more brands and products spring up, consumer awareness increases, and regulations relax.
In many places, the popularity of CBD for pets is such that many vets will enthusiastically recommend it for specific ailments, with data from Brightfield Group further insinuating that almost half of those who buy CBD for their pets stop using prescription medication for their pets after doing so. It’s also worth noting that almost three-quarters of humans who take CBD also own pets- indicating a vast (and largely untapped) potential market. In a world where 20% of dogs and 90% of elderly cats experience symptoms of osteoarthritis (which comes with a whole host of pains), now might just be the perfect time to look into CBD business opportunities like:
- Selling CBD pet treats and food
- Selling CBD topicals for pets (including oils, skincare, shampoos, and even CBD-infused blankets and vests)
When selling CBD for pets, you should consider:
- The cost of manufacturing (and your production capacity)
- Where you’re sourcing your CBD from- will you contact a supplier yourself, or operate via a brand?
- Whether or not you will target a specific type of pet
- The legality of CBD for animals where you live
- Marketing costs
- Opening a website and investing in a good SEO strategy
Opening a CBD-themed Pet Shop
There’s more than one way to skin a cat (though we don’t recommend that in this case!)- if you don’t want to rely 100% on solely selling CBD products, you may wish to open a CBD-based pet shop. Essentially, this is just like a regular pet shop- with a fresh CBD twist.
If you want to work with animals and have the necessary business experience to do so, opening your own pet shop could be a great alternative. You can still sell CBD products for pets, but can also dabble in CBD-free products, toys, and (of course) pets themselves! Just make sure you account for:
- Everything that comes with working alongside CBD wholesalers
- Typical pet shop expenses, as well as relevant qualifications and licenses
- Marketing and branding costs
Whether you’re a CBD veteran or complete newbie, you probably didn’t see this one coming! The world of fashion and clothing is not typically one we associate with CBD. However, here we are! Many clothes are already stocking retail stores by touting CBD-related images and quotes. At the same time, some fabrics are even infused with CBD itself, claiming to have similar effects on pain and inflammation symptoms to topical CBD.
In light of ‘maskne’ caused by the face masks people wear to avoid COVID-19 contamination, CBD-infused masks are purported to contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help symptoms of acne.
Selling CBD Clothing
While this portion of the CBD industry is still fairly young, the technology, known as microencapsulation, exists wherein CBD is added to the clothing via coating droplets in a microscopic shell (which disappears under the heat and friction of being worn) that may enable the CBD to interact with the skin of those who wear the clothing without soaking or staining the clothes.
You may wish to consider:
- The cost of hiring a bespoke designer
- Equipment costs
- Whether you will sell the CBD clothing in a brick-and-mortar boutique or online
- Who will model your CBD clothes, how they will be advertised, and the laws surrounding CBD marketing in your area.
- Will you specialise in a particular type of clothing? For instance, CBD pyjamas to possibly help consumers sleep, CBD active/sportswear to potentially ease post-exercise pain? Maybe you’d prefer to work with a CBD brand you admire, selling clothes related to their current products.
Selling CBD accessories is another option for those of you who want to work with (or create) a well-known CBD brand. Items such as cups, hair accessories, jewellery, phone cases, keyrings, purses, carrier bags, and any other trinket-type of item can be a reliable CBD business opportunity if you have the skills and dedication necessary to make it a success. This option is also great for those of you who want to avoid the possible legal complications that come with selling actual CBD products.
Now we’re moving into the more exciting CBD business ideas and opportunities beyond traditional retail, such as marketing CBD. There’s no shortage of demand for CBD marketers, and the wide variety of opportunities in this sector reflect the diversity of the industry itself. Common parts of CBD advertising include:
- Content creation
- Website/blog setup
- Public relations
- Social media advertising
Become a CBD Marketer
No matter what industry you work in, if you have proven marketing skills, you have value. The same holds true for those of you looking to become a CBD marketer. The often-intense restrictions voiced in CBD advertising laws mean that the demand for CBD marketers who can square up to the challenge is consistent on all levels of the industry- from classic retail to manufacturing and growing.
With thousands of brands on the current market, premium CBD brands are constantly looking for something to differentiate them from the common masses. The key to differentiating a brand? Stellar marketing. Some examples of CBD marketing are:
- In-person and virtual events (in both B2B and B2C contexts)
- Displaying positive customer reviews throughout your website and promotional materials
- Link building and SEO for your brand’s website
- Graphic designing
- Content marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Brand representation and development
- Giveaways and promotions (including coupon codes for subscribers)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
CBD Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing takes place when you use your own platform to promote someone else’s product, placing a link to their product within your content. You’re then paid a commission for anyone who uses that link to make a purchase. If you have a large online following, affiliate marketing is an excellent CBD business opportunity with low (if any) start-up costs and minimal risk. Affiliate marketing is considered one of the best ways to earn a passive income- meaning you can make money without working past the initial creation of your content- you could theoretically earn money in your sleep, if you play your cards right!
By joining a CBD affiliate network, you can easily identify any number of CBD brands and products that grab your attention, and that you can be passionate about making content for. Brands and affiliate networks will often provide you with coupons, discount codes, and other benefits to help push your audience towards making a purchase.
If you have a natural talent for marketing and content creation, this business opportunity is as good as it gets- you have total control over the content you create. There’s no limit to the amount of CBD brands you can collaborate with.
Whether you run a successful blog, run a stellar website, or you’re an Instagram star, as long as your platform can lead to purchases via affiliate links, you can make a profit from affiliate marketing. Types of content that affiliate marketers often produce include articles, reviews, listicles, and classic social media posts.
Before getting into CBD affiliate marketing, consider:
- Whether your platform is large enough to be worth creating content and generating leads. Affiliate networks/brands typically only track your cookies for a few months after you post, so, if nobody clicks on your affiliate links and makes a purchase then you won’t be paid.
- Whether your current audience is one which is interested in the product you’re promoting.
- How to ensure you work only with reliable, premium CBD brands (more on this later).
- Make sure you research the legal regulations and CBD advertising laws surrounding your chosen product, including laws for your area, and for the country where the CBD company is based.
Become a Graphic Designer for a CBD Brand (or Multiple Brands)
Whether you’re employed as a freelancer or in a more permanent role on the marketing team, most CBD brands are in dire need of a graphic designer who can produce more creative material than a cannabis leaf on a plain background. Graphic designing for CBD businesses means you may be asked to create logos, website banners, content to include on social media posts, and more. If you have the skills and creative enthusiasm, look into CBD brands online that are in need of a good graphic designer.
Social Media Marketing for CBD Brands
Like any other business, many CBD brands carefully craft their digital image in the hopes of spreading good word-of-mouth and becoming an online authority on CBD for their consumers. A large part of this is via social media marketing. While Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the main places where CBD is talked about, other sites such as Tiktok, YouTube and Linkedin are also relevant. Each website has different nuances as to how CBD brands can use it- most don’t allow for CBD to be used in paid advertisements, so marketers have to get creative with their imagery and language.
If you’re good at social media (or have professional experience with any of the platforms mentioned above), look into available jobs at CBD brands and small businesses.
Web Development & Running a CBD Website
Roughly 40% of the CBD market occurs via online purchases and e-commerce. As such, CBD brands depend on operating a stellar website for reasons such as:
- Selling their CBD products
- Developing brand awareness (and loyalty)
- General marketing
- Operating their CBD blog
- Educating their consumers
Even established brands are often on the lookout for a new person to join the web development and SEO side of the CBD industry, as this often means a better conversion rate and enhanced search engine rankings.
If you don’t want to work directly with a CBD brand, you can still set up your own website or blog dedicated to CBD. Once you’ve built up a decent following, you may wish to engage in sponsored content, affiliate marketing, paid reviews, and more. Don’t mistake this for an easy way of making money- without a CBD brand identity to fall back on, you’ll be under more pressure than ever to think through the layout, the type of content you’ll create, and how to appeal to your target audience in order to keep them entertained and consistently turn a profit.
If you have similar tech skills but don’t want to commit to a website, you could also consider:
- Building an app for CBD users (or a specific brand)- this could help consumers find product information, show directions to the nearest CBD dispensary, or provide advice on which CBD product might be right for them.
- Building an online community for CBD users- a social network of CBD consumers from beginners to veterans could be a great business opportunity if you have the right mix of tech and people skills to get the idea off the ground. You could even go a step beyond and create a community that enables CBD brands to meet manufacturers, affiliates, and make more industry connections than they would normally find in any one spot online.
If the retail and marketing side of the CBD industry doesn’t appeal to you, why not consider a career in manufacturing CBD?
Becoming a CBD Manufacturer
Manufacturing CBD Packaging
This is a tricky business, full of technical knowledge, considerably high start-up costs, and competition. As a CBD manufacturer, it’s your responsibility to provide reliable certificates of analyses and third-party testing to back up your CBD, as well as ensuring all the products you produce fall within legal guidelines wherever they will be sold. The main reason why CBD brand owners turn to manufacturers is because, well, they do all the heavy lifting!
People skills will also be necessary, as manufacturers tend to work directly with CBD brands and retailers to produce precisely the type of product that the market is begging for at the moment. Many manufacturers prefer to stick to a particular niche of products, honing their expertise and selling to a secular type of CBD brand. In order to sell your products, you may wish to:
- Contact CBD brands directly
- Engage a third party, such as a CBD affiliate, individual shop, website, or distributor
The main start-up costs will be physical: purchasing equipment, premises, manpower, and more in order to extract CBD oil from industrial hemp plants (which you may also choose to grow). Relevant training, knowledge and qualifications are all crucial to producing top-shelf CBD oil.
You should also be forewarned: despite the difficulties, this sector of the CBD industry is also fraught with competition, with many CBD manufacturers producing a vast variety of CBD products for brands to choose from. However, suppose you can find a product that no other manufacturer is producing, or work out a new angle to entice brands to invest in your CBD oil. In that case, manufacturing may be the best CBD business opportunity for you.
Before you start manufacturing CBD, think about:
- How you’ll fund the training, equipment, and other costs of manufacturing
- How you’ll ensure your product is top-shelf
- How you’ll provide third-party lab testing and clear labels
- Who manufactures CBD products similar to yours, and who is buying from them? The more you know the methods of your competitors, the more you can improve upon their proven formulas.
- Which regulations your products will abide by (you may wish to consult a lawyer with experience in the CBD industry before you begin the manufacturing process)
- Will you grow your own industrial hemp? If not, where will you source it from, and how can you be sure of its quality? Keep in mind that the best CBD manufacturers provide seed-to-shelf tracking on their products.
Becoming a CBD Extractor
If you have the rare qualities that make for an excellent CBD extractor- industry experience, technical knowledge, and probably a PhD in biochemistry- then this can be an incredibly lucrative way to carve your own space within the world of CBD. You’ll have to be aware of the industry standards for safe extraction, as your step of the manufacturing process is one of the most vital in ensuring a high-quality oil that customers can trust.
This means ensuring there are only legal amounts of THC and CBD within each product, ensuring accurate labelling, and more.
Developing Technology and Machinery for CBD Manufacturing
If being directly involved with manufacturing CBD isn’t your style, a better CBD business idea could lie in developing machinery and technology to help CBD manufacturers along. While this can involve a lot of money and investment initially, once you’re an established force in the industry, known for producing high-quality and cutting-edge equipment that produces the best CBD, you’ll be well on your way to long-term success with a high return on your investment.
There’s ample business opportunity in CBD technology, particularly as the industry is so young- if you play your cards right, you could develop technology that not only further automates the industry, but that also accelerates it.
Working in CBD Quality Control
By now, you’ve probably worked out that the CBD industry runs on adherence to often strict regulations, no matter where you’re setting up shop. As such, CBD quality control testers are always in fairly high demand, constantly inspecting not only the products, but also the efficacy of the laws which surround them. This career path may involve working for the brands themselves, or even for the government bodies which create the regulations to begin with.
Manufacturing CBD Packaging
If working directly with CBD itself doesn’t appeal to you, don’t count yourself out of the ‘green race’ just yet- you can still manufacture the packaging for the products! There are thousands of brands out there, each with their own distinctive voice and in need of enticing packaging for their products.
As such, it should come as no surprise that millions of CBD bottles are needed worldwide- on a daily basis!
Plastic packaging is reasonably cheap, while glass may cost more (but will also sell for more), meaning that this CBD business idea may have a medium-low startup cost. Some manufacturers can even produce ‘plastic’ from the hemp plant- which can lead to a whole host of cool product packaging ideas!
While the industry continues to grow, more brands will spring up- each in need of their own distinct packaging to separate them from the crowd. Essentially, manufacturing CBD bottles, containers, and wrappers is a tangible way to move into the CBD industry.
A caution: while you may not work directly with the hemp plant when you manufacture CBD packaging, it’s still important to stay familiar with the latest regulations and laws regarding what you can say about CBD- and what is classed as a dangerous health claim by the authorities. The right packaging can turn a simple CBD product into a bestseller, while the wrong labels can land any brand (and your business) in hot legal water.
If you already have experience as a product distributor, why not apply this to the world of CBD? CBD distributors sell products directly to retail stores, and often earn up to 40% in profits- as long as you deal in only the finest of premium CBD products. In order to be sure of your products’ quality, ensure:
- Every product is clearly and accurately labelled
- Your products come with a third-party lab test and certificate of analysis (COA), which shows their contents, including a breakdown of all the compounds included within the product.
To make it as a CBD distributor, you need to know the best suppliers, and build up a network of CBD stores, e-commerce sites, brands, affiliates, and others who may be interested in selling your product directly to the target market.
Become a CBD Distributor
As a CBD distributor, you’ll act as a sort of go-between for manufacturers and retailers, making deals with both to ensure the right CBD product goes to the right customers. As such, your networking skills should be nothing short of remarkable in this line of CBD business.
Becoming a CBD distributor can be a challenging (but rewarding) endeavour. For example, in the United States, CBD distributors require a special distributors license- which can be hard to obtain in many places. In the UK, you’ll need an Industrial Hemp License. This allows you to:
- Purchase and re-sell cannabis to retail stores and CBD brands
- Carry out quality checks upon CBD products
- Transport CBD and other hemp-derived products
- Potentially cultivate industrial hemp plants
You’ll also need stellar communication and business skills (especially when dealing with CBD manufacturers and staying on good terms with them). Still, this effort can swiftly pay for itself in possible profits. Wholesaler CBD distributor prices are usually set at a 20-40% markup, meaning the potential payoff is immense if you can handle the heat and keep up with the ever-changing regulations. As a CBD distributor, ensuring all the products you handle are within legal guidelines will be a large part of your work.
Starting a CBD Courier Business
What’s the difference between a CBD distributor and a CBD courier? Essentially, a courier will work more small-time jobs delivering products directly to customers’ homes in cases where they can’t go to the nearest CBD shop independently.
Becoming a CBD courier provides the opportunity to make good returns, and also comes with flexible hours and a good deal of travel from place to place. This CBD business idea can also be quite social, with frequent travel to individual houses encouraging you to meet more people.
To start a CBD courier business, you’ll need to begin an official courier service (which can be established as a limited liability company, sole proprietorship, or partnership) and provide your own transport- which may be anything from a bicycle with a pannier to a van with sturdy shelving in the back.
Start-up costs can vary, depending on the type of business you’ve set up, the transport you’ll be using, necessary licenses where you live, and other such factors. However, when compared to most CBD business opportunities, this one is relatively cheap to start.
Creating CBD-related Content
Unsurprisingly, content is a massive part of the CBD industry. Still surprised? Think about it: many consumers are still unsure about what CBD is, and those that are aware of the compound are often confused about whether it’s legal, what dosage to take, and what the differences between different products are. As such, many CBD brands are choosing to invest in educational content creation, such as blogs, podcasts, and influencer marketing.
Start a CBD Blog
Many CBD brands operate a blog via their e-commerce site. If you have a creative flair, a way with words, and an understanding of how to speak about CBD products within advertising guidelines (such as the MHRA in the UK). You may choose to:
- Write for a CBD brand via their blog (usually from a freelance or ‘permalance’ position)
- Write for (and grow) your own online CBD content platform
- Run a blog mainly via CBD affiliate posts and sponsored content (though be aware that you will need a pre-existing platform before affiliate links provide you with any profit)
You’ll need to establish a strong rapport and trust with your readers, as well as a consistent writing and publishing schedule that builds confidence and consistency in your brand- whether that’s your personal brand as a blogger, or writing as a CBD brand.
The major downside to this type of content creation is that it may take some time to build up a profit and an audience. However, once your audience is established (alongside your reputation as an authority within the industry), you have a fairly simple way to achieve passive income online. In addition to answering FAQs about CBD and providing general information to boost consumer confidence, a CBD blogger may also:
- Place strategic links to lead customers to products a brand wishes to promote.
- Review certain products via sponsored and unsponsored posts.
- Write guides to introduce customers to new and old CBD products, shining a fresh light where there might otherwise be confusion. Some bloggers can add a ‘human touch’ to what might otherwise be a bland and unengaging article.
- Build their SEO skills using keyword research and other techniques to bolster search engine results for their content
Startup costs (assuming you already have the basics, like a computer with a working keyboard and an internet connection), can be free or under £100, depending on the type of blogging you’ll be doing, as well as the website your blog is based on. Sites like Wix and WordPress offer free options, with advanced subscription plans still running relatively cheap if you’re on a tight budget. Combined with the fact that blogging essentially allows you to be your own boss, establish industry connections, and work from anywhere in the world, and this CBD business opportunity begins to look very attractive indeed.
As your individual brand awareness increases, you may eventually open up to brand campaigns via social media and other forms of content creation and digital advertising alongside your blog.
Create a CBD Podcast
A podcast is essentially the modern version of a radio show- only with the immense popularity that is only possible via the internet as we know it today. As with CBD blogging, you can choose to work in affiliation with a brand, or independently create your content. This is the best CBD business idea for you if you’re not shy in front of a microphone and are eager to spread the good word of CBD to the masses. With plenty of opportunities to engage with industry professionals (by having them as guest stars on your podcast, for example), there is no shortage of networking opportunities to be had with this business idea.
Most CBD podcasts involve:
- Direct interviews with CBD veterans, scientists, industry updates and experts
- Opinion pieces, debates, and product reviews
CBD podcasters can hope to earn money via direct sponsorships with brands, virtual summits and other events, affiliate marketing, audio adverts, crowdfunding (as well as other services like Patreon), alongside all the other ways that come from building up a gradual online audience, such as social media marketing and other such expansion.
Start-up costs will be reasonably low, though a high-quality microphone and other production equipment can cost around £100-500, depending on how you wish to record your podcast and how much you wish to invest. Paying for a place on your chosen podcasting platform can also put you out of pocket by a cool £20 or so per month (though many platforms are also free).
Become a CBD Influencer
If you have a knack for social media, storytelling, and access to a large online audience, becoming a CBD influencer might be the best avenue for you. While not always thought of as a ‘business’, becoming a CBD influencer is very much a path of entrepreneurship. Common niches for CBD influencers include:
- CBD for pets
- Health and general wellness
- Yoga and spirituality
- Beauty and fashion
While it’s free to sign up to any social media website, you’ll have to invest a lot of time, energy, and research into building up a loyal audience. Whether you treat social media as a side-hustle or your primary vocation, you can choose to integrate your posts with the CBD industry via:
- Affiliate posts
- Branded deals
- Using branded hashtags
- Posting product reviews
You’ll have to keep your finger on the pulse of CBD advertising laws, going a step further than many brands by also becoming an expert on what guidelines your chosen platform imposes upon CBD. For example, Facebook and Instagram allow you to advertise hemp-derived topicals (though you can’t mention CBD on the advertisement or landing page). Many social media platforms won’t allow CBD products to be promoted via paid advertising, meaning brands must turn to influencers as an authority who can drive social media traffic towards their businesses.
CBD Business Tips
By now, you’ve probably realised that there are a million ways to become involved with the CBD industry- and potentially make a killing. Once you’ve found the niche that suits you best, you should study it as intensively as possible. We’ve curated a few special CBD business tips for you:
- Make sure you understand the legalities and CBD marketing laws wherever you are selling CBD- even if it’s online, and even if the product never goes via your hands (as in the case of dropshipping). Be sure to keep up-to-date with all the relevant regulations, as they are constantly changing and gradually relaxing as CBD’s efficacy improves.
- Decide to sell (and source) a product you can personally believe in. This will not only make marketing more straightforward, since you’ll be able to easily see things from the perspective of your target audience, but will also ensure the product is high-quality. Any products you sell should come with a certificate of lab analysis by a third party (AKA a COA) and be derived from industrial hemp strains of cannabis.
- Think about how to be better than your competitors, and ensure this is a core part of your strategy as a business.
- Ensure you come across as honest, transparent, and trustworthy- regardless of which CBD business idea you pursue. People generally use CBD for their health and wellness, meaning they need to be able to trust its efficacy. Citing scientific studies, clear labelling, and sourcing the best CBD will go a long way to helping with this.
- If you aren’t directly manufacturing or supplying the CBD yourself, take the extra steps necessary to ensure the products you’re receiving are of the best quality. Things like the industry reputation of the supplier, the COA and labelling of the products, etc; should all work in your favour.
By now, you’ve seen a good scope of the CBD business opportunities and ideas out there- or perhaps you’ve spotted a gap in the industry nobody is filling yet! NuOptima is here to support you with many of your CBD marketing and business needs, such as:
- Influencer Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Creative Services
- And much more!
There’s a huge amount of potential throughout all niches within the CBD industry, and the time has never been better to dip your toe into the world of industrial hemp, whether it’s as a manufacturer, retailer, or content creator. Demand is booming, the industry’s outlook is ever-changing, and the potential for success is ever-present.
Verified by a health professional
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.