I ended the November Freedom Report with peace. We had brought our plan to go to Florida to God and asked Him to show us the way. We had over 20 job applications come in with no new hires. I personally connected and made initial connection to 240 local office cleaning prospects and followed up with close to 100 phone calls to find out if they had a cleaner in house or outsourced and if they were happy. This lead to 7 interested prospects and 4 proposals sent. But the net result of all of this effort was 0 new team members and $0 in new revenue with 65 days left before Florida. Josh gave me a challenge. "1 & 1 and we're having fun." Can I add 1 new office and 1 new team member by the end of November. I recorded the November Freedom Report just prior to month end. Let me just say this. God answered our prayers and broke the dam loose! A lot has changed in 30 days!
This episode was the turning point of my 2021, where I publicly announced that I was changing my business model from solo cleaning to building a team. If you're new to this podcast, here's why this is so significant. Around the cleaning industry, I have been known as the solo cleaning expert. I have built 2 solo cleaning businesses to $60,000 income per year on 2 cleaning days per week without employees or subcontractors. I started the Solo Cleaning School Podcast and Elite Membership in 2019. I have followed 2 of the 3 paths of the Optimized Solo Cleaner. I have "Stayed" a solo. I have "Sold" my solo business in 2018. This podcast was the announcement that it was time to complete the trio and "Scale" my solo business. We had a New Freedom Vision to be in Florida for a month as a family and I would need a team to complete this vision.
At this point in the podcast, I stopped my weekly updates in my solo cleaning business and moved to a monthly Freedom Report with Coach Josh so you could follow me toward this vision. Please take the time to listen to this Best-Of episode to go back in time to last summer. This will set the next episode really, really well.
I have to come right out in the open and make a confession. I have been chronically late my whole life. I overslept and missed the school bus in middle and high school at least 20 times. I was late to my SAT exam. I was late to many of my college classes. I was late to my job at GE and it got worse the longer I was there. I have been late to cleaning appointments and estimates. I have been late just about every Sunday for church. Why am I always late? It's my mom's fault! You didn't see that one coming from the podcast host! All of the admissions of lateness were the ones in my control. Let's turn the clock back to elementary school. I missed the bus several times because my mom couldn't get out of the house in time as she had to drive me. Not only did I miss the bus, but my mom would follow the bus to the next stop to put me on. That was humiliating to have 15+ gawking kids waving and laughing at me from the back of the bus. My mom was RIGHT behind it! I was late to Kindergarten and this was double lateness. My mom dropped me off at my Aunt Donna's apartment on her way to work. Aunt Donna was supposed to take me to school an hour later. However, Aunt Donna liked to sleep and I got to watch a lot of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. That's when I knew I'd be really late to Kindergarten as it was only a half day. Then there were the days that I got to watch the Price is Right while Aunt Donna slept. Those were the days that we'd pull into school and my friends were being dismissed. I have no idea how I passed Kindergarten! I was late to every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other family get together with my mom's side. We'd typically show up 2-3 hours late. It got to the point that my grandfather (mom's dad) would tell his daughter (my mom) that the gathering was 2 hours earlier to get her there on time. He affectionately called this "Lynn Time" (my mom's first name). We'd still be an hour late. I was early once. The story is told that my mom gave birth to me in the hallway while my dad was getting his hospital gown on.
That article was funny for sure! My family got a few chuckles as I read it to them. Let's step back and think about it for a minute. Why was it funny? The answer will hit you like a ton of bricks. The author in each headline or instruction was trying to communicate a message. In some cases, they were trying to warn others of danger. Unfortunately, the authors didn't edit their own writing or have others review. Had they done some basic editing, they could have ensured their communication was delivered in the way it was meant. Instead, we are left with double meanings and funny emails. How are you doing this in your communication to others? How do you communicate with your spouse, your kids, your parents, siblings, relatives, friends? How do you communicate in the board rooms, conference rooms, and Zoom rooms to co-workers or your team? How do you communicate in your texts/IMs/emails to customers, team members, vendors? We live in a world of auto-correct, where we trust a computer to edit for us. This is dangerous. Be honest. How many times have you sent something that auto-corrected to something totally out there? What happened next? Shame, embarrassment, and a follow up text with the correction. Why do we get so lazy and allow ourselves to trust the editing of a computer?
This is an unintentional third part to the Perfection Series. In the first episode, "Excellence Vs. Perfection", I share some stories from struggling solo cleaners as they clean. The takeaway is this. Perfection is selfish. You are trying to make something so clean to scratch the itch you have. You are doing it to please you, not the customer. Here's an example. If perfection represents a 10 in cleaning, excellence is around 8. You can get to an 8 quickly and efficiently. But taking an 8 to a 10 may add hours. These extra hours costs you money and inconvenience for the customer. The irony is that you'll never get to 10 anyway. Go for excellence, which is learning what makes the customer happy and accomplish it every time.
Nobody predicted 2020 or what would happen in the world. As I take a step back, I notice things particularly in the working world. First, let me go back 20 years! I started my career in 2000 as an engineer for a large corporation. I had to wake up at 6am, get ready, and be in a cubicle by 8am. I would stay in my cubicle farm until 5pm and do it 5 days per week, 50 weeks per year. I had 2 weeks off, which I would typically reserve for the Christmas break. I would dream of owning my own business and not being stuck in this cubicle. That's when I saw the Amway business and jumped at the opportunity to earn my freedom from the corporate world. I learned about this new way of commerce called e-commerce and the Law of the Power Curve. This law plots all major technologies on X-Y axes of time and market penetration. Here's how it works. Any new technology has early adopters who try it out. It takes a long time for a new technology to gain momentum as it steadily climbs to 10% market penetration. In other words, 10% of the market has or is using this technology. This is called Critical Mass because it takes the same amount of time to get from 10 - 90% market penetration as it took to get from 0 - 10%. Then the curve levels off again as it takes just as long to get from 90 - 100% and in theory, never gets to 100%. The curve from start to finish looks like a "S", hence the name of S-Curve Economics. This was mind-blowing to me when I learned about it in 2002. I then studied the major technologies like the phonograph, the telephone, the TV, the PC, the internet, etc. They all followed this curve exactly, except for one difference. Each successive technology was building on the last, so the duration from 0 - 10% was getting shorter and shorter. This gave me the confidence that e-Commerce would be the next Power Curve even though I couldn't in my wildest dreams imagine a world where I would not be shopping in stores. I heard these visionary future thinkers that came to Amway events talking about this new thing called e-commerce. They said stuff like this. There's this new company called Amazon and they're losing a ton of money right now because they are spending way more than they are making to get people to shop there. I heard this. "In 10 years, people won't be shopping in malls or stores anymore. They'll be buying everything on the internet." This was preposterous. When you needed things, you go to a store for it. I went to the bank in person, the pharmacy for odds and ends, Walmart was huge. Auto parts store, electronic store, malls because they had tons of stores. You went to stores to get things you need. An entire industry had built around the need for people to go places in person for over 100 years. I believed the S-Curve would happen because history repeats and good technologies follows this curve. Therefore, I didn't totally reject the idea. I simply believed that internet shopping would increase and it would be good to own an e-Commerce site. That was what Amway was to me in 2002.
In the last episode, I shared 2 new blind spots that hold me back. Here's a direct quote from "Counting Your Chickens Before they Hatch". "These 2 new blind spots explain why I take my foot off the gas pedal. It's why my pipeline of marketing prospects has run out time and time again over my 20-year entrepreneurial journey. I'm not consistent and it's not because I'm afraid of doing the work. I am a hard worker. I simply get in my own way and stunt my own growth."
This podcast episode is a follow up of "We All Need a Coach". I shared in a recent Freedom report how Josh revealed two blind spots to me. One was that I took my hand off building my pipeline and it dried up. I was living off past work. The other blind spot was that my prices were too high. But they weren't too high as a solo optimizer. They were too high as a team building initializer. These two blind spot recognitions by Josh literally saved me 3 to 6 months of pain. Both of these blind spots were killing my sales funnel. I'm so thankful for great coaches in my life. Wait, did I say I'm thankful? On a mastermind call in Total Life Freedom in October, the guys found two more blind spots. I'm collecting blind spots like my kids collect Easter eggs. The only difference is that I'm carrying a basket and my coaches are putting more eggs in it. I don't mind. I have realized that I need to know these things about myself that I don't see and others do. It is painful, but it makes me stronger. How about you? Would your pride or ego be hurt by knowing your blind spots? Don't say yes unless you mean it.
I have talked about my involvement in my local Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce at nauseum in this podcast over the past 2 years. I am a HUGE believer in membership at your chamber, no matter what size your cleaning business. Check out this clip from a recent call in the Smart Cleaning Tribe that I facilitate, where we highlighted best practices and tips on effectively utilizing our chamber. This was in response to a question of newer member, Sunny, who wanted to know if she should join her chamber.
Would you like to discuss a chamber strategy or see if it's right for you? Make sure to check out the many free & paid resources available at the Smart Cleaning School website. Also, do you have questions for me? Book a free coaching call on my website!
I used to go shopping at Aldi for Teresa after work during the pandemic. Aldi is a small store, but that didn't help me find anything. I would have a texted list. Inevitably, I'd spend 15 minutes finding the first item and then call my wife. She would literally help me find everything else on the list from memory. I was the arms, legs, and eyes. She was the brains. Men, do you relate? Ladies, do you do this for your men? Here's where it gets better. A few times, I went to Aldi with my oldest son. We were like Tweetle-Dee and Tweetle-Dumb. I would never want to see the surveillance tapes of us wandering the isles.
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.