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 first area that Josh and I touched on were our stories and how they intersected. Josh and I were friends first. We had mutual respect and trust for each other. That's why I invited him onto the Smart Cleaning School Podcast in June 2021. That episode is called, "The Cleaning Road to Nineveh with Josh Melton". That episode was a mirror to me and I saw another guy with the same story. He had aspirations outside of cleaning. He tried to run away from cleaning like Jonah ran the opposite way of Nineveh. Once Josh turned his heart in obedience back to the cleaning business he was supposed to build in 2019, everything changed! I saw that and realized that it was true for me too. Within 2 weeks of that interview, I asked Josh Melton to come Coach Josh in my life. He accepted.
Dr. David Schwartz shares the 3 Failure Diseases in "The Magic of Thinking Big" that hold masses of people back from their dreams. These failure diseases are Excusitis, Detailitis, and Procrastination. I have addressed these failure diseases in various episodes of the Smart Cleaning School. One such topic is perfectionism. This is a form of Detailitis that causes people to spin their wheels. You see it most in writers who can never quite get that chapter to sound the way they want it. This is why over 97% of writers NEVER finish a book! It happens with cleaners too. They scrub and scrub and brush and brush, hoping to make an area look perfect to them. They can NEVER get there and it ultimately kills their business. Do you relate? Go back to part 3 of the perfectionism series entitled, "Perfection is the Enemy". This will help you overcome this failure disease.
This is an episode that has been on my podcast ideas list for over a year. It's funny to me that I was afraid in the beginning that I might run out of ideas to keep a viable podcast about cleaning. I was bad wrong as my list of ideas is over 200! I've been wanting to tell this story for a while and now is as good a time as any. In May 2019, I attended a conference called Growth Now hosted by my friend Justin Schenck. At this point, Justin's Growth Now Movement Podcast had over 2 million downloads. He built had a tight community that Justin brought together in Reading, Pennsylvania for a weekend. I found out about this conference from my friend Andy Storch. He lives in Orlando and said this. "Ken, I just interviewed this guy Justin for my podcast. Cool guy. He's having an event in Reading. You wanna go with me?" My response was this. "Reading! There's nothing in Reading except a Pagoda and outlets!" I yielded as the event was an hour from my house and Andy was flying in from Florida. I had no excuse not to drive 60 minutes if Andy was flying across the country! Not long after, Vincent Pugliese joined the fun and drove in from Pittsburgh. That turned Reading upside down with the 3 of us walking into this conference. I don't know what Justin was thinking inviting us! It was a fun event and it turned out that Reading was a much cooler town than I remembered. I'm only poking fun because my mom lived in the Reading area while I was in college. The 3 Amigos absolutely had a blast that weekend, plus we made the walk to the Pagoda for our epic selfie.
I shared a clip from an expert call in our Smart Cleaning Tribe last episode. I have another clip to share. This one is important. I want you to stop what you're doing and ask yourself an important question.
If something rocked my very existence tomorrow and I needed time to deal and heal, would I have the margin in my business to take that time?
I'll never forget a coaching call I did with a cleaning company owner doing $400k in revenue. I was an optimized solo cleaner and new in coaching. My view of the cleaning business landscapte was very narrow and I had a bit of pride to contend with. Here's the scenario. The co-owners, a husband and wife team, were both working 6 days per week in this $400k revenue company. They weren't cleaning, but lived in their office managing the business. That was foreign to me. Then I heard this part. "Ken, we are profiting $35,000 per year for the family." I clarified by asking how much owner's compensation they pulled. I was assuming they had a salary of $35k and then kept the bottom line profit as well. "$35,000 is our everything." I was floored. How could this possibly be? I responded with snark. "I'm a solo cleaner with 1/6 of your revenue. I work 1/3 as much as you and keep almost double what you do. Something is badly off with the math at your company." I was sharing truth and they knew it. Nevertheless, they didn't like my answer and we never talked again. In "A Buffalo Charges the Storm with Debbie Sardone", Debbie gives this a name. It's called the "Valley of Despair". I did not realize such a valley existed in my narrow view of cleaning business growth curves. I had read the "E-Myth Revisted" and "Clockwork", which are 2 amazing books on developing business systems to scale your company. Yet, I didn't know these valleys existed until an expert series I facilitated on my Smart Cleaning Tribe called "The 7-Figure Series". I interviewed 4 recent 7-figure cleaning business owners in 2021 with questions from the Tribe with the goal of deconstructing the million dollar cleaning company. Each of these experts have allowed me to share snippets of their calls on my podcast. Here are the episodes
Teresa and I place a high value on our marriage and making sure to not only date each other, but to take annual honeymoons to connect. We have 5 kids and it's very difficult to get the 1-to-1 time we need as a couple. We have been doing these Annual Honeymoon Retreats for a decade. Each one is different and we've gone to different locations. This year we went to the Glasbern Inn in Fogelsville, PA. In fact, we love this place so much that we've made this our 3rd visit. They have a fancy restaurant on site that is included in the package we buy
Vincent is first and foremost, a husband, father, and homeschooler. Vincent and Elizabeth live in Bradenton, Florida with their 3 sons Andrew, Nolan, and Dylan. They are active in their community and church. Vincent is a friend to many and certainly to me! We go way back. You'll hear that story in this interview. Professionally, Vincent spent 22 years as a nationally-acclaimed & recognized photojournalist and sports photographer. But this career started to bore Vincent. Today, you'll see Vincent speaking on stages, leading masterminds & retreats, and hear him on hundreds of podcasts. He is the founder of Total Life Freedom and author of "Freelance to Freedom" and "The Wealth of Connection". Vincent and I have been close friends for nearly 8 years. I have personally watched him apply EVERY one of the 5 C's from the book he released today. This book is the life that Vincent has lived for decades. This process is different from the churn and burn funnels out there for creating business. Vincent has created a human approach to making business personal. It's called The Wealth of Connection.
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.