‘Home Improvement’ star likes to be in charge

Email to a Friend

Bruce Dorn

Zachery Ty Bryan had an entrepreneurial spirit even as a child. Even though he was a regular on the long-running hit TV show, “Home Improvement,” Bryan found that being an actor had limitations, because he had to rely on others to get work.

“You are not in full control of your destiny, which is a frustration,” Bryan tells Consumers Digest.

He also wasn’t in control of his money. Because of child-actor-exploitation laws in California, Bryan had to rely on others to handle the money that he made while playing Brad Taylor, who was the oldest son of the family, for 9 years. “I saw my checks when I was a kid, but I couldn’t touch [the money] until I was 18,” he says.

When he reached 18, he branched out financially after being invested in real estate and mutual funds, as a way to diversify his investments.

Since then, Bryan either opened or invested in numerous businesses in Southern California, such as restaurants, nightclubs, sports bars and pizzerias. Like all entrepreneurs, Bryan had success and failure. Bryan says he learned a lot from his failures.

The biggest lesson was that he couldn’t just rely on others, Bryan says. “You don’t just throw money in ventures and hope they work out for you. You have to get involved and stay involved to see where and how the money is being spent.”

Bryan stays involved in his current ventures through weekly calls with his business partners to discuss goals and how to reach them. Although he believes that you shouldn’t treat all businesses the same, some elements are universal. For example, Bryan says he won’t go into business with anyone whom he doesn’t know, and he performs background checks on his partners.

“Whether you put in sweat or financial equity, it’s how you work together as a team,” he says.

Bryan has branched out further these days as an entrepreneur into a movie-production company, a bitcoin-transaction company and a celebrity-content social-media mobile app. Such investments make up 30 percent of his investment portfolio, Bryan says.

As for the investments that he had when he was a child, Bryan says he still has 40 percent in real estate and 30 percent in stocks, bonds and mutual funds.