Today I'm excited to share the story of Brenton Hayden – a young millionaire who ditched full time work at 27. You may have seen his story recently on Yahoo Finance, and I wanted to touch base with him and learn a little more about him. You see, he started a company and turned it into a huge franchise, and has been hustling ever since. Now, he's planning on helping other entrepreneurs, and spending his time how he wants to.
Remember, our young millionaire interview series is designed to inspire and motivate. I think that Brenton's story is pretty inspiring, and he has a lot of great insights for millennials. His story really resonates with me, and I hope it will for you as well.
Without further ado, let's get started!
1. Tell me about yourself?
I’m 28 years old and I was born and raised in Richfield, Minnesota. I am the current Chairman of the Board and Founder of Renters Warehouse, a professional landlord service and franchise company. I’m also a real estate investor and equity investor into startup businesses. I currently live in Wayzata, MN and my wife Ashley Hayden and I have been married a little over 5 years.
2. Most people now know you as the guy who retired at 27? What are your plans for the next 40-60 years if not working?
Invest in entrepreneurs. I really want to invest in young entrepreneurs and their businesses. I also love traveling the world — going on once in a lifetime trips. I’m heading to Tahiti for three weeks in a few days and plan to visit four islands during my stay. Lastly, I have been getting involved in local politics. I want to better understand the system and how it impacts local communities. I really enjoy the business side of politics and I would like to become a local political insider.
3. What was it like to start a company so young, when others are still in school or figuring out life?
It matures you pretty quickly when you are forced to make adult decisions when you’re still just venturing out into the adult world yourself. Decisions like how to make payroll or whom to hire. Where is the rent coming from? It’s these day-to-day responsibilities that force you to make smart decisions. Of course, that doesn’t mean I had it all figured out. You can always learn something from failure. Always try and find out what that is.
4. What was the biggest risk you ever took? Do you regret it?
The biggest risk I ever took was starting a company. Had it failed, I could have found myself broke and demoralized. Prior to this I had just been fired…twice. So, no I dont regret it. It was the best decision I ever made in my life. Weird thing is — I don’t ever remember making this choice. It almost felt like I was just doing it out of survival. Somewhere along the way a business emerged.
5. If you could make one change, what would it be?
I would have attended college first. Expanded my education and enjoyed being young a little longer. Running a business is stressful. I would have liked to have gone to college, then started the business, and still have the same success if I could do it all over again. I believe the business would be even more successful.
6. When did you make your first million, and do you think it changed you?
My second year in business. I remember calling up some of my buddies when I learned I had, and went on a pretty epic night of fun. Celebrating success is what helps you make it to the next level. Having financial security is one hell of a stress reliever. Life is fun when money is no longer your biggest issue.
7. Being younger, how are you currently managing your money?
I invest in real estate, the stock market, and startup businesses. All rather high risk and high reward. But I’m young and have some special skills that allow me to decrease my risk when making these types of investments. I’ve been killing it on the stock market lately.
8. Entrepreneurship or college for today's high school grads? Which do you think is more important?
It’s tough. I think if you want to eventually run a billion dollar business, you need an education or some great special skills. Running a business of that magnitude requires advanced financial management, and things high school or life just don't teach you. If you have the opportunity to educate yourself on a special skill or trade, you will have an advantage on those who did not.
9. What advice do you have for young adults when it comes to money and entrepreneurship?
Read the books “Rework” and “Traction.” Adopt as much from what you learn in the process and I can tell you, you will be rewarded for it. These books discuss both. It explores why you don’t need money and why the best way to get started is to do just exactly that: get started.
10. Anything else?
A business is not a business at all, if it can’t live on past its founder. In order to be truly successful, you must learn to trust, delegate, and empower. Thats a true leader and entrepreneur.
What I Learned From Brenton
I really like Brenton's story. One of the phrases that got me really thinking was “If you want to eventually run a billion dollar business, you need an education or some great special skills.” I think that the special skills part is key – you need to have a competitive advantage of some kind: knowledge, trade skills, or some other unfair advantage. That is what will make you successful.
I'm also excited for the books that he recommends. I think it's so important to learn from others that are successful, and that's what these books show – you can literally walk in other successful, young entrepreneurial paths.
Finally, coming from my business experience, you need to learn to trust, delegate, and empower. Doing so will allow you to be incredibly successful.
What did you learn from Brenton?