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.
I had so many quality influences growing up, but not many in the entrepreneurial path until my mom remarried Paul Tibbitts when I was 10 years old. Paul grew up with entrepreneur parents who owned multiple businesses, held real estate, owned an airplane, and understood excellence in all they put their hands to. I didn't understand this until later in life and this episode shares my journey.
In 15 years of solo cleaning, over 75 families have hired me to clean for them. However, I sold my business with 17. What happened to the others? It's simple. This is a seasonal service for some and a lifetime for others. I never tried to figure that out. I just served. I have lots of experience getting "let go", "moved on", "fired", etc. Some let me know face-to-face with a month's notice. Some stopped immediately through email, phone, or text. Others just disappeared (literally a UFO got 'em)! There was only one time that I fired myself. For the sake of privacy, we'll call this customer "Bob".
I break down the numbers in this episode. If you remember, I was at a low point in "Broken Record", making the connection between average SMART goals and average results. I wanted 2020 to connect great SMART goals to great results. Therefore, I had to make a critical change. For the previous 10 years, I've been creating ACTIVITY & OPTIMIZATION SMART goals on my main business and GROWTH SMART goals on my side passion project. This wasn't fruitless as I optimized my solo cleaning business big time, sold it, and we got debt free. However, I left a lot on the table. What could have happened to both my main cleaning business and side business if I reversed the way I set up goals? That's what 2020 would be.
In my last two Carfagno Cleaning updates, I shared the story of Doug Floro and how a seed turned into an opportunity. I started this week by completing his house cleaning proposal with 6 options and hit send! Like I always say, you never know! Right after the proposal, I wrote, published, and repurposed (to social media) a new cleaning newsletter.
I also sent out my monthly invoices and something amazing happened. One of my office clients asked if I would be willing to bill ahead for 6 months instead of one. That was an easy answer... "YES!" I read three things into this request:
Now, let's get to the meat of this week's episode. In 18 Gutter Balls, I shared the story of my infamous bowling game of 12 when I was 12. My 83-year-old Pop-Pop still heckles me about that day! The final question I posed was this. "Have you learned yet?" I was doing the same thing, over-and-over again, and expecting a different result. This is the definition of insanity by the late, great Albert Einstein. I was guilty of it that day with my engraved bowling ball and now I get to answer the question.
I shared a detailed account of how to wrap up your year in review. It's called Think Week. I have followed this process every year and even published the podcast episode ahead of my 2019 version. Let me get real and transparent. "I haven't learned yet, Pop-Pop." I started to do Think Week by reflecting of my 2019 goals and comparing them to what I accomplished. I achieved about 67%. Not bad. But I dug deeper and saw something that demanded explanation. So I pulled out my 2018 notebook for Think Week and saw the same pattern. To make matters worse, I pulled out every year back to 2012. This revealed that I have been a broken record.
I've been doing the same thing over and over and over, expecting my end-of-year results to change. But at the end of each year, I threw a 6 instead of a strike (using the bowling analogy). Some years, I did throw a gutter ball. Here's what I realized. I am a dreamer, an optimist. I love working on my passion projects and I've always had one. Early on, it was an Amway business with Teresa. Then it was writing a novel for dads to read to their kids, followed by coaching & consulting cleaning company owners. The mistake I repeated was setting my SMART goals to grow my passionate side-hustle, while setting the mark for my main business for "just enough". Whether I was an engineer or a solo cleaning owner, I have not set SMART growth goals to raise our level of income past 'just making it' to 'prospering'. I chose to set my SMART growth goals on my side-hustle, that I WANTED to do, yet had no proof of concept! My optimism kicked in as well because I made many assumptions that weren't realistic or attainable. So I'd complete a year with the same main business income and a side income that barely increased. But I was happy and rationalized that I did good because I loved doing it.
If you remember from my Make Your Goals SMART episode, an unattainable goal is SMRT. Sure, I figured out how to stabilize and optimize my solo cleaning business. I had SMART goals every 90 days, but they weren't for more income. I set them to have MORE TIME at the SAME INCOME. I looked at 8 Think Week notebooks and fell into a short term depression and frustration. I couldn't believe that after 30 years, I was still throwing gutter balls. Why would I NOT set growth goals on my main business that was tried and tested? I could have doubled my income so much faster. These are the questions I was left pondering and quite frankly, sobbing about on that hardwood floor with 8 notebooks.
This was so visceral that I was forced to make a change. Coming out of Think Week was different this time. 2020 was going to be different. I have labeled it VISION 20/20. "I have learned, Pop-Pop." I made the change and set my growth SMART goals on my new solo cleaning business and activity SMART goals on my side passion projects. I am super excited to see where this year ends up compared to last.
How about you?
Previous Show Mentioned: "Think Week"
The week started off great. In my last podcast update on my own solo cleaning business, I shared the story of Doug sliding another cleaning business's card across his desk and asking me what I thought of her. I spoke highly of her, even after he told me that he used her company for his own house. Well, I got an email from Doug on Monday asking if I would be willing to do a cleaning estimate for his house. I was amazed, scheduled an appointment, and completed it by the end of the week. It just goes to show that you never go wrong by sowing good seeds about others.
I share the full story in the episode, but I was torched on my mastermind call this week. The guys weren't impressed with my goals and how I was approaching the next 12 months. I tried defending myself, but they called me on it. Overall, it was a great call and I was challenged to do what I preach and get an accountability partner (see the Accountability Roadmap). John VanderMuelen. John is a good friend and MASTER of selling on Amazon. He runs a group holding other Amazon Sellers accountable and trains them.
I set up electronic payments for the first time after 15 years of running a cleaning business. I did my research and for now, chose Stripe. It's about 3% cost but it's easier for my new house cleaning clients and possibly an office or two. This gives me a new option for collecting money and not waiting or worrying about checks and bank deposits. It's streamlined.
This next meeting with my realtor friend, Denise Simone, is where the title for today's episode came from. Denise has a passion for the elderly and helping them downsize to fully enjoy the twilight of their lives. She told me a beautiful story of a former client. Betty is a widow that Denise helped downsize through crazy issues with mold, a broken septic, obtaining permits, and just 45 years of a lived-in home. Denise was her hero and did work way beyond real estate to help her client and friend to a better life. She even helped her clean the house a bit. Denise had a great line. "An old unkept house is like a broken down car." This was in reply to houses over time with neglect fall into disrepair. I shared an analogy about the brain and personal development. Our brains, businesses, and relationships don't stay the same. They also fall into disrepair with neglect. I was so impressed with Denise and was grateful for the time and for allowing me to share her story of Betty!
Previous Show Mentioned: "Blueberry Pie"
TLF Mastermind friends I mention: Andy Storch, Gustavo Fernandez, Jon Appino, John VanderMuelen,
Listen to this episode to hear the backstory and how our game of Giant Jenga went. I want to share the vital part and message in the show notes. We were at the critical point where there were no more potential blocks to pull. My daughter was faced with a critical decision. Does she go for the best option and face a 99% chance of failure? Or does she CREATE a new option?
I've literally never seen anyone do this in Jenga. Christianna lifted up the top half of the building and rotated it 90 degrees so that it fit together like Tetris. This created a loose block that she slid out and sat down to escape losing. My mouth dropped in awe as my initial reaction was, 'That is literally the most creative solution I've ever seen in Jenga'. We did wonder as a family if the move was legal, but we played on. Ultimately, Christianna did not lose.
I posted the video clip on Facebook with a question and the video? "I need a Jenga ruling! This is a the most creative solution I've ever seen in this game. But... is it legal?!" I got a lot of comments, but two back-to-back contrasting views really stood out. I won't mention names. One said, "If you're not going to play by the rules, don't play the game." The other said that she loved the out of the box creative thinking and that she will go far in life. I was so thrilled to see these two comments as they show the stark differences between the employee and entrepreneur's mindset.
Employees are trained to always follow the rules and stay inside the box. I mean no disrespect to the first commentor or to employees in general. I was an employee for over a decade and have great memories. I'm just stating that employees have been trained to be excellent direction followers. The better they follow directions, the better they do on the test and in the job. Now granted, those that are in leadership do think bigger. However, there is always someone giving them instructions.
In stark contrast, entrepreneurs are always stretching and redefining the new box. In fact, great entrepreneurs just say, "What box?" They are creative, curious, and think critically to solve difficult problems. It's what our awesome nation was built on! After reading this comment, I was so excited about my daughter's future as we train our kids in entrepreneur thinking! Way to go Christianna! I'm so proud of you!
If you like or identify with this level of thinking, check out the work of Seth Godin as it inspired so much of what I wrote and talked about here!he
Let's face it. You're going to mess up your communication as a business owner. You will say one thing and mean another. Or, you will think one thing and not fully communicate it. That was the case for me last week with a new client, Ellie. I was under the assumption she understood my 3-part cleaning plan because I had explained it in person. But I never wrote it out and therefore, the plan never existed. I executed the plan of part 2 and followed up with Ellie afterward to get cleaning feedback. She was very pleased with the master bathroom and other rooms I detail deep cleaned. However, she was unhappy that I "skipped" the guest bathroom when she had guests coming over in a few days. I'll let the podcast audio share the full detail of this story, but I will say that apologizing is an action verb! It's one thing to say, "I'm sorry." It's another thing to show it. I knew the right thing to do and I fixed it by going back and cleaning Ellie's bathroom for free and apologizing in person. She was so happy and it raised my trust factor big time.
This week I also met with Doug Floro of My Father's Business Wealth Management. He is the leader of the Believer's in Business Networking Group that I attend twice per month. Anyway, we wanted to do a 1-to-1, so we could get to know each other better as I'm still a new member. The meeting was in his beautiful office and we definitely had a fantastic conversation. At the end, Doug did something unexpected. He slid a business card of another cleaning company across his desk and asked, "Ken, do you know this person?" I recognized the name and company. Although I didn't know much, I did know that she was part of a larger franchise and had recently upgraded her office as her business was growing well. My answer to this question would be a seed and I knew it. Would I say that she was an average company and that I'm way better, in hopes that he would hire me to clean his office? Or would I say share what I knew and find a way to edify her? If you know me at all, I don't even think like the first option. I edified her success and then asked why. Doug told me that she was his cleaner for their home. There wasn't anything else to say. I just said, "That's great! I hope she keeps doing a great job." It was a great meeting, for sure!
I also worked hard on my proposal for Sammy's Bullfrog Cafe with my recommendations for daily, weekly, biweekly, and monthly presentation cleaning. Then I introduced Jim Hardy to the owners for a potential package deal to get all the cleaning done. I heard back from Kayla the next day and she was very grateful for the introduction to Jim and she was going to read the proposal and thanked me again. To wrap up the week. I attended a play that my kids were in at church. There was a couple behind me that I didn't recognize, so I introduced myself. He wanted my cleaning card and, OF COURSE, I had one. That's a huge tip! It turns out that the husband is the CEO of a local charity. We're going to get together for breakfast soon. You just never know!
Past Show Mention - "My Name is Kevin LaCombe"
January 2008 was a very busy time in my cleaning business as I was cleaning all the time, managing employees, and trying to spend time with my wife, 3 year-old-son Kenny, and newborn daughter Christianna. By late 2008, I changed my cleaning model to solo cleaning and never went back. I cleaned for years alone and got quite used to the lifestyle of listening to audio books, podcasts, music, and talk radio while I cleaned, then came home to play with my kids.
Never in a million years could I have ever imagined that one day I'd have those two little kids working alongside me in the family business. My mind was blown when Kenny (15) and Christianna (12) cleaned a few offices with me Thursday night. I'm not sure why adding Christianna gave me the wake up call as Kenny has been cleaning offices with me for 3 years. Maybe it's because I wasn't cleaning when Kenny was born, but I was in full swing during Christianna's birth. Maybe it's because she's a Daddy's girl. I don't know. I can say this. We teach our children how to think like an entrepreneur and help them start businesses. We believe in developing a great work ethic in ourselves and kids. Our family cleaning business is an excellent resource to give real-life experience to our kids in both of those goals.
In the Pros of Solo Cleaning, I forgot to add this pro. You own a family business and cleaning is a worthy trade to teach your kids. There are no guarantees in the workplace with college degrees. The trades are dying as young people want to pursue the glamorous digital marketplace. This is a tremendous opportunity for us. I encourage each of you to think long-term about your cleaning business. If you are in the "February of Cleaning" and you Don't Want to Do This Anymore, listen to this podcast episode to inspire you to push through!
Everything is NOT all flowers and sunshine in a solo cleaning business. I have shared solid mindset to grow and so many pros to this amazing business as I've grown my own solo business a second time. But it's not always great. There are Cons of Solo Cleaning. In this episode, I wanted to be REAL and share when I reached my "February of Cleaning" and wanted to quit! Essesntially, I had a pity party and needed the encouragement of my wife to get me through.
I shared the story of Ian Traynor of Albany Pure Cleaning. He was so excited to start his new solo cleaning business. It was summer time, warm, sunny, and didn't get dark until 9 pm. I warned him about February, saying "Ian, February is coming. I know you're excited now but a time is coming when you will question everything. You'll be leaving the house in the dark and cold and snow of Upstate New York and coming back home to the dark and cold and ice. Your supplies will be frozen as well as your car every morning.You'll wonder why you're doing this. But remember that spring and summer are coming again." I meant this in a literal and metaphorical sense. Spring and summer are literally more fun and tolerable for cleaning. However, in a metaphorical sense, Ian's business will go through seasons. The first season is shiny and new, which leads to the emotion of excitement. The last season is optimizing and great profit and great mindset, leading to the emotion of excitement. But the middle season, the "February of Cleaning", will be old and boring and cold, leading to the natural emotions of depression and frustration.
You'll have to listen to my account on this podcast, but I share what I was feeling after cleaning Erika's house for the second time. I worked so hard to get two new clients and I was excited to start rebuilding my company. Then, I started the actual cleaning and realized it was going to be hard work. I realized that I needed to get my mind back into "Cleaning Mode". That's why podcasts like this can be so beneficial. I had my pity party as I was tired after cleaning two houses. That's when my wife stepped in and encouraged me. I told Teresa. "I don't want to do this anymore." I was questioning my career and if I would have to clean solo the rest of my life. Then I talked to Rachel Hicks of Slightly OCD Cleaning while doing an office later that night and came up with a plan that excited me again. I have fully trained Ian, who was an entrepreneur looking for an opportunity. She reminded me that I trained her to double her hourly rate as a cleaning owner. That's what I'm great at and what I love doing. Rachel helped me to dig out of my season of pity and also encouraged me. I started to see and visualize the spring and it excited me again.
Once I got my mind straight, I noticed an email in my box. Kayla from Sammy's Bullfrog Cafe asked if I could come in to meet with Sammy to discuss cleaning. I set up the estimate and met with Sammy while the restaurant was closed. It was very productive and I sent a proposal out a few days later to serve Sammy. I offered a comprehensive plan to cleaning the cafe with their existing staff, an outsourced cleaning service (me), and carpet & floor company (my friend Jim). They were thankful and we'll see, maybe they'll be a new client!
We are all going to face our "February of Cleaning". The strong ones will endure through determination and disciplined thought. It's totally amazing how our emotions follow our thoughts.
I'm calling an audible to my original plan. We started this now 5-part series with Goal Setting I "What is Your Why" and talked about the most important aspect of goal-setting. It's your reason for getting up and doing what you do. The "5 Why's" exercise is an effective way to peel back the layers of your reasons to get to the core of what makes you tick. We are not robots, but emotional creatures. Mike Michalowicz, in his epic book "Profit First", shares why rational accounting doesn't work. He uses an example of plate sizes. Do you know that the average size has grown from 9" to 13" in diameter. That's DOUBLE! Over the same time period, the average American male's weight increased from 160 lbs to 190 lbs! Why? Mike goes to say that humans consume everything they are given. It's human behavior. They also use every available amount of time to finish a project and every dollar to fill their budgets. This is why Americans don't have 'extra' savings on hand or 'spare' time or 'uneaten' calories. There is a name for this. It's called Parkinson's Law.
Parkinson's Law states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." We have to fight against this human behavior to win and learn how to Kill Parkinson!
Our SMART goals are subject to Parkinson's Law too. If you set a SMART goal with a 'T' of 3 months, you will either miss the goal or make it just in time even if you could have done it faster. This is human behavior. I want to encourage you to set goals so that you can complete them in the beginning and get the wins. However, you need to get more aggressive as you progress. I'm going to use this example. I interviewed my friend Courtney Wisely of Rescue My Maid Service on a FB Live to help her set a SMART goal. She wanted to complete a technology course for cleaning service owners to help them be more productive and automated. I asked her if she could get it done by December (12 months away). Her answer was "Heck, yeah!" Then I asked if she could have it done this month. She said, "Heck, no!" I asked about June, which was 6 months away. "Um... yes." She wasn't as confident, but knew she could. Then I said April or 4 months away. She was very uncomfortable, but believed it was possible. I encouraged her to set her SMART goal for April. Here's the psychology behind this and it looks at the 'A' in SMART or 'Attainable'. I pressed Courtney and discovered she could achieve this massive goal in 4 months. However if she set the goal like most people for 12 months, Parkinson's Law would kick in and she'd allow the work to expand to fit the time. That would waste 8 months of potential goals or create a huge Opportunity Cost. Courtney won't do this. She will set the goal for 4 months and kill it this year. Just keep in mind that Courtney is a hyper-focused goal-achiever. We're not all there. So start where you are. The 'A' in the SMART goal has to be defined by YOU depending on where you are in your goal-setting journey. What's barely attainable now will be a joke in a year, so you cannot continue to set the same goals.
The reason I added a 5th part to this Goal-Setting series was to show that human behavior drives your completion of goals. You need to have an emotional 'Why' which determines the 'R' in your SMART goal. You need behavioral 'A' in your SMART goal to kill Parkinson. And you need an accountability partner to ride with you along the journey to point out when you are veering off the path or taking too long to get something done. Face it. Goal-setting is 80% emotional and 20% rational.
My Pop-Pop has been the man I've wanted to perform for my whole life. My father and I are both named after him. My son is named after him. For most of my life, Pop-Pop has been an encourager... except for this one time!
When I was 12-years-old, I was competing in a Saturday morning bowling league where I was one of the best in my league for my age. I carried an average around 135. But on one occasion, I defied all sense and threw a low-game of 12. There are only 10 frames in a game of bowling and if you don't mark in the 10th, you only get 20 throws of the ball down the lane. In this game, I threw 18 / 20 gutter balls. My score was embarrassment enough. But not on this day, nor the 30 years since.
My Pop-Pop watched every throw. He could see what I was doing wrong and had the answer. He was in the right perspective to help me make the adjustments, but I was too dang stubborn to accept his help. So what did he do?
He heckled me like the Volkswagon guy in Happy Gilmore. I'll let you listen to the episode to get the gist of it
My Pop-Pop reminds me over and over again about this epic failure of a bowling game. I reply. "Pop, that was 30 years ago!" His response is powerful. "Have you learned yet?" What about you? Are you throwing gutter balls over and over again? Do you have a mentor or coach that sees a broader perspective of your game, but you are too stubborn? Get over yourself and adjust! Change your approach and increase your score.
Dionne was a struggling single mom. She was willing to do anything to make it, including moving to a different state and trying out a crazy business... cleaning houses. If you're a mom listening to Dionne's interview, I fully believe you will be encouraged to know it's not easy but you can do it!
Dionne shares how surprised and honored she was when I invited her to join the Solo Cleaning School as a founding member. The idea of paying for a membership forced her to take personal leadership for her future and she dropped this insane metaphor -
"Don't worry about how much the shovel is going to cost if you have a gold mine."
It's a great message as cost and investment have completely different meanings. Cost implies consumption. You buy and use it up and it's gone. On the other hand, investment implies growth. You buy and use it to get more of what you need. Dionne illustrates this perfectly as to why she decided to join our School!
Carfagno Cleaning is a corporation with various divisions. We have a this podcast and the Solo Cleaning School. I serve team cleaners in the SMART Cleaning Tribe. This all falls under my 'consulting' division. My main division is my own solo cleaning business that I am rebuilding in the Philly suburbs after sellling my first one to Ian Traynor of Albany Pure Cleaning. I hope you've been enjoying this podcast and the journey I've taken you on.
This week was a short one as Thanksgiving cut off 2 days and my family was traveling to New Jersey for a long weekend. I started the week with a meeting with Ken Byler of Higher Ground Consulting. I met him and really connected at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon a few weeks ago. This was a fun meeting. I am used to asking questions and listening, but I met with a greater master than I. Ken skillfully got me to talk the whole time and then asked how he could help me. I literally ran out of time to help him. You got me, Ken! Anyway, here's the answer I gave him. "How do I best use or network in the chamber?" Ken's answer floored me. He said this. "Find out the available Chamber committees and see where you can help. They meet once per month for an hour. Pour into it and show your value. This builds relationships with chamber members and raises your level of trust. From here you will Get a name for doing and contributing. Others in the chamber will want to connect 1-to-1. Set the meetings and connect more. This will lead to lasting relationships, leads, and it helps the community through your chamber leadership efforts." This was a drop the mic answer.
Outside of cleaning the usual 2 offices, playing a Thanksgiving flag football game that ended in an emergency room visit, and going to NJ for excellent family time, there was one other thing I did this week. It took me all week! I worked on the 3 proposals for Gary Volpe. This is a huge opportunity. One is for his main offices & showroom, another for the chamber offices inside of his building, and the third for his old building. This was a job much larger than I usually do, so I had to connect with a janitorial business owner for his opinion and he helped quite a bit. Gary's building is 13,000 sqft of office and showroom space. The other 25,000+ sqft is warehouse space. I estimate that I would be cleaning between 40-50% of the 13,000 sqft every week. I won't bore you with the math here, but I was able to scale his large business to a size that I am used to cleaning. This gave me a ballpark for where his building should price. Trust me, it took a long time to figure this out and hours of itemizing his large building. I was able to complete the 3 proposals and email them at 10pm on Tuesday. This barely met my promise to get it done by Tuesday. I was so happy to pour so much effort into giving well-thought out proposals and even more thrilled to be done!
I mentioned the power of the new Google My Business offering in my last update. I collected my first review this week. Yay! My goal is to get 20-25, so this is a great start! I just need to keep asking. And isn't that a great message for all business owners. Just keep asking.
We're at part 4 of our goal-setting series. You should have a great handle on your Why, why you set goals, and how to create a SMART goal. These are all vital steps in getting traction and achieving. However, there is more to the equation. Let's talk about an accountability roadmap. Think about a huge map of the country. There's a car off on the side of the map. Where do you want to go? Well, that's a silly question. We first need to know where you are now on the map.
Step 1: Know Your Numbers! You have to know your business numbers, which includes your key performance indicators (KPIs) or scorecard, profit & loss, and where you want to go. This will help you assess exactly where you now compared to your goals and allow you to have the measurables to set solid SMART goals.
Step 2: Know Your WHY! Now that you're car is off the side and on the map in the location of where YOU are, you can pour the fuel into the vehicle and set the direction you would like to travel.
Step 3: Determine Your Route! You will need a series of milestones every 90 days in the form of SMART goals to create the dotted line on your map to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
Step 4: Put on Your Wheel! You need wheels to make your gassed-up car to roll to its destination. My friend Courtney Wisely of Rescue My Maid Service uses these 5 areas to measure the health of your cleaning company: Human Resources, Operations, Marketing, Administration, Finances. I added a 6th area and that is Goal Setting & Accountability. We can place these 6 criteria as 'spokes' on a wheel. Simply segment the spokes with 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Then grade yourself on each to start your journey and connect the dots. You can see this exercise done on my FREE SMART Goals Masterclass. You will need to create a circle so your 'wheel' can get you to your destination.
Step 4: Get a Passenger! We are human and therefore emotional creatures who get distracted easily. It sounds so logical to set the goals and simply drive your car from point A to point B. I wish it were that easy. You will likely get distracted with shiny objects or in some cases, personal struggles may attempt to derail your plans. This is why you can't drive this journey alone. You need a passenger. They are called an accountability partner. Their job is to keep you on the dotted line by monitoring your 'Wheel' and making sure you are not getting distracted. They can become your lifeline, especially if your route takes you over or winding through the Rocky Mountains! What is an accountability partner? I like the Wikipedia defintion: "An accountability partner is a person who coaches another person in terms of helping the other person keep a commitment." Who do you choose? I recommend you create 1-way and 2-way accountability with people you admire and respect. In 1-way accountability, someone is holding you accountable only. They are someone ahead of you and you greatly admire and respect them. You don't want to let them down. They stretch you. This creates respect accountability. You become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Don't choose someone that isn't in life where you want to go. In 2-way accountability, you are buddied up with someone like-minded with similar goals. You are moving in the same direction and can help each other get to your destination. They will have strengths that help you and vice versa. This creates competitive accountability. You still will not want to let them down. The irony is that you will work harder NOT to let your accountability partner down than you will work for you. It's human nature.
Other References and Resources:
It was GO-TIME for Bridgett and I this week! We met on Monday at a coffee shop to connect and to prepare our double showcase presentation to our MCBA group. Once we made the connection that we were both in the same business, the "business of first impressions", our presentation was like riding a bike going downhill. We selected fellow member Vernessa Hopkins and discussed how we could help her in a way that was engaging to the meeting for 40 minutes. There would be NO call-to-action to the other members except for Vernessa to incorporate the recommendations we gave her. Bridgett and I had an opening, relevant stories, and the word congruency. We both agreed that the first impression that Vernessa's written content provided had to be congruent with the first impression that her office environment provided. This set the stage for each of us to share for 10 minutes on 3-5 recommendations Vernessa could incorporate to strengthen her first impressions. The double showcase was set and it went amazing! The others were fully engaged, leaning forward, nodding their heads, and asking great questions afterward. Vernessa was very thankful. Bridgett and I were the first to ever create a showcase 'alliance' to help another. And that's what the 'A' in MCBA stands for. Other members were talking at the end of the meeting and starting to form their own strategic alliances.
Gary Volpe couldn't make our showcase as he was taking care of his president's role in the Rotary. We met right after at his office for an estimate. I can't share details of individual estimates for privacy sake. I can say this. I was so impressed with the 15 foot high mural of the Volpe Family business through it's 50 years of operation. Gary took me on a tour of his 40,000 sqft office building and told me great stories and introduced me to associates. I wasn't expecting this, but we also went to his old building for a second estimate. This is where the title of this episode comes from. We walked into a bathroom. There was some toilet paper on the ground by the trash can. He saw me going to pick it up and he stopped me because he wanted his employees to 'see it' and do it. I said. "You knew I was going to pick it up, didn't you?" He responded. "Yep, you're a cleaning guy. I know you would." This was a great meeting and I am so grateful for Gary's time and friendship. It's amazing how this is working. I already set myself apart by being a business man who happens to clean (from Andrea Szlavic). I am an introvert who has read books to be better with people and not afraid to network and try new things. I go to new network groups on faith and knew no one. A month later, they all know me. I'm a giver in the group and now Gary is giving me a huge opportunity.
This week was a BIB group meeting as well. We meet for breakfast in a local diner, open in prayer, discuss an educational piece, do two short 5 minute mini showcases, and connect. The group is small, but I enjoy the fellowship and you never know what will come from it! During the 30-second commercials, I used my time to help another member (just like Bridgett and I did at MCBA) and it went over really well. Another member said to me afterward, "I really appreciate how you used your time to talk about someone else. I need to get you to my house for a cleaning estimate". Are you starting to see that people hire people that they know, like, and trust!?
In my last update, I shared how we got our first two house cleaning clients. I had already cleaned for Ellie and now it was time to start at Erika's house. Normally, I wrap my initial cleaning into the first 2-3 visits of a new biweekly client. Most really appreciate this as it saves them from the big $500+ initial cleaning. A few items of interest occurred by I was cleaning. To set the table, Erika and her husband work out of the house and her parents are temporarily living there as their new home is built. Erika's mom is the nanny. She was watching me clean and on multiple occasions said this. "Ooh, the other girl didn't do that." It felt good and Erika should be thrilled. I also got a call from Marci at Edward Jones. They chose another company. I could tell that Marci was disappointed as the current partner didn't see the value of my presentation cleaning. I hope it works out for them and if not, I'll be ready to come off the bench and hit a home run for their company!
I also facilitate the SMART Cleaning Tribe, that I affectionately call 'our cleaning family'. We are close to 20 cleaning company owners from around the U.S. and Canada who needed a tribe to belong to, set SMART goals each month, and be held accountable to achieving them. I run 5 live video conference calls per month with one an expert call. This month's expert call was on Wednesday afternoon and we all got a dose of millionaire mindset as Crystal Hamm of the Go-2-Girls in Raleigh, NC put on a clinic of how to grow a 7-figure cleaning company in under 3 years. She loves her people and her people love her. One of the takeaways I got was this. Her marketing is a machine with over 300 leads coming in every month. Of the 300, 50 are coming in totally free through a new offering by Google called 'My Business'. Crystal has a strong profile and over 100 reviews. This is generating incredible free SEO for her company. I've had this on my list to do since coming back from Gatlinburg, TN and the Total Life Freedom Mastermind Retreat. But, I wasn't there yet. I strengthened my profile after the call and asked for 3 reviews.
Have you picked up on my marketing strategy? It's not one thing and one thing only. I am doing everything and assessing what is working.
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.