It’s hard selling your first company. A lot of entrepreneurs have their identity intertwined with their first startup. In the Philippines, when you say Sean Si, people would think SEO Hacker. My next question is what your advice will be to people who are wondering whether they should bootstrap and start a self-funded business or take a loan from the bank, from friends and family?
Bryan’s business was debt-free when they were acquired. That’s why they were able to sell.
That said, some businesses need you to take on debt or have someone invest in you to get them going. That’s a bad bet for most business owners. It’s a beautiful thing when it works, but that only happens about 5 to 10% of the time.
That’s a very small percentage. I, myself, would encourage people to do a bootstrap so that you get to sleep well at night without worrying about your debt.
Low and low works well for most businesses. There are exceptions wherein you have to take big risks to win a lot of times. However, sometimes, you’ll just be driving off a cliff without leaving any skidmarks.
Another thing that Bryan mentioned was that people should Leverage, Not Leap.
If you know your business inside out, it’s easy to find great opportunities. If you know your numbers and you know that you can go get a thousand more customers for a hundred dollars each.
All you have to do is borrow a couple of hundred grand that you know you can pay back in six months, then it might make sense to do that.
When you bootstrap, the worst thing that can happen is that you default to nothing. You won’t dig your own grave because you can only go to zero, no less.
Just six months after your exit from Peachtree, you started a tech-centric company in the same industry. What pumped you up to do this?
Bryan always had this quote on his mind by George Patton:
“If you’re not gaining ground, You’re losing ground.”
Bryan just had to get back into the ring because he came to realize that it was his vehicle for personal growth. He would never be who he is today if his business did not for him to become that. Be it the type of leader or the type of manager that he has become.
So many of the skills and lessons that Bryan picked up along the way were because his business required it from him.
He missed that while he was on vacation. When he decided on what to start next, he thought of GreenPal. It’s basically the Uber for lawn mowing. If someone needs their grass cut, they jump on Greenpal, they get quotas, and they hire the guy that they want to come and cut their lawn. All of which is paid through the app. This idea hasn’t changed much from 2012 to 2020.
The vision has always been the same. That it should be easy to get this one simple household chore done by pushing a button.
When Airbnb and Uber were gaining traction, a lot of people had the same idea. What made you succeed?
Bryan and Green Pal built a marketplace from the bottom up. It’s a place where homeowners can get multiple quotes from service providers in their town and then hire the services that they want to work with through their app. There, they can also pay, schedule, and rate them.
This is the difference between Bryan and the other people that try Uber for X business model. Bryan built a marketplace whereas some of the others just want to build a better version of a specific company.