In this episode of the Unbottleneck Podcast, Steve Wiideman welcomes entrepreneur and online marketplace expert Bryan Clayton to discuss the challenges of starting your own business and using the internet as a tool to achieve your goals.

About Our Guest: Bryan Clayton

Bryan Clayton is Co-Founder and CEO 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. 

Sponsored by Ryte

Bryan on LinkedIn

Bryan on Twitter

  • Levels to the Entrepreneur’s Journey
  • Celebrate Sucessess, But Keep Growing 
  • Advertising: Move Beyond PPC

Levels to the Entrepreneurial Journey

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It requires a level of time, commitment, resources, and structure that can be overwhelming to the average person. With so many moving parts, how does one navigate through it all? 

One great piece of advice is to look at business as a “video game.” Similar to a video game, in business, you have to focus on one level at a time – don’t get so preoccupied with what level 8 looks like when you’re only on level 3. 

More often than not, new entrepreneurs have a tendency to worry about areas of the business that are irrelevant at their current level. Rather than getting hung up on the details of things like culture, brand strategy, office space, trademarks, and marketing plans, just dive into the business. When you start small and focus on one level at a time, everything will come together on its own in its own time. 

As an entrepreneur, you don’t want to create unneeded work for yourself by obsessing over things that are not necessary. Focus on getting customers, earning revenue, and gaining feedback first, and allow that to fortify your business model. From there, you will discover what your priorities will be as you advance to the next level of your entrepreneurial journey. 

Success is a Lousy Teacher for Small Business Owners

In business, you never want to get too comfortable. After you reach a level of success, it is easy to fall into this trap becoming a “know it all” and believing that you have all the answers. This type of mindset prevents you from doing the hard work that comes with creativity and innovation. Getting too comfortable with success can actually slow down your progress. 

Once you get a taste of success, you want to double down on the things that are working. Celebrate the little wins along the way, but keep the same hunger and passion that you had when you initially started, so you have to move on to the next thing.  

Digital Advertising for Startups 

The majority of startup companies do not have a million-dollar advertising budget, so how can business owners reach new customers with a limited budget? 

In order to maximize your advertising budget – no matter how small or large – you have to focus on what’s working. It is impossible to build a business solely on paid traffic. Paid traffic needs to be looked at as an accelerator of something that is already working. Without a steady flow of organic traffic to begin with, you’re going to waste your ad budget.  

If you already have a distribution channel that gains organic traffic, let paid advertising be the cherry on top. 

Pro-Tip: Don’t rely solely on pay-per-click ads! There are other ways you can reach new customers such as affiliate partnerships, link building, referral programs, Facebook groups etc. Get to understand your business and your audience in order to assess which methods will give you the best ROI. 

Values & Virtue: Be the Change You Want to See

Entrepreneurs set the tone for their company culture. The pressure of spearheading a company can sometimes manifest into negative habits that seep into the company culture. In this case, entrepreneurs have to be accountable for the environment they create for not only themselves, but for their employees.

Yes, the ultimate goal is to drive the business forward, but how are you investing in the growth and wellness of your employees? Entrepreneurship is also about leadership and you must lead by example and set the tone with your own passion and optimism. This includes benefits and perks such as wellness programs, vacation time, education assistance, charitable causes, and anything that supports your employees outside of your company.  

Keep up with the latest in small business growth and digital marketing strategies. Follow Steve on LinkedIn!