Hiring Yourself: A Story of Entrepreneurial Spirit

A young entrepreneur uncovers success and valuable skills through neighborhood landscaping business.

Need to get a job? A lot of us younger folks would agree that we could use a little more ammo for the pocket book and bragging points, irresistible to employers, for the resume. Finding a job that pays may not necessarily be difficult. However, money is not the only thing that pays. Enjoying yourself pays as do building valuable skills and expanding your network. 

To score a job that checks all of those boxes may demand a bit more effort. Yet, if you make your own job, maybe all of this will come more easily. Why? The hiring process is simple, as you are hiring yourself, and the business can be centered around your own interests, which guarantees that you will have fun. Additionally, managing your own business teaches valuable life skills. For that reason, people, especially observing employers, love innovating entrepreneurs. These are just some of the advantages of self-employment. 

Last May, Brent decided that it was time to explore new options after he determined that he did not want to continue with his usual summer job as a pool lifeguard. “I didn’t enjoy lifeguarding and I was underpaid,” he stated. 

He was emboldened to seek job satisfaction himself and found it in the creation of a business that he initially co-managed with a friend. Thus, P & B Landscaping was born. 

Getting started, Brent and his business partner had to raise awareness locally and make some investments. According to Brent, they distributed about 500 flyers and posted on neighborhood phone apps to advertise their yard service. Additionally, the startup costs were understandably hefty. Brent purchased yard care equipment, including a lawn mower, edger, weed wacker and blower. 

He found work with a variety of clients doing a variety of tasks. “I’ve worked at 5 million dollar mansions and tiny homes in Hinsdale.” He also noted that he has done landscaping work for commercial properties. 

“My services include pretty much everything,” Brent explained. To name just a few tasks, he has done weeding, lawn mowing, bush trimming, gardening, mulching, snow removal and power washing. 

“Have you come across any challenges as a young entrepreneur in charge of a business?” I inquired of him. Brent noted that working with his former business partner had been difficult. “Regardless of who you’re working with,” he explained, “it’s always difficult to co-lead with other people,” especially given that they are bound to have different points of view. Furthermore, he found that having to put himself out there to expand the business and request equitable pay from his clients was a challenge.

Naturally, business-owners run into obstacles and challenges. In Brent’s words, “it’s all on me.” However, he emphasized that he is learning valuable skills, such as leadership, from his responsibilities as a business owner.  

He also reflected that running his business provides a great opportunity for networking. One of his clients, a company CEO who hired Brent to do landscaping work for his home and one of his office buildings, wrote Brent letters of recommendation for college admission because he was impressed by Brent and his work. 

“I’m definitely happy that I started doing this,” Brent commented. With regard to starting a business, he said: “Anyone can do this. It’s just a matter of doing it.” 

Sara Blakely, billionaire and founder of Spanx, had this to say regarding entrepreneurial spirit: “Believe in your idea, trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to fail… Not being afraid to fail is a key part of the success of Spanx.” [1]

Brent will be heading to the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois in the fall to begin studying finance. Having been a young entrepreneur capable of transforming his ideas into profitable work, he hopes that he will be prepared to someday lead a business as a CEO.

[1] Kathy Caprino. “10 Lessons I Learned from Sara Blakely That You Won’t Hear in Business School.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, May 23, 2012. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/05/23/10-lessons-i-learned-from-sara-blakely-that-you-wont-hear-in-business-school/?sh=3d196fb1438e.

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