I had the pleasure of interviewing Libby James, Director at Merchant Advice Service, a website that assists in helping business owners find suitable credit card processing for their needs. The company specializes in eCommerce stores as well as high-risk companies.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
Coming from financial background both David and I met while working in the mortgage and insurance industry. We saw an opportunity to help business owner’s process card payments easily, affordably while knowing the costs prior to application.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
We deal with all sorts of varying companies in the UK and Europe, some in adult industries, which is enough to make you blush!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our company is unique because we go above and beyond to introduce business owners to the correct bank or broker most suited to their needs. We focus on straight talking and honest advice, with transparency at the heart of everything we do — in an unregulated industry this can be quite rare!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Working with David has been a total pleasure. We have used the experience he has gained in previous businesses he has worked in, which I believe has given us a head start. We have learned from his previous mistakes and developed our own techniques. Each have our set roles within our business.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes! We are expanding the business finance side of our site. We understand that not everything is straight forward and therefore want to help business owners and entrepreneurs who struggle to obtain finance with the high street banks and building societies.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We’ve helped businesses to continue trading when they thought card processing or finance wasn’t an option for them, as a result our clients are living out their entrepreneurial dreams — we think that’s pretty great!
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
David and I bonded over Tim Ferris The Four Hour Work Week — although we are far away from achieving the ideal of working four hours a week, we use a lot of Tim’s practices in our day to day activity.
You likely have heard of the famous cliché that in a gold rush the one selling the shovels makes much more than the one who finds gold. This is the modern day “green rush”. Can you recommend to our readers 5 technologies or services that can potentially be lucrative “shovels” for the cannabis industry? Can you give an example for each?
We like to think we are the ones selling the shovels! Five is stretching it within card transactions. Coming from a payment side of things purely — having a payment gateway and merchant account that caters for high-risk facilities such as cannabis and CBD is imperative. Lots of website platforms will only work with certain account providers, so do your research prior to building a whole site that may not accept payments.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
1. Work with payment processors that you can trust. It’s a competitive industry therefore you need to work with the best.
2. Provide clients with all costing’s upfront — so many advisers fail to do this building a lack of transparency within the industry. Make sure you stand out from the rest.
3. Work within industries you are familiar with, high-risk applications can be complex, therefore working on applications which are completely new to you can not only take up your time but waste the clients too.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
We would never ask our brokers to do tasks that we wouldn’t be prepared to do ourselves. We roll our sleeves up and get stuck in, meaning that we earn their respect. We reward great months and we communicate to illuminate any potential problems along the way…in our minds this is pretty simple, but sadly it’s where a lot of CEO’s go wrong.
Jilea Hemmings is the CEO & Co-Founder of Leaf Tyme. She is running a series on the latest innovations impacting the cannabis industry.