37 minutes | Oct 29, 2020

Episode 71: Mowing Yards; Growing Businesses — Bryan Clayton

This week on The EnTRUEpreneurship Podcast, Wes interviews Bryan Clayton, CEO and co-founder of GreenPal — an online marketplace that connects homeowners with local lawn care professionals. GreenPal has been referred to as “the Uber of lawn care” and has been featured in Inc., the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, and Time magazine. Clayton’s product is only seven years old yet boasts several hundred thousand platform users and is positioned to accrue $20M in revenue this year. For Bryan, the thrill was never about mowing a lawn; it was about growing a company. And ever since he made his first $20 landscaping payday, he realized that, when it came to entrepreneurship, the grass was actually greener than other alternatives. On the podcast, Bryan explains his hunger and passion for growing businesses — a hunger that led him to sink 15 years into a business, only to sell it and go back to square one less than a year later.   The EnTRUEpreneurship Takeaway: “I didn’t love cutting grass, but I loved owning my own business. And I loved watching my company grow." “Whether it’s starting a business or growing a business or selling a business, it takes time. A long time. And it takes persistence and continuous effort." “Setting small goals gives you a default bias towards action. You’re acting within your little sphere of influence. ‘Hey, I can hustle together 100 people. I can’t build a business on 100 people, but I can hustle them up. And I’m going to learn something, so that I can then get to 1,000.’" “When starting a company, you go from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm." “Owning a business — small, medium, or large — is a relentless feedback machine. It’s humbling when trying to start a company from scratch, but in a good way. It will make you a better person.” “For me, entrepreneurship and business ownership is the vehicle for social mobility in this country. It’s the American dream… It’s also the vehicle to improve yourself as a person." “We learned the hard way that, if you want to be in the tech business, you have to be able to build and distribute tech. You can’t outsource this stuff. You can’t even delegate it well unless you know how to do it." “Get started on something. Get moving. Hustle up people to use what you’re building. Then talk to as many of them as you can. That will save you years of doing the wrong stuff and will increase your chances of success."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:06: Bryan speaks on his earliest exposure to entrepreneurship and how he grew a high school side hustle into a $10M business. 7:03: Bryan discusses the reasons why he decided to take up entrepreneurship, rather than pursue the “safe route” of a corporate position. 11:09: Clayton explains how he successfully scaled his first company to the point of acquisition. 14:42: Bryan describes his motivations behind deciding to sell his first company and shares some advice for anyone looking for a successful exit. 17:01: Clayton discusses his decision to pivot from a landscaping business to a technology company and the struggles of that transition. 21:22: Clayton describes the emotions felt and lessons learned after he essentially burned $150,000 on the first iteration of his company’s landscaping app. 25:49: Bryan walks through the company’s earliest days once his team created a functioning app. 30:02: Clayton speaks on the nature of doubt in entrepreneurship and how pivoting from a failed idea isn’t a bad thing, when necessary. 31:51: Bryan relives the day he knew that GreenPal was going to work. 35:07: Bryan shares some valuable advice that he wishes he’d known in his earliest entrepreneurial days.   Bulleted List of Resources — Bryan Clayton -     LinkedIn -     Twitter -     Instagram   GreenPal -     Company Website -     Facebook -     Twitter -     Instagram
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