We watched "Hamilton" as a family and loved it! Lin-Manual Miranda is genius and so talented. We can't stop singing the songs and I keep finding myself singing, "You'll be back" or "I am Alexander Hamilton". There was an incredible lesson in leadership that was introduced in the earliest scenes of the play and played out in the Election of 1800. Aaron Burr was portrayed as an excellent politician, but held no definite position. In the play, here's Burr's advice to Hamilton in the opening. "Talk less. Smile more. Don't let them know what you're against of what you're for." Hamilton's response was, "you can't be serious." Burr simply stated as a politician would. "You wanna get ahead? Fools who run their mouth off wind up dead." Burr followed his own advice and climbed the political ranks.
In the first year of my cleaning business, we were struggling big time! Every house was a chore and every dollar was spent before I even earned it. I'll never forget the house at Lake George. It taught me so much.
Six months ago, I met Michelle at a chamber luncheon and handed her my business card. After the luncheon, I sent a personal video message through VidYard as a follow-up to our meeting. She watched the video and replied back with gratitude. Then she told me she would keep my information on file. Then Corona hit and real estate was crushed, so I wasn't expecting anything.
I used to get nasty poison ivy as a kid. It would bubble up and itch like crazy. The worst case I ever got was on my face. My eyes were puffed nearly shut in the heat and humidity of July. It was torture. Thankfully, the doctor gave me a steroid to help heal it. You get the point. Now my son gets it bad. Last summer, he attended a survival action camp for Royal Rangers and in that camp learned something amazing. Jewelweed is a natural remedy for the poison ivy infection. The best part is that God placed the Jewelweed next to the Poison Ivy! The cure was with the poison. This is amazing and frustrating at the same time, as I never knew this and had to endure harsh Poison Ivy every summer.
In past episodes during COVID-19, I have shared at nauseum how I've educated my local community on the "9 Mistakes in Disinfecting". I have shared it in every group that would allow with several others upcoming! In my latest edition to my BIB networking group, I blazed through the 9 mistakes in 5 minutes. Since we were all on Zoom, some members had spouses in the background listening. I just wanted to get this information out there. My friend Bill Downs called me after the meeting. "Ken, my wife was listening to the call and said that we need to have Ken over here!" I scheduled the estimate, completed it the following day, and sent the proposal email by Saturday morning!
I am excited to introduce my friend and YouTube superstar, Cassandra Aarssen to Solo Cleaning School. I invited her to be an expert guest in the SMART Cleaning Tribe that I lead for team cleaning companies needing accountability around goals. Cassandra was a busy mom of two small kids when she started her home organizing business. At the time, she was also running a daycare with 9 children for extra money. She saw home organizing as a way to make extra money and possibly get out of the daycare business. It did WAY more than that! Her husband recommended that she record a video with her phone and upload to YouTube. Cassandra has continued this discipline for over 7 years and 750 videos! In this interview, she shares the Clutterbug story. You may be thinking... 'Ken, she isn't a solo cleaner. Why should I care?' For one, she was a solo operator of her home service business like you and I. Secondly, she turned her local brand into a global one that now earns her hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Check out these power quotes from Cassandra!
In my last solo cleaning business update, I shared how sharing my knowledge directly lead to my local pharmacy boosting a video I made leading to over 4,500 views! Collaboration is so vital. It's what networking done right really is. Like-minded local business owners sharing with each other for the greater good of the community. Life also gets in the way. I've shared how losing my Nana caused me to slow down work to attend to family matters. The last few weeks have been difficult as I'm the family point of contact for my autistic uncle. I had at least 2 full days of phone calls, emails, and updates to my family members and his team to take care of. I only share this to be real. I had less time and had to prioritize this week and I prioritized collaboration! Here are some examples of actions I took this week:
The spider monkey is extremely hard to catch due to its speed and agility. However, you can trap the monkey with a box and a fruit. That's all it takes. Place a piece of delicious fruit inside of a box designed to fit the monkey's arm. Once he grabs the fruit, he cannot let go, even though his clenched fist will not fit through the hole. The monkey is snared by its small thinking and desire for the immediate gratification of the delicious fruit. Ultimately, this is the undoing of the spider monkey.
In this podcast, I share an incredible case study from my friend Hugh Gbewonyo from Foot Solutions in Norristown, PA. Before I go into Hugh's case study, it's important to understand his industry and how he chose to niche. The shoe industry has been growing year-after-year from the 1-to-1 shoe salesman model to the box store. My dad was a shoe salesman in small private owned mall store who knew shoes, was great with people, and took the time with each. I sold shoes years later in a box store where I was trained to help as many as I could and how to properly greet and "sell" them. This is the retail model that took over every industry for the past 40 years. Hugh didn't want that kind of shoe store. He wanted to set himself apart and really help people with every day life by becoming a certified pedorthist. Although he's not a medical doctor for feet, he can analyze feet & gait to recommend custom shoes for people. Thus, his shoe store is a sub-niche from shoe stores.
While on a TLF mastermind call where Bee Evans was sorting out her various business projects, Vincent said something profound because Bee had a lot going on. "It's not the overwhelm that stops people, it's the work". Bee is a super hard worker and comes from an oil & gas family in Colorado. She knows work ethic. But she is torn as she feels called to continue her family business while starting various side businesses in professional corporate coaching, winning a spot on the Denver Broncos cheerleading roster, and being a wife and mom. She's got a lot going on to say the least! Each venture requires hard work and dedication and each has a huge payoff toward her family's goals and more specifically, her desire to help women in a new platform she's creating called "Tear Out the Tags".
In my last cleaning business update, I did not hoard my knowledge and it lead to opportunities to help my community. Since we're in the middle of a global pandemic, I'm doing whatever I can to serve my community in my expertise of cleaning. In part, it's actual cleaning and in part, knowledge. In this week's update, let's continue the theme of serving.
So many companies are ultra competitive, trying to dominate their local area. They hang onto proprietary information and get patents to own their knowledge. This is great and definitely needed so others don't steal your inventions and creative processes. But is it always good to keep your specialized knowledge close to the vest? I believe we are blessed with the ability to learn and comprehend and obligated to give back to help others. I'll even go so far to say that hoarding your knowledge in hopes of retaining your competitive advantage is selfish and unhealthy. My hope is that this episode opens your eyes that sharing your knowledge actually endears you to your target client and will not only increase your business, but serve your community.
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.
Ken Carfagno optimized his first solo cleaning business to $55,000 profit working 2 days per week without employees and then sold it for close to 6-figures! This podcast is designed to show you how to duplicate Ken's ISO Model as he does it again.