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.
I shared in my last Carfagno Cleaning update, "Stay, Scale or Sell " that the seasons are shifting from Spring to Summer. As promised, I'm departing from my weekly business updates to allow space for other impactful episodes like my interview, "The Cleaning Journey to Nineveh with Josh Melton". I will continue bringing you updates, but during this Summer season of me earning my freedom, I'll be starting this new monthly podcast segment.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to share an education segment for the MCBA local business networking group. As the co-chair of this committee with Shelby Leight, I have the freedom to share topics I believe will benefit the group. I chose the topic of creating multiple streams of income because I've been on a quest personally to build out a healthy income portfolio of businesses and investments. I've very new at this since we just got of debt last year. Nevertheless, my curiosity lead me to start this discussion and it went really well.
Josh Melton has been a friend of mine in the industry for several years. We are both Christian husbands and fathers with a heart for men's ministry. Outside of cleaning, Josh has been involved in many side hustles including a coaching program to empower and strengthen men. Likewise, I am an author and was involved in a coaching program to help Dads. Can you see why we'd connect so well? How about this one. Josh built his commercial cleaning business to the level I'd like to attain, which is 6-figures of profit without having to clean. But he did that to earn his freedom to focus on other projects he felt more called to lead. That is also me 100%. During this interview, Josh and I share our stories and ultimately how God has been trying to turn our eyes toward Nineveh. What does that mean?
In a GoFundMe, Staci Merriman wrote the following. "My brother Roland suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm on Friday May 14, 1 week after his 40th birthday. He was found unconscious/unresponsive by friends who called 911. Transported to Vincennes Hospital then transferred to Methodist Hospital in Indy where emergency surgery attempted to relieve pressure on his brain. From that point on he had limited brain function and suffered strokes then developed pneumonia. According to his medical team, there is 0 chance for improvement. Today his family made the hard choice to let him go and end life support. Roland is an organ donor so our loss may benefit others. Funds will go to final expenses and travel to/from Indiana and Georgia. If anything remains it will be set aside for his son who is 6."
Roland Downs was my friend. In this podcast, I share how our lives intersected from 2016 to 2020. I am deeply saddened by his loss and pray this tribute and lessons he taught me will live on through you. Thank you Roland!
The summer is finally here! This is both literal and figurative. We just celebrated Memorial Day as the weather is heating up. Just like the 4 seasons of nature, my business is entering a new season. After selling my 1st solo business in 2018, we moved to our hometown and stayed indoors. I tried everything in my power to build my coaching and consulting business in 2018 and early 2019. I stayed indoors as much as possible as I didn't want to clean. This was winter. Ultimately, I needed to get outside again and start planting seeds. I started this podcast and my aggressive networking plan in late 2019. This was the start of Spring. By the beginning of 2021, our new business was cranking and I was able to work on my consulting business again. My cleaning business was optimized and it was comfortable outside. Spring was coming to an end. But with anything, being comfortable is not a good place to be. I needed to get my hunger back and stretch myself. I need to put on my shorts, get outside and enjoy the weather. A New Freedom Vision was placed in my heart and we needed to enjoy this summer in the winter by spending a month in Florida in February. This would require me to scale my business beyond the comfort of Spring into the dog days of Summer. This will pay off because Fall represents the harvest of all seeds sown in the Spring. I am so excited to reach that season and earn my family's financial freedom!
I could talk about Clark W. Griswold for hours. He is one of the best characters in American cinema, hands down! Clark is a man with a big heart. He loves his family. He desires to create memories that will last a lifetime. He is a dreamer and has HUGE ideas. Everything I've just said describes me to a tee and I wonder who else it relates to. But I need to pop the balloon now. In part 1 of my Don't Be Like Series, we examined Owl from Winnie the Pooh. Owl is a highly intelligent creature with a desire to own the room. He wants everyone to hear how smart he is. Owl does not know how to read the room. He will tell you all about him on the side of the river as Pooh and Piglet are heading toward the waterfall cliff. Don't be like Owl. Clark W. Griswold has a glaring blind spot too.
This episode was released during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic to help my community understand how to properly kill pathogens, especially coronavirus. I shared these 9 mistakes on webinars and it helped me make a name for myself in the Philly Area. I fully believe that this content is the backbone of my massive success in 2020 as a solo cleaner and it continues to propel me forward in 2021. Enjoy this look back!
t's getting harder and harder to update you on my own Carfagno Cleaning when every time I go to lunch with Total Life Freedom Philly, the lunch gets paid for with varying level of mystery. In the last installment, "Audio Alibis", the "Benevolent Benefactor" of lunch #3 was revealed. We already know that the Pastor aka John Stange paid for lunch #1 and the prestigious Law Firm of Carfagno & Carfagno had to file the second lunch into the cold case files as "Unsolved Mysteries". The TLF Philly bunch met up for lunch #4 this week. I will report exactly how it went down. But first, let me give a short update on my other business, Carfagno Cleaning.
I want to thank a listener of this show and new friend, Megan Combs of Combs Commercial Cleaning in Las Vegas, NV. She had fantastic questions to ask me and even more outstanding takeaways about my podcast. I can't wait to share them. Thank you Megan! You have a bright future in this business!
She extracted something out of me that I used the phrase, "a dime a dozen". This is used to reference something very common. For example, people graduating with a degree in business are a dime a dozen. Out of 12 people, a dozen, 10 have business degrees. Those numbers are not actual but the connotation or meaning is that the business degree is very common. It's not specialized. They're not set apart. Those candidates are going to have to work harder to get a good job. Megan stated that she was a good cleaner. I thought about this and said that being a good cleaner in a solo cleaning business is a dime a dozen. Here's what I mean by that. Most people starting cleaning companies do it because they like cleaning or think cleaning would be a fun business for them because they've done cleaning. Maybe they love cleaning. From my experience, most cleaners enter like this. It's common to either be good at it or like it. That makes sense. But what makes you succeed in a cleaning business? Is it how good you are cleaning? The answer is no.
This episode is short and sweet. If it was long, I would defy the lesson being taught. I recently attended the TLF Pittsburgh Mastermind Retreat with 25 other entrepreneurs with a dream of time, money, and location freedom. There was a particular discussion that piqued my interest. I am a classic overthinker. The speed of action for me has always been like a turtle over the hare. But hey, in the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, the Tortoise always wins right?! That's true. But why did the Hare lose? Simple. He was arrogant. He was so far ahead of the Tortoise that he thought he could take a nap and still win the race. In fact, the Hare took advantage of every distraction along the way because he knew he was racing a slow turtle. But what did the rabbit really do? Did he lose to a turtle? No. He lost to himself. The Hare is fast and nimble. He could have finished his race or project in record time. He chose through arrogance to lower his standard and compete against the slow Tortoise instead of against his best self, the blazing fast Hare. The real lesson here isn't to go slow and steady to win the race. The real lesson is to compete in the race or in your business against the best version of yourself. Do not allow yourself to slow down, get distracted, or arrogant.
Liz Trotter has been a leader in the cleaning industry for decades. She is the owner of American Maid in Olympia, WA, a business coach with Mastermind Accountability, where she helps every level of cleaning service grow to reach their dreams! This interview is full of so many nuggets and you will gain so much insight into the power of self-development. Liz is the poster child of the leadership quote by Harry Truman, "Readers are Leaders". This interview was so enjoyable because Liz shares her Why all throughout and you can see how her life & career experiences have shaped her into the person and business leader she is today.
Before I update you on Carfagno Cleaning and how I got caught red-handed, I need to share a lesson I learned in New York. It's called "Get Your Chad". Chad is the owner of Elite Vacuum in Clifton Park, NY. I purchased 2 backpack vacuums from Chad over a 6 year period and bought vacuum bags too. I used Chad's services for vacuum tune-ups. I partnered with this store to keep my machines running effectively. I wanted to avoid the curse of MDT (Machine Down Time). It's horrible and you lose so much money when your machine stops functioning. I invested into Chad and he invested into me. Because of my loyalty, I could call Chad anytime I had a vacuum question and he would help me think through it. If my machine needed quick service, I could stop by and Chad would drop what he was doing, throw it on the bench, and fix it for me. I was so thankful to have this working relationship with Chad that I taught it to solo cleaners in my early days of coaching.
I was talking with Robert Pierce from my Solo Cleaning School Elite Membership. He's doing amazing. Robert works as a manager at Target and it's been in retail for 25 years. He found me on the Side Hustle Nation Podcast and decided to start a solo cleaning business. Robert understood the value of investing into his new business as he wanted to shortcut years of trying to figure it out himself. He joined the Elite Membership and has subsequently built his solo cleaning business in 6 months to a lean, professional, and profitable company. I was so impressed talking to him as he shared how close he is to achieving his goal and dream of getting out of retail! I was so excited to hear this. We talked about his plan and how many clients and profit he needs to hit this goal.
This conversation was full of vision. Paul Auguste is a motivated 30-year-old entrepreneur who knows what he wants and why he wants it. It is difficult to listen to him share his dream and not want to be one of his 7 future millionaires that he's mentoring. Paul's main business is HomePlus Cleaning (Tyngsborough, MA). This interview starts out with an aviation story from a near crash in Paul's airplane and ends with where Paul sees his family in the future and the man is only 30!
This podcast is evolving into a show that grows your vision, solidifies your business owner's mindset, and teaches through stories. For the first 158 episodes, this podcast was the Solo Cleaning School. I was bringing vision, mindset, strategy, and most importantly, my own journey as a solo cleaning optimizer. I was challenged to add my journey in Gatlinburg, TN at the TLF Retreat by my mastermind friends that love and support me. Their challenge was simple. "Ken, you've built a solo cleaning business to $60k profit on 2 days per week and sold it for $80k. You are teaching this to solos. Why not do it again in another state and catalog your journey? It would be the ultimate accountability tool from you to those that you are trying to help." I was challenged big time and accepted! If you start this podcast from the beginning, you will experience the growth of my second optimized solo cleaning business. In fact, I've grown this business from $20,000 annual revenue in October 2019 to $90,000. My solo cleaning business now is better than the one I sold for $80,000 in New York. I've accomplished the goal that I set to accomplish in Gatlinburg. In a previous episode, "A New Freedom Vision", I shared what's been stirring in my heart on the future of my cleaning business. Our family has a dream to visit all 50 states! We don't need to do it in one long RV homeschooling trip. We love our area and the roots we've established with our family in the Philly Area. Yet, we are still excited to live a life of time, money, and location freedom. I shared on that podcast how my friend and leader Total Life Freedom, Vincent Pugliese, challenged me to pursue my long-time dream of enjoying a whole month in warmth during the winter. Again, I accepted the accountability challenge. We are going to the Gulf Coast in February for a month! This means a lot of things practically. I need to delegate my cleaning business for a whole month and have enough money to make the trip! My dream expanded. In my first solo cleaning business, I optimized to sell. In this solo cleaning business, I'm optimizing to scale. Ken, the solo cleaner, is hiring in 2021. I will continue to update you on Carfagno Cleaning and my progress toward this dream! I hope you enjoy it!
I've had this podcast series idea for quite some time and finally decided it was time to share it. I am an avid reader and movie watcher. Plus, I'm a dad of 5 and have read and watched nearly everything out there. Combine this with my appetite for observation. I notice things in books and movies that make me think. I connect invented characters to real-life lessons. This podcast series will consist of a number of Don't Be Likes. This first one is Don't Be Like Owl. I'll do others on Don't Be Like Clark W. Griswold, or Phil Connors, or a Lemming. It's going to be a lot of fun for me to share these characters with you.
The Smart Cleaning Tribe meets on Zoom every Monday at noon eastern for 2 hours to mastermind, solve issues, and most importantly, to talk about our Why, dreams, and vision. Then we set SMART goals and accountability to achieve these dreams. It's one of the funnest things I get to do for income! I love serving these amazing, growing cleaning company owners. Recently, we were brainstorming on a Tribe call for Lizzie. She is an amazing person and has a big freedom dream coming true in May. She is taking her family to Puerto Rico for a month. The deadline forced Lizze to properly systematize and delegate her cleaning business. Everything was on track until hiring became darn-near impossible. There is a dynamic right now in America that most of you should be noticing. The government has handed out a lot of money for struggling families. Unfortunately, it has also demotivated the work force and companies are literally bribing people to work for them. This put Lizzie in a major bind as she needed a few more employees to secure her trip.
Welcome back to Solo Saturday! Hey solos, what do you think of this new monthly feature? What do you think of the new vibe of the podcast? I'd love your feedback. Please connect with me through my website or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In this month's edition of Solo Saturday, I will provide a sequel to the popular "Excellence Vs. Perfection".
In November 2019, I was full of enthusiasm as I was going after my second solo cleaning business. I had just started the podcast and made a promise to take you on a journey as I built and optimized my new solo cleaning company. I was more excited when I got my first two biweekly houses. But it all tumbled when I had to start cleaning again. I was out of house cleaning shape. I took too long and I was getting tired and frustrated. I hated my business and didn't want to do it anymore. I whined to my wife, but she didn't accept it. This Best-Of is the episode where I shared where I was during this time.
Turn the clock ahead. I pushed through and endured. Now, I am in cleaning shape and clean 3 houses every other Thursday and Friday. I enjoy it and can listen to podcasts and books while I work. My second solo cleaning business is fully built and I honored my promise to you. What a difference 18 months makes when you set your mind to achieving a goal! I'm so thankful that I pushed through. It was SO worth it!
It's been a while since I gave a full update on my own cleaning company. This episode covers a few weeks, but has some great lessons. Here you go!
Our Annual Honeymoon Retreat to Glasbern was cancelled last year due to Covid, but not again this year. It's amazing to get 5 days alone with my bride to reconnect, veg out, take long walks, eat loads of food, play games, watch movies, take long baths, and discuss many important topics. In fact, we came to our retreat with 21 important topics to cover in our family and business and covered every single one over 5 days! The biggest breakthrough during our trip was watching Hal Elrod's movie, the Miracle Morning. We were so INSPIRED that we got to work right away on our Life-SAVERS. I won't teach what this acronym is. Go watch the movie and read the book! I will say this. I have been struggling in the mornings with snooze buttons, coffee, lack of exercise, lack of time, lack of energy. I've done morning routines for years, but started slipping. This movie fired us up and I got right to work, while still on our retreat. The habit continued after the retreat as we implemented the first batch of to-do's from our 21 conversations. I am feeling more energy, less need for coffee, feel better about myself, closer to God, and have a renewed excitement for my goals.
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.