Ring the gong! We are kicking off 2023 in style. Season Two of Talking Shizzle🎙️is launching 🚀 This season we've got everything you want to hear about in your entrepreneurial journey PLUS more. Let's start it up!
In today's episode, host Taylor Shanklin sits down with Greg M. Shanken who is an entrepreneur from Boulder, Colorado. He started his entrepreneurial journey when he was five years old, and he has since then built a successful career in marketing and business. In this talk, he shares his story and some advice for other entrepreneurs.
We dive into the continued experiences of Greg and his entrepreneurial journey throughout his school life and into his twenties and thirties, always having side jobs and businesses. For the past ten years, he has owned and operated a digital marketing agency called Gloss. This year, they have expanded their services to include psychedelic healing and compassionate healing clients, which is a result of personal experiences they have embarked on.
The gang also covers that recently in Colorado, a measure was passed to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for personal and therapeutic use. The topic of conversation includes personal experiences in using Ayahuasca to heal from depression, the potential of psychedelics to treat other illnesses like cancer and addiction as well as:
Taylor Shanklin 0:01
Hey hey all you lovely people out there. You've got a lot going on in your day with big dreams and big goals for your world. Are you ready to talk some shizzle and learn some shizzle from leading entrepreneurs, changemakers coaches and overall interesting people who like to shake things up. I'm your host Taylor Shanklin, CEO and founder of creative shizzle and I am stoked to bring you a fresh episode of talking shizzle today, this show is all about helping you think differently so that you can grow. Talking chisel is brought to you by our team at Creative shizzle where we help businesses, entrepreneurs, and social good innovators make amazing marketing shizzle happen. Check us out on the web at Creative shizzle.com Now, let's talk some shizzle what's up what's up listeners? We are back with a new episode of talking to shizzle and we are going to get into some real interesting shizzle today with our guest Greg shanken. That's not Shanklin. It's close though, guys. It's shakin. What's up, Greg, how are you?
Greg Shanken 1:21
I'm doing great. Thanks for having me.
Taylor Shanklin 1:23
It's good to be here with you. How's it going? We'll sidekick. Well, what's up with you today?
Will Novelli 1:28
Doing good today? Doing good? Not much going on. But you know, yeah, Feeling good. Feeling good today.
Taylor Shanklin 1:34
Feeling good on this Tuesday. It's giving Tuesday. We're recording this on Giving Tuesday today. So it's a special day in many hearts. When we think about generosity. So let's get into your story, Greg, let's go with it. Tell us a little bit about who you are, what your story is, and a bit about your entrepreneurship journey so far.
Greg Shanken 1:55
Yeah, sounds great. I live in Boulder, Colorado, originally from outside Philadelphia. Well, we just figured that out. And my entrepreneurial journey started when I was five years old, I was at a friend's house. And he had one of those little mini pool tables. And my mom said, Hey, did you know how he got that he did something around the house or earn some money and bought it. And like this just explosion went on in my head that like I could actually sort of manifest or control. My experience through being an entrepreneur and my parents were supportive enough to help me place an ad in the paper. I think it was for 70 cents an hour, we charge I was like seven years old, maybe at that point to do like envelope stuffing and stamping and things like that. And that's where it all started. And it just continued through my school life and into my 20s and 30s. And I've had jobs along the way too. But um, that's really where the spark started. I'll say for better. And for worse, because I'll probably share some downsides of how that happened or because it started in such a simple way like that some of the the downfalls and pitfalls that happened, but it did like the spark and that spark is very much alive in me today. So that's how it started. And as of right now, for the past 10 years, I've owned and operated it digital marketing and web development agency called gloss. We service small, medium sized businesses with a range of those types of services, we have really good footprint in the cannabis and CBD space. And then as of this year has really opened things up further in that space, which I'm defining a psychedelic healing and compassionate healing clients as well, which also still includes cannabis and CBD. But also a number of other types of sub niches within that overall space. A lot of that owing to personal experiences that have embarked on as of this year.
Taylor Shanklin 3:59
Alright, we're gonna open that up, we're gonna get into that I learned more about CVD just in the last few years after being in Texas where it wasn't really there very much. I moved to North Carolina and personally, I started seeing CBD stores everywhere. And kind of learning what this is. And myself. I've done CBD treatments for Arthritis and Inflammation. But there's a lot of other psychedelic healing that you've gotten into that you support both in Colorado and support small businesses in this space. Tell us a little bit more about what that is, and your journey like how you got into it.
Greg Shanken 4:43
Sure. So I'll start with what has recently happened in Colorado, which I was so honored to be a part of. I was an ambassador for proposition 122 which just passed this past election by a large margin at least by today's standards. 53 and a half for percent to 46 and a half percent or 7%. So that's a lot in our polarized political sphere. I think it was 180,000 votes. So people in Colorado resoundingly voted yes for this measure, which legalizes psilocybin, mushrooms, for personal use, which means individuals can grow, cultivate, not sell, there's nothing in this proposition or bill related to the buying and selling of medicines. So it is not like cannabis and CBD in that regard. But it can be used for personal use. And then what I'm most excited about is for therapeutic use over the next 18 months, guidelines will be created by the state and an advisory council to essentially define the guardrails regulations governance around psychedelic healing using psilocybin mushrooms, who can provide that treatment, how it's provided, under what, you know, guidelines, contexts, et cetera. And then that counsel will also study three other psychedelic medicines DMT, which is the active ingredient in Ayahuasca tea, which I'll likely talk about in this discussion. And Ibogaine, which is an incredibly powerful plant medicine from Africa that can really cure addiction, and has been shown to cure addiction in a very significant way. And then mescaline, not peyote. And there's a distinction there, which perhaps I'll talk about, but those medicines may be added to this legislation by 2026. So I was very much involved in supporting that Bill and helping get it passed, played a small role, but, you know, humbly, privileged to be a part of it. And so that's, it was also my first foray into advocacy. I've always been a good citizen, I pay attention, I vote. But this was the first time I was actively involved in something like this. It was really an incredible experience learning experience connection, it really supported, where I am in my own psychedelic healing journey. So I can speak a bit about that started just this past January, so not even 10 months ago, I attended my first Ayahuasca retreat, and Ayahuasca is a plant medicine from South America. It's been around for 1000s of years, but we're only starting to see the power of it up here as northerners over the past couple of decades. And it's becoming more and more well known up here. But it's been used by tribes in South America for 1000s of years, I embarked on this journey, for a couple of reasons. I've suffered from lifelong depression, which I have previously treated through SSRI medication, antidepressants for 10 and 20 years, various medications, which help but don't heal, and I'm speaking for myself personally, I don't condemn or criticize prescription medication if they work for you. And for many years, they did work for me. But I paid a price for how they work. And so basically, they kind of bring you into a range of emotion that allows you to go on with your daily life in kind of a pretty measured way. So kind of cuts off the highs and cuts off the lows. So in that way they are doing their job. But what I came to realize, again, for myself speaking personally, is that I was losing a lot, for example, a big area where, in many ways, but one, people would say to me, you know, I've been an entrepreneur my whole life and in the business world my whole life. And people say, Well, what is your gut tell you listen to your gut, and I'd say what gut, I'm just kind of, I came to realize that most of my experience was happening above the neck, intellectually with my brain. And I've been blessed with a pretty good brain. So that's self take me pretty far. But those of you listening who have a strong, intuitive sense, imagine just flicking that off. Just imagine that. And that's kind of how I was operating. So I was missing out on so much. I wasn't really gaining the full value of all of the gifts that all of us are blessed with, you know, head, heart, gut, right? Intuition, and love and brain. So those are some of the big sacrifices that I came to realize. Another one which is kind of more, maybe more tangible is that I never cried. So these medications, again, speaking personally did a good job of helping you not feel depression, but that means not feeling a full range of emotion on the top end, and the bottom end, and I kind of just finally realized that and as I was coming to that realization, I started learning about plant medicines and psychedelic medicines and how they can help really opens you up to your full range of emotion. However, with some of these medicines from a safety protocol perspective, one must wean off prescription medications for, for safety reasons. So I had to do that. And I had tried to do that a couple of times previously in my life. Without success, I went off my meds and depression came back. This time, I was kind of Resolute that I was going to stick it out in preparation for this Ayahuasca retreat. And it really just opened up my world and come back to your question of this whole psychedelic realm that I'm in right now. After that experience, it really did open up the full range of emotion. I mean, I laughed, I cried. And to this day, I laugh more, I cry more, I feel more, I now have full use of my gut on my heart, and complimenting my brain and intuitive self. And that just really opened things up for me in terms of business. Because after coming out of that experience, I realized that that was the ecosystem and space that I really wanted to serve. And again, just kind of building on what we've done in cannabis and CBD, but just now having a wider array of businesses, nonprofits to serve. So that's, you know a bit about what brought me here and this 10 month journey that feels like a lifetime of 2022.
Taylor Shanklin 11:26
I appreciate your vulnerability so much, and sharing that with us, it's probably something that it's not easy necessarily to share. And your openness is really something that we're grateful for. I first heard personally about iOS Casca, from a friend, leadership coach, who I know who she and her husband went to South America and did a retreat. And I'd never heard of this before. And then I started hearing about it more and more through psychologists and learning about how it's used to treat depression, but also other terminal illnesses like cancer addiction. Tell us a little bit more about what are some of the other uses and how medically it is, I guess, observed, you know, so that so that people can do it safely. And in a medically safe way?
Greg Shanken 12:23
Yeah, that's a great question. If I may, I'll recommend a book that really goes into a lot of detail about ayahuasca was written by an American medical doctrine books called fellowship of the river, and in the book, and this is to also answer your question. And this doctor became a practitioner himself and opened up a retreat center in Peru. So he brings Western medical knowledge and data, and then combines that with real life case studies that he observed firsthand, in serving the medicine as it's called Ayahuasca. And he details case studies of people who have healed of depression, of course, anxiety, PTSD, even physical conditions, like Crohn's disease and migraines. So it really can heal a wide variety of physical and mental illnesses, and many times physical illnesses are, they come from mental illness or, or emotional blockages. And so, it's really fascinating and powerful, just what these medicines can do. Ayahuasca and others, of course, you know, for me, it's been ayahuasca and also microdosing, psilocybin has been part of my psychedelic healing toolkit, but in terms of doing it safely, that is, a big part of the bill that just passed in Colorado is how these medicines can be served safely in our western world. So you know, where they have been served and administered in indigenous tribes, it's been for 1000s of years, so they know how to do it safely. And of course, now it's coming up here. And so there are risks involved, whether you do it here or there, because now that is becoming more popular and more widely recognized even in you know, mainstream media, celebrities and, and quite a few celebrities to come out and say they've utilized these medicines. And so of course, that brings risk, because then you have charlatans, and folks like that. So to your question, incredibly important to do your research, get good referrals. Some of the challenges involved in that are that some of these medicines are illegal. Just like cannabis is still federally illegal. And even though Colorado just passed this landmark bill, psilocybin is federally illegal. So without going into too much detail, it really is just that that overarching recommendation of do your research, get recommendations from people you know, and trust to make sure you're doing it in a safe environment,
Will Novelli 15:01
it's like that dy. Oh, our acronym also shows up here and finance and here, do your own research, right?
Greg Shanken 15:09
That is true. Yep, we've seen that with the fall of crypto and, you know, anything that looks great, can be great. And then there can be the downsides and risks. So certainly with psychedelic healing and plant medicines, yeah, Tyr for sure.
Taylor Shanklin 15:26
Well, there's a documentary actually, that you turned me on to Greg, we were talking offline one day about this. And for people who want to learn a little bit more, it's been interesting, I still haven't finished at all, because I told you, I always fall asleep watching TV. But I still working my way through it, but how to change your mind is on Netflix. And I'm also going to go look up this book that you mentioned, the fellowship of the river. But if you're curious to watch something, how to change your mind is on Netflix. And it's a like a mini series documentary that discusses per episode, different types of these natural healing options. So it's kind of interesting, if you want to learn more about it. Are there any other resources that you think are great for people who are trying to get educated on this?
Greg Shanken 16:16
Yeah, so haven't changed your mind is an excellent one. And it's based on the best selling book of the same title, which goes into a lot more detail. But both are great for anyone who's coming in and just completely cold. You know, hey, I want to learn more about this. I really do think those are great starting points, fellowship of the river, that there's so many books and podcasts out there with Aubrey Marcus has a podcast that solely based on psychedelics, but a lot of the topics, and a lot of his guests talking about psychedelics, that's another good resource I'd recommend from a podcast perspective. And then there are communities too. So I'm in a wonderful community called empathic health, which is a community for Psychonauts. And therapists are part of this group. And it's just a place to learn and ask questions, whether or not you've ever done psychedelics, a place for support and integration, right now, you know, and this is why I was so passionate about passing this bill in Colorado, and I call it prop 122. Because that's just how we started calling it but the name of it was the natural medicine Health Act. That's kind of a more heart centered sounding name than just calling it prop 122. But yeah, it's the natural medicine Health Act. But you know, just kind of along with all of this, and this kind of gets back to your question Taylor about safety and find communities that have been a people you can trust. And I mentioned one now, but I'm in that because that's certainly not the only one. But you know, the information is out there. You know, if you're, if you're seeking, and so yes, these are some some good resources and good places to start. For people who are curious.
Taylor Shanklin 17:56
Personally, it's something that I'm, like, I find fascinating. I also as a like a big weenie, like, I'm kind of like, oh, like, I've heard about the benefits of it. And also have struggled with depression in my life. And you know, we all have trauma. And I've thought about doing something like this. And then I'm like, Oh, I'm scared. I'm scared. I don't know. Well, are you have you ever thought about this new? Are you scared of it, too?
Will Novelli 18:22
No, I do not. I think at one point, you could say that I probably had a fear of the unknown, right. But I have definitely a similar personal journey. New Jersey expanded their their cannabis laws about five years ago. And as someone who was a long SSRI taker, by doctor's orders, when that expansion happened about five years ago, anxiety was one of the medical reasons of which you could get cannabis and I started to see a different doctor. And that's been working great for me. I would say that range of emotions that you talked about, Greg, that I can totally attest to that. Something I was dealing with for a while I couldn't cry. I didn't feel like I things were funny anymore. I kind of have a low key personality already. So that just added to it. It didn't really always take away the anxious feeling for me, though, too. So that was the part that was kind of frustrating. And I was happy to find new alternatives. That work better for me.
Greg Shanken 19:25
Yeah, a lot of your comments resonated with me. Well, especially as I alluded to, before, you know, not feeling the full range of motion. And I mean, in terms of the fear of these psychedelic healing journeys, yes, they can be scary. And it is you'll hear a lot of people that have done this work. Say, and I couldn't agree more. It's not it is not for everyone. So I'm never saying to anyone, literally you should do this. It really has to be such a personal to say And after you do your research and figure out if it's something that calls to you, and I know that's kind of sound out there, but that's kind of how I came to it, I started feeling called to it, realizing that, you know, definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results wasn't working, or I was leading, or I was living the definition of insanity. And something had to change and had to be something big, for lack of a better term. You know, I was in therapy, I'm still in therapy, and I there, and I highly recommend therapy or some form of support and integration as you're going through this psychedelic healing journey. Because it's not just about the journey. When I say the journey, I mean, the actual retreat for whatever medicine you're choosing to use, it's not about that night, or that we can, of course, that's going to crack you wide open. But then if you kind of just go back to your day to day after that, you're leaving a lot of opportunity on the table. Because think about these medicines, the benefits and results from these journeys and experiences unfold over time. And when you're engaged in them, yes, first of all, they can be very scary. Second of all, it can be very confusing. So it's not as though answers just fall from the sky, necessarily, although they can. And so that's where the post journey integration, you'll hear that term a lot. Integration comes into play, and having community and or having personal help from an integration specialist or a therapist. Yes, again, we keep coming back to full range of emotion, these experiences can definitely be scary, and you need to be aware of that. And a big word you'll hear a lot, if you're embarking on this journey is surrender. So it's all about surrender. And also trust, which is kind of two sides of the same coin. Because once you trust, then you can surrender. And once you surrender you can trust. And that just comes with, again, research and then embracing these experiences, and then integrating the integration process after engaging in these experiences. I love that
Taylor Shanklin 22:20
I'm going to repeat that once you trust you can surrender. And once you surrender you can trust. That's beautiful.
Greg Shanken 22:30
Yeah, and that's really just speaks to being open to whatever happens and a lot and you know, well, you can probably attest to this, man, a lot will happen. It just cracks you wide open. And so yeah, like you said, Well, you laugh less. Maybe now you laugh more, but that also means you're going to cry more. And even laughter and tears are two sides of the same coin. Right? Because it's that contrast and so I certainly cry more man do I cry more and now I just let it come. One thing about crying is or one piece of advice I can give or one thing I've learned is a great way to save money is Amazon Subscribe and Save for tissues. I learned that the more the more I cry the more I save. So that's that's probably the biggest tip I can share today. So just subscribe to Amazon Subscribe and Save tissues and just let the tears fall
Taylor Shanklin 23:31
and maybe snacks too if you get hungry get some
Greg Shanken 23:34
snacks yeah snacks are great
Taylor Shanklin 23:41
I mean I've maybe it's part of the reason why I'm fearful I don't know if I'm just like super lightweight I had a funny reaction when I got pretty goofy one time from a CBD gummy which sounds weird but well knows that store and like since then I'm counting maybe I'll just stop there
Will Novelli 24:03
we can get potent those guys though. You know that you never know.
Taylor Shanklin 24:07
It was something potent and I was like are you sure this is just CBD has come from it was purchased in a reputable store. But you know I'm not really sure about that so
Will Novelli 24:23
well most most most CBD products will even say on the label that there's a chance there is some THC in here.
Taylor Shanklin 24:29
Yes, there was let's just say that. And it caught me off guard.
Will Novelli 24:36
One more thing I can mention is something that I deal with often is stigma and fighting that stigma. I feel like even growing up there were things like Seinfeld for exists. Do you arrive for instance, do you remember when Peterman went away he had a nervous breakdown. He went to Burma.
Taylor Shanklin 24:57
I think he went to Burma for that Yeah, I don't know, I think now we know,
Will Novelli 25:04
I always assumed he was going on a spiritual journey of sorts. I used to read about Native Americans going on spiritual journeys just growing up in school. And then you find out that that was true. And you know, they did practice that a lot in their culture, and they were very previewed to things like peyote. So they did go on a lot of spiritual journeys and learn things.
Greg Shanken 25:27
Yeah, I agree with you. Well, the stigma has been there for so long and started, unfortunately, in the 60s, we could have a whole discussion about that. But now finally, it's swinging back around, that stigma is still there, but I think it's evaporating. And that's why legislation is important. Raising awareness is important. And here I am on a business and marketing podcast, but we're really talking more about life and psychedelics and emotions. And so I think people are more willing to be vulnerable, I know I am. And also, it's not even that I decided one day, okay, I'm going to be vulnerable. Being on this journey actually just makes it easier to be vulnerable. So it's easy for me to say now, I suffered from depression. It's not easy to suffer from depression, but I don't keep it inside as I used to. And so I think that's been another really big benefit as well. And also, specifically with depression, depression, for many. And for me, it causes one to isolate, and pull, pull inside. And so not only has this journey helped me heal, and I'm not saying I'm healed, but I'm healing. And I think the healing is a lifelong pursuit. But I'm healing from depression. It's also helped me to be more vulnerable, and to an isolate, if that's a word, and that's why I'm happy to share in venues like this or with someone I meet on the street or in the communities that I'm in or with clients. So yeah, that stigma is there, for sure. But I think it is evaporating gradually. And especially but but at an increasing rate over the past couple of years, just from everything happening, and celebrities coming out and sharing their experiences. And also, I think even just the quote unquote, everyday person is waking up to the fact that humans, Americans, and globally, there's just so much mental illness and suffering and anxiety and depression and trauma. And mainstream methods. I'm not here to say they don't work, but they're not doing enough. Or what they're doing is we need more we need. So it's not an either or it's not we need to get rid of that and do this, that we need more tools in the toolkit, and plant medicines and psychedelic medicines can be part of that array of solutions.
Taylor Shanklin 27:53
Yeah, it is, it's great to raise awareness about all the tools in the toolkit. And it's great to raise awareness, and like push against the stigma as entrepreneurs and business owners to get out there and say, I suffered depression. And guess what, it's okay. A lot of people do. I did, too. I had a huge bout of major depression and college, I didn't get out of bed for months. It was traumatic, you know, and it kind of comes and goes throughout life. And so I think it's really awesome to have these authentic conversations, and to look at the three of us here on this conversation today and say, We're all in it together. We're all learning from each other. We're all supporting each other. And it's part of being human. And it's part of life. And the more that we can do to educate and to share and to build community, the better we can be together. So thank you, Greg. Thank you. Well, all right, let's do you have a good like? A good psychedelic dad joke?
Will Novelli 29:04
Personally, do you know how mushrooms reproduce right? Spore radically?
Taylor Shanklin 29:15
That's a zinger. Closing us out with a zinger. Greg, close this out quick, rapid fire questions. What's the best compliment you've ever gotten?
Greg Shanken 29:29
That I have to say I have to say too, because I love when people tell me that I'm funny. And when people tell me that I'm empathetic, and I hear that, and I hear that from friends, but I also love to hear that from clients. Just kind of bring it into the business sphere.
Taylor Shanklin 29:46
Love it. Alright, one more. What's your favorite job you've ever held?
Greg Shanken 29:50
Favorite job? You know, I've never really liked having a job that I had them. So you know, I can just speak very generally the favorite job I've ever had was a job where I felt I've seen and where my feedback was, was actually heard. And I was treated with empathy, and respect, and being treated as though as part of a team. And that made me just as a lifelong entrepreneur feel less unhappy that I was at a job, and certainly no disrespect to jobs at all. But just again, as an entrepreneur from the age of five, when I had jobs, I wasn't always happy. Those jobs, so yeah, treated with respect. And then how can people
Taylor Shanklin 30:30
find you online, get in touch, learn more about glass if they need your help with their website, or their digital marketing?
Greg Shanken 30:38
Sure. So website is gloss, tech.io glss te ch.io. So that's our website. If you go to gloss tech.io/empathy, you'll see some more information of how to get in touch with me personally, my main mode of social media connection is LinkedIn. And I believe it'll be in the show notes, but it's also on that page I just cited, so glasstec.io/empathy, and you can get in touch with me there, you can schedule a call with me there. There's also a video called Five Reasons Your website is scaring away your best customers. And I'll just tie that quickly to my message of empathy. So on the page, I cited gloss, tech.io/empathy is a video called Five Reasons Your website is scaring away your best customers. And when I look at websites and want to talk to clients about websites, I always bring in empathy. And you heard me mentioned that we've talked about it a group here today, empathy, a lot of times I'll see a company that I know is operating with empathy, but I don't see it on their website, their website loads slowly, or it's hard to navigate or hard to read. And so on that page, you'll see a short video. And there's actually a lot more reasons than five, which we can talk about if we connect. But that's that's really how we work with clients is we say how can we look at your brand, your online presence, your social media presence? How can we take that empathy that I know you have, because you obviously are running a business because you want to help people, I don't care what kind of business you have, you want to help people. And ideally, you're passionate about wanting to help people with your product or service. Let's make sure that anyone who sees you online anywhere they see you online can feel that empathy coming through. And so if we connect that so we can talk about that on that video on the page that I shared.
Taylor Shanklin 32:35
Awesome. Love it. I highly recommend Greg and his team. They do great work. And if you are looking for a website, reach out, Greg, thank you so much. Thank you. Well, as always, we hope you enjoyed this episode where we talk to some psychedelic shizzle today. We'll see you next time, folks. Well, hey there, that was fun. I love how much mind blowing and mind opening shizzle our guests bring to us with every episode. We hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as we did. Make sure you hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast player so that you don't miss a beat of the talking sizzle podcast. And if you're listening on Apple, be sure to let us know what you thought and leave us a review. We'd love to hear from our listeners so that we can bring you all the good juicy Business Growth shizzle that you would like to hear about. Get in touch with us and follow along at Creative shizzle.com or email us at podcast at Creative shizzle.com Until next time, keep making your shizzle happen