Kyle Clayton is a serial entrepreneur creating and operating a variety of local companies in Arizona. He has founded and operates Jackrabbit Janitorial, Awesome Cookie Company, Grey Area Consulting, and SimpleHome USA. Kyle graduated from Arizona State University. Follow him @KyleClaytonGore.
Who is your hero?
My grandpa, James Hallen. He was our family's first entreprenuer.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. It applies to so many things. For example, hiring new employees. Even if I have the money to hire, wait until it's painful and you have no choice but to hire. You'll save yourself having to cut back or having bigger problems on your hands down the road.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Being too cautious. In some of my businesses, we could have grown fast but potentially been in a bind down the road when work drops off or clients change. Since we were growing these businesses in a recession, we took measured risks. Looking back, we could have been a bit less cautious.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
The first half hour of the day is spent reading pleasure material and having coffee. I try to ease myself into the day. The second half hour, I check on social media, emails, and sort out what is important. Then I move on to my top-priority task.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
You don't need thousands of dollars or even hundreds of dollars to start a business. My first businesses were started with maybe a hundred dollars. We bought only what we needed to start getting clients and to spread the word about our new venture. As new clients came in, we had money to get better equipment without going into debt.
These businesses are still running and fund themselves now. Money is not a barrier to starting a business.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Grow at your own pace and celebrate the small things. You'll keep yourself motivated and you won't worry about what others are doing. You are your own competition -- growing and succeeding means out-doing yourself, not the competition. Celebrating little victories, like a new client or a goal reached, keeps you motivated and focused on winning.
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
I've already succeeded! Success to me comes in stages. As a person in my 20s, working and employing others in my companies makes me feel successful. That is where I am right now. However, I'll know I've hit my ultimate goal of success when my businesses are large enough to operate autonomously while I go sailing!
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched#StartupLab , a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.