9 min 2 sec

Fulbright Scholar Earns $2k/Month Selling CBD Oil

A lifelong interest in hemp leads a Kentucky woman to start an online marketplace for CBD oil.
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What It's About

A student builds a hempire educating others about the benefits and uses of hemp and CBD oil.

Business Model
Skills Required
Hemp Knowledge & Communication
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Annie says that while not everyone is as obsessed with hemp as she is, she still thinks that her path and lessons can benefit everyone:

"Every job can be of benefit to you even if it’s not directly applicable to your passion. Giving out free beer helped me become better at small talk and feel comfortable approaching strangers."

Fun Fact

Without a doubt, any time Annie does in-person educational outreach she gets a comment about how she could smoke her hemp shirt or get high off the CBD supplements—both of which are horribly misguided. Not one to be deterred, she looks at it as another opportunity for education!

Notes from Chris

Episode 315

While it’s only been the last couple years that Annie Rouse has launched her hemp side hustle, it’s been a long time coming. When she was growing up in Kentucky, her dad was the videographer who filmed a publicity stunt that actor Woody Harrelson orchestrated back in 1996.

Harrelson planted 4 hemp seeds in an attempt to draw attention to the fact that industrial hemp and marijuana were still controlled under the same law. He was arrested, and ultimately acquitted during a one-day jury trial.

This event left a lasting impression on Annie. She wrote about the event in college and also started researching Harry Anslinger—the 1st Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962—who in his war against marijuana didn’t differentiate between the psychoactive drug and the non-psychoactive industrial hemp plant.

When she learned about this bit of history, Annie immediately wanted to educate the general public about how industrial hemp has been incorrectly grouped with marijuana. She’s been educating on the individual level ever since, but in the back of her mind, she’s always had the idea that she needed to share this story with a larger audience.

During her studies, she started a simple Wordpress site called Think Hempy Thoughts, where she chronicled what she was learning. It very quickly became an outlet for her philosophy of living consciously and sustainably.

Not long after, Annie was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Since CBD is great at reducing inflammation she pretty quickly saw positive results in her symptoms. When she ran out of that brand, she tried a different one and wasn’t reaping the same benefits. She ended up trying over a dozen different brands of CBD and realizing how inconsistent the results were since there were no standards in the industry.

With this personal insight, Annie made some tweaks to the verification system, narrowing her focus to just CBD and very shortly after got her first certification client. Her verification system gives brands a third-party seal of approval that communicates to consumers that the CBD is high quality and uncontaminated. With verified products to sell, Annie set up and launched her online marketplace in the beginning of 2017, using Shopify. After only a couple months she was selling over a thousand dollars in products a month. By mid-year, she was bringing in $2k - $3k per month in revenue.

With steady income coming in from her marketplace hustle on Think Hempy Thoughts, Annie can fulfill her dream of educating people about hemp via her new podcast and nonprofit and can continue to expand her hempire and influence on the industry.


  • Think Hempy Thoughts: Educate yourself about all of the many uses for hemp on Annie's website!
  • Wordpress: Annie used Wordpress to create Think Hempy Thoughts, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes
  • Yoast to Optimize SEO: Annie uses the Yoast plugin for SEO (stands for Search Engine Optimization) purposes and it's all about making your website and the posts on your website more friendly for Google so that you can get a higher Google ranking.
  • Shopify: Annie used Shopify to set up her store for Think Hempy Thoughts, and they're offering a 21-day trial and exclusive discount for all Side Hustle School listeners!

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Create your online store with Shopify using an exclusive discount for Side Hustle School listeners. For a limited time, get a free 21-day trial and a 10% discount for a whole year.

Many Side Hustle School listeners are building sites using Shopify's easy-to-learn platform. Try it free today!

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Social media is nice, but building an email list is still the single best way to get customers and clients for your hustle. It's not hard to get started—sign up for a 30-day trial and join the list-building challenge! You’ll be up and running in no time.

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Quote of the Day
"As Steve Jobs once said, 'You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.' While none of my past occupations and projects seemed to connect at the time, I can look back and see how all the different jobs have helped get me where I am now."
—Annie Rouse #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau