Entrepreneur of the Week

Founder of Namaste Technologies Sean Dollinger shows the power of hard work and belief

Sean Dollinger has an entrepreneurial footprint that has seen him running or building businesses around the globe since 1998. He has found innovative solutions to problems and built a multibillion-dollar industry.

Written by Sammy Abdo

Today, Dollinger is at the helm of one of the World’s biggest and most comprehensive cannabis-focused e-commerce platforms, Namaste Technologies.

With: 32 sites in 20 countries; over 600,000 monthly visits to their e-commerce sites and a database of 1.5 million users—Namaste Technologies is the latest success story for Dollinger. The company reached a $1 Billion market-cap since the company went Public in 2014.

As a teenager, Dollinger was inspired by his entrepreneurial grandfather and wanted to live a similar lifestyle, starting his own business at 18. Growing up in a humble environment, Dollinger found solace in baseball. Sports gave him the opportunity to showcase his ability and escape poverty. He was offered a scholarship to play baseball in the United States. However, he had to move back to Canada after a rental cheque his mother wrote for his college apartment bounced and he was forced to live in his car for two weeks. Since then, he has run several e-commerce businesses and helped others who want similar success.

Finding a niche market and excelling in it is what drove Dollinger to the cannabis industry. When his  father, a yoga instructor in Laguna Beach, California, asked him to check out ‘these really cool vaporisers’ he decided to apply his e-commerce skills to this area and try his hand at selling the vaporisers online.

Here’s seven fast-fire questions with Sean:

Who are some of the role models you looked up to?

I looked up to people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs; people who were able to create a following around their own brand. People [who] essentially become obsessed with a brand and feel like they are a part of it.

What long term goals do you have?

In this industry, you don’t know what’s coming in three months from now, let alone a year or two years from now. Our main focus at the moment is to become a platform marketplace for everything cannabis.

How do you find work-life balance?

I try to be extremely disciplined in everything that we do. I try to make sure [employees] allocate time effectively and properly. If you don’t take care of yourself, everything else goes down with it. We try to live a healthy lifestyle.

What does your daily routine look like?

The alarm typically goes off at about 6:00 am. I’m on the bike at 6:15 am for 45 minutes and then have a healthy breakfast and go through the day. Sometimes I finish at 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm at night, and if I’m on the road I’ll try to go for walks that are popular in the area.  If it’s cold or there’s bad weather, I’ll hop on the treadmill. Every single day, I make sure to get in that workout. It’s important to clear the mind and keep healthy to execute on everything you set out to do.

Sean Dollinger

What did baseball teach you about the world of entrepreneurship?

It’s all about teams and being a team player. In baseball, if you don’t show up or you’re not on time,  you’re letting your team down. If you’re not being a leader on the field or playing the role your team is expecting of you, then it collapses.  Same thing when running a business; you have to be there and whatever your role in the business, you have to execute.

What do you look for when building a team?

We try to give people independence. We allow them to explore, and be independent. We look for people who are disciplined with their time and don’t take sick days. People who show up when they’re supposed to, and love what they do. I always tell the team that if this is something you don’t enjoy doing then you may as well stop doing it.

If you could give advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs, what would you say?

Don’t give up because it gets a little tough. At the start you’ll feel that the momentum will be on your side because it’s a new concept and you have plenty of energy. Then, as soon as you hit your first roadblock, you tend to start second-guessing yourself or not seeing the acceleration that you once did. Remember when you first started your business, you started it for a reason; believe in that reason.