I AM CEO PODCAST

IAM1002- CEO Connects Homeowners With Local Lawn Care Professionals

Podcast Interview with Bryan Clayton

Bryan Clayton is CEO and cofounder of GreenPal an online marketplace that connects homeowners with Local lawn care professionals. GreenPal has been called the “Uber for lawn care” by Entrepreneur magazine and has over 100,000 active users completing thousands of transactions per day.

Before starting GreenPal Bryan Clayton founded Peachtree Inc. one of the largest landscaping companies in the state of Tennessee growing it to over $10 million a year in annual revenue before it was acquired by Lusa Holdings in 2013.

Bryan‘s interest and expertise are related to entrepreneurialism, small business growth, marketing, and bootstrapping businesses from zero revenue to profitability and exit.

  • CEO Hack: Only focusing on the thing that CEOs should focus on
  • CEO Nugget: Hire someone who is a rockstar for five hours a week versus someone who is not so good at 40 hours a week
  • CEO Defined: Sowing seeds that provide opportunities for those around you

Website: https://www.yourgreenpal.com/

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/bryan-clayton-5178541b8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bryanmclayton
Instagram: https://instagram.com/bryanmclayton


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Transcription

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00:15 – Intro

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the IMCEO podcast.

00:42 – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today Bryan Clayton of Green Pal. Bryan, it's awesome to have you on the show.

00:51 – Bryan Clayton

Gresham, thanks for having me on. Great to be here.

00:53 – Gresham Harkless

I'm definitely super excited to have you on as a long contributor to our site, as we were talking about before. And what I wanted to do is just read a little bit more about Bryan so you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Bryan is CEO and co-founder of GreenPow, an online marketplace that connects homeowners with local lawn care professionals. GreenPow has been called the Uber for lawn care by Entrepreneur Magazine.

It has over 100, 000 active users completing thousands of transactions per day. Before starting Green Power, Bryan co-founded Peachtree Incorporated, one of the largest landscaping companies in the state of Tennessee, growing into over $10 million a year of annual revenue before it was acquired by Lusa Holdings in 2013. Bryan's interest and expertise are related to entrepreneurialism, small business growth, marketing, and bootstrapping businesses from 0 revenue to profitability and exit. Bryan, Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

01:47 – Bryan Clayton

Let's do it.

01:48 – Gresham Harkless

Awesome, let's do it then. So to kind of kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit here, a little bit more on how you guys started what I call your CO story.

01:56 – Bryan Clayton

Yeah, so I was drug into entrepreneurship, kicking and screaming by my father on a hot summer day said Get off your butt you've got a job to do you're gonna go mow the neighbor's yard. He made me go mow the neighbor's yard. I got paid 20 bucks something about that just stuck with me because ever since then I've just been in business for myself And I remember the first thing I did after I got done mowing the neighbor's grass, I went to my computer, made up a bunch of flyers, passing them around the neighborhood. And I had like 10 customers by the end of that first summer. And I actually just stuck with that lawn mowing business. I cut grass all through high school and all through college.

And when I graduated college, I made a decision, okay, I'm gonna see how far I can take this thing. I didn't really wanna be a long guy my entire life, but I just said, hey, I'm gonna see if I can turn this into a real business and made a little business plan. Over a 15-year period of time, a lot of work and a lot of luck grew into one of the largest landscaping companies in the state of Tennessee where I live. I got over 10 million dollars a year in annual revenue, and over 150 employees, and eventually was able to navigate that company all the way through to exit. In 2013 it was acquired by one of the largest landscaping companies in the United States. And so that's, you know, growing that business, just me and a push mower to me and 100 trucks going out every day.

I learned a lot the hard way about how to get a business going. But when I sold it, I retired, I took some time off and I got bored. I realized, wow, I'm missing something. There's something missing in my life. I need purpose. I need passion. And what I realized about myself is my business is the source of that purpose. It is the source of that passion. And I thought, okay, time to start the next thing. So I recruited 2 co-founders and we went to work on an app called Green Pal which is the Uber for lawn mowing. I've been at this 1 for 8 years and we've got over 300, 000 people using the app to get their lawn mowed doing 20 million dollars a year in sales and so we're at 8-year overnight success.

03:49 – Gresham Harkless:

Nice, I absolutely love that and I love you taking a little sabbatical I guess you could say going to retirement and coming back like an MJ with another plan way that you can kind of attack the lawn care industry. So I know you touched a little bit upon, you know, Green Pal and how it works. Can you take us through a little bit more about that and what exactly it does to service clients?

04:09 – Bryan Clayton:

Yeah, so ordinarily to get this service done, you call around on Craigslist, Yelp, Facebook, you might ask friends for recommendations, you're gonna see a dial for dollars, you're going to leave voicemails and hopefully get a quote, and then hire somebody and hopefully they show up. It's kind of a pain in the butt and I saw what you know in 2013 I saw what Uber and Airbnb and Lyft were doing for these real-world transactions making them easier seamless and magical. I thought an app needed to exist for the industry that I know. And so that was kind of the vision. You should be able to put your address in, and somebody should show up and mow it. And that's still what we're working on to this day.

As a homeowner, you just put your address in, you'll get quotes back, you can read reviews about who you want to work for, and work with, and then it's higher than right through the app. They come out and mow it, you'll see a picture of the completed yard, you pay them, and then if everything goes well, you just set them up for the whole season to come to mow your yard for you. And it just happens in the background like magic. Where we really have an impact and really why we do what we do is on the service provider side. We really try to just build a business in a box for them.

All they have to do is just plug into our platform and everything from getting new customers to route management, getting paid on time, and marketing automation, all these things just happen for them. And that's really where we have an impact. We offer a nice convenience for homeowners, just push a button, and get the service done. But for service providers, we really try to help change their lives, improve their business, and help them make material income.

05:36 – Gresham Harkless:

Nice. I definitely appreciate that. And it sounds like he came a little bit, a few ways from being able to kind of put up those flyers as you did when you were just getting started to now having a full business in the box for those people that are starting their business.

05:48 – Bryan Clayton:

Yeah, but to your point, when we started Green Power, it was kind of like starting all over again. That was actually when we launched the first version of the apps. So believe it or not, we passed out like 200, 000 door hangers all over Nashville, Tennessee, just to get the word out about it. We were able to get just enough users to be able to meet with people and get feedback about what we were building and some assumptions that we had that weren't correct.

And just really trying to do what they call customer discovery, really trying to figure out what problems we're solving and for who and how we need to market this thing. And so getting over that cold start, we just got over just with sheer hustle, just trying to manufacture that momentum. And so I think, I think a lot of people in the tech startup game kind of want to fast forward to to the scaling part and really you kind of have to hand crank it for a while to figure out what the heck it is you're doing.

06:41 – Gresham Harkless:

Yeah, I appreciate you for sharing that and you're talking more in-depth about that because I think I love the phrase that you said, the 8-year overnight success, because I think I read something that they said the secret to the overnight success is it takes 10 years, 20 years, however long. And you don't see kind of like the process there, but you're absolutely right where I think so many times we have an idea and we wanna impact as many people as possible, but you don't go through the, I don't know if we call it transitionary moment or the grind, so to speak, but really understanding what you are trying to do for your clients and customers, understanding how to do it, and then scaling it after you have that data and information. So I appreciate you for talking about that.

07:17 – Bryan Clayton:

Yeah, the problem is that we read the tech press, we read Bloomberg or TechCrunch, and you'll see a tech startup founder 345 years just crushing it, 9 figures, whatever. And you're like, man, I want that. And I should be able to. What you don't realize is they already tried and failed on 2 or 3 other things the decade before that. So you're not looking at 3 years. You're really looking at like 15 or 20.

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And they baked all of the knowledge and experience into this thing that did work. And so I don't think there's any way to shortcut the come-up. I don't think there's any way to shortcut the grind, the slog. Even when you see these 25, 26-year-old entrepreneurs that are just blown, that just hit a grand slam. A lot of times they were hacking on stuff like in middle school. And they were really learning how to make products at a very young age. There are very few examples of true overnight successes.

08:18 -Gresham Harkless:

Yeah, I would definitely, you know, agree with that and that's why 1 of my favorite books is Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers because I think he even talks about Bill Gates sneaking outside of his parent's house to go to the, I think, the University of Washington down the street in order to do things and hack on the computer while he had certain time and then coming back to wake up, you know, to go to school. But you don't hear all those stories about the truce process that it takes to become successful.

08:42 – Bryan Clayton:

That's right. And the only thing you can take from this is just get started, get in the game today to start chewing your way through that because there's no shortcut. You're going to waste the first 2 or 3 years just trying to figure out what it is you're doing. And it's going to take another 2 or 3 or 4 years to get something going and then maybe another 4 years to make that something big. It just takes a while.

09:03 – Gresham Harkless:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's why it's so important to be able to have that passion and that expertise that you can continue to kind of grow because the grind you want to try to love and be passionate about and feel like you're definitely fulfilling a mission and a vision. And so I want to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for yourself personally or your business or a combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

09:27 – Bryan Clayton:

For me, I'm always working on my best idea. And that's just like the default. And so for me, you know, starting Green Pal was really tough for my co-founders and me. The first 345 years were hard and the way we kind of got through that is we just didn't give up. And so for me, like, I would wake up every day like well this is my best idea so I'm just gonna keep working on it and like not working on my best idea is not an option so that's it the only way we can move is forward and so we're just going to keep going and I think like just that relentless this tenacity to keep moving forward no matter what is what tips the odds of success into your favor.

It doesn't make me special, it's just something that I have noticed about myself for the last 20 years is just that bias towards action and that ungainliness to go backward or give up or quit is what's gotten me you know, over the hump building the first business getting it to 8 figures and now the second business 8 figures.

10:28 – Gresham Harkless:

Absolutely, absolutely. And so I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

10:40 – Bryan Clayton:

Only focusing on the things that the CEO should focus on. So I don't need to be doing like at this stage of the game. We have 24 people that work for the business. I have product designers, I have content creators, I have engineers. I need to be focusing on only the things the CEO can focus on. That's setting the culture, setting the vision, setting the strategy, hiring the best people, recruiting the best people. These are the things that only the CEO can do. And so those are the things that I should be focusing on, not only executing on, but getting better at, and reading books, watching podcasts, seeking out people that can help me grow at those 4 or 5 things, and not writing code, not writing blog posts anymore.

Although I mean, if you enjoy that, do that in your spare time, but not designing, not doing the things that you can delegate to people that are better at it than you are, I think is something that I have to constantly remind myself of that I need to be thinking high leverage. What are the things that are important, but aren't necessarily urgent and staying in that quadrant and staying high leverage with my time because that's at this stage of the game doing $20 million in year revenue, that's how we're going to get to 40. We're not going to get to 40 with me writing lines of code.

11:55 – Gresham Harkless:

I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget and this might be a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or somebody you might mentor, or if you happen to be a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

12:07 – Bryan Clayton:

CEO nugget is, that it's better to hire somebody who's a rock star at whatever it is that you want them to do for 5 hours a week versus somebody who stinks or is not so good for 40 hours a week. So if you are building a team, you're maybe you're 5 people and now you're going to your sixth person, you need a full-time marketer or you need a full-time HR person or you need a full-time chief of legal or you need a full-time CFO.

It is so much better to go and fractionally hire somebody who's just a rock star at it, and for whatever they make, a hundred, 200, $300 an hour for 5 hours a week, or whatever you can afford, and let that inform everything else that you're doing versus somebody who's an intern or just got out of school or who has 20 years of experience repeating the same year 20 times for 40 hours a week. You're better off hiring the best for whatever you can afford them for and then growing into more time with them or growing into somebody full-time in that role.

13:12 – Gresham Harkless:

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Bryan, I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping that different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Bryan, what does being a CEO mean to you?

13:24 – Bryan Clayton:

I think being a CEO means sowing seeds that provide opportunities for others around you, I think a level is a way to measure the success of a CEO like if you are providing opportunities for people who work within your organization or who use your products. That's how I measure success as a CEO and so I wouldn't have the degree to be able to move a needle in that if I wasn't CEO. So that's what gets me out of bed in the morning. That's my purpose. It's okay. It's almost like this question. If it weren't for me, X.

If it weren't for me, then what? If it weren't for me, well then there's like 20-something people that wouldn't have a job here. Thousands of service providers use our technology to grow their lawn-mowing business. Tons of people use it to just get this chore done. Nobody would have any of this value in their life if it weren't for me. And so that's what lends purpose to my job as CEO. And that's why I do what I do.

14:21 – Gresham Harkless:

Nice. I love and appreciate that because I think so many times we don't realize that ripple affects those seeds that you plan and what they end up, you know, turning into in the impact that you can have, as you mentioned, the service providers that you work with, but also the families that need all of those things done. And of course, being able to kind of make an impact and being able to grow a business and be a reminder to those people that are looking up to everything that you're doing. So Bryan truly appreciates that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is just pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get hold of you and find out about the app and all the awesome things you all are working on.

14:59 – Bryan Clayton:

Yeah, I guess one final piece of advice, I saw this quote by Mark Zuckerberg, who either loves him or hates him, but he did say, I think we can all agree on, is that don't be a know it, be a learn it all. Just be, just try to be open-minded and inquisitive to learn as much as you can. And that might mean trying to set a goal to read a book a month. That might mean turning off the music in the car and turning on a podcast. It might mean turning off Netflix and popping up YouTube and watching a conference or something like that, or an interview.

Just try to be a learn-it-all Because if you can glean that knowledge from somebody who's doing what it is you're trying to do, it can help improve your odds of success and change your life. So yeah, that's, I guess, a final piece of advice. Anybody who wants to get at me can reach me on LinkedIn. And then anybody listening to this doesn't want to waste time mowing their own yard. You can just download Green Pal in the App Store or the Play Store. You'll get hooked up for the great lawn mowing service in less than a minute.

15:55 – Gresham Harkless:

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. And to make it even easier, we'll have the links and information in the show notes as well too to get a hold of Bryan. And of course, download the app and all the awesome things you're doing. I love that last reminder. I think if we kind of adapt that or take in that relentlessness, that desire to get better within ourselves, whether it be reading a book or listening to a podcast, then that allows us that opportunity to be a learn-it-all as you said so well and truly appreciate that last point and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

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16:21 – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

00:15 - Intro

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the IMCEO podcast.

00:42 - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today Bryan Clayton of Green Pal. Bryan, it's awesome to have you on the show.

00:51 - Bryan Clayton

Gresham, thanks for having me on. Great to be here.

00:53 - Gresham Harkless

I'm definitely super excited to have you on as a long contributor to our site, as we were talking about before. And what I wanted to do is just read a little bit more about Bryan so you hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Bryan is CEO and co-founder of GreenPow, an online marketplace that connects homeowners with local lawn care professionals. GreenPow has been called the Uber for lawn care by Entrepreneur Magazine.

It has over 100, 000 active users completing thousands of transactions per day. Before starting Green Power, Bryan co-founded Peachtree Incorporated, one of the largest landscaping companies in the state of Tennessee, growing into over $10 million a year of annual revenue before it was acquired by Lusa Holdings in 2013. Bryan's interest and expertise are related to entrepreneurialism, small business growth, marketing, and bootstrapping businesses from 0 revenue to profitability and exit. Bryan, Are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

01:47 - Bryan Clayton

Let's do it.

01:48 - Gresham Harkless

Awesome, let's do it then. So to kind of kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit here, a little bit more on how you guys started what I call your CO story.

01:56 - Bryan Clayton

Yeah, so I was drug into entrepreneurship, kicking and screaming by my father on a hot summer day said Get off your butt you've got a job to do you're gonna go mow the neighbor's yard. He made me go mow the neighbor's yard. I got paid 20 bucks something about that just stuck with me because ever since then I've just been in business for myself And I remember the first thing I did after I got done mowing the neighbor's grass, I went to my computer, made up a bunch of flyers, passing them around the neighborhood. And I had like 10 customers by the end of that first summer. And I actually just stuck with that lawn mowing business. I cut grass all through high school and all through college.

And when I graduated college, I made a decision, okay, I'm gonna see how far I can take this thing. I didn't really wanna be a long guy my entire life, but I just said, hey, I'm gonna see if I can turn this into a real business and made a little business plan. Over a 15-year period of time, a lot of work and a lot of luck grew into one of the largest landscaping companies in the state of Tennessee where I live. I got over 10 million dollars a year in annual revenue, and over 150 employees, and eventually was able to navigate that company all the way through to exit. In 2013 it was acquired by one of the largest landscaping companies in the United States. And so that's, you know, growing that business, just me and a push mower to me and 100 trucks going out every day.

I learned a lot the hard way about how to get a business going. But when I sold it, I retired, I took some time off and I got bored. I realized, wow, I'm missing something. There's something missing in my life. I need purpose. I need passion. And what I realized about myself is my business is the source of that purpose. It is the source of that passion. And I thought, okay, time to start the next thing. So I recruited 2 co-founders and we went to work on an app called Green Pal which is the Uber for lawn mowing. I've been at this 1 for 8 years and we've got over 300, 000 people using the app to get their lawn mowed doing 20 million dollars a year in sales and so we're at 8-year overnight success.

03:49 - Gresham Harkless: Nice, I absolutely love that and I love you taking a little sabbatical I guess you could say going to retirement and coming back like an MJ with another plan way that you can kind of attack the lawn care industry. So I know you touched a little bit upon, you know, Green Pal and how it works. Can you take us through a little bit more about that and what exactly it does to service clients?

04:09 - Bryan Clayton: Yeah, so ordinarily to get this service done, you call around on Craigslist, Yelp, Facebook, you might ask friends for recommendations, you're gonna see a dial for dollars, you're going to leave voicemails and hopefully get a quote, and then hire somebody and hopefully they show up. It's kind of a pain in the butt and I saw what you know in 2013 I saw what Uber and Airbnb and Lyft were doing for these real-world transactions making them easier seamless and magical. I thought an app needed to exist for the industry that I know. And so that was kind of the vision. You should be able to put your address in, and somebody should show up and mow it. And that's still what we're working on to this day.

As a homeowner, you just put your address in, you'll get quotes back, you can read reviews about who you want to work for, and work with, and then it's higher than right through the app. They come out and mow it, you'll see a picture of the completed yard, you pay them, and then if everything goes well, you just set them up for the whole season to come to mow your yard for you. And it just happens in the background like magic. Where we really have an impact and really why we do what we do is on the service provider side. We really try to just build a business in a box for them.

All they have to do is just plug into our platform and everything from getting new customers to route management, getting paid on time, and marketing automation, all these things just happen for them. And that's really where we have an impact. We offer a nice convenience for homeowners, just push a button, and get the service done. But for service providers, we really try to help change their lives, improve their business, and help them make material income.

05:36 - Gresham Harkless: Nice. I definitely appreciate that. And it sounds like he came a little bit, a few ways from being able to kind of put up those flyers as you did when you were just getting started to now having a full business in the box for those people that are starting their business.

05:48 - Bryan Clayton: Yeah, but to your point, when we started Green Power, it was kind of like starting all over again. That was actually when we launched the first version of the apps. So believe it or not, we passed out like 200, 000 door hangers all over Nashville, Tennessee, just to get the word out about it. We were able to get just enough users to be able to meet with people and get feedback about what we were building and some assumptions that we had that weren't correct.

And just really trying to do what they call customer discovery, really trying to figure out what problems we're solving and for who and how we need to market this thing. And so getting over that cold start, we just got over just with sheer hustle, just trying to manufacture that momentum. And so I think, I think a lot of people in the tech startup game kind of want to fast forward to to the scaling part and really you kind of have to hand crank it for a while to figure out what the heck it is you're doing.

06:41 - Gresham Harkless: Yeah, I appreciate you for sharing that and you're talking more in-depth about that because I think I love the phrase that you said, the 8-year overnight success, because I think I read something that they said the secret to the overnight success is it takes 10 years, 20 years, however long. And you don't see kind of like the process there, but you're absolutely right where I think so many times we have an idea and we wanna impact as many people as possible, but you don't go through the, I don't know if we call it transitionary moment or the grind, so to speak, but really understanding what you are trying to do for your clients and customers, understanding how to do it, and then scaling it after you have that data and information. So I appreciate you for talking about that.

07:17 - Bryan Clayton: Yeah, the problem is that we read the tech press, we read Bloomberg or TechCrunch, and you'll see a tech startup founder 345 years just crushing it, 9 figures, whatever. And you're like, man, I want that. And I should be able to. What you don't realize is they already tried and failed on 2 or 3 other things the decade before that. So you're not looking at 3 years. You're really looking at like 15 or 20.

And they baked all of the knowledge and experience into this thing that did work. And so I don't think there's any way to shortcut the come-up. I don't think there's any way to shortcut the grind, the slog. Even when you see these 25, 26-year-old entrepreneurs that are just blown, that just hit a grand slam. A lot of times they were hacking on stuff like in middle school. And they were really learning how to make products at a very young age. There are very few examples of true overnight successes.

08:18 -Gresham Harkless: Yeah, I would definitely, you know, agree with that and that's why 1 of my favorite books is Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers because I think he even talks about Bill Gates sneaking outside of his parent's house to go to the, I think, the University of Washington down the street in order to do things and hack on the computer while he had certain time and then coming back to wake up, you know, to go to school. But you don't hear all those stories about the truce process that it takes to become successful.

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08:42 - Bryan Clayton: That's right. And the only thing you can take from this is just get started, get in the game today to start chewing your way through that because there's no shortcut. You're going to waste the first 2 or 3 years just trying to figure out what it is you're doing. And it's going to take another 2 or 3 or 4 years to get something going and then maybe another 4 years to make that something big. It just takes a while.

09:03 - Gresham Harkless: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's why it's so important to be able to have that passion and that expertise that you can continue to kind of grow because the grind you want to try to love and be passionate about and feel like you're definitely fulfilling a mission and a vision. And so I want to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for yourself personally or your business or a combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

09:27 - Bryan Clayton: For me, I'm always working on my best idea. And that's just like the default. And so for me, you know, starting Green Pal was really tough for my co-founders and me. The first 345 years were hard and the way we kind of got through that is we just didn't give up. And so for me, like, I would wake up every day like well this is my best idea so I'm just gonna keep working on it and like not working on my best idea is not an option so that's it the only way we can move is forward and so we're just going to keep going and I think like just that relentless this tenacity to keep moving forward no matter what is what tips the odds of success into your favor.

It doesn't make me special, it's just something that I have noticed about myself for the last 20 years is just that bias towards action and that ungainliness to go backward or give up or quit is what's gotten me you know, over the hump building the first business getting it to 8 figures and now the second business 8 figures.

10:28 - Gresham Harkless: Absolutely, absolutely. And so I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

10:40 - Bryan Clayton: Only focusing on the things that the CEO should focus on. So I don't need to be doing like at this stage of the game. We have 24 people that work for the business. I have product designers, I have content creators, I have engineers. I need to be focusing on only the things the CEO can focus on. That's setting the culture, setting the vision, setting the strategy, hiring the best people, recruiting the best people. These are the things that only the CEO can do. And so those are the things that I should be focusing on, not only executing on, but getting better at, and reading books, watching podcasts, seeking out people that can help me grow at those 4 or 5 things, and not writing code, not writing blog posts anymore.

Although I mean, if you enjoy that, do that in your spare time, but not designing, not doing the things that you can delegate to people that are better at it than you are, I think is something that I have to constantly remind myself of that I need to be thinking high leverage. What are the things that are important, but aren't necessarily urgent and staying in that quadrant and staying high leverage with my time because that's at this stage of the game doing $20 million in year revenue, that's how we're going to get to 40. We're not going to get to 40 with me writing lines of code.

11:55 - Gresham Harkless: I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget and this might be a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or somebody you might mentor, or if you happen to be a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

12:07 - Bryan Clayton: CEO nugget is, that it's better to hire somebody who's a rock star at whatever it is that you want them to do for 5 hours a week versus somebody who stinks or is not so good for 40 hours a week. So if you are building a team, you're maybe you're 5 people and now you're going to your sixth person, you need a full-time marketer or you need a full-time HR person or you need a full-time chief of legal or you need a full-time CFO.

It is so much better to go and fractionally hire somebody who's just a rock star at it, and for whatever they make, a hundred, 200, $300 an hour for 5 hours a week, or whatever you can afford, and let that inform everything else that you're doing versus somebody who's an intern or just got out of school or who has 20 years of experience repeating the same year 20 times for 40 hours a week. You're better off hiring the best for whatever you can afford them for and then growing into more time with them or growing into somebody full-time in that role.

13:12 - Gresham Harkless: Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Bryan, I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping that different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Bryan, what does being a CEO mean to you?

13:24 - Bryan Clayton: I think being a CEO means sowing seeds that provide opportunities for others around you, I think a level is a way to measure the success of a CEO like if you are providing opportunities for people who work within your organization or who use your products. That's how I measure success as a CEO and so I wouldn't have the degree to be able to move a needle in that if I wasn't CEO. So that's what gets me out of bed in the morning. That's my purpose. It's okay. It's almost like this question. If it weren't for me, X.

If it weren't for me, then what? If it weren't for me, well then there's like 20-something people that wouldn't have a job here. Thousands of service providers use our technology to grow their lawn-mowing business. Tons of people use it to just get this chore done. Nobody would have any of this value in their life if it weren't for me. And so that's what lends purpose to my job as CEO. And that's why I do what I do.

14:21 - Gresham Harkless: Nice. I love and appreciate that because I think so many times we don't realize that ripple affects those seeds that you plan and what they end up, you know, turning into in the impact that you can have, as you mentioned, the service providers that you work with, but also the families that need all of those things done. And of course, being able to kind of make an impact and being able to grow a business and be a reminder to those people that are looking up to everything that you're doing. So Bryan truly appreciates that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is just pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get hold of you and find out about the app and all the awesome things you all are working on. 

14:59 - Bryan Clayton: Yeah, I guess one final piece of advice, I saw this quote by Mark Zuckerberg, who either loves him or hates him, but he did say, I think we can all agree on, is that don't be a know it, be a learn it all. Just be, just try to be open-minded and inquisitive to learn as much as you can. And that might mean trying to set a goal to read a book a month. That might mean turning off the music in the car and turning on a podcast. It might mean turning off Netflix and popping up YouTube and watching a conference or something like that, or an interview.

Just try to be a learn-it-all Because if you can glean that knowledge from somebody who's doing what it is you're trying to do, it can help improve your odds of success and change your life. So yeah, that's, I guess, a final piece of advice. Anybody who wants to get at me can reach me on LinkedIn. And then anybody listening to this doesn't want to waste time mowing their own yard. You can just download Green Pal in the App Store or the Play Store. You'll get hooked up for the great lawn mowing service in less than a minute.

15:55 - Gresham Harkless: Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. And to make it even easier, we'll have the links and information in the show notes as well too to get a hold of Bryan. And of course, download the app and all the awesome things you're doing. I love that last reminder. I think if we kind of adapt that or take in that relentlessness, that desire to get better within ourselves, whether it be reading a book or listening to a podcast, then that allows us that opportunity to be a learn-it-all as you said so well and truly appreciate that last point and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

16:21 - Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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