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."
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.