When we think of who we are to be in the upcoming New Year, we often think of the challenges and opportunities we have embarked upon.  Some see it as a glass half full in the liberation that a new year means new goals, and others may see it as a glass half empty and see it as a time for reflection and improvement. Often, when we are always introspective in how we are to improve ourselves, we can sometimes forget about self-care.

Self-care can come in many forms; and many can meditate, visit their therapists, take spa days, go on holiday, visit nature sites and even medicate themselves.  However, self-medicating oneself gets a pretty bad name as the opioid crisis hits high peaks and alcohol consumption rises as a trend in times of economic downturn.  In the recent PBS article of “Will Drug Companies Be Held Accountable for America’s Opioid Epidemic?,” draws a fixed attention to providers of popular prescription painkillers like OxyContin that had a hand in the deaths of 40,000 users in 2017.

When we think about the everyday user of cannabis though, we don’t often think of them as entering heights of medical harm.  We often see them as time consuming users that often have lagged movements, overly critical views on the world, and not easily motivated.  With any type of recreational release, moderation tends to always be key.

In this aspect, sourcing has become a huge contribution to the success of growing cannabis business.  Transparency in supply chain management has been more streamlined, and buyers are more becoming more tuned into the substantive active ingredients down to the milliliter.  Like the locally sourced farm to table restaurant model –- buyers prefer to know exactly where their product is coming from.

However, building a lifestyle out of cannabis or CBD may not work for all — but some have built brands, made their mark and have grown businesses out of it.  With the booming rise of legalization as well as decriminalization of the cannabis sector, it’s not uncommon that more and more cannabis businesses will be on the rise.  

Today, we talk with Anthony Walsh who is the Founder and President of EcoLife Supplements. 

What is your backstory?

I started my first company, Car Visions, at 18.  I did drop shipping of high performance parts out of my parent’s basement. I knew I would always be an entrepreneur. I started my next company DuraShield Contracting, a storm restoration company while going to college in 2003. We repair homes, businesses and multi-family properties after natural disasters like tornadoes, hail storms and hurricanes. We operate in WI, Illinois, MN and FloridaI am also a real estate investor with real estate holdings in WI, TN and Costa Rica.

If I didn’t see the value of it, I wouldn’t have done it.  That’s how I see a lot of the things I do –- and that is the perspective on the actions I take. I like to make money myself but I need to do stuff beyond that.  So I was in a pretty good place when I decided to enter the cannabis world as a business entrepreneur –- I had a business background, and I wanted to get personal achievements from it.

I first tried CBD two years ago.  I ordered a tincture online for me, and one for my father who was taking pain killers at the time. When we first got it – we had higher expectations as it didn’t really affect us.  So I started to research on the different types of CBD products and learned the differences and that the CBD world was highly unregulated. This is why there were so many subpar products being offered by companies.

 I then connected with a friend in Denver that was making his oil at home. He didn’t produce a product that fully meet Good Manufacturing Practices like we do now. Since I was just looking for the best quality and it was for my family and close friends – I didn’t’ worry about details like GMP Compliance, etc. Once it started to grow beyond close friends and family, I decided to reach out to an attorney and formed EcoLife Inc. and production standards, and 3rd party testing became a vital part of our business model

EcoLife is not just a product but a lifestyle and mindset — I wanted to create a health movement of like-minded people based around taking natural plant based supplements with cannabinoids.  All of our products are organically grown and of the highest quality.

Tell us something you discovered in your field that you feel we should all now about?

When I formed EcoLife and hired legal counsel – they advised me to not market as a CBD product specifically but as a ‘Full Spectrum Hemp Extract’ and health supplement.  This is due to pharma companies entering the CBD space with CBD Isolate drugs and applying for patents. However, a full spectrum product like EcoLife, would thrive under these market conditions.  Since the FDA will allow pharmaceutical companies to dominate the CBD isolate market –- companies like EcoLife will be gaining traction as they offer full spectrum option with ALL of the canabanoids not just CBD. A full spectrum hemp extract allows for what has been termed the “Entourage Effect.” The Entourage Effect is when all of the cannabinoids and terpenes of the plant work together synergistically allowing for the maximum benefit of the plant and extract.

You have been working in the industry for many years and you have been successful at consistently performing at the highest levels. What are some of your strategies that could be helpful to leaders and managers?

Always doing the right thing, even above profit.

Putting your customers first.

Leading by example.

What do you feel is a common mistake that leaders often make and how can they fix it?

Underestimating the time commitment in a start up along with all the curve-balls that will be thrown their way and not bringing in the correct team members to scale the company growth.

If they build the company the correct way from the beginning and bring in the right team members, they can leverage other peoples experience and take some of the load off of their shoulders and focus on building the company,  brand and culture.

What’s something great that leaders are doing right now, are doing in your field?

I fully believe that in the all aspects of working for a company — from starting up a business, running a successful business, delegating business tasks –- is that a successful leader would not ask something from someone who reports to him/her that that business leader wouldn’t do himself/herself.  I’ve prided myself in doing that, and I’ve kept and retained the best talent in doing so.

What are 3 pieces of advice you would give?

Making a Commitment to Your Health:  I have found that by having a healthier lifestyle, I have been better mentally focused on running and growing my businesses and I can demand more from myself mentally and physically.

Work on Self-Improvement:  I am constantly looking to improve myself by reading, attending business and industry related conferences and listening to mentors.

Have a Great Team Around You:  Having a solid team around you is vital to running any successful business. I recommend striving to always build the team aspect of the company culture.