What It's About
A professional cartoonist becomes a woodworker who stumbles upon a smoky side hustle success.
Words of Wisdom
Just to be clear, I don’t want you to wait 20 years for your side hustle, but I do think this story illustrates the value of paying attention to something you might not think is a big deal but matters a lot to other people.
Bruce started off as a cartoonist, drawing for magazines, books, and advertisements. His cartoons appeared in almost every issue of High Times Magazine from 1976 to 1983, and he had his own political cartoon syndicate that appeared in over 380 newspapers across the US and Canada every week during the better part of the 70s.
Notes from Chris
Bruce Jorgensen took the long way to arrive at his side hustle. After getting a degree in journalism, he spent the 70’s as a cartoonist, drawing for magazines, books and advertisements. Most notably, his cartoons appeared in almost every issue of High Times magazine from 1976 to 1983. He also started his own political cartoon syndicate for which he drew four editorial cartoons a week that appeared in over 380 newspapers across the US and Canada every week. After moving with his wife and three young children into a new neighborhood in New Jersey, he met one of his neighbors, Jon, and they became fast friends. Jon was a quadriplegic who had limited mobility in his arms, with no fine motor control. Jon smoked joints cannabis, which he found controlled his seizures and trembling. But he couldn’t smoke without help from his nurse or a friend, which was humiliating and inconvenient for him. Bruce immediately saw that he could make Jon’s life a bit easier and crafted him a holder out of a wooden chopstick and a metal alligator clip. Jon could hold the stick and regained both the ability to smoke on his own and a little bit of dignity. Bruce thought nothing of it, but friends of both Bruce and Jon noticed what a cool smoking tool it was and requested ones for themselves. Fast forward to the late 90’s and Bruce was still working as a cartoonist, but the work had grown stale for him. A friend offered him a job as a woodworker, and Bruce jumped at the opportunity to quit cartooning. After a couple years of learning on the job, Bruce happened to visit some old friends and noticed that they were still using the makeshift smoking tool that he created for them long, long ago. All of his friends confirmed that it was their preferred smoking tool. It wasn’t until that moment that Bruce realized he had invented a potentially marketable product. Not long after this first major sale, Bruce lost his woodworking job due to the recession. Fortunately for him, New Jersey offered a six-week program through the unemployment office that helps people come up with a business plan and learn basic skills like bookkeeping. With this support, he began to turn his side hustle into his third career and also came up with the name—Mystic Timber. Even with minor missteps along the way, he kept at it and revenues steadily increased year after year. Over the years Bruce has not only diversified his product line but his revenue streams as well. He’s continued to sell wholesale to smoke shops, added the trade shows, and more recently started selling direct to consumers through their website. Selling direct to consumers brings in an extra $600/month, and at a higher profit margin. He’s also figured out the trade show circuit and can now bring in more than $20,000 in sales at a three-day show. Through all of these efforts, and through the many lessons he’s learned over the years, Bruce has managed to take Mystic Timber from a fun side hustle to a profitable business.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Mystic Timber: Get your dab on in style with some of Bruce's wands!
- High Times Magazine: The world's leading source for daily cannabis news, weed information, and marijuana culture since 1974
- Bartender Writes Statewide Marijuana Guide: Colorado bartender sells 2,000 copies of a statewide marijuana guide in the boom of the budding cannabis economy
- Cannabis Cookies Make a Sweet, Soothing Side Hustle: In a growing industry, this Oregon mom achieves high returns from licensed marijuana edibles
- 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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Quote of the Day
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To infinity and beyond,