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.
NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Awards is an annual scholarship program designed to reward and encourage entrepreneurial talents in high school students. Learn about how you can sponsor a scholarship here.