Side Hustle Series: Lawn Mowing

For many years, I’ve wanted to start a business, but I was overthinking and getting stuck in how to do just that. As I’ve started documenting my entrepreneurial tendencies, I look back to the past and have been thinking about what kind of value I’d give myself if I was to travel back in time. This one, is about lawn mowing.   

I was around 13 years old when I started mowing lawns. I was essentially recruited by families in my church at the time to help around their house. The first house had a lawn size of about 1000 square feet on a little slope, so I hated doing it. It made me itchy, I dreaded the feeling of maybe running into a snake and it was very boring to push a lawnmower around for about an hour. 13 year old me was not a fan, but I can remember to this day, how happy and humbled I was every time I got paid. Making about $50 a month back then was way more than enough for someone at that age.

By the time I was 16, I was mowing for 2 more houses. Another family from the church reached out to me and my aunt asked me to mow and I wasn’t about to say no to family. Between 13 and 18 years old, I had mowed for 3 different houses. This was all with no advertising. Thinking back, I wonder what I could have done if I’d marketed or pushed to get more houses.  

If landscaping and lawn mowing were a bigger interest of mine, here is how I would start the company now. I know that lawn mowers go for under $100 on the local craigslist and other classifieds. This is a side hustle with the dreams of becoming something big, so I would save up money at my regular job if I didn’t have the funds at the beginning. Once I have the money, I’d pick up a lawn mower and start going around my immediate neighborhood to knock on doors and let people know that I’m available to mow. If no one wants me to mow, I’d walk over to other close neighborhoods and do the same thing. After knocking on so many doors, there’s bound to be someone that will need it done. Once I get a yes, I’d mow to the best of my ability, collect the money and move onto the next one. I would do the same thing weekend after weekend and expand to more neighborhoods. On days when I’m not mowing, I’d work on printing ads to post on telephone poles, advertise in the services section of craigslist and prep for the coming weekend.

I know I’d stay hungry and want to do more, so I would end up adding team members, additional services and/or quit my regular job to fully pursue becoming a landscaping business. That would be the progression, but first things first, I would have to start by doing something.

The steps will go as “Start, Market, Scale”. We trip ourselves up by thinking the marketing should come before the start, and the scale scares us so we become emotional, internalize and waste a lot of time. This is the foundation I’d let a younger me know and then I’d tell him, “Go out and do”.