Have you ever had a dream that kept you up at night? I have. In March 2010, I was making up creative adventure stories with my 5-year-old son Kenny at bedtime where he was the main character in the stories. We were connecting so much as father & son, that my wife encouraged me to record them. I listened. By the end of the summer of 2010, I had a complete 10-book adventure, fantasy series filling up 22 hours of mp3. As I searched for the next step, a deep desire welled inside of me to not only convert the stories into a book for my son but to get them published. 'What if these stories could help other families?' This thought and desire was confirmed when I was given a bible verse as a mission statement - Luke 1:17 - He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
I host an accountability & mastermind call every Monday for the SMART Cleaning Tribe. We are a family of cleaning service owners with teams (that used to be solo). I'm the architect of this group of amazing people, always looking for the 1% that desires to set monthly SMART goals and be held accountable to their achievement. Check out the episode "The Accountability Roadmap" to learn more about the 1% club.
I've been reading a morning devotional called "Daily Readings from It's Your Time" by Pastor Joel Osteen. On page 131, I read "Be a Bounce-Back Person" in amazement. Do you know that the little palm tree can endure the worst of hurricanes, when all other trees are thrown over? I didn't! The palm tree is uniquely designed by God to bend, but not break. Then, the palm tree grows after the storm because the root system is strengthened by the bending of the tree. It's absolutely inspiring and incredible! In this episode, I encourage you to be like the palm tree. Bend and do not break. Then use the storm to grow from!
Right in the middle of the hardest emotional week of my life, I took my oldest son Kenny on day trip to Jack Frost & Big Boulder Ski Resort in the Pocono Mountains. There are two monster lessons I learned this day and wanted to share them both.
The week of February 17th, 2020 started out with a little tension. My Nana was admitted into the hospital with pneumonia. She fought this 2 years prior and beat it, so it was a little tense but I felt good about her health. I captured my business week in "Top of Mind". Typically, I would cover the next week in business and share a lesson. However, I had a month that felt like 1 long week. It was all a blur.
This week started off with an excellent "Freedom Zone" in my Total Life Freedom Mastermind. The guys already knew that I landed a new client because the previous cleaner was uninsured. I gave an update how Kim was so happy with my first cleaning that she promoted me inside of a neighborhood closed group. Then I went on to explain that her neighborhood is a new development with half of the houses under construction and the builder's model home at the corner. They knew that my goal was to add 15 houses in 2020 of a certain demographic, size, location, and price. Once I mentioned one last piece of information; this house is my ideal client and the others in Kim's neighborhood are duplicates. The mastermind pounced and said, "Ken, you need to farm this neighborhood." Think of the possibility of having 10-15 new houses of the same type, demographic, and price hundreds of feet apart. I could optimize this solo business 4 houses per day at $175 per visit. That $75k in revenue on 2 days per week or $62k per year income/profit! I could add a 3rd day and earn $100k in profit on 3 days per week cleaning in one neighborhood.
We are not out of the woods yet. Many are still under stay-at-home orders, while less-affected areas are returning to work. Wherever you are, my Believers in Business Networking Group can help. A few weeks ago, we put out a document with tips from each member's expertise and personal experience to help survive & thrive through this crisis. I think you'll find these tips useful for your business and family. My own contribution was my tips on the "9 Mistakes in Disinfecting"
"It Just Got Real" was a very tough episode to release. I shared how my own mom was in the hospital being treated for various life-threatening after effects of COVID-19. Our whole family came together over the past 2 weeks to really show our strength, unity, and love for our mom. In that episode, I was very honest about how the pandemic had only affected us financially until my mom was in the hospital. It just got real and suddenly, I didn't care about money too much.
For the past several episodes, I have focused in on the current crisis of COVID-19 in hopes of helping you through it. It's May and spring is in the air. States are beginning their reacclamation to the world. I felt it was time to catch you up on my own solo cleaning business and get back to the show format that I began. Before I go backward, let me share an awesome story. In "Local Heroes", Ellen Johnston of Above & Beyond Housekeeping in Reading, PA was ecstatic as her company's video clip on the news of passing out free sanitizer to her community was picked up in a video by musical superstar Alicia Keys. Ellen's very own Cary Extraordinary (my nickname) is featured at the 53-sec mark in Alicia's new song "Good Job" music video! So cool!
I've watched the devastation that cleaning companies face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I've listened to all sides of the quarantine argument and I'll tell you this... when Corona hits your loved ones and you get a gut punch, your perspective changes. It's one thing to feel the pain of the financial strain and only hear of the health strain many face from Corona. It's an entirely different thing to feel the pain of a loved one fighting for their life in the hospital with the disease. That was me this week. And it's my mom. Not to mention, my step dad and 2 of my sisters have tested positive and been through torture. I am not advocating that we keep our country in lock down forever, but I am so much more empathetic to those that have dealt with this virus on a human level and understand what they've been going through. Please take a moment and be thankful that you're only problem is financial compared to what others are dealing with.
Letra was working for a large national cleaning service when her boss recognized an entrepreneur's heart inside of her. Instead of offering a promotion, Letra was offered mentorship and the opportunity to go solo. This is unheard of. Businesses don't launch other businesses unless they are franchises or financially incentivized. That's why Letra thought she was being punked.
Check out this solo cleaning story and the plan she formed recently in her marketing with a little help from yours truly. Plus, be sure to listen for these quotes during the interview!
"If I wanted to get to the next level, I had to get out of my comfort zone."
"You can't grow without taking risks."
If you're in the Houston, TX Area, make sure to check out Letra's company, Ms. Moody's Cleaning Service!
Ellen Johnston (Above & Beyond Housekeeping Services / Wyomissing, PA) - 69 News in Reading, PA on 4/24/20 headlined "Housekeeping company gives out free hand sanitizer"
"I was in the disinfectant aisle, just because I wanted to see it, and there was an older couple, say in their 80's. There was no disinfectant of any kind," recalled Ellen Johnston. She overheard the wife ask her husband a question we all have probably asked over the past couple weeks. "It was so sad," Johnston shared. "She said, 'What are we gonna do?' and he said, 'I guess we will just have to drive around and look at other places.'" So Johnston and her staff decided to create a temporary place to give out much-needed refills of hand sanitizer, even the though the company is struggling. "We are down about 95% among our clients," Johnston said. "We are trying to spread the work that we have among our employees to keep them working," Johnston said.
In a grocery store aisle or anywhere else for that matter, nobody should have to do without. "Everybody has to dig deep and see how they can help their community," Johnston said.
Your kids are home and they are driving you crazy! We've been homeschooling for 10 years and wanted to impart some wisdom on how you could spark their passions with a little curiosity! There is a lot of busy work given to your kids by their schools. They want to maintain control of what they learn and how. That's fine. Here's what I recommend. Put away the devices and turn off the TV. That's when you can make curiosity the curriculum.
I learned work ethic by working and humility by being humbled. Here's what I mean. I watched my mom and day each work very hard toward their goals, but I truly learned work ethic when I had to do house cleaning chores every week. Over time, I even learned to like it and appreciate it. I was paid for my work and always had money in my savings account. It felt good and I could buy things that I wanted. I also learned humility as cleaning toilets and taking out trash is not glamorous and can be quite nasty. I learned that excellence in my work at every level strengthened my character. I have my parents to thank for that!
Let's start with a great resource. What is the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) current understanding about transmission from their website?
Over my 15 years of professional cleaning for home & small business owners, I have seen that 90% of people DO NOT disinfect correctly. They fall prey to one of the "9 Mistakes in Disinfecting". This episode summarizes these 9 mistakes.
This episode is for my US-based solo cleaners only. President Trump signed the CARES Act into law on Friday, March 27th. In this 900 page, $2 trillion bill, congress has earmarked $350 billion in personal stimulus to American families and $350 billion to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to disperse to small businesses across the fruited plain. The personal stimulus is automatic and requires no action. If the Treasury already has your bank's direct deposit on file, you'll receive your money in April 2020. Otherwise, it may take a few months. If you're like me, you just assumed you didn't qualify for any of the other $350 billion. Well, you're wrong. This episode covers the 4 main portions of the CARES Act that the self-employed can take advantage of. Some of the money is first-come, first-serve, so get applying!
We are in a challenging time as we navigate the devastating effects of the Coronavirus. We need to be wise, use caution, and protect ourselves and families. But we also need to control our emotions and try to view things optimistically. A great example emerged a few weeks before the corona outbreak with my daughter. She was struggling as a pre-teen and allowing a small irritant to throw off her whole day. I told her the beautiful story of the oyster and the pearl. First, an irritant enters the oyster. It usually opens it's shell to eat and stays closed to not be eaten. Sometimes sand or small organisms enter. The oyster feels threatened and secretes a substance called Meka (or mother of pearl) to fight the intruder. This is the same substance that the mantle or inside of the shell is made of. The oyster also secretes a protein to act as glue to continue covering this intruder layer after layer. In the end is a pearl. To the oyster, it just transformed something irritating into something that is safe. To mankind, the pearl is of significant value. One such pearl from the Australian South Seas was recently sold for $1.5M. I shifted gears with my daughter and told her to be like the oyster. Turn your irritants into something beautiful. I now say the same to everyone reading this or listening to my podcast.
I begin this episode with a real estate investing story from my brilliant cousin Seth. He is not a big time cash buyer in the real estate world. Every time he tries to compete on their level and get to the houses at the pre-foreclosure or auction stage, he is beaten because he cannot compete with cash. Seth had to find another way. Make sure to listen to this podcast to see the shear brilliance of Seth's advantage and how he is buying properties in his area.
This week started amazing. Lead #2 Kim (from Erika's recommendation) hired me for cleaning. The story of the hire is worth sharing. They were weary of keeping their old cleaner as they were uninsured and minor property damage occurred. I educated Kim on the risk of hiring uninsured cleaners. This lead to a great in-person discussion and estimate. I sent the proposal directly after and they hesitantly agreed. The hesitancy came from her husband that I didn't speak to. He was strictly comparing prices and said I was higher. I pushed back and recommended that they don't allow the current cleaner to come back into their house without proof of insurance. Kim took the advice and her cleaner gave an excuse. They hired me right away.
Perfectionism is a big problem in the cleaning industry. It took me over 15 minutes to say it in the podcast. It's really not that complex. Perfection is working hard to make YOU as happy as possible and you may never get there. Excellence is working hard to make THE CUSTOMER as happy as possible and you absolutely can get there.
I alluded to this story in "There is a Huge Difference". If you'd like to hear this full story, listen to the episode. The quick version is this. I was working from home and noticed a car in our driveway. They were upset and waiting for something. After a half hour, I knew action needed to happen. But what would I do? I chose to assume the best in this person and it paid off big time. The stranded motorist was the owner of a local chocolate factory. Six months later, they remembered me when they needed cleaning. This week, I was able to get the estimate done for Asher's Chocolate. It was a blast! The best part was meeting the 4th, 5th, and 6th generation owners. Great people. Great culture.
The week started with a text referral. I had no idea who the client was until talking to her and connecting the dots to Erika lead #5. Here's the text. "Hello Ken, my daughter got your info from FB about cleaning. Can you send me information about your services?" I could have easily called her, but I used what I learned from "70% Happens Before the Phone Call", asked for her name, and then sent her my website to learn more about our company. She responded with her name, Diane, and thanked me. By the end of the day, she had done her research and wanted to talk, so I scheduled a phone call. The phone call lead to an in-person estimate and emailed proposal by the end of the week.
In Marcus Sheridan's "They Ask You Answer", the author makes a powerful statement. "On average, 70% of the buying decision is made before the prospect talks to the company." This is amazing news.
This week started off great! I got the email back from Doug Floro that they are ready to start me this week. Yay! I've added my 3rd new house cleaning client. Another email came in early in the week from Scott from Asher's Chocolate. They were looking to get a window cleaning estimate. I connected with Scott, he wanted to get quotes on office deep cleaning, floor cleaning, and window cleaning. At the end of the conversation, he said something about his owner recommending to call me and something about being stuck in my driveway. Oh, there is a great story here that I touch on in the podcast but I'll reserve the full story for a later episode.