The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. Myles Teteak is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Myles Teteak. I'm a father to 2 beautiful little girls, husband to an amazing woman, and Founder of Life Leaf Remedies. I was born and raised in Texas. I went to school at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and was a 4-year letterman. After spending several years in different corporate positions I jumped out of the corporate world and into the cannabis startup world. I've been grinding to advance this industry, and deliver natural remedies that are helping people change their lives for the better.
What did it take/how did you get started?
In 2016 my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer for a 5th time. She had beaten cancer 4 times leading up to that diagnosis. I was pretty angry to hear that her only options were chemotherapy or radiation. This woman had lived a long hard life, and the best option she was given at the end of it was to be zapped to death. Disgusted doesn't begin to describe how I felt. I wasn't a huge cannabis advocate at that point, but I knew that cannabis was being used to help people with cancer in some cases. My dad had a friend with brain cancer that ended up living 6 years longer than he was expected to, and the only thing he did for treatment was use cannabis. That was enough for me to speak up and say she should be given other options. Options that might provide some quality of life at the end for her. I was too late to help my grandmother. Her final days were not pleasant. To this day it angers me to think that we couldn't offer her something better. I started pursuing an opportunity in the cannabis industry by doing some deep research on what I could do and where I could do it. At the time Texas was introducing a very limited medical marijuana program called the Texas Compassionate Use Program (TCUP). By the time I really understood how to get involved in the program, the applications were closed. I was able to get an introduction, through my network, to a team that had submitted an application for the program and they were not accepted. Turns out the process was much more political than I realized. But these guys took their resources and got into cannabis the only way they could at the time in Texas, through hemp. CBD specifically. I immediately wanted to work for them however I could. After a couple of months of getting to know them, I quit my corporate job without a plan. I just knew I couldn't spend another day in corporate. Once I told these guys I didn't have a job anymore they let me start working for them for free. I worked for free for 2 weeks before they made me an offer to join them full-time. That was the end of 2017. I stayed with them until we had to close operations in July 2021. At that point there was no other option for me but to continue what we had started. I was let go on a Friday July 3rd, and by Monday I had a team of people rounded up to meet about starting Life Leaf Remedies. I invited 7 people from my network to be part of this journey and each one of them was ready to jump in. You ask what it took... it took everything. My wife and I moved in with her grandmother to take care of her and live rent-free. I asked some of the people I care about most in this world to risk relatively large amounts of money on my project. I've put myself in a deeply uncomfortable position by sacrificing for this mission, and I'm the happiest I've ever been.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
We have barely scratched the surface of what is possible with this brand. Later this year we will launch our first collection with three different styles – underwire, wireless and bralette. In addition to adding more bra designs and styles, we also get a lot of requests for swimwear and see that as a major part of our future product portfolio. Along with tank tops, camisoles, lounge wear, athletic dresses, etc. Every design and style will include our signature internal pocket and the option to add shape.
What drives / motivates you on a daily basis?
The future for any business is uncertain. Our future is no different. The cannabis industry doesn't offer certainty or security. The FDA could come out with rules tomorrow that cripple our operation. That's just something you have to accept to be in this industry. A lot of people think they would love to work in cannabis. In reality, 99.9% of them would hate it. They wouldn't be able to operate within the uncertainty. They wouldn't be able to sacrifice the money. You have to be sincerely motivated by your mission to survive in this industry, because most of the journey that's all you have to hold onto. That said, I believe our future is bright. In an environment that's nearly impossible to raise capital, we've secured the investment capital we need to stay in business in 2023 and beyond. We just had our best months of business back to back in December and January, and we're still just getting started with our growth strategy. This is great from a business perspective, but where my conviction really comes from is the customers we've already helped. People I've never met tell me we've changed their lives for the better. There is no other fuel like that on earth. Knowing I couldn't help my grandmother pains me every single day, but knowing I may be helping someone else's grandmother makes it all worth it.
What advice would you give someone interested in doing what you do?
Find your grit. You don't need to be the smartest person in the room, or the wealthiest person in the room, you need to be the grittiest person in the room. You must have the ability to take punch after punch after punch, and get yourself up and march forward. I've seen brilliant people not make it in this industry. I've seen entrepreneurs that were successful outside of cannabis, get chewed up and spit out by this industry. You have very little control over the things that are going to punch you in the mouth, but if you can get punched in the mouth and smile about it, you probably have what it takes. The thing that will be tested every single day, is your 'why'. If your why is money or fame, you won't make it a year. Your why must go deep enough to wake you up every morning without an alarm clock. Success will take longer, and be more difficult to achieve than you can possibly calculate. So when you've gone beyond what you thought it would take, can you keep going? My advice would be to try to talk yourself out of it. Talk to everyone in your life that is important to you and tell them what you want to do. See if they can talk you out of it. If they can't, you're either onto something or you're so hard-headed that you've got to fail to learn.
What has been the hardest part of your business journey?
The hardest part of starting Life Leaf Remedies has been getting help from others. Whether that be a third-party agency that I'm needing help from, or a person in my life I need to rely on. Starting a business of any kind shows you who in your life is serious, and who only moves for things that immediately benefit them. Starting a business is very lonely. Be prepared to be disappointed by people you believed you could rely on. That probably stings more than anything else.
How have you managed burnout thus far?
Yes. Burnout is something I only experienced when I was in corporate. That's why your why is so important. People experience burnout because their why doesn't hold up. Monday morning roles around and dread sets in because you don't believe in what you are doing. I haven't taken a paycheck in a year and half and I'm happier than I've ever been. Does that mean my life hasn't been difficult the past year and a half? Absolutely not. It's been the most difficult year and a half of my entire life. There's fulfillment in that difficulty, though. When you're reporting to a dead-end job day after day, there's no fulfillment in that. We can fight it all we want, but humans are more motivated by fulfillment than we are by dollars. Find something truly fulfilling and you will never experience burnout again.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
First and foremost, get your faith in line. Whatever your faith is, make sure you have faith in something and you're convicted in that. I personally leave heavily on my Bible. Beyond that, the first book I'd recommend is "Shoe Dog" by Phil Knight. Whether you love or hate Nike, for whatever your reason is, Phil Knight's story is one every entrepreneur should read. Phil was just a normal guy. We tend to think of these iconic entrepreneurs as super-human, but Phil could not have been more of a down to earth guy throughout his journey building Nike. He faced impossible challenges over and over, and he found a way to persevere. Phil demonstrates the grit that's required to succeed. He never overcame those challenges with some super-human action. It was pure grit and perseverance. "Shoe Dog" is an absolute must-read. Some other resources I've found helpful are: "Atomic Habits" book by James Clear; Linkedin has been a great resource for building a community of other founders to bounce things off of; "Extreme Ownership" book by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Reading books or listening to podcasts featuring industry leaders of the industry you're getting into is always a good idea.
List the founders
Myles Teteak, Joel Chapple, TuKil Chong
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
80+. If I'm awake, I'm probably working on the business.
# of Employees?
I'm the only full-time employee. No other employees.
When did you start?
July 6, 2021
How much did it cost to launch?
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
We've raised $150,000 entirely through my personal network.
Year-1 was about $15,000, and we have a plan to grow to $30,000 this year. Our plan is certainly conservative, and we could very well exceed $30,000 this year.
We're projecting $30,000 this year, with potential to exceed that.
What's the #1 thing you need right now?
Raising more capital will always be need. What we really need is exposure to our target audience. We've done a great job of retaining our customers, so we just need to continue finding new ways of exposure and acquisition.
Website: https://lifeleafremedies.com/ Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/life-leaf-remedies Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lifeleafremedies/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheLifeLeaf