Like many small business owners, Nathan Paffenroth wanted
to choose his own hours and be his own boss. Most don’t make that realization
as early as eighth grade, though.
“Instead of working for someone else to help make their
dream come true, I wanted to make my own come true,” he says.
In the spring of 2012, Paffenroth started his business,
Two Brothers’ Lawn Care, in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Four years later, it has
turned a six-figure profit. That success helped make him an NFIB 2016 Young
Entrepreneur Award winner.
He was a little apprehensive at first, especially by the
idea of giving quotes to homeowners he didn’t know. But other than that, he was
filled with excitement throughout the process of starting his own business.
Like many small businesses, there was some trial and error.
“I was completely self taught,” Paffenroth says. “I would
try certain things and see if they worked and then perfect the parts that were
ineffective. If I ever had questions about things of course I had my brother
Michael, the co-founder of the business, or my parents.”
Now, Two Brothers’ Lawn Care has 120 weekly clients, and Paffenroth
has three to seven employees working for him. He’s since expanded from just
mowing lawns. He and his brother have added
50 snow plowing clients and have also recently started a real estate investment
company called Rejuvenated Home Investments.
Two Brothers’ mission statement is, “We take pride in making
your lawn look its best” and, according to Paffenroth, that’s really the story
of his success.
“If we did not do such a high-quality job at everything
we do, we would not be where we are today,” he says.
The young entrepreneur has learned many lessons in his short
time as a small business owner. While it’s important to set your goals high, Paffenroth
suggests not trying to do more than you realistically can. Fall into this trap,
and you’ll feel overwhelmed and will lose the love and passion for your
business—which is so important to success.
“Find something that you love to do,” he says. “Find a
need in your community, find a way to put those things together, and most
importantly, give it everything you have, and it will be successful.”
This fall, Paffenroth will attend Palm Beach Atlantic
University in West Palm Beach, Florida, studying finance and business administration.
“I plan on getting full time into the real estate
investment business and becoming a broker as well,” he says. “I plan on keeping
Two Brothers’ Lawn Care operating through my college years, and then focus
completely on my other business, Rejuvenated Home Investments, so we can flip
upwards of 15 houses a year.”
No doubt everything Paffenroth tackles in the future will
benefit from his focused passion.
Entrepreneur Awards is an annual scholarship program designed to reward and
encourage entrepreneurial talents in high school students. Meet all the 2016
winners here, and learn about how
you can sponsor a scholarship here.