Would you like to know the one book that will absolutely change your life? Come on! Wouldn't you like to know how to cut through the thousands of self-help books out there to the one book that sums it all up? It's so much work to read all of those books. What if you could just listen to this podcast episode and hear my answer to the best book I ever read? Wouldn't that be awesome? It's the perfect microwave answer. You can take your uncooked mind and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes and presto... you have wealth mentality.
I talk about freedom on this podcast a lot. I talk about finances and building your company a lot. I also talk about family and keeping the main thing, the main thing. But I haven't talked about a topic that is as important if not more important than all of them. Let's talk about our health. In this podcast, I'm going to simply share a story of my own health journey from that of trusting doctors to taking ownership of my own health and being proactive. This has lead me to partner with doctors and health professionals in order to create the most healthy experience possible. Do you know why this is so important to me? I'm 44 years old with 5 kids between 4 and 16. I can still get down on the floor to play and out in the woods to hike and camp. I want to do that with my grandkids and great-grandkids. Therefore, I need to work hard to get healthy and wealthy.
Resources - In this podcast, I mentioned "The Model Health Show" by Shawn Stevenson. Check it out. There are so many hacks you can do to improve your health from anti-inflammatory diets, to cutting wifi while to sleep, supplements, walking every day, and so on. I highly recommend that you find a medical partner that you can work with to achieve your goal.
I've built my cleaning company for 16 years solo and have operated under my own set of personal core values. I've communicated them in my marketing system and they have earned me better, higher paying clients that stay with me a long time. However, I've never had to document them or communicate them to a team. My coach, Josh Melton, has been driving this point home recently. He recommended that I re-read the book, "Traction" by Gino Wickman and complete the EOS® VisionTraction Organizer or the VTO. This process is so helpful because it forces me to extract my most inner and core beliefs about me and my company and share them in my vision. I have never done this before. It was scary at first. But now, it energizes me and that's a true tell if my foundation is right. I should be able to communicate my mission, vision, and values. Before I dive in, let me give thanks where thanks is due. I've already mentioned Josh. Josh, if you're listening... thank you! I want to also thank Kevin Smith of Grace Home Cleaning in Omaha, NE. Check out my interview with Kevin called, "It's Grace for a Reason". Kevin shares his mission and vision in this interview and it truly inspired me. I shared the exact one, just didn't know how to communicate it. Thank you Kevin for being so real and transparent about your relationship with God and He leads your company.
Every time I meet with my chamber president for breakfast, great podcast episodes result. The last breakfast with Steven Hunsberger produced Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. Why should our August 2021 breakfast be any different? I was sharing with Steven my recent camping trip and the profound influence my phone has on me. He totally related when I said my goal was to simplify my life. I started the next part of the conversation with this. "Steven, I'm trying to do too much and I'm missing the simple things in life. And I really wasn't missing that much but I was convicted at camp. I got back and did my best to not return to where I was. I was changed and I wanted my life to reflect that change. All the things I thought were so important can all wait, my kids are growing up and they won't wait. It's what are the essential things I need to do to hit our goals but not steal from this valuable time with my kids? That's the question we should ask ourselves? What are the 80/20 opportunities in my life?" Steven loved this and wanted to apply that way of thinking to how he runs the chamber.
My daughter Christiana said something very interesting. I was telling her about a house I was considering taking on, but totally willing to say no if I didn't get the price and the other parameters that I wanted. She said. "If I were ever to have my own cleaning business that would be really hard for me to do. I'm a people pleaser." I thought about that and it's so true. There's something called the disc profile that helps put people into personality boxes. It's a useful analysis that helps us understand ourselves and others around us. We can learn things like traits, work styles, tendencies, best way to communicate with each other.
In the opening story, I shared a major breakthrough of how my phone loads stress on me that I didn't even know what there until I had 4 days on airplane mode. I came away from that camping trip with my 8-year-old son with this. Simplicity is the word. It's the word that I need to press into. How do I get simplicity into every area and role in my life? This became a burning question. I learned that airplane mode is simple. The 80/20 Rule is simple because less is better. Less equals less stress equals simple. I was in this place as I was processing the decision to scale my cleaning business for the first time in 15 years. I realized that delegating tasks that I was good or great at to someone equally suitable was simple as it gave me more time and allowed me to function in an ever greater capacity. I realized that creating sustainable systems was simple as it ran predictable workflows through a repeatable process. For the first time, I wanted to scale so I could add more simple into my life. I was in this place as Coach Josh's instruction to simplify my cleaning business to a targeted niche. This helped me narrow my cleaning focus to reduce the loading and make it way simpler to scale. I was in this place when Vincent and I were in our Nashville hotel room during Podcast Movement 2021 and I discovered the 3 x 3 matrix that simplified my business to the key income-producers to focus on to close out the year. Simple. I was in this place when I read "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. I heard so many concepts that I knew needed to be adopted. Above and beyond every one was what Stephen called "Habit 3 Putting First Things First".
I had an awesome conversation with a good friend recently that I'll keep anonymous. He was struggling with anxiety around his lack of control. This is only a problem for him because he has the type of personality that thrives on being in control or at least the perception of it. This is what I mean when I use the word illusion. The conversation was deep and very therapeutic for both of us. We dove into so many topics including health, family, finances, and faith. As I took a giant step back from this conversation, I made 3 observations that I'd like to share.
This lesson was so profound to me as a new entrepreneur. I have never forgotten it. I want to play it again so you will never forget it either! What fruit are you holding onto so tight that you can't see danger about to club you to death?
There is so much to dig into for this month's update of my personal cleaning company. If you're new to this show, here's the quick version. I've been a solo house and office cleaner for most of my 16 years in business. I have a system that initializes, stabilizes, and optimizes solo cleaning companies to create over $50k profit per year on a few days per week. In fact, I've done it twice. My first solo cleaning business was in Upstate New York from 2005 - 2018. I optimized this company to create $55k profit per year on 2 cleaning days per week without employees. The company was 90% residential and 10% commercial. I sold this company in 2018 for $80k and moved back home to Montgomery County, PA. We have since built a second solo cleaning business to $70k profit per year on 2 cleaning days per week. This new company is 75% commercial and 25% residential. As amazing as this sounds and it has been, our family wanted more. Our coaches and mentors challenged us to follow our dream as a homeschooling family. We had a New Freedom Vision and booked a house on the Gulf Coast of Florida for a month next winter! We wanted to go from $70k profit on 2 days per week to 0 days! This requires a team and systems. As an engineer, I love systems. But I've resisted them as a solo as I viewed them as tedious. Thankfully, I've hired Coach Josh to walk me into our dream. Josh is a co-owner at Athens Cleaning in Athens, GA. He is a fast-growing commercial cleaning company serving small, professional offices with professional workers. This podcast feature is a monthly peak into my own company, Carfagno Commercial Cleaning, as we build our business with systems and team members in order to start living our dream.
I attended Podcast Movement in Nashville in August. As usual, this conference was phenomenal. Yes, I learned a few exciting tips to improve my podcast and listenership. But I gained so much more in relationships. In fact, I'd say that the biggest reason I went was to grow my network and boy... did I!
I was so thankful to have my friend Juan Chaparro of Gmaids and PipeHire HRM as our Smart Cleaning Tribe Expert for April 2021. I wanted to start a series for the members where I brought in million dollar cleaning owners to share the milestones and lessons they picked up along the way. Juan has an incredible story. He spent 5 years in Dallas growing his company, but he wanted more. He wanted freedom. Juan read the "E-Myth Revisited" and the "4-Hour Workweek" and applied what he learned. He was able to move to Miami to pursue freedom of time and location as he didn’t need a ton of money. It took Juan 13 years, but now he runs a 7-figure business remotely and enjoys a life of freedom.
My wife and I were enjoying breakfast at Postively 4th Street Cafe in Ocean City, NJ. We love this place and especially the lattes. Oh my, they are good! During our connecting time, we were searching for ways to improve our business and effectiveness as parents. I asked the question. "How can we become 10 Talent People in each area of our life?" This is a reference to a story that Jesus teaches in the Book of Matthew. I'll read it.
Earlier this summer, I was talking with my 16-year-old son Kenny about his podcast editing business. I asked him if he'd like to come with me to Nashville for the annual Podcast Movement Conference. He'd have to buy his own ticket obviously. At first he didn't understand why he would even consider it. This lead into a great discussion on networking and why we build relationships with others in our community, online, and nationally. I'll come back to that conversation soon. But first let me ask you, the Smart Cleaning School listener... Are you building relationships in your local community? Did you answer no? Why aren't you doing it as a strategic part of your work week? Is it because you don't believe it's worth your time because it's just more meetings? Allow me to demonstrate with a few stories...
In this episode, we pick up where we left off with Kelly Jones of The Cleaning Girl. You will enjoy her story as it goes from humble beginnings as 22-year-old mom to SBA Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in her state. Pay close attention to the story of how Kelly was nearly featured on Marcus Lemonis's new show, "Lemon-Aid". Marcus is the award-winning host of "The Profit". Kelly is a bridge-builder. She has built thousands of little bridges to get her to that pinnacle. Every bridge is a relationship.
This podcast will show you what is possible when you build relationship bridges and serve like Kelly has done so well. Make sure to follow Kelly as she launches her first product line for homeowners, Maid in a Bottle.
Kelly Jones of The Cleaning Girl (Wilmington, DE) was a 22-year-old mom working at a bank. She got into a car accident and was given the summer off to recover. During this time, she enjoyed the pool with her young children. Then the bank came calling for Kelly to come back to cubicle world. Her husband asked her as she whined about going back. "What are you going to do? What can you do?" Her answer is the title of this podcast.
Kelly quickly found a few clients and then connected with a mom selling her company. Kelly went all in and purchased the business. But the business took its toll on Kelly and she was burnt out after 10 years. That's when her husband stepped in again to ask her. "What are you going to do?" Her answer to this second question is what has built The Cleaning Girl to a BRAND recognized and respected throughout her entire state and earning her multiple business awards!
I recently coached a new friend and solo cleaner, Angelica Pedraza of U B Lazy Cleaning Services out of San Antonio, TX. She had just completed her onboarding as a new member of the Solo Cleaning School Elite and had a few questions. The conversation was beneficial both ways. I was very impressed with her progress. Angelica has been in business 3 years as a solo and she has listened to every one of my podcasts. And no, that's not why I was impressed. She is 21-years-old and has served in our military. Yes, this means she served our country and started her cleaning company before the age of 20. I'm impressed because we hear so much negative about the Milennial Generation and their tendency to look for the easy path. Not Angelica! She is driven and accomplished at a young age. Angelica, if you're listening to this... you have a BRIGHT future! Welcome to our Elite Membership!
This original episode was very popular because it spoke to a mindset of defeatism. In a recent episode, "Pick Up Your Problems", I shared a powerful quote from NBA Champion Chris Bosh. "The problem and the solution are both in the mirror." That really speaks to the heart of this 'Best Of' re-run. Make sure to listen again as it equips you to think like a problem solver over someone who takes the lumps and gives up.
July was a crazy month. As a family, we had a ton going on. We had Kid's Camp and Youth Camp at retreat camp centers for 4 of our 5 kids for 5 days each. During one of those camps, Teresa and I slipped away for 4 days to the beach. I had a 5-day father / son camping trip with my son to the Adirondacks that I do with each son. This was with my 8-year-old Kye. It was glorious being off the grid for 5 days with no phone or social media! We just connected, camped, swam, boated, ate, heard campfire stories, songs, and devotions, and did shooting sports and hiking! Awesomeness! Coach Josh was also away in Florida for 2 weeks, so we had to move our coaching to Marco Polo and email. Even with all of this going on, I had BIG goals!
I'm currently reading Stephen Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". It's hard to believe that I never read it before. The book is literally eating me alive. What do I mean by that? Do you know when you're out at night in the summer and the mosquitos start to attack? You lose the ability to move forward with your plans as you're consumed with the bugs. That's what is happening with this book. I read a chapter and literally have to stop reading and just stew!!! One concept from the book early one got my attention big time and it should get yours too. So listen up!
I met with a good friend and spiritual mentor of mine recently for breakfast. I'll keep his name anonymous, but not his message. In fact, we'll call him Todd. Todd loves breakfast and knows everyone in the restaurant. He regularly takes his friends out to breakfast and won't even let us pay. As you know from this podcast, I like hanging out with friends like that. I love being around generous people as it rubs off on me. Todd is a retired/semi-retired painter. He was excellent at his craft for over 35 years. He ran crews, teaching and mentoring many younger apprentices over the years. I was staring at the wall next to our table and noticed some trim work. "Would you tape this off?" In my mind, I assumed all painters had to use tape so you wouldn't get paint from one area onto another. Oh boy! I had no idea that this was the wrong question to ask a professional painter! Todd responded. "Painters don't use tape!" He did explain later that there are certain applications where special painters tape can be useful. For the most part, it's time consuming to use tape, adds expense, and lowers the quality of the job. Of course I had to dig into his response.
Kevin Smith is a close friend of mine. We originally met at a Speed Cleaning conference in Dallas, TX lead by Debbie Sardone. There aren't many men in house cleaning and Kevin is over 6 foot tall. Therefore, it wasn't hard to spot him. We connected right away because of our mutual faith and the way we honor God with our businesses. It's been over 3 years since we met, yet we've stayed connected through text and phone calls. Kevin's company Grace Home Cleaning in Omaha, NE was doing $100k in total revenue. They do over a million now and he shares in this episode a few mindsets which unlock how he was able to do this.
I have shared multiple times on this podcast that I am a huge Tim Ferriss fan. "The Four-Hour Work Week" really changed the way I viewed my work and freedom goals. I also listen to his podcast. They are what's called "long-form" interviews in the podcasting world as he spends between 1.5 - 2.5 hours per interview. Joe Rogan conducts his interviews the same way. By spending so much time, Tim and Joe can really dig deep into their guest's life stories. I LOVE hearing these stories of challenge, obstacles, overcoming, learning, and victory. I always hear some one-liners and zingers too that I share on Instagram or Facebook. Plus, I hear some mindsets that I feel compelled to share here on the Smart Cleaning School Podcast. This episode is one such example, similar to "When You're Humble, You're Teachable".
One of my favorite movies when I was in high school was Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as Phil Connors and Andy MacDowell as Rita Hanson. I liked it because it was hilarious. How could you not like a movie with Bill Murray who still makes me laugh from "Caddyshack" and "What About Bob?" I grew up in Pennsylvania as well, so Groundhog Day was a thing that we actually celebrated every February 2nd. Let me elaborate on the plot. A Pittsburgh weatherman, Phil Connors was assigned to go to Punxsutawney on February 1st. He has this assignment every year and he lothed going. The small town hicks as he called them drove him crazy. He was too big for this town and he made his contempt known. Phil was a total jerk and made every effort to get through the day of February 2nd, 1993. He scarred everybody in his path. When he finally laid in bed, he was so thankful that the assignment was over. Phil then awoke to the Sunny and Cher hit, "I've Got You Babe". Was it Deja Vue all over again as Yogi Berra once said? Yes it was. Phil experienced February 2nd all over again and everything was exactly the same as yesterday. It was the worst nightmare in Phil's life, but it was really happening.
I had a limited mindset on how much money I could make for many years. It was my Upper Limit Problem that Gay Hendricks defines in "The Big Leap". I earned $54,000 at the peak of engineering in 2005 and thought I was rich. Up until then, I never earned over $20,000 in a year. That's mostly because I was in school and working was part time. But earning $45,000 out of college was huge! Earning $54,000 just five years later was mind-blowing income for me. I got comfortable at this level. When I was fired that year and realized that $170,000 in debt and no income wasn't good, I needed to make money. But what did I do? I built my cleaning income to $40,000 over the next 2 years and stayed there. At $40,000, I was living the same lifestyle that $54,000 in engineering provided. Why? Welcome to the world of business tax advantages and owner perks! When our need for more income came in 2011 (4 years of $40,000 income), I did what seemed right. I asked my wife to start making money to "help the family". I really manned up!
Recently, a listener to the podcast took me up on my free coaching call option on my website. Niki Kempf of Custom Cleaning in Dyersburg, TN had some pretty big questions. Niki was close to pulling the trigger on a coaching program for $10,000+ and decided to hold off. She left that situation discouraged as her family has big dreams and no idea how to get there. Our call was awesome. I didn't ask her about her business or what she wanted her business to look like. Instead, I asked her about her dream. She shared an awesome vision. First of all, she is recently married and Niki and her husband want to grow their personal ministry to help people coming out of rehabilitation programs. She wants to mentor them, possibly hire them, and definitely donate to organizations that support them. She wants to get her husband out of his job to help her in the cleaning business. This lit her up! Then she told me something amazing. They have a dream to give away 80% of their income. Whoa! I shared the JC Penney story and how he was known for giving away 90% and living off 10%. This is the opposite model of the church/tithing model where the Christian tithes 10% and lives off 90%. Niki loved this. Then I built her dream as I shared a story of a cleaning friend doing something similar. Jessica comes from a rough situation where she dealt with abuse. She has a huge dream to help battered women in her area. She wants to hire woman coming out of the shelters to get them back on their feet. Then she wants to start a non-profit where her cleaning business funds a portion and both the cleaning business and non-profit could be in a commercial building that she buys. Jessica would have a building for everything she wanted to do and the income to do it. Niki LOVED this even more. That's when I shared the Home Depot story.
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.