Meet Jayden Kazantsev, current Leeds School of Business sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder and avid entrepreneur. Since Jayden was 12 years old, he began mowing lawns to generate income to purchase candy. Today, his small lawnmowing gig has grown into a full-scale landscaping company serving nearly 90 homes and businesses every week in Boulder, Colorado!
About Jayden Kazantev
Jayden grew up in a low-income family in Whidbey Island, Washington. His parents worked hard, but opportunities in their small town were limited, especially for a family with children with disabilities. From an early age, Jayden faced struggles different from his classmates. While his peers were moving on to more advanced work, Jayden struggled to understand the english language. Eventually, the family discovered Jayden’s dyslexia. Inspired by his diagnoses, the family moved to Boulder, Colorado, to give him access to programs and resources designed to help kids with dyslexia suceed.
Thanks to the help Jayden received, his reading and writing improved. By age 12, Jayden become so self-sufficient, that he decided to start mowing local lawns to raise some spending money and help support his family. He comments,
“I remember thinking, ‘I’m 12, I’m a middle schooler, and my parents can’t give me money to purchase things that I want. So, I’m going to start mowing lawns to get some cash’. I went door-to-door and began asking neighbors if I could mow their lawns.”
News of his service quickly spread, and eventually, all of Jayden’s free time was filled with mowing lawns in the Boulder area.
To occupy his mind while mowing, Jayden listened to audiobooks. His Harry Potter books eventually transitioned into business tales when he stumbled upon Rich Dad, Poor Dad; a story that led him to reflect on his own parents’ financial struggles. Knowing he wanted to make a different life for himself, Jayden continued listening to business advice audiobooks and pushing his lawn-mowing business to the next level.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Jayden overworked himself in an attempt to accommodate more clients. After a series of stress-related medical issues, he decided to bring on additional employees to assist with lawn care operations. He hired his first employee, purchased more tools and equipment, and built a website that grew his client base.
Now, Jayden’s lawncare company, JMK Lawn Service, is becoming one of the largest lawn care service providers in the Boulder area!
About JMK Lawn Service
Jayden has made JMK Lawn Service self-sustaining, using money earned from services to continue the growth of his operations. Jayden also helps fund his college education at CU Boulder through his JMK profits. At its peak, the JMK team had eight employees and was gearing up to purchase a third truck to further expand operations. That is when he faced his biggest entrepreneurial challenge yet.
In June 2022, one of Jayden’s trucks was stolen with over $20,000 worth of equipment. Fortunately, the truck was found, but with severe damage. Jayden created a GoFundMe to help get the company back on its feet.
Despite these major setbacks and unforeseen circumstances, Jayden is determined to continue growing JMK Lawn Service.
Jayden is focused on refining his business’s operations. His first step, hiring an operations manager to assist with scheduling.
Jayden believes JMK has the potential to become Boulder County’s #1 Lawncare Service, and eventually reach annual revenues of $1 million by 2025 (his senior year). That is why this spring, he plans to compete in CU Boulder's New Venture Challenge (NVC). Funding from NVC would enable Jayden to hire a larger team, purchase more equipment, and expand operations, assisting JMK’s anticipated exponential growth.
In the future, Jayden plans to share his entrepreneurial successes by educating youth on financial literacy and thinking differently. He comments,
“Educating kids on how to start their own business, gain experience the way I have, and have the freedom to pursue a life they want to do has the potential to change the world.”
Experience with the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship
Jayden has been heavily involved in all of the Deming Center’s programs and events since wandering into the Center one faithful day during his freshman year. His passion for entrepreneurship and helping others has made him a valuable part of the Center and led to his appointment as a Deming Ambassador to help share the Center’s resources and opportunities with other students throughout CU Boulder.
Jayden’s favorite program offered by the Deming Center is the Now What? Series. He comments,
“There are CEOs that know what it's like to start, run, and own a business and the hardships that come with it. They’re giving 30 minutes of their undivided attention to you, and you can ask them whatever you want. Now What has so much value… and it's free!”
Want to get involved with the Deming Center? Jayden provides the following advice,
“A lot of people have the misconception that entrepreneurship is just ‘oh, I'm gonna run a business or ‘I'm gonna start a business and be a big boss, CEO, fortune 500’ But, It can just be as simple as being creative in the job that you have, or being a good manager and holding a leadership position. What you learn through entrepreneurship carries over to every single part of your life. There's just so much value at the Deming Center, especially the certificate program.”
Advice for current students
Jayden provides the following advice to current students,
“In school, you hear a lot about how your network is one of your most valuable resources, but it's hard to actually quantify that without actually knowing or seeing that impact. Being a CU student opens so many doors and is incredibly powerful. Take that step, and reach out to somebody that you maybe feel nervous about reaching out to, or even somebody that you really look up to. You don’t realize the impact these connections can have until you look back.”
Jayden is always eager to make new connections and build relationships. Want to connect? Email Jayden at Jayden.Kazantsev@coloreado.edu!