Known as a real time connector, Krista Whitley is an established community leader who was a founding board member for the Conscious Capitalism Chapter of Las Vegas. Honored as a Woman to Watch by Vegas, Inc, Krista serves as the Women Grow Market Leader for Las Vegas and moderates the monthly Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association Market Trends in Marijuana panel. An experienced business leader, Krista is a “un-stoner” who is dedicated to helping leaders and brands do what they do best.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’m an award-winning serial entrepreneur, so Social Media Unicorn and Altitude Products aren’t my first businesses. They were created because there was such a need in the early days of regulated medical marijuana for professional branding and advertising, but none of the big ad agencies would touch it. I wanted to pair my fast growth experience with what I saw as the fastest growth industry in America.
Tell us about your business.
Altitude Products is the umbrella for three businesses that I am the CEO and founder of. Social Media Unicorn is a thriving advertising agency working exclusively with the cannabis industry. Altitude Products has a licensing division, where we own the license for Caviar Gold and other brands in the state of Nevada. As well, we have our own products, that include wildly successful brands like The Weekend Box.
- Over 25 fast growth entrepreneur awards
- Most recently, honored as a Woman To Watch by Vegas Inc
- Watched on three different reality TV shows;
- Women Grow Las Vegas Market Leader
- Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association Market Trends in Marijuana Moderator;
- CLAB Social Chair
- Chair of Launch Event
Where is your business based?
Las Vegas, NV.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I always start with the vision for what I want to create. When you know where you want to go, it makes it easier to architect how to get there. All of my businesses have been deeply personal. They each have a name or vision that is tied to my personal brand and core values. Knowing who you are makes knowing what you want to do or create that much easier.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Relationships. Every business I have ever built was built on relationships. It doesn’t matter how big your city or how small your business, you need other people to get where you want to go. I don’t “network”. In fact, I hate it. It feels dirty. I’d rather invest deeply in one passionate person than have 40 merely interested.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Finding great people is always a challenge. It was the hardest thing for me to understand in the early days of entrepreneurship. Not everyone is meant to succeed and sometimes failing is the catalyst for them to get where they need to go. We’re all on our own journey, so when things come too easily for folks, they don’t appreciate them. I look for individuals with a strong sense of self-awareness who have failed. That tenacity is something that appeals to me.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Back to relationships; I find my network of like-minded leaders has helped me to discover really talented leaders who are poised for great opportunity. If I have to explain the opportunity to people, they’re not the right people.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My daughters. Bella is 9, Mia is 8. I exist to show them that it can be done. They are the change I wish to see in the world and picking myself back up, fighting against the odds, working through the struggle is pivotal to their belief that they, too, can grow up to get through any challenge life throws at them.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
A strong sense of individual and brand identity. Competition makes all of us better and for me, I can be in a room with 100 of my competitors, but you’ll either want what I’m selling or you won’t. I’m the only one in the room selling the magic that is my team and I. If you don’t appreciate the level of concierge service we provide, you won’t be a fit. That’s great because there is a room full of options. I never understood why people fear competition.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The worst mistake that a business can make is not understanding clearly where they are. It leads to business leaders who make decisions thinking that they are one place, when the reality is entirely different. I think this is how businesses end up in a ditch. Leaders who just thought everything was awesome, rather than having a clear understanding of the risks that are around the corner.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Appreciate that you don’t know what you don’t know. Surround yourself with experienced leaders who believe in you. They will get you through those times when you didn’t even see a risk coming.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I worship at the churches of Google and Apple. Google because it is cheap and easy to collaborate. We don’t even buy Office anything. We just use Google docs and Gmail for everything. Apple because my phone talks to my iPad which talks to my laptop which talks to my iMac. The time saved alone is worth the investment. Invest in smart technology that makes your day more efficient.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I make a point every month to read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” because how the habits correlate to my life changes as I grow as a leader. Great leaders are constantly improving. You have to grow to keep up with your organization because your organization can only grow to your leadership ability. Eventually you may have to get out of your business’ way.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Right now I am in the middle of studying “Hyper Sales Growth” by Jack Daly. I love that guy. If you’re a savvy sales person in California, Maine, or Massachusetts that wants to sell cannabis all day, every day, we should talk.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
We launch The Weekend Box into California November 1st and a key component for me was growing our team with people I trusted to lead that expansion. I am thrilled to have added Catherine Goldberg and Doug Helfman to our team. They are determined to exceed all of our expectations.
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