I've had this podcast series idea for quite some time and finally decided it was time to share it. I am an avid reader and movie watcher. Plus, I'm a dad of 5 and have read and watched nearly everything out there. Combine this with my appetite for observation. I notice things in books and movies that make me think. I connect invented characters to real-life lessons. This podcast series will consist of a number of Don't Be Likes. This first one is Don't Be Like Owl. I'll do others on Don't Be Like Clark W. Griswold, or Phil Connors, or a Lemming. It's going to be a lot of fun for me to share these characters with you.
The Smart Cleaning Tribe meets on Zoom every Monday at noon eastern for 2 hours to mastermind, solve issues, and most importantly, to talk about our Why, dreams, and vision. Then we set SMART goals and accountability to achieve these dreams. It's one of the funnest things I get to do for income! I love serving these amazing, growing cleaning company owners. Recently, we were brainstorming on a Tribe call for Lizzie. She is an amazing person and has a big freedom dream coming true in May. She is taking her family to Puerto Rico for a month. The deadline forced Lizze to properly systematize and delegate her cleaning business. Everything was on track until hiring became darn-near impossible. There is a dynamic right now in America that most of you should be noticing. The government has handed out a lot of money for struggling families. Unfortunately, it has also demotivated the work force and companies are literally bribing people to work for them. This put Lizzie in a major bind as she needed a few more employees to secure her trip.
Welcome back to Solo Saturday! Hey solos, what do you think of this new monthly feature? What do you think of the new vibe of the podcast? I'd love your feedback. Please connect with me through my website or email to email@example.com. In this month's edition of Solo Saturday, I will provide a sequel to the popular "Excellence Vs. Perfection".
In November 2019, I was full of enthusiasm as I was going after my second solo cleaning business. I had just started the podcast and made a promise to take you on a journey as I built and optimized my new solo cleaning company. I was more excited when I got my first two biweekly houses. But it all tumbled when I had to start cleaning again. I was out of house cleaning shape. I took too long and I was getting tired and frustrated. I hated my business and didn't want to do it anymore. I whined to my wife, but she didn't accept it. This Best-Of is the episode where I shared where I was during this time.
Turn the clock ahead. I pushed through and endured. Now, I am in cleaning shape and clean 3 houses every other Thursday and Friday. I enjoy it and can listen to podcasts and books while I work. My second solo cleaning business is fully built and I honored my promise to you. What a difference 18 months makes when you set your mind to achieving a goal! I'm so thankful that I pushed through. It was SO worth it!
It's been a while since I gave a full update on my own cleaning company. This episode covers a few weeks, but has some great lessons. Here you go!
Our Annual Honeymoon Retreat to Glasbern was cancelled last year due to Covid, but not again this year. It's amazing to get 5 days alone with my bride to reconnect, veg out, take long walks, eat loads of food, play games, watch movies, take long baths, and discuss many important topics. In fact, we came to our retreat with 21 important topics to cover in our family and business and covered every single one over 5 days! The biggest breakthrough during our trip was watching Hal Elrod's movie, the Miracle Morning. We were so INSPIRED that we got to work right away on our Life-SAVERS. I won't teach what this acronym is. Go watch the movie and read the book! I will say this. I have been struggling in the mornings with snooze buttons, coffee, lack of exercise, lack of time, lack of energy. I've done morning routines for years, but started slipping. This movie fired us up and I got right to work, while still on our retreat. The habit continued after the retreat as we implemented the first batch of to-do's from our 21 conversations. I am feeling more energy, less need for coffee, feel better about myself, closer to God, and have a renewed excitement for my goals.
This episode is a continuation to It's Time for a Fresh Take. I'm a huge fan of the Rocky series, especially being from the City of Brotherly Love. As a kid, I'd watch the Rocky movies and visit the Philadelphia Art Museum with my dad. We'd climb the walls, visit Rocky's statue (from Rocky III), and explore. But we never actually set foot inside the art museum. I'm not going to summarize the entire Rocky series, but there are some basics that you need to know. Rocky Balboa was a washed up, 30 year old boxer from Philly. He was a scrapper, a bruiser, but was thick-headed and going no where. That all changed when the heavyweight champion of the world was due to fight in Philadelphia for a bicentennial title defense against Mac Lee Green. Green hurt his hand and had to cancel. The other challengers were either busy didn't believe they could get into shape fast enough to fight the Champ. Apollo got creative to give a local guy a chance at the title in the name of freedom to celebrate the Bicentennial. Apollo flipped through boxer registrations and he really liked "The Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa". This sequence of events began one of the best movie series of all time to celebrate the Underdog.
This episode is a clip from an Expert Call I facilitated in the Smart Cleaning Tribe last December with my friend Alonzo Adams of Busy Bee Cleaning Company in West Chester, PA. Alonzo is a serial entrepreneur with one of the best business & financial mindsets I've ever had the opportunity to learn from. His cleaning company is top rated in Southeastern PA. Alonzo has also grown multiple revenue streams outside of his cleaning company, which is creating generational wealth for his family. He also just completed his term as the chairman for the Association of Residential Cleaning Services (ARCSI). I invited Alonzo onto a Tribe call to share about ARCSI and it's many benefits. But my true intention was to give Tribe members a dose of millionaire mindset around business, finance, and networking. Alonzo is a master networker. In this clip, I extract the networking portion so you can get a flavor of how the rich become rich.
Recently, I was on a phone call with Wendy Norman. Wendy is a member of the same Total Life Freedom Mastermind as me. She has grown a large Instagram following for her wedding photography business, Apt B Photo out of Savannah, GA. However, Wendy took a substantial hit during Covid and had to do a major pivot. She saw the growing trend of elopements as an alternative to the big wedding and started offering photography packages on her website. They started selling and selling. Now, Wendy is a niche leader in Elopement Photography Packages in Savannah and her name is spreading nationally.
Much time is needed in this podcast episode to clear the names of several members of Total Life Freedom Philly. Before I share the final installment of 'Who Paid for Lunch Clue', I must share a few things that happened in my cleaning business since my last update. It will be short. Trust me! First of all, I was asked to lead an education piece for my local MCBA networking group. I taught on the "They Ask You Answer" process. I have LOVED this book and implemented it into both of my websites for Carfagno Cleaning and Smart Cleaning School. The group enjoyed the discussion as it gave them much to think about. I had a one-time cleaning job booked at a historic barn & wedding venue. When we got there, the plumber was replacing some parts and had the water turned off to the entire barn. The plumber was willing to give us an hour to "do our thing" with water, but I had to decline as we needed at least 5 hours of water. Ultimately, I rescheduled the job and wasted 2+ hours of my day and potentially $750 of other work I could have scheduled. Here's what I found out. The plumber was due to work on Monday at the barn, but got held up at had to postpone to Tuesday. I was scheduled for all day Tuesday. The plumber lets the barn know late on Monday that he can't make it and he'll come over in the morning. This is find in his isolated world, but in the greater picture, Tuesday was already booked. This plumber should have called the barn and worked out a suitable reschedule date like I did. He didn't and unfortunately, it only cost me not him. If this makes you angry, don't let it. It's my fault. I should have called to confirm the barn Monday night or Tuesday morning to make sure I'd have water. Things happen. I just wish that this plumber was more professional.
Actual quote - "Some of you won't move your pawn until you can see the checkmate."
I heard about Caleb Maddix a few years ago when he was 15 years old. I was shocked to hear about this teenager that had already blown past me in annual revenue and was about to earn his first million dollars. Recently, I listened to a podcast with Caleb at 17 (He's 18 now). He rocked me with 3 to 4 solid mindset bombs. I would like to share one with you, Mr. Overthinker and Mrs. Procrastinator.
As I listened to this episode recently, I heard myself say that I still have all four grandparents living. I was sharing this in gratitude as it released on February 3rd, 2020. My Nana passed away suddenly on 2/22/20. The main heckler and mentor in this episode passed away on 11/22/20. He never got to hear the episode about the 18 gutter balls. He didn't need to. He lived it and reminded me of it all the time. I want you to listen to this episode again and ask yourself the hard question at the end. "Have you learned yet?" I'd also like you to find the people that are the most special to you and go see them and give them a big hug. Tell them how much you love and appreciate them. You never know when they'll be gone.
"You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want." Zig Ziglar
My two friends and mentors Vincent Pugliese of Total Life Freedom and Billy Altman of the Altman Crew helped me with a major breakthrough this month. These two friends of mine are relational in nature. Connecting and generosity are a part of their life. For me connecting and generosity is a mechanical task that I put on a list and cross off. I've been connecting in my cleaning business for the last 18 months as you've heard on this podcast. I've adopted the Zig Ziglar attitude and have made it my aim to help other people get what they want. This has absolutely worked for the growth of my cleaning business. Let me illustrate. Every time I get a phone call or I meet someone at a networking meeting or I have someone ask me a question online, I always look to help them without expecting them to hire me for cleaning.
It's time to return to my personal Carfagno Cleaning business for some updates. I got a call through my website after a referral from my TLF Philly friend, Emily Brunner. This is also "Innocent Emily" from "The Benevolent Benefactor". Stephanie is a house manager for a homeowner with a 7,000 square foot house in a wealthy suburb of Philly. She does all of the business to manage the home for the busy owner. I was very upfront and shared my prices would be $250-$500 per visit and could give many options. I gave optimizer prices. It's a little further than I'd like to travel, but the price could be worth it. She liked my approach and scheduled the estimate. I told her that I'd be able to give a tighter ballpark price window after the estimate. She could then request detailed options if the ballpark fit. I am literally trying to get her to filter out if I'm not the right fit. I can only do this because I was recommended, have a great website, and I'm starting a waiting list. This is a perfect combination of creating demand as an Optimizer. Don't copy me if you're NOT an Optimizer! The night before the estimate, I had an uneasiness about going to the estimate and shared it with my wife. She sensed that I was about to possibly take on a client that was high-paying, but possibly high-drama. That's NOT the type of client I want, so I called Stephanie back and said this. "I'm really sorry, but I need to decline the estimate. It's out of my service area and I'm not sure if I can fit it in as a solo cleaner. I do have a friend that I recommend. She serves your neighborhood." Then I connected the two and both were very appreciative. This was a win-win-win. Stephanie gets what she wants. My friend got a lead. Emily looks good that she had a great referral. I don't get the client and that's a good thing. Plus, I created future reciprocity between me and my other local cleaner friend. This is why I turned work down this week the first time.
This is the first Solo Saturday episode. You are still my people. I'm a solo cleaner and have always been one. This monthly Saturday solo show will guide you along my ISO Model. In this first episode, I'd like to start with a 15-minute clip from a recent Optimizer's Workshop I did with Heather Parke from Heather's Housekeeping in Roy, Utah. The Optimizer phase is the final part of my ISO Model. Over the years, I have developed a tool to examine and analyze a solo cleaner's business. It's called an Optimizer's Workshop. I did this workshop with Heather from the Solo Cleaning School Elite Membership as a perk of her membership. We spent 90 minutes together on Zoom to map out her business to see if she was an Optimizer yet. My goal is to show you the analysis needed to properly assess your solo cleaning business. I also realize that this workshop clip is harder to understand without seeing it. Therefore, I have also included the video on my Smart Cleaning School YouTube Channel.
How did I find my buyer? I had 6 months left at this point and no training system to train the buyer. Plus, I no idea how to move clients from me to them. This is where I was ready to hammer my list of 600 people in my phone I had generated scripts and was ready to start the grueling process of asking quality people if they were interested in an opportunity. I was overwhelmed as I had very little time. This is how it worked for me. I'm a Christian and I prayed about it. As I was driving to one of my houses one morning, the Lord clearly said inside of my ear. "Call Ian.". Ian was becoming a good friend and a new commander in the Royal Rangers ministry I had served for 6 years. He looked up to me as I was the Senior Commander. He was 26 years old with a lot of promise and potential ahead of him. I got to the house and I texted Ian. "Hey are you around today." He said. "Yeah call me." I called him and I told him this, which was absolutely true. "How happy are you with your job?" Backstory... I knew that he had been working for a tape manufacturer operating heavy machinery. He had also worked at the rail yard but always doing physical labor. He was beating up his body and was earning $17 an hour. As a single guy, he was profiting between $1,500 and $2,000 a month, but not really getting ahead in life. I knew that if he learned how to clean and saw the opportunity he could triple his income and have freedom. He wanted to do more Royal Rangers, but his job was also second shift, and often was hard for him to get to the church and serve the boys. I knew he could work two or three days a week and triple his money. Back to my question. "How happy are you at your job?" He said. "Well not that happy. Why do you ask?" I told him. "I'm going to move to Philadelphia." He was shocked and said. "Ken, you can't leave!" I told him. "God was calling me to leave New York and go back home to be around my family. I'm going to sell my company and I have a short list of people that I think would be great fits. You are one of them. On my way to work today God told me to call you." We talked about some details briefly over the phone. Then he confided and told me that he was just thinking about his future and setting up a 401k and retirement, but wondering if his job would help him get to the next point in life. He was excited about this opportunity. He asked if we can meet at Starbucks that Sunday. Side note. I was going through my third battle of Lyme Disease and was feeling awful. I showed up and essentially pajamas and slippers to the Starbucks on Sunday afternoon, feeling nauseous and wanting to vomit. I brought my notebook and sketched out my business. He had lots of questions and he kept me there for almost 3 hours. At the end I said. "Hey Ian crazy question. I'm going to Dallas for a cleaning conference. Would you like to come with me?" He had never been on a plane before and said heck yes! By this point, he had known the numbers of my business as I showed him the valuation. He knew the price at $79,500. I told him I would take any expenses that he incurred from the Dallas trip off of the sale price as a perk.
This podcast episode releases on the 3-year anniversary of the day I sold my first solo cleaning business. Over these 3 years, so many cleaning company owners have asked me how I did it. So many people told me that you can't sell a solo cleaning business because I just owned a job and a job has no value. I didn't believe them. I'm not going to start this story where it really started for me and that's where God put a dream and vision in my heart to leave Upstate New York and go home to the Philly Area. I want to confine this story to the "How", so you can see the practical steps I took.
Many of us are paralyzed by too many ideas. We get overwhelmed on which to implement, when, how, and most importantly, WHY. This metaphor is brilliant. I heard it from an Amway stage years ago. You can't steer a parked car and you can't park a moving one. The act of taking action is driving. A coach or mentor can't steer your action if you're not taking it. In fact, have you ever tried to steer a car while it's parked? The power steering is off and the wheel is extremely hard to turn. It's the same way with people. It's easy to turn when they're moving, harder to turn when they're slow and hardest to turn them in their parked. There are also people that don't listen even when they're taking action. They are like the car which loses its power steering on the road! That's not as bad as losing your power breaks, but it's scary. Some people are like that too. These people can be just as dangerous to themselves and their future as the ones that are parked and doing nothing. What about the other side of this metaphor? You can't park a moving one. You have to slow down and then stop the car before you can park. What does parking look like in a person of action? It's them slowing down to come into a mastermind retreat or a weekly call or a meeting with a mentor. They're slowing down from their action, parking, to receive new information. It might be pulling in for gas or getting their tires filled with air or their fluid levels topped off. They might be getting a repair or some maintenance done before they can get back on the road of action.
My Total Life Freedom local friends and local networking friend Eric Laylon intersect for a second episode. In "Don't Fight Google or Facebook, Fight for Lunch", my friend Eric Laylon from ReachLocal shared great marketing tips and stats on the digital giants. I followed this with a story of who paid for lunch. In this episode, I am copying the format!
As I sit down to record this podcast, I grabbed a Clif Bar from my lunch bag to further establish my point. Right on the label, it says this. "We're Planting 1 Million Trees." This is the mission of the Clif company to appeal to those that love and want to maintain our environment. How many people have never eaten a Clif bar that would buy it when they read this across the label in a store? That is exactly the message I'd like to share in this re-introduction podcast!
This statement will resonate with many of you. Do you have customers right now that you know are sucking the profits right out of your business? If you don't resonate, you will soon! I've been doing this solo cleaning ISO Model journey for 16 years as you already know. I would like to share 4 types or categories of clients to keep a pulse in your business.
Before you listen to this article, please check out my Carfagno Cleaning article, "Home Trends that Intersect with Cleaning". I credit my friend Mary Ann Alig of Fox & Roach Berkshire Hathaway Realtors for the content that drove this article and this podcast episode. Mary Ann shared 8 home trends that realtors are seeing for this new decade. Trends like these tend to change every decade and currently include barn vs pocket doors, white interiors, shiplap, matching furniture, accent walls, rose gold, open concept, and multigenerational homes. In my article, I showed how these trends affect cleaning professionals. I also hint to all business owners how important it is to know your industry trends so you can stay ahead of them.
I shared in my last business update that I increased the monthly service price of one of my commercial clients by $350 per month. Plus, I was on the verge of adding a new house and veterinary hospital as clients. The estimate with Melissa went well. She never had a house cleaning service before, so I eased her into it. I had her read articles from my website and was able to direct some of her questions to other articles I've written. This really increased my credibility before I even showed up at her home. During the estimate, I also pointed out things I liked in the house that I genuinely liked. I can't go into detail, but one thing was a wedding anniversary gift her husband bought for her. It was in their bedroom and I asked the husband for the website. He was pleased to oblige. I shared what we do for anniversaries and the honeymoon retreat location we go. He was thankful in return. That gesture between me and them build trust, but it was genuine. It wasn't mechanical. Look for opportunities to do that in your business. Make your estimate more than mechanical, but relational. At the end of the estimate I went through my availability and how the proposal process will go with the options I'll put together. She was very impressed. This customer found me through the marketing machine I've built through Facebook, Google My Business, my website, and in-person networking
The original "Pros of Solo Cleaning" was so popular that I ran a 'Best Of' replay recently. I covered 10 pros that are very persuasive if you're evaluating a cleaning business for yourself. Here are the 10 pros listed out. Check out the original podcast for the details of each pro.
Do you remember "Back to the Future" starring Michael J. Fox? Marty McFly ran in his panic from the Libyans and got Doc Brown's Delorian to 88 miles per hour in the parking lot. He escaped 1985 and entered 1955. The whole movie focused on saving his 1985 family from perishing by helping his mom fall in love with his dorky, bullied dad. Marty also had to figure out how to get back to 1985. It was a fun movie that was super popular in the 80's and still is today. In one scene, Marty visits the 1955 version of Doc Brown at his house. Doc Brown was paranoid and thought Marty was crazy-talking a time machine until he described the Flux Capacitor. Marty yelled through the door that he was in the bathroom, bumped his head, and that's how he got the idea of the Flux Capacitor, the last piece of the invention to take him back in time. Doc Brown came out of the room, showed Marty the drawing he made of the Flux Capacitor, and believed him.
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.