Practice makes perfect — Grit comes down to discipline and the actions that you engage in on a routinely basis. It about doing the hard things that will continue to add to your success. The more you do difficult things on a consistent basis, the easier they become.
As a part of my series about “Grit: The Most Overlooked Ingredient of Success” I had the pleasure of interviewing Gene Caballero, co-founder of GreenPal.
Gene Caballero has been an entrepreneur since childhood and came from a family of entrepreneurs. Since his passion Is helping others, it is no surprise that his dedication with GreenPal has helped over 10k landscaping professionals grow their business.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path?
I have been in the landscaping industry since I was sixteen years and mowed lawns part-time — through college — until the concept for GreenPal came about. I was mowing yards to make extra money and found that it was very flexible and lucrative for a young entrepreneur. My first job after receiving my MBA was a sales job. My territory was the west coast so I was privy to newer technologies such as Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. I knew that if a stranger was going to summon another stranger to take them places, then consumers would do the same with home services — and that is how the idea for GreenPal came to fruition.
Can you share your story about “Grit and Success”? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
When we first started we knew we needed to get homeowners signed up for our service. So, in 2014, we spent the entire months of April, May, June, and July interrupting family get-together’s and parties, going door-to-door, asking homeowners if they would use our service. After getting bit by a dog, being physically threatened by a homeowner, and almost being arrested, we were able to get 100 customers signed up and using GreenPal. We knew at that point that we had a business.
We also rented a kiosk in the local mall to get customers signed up for our service and to also get feedback about our website. We did this all after losing our initial 125k dollars in funding to a local company that was building our MVP that went out of business while building our product.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I think once you get a hint of your company’s potential, the motivation and the drive take over. The lives you can affect and the ways you can help people will also influence your motivational state. Remind yourself that things will get better if you keep pushing. Compound interest in business is a real thing.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
Grit led us to our success by not letting us give up. After losing our seed money of 125k dollars, most people would have quit. Instead, we knew we were on to something and decided to let that only be a bump in our journey and carry out this mission. Once you overcome a huge hurdle like that, everything else seems miniscule. Losing that money made us more aware of the things we needed on our team that lead to our eventual success.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit?
- Have to be mentally tough — when you’re working non-stop, you have to take time to make sure you don’t drive yourself crazy. Meditation, playing an instrument, or anything that pushes you to stay mentally sharp will help achieve grit.
- Have gritty friends — the people you interact with most will influence your outlook and behavior. Associate yourself with other people that have grit and it will certainly rub off on you.
- Have faith in yourself — You have to believe that you can improve your situation because you can personally have that impact. Once you have that self-confidence, your grit will become second nature.
- Find your purpose — Ask yourself constantly “why” you are doing this. Once you connect with the bigger picture, it easy to improve your grit and persevere through difficult times.
- Practice makes perfect — Grit comes down to discipline and the actions that you engage in on a routinely basis. It about doing the hard things that will continue to add to your success. The more you do difficult things on a consistent basis, the easier they become.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
My parents were both entrepreneurs and small business owners. Knowing they were always in my corner, was all the support I needed to push through anything. My mom was a single mom, worked a full-time job, and had a catering business on the side so she was a true grinder. That made me appreciate the hard work she put in to ensure that I had the platform and the environment to succeed.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I believe that GreenPal is bringing goodness to the landscaping world on a daily basis. Whether it’s by helping someone grow their business or giving them time back with their family, I feel we are bringing a positive situation to the world.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
At this moment, the only project I am working on is growing GreenPal to other verticals to ultimately help more individuals in the landscaping industry.
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Make sure you have a work environment that employees enjoy and that will lead them to thrive. What we have done is add a music room in one of our offices that has musical instruments including a piano, guitar, and a drum set. Playing an instrument has been scientifically proven to engage practically every area of the brain at once — especially the visual, auditory, and motor cortices — so it gets mental capacity going again and helps with productivity. It’s like a mental full-body workout and helps our team refocus on what needs to be done and thrive.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-).
Everyone should have a pet. They bring so much joy and that joy would spread throughout the world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There are 3 8-hour workdays in 24 hours…pick which two you want to work and you will be successful. When starting GreenPal, there was more work to be done than time allowed. This quote sums up exactly what it takes to build something from scratch and to be successful.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Twitter — @gene_caballero
IG — gene_cabalero
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.