Living the Dream: Danielle Rosellison

Danielle Rosellison

CEO

Trail Blazin’ Productions

Bellingham, WA

Employing people is a thing.

I feel like I have 19 foster children. They all want to be loved and we love them all. They all want boundaries. We create boundaries and they push the boundaries. And they all come with their own baggage. Ultimately, we must help sculpt them into the fabulous citizens and adults we know they are capable of being. Employees are like the X-factor of owning a business — and totally not something I prepared for.

Part of the reason we started Trail Blazin’ was to create jobs in Whatcom County, Washington. There are three higher education facilities here and no one would leave this town if they could find a decent paying job. We wanted to create those employment opportunities. It’s part of the reason we hand trim. It’s part of the reason we haven’t explored expansion in other states. We love Whatcom County and we want to support this corner of the world.

That said, sometimes I find myself shaking my head, wondering what I can do to communicate more effectively to our team. My communication skills can ALWAYS get better, and I will strive to improve, but I’ve had to admit that some things are out of my control. You’re never going to be able to explain to your team what it’s like to be a business owner. Until you’re a business owner, you just can’t grok it. The personal sacrifice to make payroll. To put the team’s needs above your own. How you’ve thought about every possibility and that there are more factors than the team can comprehend, and it’s not always good management to explain those additional factors.

While they are happily punching a time clock in a state where cannabis has been legal their entire adult life, we’re fighting a war, trying to end cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic and create policy that is based on science and fact, not propaganda.

I liken it to a parent talking to a teenager.

Teenager: “Mom, can I stay out ‘til 2?”

Mom: “No, Honey. That’s when the bars let out and the most intoxicated people are on the road. I don’t want you on the road with that many impaired people. It’s not safe.”

What the teenager hears: “No, because I don’t want you to have any fun.”

As the parent, you communicated effectively. However, the teenager is unable to “hear” you. It takes experience, years and wisdom for comprehension to really set in. How many of us hit our 20s (or 30s!) and said, “Oh, now I get it, Mom!”

If you’re going to be the boss, it’s not your job to always be liked. It’s your job to make decisions that are in the best interest of the company/the team. It’s your job to make sure your team always feels like they owe you something, not the other way around. It’s your job to set an excellent company culture and pave the way for the future.

I wouldn’t trade our team for anything. Each one has so much to bring to the table, and even when I’m frustrated, I think about all the great things we’re going to do in this world.

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