I attended my first ever commercial cleaning conference last month in Washington DC. The event was called Cleaning & Cocktails Live, the Interactive Playbook Edition. It was hosted by Michael Brown of Swept Technologies "I Wish You Would Have Told Me" and Ricky Regalado of Route/Rozalado Services "You Still Need the Grit and Blue-Collar". I was the event MC. That was such a cool experience. Big shout out to Michael and Ricky for believing in me, bringing in someone that's never been to a commercial cleaning conference, never MC'd a commercial cleaning conference, to BE the voice of the conference on their most important day. That was a great honor and I am grateful to both Michael & Ricky. I felt really good about it. I had a lot of fun. And I met a lot of great people. I will say this, I was definitely nervous in the beginning. But I noticed that I got more comfortable over time. Now get to put MC of a conference on my resume.
I met a lot of great people at this event. One of my new friends is Brian Comiskey from Legacy Cleaning servicing the Twin Cities of Minnesota. As Brian and I talked, he was sharing a takeaway from the night before that we both heard from Terrell Weg of MSNW. Terrell said. "You don't have to create everything on your own. Just learn to be a great copier. Copy. Copy. Copy." Brian and I agreed this was excellent advice. Why would we reinvent the wheel? It's working pretty good, right? And then Brian dropped this one liner. "Ken, we need to be a pirate, not a pioneer." I said. "Uh, Brian, can you say that again?" He kind of chuckled. "Yeah, sure. You have to be a pirate, not a pioneer." Then Brian explained his mindset even further. "Ken, we need to do what Terrell said and copy, copy, copy. We need to be the best cleaning pirates out there. Show up at someone else's cleaning company (with our Jolly Roger and cannonball and blast the front doors in)!" Brian didn't say that last part. He did say this. "And be a pirate and steal from others. That's what we need to do more of, we need to stop trying to pioneer or recreate everything."
I loved this mindset. It took me back to my days in Amway, when we learned that the most successful companies copied a proven business model. It's called duplication. It's what franchises use. Find a proven model and duplicate it. This is exactly what Terrell and Brian are talking about. No one is saying not to pioneer. We are entrepreneurs. It's in our blood. We would be wise to take the proven stuff and then pioneer from there.
Are you following me? Are you thinking? Is it really that simple? Ken? Yes, it's really that simple. But it's not easy. It's not easy because of the person in the mirror. Let's call that person YOU! YOU have a problem that YOU can't seem to solve. YOU are stuck. YOU search Google tirelessly, or stalk the Facebook groups looking for a new idea. YOU struggle in your aloneness with the problem. The problem is YOUR fear or YOUR pride. I have been to the cleaning events and met the people. Most are more than willing to help a newer person. All it takes is for YOU to pick up the phone or type in 'SOS' to the person with a proven system. YOU have to ask for help. The answer to YOUR stuck-ness will either frustrate YOU because it was so simple, and you can't believe YOU didn't think of it, or it will overwhelm YOU because YOU 've been going the wrong direction for a long time and the right course of action is way off YOUR radar screen. That's why I say it's simple. But it's not easy. Cleaning is a people business. People are complex. And YOU need to get good at dealing with people. People are YOUR customers. People are YOUR employees. It's people. And the first person YOU need to understand and improve is YOU.
Listen to me loud and clear. I want you to succeed. Others in this amazing industry want you to succeed. All you have to do is ask for help, and be willing to copy some proven steps that have worked for all those that went before you. And you may have to invest actual money from your business to get access to the proven steps. Why would I do that? Ken?
Here's why. The pioneers that have already blazed the trail. They have identified the location of all the mines in the minefield. They paid the price and know where you should walk in safety. They have already paid the ultimate price in time, in mistakes, in lost clients, in lost employees, in heartache, in frustration, and in lost money on the way to their proven system. They've invested their time and their money and they've been doing this for 15, 20, and 30 years. And you've been doing this for 3 months and you're not willing to invest in someone help that's been doing this for 30 years. That's a YOU problem.
You can either pay the price like they did over a length of time and struggle or pay the price for the proven system and be a pirate! I chose the first option. I was a pioneer, but only because I didn't know help existed. I was alone and had no choice but to find a way to win. I paid the price for over a decade of my life and it was painful. It bothers me when someone brand new is not willing to pay the price. That's not just in cleaning. That's in any entrepreneurial venture. There are people out there that are willing to pay the price because they have something called grit. There are others that are not willing to pay the price, yet expecting all those who did to tell them everything for free. It doesn't work like that. Sometimes you can find a mentor that has been down the road way, way, way ahead of you, and they're looking to give back. There are absolutely mentorships available. But in most cases, you need to invest to get the pieces you need in order to short-cut all those years of pain. You can either be a pioneer and blaze the trail, or you can pay the price like they did to be the pioneer. Copy. Copy. Copy.
Cleaning & Cocktails was a great event. Everyone there paid good money to get there, to stay there, to eat there, and to learn there. That's called investment. Those people who paid the price GOT to learn from the speakers who shared their proven systems. They shared information for free, but it costs us a lot of money to be in the seat to hear that information for 'free'. Brian Comiskey has only been in the commercial cleaning industry for a couple of years. This is exactly what he's done. He has invested. He has been willing to seek out the information. And he's growing fast because of it. This is what Terrell Weg did when she was brand new in the industry at 17 years old. She's invested 25 years in her business and the industry and is at a point where she's giving back. That's amazing. Terrell tells us to copy. Brian tells us to be a pirate. It's what I'm doing right now.
I started out solo and pioneered my way to the innovation of the ISO Model. I was very successful as an optimized solo cleaner. But our family wanted more. We wanted to travel for a month in Florida. We booked the trip and had 8 months to get it done. I could have figured it out, but it would have taken me WAY longer than 8 months. I found my mentor and coach Josh Melton of Athens Cleaning Company. Josh had the proven system and was willing to help me. I sold out to being a pirate! I've copied his business model. I copied his hiring system. I copied his ideal customer. I copied his process for developing culture. I copied his approach to showing appreciation to his people and giving others the benefit of the doubt because I know the quality of the people we've hired. We went to Florida for a month once. We went to Florida for a month twice. We have been great students and copiers. I'm a pirate and you should be too!
Today's episode was brought to you by Swept Janitorial Software, which also sponsored the Cleaning & Cocktails Live event. Would you like to streamline your scheduling, supplies, quality control, and employee management? Check out the Smart Cleaning School's Swept Exclusive Deal. Get access to swept for 30 days for $30 ($245 savings in the first month)! That's awesome. Just go to smartcleaningschool.com/resources and you'll find our partner deals about halfway down the page. Check out my testimonial once you click through. There's a video on there that shows my Florida Swept testimony. I invested in Swept and then became a pirate of Michael Brown. If you have a commercial cleaning company of any size, get Swept now!
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