July was a crazy month. As a family, we had a ton going on. We had Kid's Camp and Youth Camp at retreat camp centers for 4 of our 5 kids for 5 days each. During one of those camps, Teresa and I slipped away for 4 days to the beach. I had a 5-day father / son camping trip with my son to the Adirondacks that I do with each son. This was with my 8-year-old Kye. It was glorious being off the grid for 5 days with no phone or social media! We just connected, camped, swam, boated, ate, heard campfire stories, songs, and devotions, and did shooting sports and hiking! Awesomeness! Coach Josh was also away in Florida for 2 weeks, so we had to move our coaching to Marco Polo and email. Even with all of this going on, I had BIG goals!
I'm currently reading Stephen Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People". It's hard to believe that I never read it before. The book is literally eating me alive. What do I mean by that? Do you know when you're out at night in the summer and the mosquitos start to attack? You lose the ability to move forward with your plans as you're consumed with the bugs. That's what is happening with this book. I read a chapter and literally have to stop reading and just stew!!! One concept from the book early one got my attention big time and it should get yours too. So listen up!
I met with a good friend and spiritual mentor of mine recently for breakfast. I'll keep his name anonymous, but not his message. In fact, we'll call him Todd. Todd loves breakfast and knows everyone in the restaurant. He regularly takes his friends out to breakfast and won't even let us pay. As you know from this podcast, I like hanging out with friends like that. I love being around generous people as it rubs off on me. Todd is a retired/semi-retired painter. He was excellent at his craft for over 35 years. He ran crews, teaching and mentoring many younger apprentices over the years. I was staring at the wall next to our table and noticed some trim work. "Would you tape this off?" In my mind, I assumed all painters had to use tape so you wouldn't get paint from one area onto another. Oh boy! I had no idea that this was the wrong question to ask a professional painter! Todd responded. "Painters don't use tape!" He did explain later that there are certain applications where special painters tape can be useful. For the most part, it's time consuming to use tape, adds expense, and lowers the quality of the job. Of course I had to dig into his response.
Kevin Smith is a close friend of mine. We originally met at a Speed Cleaning conference in Dallas, TX lead by Debbie Sardone. There aren't many men in house cleaning and Kevin is over 6 foot tall. Therefore, it wasn't hard to spot him. We connected right away because of our mutual faith and the way we honor God with our businesses. It's been over 3 years since we met, yet we've stayed connected through text and phone calls. Kevin's company Grace Home Cleaning in Omaha, NE was doing $100k in total revenue. They do over a million now and he shares in this episode a few mindsets which unlock how he was able to do this.
I have shared multiple times on this podcast that I am a huge Tim Ferriss fan. "The Four-Hour Work Week" really changed the way I viewed my work and freedom goals. I also listen to his podcast. They are what's called "long-form" interviews in the podcasting world as he spends between 1.5 - 2.5 hours per interview. Joe Rogan conducts his interviews the same way. By spending so much time, Tim and Joe can really dig deep into their guest's life stories. I LOVE hearing these stories of challenge, obstacles, overcoming, learning, and victory. I always hear some one-liners and zingers too that I share on Instagram or Facebook. Plus, I hear some mindsets that I feel compelled to share here on the Smart Cleaning School Podcast. This episode is one such example, similar to "When You're Humble, You're Teachable".
One of my favorite movies when I was in high school was Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as Phil Connors and Andy MacDowell as Rita Hanson. I liked it because it was hilarious. How could you not like a movie with Bill Murray who still makes me laugh from "Caddyshack" and "What About Bob?" I grew up in Pennsylvania as well, so Groundhog Day was a thing that we actually celebrated every February 2nd. Let me elaborate on the plot. A Pittsburgh weatherman, Phil Connors was assigned to go to Punxsutawney on February 1st. He has this assignment every year and he lothed going. The small town hicks as he called them drove him crazy. He was too big for this town and he made his contempt known. Phil was a total jerk and made every effort to get through the day of February 2nd, 1993. He scarred everybody in his path. When he finally laid in bed, he was so thankful that the assignment was over. Phil then awoke to the Sunny and Cher hit, "I've Got You Babe". Was it Deja Vue all over again as Yogi Berra once said? Yes it was. Phil experienced February 2nd all over again and everything was exactly the same as yesterday. It was the worst nightmare in Phil's life, but it was really happening.
I had a limited mindset on how much money I could make for many years. It was my Upper Limit Problem that Gay Hendricks defines in "The Big Leap". I earned $54,000 at the peak of engineering in 2005 and thought I was rich. Up until then, I never earned over $20,000 in a year. That's mostly because I was in school and working was part time. But earning $45,000 out of college was huge! Earning $54,000 just five years later was mind-blowing income for me. I got comfortable at this level. When I was fired that year and realized that $170,000 in debt and no income wasn't good, I needed to make money. But what did I do? I built my cleaning income to $40,000 over the next 2 years and stayed there. At $40,000, I was living the same lifestyle that $54,000 in engineering provided. Why? Welcome to the world of business tax advantages and owner perks! When our need for more income came in 2011 (4 years of $40,000 income), I did what seemed right. I asked my wife to start making money to "help the family". I really manned up!
Recently, a listener to the podcast took me up on my free coaching call option on my website. Niki Kempf of Custom Cleaning in Dyersburg, TN had some pretty big questions. Niki was close to pulling the trigger on a coaching program for $10,000+ and decided to hold off. She left that situation discouraged as her family has big dreams and no idea how to get there. Our call was awesome. I didn't ask her about her business or what she wanted her business to look like. Instead, I asked her about her dream. She shared an awesome vision. First of all, she is recently married and Niki and her husband want to grow their personal ministry to help people coming out of rehabilitation programs. She wants to mentor them, possibly hire them, and definitely donate to organizations that support them. She wants to get her husband out of his job to help her in the cleaning business. This lit her up! Then she told me something amazing. They have a dream to give away 80% of their income. Whoa! I shared the JC Penney story and how he was known for giving away 90% and living off 10%. This is the opposite model of the church/tithing model where the Christian tithes 10% and lives off 90%. Niki loved this. Then I built her dream as I shared a story of a cleaning friend doing something similar. Jessica comes from a rough situation where she dealt with abuse. She has a huge dream to help battered women in her area. She wants to hire woman coming out of the shelters to get them back on their feet. Then she wants to start a non-profit where her cleaning business funds a portion and both the cleaning business and non-profit could be in a commercial building that she buys. Jessica would have a building for everything she wanted to do and the income to do it. Niki LOVED this even more. That's when I shared the Home Depot story.
The original episode was published very early in my Solo Cleaning School Podcast before I changed the name. I was pausing to reflect upon a major crossroads in my business when I met two coaches at the same time. I chose the less traveled and it made all the difference. As you know, I've hired a new coach. Josh Melton of the Athens Cleaning Company is guiding me down a new road. Meanwhile, I still have my original coach from this Best Of episode, Vincent Pugliese. In fact, I've introduced my two friends and coaches and they appeared on this podcast together. Check it out after re-listening to this popular and sentimental episode.
Greg Shepard is a serial entrepreneur. He is the owner of Dallas Maids along with 2 other cleaning companies which he founded or co-founded. In this interview, we dive into the subconscious mind and the limitless power we all possess to win at business and life. Greg sounds like a modern day Napoleon Hill, who wrote "Think & Grow Rich". You will love how I probe Greg for his Why and vision behind each step in his journey. And I know you'll love his resolve to earn his next life's dream to sail around the world by building a 4th cleaning company in Toronto, Ontario. This interview was fascinating to me!
Resources: Greg recommended the books, "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell and "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" by Harv Eker. Greg's cleaning company specific SEO company is Clean SEO.
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.