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Today, we had a chance to sit down with Jonas in our studio and asked him questions we are always wondering. For those of you who don’t know Jonas, he is the co-founder of CBD Move Free. He is renowned for developing high-profile, image-based marketing and lead-generation initiatives. Jonas is a serial entrepreneur and an accomplished marketer who has held the position of Chief Marketing Officer for several well-known national brands while running his own full-service branding and marketing agency. He served as an ECHO judge in 2009 and 2010. The world’s top direct marketing experts are chosen to judge the ECHO awards, which honors the most creative and responsive direct mail campaigns. Jonas has not only been a judge but an ECHO finalist. We will ask what it took to get his success, and his latest venture CBD Move Free. But first, we start with something more personal and close to home.
1. What was it like growing up in your household?
I was raised by my mother Kim and my stepfather, Herbert Roeser, whom I recognize as my dad. They had two boys together, Shane and Justin. Three boys will make any household bust at the seams. I took my stepfather’s name when I was young, but my birth name was Jonas Cousins. I connected with my biological father, Peter Cousins, during my last year in college, and today we have an amazing relationship he is a Co-Founder and was the first investor in CBD Move Free. Growing up with parents that are business owners you learn quickly you must push the business forward each day. I watched my mom and dad build a business from the basement of our house to an international port of call diesel engine sales and service company, with locations in Seattle, WA, and Tampa, FL.
The company’s name is Trans Marine Propulsion Systems (TMPS) www.transmarine.org and it services the fishing fleet in Alaska, as well as the container and cruise industry across the globe. I saw first-hand the commitment it takes to start a business on a large scale. The capital demands and human capital required. I truly believe this is where I learned that there are many perks of running your own business, but you better be willing to serve. Serve your clients, serve your team, serve your investor, and serve strategic partners. My brother Shane was 5 years younger than me, (he passed in 2020 on Thanksgiving) he was born in 1978, and Justin was born in 1979. We grew up watching my mother manage the business from our house and soon an office, while my dad traveled the world growing the business, gaining new customers, and hiring/training new service technicians. The company is still around today under the same name, but none of my family is involved any longer. At one point in time, we all worked there and or managed the business. This household was far different than my friends. My dad was not around much, because the business demanded his skills in the field. My mother was always home by dinner, but back on her computer till late into the night. I still remember the day she came home with her first laptop in the mid-’90s. The early years were tough on my parents, the business prospered, but their marriage failed. However, the work ethic we all saw from my parents and the taste of their success instilled a drive in me and my brothers. We all wanted to make our parents proud and add value to the business. It was extremely important to each of us that we earned our positions at the company, and that they were not given to us because we were the owner’s sons.
2. What do you remember the most about your childhood that still is relevant to who you are today?
I learned at an early age to always put family first over the business, but as I got older, I found that incorporating activities of my youth helps me with the pressures of business today. For example, I will be 50 years old this April, and I still find a smile on my face the second I step on a skateboard. Calling on my youth activities reminds me to always put the innocence of my youth into my day to stay young at heart.
3. What was it like hanging out with you in high school or college?
It was a blast! In high school, I was definitely in the mix and events you would hear about Monday morning unless I was out of town. I became a sponsored skateboarder in 8th grade and a snowboarder by the 10th grade, so I would often be gone on three-day weekends for contests. I turned professional for snowboarding at the US Open in Stratton Mount Vermont 1992, my sophomore year in college. The last year I was a salaried snowboarder was 1997, but that’s an entirely different story. Back in high school at Bellevue High School (BHS), I had friends that spanned from the “rockers” in the smoking section (that’s right, my high school had an authorized smoking section for students), to the captain of whatever sport was playing that season and everywhere in between. I was well-liked, always had a girlfriend, was homecoming king my junior year, and voted best dressed and the best car my senior year. I loved high school and to this day, three of my dear friends from high school are shareholders in CBD Move Free and are active in the business.
4. What was your first startup? What did you learn from it?
The first start-up I was involved with was in 2003 at LTC Financial Partners, where I served a number of roles, but my last role was that of Chief Marketing Officer. I was there for 10 years. This was a very successful company and the place I gained the most knowledge regarding sales, managing teams, and leadership on a national scale. My first personal startup was Agent Review (AR) www.agentreview.net, which I founded in 2015. AR is a review platform that supports the insurance agent with reviews and the consumer with the most qualified local agent. CBD Move Free was my second start-up and second time serving as CEO. However, technically my first business was a snowboard and skateboard shop called Five-O Nine, based on the area code 509 in Spokane, WA.
5. What was the problem you set out to solve when you started CBD Move Free?
To be transparent I didn’t start CBD Move Free to solve a problem. I saw the CBD industry as a huge market that needed leadership where my skillsets could be useful in short order. However, once I found myself in the industry, I learned how I could grow my business and the industry via education. This is when I developed the Trusted Advisor program. This program empowers chiropractors with a knowledge base of CBD in order to act as the local trusted CBD expert while providing materials to grow their practice and a product that helps their clients manage pain between visits.
6. How has being an entrepreneur taken a toll on your personal lifestyle or relationship? How did you overcome these “side effects”?
Setting your own schedule, creating your own rules, and building your dream sounds amazing, but it does not come without huge sacrifice. Unless one is very strong-willed and prepared to fail a multitude of times with big and small tasks, the entrepreneurship lifestyle is far from glamorous and has a hidden dark side. I find that among many entrepreneurs the psychological price we pay for this career path is never talked about. The demands of business ownership come with a high risk of physical and mental health issues. The isolation and long hours required to succeed usually mean less sleep, less personal time, less exercise, and other activities that provide a healthy balance. To be honest, I have not found a balance yet, it is a work in progress.
7. What has been your biggest personal win in 2022?
I honestly don’t have one big personal win for 2022. I have a series of accomplishments I am proud of with the business from 2022, but the big personal win I am hoping comes in 2023. It’s been a long road with CBD Move Free. COVID changed our timeline for success, however, last year so many amazing opportunities were placed on our path that should bear fruit in 2023. This fruit will allow me to accomplish more than one personal big win. Now that being said, if the personal win does not come in 2023, I am extremely grateful for the relationships I have with my friends, family, the team at CBD Move Free, my amazing children, and a very special woman, Kelly Wilson. This woman has been my biggest supporter, through the hard times as my girlfriend building Agent Review and as my fiancée for 80% of the time growing CBD Move Free. Although our relationship didn’t end up the way either of us planned, we are still extremely close. I still aspire to make her proud and to be honest she is the creative muse that pushes me out of bed on the days I want to hide under the covers.
9. What advice would you give to your younger self?
I wish I learned earlier when it was time to move on. Whether it’s friendships, relationships, or my career. If I’d recognized various signs, I would not have wasted so much energy on opportunities or people that were not aligned for success. So often when it comes to people and relationships, time put in does not equal success.
10. How much of your success would you contribute to luck and how much to hard work?
I have heard this question asked before to others. In my case, I believe it is an equal split. However, let me acknowledge that I feel that being at the right place at the right time is important. Most people appear at the right place at the right time, not by luck but by design. They recognize what appears to be the big opportunity, but they worked hard planning and following their hearts to get to where the big breaks come. The best definition of “luck” that I can describe is, luck is that moment in time when skill, preparation, and intuition meet opportunity. I believe all my luck has come from this definition.
11. Do you have a morning routine and/or nighttime ritual that helps keep you on your top game?
I wake up early, usually around 4:30 am. Rising early allows me to not have to rush, but more importantly, I use this time to put people first versus the business. While I make my morning coffee, I always text family or friends to wish them a good day and keep a personal communication channel open. It’s a daily reminder that my business isn’t everything, without family and friendships success is lonely. As of 2023, I have made a change in my nightly routine. I have vowed to work out, listen to music (not in my car) and read a book 30 minutes a day, every day. Again, to be honest, I have failed at the everyday part of this change, however, I am winning overall because I am finding more balance in my life. I had to remind myself that the outcome is more balance in my life, not sticking to my own rules.
12. Is there anything you would like to share with our readers that we didn’t ask?
Yes, actually! I touched on being a sponsored skateboarder and professional snowboarder in my late teens and late 20s, but what many don’t know is this really was a huge learning environment for me that helped me later in my career. Representing a brand, being involved in focus groups, product development, and working with distributors and various sales channels at such an early age gave me a huge advantage later in my professional career. Besides the actual skills I picked up, I gained so much confidence and communication skills that allowed me to express my truth around various topics in business, even if it went directly against the leadership at the time.
13. What’s the best way for others to learn more about you and your company?
The best way to learn about CBD Move Free is by reviewing our consumer website www.cbdmovefree.com or our investment website www.jpsproductsinc.com.
14. How or in what ways do you give back to your community?
As a single parent and business owner there is not much time for me to give back to the community personally. I believe as CBD Move Free scales up and more support is added, I will be able to spend part of my time helping others. However, CBD Move Free does support Love Troop www.lovetroop.org with a percentage of our profits. Love Troop assembles and mails cards and care packages to military personnel deployed across the globe, as well as to veterans, first responders, and military families in need. They work with schools, religious organizations, seniors, veteran organizations, corporations, businesses, and other caring communities to show those who protect and serve us that we care.
Thank you Jonas for doing this interview with GREY Journal and sharing your entrepreneurial journey. It’s genuinely touching and inspiring. We hope you can stay in touch and keep us updated about your ventures.