We had the good fortune of connecting with JM Balbuena and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi JM, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks is scary, whether you go against the grain on a creative piece to be displayed in front of a crowd of strangers or taking the leap to quit the rat race in pursuit of your promising business ideas. Most people tend to avoid risks whenever possible, because inaction is frequently safer than taking action, but what most successful people have in common is that they got to where they are because they were willing to take risks no one else was “crazy” enough to take. I believe taking risks is super intimidating, especially for new entrepreneurs. But it’s more convoluted than just “doing something that might go wrong.” It is impossible to start your own venture without a high metabolism for risk. Matched with resilience, intelligence, and a dose of intentional luck, high risk tolerance has the potential to lead you to greatness. On the other hand, low risk tolerance can keep you stuck in patterns that will leave you unfulfilled as you watch others take the leaps and dives you dream of, while you remain in your comfort zone. When I took the leap of faith and ventured into entrepreneurship in the Californian cannabis space, oddly enough, everything seemed to begin to operate in synergy despite the industry’s volatility. It is still a new industry so there are and there will be a lot of growing pains for the foreseeable future, but the canna-preneurs that help to pave the way and to build the economies of scale within the infrastructure of the current commercial cannabis ecosystem will be the owners of the majority of the market share. The potential is colossal and oozes with the good kind of disruptive characteristics in this space; and in 2020’s election cannabis showed out as the real winner swiping with wins across the board in all the states that put it on the ballot. It’s a great time to witness the fact that our generation is zoned into the opportunity to not only build an industry from the ground up, but to do it in a way that hasn’t been done before: creating a win-win situation from seed to experience, in other words, a beneficial situation for the consumer, the business, and the community. <<<That right there is my “why” and the reason I went all in when I took to leap to live the lifestyle of a canna-preneur despite the high risk environment. As an entrepreneur who is vested in different industries, I have watched the paths of countless individuals (myself included) be shaped by their personal levels of risk tolerance, and I have seen how necessary a high tolerance for risk is to entrepreneurial success in cannabis. In my book, “The Successful Canna-preneur: The practical guide to succeed in the legal cannabis space”, I dedicate an entire chapter to discussing risk taking within today’s cannabis industry. Of course, risk tolerance is not a fixed quality: it can be developed and harnessed with intention. Hence, with the right mindset, risk taking can be a very useful tool in your entrepreneurial arsenal; especially if you’re building a career in cannabis. Given the industry’s dynamic business environment, Canna-preneurs need to consistently think differently, be smarter, hustle harder, and play their own game while carefully playing within the compliance lines. The future of the legal cannabis industry is going to be led by the canna-preneur with grit and hustle; the canna-preneur who doesn’t just understand the operational side but also have at least a basic understanding of community building, out-of-box marketing, distribution, product development, and cultural side as well. The successful canna-preneur is able to pivot and change with the ever-changing regulated cannabis marketplace, adjusting to and exploiting new technologies in product development, in alternate ways of online marketing, and in distribution methods from products and services alike. The successful canna-preneur must have at least a basic understanding of the entire cannabis pipeline (from seed to experience), even if she/he doesn’t perform each part of the process. The successful canna-preneur needs to create massive value [period!]. Having said that, risk is the name of the game in this space. Cannabis is a highly regulated industry and the regulatory process varies from city to city and state to state. The business environment is extremely dynamic, but achieving success is possible as many profitable cannabis businesses have proven. You can be successful in this industry if you have the right team, grit, passion, and perseverance. The only constant in this industry is change. You’ll face a lot of it along with uncertainty and anticipation as the industry continues to evolve. State and local laws change frequently, and keeping up with the changes is a job in itself. Trust me, I know. I chose the path of compliance and licensing because I wanted to help people. The cannabis operators I met when I first started wanted to take a crack at obtaining licenses in their municipalities but were not apt (nor interested) in the administrative work that it takes to complete the application process. I saw that as an opportunity not only to help out entrepreneurs in need but to learn the legal cannabis landscape in California. A word of caution: not all risks are equal. To reap the benefits of taking risks, my recommendation is to take risks with the following 3 stipulations: • Option Analysis. Every opportunity is not worth pursuing; Only the right opportunities should be engaged. Hence, fully explore all your options prior to taking the leap. • Risk Calculation. By assessing your options and potential outcomes you can maximize your chances of success. Being able to dial down the odds as specifically as possible, increases the odds for a positive outcome or the outcome you desire. • Gradually increase your risk taking. Start small by making changes in your routine (productivity). If you have a desire to become more successful, it means you’re at least partially unsatisfied with your current situation. Changing that situation inherently makes you more likely to escape it. And that’s in itself engaging in risk taking. About JM Balbuena Johann Balbuena, founder and CEO of Synergy (www.synergyuniverse.io), is a commercial cannabis licensing acquisition and compliance expert, Amazon bestselling author of The Successful Canna-preneur, US Navy veteran, cannabis advocate and entrepreneur.

What should our readers know about your business?
Synergy, a full-service cannabis consulting firm, specializing in commercial cannabis license and permit acquisition is taking the leap into Canna-Tech, Canna-Content Creation, Canna-Education and Canna entertainment. We partner with brands to engage the canna-curious, canna-experienced and canna-preneurs through on-demand content, media distribution, production integration, content marketing, and brand advertising. Our mission is to curate and create content that is a true reflection of the global cannabis space versus what we may sometimes see in mainstream media. We created Synergy to be a platform that empowers canna-experts to pour onto the canna-curious AND get paid for their work through a revenue share-program. We are excited to be a catalyst for change: a space where big ideas are shared and implemented; a place that is a mixture of entertainment and education. Synergy is a means to take control of the cannabis narrative and give the industry’s thought-leaders, journalists, advocates, filmmakers, activists, teachers, historians, designers, etc., a space to have a voice and make a positive impact.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Brunch: Atypical Waffle in North Park Urban Campting: KOA Camping Grounds In Chula Vista Mid-day desert: Extraordinary Deserts in Bankers Hill End of day Hang out: Sunset Cliffs Dinner: Barrio Star Mexican Food in Bankers Hill Random: Salt mountains in Chula Vista

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout out to Adesola Akindele for mentorship, partnership, and support. She’s a serial entrepreneur and mentor.

Website: www.synergyuniverse.io
Instagram: @_JMBalbuena
Linkedin: http://linkedin.com/in/johannbalbuena
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cannabissynergy
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jm.balbuena.102
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCze_x3CDc6MG51v1O3eBW4A
Other: Other Instagram communities @cannabis.synergy @boycottshittyweed

Image Credits
Photos: @hazeylioness

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