Mastering Obstacles and Conquering Challenges in Entrepreneurship with Bryan Clayton
Entrepreneurship is much like a video game. You constantly need to level up for the next obstacle and the next big challenge. Our guest today has a lot of wisdom to share about mastering the game of entrepreneurship.
Meet Bryan Clayton. Bryan is the Co-Founder and CEO of GreenPal. GreenPal is an online marketplace connecting homeowners to local lawn care professionals, and it’s often referred to as “Uber for lawn care.” As one of the co-founders, Bryan has come a long way since starting GreePal and then building it into a multi-million dollar platform. His entrepreneurial journey is nothing short of extraordinary. Even though he had no prior experience in software development, only a background in the landscaping industry, he still managed to build GreePal from the ground up. After spending countless hours educating himself and being courageous enough to chase his dreams, Bryan and his team were able to build the first version of GreenPal.
Bryan is now committed to sharing his knowledge and experience of starting a business from scratch. He believes determination, motivation, and hard work can get you anywhere in life, let alone in business.
In this episode of the Think Business with Tyler podcast, we talk about the importance of personal development for business growth, why sometimes it’s not about the price but the service, how to play the game of entrepreneurship, and the importance of overcoming your insecurities.
If you want to learn more about what it takes to build a successful business, make sure you tune in to this episode to hear what Bryan has to say.
💡 Name: Bryan Clayton
💡 What he does: He’s the CEO and Co-Founder at GreenPal.
💡 Noteworthy: Bryan’s background was in the landscaping industry, and he had no prior experience in software development. Thanks to his ability to teach himself how to build software, he was able to build GreenPal into the multi-million dollar company that it is today.
💡 Key Quote: “The reality is that in every business, I believe if you’re doing it right, you as the founder, you as the team should be evolving into a whole new person every two or three years.”
💡 Where to find Bryan: LinkedIn
Personal growth leads to business growth. Your business will only grow as much as you grow as the business owner. So, if you want to take your company to the next level, you need to work on yourself and focus on your personal development. Bryan talks about his growth journey. He explains, “If we were going to be in tech, if we wanted to be in the technology business, we had to learn how to build tech, and so we had to go back to the drawing board and just start learning how to write software, learning how to code, learning how to design software and work on ourselves along with the business.”
Sometimes it’s not about the price, it’s about the service. Despite what many people think, sometimes you’re not competing on price. While setting the right price for your product or service is certainly critical, it’s not the most critical thing. Your service is much more important. Bryan explains, “What we began to understand was actually through trial and error and figuring out where our marketing was resonating, that it wasn’t about price. It was just about getting a reliable service to show up on the damn day they were supposed to and do a good job. That was the main problem we were solving.”
Entrepreneurship is about constantly leveling up. Running a business is similar to playing a game. You constantly need to level up and overcome challenges. As you go from level to level, you unlock new skills and achieve new goals. Bryan explains, “There is a new final boss in every level, a new dragon that you have to slay, and it’s a whole new process every single time, and you’ve got to be willing to do the things to get through that level. And I think what hangs up a lot of new founders is they’re worried about Bowser when they’re on level one, or they’re worried about Mike Tyson when they’re like fighting Glass Joe. And the reality is you’ve got to worry about Glass Joe. You can’t worry about all these other things that don’t matter.”
Yes, you can do it! If there’s one thing you should take away from this episode is that you shouldn’t let your insecurities stop you from following your dreams. Instead, believe you can and you will. Bryan says, “I hope what people get out of an interview with me is if that guy can do it, I can do it. And so I was a blue-collar landscaper for 15 years, and I decided, Uh, that I just wanted to start a tech company and, and that naivete is what got me in the game. […] Do not believe your own BS. Get in the game. ‘Cause only when you’re in the game can you play and win. And I guess that’s the one thing I’ve learned in the last decade is getting this company going.”
“When you’re starting a tech business, I didn’t know this at the time, but ideally, you get what Paul Graham calls a hacker and a hustler. You get somebody that knows the business side, who’s just a naturally driven person who wants to drive it forward, like a hustler-type mindset. And then you get a hacker, somebody who knows the tech side, who maybe they’ve been tinkering with tech their whole life ever since they were a kid. And so you bring these two talents together, and then magic happens.”
“What we began to understand was we had to have a contractor kind of first mentality. If they’re not winning, if they’re not making more money, if they don’t love it, then we don’t have a product. And so really getting into the daily, day-to-day life of why their life is hard. […] So making their life better and attracting them onto the platform and getting that lock-in is what gave us the better experience for consumers to then order them off the shelf like a product off of Amazon.”
“We teach the vendors how to run a small business. And nobody teaches us that ever in college and high school, so the only way to learn how to run a business is just by bumping into experiences in the real world running a business.”
“Anybody running a marketplace has to make it ten times easier, ten times more efficient, and has to add more value than they take out.”
“These days, Uber, it’s not much cheaper than a taxi cab. And many times, taxi cab is cheaper, you know, but Uber is more convenient. Same with Airbnb. Airbnb is not cheaper than a hotel in most cases, but it’s just a different experience. It’s nicer. And so, a lot of times, it’s not on price, and that’s what we had to learn the hard way.”
“We have to have a strong, compelling value proposition. Otherwise, why is anybody going to use it? And not only that, but you have to communicate that value proposition in three seconds on both sides. And there’s so many products, there’s so many different things, and so you have to rise above that noise. And so I believe somebody should be able to come to your app, come to your website, and in three seconds answer three questions: Where am I? What can I do here? And why does it matter?”
“It’d be nice if you had the vehicle to carry you through every level of the game. But the reality is that in every business, I believe if you’re doing it right, you as the founder, you as the team should be evolving into a whole new person every two or three years.”
“In the early days, it’s very much one continuous experiment, and you have to adapt and level up as you grow through the game and understand the information is what you’re getting to help you get through the next level.”
“A lot of times, this is your one thing. For investors, they have a hundred of these things or a few dozen of these things that they’re placing their bets on. And if you don’t have it figured out, if you haven’t been around the block a few times, it can very much be like trying to put rocket boosters onto the sides of a barn or rocket fuel in a Toyota Camry and it not working out. And well, it didn’t work out for you, but they’ve got 20 other bets, so you have to be cognizant of that. If that’s the route you want to go down, then just be aware of what the dynamics are.”
“We still invest time and effort in being where people are looking for us, just as like a check almost. People will check our social media profile, they’ll check our online reputation when they’re considering using Green Pal. […] We think it’s good hygiene. We invest quite a bit of time and effort into being in all of these channels.”