Be open minded to new ideas, but still follow your business instincts.
Anthony Wile is the CEO, Director and co-founder of PharmaCielo Ltd., a company based in Canada with an operational base in Rionegro, Colombia looking to become a leading supplier of naturally grown and processed, standardized medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products.
Anthony is also an author, publisher, entrepreneur and business strategist and has written for publications that include The Globe and Mail and The Huffington Post.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The idea for PharmaCielo came to me when I was working as a private equity investor. I was supporting the launch and growth of enterprises in a number of global markets around the world, including Colombia. During my time in Colombia, I saw the natural advantage that Colombia provided to the global markets’ increasing interest in medicinal cannabis. This was based on a combination of the expertise and infrastructure associated with the cut flower industry (the world’s second largest); natural climate of equal parts sunshine and darkness, plus ready access to rainfall as a reservoir for cultivation, and a temperate climate (all necessary for the commercial cultivation of cannabis) without any of the capital costs associated with a northern climate. Obviously, a government that recognized the opportunity to turn what had previously been a social challenge into an economic opportunity for the country as a whole was essential.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day changes. I split my time between Canada and Colombia, but waking up early and taking time for myself first thing in the morning before turning on any electronics, whether that be working out or drinking a cup of coffee, really helps to center my thoughts and set the tone for a productive day. Once the electronics are on however, I am fully immersed in the global marketplace and the business of building PharmaCielo.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Surrounding myself with talented people who inspire me and share a common vision helps me turn ideas into action. I like to visualize the end result and see what steps I can take to get there.
What’s one trend that excites you?
That has to be the development and growing legalization of the medicinal cannabis industry. With respect to the medicinal cannabis industry in Colombia, the idea of a country potentially benefiting from a crop that has historically been the cause of such violence and damage is an important step forward. I’m also proud that PharmaCielo was issued the first license from the Colombian government to grow legal medicinal cannabis.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Being open minded to new ideas, but still following my business instincts.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Do not be afraid to take chances. See the world, learn from it, and take risks. Even if you fail, you will learn from the experience.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There is always room for improvement. Nothing is final.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Find your own inefficiencies and learn to manage them, whether that is a task that always takes you too much time or something you procrastinate on. Learn to do it better.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Hire people who are passionate about what you are doing. Select employees for their interest in your company, not their experience. Skills can be taught but loyalty, motivation, and drive are intrinsic character traits that cannot be learned.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Working too hard at the beginning of my career and not taking enough time for myself. I overcame this by figuring out a better work/life balance. I work hard but I also take time to travel, see my friends and family, and ensure I have enough mental capacity to stay creative and motivated.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A visit to Tayrona National Park in Colombia where the Sierra Nevada mountains meet the Caribbean coast. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world and was a great reminder of why we need to work hard to protect our environment and practice sustainable business. Also a few days without internet is always great for a reset.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Google. Gmail, docs, hangouts, news, calender… all of it. It’s the best way to stay connected and organized.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson. It’s a fascinating story of how he achieved success in so many different business ventures yet still manages to be a very entertaining read.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you don’t have big dreams and goals, you’ll end up working for someone that does.” I don’t know who originally said this but I think it sums up the entrepreneurial drive well.
- Work hard for what you want but don’t forget to take time for yourself
- Surround yourself with like-minded, hard working people. Your energy will rub off on each other.
- Take risks, even if they don’t pay off you will learn something.
- Never be afraid of a new opportunity
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.