Each year feels like it’s going by quicker and quicker, especially as a cannabis entrepreneur. I honestly believe that we all are going through 10x more hoops, bumps and curves as we continue our path in this industry. As 2017 comes to a close, the New Year will present new challenges, opportunities, and potential for entrepreneurs. Many people are talking about resolutions, but only a small fraction will achieve them.

For me, 2018 is a huge year filled with enormous potential, and there is not much room for error, so I need to make sure I am at the top of my game and that I dot all my I’s and cross all my t’s. But to do that, I must prepare.

If you don’t already have a routine in place, I promise you my new year’s preparation lineup will end up being extremely valuable to you. I have tried to be thorough and include as many actionable tools necessary to help you with each task. If you already have a routine, check below to see if there’s anything else you can add to your lineup.

Are you ready for a ridiculously successful for this New Year?

First things first: Reflect.

Most people coast through life, others rush through life, and very few people will take the time to reflect on the day, week, month or even year. Take this very moment as an opportunity for you to consider and take note of the following:

Your 2017 Goals

What were you 2017 goals? Did you achieve some of them? How about all of them? Do you remember your goals? Okay, now before you start setting your intentions for your new 2018 goals, take some time to review the status of your goals for 2017.

Achievements

One of the first things you should do is reflect on your progress, you may not have had time to notice it, but you did achieve a lot this year. However many entrepreneurs are so hard to themselves that they ignore actual things that many others would see as achievements. So what were your significant results? Did you lock in that big client? How about finally built that prototype? Or maybe, you finally did that one thing that you always were scared to do? Make sure you take a moment and recognize your accomplishments and even if it’s for 5 minutes celebrate your achievements.

Lessons (Don’t ever call them mistakes)

So now that you have celebrated your achievements for this year, we also got to review those experiences that I am sure many of you thought were “mistakes.” The reality is, the majority of us have messed up a lot this year as well. Here is your moment to look back and acknowledge where you might have made the wrong decision. Maybe it was how you handled an issue with a customer, perhaps you said the wrong thing during an interview, or perhaps, it was saying yes to a partnership that in the end was not the best move for your company. Most importantly, you need to analyze what you learned through that experience, decision or moment. When you take a moment to learn from each experience especially the tough ones, you will be preparing yourself for the future.

Now that you’ve taken some time to reflect on your goals, achievements, and lessons for 2017, it’s now time to move on and dive into 2018 preparations.

Security Measures

Time to do some cleanup and upgrades. If you have an online business, you need to make sure you are always protecting your assets and the most significant asset for your online business is your passwords. If you aren’t protecting you and your company correctly, you can easily be compromised by a hacker, an unhappy employer or yes even a crazy ex. So, time to lessen our risk.

2-Factor Authentication

In 2017, a lot of businesses were hacked, (yes, we have heard about many companies including a few big names in the industry) which led to many vulnerabilities discovered. The reality is, your passwords aren’t secure, which is precisely why you MUST get into the habit of changing them.

However, before you go changing all of your passwords. You need to turn on the 2-factor authentication for your emails (if it’s available like GMAIL). If you’re like many people, you likely use an account like Gmail for personal and business and probably have other email addresses filtered through it. Which means that for any online service you use, your recovery emails, if you forget your password go to your Gmail account. So if someone gets access to your email, they can change every other password. They will also have easier access to finding out all of the services you have signed up for.

Passwords

Hopefully, you have now enabled the 2-factor authentication on your most critical online assets; it’s now time to change your passwords. Unfortunately, there are still many of you who don’t change your passwords often enough but at the very least, you need to change it at least once a year.

Remember, when choosing a new password, many services will require a combination of special character, letters, and numbers.

Alternatively, you could look at using a password management app for added convenience and security such as:

LastPass, Dashlane, KeePassX, Sticky Password

(Don’t forget other passwords, including your wi-fi, website, and service provider passwords as well.)

Time To Organize

You are now secure, which means it’s time to organize. There’s something about being meticulously organized, and it really does motivate you. These benefits can add a dramatic increase in productivity.

Review That Credit Score

Your credit score is essential. Although I hate how our credit can affect so much in life for us personally and professionally, we all have to realize how important your credit score really is. There are so many people out there who have no idea what’s on their credit report or any indication of their credit score. Just in case you haven’t really thought about it, it can affect your approval and rates for not only your car or house but for credit cards and loans- not just personal loans but your business loans, especially in our first few years of business.

To check your credit report for free, once a year you can have it mailed to you or for about $20, you can access it immediately online. You can visit here to learn more.

Time To Organize Those Files On Your Computer

How many of you have files everywhere, folders not labeled, multiple records for the same projects and a disaster for a desktop? It’s time to take a few hours and organizer all of your files. Go in and categorize them, combine them and even delete old files that are pointless. While you are going through those, also look at what programs you have installed and remove the ones that are no longer relevant It’s just taking space and adding more clutter.

Once you have organized all of your files, you will notice an increase in productivity and trust me will feel pretty accomplished in the end.

Don’t Forget To Backup Files

Once you have organized your files, we now have to go back them up. Dropbox is a good option for backing up your data in the cloud and syncing them across all of your devices. We save them to the cloud and two servers, as we want to make sure we have all of our essential documents collected in multiple locations.

Another popular cloud storage alternative is:

Google Drive

Start Taking And Organizing Your Notes

How many of you use Notes, or how about Evernote? If you are, it’s time to go through all of your notes for the year and organize them. I have almost everything and anything in my Notes app, like business ideas, facts or articles that at one time I wanted to read or to track it to keep it handy, reminders, or contacts.

Maybe you don’t use Notes or Evernote, but you write down your notes. Yes, people still write down notes on paper, I have found that for me the majority of the time writing down specific notes on paper over typing them in an app, allows for me to remember them better.

Now for those of you who don’t do either, you are missing an opportunity and letting a lot of your ideas slip away.

Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts Organize Your Email

Majority of us use Facebook/Instagram/Linkedin and possible Twitter regularly, both for personal use and for business. It’s time to clean house, start un-friending people you should have never friended in the first place, or the ones who always are so negative, hateful or just out there putting out bad vibes. Some platforms allow for you to put people on a restricted list so that you don’t have to un-friend them. Also, edit your news feed and hide the content of people that don’t add value to your life. Again, it’s all clutter.

Don’t Forget To Organize Your Email

While you are organizing everything else, you do not want to forget your email, yes probably the messiest of them all. With emails, the most prominent problem comes from not organizing them with proper labels and filters. On top of that, many times throughout the year, we all end up getting swamped with emails and can easily have hundreds of unread emails. The first thing you should look into is Unroll.me. Unroll.me will review your entire email and identify every newsletter you have subscribed to. It will then display them to you neatly with an easy 1-click unsubscribe button for each newsletter.

Next up, time to get your inbox organized. First, write down categories and groups that would allow for you to place specific emails and conversations in. Then review them and see which ones make the most sense. You want a decent amount of categories, but not too many,  as an overload of groups could confuse you. I.E., I have a folder for Affiliates Program, Customer Service, Partnerships, Potential Clients, DCN Team, Contributors, just to name a few.

Finally, time to tackle all those unread emails. Yes, you can do it. Dedicate some time to go through each one, reply or delete, if necessary flag but put at the top of the list to handle the first week of the new year.

Remove Unused Social Media Accounts

You have changed your passwords, cleaned your social media accounts, organized your email accounts, now time to remove all of those unused social media accounts and apps. Want to make this task easier? Use the web app JustDelete.Me to get direct links and instructions on how to delete your profile on pretty much every social network out there.

Let’s Review Those Expenses

The one thing I have realized is how many expenses I previously hand and how many expenses I remove from my life being on this journey of entrepreneurship. I have been able to downsize my costs x3 this past year. I also made sure to practice this with business costs and overhead. However, the two things I also realized is even though we are smart with our money, we may be overpaying for services, and even with good intentions, we may be paying for services that you and your team don’t necessarily utilize as often as you should. With the new year, use this to review your bills, start canceling services you no longer need or use and start reaching out to service providers to discuss costs, any new programs or deals.

The Plan

You have gotten this far on the preparation list, and hopefully, you are feeling right about the changes you have already or will be making over the next few days. Now let’s discuss planning.

Outline and Set Your Yearly Goals

First, be realistic, I know we all have big goals to achieve on this journey of entrepreneurship, but a year goes by so quickly so don’t create goals that aren’t achievable in that period. Instead, create goals that will get you one step closer to reaching that bigger goal. Second, choose a variety of goals for each of the major areas of your life: like personal, business, health, financial, and relationships for example.

Once you have outlined your goals, write them down somewhere, this year I am writing them down on a whiteboard I have at my home office, or you can write them on Notes/Evernote whatever would allow for you to be able to reference them quickly.

Plan Your Q1 Goals And Action Items

Now that you have outlined and set your goals for 2018, it’s time to start looking at your Q1 goals. It is best to do this with your founding team and business partners. This way you can look at each department, role, and needs of the business. Once you have outlined each goal, take the time to break each goal into a set of steps, these steps will keep you on track and allow for you to attain these goals easier.

Learn A New Skill

As an entrepreneur, it is essential to continue your learning new skills. These new capabilities don’t need to be only about business necessarily. However, if you are unsure of where to start, take a look at the skills required to continue to build your company.  For a while, you may not have the budget to fill in many vital roles for your business so you will need to take many of those tasks on. Now, remember, you don’t need to become an expert, but it is essential that you understand the basics and can handle that role until you can bring in the talent who can take it on themselves.

Give Something Back

This is something I feel strongly about, if every person and every company were to choose a problem in society to tackle, we could help make the world a much better place. And I for one think us, cannabis entrepreneurs can easily begin to make that a requirement in our industry.  Look at a variety of ways that you can give back and support and see how it helps build the values within your company and see how it grows you and your team members.

Act

We have prepared, reviewed, analyzed and cleaned up, now to continue this path for a prosperous 2018; we need to set in new productivity habits.

Persistent Starting

Pick something that you have wanted to do, but you kept putting it off. It can be anything even as simple as sending an email.

Now set a timer: Spend 5 minutes doing it and then once the timer ends move on with your day. Do this at least once a week or even once a month and increase the time depending on each task, until you have set yourself up with a consistent routine.

No More ZERO Days

I learned this a long time ago, but to be honest this year I missed the mark. How? I ended up working every single day and pushing myself beyond limitations at times and only focusing on business tasks and deliverables instead of making it a point to work on certain goals and dreams.

So, what exactly is a zero-day? A zero-day is when you don’t do one thing towards your dream or goal. The point is not to work your butt off every single day, but for you to make it a point to do something for you each day that gets you closer to your dream. For example, were you literally on your computer all day long and one goal was for you to read a page or chapter of a book each day, stop what you are doing and make an effort to read even if it is 11:58 pm. Do it. By doing something for you each day, you are reminding yourself that you are essential and will help you understand the true value of time management.

And, last but not least, join an organization or two, specifically for business and advocacy.  Take a moment to write a local city official, state representative and voice your opinion on cannabis legalization and to remind them we cannot forget about those who are still in person for the very same things that we are no able to build our businesses doing.

Conclusion

You have reviewed and hopefully begun tackling this 2018 New Year’s preparation lineup. You don’t need to tackle all of these and to be honest, should choose which ones you feel are most important to you and attainable.

Anything you would like to add to this list? Feel free to send us a message and share ways you prepare for a successful new year!

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