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Starting the conversation:
In this interview Bryan Clayton, CEO and co-Founder of Greenpal, shares similarities and differences growing businesses from two first-hand experiences. The tenacity needed to work on yourself, know your customer, and stay dedicated to what your company really does best requires focus and discipline. The framework outlined in this interview also builds in accountability to stay aware of the highest priority initiatives, and the effort necessary to achieve them.
What is the framework necessary to level-up yourself as a leader? Your relentless pursuit of serving customers by solving the problem drives your success and is the foundation for the way business is done in your organization.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Bryan Clayton
This is Uncharted, a series of candid conversations about facing uncertainty. When we are called upon to be courageous the strength of our leadership is tested. Red Direction has developed a library of resources to help you stay aligned, and in particular to develop your True North. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell: 00:33
Listeners of the Bold Business Podcast, I am bringing you another Uncharted, this rock handed real conversation with business owners and business leaders just like you. This is incredibly important to recognize because we are not in this alone. Even though our problems and challenges that we’re facing are ours on the path we’re on. Others have been there and can share that information and their stories which can help us grapple with try something new have a different perspective, to keep on chipping away at the path that we’re on. Because we know it, we’re in service to it. And we are here to be making the world better in our own way with the products and services that we offer. And I am excited to bring you Bryan Clayton today. He’s the CEO and co-founder of GreenPal. And this is a program a technology a platform that connects homeowners to local lawn care services. Now, he is no veteran to the lawn care service because before that he started a company from scratch the first time and went from zero employees to 150 employees. He went from zero dollars to $10 million a year and had a very successful exit in 2013. Front with Peachtree Inc. Now, I tell you this, because not only did he do it once he’s doing it all over again. I tell you what, welcome to Uncharted, Bryan.
Bryan Clayton: 01:57
Great to be here. Awesome intro, thank you.
Jess Dewell: 02:00
No problem. You think I’ve done this once or twice?
Bryan Clayton: 02:03
Amazing. Oh, well, I’m excited to hear this interview.
Jess Dewell: 02:13
I know you’re pretty cool. Or you wouldn’t. I just got there are people that don’t make the grade Bryan and notice to now read on things that really attracted me, to you and to have you come on the show was the fact that you know what it’s like to start from the very beginning. And it really the very beginning is before the beginning. Right? You had zero-zero there’s a before that, and you’re doing it again. So from the first time to the second time, I’m just curious, is are there commonalities did things change? Or was that process actually similar?
Bryan Clayton: 02:48
Yeah, that’s really a good question. Because Getting started is the hardest part or what I call manufacturing that momentum. In the early days. Peter teal calls it zero to one going from nothing to actually something and I’ve done it twice and both times has some commonalities, some similar things. And they have some unique things. The first hot business I started was just a lawn mowing business. One day I was playing Nintendo in my while the teenager I was playing attend on a hot summer day and my dad burst into my room and said, Hey, listen, we got a job to do. We’re gonna go mow the neighbor’s yard. And he forced me to go cut the neighbor’s grass with him. And luckily he did. Because after we were done, we bought we made 20 bucks and I was hooked. I was hooked on business ownership ever since I was hooked on being my own boss. And I just started growing that little lawn mowing business by the end of that summer I had five or 10 customers and throughout high school I was mowing yards is a way to make extra cash. And then through college, I put myself self through school mowing yards. And before I knew it, I was, I was like 23 years old, I had 10 to 20 employees. And I had a real company that was starting to grow and I just loved building this business and really the business became an extension of who I was. And it was the thing that caused me to level up the thing that caused me to become smarter to learn new concepts like leadership and management and marketing and, and all of these things. And over a 15 year period of time, I grew that into a real company with over 150 people and $10 million a year in revenue and ended up selling that company in 2013. starting all over again, with green pal, I took everything I learned building that business and created a digital solution that Uber for lawn care if you will, for homeowners to be able to hire a lawn mowing service at the touch of a button. Starting that business was a, was a thought was going to be easy. I thought my two co-founders and I were going to build the first version market it and we will just be off to the races. But nothing could have been further from the truth for how it actually worked out. It was really tough getting it going in the early days. Seven years ago, we started with zero users, we ended our first year with something like 23 people, and half of them were my friends and family.
Jess Dewell: 05:15
Start there. Yeah, does, it really doesn’t matter where it is, isn’t that true, Bryan is always the friends and family for
Bryan Clayton: 05:23
all of them. And they using this crappy app that my two co-founders and I hacked together. But we just kept at it. And we didn’t give up. And we were just relentless with, with getting new people to try to use the platform. And now here we are, six, seven years later, we have 200,000 people that use it, we’re going to do $20 million in revenue this year. And so starting from scratch is the hardest part. But I think some key fundamentals in both journeys, was just relentless tenacity to make the product or service better. And always focus on the customer or the user of the service, and how you’re going to solve their problems better, quicker, faster, cheaper, more reliably, than your competition is. And so those two fundamentals in business were true. In both journeys. Starting a tech business from a traditional analog business was very different. It took myself and my two business partners, three years to learn the skills we needed to learn, such as coding and design, and, and marketing and distribution, all of these things that are kind of table stakes and starting a digital business took us a long time to learn how to do this stuff. Now we got a good system, a good team around us. But the early days were really tough and both journeys.
Jess Dewell: 06:38
You know, that’s interesting, because while it ended up being the same space, it was an incredibly different solution, that from one to the other, and, and embracing the way that things are changing today, and how technology can really become core to a company instead of like this bolted on piece. And I know. Okay, I got to just say right now, I’m rereading zero to one. And I’m super excited. I’m on chapter 13, I think I have one or two chapters left to go in the, in the book. And I remember, I remember reading it shortly after it came out. And it came out the year after you sold your business in 2014. And so when you were able to pick that up and think about that, now I just got to know what was like one of your key takeaways, fellow reader.
Bryan Clayton: 07:28
Yeah, that’s an awesome book. And it’s one of the key fundamentals. from that. The key learning I got from that book was competition is for, is for suckers. And so Peter teal talks about, if you’re entering a competitive space, you’re just going to compete the margins away, and you’re just going to be in a bloodbath. And he uses the example as a restaurant as one of the worst businesses that you can possibly go into. And he makes some sobering assessments as to how tough business is, and, and if you’re going to tackle it straight up and just go head to head against your competition without any sort of differentiated value proposition, it’s going to be a tough slog, and probably one that’s not going to end up in success. And what he talks about in the book is, is creating a type of business that almost has no competition that looks almost like a monopoly from the outside and uses examples, you know, he was one of the first investors in Facebook. And you know, in Google, these are just incredibly, insanely good businesses, because they, they, they don’t have competition. And so while we’re not all playing in that game, it is important to take learnings from that game and apply them to what you’re doing. And it’s what is it that you do in your business? Small, medium or large? That is simply better than anybody else in your market? Or in your business? Yeah. Is better in the world? Yeah. How do you, how do you create a solution to whatever it is the problem you’re solving that is the best in the world, because these days, especially in the digital space and on the internet, and in the app space it that’s what it takes to win you competition is for losers, it is for suckers. Because if you’re just going to compete head up, your it’s going to be a race to the bottom, it always is.
Jess Dewell: 09:18
It’s a good compliment to another great, classic book that I also just reread their new books that I read in their books that I reread and these are good, these are two of them. It’s good to great, and that’s actually something that Jim Collins talks about, too. He talks about the fact that know what you can be the best at and then stay in that lane. Everything else is the equivalent of the shiny object syndrome.
Bryan Clayton: 09:44
Absolutely. Yeah, the that the hedgehog. Yeah, effect is what he talks about, you know, a hedgehog does one thing, when it gets attacked, it rolls up into a little ball and it’s got, you know, little prickly spikes and that’s what he talks about. It’s that animals At that, and so, what is your hedgehog concept for your business? What is the one thing that you do better than anybody else in the world, and then in a sit like a knock-on effect is the flywheel effect, which is, what is the reinforcing flywheel inside of your business that is making it better that is making it continuously improve, and that is making it more successful. For example, Uber has a flywheel effect at its essence, they understand that the more riders that use the service, the more drivers that will want to use the service and the more drivers that want to use it, then wait times come down, wait times come down, more people want to ride, more people want to ride that means that more drivers make more money, more drivers make more money means fares come down. And when fares come down, more people want to ride. So there is this, this first self-fulfilling loop inside of that business. That is their flywheel. So whatever your business is, you have to look at what are the internal processes that, that make it run? And how do you create this self-fulfilling loop inside of it? That helps propel it forward.
We here at Red Direction can only fund programming with the financial help of our supporter listeners. To learn more about the additional benefits and value support our listeners receive, go to Red direction.com. Now, back to Jess.
Jess Dewell: 11:06
So how do you stay in the lane that’s best for green pal today? and not get stuck with the shiny object syndrome? Oh, my gosh, everybody’s doing this because it’s 2020. Or let’s pretend it was 2018. Everybody’s doing this because of whatever. And let’s pretend it’s 2024. Everybody’s doing this because of whatever. How do you structure making sure you’re doing what you do best? And letting everybody else do everything else? Yeah, it can be tough. For us, it’s a little, it’s a little easier, because we’re self-funded. When we were first starting the business, we were inundated with angel investors that wanted to invest in the business. And we pushed back on that because we didn’t, we didn’t want to build a business that made investors happy. We wanted to build a business that made customers and users happy. And that kind of ethos has propelled us forward even to today. Now that we you know, we’re doing $20 million a year in revenue, we’re profitable, we’re still getting this inbound interest from venture capitalists. And for us, being self-funded has forced this kind of clarity and thinking and clarity and strategy to where you are focused on only one or two or three things. And you have this kind of maniacal focus on the user and on the customer. And usually that is like a guiding voice that helps you understand what it is you need to be focused on that day that week. For us in the early days, even to now we have, we have live chat installed in our app and our website that will hit us up on our mobile phones seven days a week, anytime somebody needs to talk to somebody now we have customer support agents that help us with this stuff. But still, even today, as a co-founder of the business, my two other co-founders, we have time dedicated every day to answer user support tickets. So we understand, okay, this is where we’re letting people down. This is where people wish that we were better. This is the problem that they wish we would solve. So there’s always this kind of clarity around what is it? What are the two or three things we’re going to be focused on. Because when you’re self-funded, that scarcity focuses, like it focuses that discipline. So you have to, you have to be really, really focused with how you spend your time and your resources. But you see, a lot of businesses kind of fall into this trap, especially ones that raise a bunch of capital, that they try to be good at too many things at one time, whether it be too many different products, or too many different marketing channels. And they end up just attaching, attaching like rocket boosters onto the side of a barn. And it just, it just blows up. And so we’ve managed to avoid that trap. And a lot of the reason is because we bootstrapped it the entire way through off of the revenues that the business generates.
Jess Dewell: 13:54
You know, okay, cuz that’s really interesting. I’ve seen, and I’m all about bootstrapping, I’ve done that before, as well. And I’m also all about investment, because I’ve done that as well. And there are pros and cons. And I will tell you exactly what you’re saying is so true. When there are more how many co-founders do you have? Two, okay, so there are two of you, the more co-founders or the more investors that have a seat at that table of the voice, the harder it is to stay focused, the harder it becomes to recognize what are the top priorities? And, you know, you want to know something, I think one and five are the worst. I think one person at the table is not enough and five or more is too many in the experience that I’ve seen. And so now I’ve just got to ask, how do you hold yourselves accountable? You know, cuz I’m guessing there’s always the opportunity because as an entrepreneur, you’re a visionary. As an entrepreneur, you’ve got management skills. As an entrepreneur, you’re understanding what that flow of business is and looking for those opportunities. All the time. So it’s easy to get shiny object syndrome sneaking up on you. And so how do you do hold each other accountable that way?
Bryan Clayton: 15:09
Yes, yes, it’s a very insightful question because we ran into that problem. So the first two years running green pal starting it from scratch. My two co-founders still worked full-time jobs. They worked Monday through Friday, 50 hours a week, at their full-time gig. And then they nights and weekends, we would hustle and grind on this project until, we until we got enough users to where we could pay some salaries. And we did that for yours in the early days. And then came this day, this tipping point where one of the two co-founders was able to quit his job. And he was able to come on full time. And as kind of, you know, the leader of the of the team, I was concerned that what I didn’t want to have happen was him quit his job. And then and then us not move the needle in terms of increased productivity. And it also is quit him quit his job and like leave that career behind. And this not be a better opportunity for him. And so what we started doing is we, every Monday morning, we have an all-hands stand up meeting to where we would do a just two things we would, we would identify the things we were going to work on for the week what the key objectives were, and we would map them to whatever it is the business was focused on. Whatever the one thing we were, like pointing all of our energy on for that week was and then we would talk about what we got done last week. And how it went, why maybe we didn’t get it done or what have you. And just as simple accountability. With in the early days, just us and now we have 22 people that work for the company, as helped us stay focused on Okay, this is what we’re doing. This is how we’re getting it done. And this and reporting on that helps galvanize the team around. Okay, what are those one or two things that that the business is working on? And this is how everybody’s contributing to that. The other thing that, that has helped us is we look at output metrics and input metrics. And so what I mean by that is to say, Okay, well, we want to, we want to double revenue this year because we have doubled revenue for the last five years. And so how are we going to do it? Okay, well, that’s the output metric. And now we gotta look at the input metrics. It’s like, Okay, well, we have to generate more traffic, we have to double our traffic. Well, how are we going to double more traffic? Well, we have to increase the number of landing pages we have by x. And we have to also acquire more press, MIT Press mentions in these markets and by x. And okay, well, how are we going to get that? Well, we have to do this many pages of content a day, we have to do this many pitches a day. And so those are the input metrics, that that map to the output metric. And holding the team members accountable to execute on those input metrics is help is what helps keep us driving the ball forward.
Jess Dewell: 17:49
What made you decide you needed that kind of structure early on? And I’m thinking about that, specifically. Because there are going to be people listening to this that are in the middle of adding that structure. And they’re five or seven years into their business already. And, of course, it’s different, but it might give them a sense of well, so now what can I, what can I be thinking about around this? Because Oh, my gosh, I’m thinking about this kind of a framework for our company.
Bryan Clayton: 18:16
Absolutely. So I didn’t just magically know to do it this way. I’ve quite frankly, I did it wrong for years, and my first business and in and I would spend months years running that first company with hundreds of employees. And I would be pissed off about someone so not getting done what they needed to get done, or upset that the sales team wasn’t turning out the sales, they needed to turn out or mad that, that we were over our budget on labor hours, or what have you. And a business mentor told me, and I’ll just be pissed off all the time. And a business mentor told me, he said, Listen, you get exactly the culture and company you deserve. And that just hit home. And, and I was like, What do you mean by that? He goes, listen, you get exactly the output and exactly the culture that you deserve from your small business, because this is an extension of you. It is it you have to, you have to inspect what you expect. And you have to create the systems and processes for this thing to run. If not, these people aren’t going to know what to do. They’re not gonna be held accountable what to do. And so I did get it right over years of trial and error, you know, after, you know, you would hire a sales guy and then or sales gal, and a month would go by and no sales. Anybody What the hell is Jeff doing? And that’s your fault. As the business owner, it’s not Jeff’s fault. It’s your fault. And so, like doing that wrong for a long period of time, made me scared that now that Okay, I’ve got two co-founders, we’re bootstrapping this other business is showing promise. They’re quitting their job. How do I put in the processes in place, right, that we can just follow This heuristic over and over and again, this repeatable method over and over again, to drive ourselves to success. And that’s, that’s how I was able to, to learn from that mistake the first time and avoid it the second time. The other thing too is, you know, when you’re, when you’re bootstrapping a business to use, like American footballs as a analogy, it’s like the you’re, you’re playing all running game, you’re not making any passes downfield, you’re never throwing a hail mary. And so this slow, incremental success is the way that you’re going to get to your goals. And so I knew that, you know, we would have to manage it down to the, to the weekly, daily, even hourly basis of what are the inputs that we’re going to be doing to map to output?
Jess Dewell: 20:47
How much time do you take a week to think about your business to think about green PAL and where it’s going? Or a percentage, maybe?
Bryan Clayton: 20:54
It’s good, good question in the early days of any business, so there’s a balance between on it and in it. And so mark, Michael Gerber’s book, The E myth, lots of us, it’s the Holy Bible of small business. And in that book, one of the, one of the fundamental lessons I learned from that book was balancing between on it and in it, and in the early days of any business is going to be 90% of the time in it. So in that book, they have the example of the pie shop and how this lady wants to open up a pie shop, because she loves has a passion for baking pies and used to do it with a grandmother. And so she thought she was just going to bake pies. And what she didn’t realize is it’s totally different things having a business that sells pies than one that bakes pies. But in it would be baking the pies. But thing is, there’s all this other stuff, there’s preventative maintenance for the oven, there is like accounting on the cash register there, there’s like cleaning the awning outside, there’s all these other things and so like, like, it is doing those things, but on it is creating the systems and routines and processes and formulas that make those things happen. And so as time goes on, in any business play 90% in it just like Mike holding, like getting it done. And then as time goes on, you’re spending more time on it, creating the routines and processes that make those things happen. And so for me with Greenpal, it was my two co-founders and I and early days 9010 we were just we were writing code, we were writing blog posts, we were pitching journalists, we were passing out flyers, we were doing all of those things seven days a week. And then what I began to realize was, okay, I need to dedicate some time for on it every week. So I can, I can start to outsource and hire people to do some of these things. And so for me, that day was Sunday, every day, I would come into the office Sunday, and I would spend at least three or four or five hours looking at on it. And looking at, okay, how do we create processes around these things that we’re doing now that I know what they are? And then how do I build a team to delegate some of these things to and now it’s probably at 20. The other way, I don’t, I don’t do a whole lot of in it anymore. Luckily, I’ve been able to remove myself to where I can focus on higher leverage activities like strategy, like planning, like differentiation, like talking to users, like product design. And so I think every business journey starts with like going from as much of and it’s on it as you can over time. I think capital can help accelerate that faster. But it can accelerate it in an upward spiral or a downward spiral. If you make the wrong choices and make the wrong bets.
Jess Dewell: 23:39
Isn’t that interesting? Yeah. And it’s funny, because I’m thinking about it. And I’m like, mine is constantly it doesn’t matter what’s going on. Mine is constantly 20% of my time, is dedicated. And that’s something I’ve been doing for a while. And I’m getting to the place myself where I’m like, I’m like, huh? No, I think I need more. Yeah, you and you feel it. But right. I don’t know about you. But when I first started, I’m like, What am I doing here, and this is a waste of my time. This pile of whatever, you see that right. And so it’s interesting, because I know a lot of people won’t take any time. And to get to 20% of time, which is about four hours a week, um, is an important thing. And I know my goal is to just have one day that is like, that is like my part of my mission in the next couple of years is how you get to the one day and switch even more and even more. And it’s really interesting
Bryan Clayton: 24:39
To break out you got to do that you got to like pull yourself out of, out of that box and put yourself into that box and it doesn’t happen fast. But one book that serves as a manual on how to do it is the four-hour workweek. And while that book has somewhat of a misleading title, that book is about doing exactly what it is we just talked about for the last three minutes, which is How do you create processes and systems around yourself to where you can delegate a lot of these things to where you can focus on the higher leverage stuff. And in what Stephen Covey calls in the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he talks about these high leverage things as things that are important, but aren’t urgent. And so it’s not necessarily like your email inbox. It’s not necessarily like your 10 voicemails, it’s these things that aren’t necessarily burning the house down. But they’re important. And but a lot of times, we don’t focus on them, we don’t give them any time because they’re not necessarily urgent. So strategy and looking at, like the strategic landscape and looking at the competitive landscape, and, and thinking like a year to three years down the road, like these things aren’t urgent, but they’re very important if you’re going to be successful, and like trying to take yourself out of this quadrant and put yourself into that quadrant is, is what helps you break out as a business owner, and get out of like, the self-employed zone and get into the business zone.
Jess Dewell: 25:57
Right? That’s true. And I know, it’s interesting, because I’m thinking about this, I’m like, oh, does it work in different business models? And the answer is, you know, my business model is very one to one, there’s a one to many component, but the core of it is still one to one. And yours is a one to many model. And so there, there’s going to be some differences in there. And I’m like, okay, no, I want to do stay here and play all day is all right, let’s, can we look at the business models? And can we figure out how that might work? For everybody listening? We’re not going to do that. But if you want to ever talk about it, we can do? We could totally break that down, Bryan, but see, this is where my brain goes, because that’s, yeah, yeah. Um, and, by the way, I am enjoying the fact that you’re a reader. And I am.
Bryan Clayton: 26:39
You know, I’m a See I was a C student in high school in college. So I had to figure out ways to acquire knowledge from people that that are much smarter than me and concepts that I could apply to whatever it is I’m doing. And, you know, Mark Zuckerberg has got a quote, he’s like, you don’t want to be a know it all. You want to be alert at all. And if you’re constantly willing to learn, constantly willing to like, rather than listening to music in the car, listen to a podcast, rather than watching season three of Yellowstone, a turn on YouTube on your TV and watch, watch a conference. If you’re willing to do that, over the course of three or four or five years, it can help. It’s helped me level up and the good news is we have access to these things. And they’re in the late 90s when I was starting my first business, you didn’t have access to these things, you might have had some antiquated business books. I remember I went to a conference one time and I bought audio cassette tapes, like
Jess Dewell: 27:37
I had a few of those still.
Bryan Clayton: 27:40
Like tapes of people in my industry that we’re talking about, you know what their secrets of success were like, this stuff wasn’t accessible as it is today. So now there’s no excuse like you can pop up YouTube, or audible or masterclass or what have you and listen into slowly, like fill your brain with knowledge. that’s helped me a lot over the last five,
Jess Dewell: 28:01
Do you put that on the work in? Do you put that in the work on your business? Or do you have that as like a separate bucket? It’s one of those own things. And so I’m gonna say then, because I’m just thinking about I’m like, No, I like carve out four hours of protected time to only do business things. But then I’m thinking, and I’m like, No, I spend two hours a day, at least meditating, reading, listening, hearing, seeking, conversing, all of those things. So I’m one. So that’s kind of an interesting thing about the on the business. So if we’re using our time wisely, we’re actually leveraging it for more. So all of you out there who are thinking, Oh, my gosh, I’m only stuck in the to-do list. How did you start with how much time you spend reading a book? How much time do you spend on YouTube? and count the end? What about this? What are you doing there? Are you doing it to better yourself in your business, then that’s on the business time.
Bryan Clayton: 28:51
Yeah, and for me, now, this may not be healthy. But for me, I am my business. So my business is a scaffolding around me. And so like they’re indistinguishable. And that’s, I’ve always had a passion for business. I’m wired to love it. And it is the thing that brings me joy. And so for me, I am it. And so like, like when I’m like doing self-care, it might be, it might be listening to a Tony Robbins audiobook or something like that. But that’s all maps to back to winning in business. Now, not all people are that way. And that’s fine, but that’s what works for me.
Jess Dewell: 29:28
And, you know, it’s interesting that you say that, and I want and I think it’s a fair point. Because Well, I’m the center of my business. And everything that I have revolves around me. And I’m, I like to see things I like to be able to go, Okay, I’m going to take a vacation and things will still happen. So there’s a difference between being the center of the business and actually being the center of the business, if you will, right, because being able to unplug or to be able to take a day or go see Tony Robbins live the next time that’s going to happen or to unplug. can be, from everything else to be solely present in a virtual conference these days, it takes a lot of effort to do that. And I think it’s harder to do a virtual conference when there’s so many more things that keep your attention to pull your attention away. And it requires a lot more discipline, I think, to really stay focused today.
Bryan Clayton: 30:21
Absolutely. And, you know, you mentioned, you mentioned going on a trip somewhere and in how does that relate to business? Well, you’re in a lot of ways your business is the thing that got you on the beach, you know, your business is just is your is the is the engine that got you to go, maybe you may, you know, see this new culture that you might not have seen. So for me these things all kind of they’re all with you
Jess Dewell: 30:46
They’re so intertwined. And just to not be defined by that’s my thing. I’m like, No, I have, I have company values, they’re separate from my personal values because anybody that comes to work at Red Direction, on any project anytime I need them to be able to hit their personal mission and values to the companies so that I’m not expecting many me’s and I’m not accidentally setting them up for failure. That’s actually something I did wrong early on. I wanted everybody to have my values and express them my way to get to my mission. Whoo.
Bryan Clayton: 31:20
Yeah, I want to learn culture and teams is one of the hardest parts of business, you know, to your point, if you can figure out what somebody else wants and help them get it, and how that relates to your company, that that’s where the magic happens. It’s just hard to do. It’s harder to scale. It’s hard to, it’s hard to implement. If you haven’t done it right. From day one. It’s one of those. That’s one of the hardest things of being successful businesses is leading teams. And I’m still learning even to this day,
Jess Dewell: 31:48
I’m telling you, I’m still learning every single day. And that’s what I do for a living, Bryan is help people, how do you work together? I mean, it’s one of the and it’s so unique, there’s no, there’s no unique piece, it’s the people that come together. And the reason one of the things that Peter teal actually talks about is this cult-like peace, right? That was actually my favorite chapter when he’s talking about, he called it the PayPal mafia. So as the founder of PayPal, they wanted people with the same mission, the same vision to zero in and they figured out what everybody did to show ownership of that, and to be part of that. And then they made that that culture. And I think that that’s, I think that we all have that. So to recognize, to your point earlier, you have the company that you deserve, where we’re from your mentor, that’s all we can do is just start changing, we cultivate it differently because there is no rip the band-aid off when it comes to that.
Bryan Clayton: 32:46
Yeah, and you know, like talking about Jim Collins, you’re gonna have to get the right people on the bus and get the wrong people off the bus. And that’s, that’s something that’s not talked about a lot. But to have strong culture, have strong teams, you got to prove some people out from time to time that aren’t good fits, and help them get somewhere with it where they are. And, and that’s one of the hardest decisions as a boss, as a leader you’re going to face is like, when do I, okay, I’ve got I’ve got some, some people that are really good performers at what they do, but they aren’t good cultural fits, what do I do? Well, as the leader, you’re making a weaker decision for the group by keeping them on. And for that person, actually, too. And so coming to that, to that necessary ending, and having to prune them out of the organization is one of the harder decisions that as a leader you’re going to make, but if you, if you defer it and you delay, it’s actually a weak decision. And that took me a long time to learn.
Jess Dewell: 33:44
Oh, I still catch myself in those kinds of things. Because I, I’m one of those people, I think about I think the best of everybody. And I’m like, What else can I do to make sure I’ve done everything that I can, because there’s a reason they were here? not have to be like, yep. And that reason is done. They have, sir. Right? I mean, honestly,
Bryan Clayton: 34:05
In a way to like you feel like a failure, because you didn’t, you couldn’t fix them, and you couldn’t solve this problem. And the reality is, is that not everybody’s gonna be a good fit. And as a leader, it’s your job to prune out the ones that aren’t.
That’s right. That’s absolutely right. So what are the challenges that you’re working on, you know, in the next 12 to 18 months, the things that are really big and exciting for you that you’re grappling with Bryan?
So for us where we take Green Power from here, we’re in 50. States, the United States, hundreds of thousands of people using the platform still self-funded, profitable. We keep the majority of the people that use the platform. What are we working on now? Like, how do we, how do we get to this next level? And for us, it’s until we’ve become in the lexicon of the English language for how do you get your grass cut like Uber for how do you like oh, I’m going to Uber to the party. Okay, moment. You grasses like really three, like three feet tall. But what are you going to do just get a green pal? Like for us? That’s the next challenge is like, how do we, how do we become like a instacart, doordash these things three, four or five years ago didn’t exist. Now they are just default options that you like, think about and Greenpal needs to be in that in that discussion, it needs to be the thing you just think to do to get this one chore done. And that’s what we’re focused on now is how do we get from here to here? What are the biggest challenges within that, doing it without a huge, huge, huge marketing budget, because a lot of these businesses that I just mentioned, you know, all raise hundreds of millions sometimes built several billions of dollars of capital. So getting there from a, from a slow and low standpoint, where you’re bootstrapping, and you’re, you’re reinvesting all the money that the business makes back into it, it’s hard to do. But it’s been done, there’s a lot of businesses that have done it. And so that’s what we’re gonna do, we’re just going to continue to like, chew on that and, and continue to go deeper in every town and city that green palace is live in. And so we’ve achieved that status of Okay, you just wake up one day, and everybody knows about it, everybody uses it. It is the easiest way in the world to get this done. And, and focusing on things that have worked in the past, but also experimenting with new things to try to figure out how we’re going to get there.
Jess Dewell: 36:23
You heard it here, everybody. This is Bryan Clayton, co-founder of GreenPal, and I have to tell you, not only has this conversation been really exciting to me, I actually need to go back out. I think the next book I’m going to reread is going to be the E-myth because it sits right on and it sits right on my floor. Good to gray. zero to one and the E myth are all right there. And I’m like, Okay, I think it’s official.
Bryan Clayton: 36:49
Books are amazing books. Really. She read a once a year as a business owner, we all should we all
Jess Dewell: 36:54
Oh, I’m telling you. There’s something there. So you heard it here from Bryan, the things that he’s working on the things that he really learned looking back that he’s able to take forward, and most importantly, the awareness of what action that is being taken, that can propel forward using the best of the best of all of the learning to date. So Bryan, thank you for being here, everybody. Thanks for listening in until next time.
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