Michael Candelario, hailing from Homestead, Florida, spent much of his youth living up and down the east coast with his family. A military brat and the oldest of five brothers, Michael displayed early on a natural ability to lead and teach. Michael has never settled for just “good enough” and always strives to inspire those around him to reach their fullest potential and achieve great things.
Always seeking to learn as much as possible and expand his horizons, Michael Candelario attended Virginia Military Institute and The University of Wisconsin-Madison for Real Estate Development, Finance, and Entrepreneurship. After graduating, Michael joined up with the U.S Marines and served his country for five years. Michael graduated Parris Island Boot Camp as the Honor Graduate and the first in his class of over 380 Marines.
After a challenging but rewarding five years spent with the marine corps, Michael embarked upon his entrepreneurial journey. Over the last two decades, Michael Candelario has worked in the alcohol industry, the healthcare industry, and the cannabis industry, always maintaining an interest in and aptitude for real estate on the side. Michael has now found a home in the cannabis industry as the CEO and Founder of Original Goods, a nationwide cannabis company with assets spanning eight states.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
It came about when I was in business working as the Director of Operations for a healthcare organization. I worked with insurance claims for medications and saw how dangerous some of these medications are, and how addictive some of them can be. At this point, I was well-researched in the cannabis industry and knew that it would be growing in popularity and profitability. I saw the effects it had and the capacity it had to change lives for the better. I built my business around this idea and wanted to create something where patients felt safe and were not judged for using cannabis. Through my business I also wanted to spread awareness to the general public that cannabis is more than just a plant. There’s often a negative connotation given to words like “cannabis” and “marijuana,” and through my business I hope to change this and spread awareness.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The day usually starts at about 4:30 am with quiet time and a collection of thoughts. Tasks that need to be executed that day will naturally fall into line from top priority to items that need to wait until later for best results. The best time to re-evaluate yesterday’s outcome and make it better is with a fresh outlook first thing in the morning. Although yesterday was great there has to be a way to make today even better. For a day to be productive, tasks have to be completed one at a time. Nothing will be accomplished with a single person trying to do multiple tasks at once. Using a good team of driven individuals is the best way to be productive. Not only will this help with set tasks, but the ability to delegate properly allows team members who think quickly on their feet to come up with creative solutions when plans take a turn. Open minds and a joy for improvement is the foundation for productivity.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The best way to bring an idea to life is to try it out. Ideas will stay as ideas if no action is taken to try them on for size. The best thing about ideas is that they don’t always work but you will learn from them either way. If one idea doesn’t work out as planed it will most likely push your thought process to an even better idea that would have not come into play without the first idea not panning out. Don’t be afraid to fail with an idea because, as long as you don’t give up, failure can be the best thing that has happened to you.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One thing that excites me is working as a team to accomplish something difficult and great. The accomplishment is always rewarding but it’s the climb to accomplishment with creative thinking and dedication that excites me. If a task or goal seems difficult then the climb to accomplishing that goal will be exciting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
A habit of mine that I feel makes me more productive as an entrepreneur is my habit for learning something new every day. The new thing may be up and downward trends in the stock market, economic concerns, why my colleague chose one path instead of another, why medical marijuana in different forms helps certain aliments, or simply why my son views a subject in a different light than I do. I want to learn, and I feel the information sought and gained on an everyday basis will come up again for my benefit in one way or another during my career. Thus far, this has been the case.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to be more patient with myself and others. With patience comes knowledge, better outcomes and the opportunity to live in the moment. When we’re young sometimes we get so caught up in planning for our big future that we don’t enjoy the ride that gets us there.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Something that is true that almost no one agrees with me on is my mindset in putting my all into an idea that may never pan out. I’ve had friends and family tell me throughout my life “how can you live your life on ‘ifs’?” I know that the willingness to go out on a limb for a big “IF” can pay off much better than a guaranteed yes. Not only do I know an “if” can financially reward you more than a guarantee of security, it can also fulfill your mental and spiritual state. I’ve experienced this and I believe it to be true because many of my past “ifs” have become reality.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing I do over and over is rationalize through my emotions. To be a successful entrepreneur one must not make business decisions based on emotion. As hard as it may be in the moment of raw emotion (due to something not going as planned or not seeing eye to eye with a colleague) it will never do you or your business any good to react off of impulse. I always step back and give myself time to think (at least 5 to 6 hours). Nine times out of ten, my thoughts and outlook will calm and change when the emotion has faded.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped me grow my business is putting together the right team. It’s best as a leader to hire slow and fire quick. When I’m looking for the right fit for a position I will interview at least 15 to 20 candidates. The interview process is not quick but a drawn out series of meetings and days of observation with a 30-day action trial period. You cannot truly know what a person’s work ethic is with one or two interviews. You must see them in action and over a series of days to get the real person. Even if you have decided to hire the individual after the 30 day trial don’t be afraid to let them go if something is done to contradict the reason for their hire in the first place. The success of a company is only as strong as the work ethic of the least paid employee.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I’ve had as an entrepreneur was doubting my initial instinct on the character and loyalty of new potential business partners. I had the gut feeling that these individuals didn’t really want to do legitimate business with a future of growth and success, but instead of trusting that feeling and moving on, I listened to advice that led me to waste valuable time with a partnership that led nowhere. This failure taught me to trust myself and, in turn, made me stronger and wiser. In the end, I am grateful for the experience because I learned from it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A business idea that I’ve had and brought to life as a college student was becoming a landlord. I bought my first multifamily building with a carryback loan right out of high school. I used the tenant’s monthly payments to pay my mortgage and renovate the building slowly (unit by unit). Within a couple of years, the building’s value had gone up substantially due to the market taking an upturn and the renovations I had done. I was able to sell and make a profit. Real estate is always a safe and profitable business idea when done carefully and strategically.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent went towards changing my family’s Christmas expectations and overall outlook on life. Every year, until now, my kids have always had multiple presents under the tree and although they enjoyed watching them build up during the month of December, I found that they only cherished one or two throughout the next year. They were becoming too caught up in who had more and were bragging to their friends about how many they received rather than actually valuing the gift itself and the thought put into the gift. This year I told my two teenagers that they would only be allowed one gift this year and to make a list of three things they really wanted. They weren’t too excited about the change, of course, but did as they were asked and made their list. Throughout most of December I would truly listen to what they talked about to each other and their friends and I was able to pinpoint which out of the list of three items they really valued. I purchased both gifts for a little over $100 and they were happy and have taken very good care of their special gifts. Christmas became more of a time to smile, eat, and be grateful than it was previous years. Sometimes less is more and whether they will admit it now or not they see it and it shows.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
One piece of web service I catch myself using on a daily basis is your standard Google search on topics or terminology. If I don’t understand a term or topic with full confidence, I will Google it and educate myself with trusted websites in that search.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One book I would recommend that they read, religious or not, is the Holy Bible. It is a book of history if nothing else. You cannot read it once, twice, or even three times and truly grasp its messages. It has to be studied and meditated on. I, as a believer, have learned a lot about myself and the world around me due to its teachings. It is challenging and soothing all at the same time. It puts everything into perspective when days seem all over the place and unorganized.
What is your favorite quote?
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
· If you have an idea that excites you try it out.
· Trust your gut.
· Don’t be afraid to live off “ifs”.
· Take your time in bringing in key players. The right one is out there but may not always be the easiest to find.
· Always give yourself time to evaluate your emotions before acting on them