I need to give credit to where credit is due for this episode. Thank you Vincent Pugliese for this mindset. If you don't know Vincent, check out "Content But Not Satisfied". Vincent has grown an online community called Total Life Freedom with over 100 strong in the past 4 years. The members inside this community have access to expert calls on various topics of online platform building, elite masterminds, internal courses, retreats, and of course, the extremely valuable connections between like-minded, freedom-seeking entrepreneurs. I have been a part of this community and mastermind since the first day. In fact, I am an original member and was there to help Vincent set up the foundation. I've had a unique perspective of watching Vincent build this community and raise up leaders from within it. I remember the hard times too, such as last summer. We stayed together in Nashville for Podcast Movement. When the masses went to the insane iHeart afterparty with drinking, we stuck around the hotel to mastermind. You see, Vincent had built a great community. But like any business, he had some parts and people that were higher maintenance than others. I showed him my 2 x 2 grid to map out the various aspects of his business. I talked about this in "Why I Fired My First Client", where I divided all of our clients into 4 groups - low-paying & high-drama, high-paying & low-drama, high-paying & high-drama, and low-paying & low drama. When you hear these listed out, it's obvious that we want the high-paying & low-drama and don't want the low-paying & high-drama. It's the other two groups that cause us so much grief. I explained this to Vincent and he started getting excited. Then he asked if we could add a mid-range box and make it 3 x 3. That's when I got excited. We started mapping his various clients and income streams on this grid. It spoke so loud that we knew what he needed to do. I did the same exercise for us as well. By the way, this is vintage Ken & Vincent since we met at a Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, Gary Vee conference in 2014. We mastermind so well together. When the drunkards returned from the iHeart party, we were chilling in the hotel restaurant with wings and our maps. We were so excited. Vincent pledged that he would raise the standards in his community to have 100 amazing people that were all low-drama. Some were low-paying and some were high, but no one brought drama. They would be an ultra generous community always looking out for others. This was the vision. This episode releases at the 1-year mark of that mapping meeting. Vincent's vision has come to fruition. TLF has leveled up more than I've ever seen it.
When I started this podcast in late 2019, I never imagined in a million years that I'd be eulogizing my father a year later. If you get a chance, check out the Tribute to My Father from December 17th, 2020. Ken Carfagno, Sr was born in Northeast Philadelphia on May 11th, 1936. He was the youngest of 6. Ken Sr. married Gabriella Corbett on October 20th, 1956. They were 20 years old. Soon after, they had their first of three sons, Ken Carfagno, Jr. That's my dad. 18-year-old Ken Jr married 16-year-old Lynn Driban in August 1976 and Ken Carfagno III was born on March 1st, 1977. Ken Sr became a Pop-Pop at the age of 40. My parents didn't stay married long. I have shared this so many times in this podcast as it's so vital to understand me. My single mom raised me during the week as a kid, while my dad and mostly my Pop-Pop raised me on weekends. The most influential man in my life has always been my Pop-Pop. In latter years, I started calling him my father because he raised me into the man that I am. Thank you for listening to this opening and my genealogy story. I just wanted to give you context to this episode.
I gave this talk at my local Montgomery Country Business Alliance (MCBA) meeting in June on Interpersonal Skills. Here are the notes from that talk!
MCBA Talk on Interpersonal Skills – Ken Carfagno 6/21/22
This is a HUGE topic to cover! I will barely scratch the surface in 30 minutes. Therefore, let me give you a few books to check out on your own. My story: I was a selfish, shy, introverted engineer when I left PA in 2000. Teresa and I joined Amway in 2002 and I started devouring books on business, personal development, people skills, goal-setting. Here are a few of my favorites in the people skills / developing meaningful relationships genre.
In "This Moment with Angela Brown", we relive her childhood and early adulthood through the lessons she learned along the way. It's so interesting to see how the traits that make her successful today were forced at various ages. In this episode, we conclude the interview with Angela Brown.
Angela Brown is a 25-year veteran of house cleaning, #1 YouTuber and podcaster with her show "Ask a House Cleaner", and a guru in our industry. I have been friends with Angela for 5 years. In fact, she was the first person to really challenge me to start a podcast in late 2016. Angela is highly respected in the residential cleaning world and is helping thousands to grow their house cleaning businesses. In this double interview, we dive into so many topics that make Angela... Angela. You will see that she is just like you. She just persevered through every adversity over and over again with an insatiable desire for learning. I love this quote early on in part 1 of the interview.
This is the first-ever podcast swap on the Smart Cleaning School. I was recently interviewed by my good friend John Stange in front of his Platform Launchers live audience. In this interview, John wanted me to teach the benefits and synergy of running a local service-based business along with growing a platform. Let me briefly tell you about John Stange. He is a pastor in the Philadelphia area that has developed over 10 income streams outside of his pastor's income. He is a platform builder. John's first platform is called DesireJesus.com, where he has been blogging, selling books and ads while helping Christians grow closer to Jesus for years. John also started the Daily Audio Bible Podcast in 2016, which has just surpassed 8 million downloads. I remember meeting John in person for the first time. We met at Five Guys. As he strolled up to the storefront, I heard his voice and instantly thought, 'this guy has a voice for radio'. 8 million others apparently agree. John has been able to reach the masses with his 2021 book, "Dwell on These Things", that I promoted in the self-titled podcast. John has been so successful in developing his own platforms that he chose to start Platform Launchers to help others do the same. I highly recommend his membership if you're a cleaner wanting to do something else to help others. I hope you enjoy this podcast from Platform Builders and John Stange. John has given me permission to share it.
Make sure to check out Platform Launchers if you have ever thought about starting something on the side to help others.
After 12 years of solo cleaning, I ventured into the world of online coaching and courses in this amazing industry. Andrea McCoy was my second one-to-one coaching client. We talked for an hour every week for over a year as she was getting her business started. I interviewed her in the summer of 2019 as I was preparing to launch this podcast. Andrea definitely edified me as a coach, but that's not why I aired her interview as the 3rd episode of this podcast in October 2019. I loved her Why and her message. Andrea just wanted a business that would provide peace of mind for her large family. Peachy Clean out of St. George, UT has provided that for her over these last several years. I wanted to re-share this episode to newer listeners. Andrea's interview is still ranked in the Top 10 of all Smart Cleaning School podcast episodes in total downloads.
Check out my interview with the CBF Founder, entitled "A Buffalo Charges the Storm with Debbie Sardone". Debbie is offering free consultations to listeners of this show through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page at smartcleaningschool.com/resources to see if CBF could be the right solution for you.
In "Keys to Solo Longevity I", I established a few foundational principles. First of all, there is a clear difference in a Ford and a Honda. I prefer my cleaning machine to operate more like a Honda. They last longer and require less maintenance... and I shared this from my experience having owned 4 Fords and 8 Hondas in 30 years. Secondly, we deconstructed the domination and longevity of all-time sports greats Tom Brady, Cal Ripken, Jr., Serena Williams, and Roger Federer. Each of these greats believed very deeply that we will get out of our machines what we put into them. I shared the sleeping, dietary, and exercise training routines of each. Serena valued strength training through HIIT, while her male counterpart in tennis Roger Federer valued 12 hours of sleep per day. Cal valued exercise and strength training more after each birthday, which helped him to become MLB's Iron Man. Tom does everything. He's a cyborg. Can we emulate what these peak performers have done? We can try! In this episode, I will share my own health journey and winning routines. It's my hope that you can make a small change and stay consistent over time so you can reap the rewards of a long solo cleaning career.
This 2-part podcast was inspired by a Solo Cleaning School Elite member, Dave Reeks. Dave started implementing the ISO Model in early 2022, operating The Finest Clean in South Wales, Australia. I am so proud of his diligence and commitment. Dave has grown from an Initializer to the Stabilizer phase of the ISO Model in 6 months. I recently did an Optimizer's Workshop with him to help him hit his next goal. He is a male solo cleaner like I was and growing quickly with almost 20 house cleaning customers in a short time. Dave recognized the need to keep his body operating at peak performance and wondered if I had any tips for other solo cleaners. Thank you Dave for this question! Yes! I do. I was a solo cleaner from age 28 to 44. There have been seasons of physical domination when I could stay up all night and clean and clean and clean. I have also struggled with fatigue, injury, and chronic disease. Regardless of the season, I had no choice but to keep going... and I did. In this initial episode, we will deconstruct the habits of multiple peak performers from professional sports to learn from them. Then in the second episode, I also will share several keys to solo longevity that I have learned along the way from my triumphs and struggles. I believe this will help all cleaning companies as we all have people cleaning, whether it is us or a team we've hired.
This is part 4 with Teresa Carfagno. We have already covered three other great topics, such as "Living with an Entrepreneur", Work / Life Balance and Healthy Eating Habits for our Kids in "Healthy Home Boundaries I & II" In this final part, we will help all of the families out there curious about the pros and cons of homeschooling your kids. Teresa has helped over 10 families start homeschools over the past 10 + years and has earned the nickname, The Homeschool Whisperer. If you've ever considered homeschooling and would like some solid information to start your research, this episode will help.
In the last episode (part 2 of this series), Teresa shared useful lessons from the Carfagnos in the area of Work / Life Balance or what we call the family business and the busyness of the family. In this episode, Teresa concludes her thoughts on this topic and dives into the tender topic of keeping our children healthy. There is no right way to do this. But this episode reflects how we have raised healthy kids. Hopefully, this will educate, inform, and give you confidence in your home!
Check out my interview with the T-Bag Company Founder, entitled "Respectful, Reliable, Responsible with Damon Washington". You can purchase any of the T-Bag products at a 10% discount through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page.
In part 1 of Teresa's expert call from the Smart Cleaning Tribe, she dives into what it is like "Living with an Entrepreneur". In today's episode, Teresa unpacks a few key lessons the Carfagnos have implemented to achieve balance between the family business and the busyness of the family. I hope you find these lessons useful yourself.
This phrase is one of the most used when I'm training a new C3 Team Member along with "We don't clean everything every time. We clean everything over time". I wanted to dive into some mindset to encourage you, regardless of whether you're on the C3 Team, a solo cleaner, or a cleaning company figuring out the basics of growing a team. Let's first explore what it means to put in your reps as I lay out the construct known as the 4 Stages of Competence. I will use cleaning vernacular and share bits and pieces of the C3 training system to help anyone listening.
It is so critical for each one of us to align or be congruent with how people see and perceive us as a business person in our communities. Before there was an online aspect of doing business, all we had to do was be out in the community building valuable relationships and adding value wherever we could. This got us referred. Our branding was all about who we were and what we did in person in the community. In the early 2000's, websites started becoming a prominent branding component for cleaning companies along with Google, Yahoo, and even (dare I say it) MySpace. Social media then erupted on the scene in the 2010's and now our online branding may be the most important side of our branding. The reality is that for most cleaning companies, more and more people are finding us through our online branding first. I want to keep this episode short and sweet. There's two scenarios that can happen:
In March 2021, I brought my wife Teresa Carfagno onto the Smart Cleaning Tribe as an expert to talk about our decade plus of homeschooling. The call went 2 hours and we ended up covering 4 topics that were of interest to Tribe members, which included Living with an Entrepreneur, Work / Life Balance, Healthy Eating Habits with the Kids, and Homeschooling. As this podcast approaches 300 episodes, I wanted to FINALLY introduce my secret weapon. Teresa keeps me grounded. She nurtures me and helps me when I'm feeling overwhelmed and under stress. She loves me no matter what. She walks the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ with me so we can bring up our kids in the way they should go. We are a team. This podcast wouldn't be possible without her. In fact, many of you know that it was Teresa that started Carfagno Cleaning in 2005.
This episode is mostly for C3 Team Members, but I wanted to share it with the Smart Cleaning School. In the episode, "Introducing the C3 Experience", I laid out the company mission, vision, and values. When I first released that episode, I had no idea it would become a mandatory piece of the C3 Team hiring process. I truly believe that episode was the single most important one that I recorded in the past 18 months! It shares so much about who I am as a follower of Jesus Christ and steward of His business. I remember starting my career with General Electric in 2000. I was so excited to work for GE. I joined the Edison Engineering Development Program (EEDP) and was thrilled to pursue my dreams in my new career. The onboarding process was basically checking off boxes and part of that process included me getting the GE core values on an index-sized piece of card stock. I glanced at it and then pinned it to my cubicle wall. I never looked at it again. I didn't care. That wasn't important. The work was important. The engineering was important. I mean, that's why I was there. Most of America enters corporate settings the same way. Core values are part of the onboarding process, but no one really "lives" them out. That's a problem and most don't even realize it.
I shared this episode as a personal C3 business update and hopefully serve as a teaching lesson on how to incorporate core values into your company. I never imagined that this podcast would become a keystone piece in our C3 Team hiring process. Shortly after the original release of this episode, C3 added 6 new locations totalling $4,000 per month in new revenue just 2 months left before the Carfagno Family left for Florida. How would we find amazing people to fill the C3 Team spots? That was a question that Coach Josh and Ken talked about a lot. In the end, we decided to use this podcast episode to my advantage. Make it a required listen in the hiring process to even qualify for an interview. It worked so well. Here's what I've discovered. I put my mission, vision, and values out there to such a level in this episode that C3 prospects either wanted to be a part of the team or wanted nothing to do with us. There weren't any luke warm candidates. Thus, this podcast has served as a tool to filter the right people in and wrong ones out. What does that mean? This podcast shares our team culture and the right ones are attracted like a magnet. The wrong ones are repelled. Needless to say, this episode is the most downloaded of 2021/2022 in the Philadelphia Area. My hope is that you'll get an idea from this episode on how you could incorporate a podcast, video, or even a blog on your website to serve the same purpose.
If you're interested in our C3 Experience and want to check us out. Our website is www.C3xNow.com. We are professionals that clean professional spaces with ownership, excellence, and safety.
In the last episode, we touched on a few controversial subjects. I encourage you to check out "Poor Character Produces Long-Term Pain" and let me know your thoughts. I want to take a more positive approach in this episode. Just as poor character produces short-term gain and long-term pain, good collaboration produces short-term pain and long-term gain. Before I share my stories, let me explain. It's hopefully clear that the 2 example stories from last episode created a short-term solution. It made the cleaning companies more money in the short-term. But in my opinion, it hurt them long-term in reputation and ultimately revenue. When a company is less referable, they will create less revenue. Collaboration is an act of generosity and focuses in on one of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. Stephen calls it, "Habit 4: Think Win-Win". When we collaborate with another local company, we build a bridge between us. Our customers can become their customers and vice-versa. It allows us to stay in our lane and service the areas we are best able to serve, while allowing our collaborator to do the same. This ultimately creates a better outcome for the customer that we share as well. Let's go back to the past example. The house cleaner that decided to add carpet cleaning was able to earn more revenue on each customer, but she wasn't providing the best carpet service. She was also spreading herself thin and potentially watering down the quality of the main lane she served. If this occurs, the customer receives a lesser house or office cleaning along with a lesser carpet cleaning. This customer is less happy and less willing to refer the business. Let's examine these two stories from the C3 Experience.
Over the next 2 episodes, my desire is to show you real stories from my local business network of how we can control whether we experience long-term pain or prosperity. This episode will focus on two stories where poor character produces long-term pain. The next podcast will focus on 2 stories where collaboration produces long-term prosperity. Each of these episodes has the thread of selfishness vs. generosity woven through them. Let's go!
When I started this podcast, I predicted certain themes would come up often like pricing, people skills, leadership, business owner mindset, and cleaning efficiency. But I never saw the theme of overcoming fear emerging so often. In "Yeah, That's Fear", we explored the 3 Failure Diseases of Excusitis, Detailitis, and Procrastination. Go back and listen to that episode to refresh. Fear disguises itself in so many ways. Fear causes us to stop taking action or never start. I want to share a story in this episode from my friend James Hardy of the Carpet Guys. He is such an expert in floor cleaning and carpet & upholstery restoration that it's preventing him from scaling his business to the next level. This was me for years as a solo cleaner. First I'll share the story and then we'll unpack it. This will become part 4 of the Perfection Series, which includes "Excellence Vs. Perfection", "Accept the Uncertainty", and "Perfection is the Enemy". Each episode has covered different angles of how perfection crushes our productivity and growth. I encourage you to go back and re-listen to the previous 3 episodes as you have the opportunity.
In part 1 of this 2-hour interview, "Conspiracies in the Cleaning Industry with Ed Selkow", Ed shared an incredible 50-year career in our industry. He shares so many great stories and lessons that will help you in your business. Ed also shared some incredible criminal stories that I called "conspiracies" that are a must listen! In this episode, we dive into the second half our interview.
I sat down with cleaning industry legend Ed Selkow for a 2-hour interview. We covered so much ground that I had to break it into 2 parts. In this first part, you'll learn about Ed's 50 years in the cleaning industry which includes owning 4 janitorial companies and working as an employee for a few of the largest janitorial firms in the country. He weaves in great stories and lessons that make this episode well worth the listen.
Oh, and then you have the other stories... Ed also shares what I called "Conspiracies in the Cleaning Industry" ranging from subcontracting for NY street guy "Joey Floors" to stolen equipment and being on the payroll of a Russian dog in Chicago to how cleaners were partially responsible for Watergate and causing a U.S. President to resign! Do not miss these stories as we build up for part 2 of this interview on the cleaning industry, past, present, and future.
Check out my interview with the T-Bag Company Founder, entitled "Respectful, Reliable, Responsible with Damon Washington". You can purchase any of the T-Bag products at a 10% discount through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page.
There aren't many things that really get me angry anymore. I will share two. The first is when I have a comedy of errors, where one thing after another goes wrong and frustration builds up. The second one is if you challenge my integrity. The second one happened recently at a Honda service shop. It was my first time there after hearing great things about this particular shop. My initial experience after dropping the car off was very good. They gave me a loaner car that was beautiful. They took my inconvenience and made it convenient for me. A great initial customer service experience just like I heard about. The next morning something happened that threw off my day for a few hours. I got a call from the service technician. "Ken, you took some keys from the counter that weren't yours. We have you on camera. We checked it out and we know it's you. We need you to bring those back."
I have a few stories to tell you and I won't take much of your time because your time is worth a lot! The first one is about a little boy who desperately wanted time with his Daddy. The second is about a Daddy who desperately wanted time with his little boy. This second story lead to the creation of a metric I've used in my business for a decade. It's called the Work Day Value (WDV). What are you earning for a day away from your family? Or what are you earning per hour working away from your family nights and weekends as a side hustle. It's okay to make $25 - $30 per hour as a beginner with a plan to grow. But if your still there after a year, you're losing time that you'll never get back. What is your work day value? What is your time worth because you are trading it for time with your little boy. Some of you will feel that question more than others.
Teresa and I were struggling big time in September 2008. We had a 3 year old son and infant daughter. At the time, we lived in a rented house that took 40% of our income and we still had over $125,000 in debt. It wasn't pretty. I was working like crazy with 5 part time workers. I had no systems, no money, and no clue. I got on this coaching call with my Amway upline Herb Eplee desperate for a change. I was not happy about Herb's advice, but I was receptive. He told Teresa and I that we were top heavy. All of our profit was going to payroll. We needed to either grow our revenue really fast to make money. Herb told us this is what most business owners do when they are in trouble. They try to outgrow the problem. Some make it. Herb's advice was simple. Go back to working solo. Build up your profits. Then add more revenue incrementally and hire team members. This was solid advice and we took it. I never realized we'd stay solo for 13 more years! I can't complain. We did alright having built 2 very profitable solo companies, sold one for $80k, and built a course to teach others how to start and optimize a solo cleaning company.
This Best-Of episode needed to be re-released so I could say this to Herb. Hey Herb, we did it! We have that team of 5+ part timers again. However, this time we can afford them!
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.