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Bootstrapping with Paycheck to $15 Million from Tennessee: Gene Caballero, CEO of GreenPal (Part 5)

Posted on Friday, Nov 2nd 2018

Sramana Mitra: Can you talk a little bit more about the Facebook outreach? What did you learn? What have you learned about doing the Facebook outreach? Whom do you target?

Gene Caballero: We target landscaping professionals on a geocoding basis. We are able to get those down to about $3 or $4 a click. That has been our goal. Now we’re getting about 10 vendors a day as opposed to 10 vendors a week, and we’re able to hyper-target specific areas. Facebook outreach has been a gamechanger for us.

Sramana Mitra: It sounds like landscape professionals are identifying themselves on Facebook for you to be able to target 

them.

Gene Caballero: Yes. A lot of them now have their own Facebook pages. It was almost like a perfect marriage. You’ve got vendors that are looking to grow their business on Facebook and there’s a platform that allows them to do that now.

Sramana Mitra: You can also target the followers of their pages from a customer acquisition point of view.

Gene Caballero: That is very true.

Sramana Mitra: Interesting. Facebook really works for you.

Gene Caballero: It does. It saved me about 20 hours a week.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s talk a little bit about you and your co-founders’ journey. You started bootstrapping. Are you full-time now?

Gene Caballero: We’re all full-time at GreenPal. We are still 100% bootstrapped. We were approached by a couple of companies, but you don’t want a boss and you don’t want to answer to people. We don’t even need investors. We know what we need to do to grow markets and grow our revenue.

Sramana Mitra: Talk to me about when you made the switch full time.

Gene Caballero: It was in February of 2016. That’s when I went full-time.

Sramana Mitra: That was after reaching a million in revenue in 2015. Your co-founder as well?

Gene Caballero: Yes, he actually went full-time in 2014.

Sramana Mitra: Who else do you have on the team?

Gene Caballero: That’s it right now.

Sramana Mitra: The $5 million in revenue milestone was acheived in 2017?

Gene Caballero: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: How much are you projecting for 2018?

Gene Caballero: Around $15 million.

Sramana Mitra: Fantastic. So two people bootstrapped with a paycheck getting to 2018 revenue of $15 million. That’s a fantastic story.

Gene Caballero: We measure our success by transactions per week. When we first started, we were getting 30 or 40 transactions. Our first goal was to get a hundred. Then next year, the goal was 1,500 transactions. We set all of these micro-goals. We’ve been fortunate enough to hit every goal revenue-wise. The weather slows us down just a little bit in the winter time but we get going around February or March. We are in 23 states. A lot of those states have year-round mowing so we’re able to still generate a few bucks of revenue during the holidays.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrapping with Paycheck to $15 Million from Tennessee: Gene Caballero, CEO of GreenPal
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