I thoroughly enjoy giving these business updates. On the last update, $10,000 Watches and The Four Windows, I shared how important it is for me to have mentors and people showing me my blind spots. I attended the Total Life Freedom Mastermind Retreat in Pittsburgh, PA last week. I've been cleaning non-stop and I'm exhausted, but the sacrifice is totally worth it! I've been cleaning offices with my kids every Saturday, but this past weekend my son was on a Royal Rangers Canoeing Action Camp. I had to clean 7 offices on Saturday and Sunday after a crazy week. I've been tracking the cleaning times of every office since July and this weekend opened up my eyes. My son has been doing bathrooms, some kitchens, and mopping. My daughter does dusting and glass cleaning. I do kitchens and vacuuming. I ended up doing the work of me and my son and identified a few areas to speed up. Each time one of my kids cannot help, I notice things that can be done better or faster. I train this into my kids and ultimately we got faster at the same level of quality.
The past 12 months have been a whirlwind of emotion from COVID-19, shutdowns, almost losing my mom, losing my Nana (who was my 2nd mom), getting out of debt, helping my autistic uncle through multiple ICU and mental hospital visits, growing my cleaning business, and so on. Recently, I re-listened to my episode from a year ago called "Free Donuts". I had just returned from the Total Life Freedom Mastermind Retreat in Gatlinburg, TN and I was convicted big-time to put my pride aside and really crank up my new solo cleaning business. It was also the genesis for what this podcast has become. Make sure to listen to this "Best Of" rewind along with my final comments updating you with 1-year later after returning from the TLF Retreat in Pittsburgh.
One year later, we increased our solo cleaning business from 3 offices, 0 houses, and $35,000 in revenue to 8 offices, 7 houses, and $85,000 in revenues!
Many ask me how and when to raise prices. In this episode, you'll learn how NOT to. The story I am going to tell in this episode is real and happened recently. I am protecting the identity of the solo cleaner by calling them "Jen". Thankfully, this story ends well. Take heart and do NOT copy Jen's mistake
I'm so thankful for a conversation I had with Patty in 2006. Let me set the scene. She was an executive for an apartment property management company with 13 complexes. I was cleaning for two of them and wanted to grow my solo business to as many as I could. During early to mid-2006, I drove all over the Capital District of NY to knock on the doors of small offices, apartment complexes, and builders to drum up more business. I had information packs with testimonials that I'd hand out at each. All in all, I visited over 300 businesses and dropped off over 50 info packs. This lead to 1 more apartment complex, 1 builder, and 1 new office. It seems like a waste unless you tally up the lifetime value of just that one office. I cleaned for this law firm from 2006 to 2018 and earned over $80,000 in revenue from that client. Yes, it was worth it. I wanted you to see the mode of growth I was in. We were struggling big-time with money and I was willing to do whatever it took.
Do you know why books, mentors, and being curious are so vital to your future? I loved the "Rule of Thumb" that my friend Jon Appino uses. It's a joke, but exposes a truth. People do not like reading books because they were forced to in school. I was EXACTLY the same leaving college and working at GE as an engineer. But then I started my first side hustle as an Amway IBO and was encouraged to start reading personal growth books. I learned this right away, understood it, and decided to embrace it. "You will be in 5 years based on the books you read and the people you associate with." Then it all connected when I learned about the Four Windows from Amway legend John Crowe. This knowledge has served me well for over a decade and I hope it hits the nail on the head for you. Here's a word of warning. This episode will cut you open and expose some truths about you that you do not like.
One year ago, I had just returned from the Total Life Freedom Mastermind Retreat in Gatlinburg, TN in mid-October 2019. My arrogance and pride were exposed to 20 other entrepreneurs from around the country and I was faced with a difficult choice. Do I go all-in to building a new solo cleaning company in the Philly Area and am I courageous enough to share my weekly progress to you, my podcast audience? If you've been a listener to this show for any amount of time, you already know my answer. "YES!"
We all have that one child that we seem to teaching the same lessons to over and over. That's my middle son Kolby. He's my main man, 9-years-old and we share the same birthday. I say that the best birthday gift I ever received was him! He loves that. Kolby has a way of asserting his belief that he is always right. He also tends to talk and hear, more than listen. He will interrupt others when they are talking and not realize he's doing it (as he's in his own head). If his mom says it's warm out, he says it's hot. If she says it's hot, he'll say it's cold. You get the picture. I was teaching Kolby the difference between hearing and listening recently. Kenny overhead the lesson and thought it was a podcast episode. So here you go! I hope Kenny was right!
This personal business update will be a little different. I do have some updates and it looks like a new client is coming on board as well. I'm combining a few weeks and sharing the highlights. One of the benefits of building a profitable solo cleaning business like I have and being debt-free now is that we can take more getaways as a family. It did NOT used to be like this. We have struggled just as much if not more than many of you listening right now. At the end of last summer, our family rented a house in Ocean City, NJ right after Labor Day with the Pugliese Family. They have 3 boys, which are the same age as our oldest 3 and our families get along so well. We went to the Great Wolf Lodge with them a few winters ago as well. Last year's beach trip was so successful that we did it again last week. We rented a much larger house with 3 balconies with ocean view and a block form the sand. It was awesome. We were on vacation, but we were not idle.
Toward the end of the summer, I met for breakfast with my Chamber of Commerce friend Ken Byler. He owns Higher Ground Consulting, helping leaders and their teams to thrive. It was fun to reconnect with Ken. He's super smart and knows how to ask great questions. In fact, he hit me with 3 questions that really got me thinking.
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.