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.
This episode is a continuation to It's Time for a Fresh Take. I'm a huge fan of the Rocky series, especially being from the City of Brotherly Love. As a kid, I'd watch the Rocky movies and visit the Philadelphia Art Museum with my dad. We'd climb the walls, visit Rocky's statue (from Rocky III), and explore. But we never actually set foot inside the art museum. I'm not going to summarize the entire Rocky series, but there are some basics that you need to know. Rocky Balboa was a washed up, 30 year old boxer from Philly. He was a scrapper, a bruiser, but was thick-headed and going no where. That all changed when the heavyweight champion of the world was due to fight in Philadelphia for a bicentennial title defense against Mac Lee Green. Green hurt his hand and had to cancel. The other challengers were either busy didn't believe they could get into shape fast enough to fight the Champ. Apollo got creative to give a local guy a chance at the title in the name of freedom to celebrate the Bicentennial. Apollo flipped through boxer registrations and he really liked "The Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa". This sequence of events began one of the best movie series of all time to celebrate the Underdog.
This episode is a clip from an Expert Call I facilitated in the Smart Cleaning Tribe last December with my friend Alonzo Adams of Busy Bee Cleaning Company in West Chester, PA. Alonzo is a serial entrepreneur with one of the best business & financial mindsets I've ever had the opportunity to learn from. His cleaning company is top rated in Southeastern PA. Alonzo has also grown multiple revenue streams outside of his cleaning company, which is creating generational wealth for his family. He also just completed his term as the chairman for the Association of Residential Cleaning Services (ARCSI). I invited Alonzo onto a Tribe call to share about ARCSI and it's many benefits. But my true intention was to give Tribe members a dose of millionaire mindset around business, finance, and networking. Alonzo is a master networker. In this clip, I extract the networking portion so you can get a flavor of how the rich become rich.
Recently, I was on a phone call with Wendy Norman. Wendy is a member of the same Total Life Freedom Mastermind as me. She has grown a large Instagram following for her wedding photography business, Apt B Photo out of Savannah, GA. However, Wendy took a substantial hit during Covid and had to do a major pivot. She saw the growing trend of elopements as an alternative to the big wedding and started offering photography packages on her website. They started selling and selling. Now, Wendy is a niche leader in Elopement Photography Packages in Savannah and her name is spreading nationally.
Much time is needed in this podcast episode to clear the names of several members of Total Life Freedom Philly. Before I share the final installment of 'Who Paid for Lunch Clue', I must share a few things that happened in my cleaning business since my last update. It will be short. Trust me! First of all, I was asked to lead an education piece for my local MCBA networking group. I taught on the "They Ask You Answer" process. I have LOVED this book and implemented it into both of my websites for Carfagno Cleaning and Smart Cleaning School. The group enjoyed the discussion as it gave them much to think about. I had a one-time cleaning job booked at a historic barn & wedding venue. When we got there, the plumber was replacing some parts and had the water turned off to the entire barn. The plumber was willing to give us an hour to "do our thing" with water, but I had to decline as we needed at least 5 hours of water. Ultimately, I rescheduled the job and wasted 2+ hours of my day and potentially $750 of other work I could have scheduled. Here's what I found out. The plumber was due to work on Monday at the barn, but got held up at had to postpone to Tuesday. I was scheduled for all day Tuesday. The plumber lets the barn know late on Monday that he can't make it and he'll come over in the morning. This is find in his isolated world, but in the greater picture, Tuesday was already booked. This plumber should have called the barn and worked out a suitable reschedule date like I did. He didn't and unfortunately, it only cost me not him. If this makes you angry, don't let it. It's my fault. I should have called to confirm the barn Monday night or Tuesday morning to make sure I'd have water. Things happen. I just wish that this plumber was more professional.
Actual quote - "Some of you won't move your pawn until you can see the checkmate."
I heard about Caleb Maddix a few years ago when he was 15 years old. I was shocked to hear about this teenager that had already blown past me in annual revenue and was about to earn his first million dollars. Recently, I listened to a podcast with Caleb at 17 (He's 18 now). He rocked me with 3 to 4 solid mindset bombs. I would like to share one with you, Mr. Overthinker and Mrs. Procrastinator.
As I listened to this episode recently, I heard myself say that I still have all four grandparents living. I was sharing this in gratitude as it released on February 3rd, 2020. My Nana passed away suddenly on 2/22/20. The main heckler and mentor in this episode passed away on 11/22/20. He never got to hear the episode about the 18 gutter balls. He didn't need to. He lived it and reminded me of it all the time. I want you to listen to this episode again and ask yourself the hard question at the end. "Have you learned yet?" I'd also like you to find the people that are the most special to you and go see them and give them a big hug. Tell them how much you love and appreciate them. You never know when they'll be gone.
"You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want." Zig Ziglar
My two friends and mentors Vincent Pugliese of Total Life Freedom and Billy Altman of the Altman Crew helped me with a major breakthrough this month. These two friends of mine are relational in nature. Connecting and generosity are a part of their life. For me connecting and generosity is a mechanical task that I put on a list and cross off. I've been connecting in my cleaning business for the last 18 months as you've heard on this podcast. I've adopted the Zig Ziglar attitude and have made it my aim to help other people get what they want. This has absolutely worked for the growth of my cleaning business. Let me illustrate. Every time I get a phone call or I meet someone at a networking meeting or I have someone ask me a question online, I always look to help them without expecting them to hire me for cleaning.
It's time to return to my personal Carfagno Cleaning business for some updates. I got a call through my website after a referral from my TLF Philly friend, Emily Brunner. This is also "Innocent Emily" from "The Benevolent Benefactor". Stephanie is a house manager for a homeowner with a 7,000 square foot house in a wealthy suburb of Philly. She does all of the business to manage the home for the busy owner. I was very upfront and shared my prices would be $250-$500 per visit and could give many options. I gave optimizer prices. It's a little further than I'd like to travel, but the price could be worth it. She liked my approach and scheduled the estimate. I told her that I'd be able to give a tighter ballpark price window after the estimate. She could then request detailed options if the ballpark fit. I am literally trying to get her to filter out if I'm not the right fit. I can only do this because I was recommended, have a great website, and I'm starting a waiting list. This is a perfect combination of creating demand as an Optimizer. Don't copy me if you're NOT an Optimizer! The night before the estimate, I had an uneasiness about going to the estimate and shared it with my wife. She sensed that I was about to possibly take on a client that was high-paying, but possibly high-drama. That's NOT the type of client I want, so I called Stephanie back and said this. "I'm really sorry, but I need to decline the estimate. It's out of my service area and I'm not sure if I can fit it in as a solo cleaner. I do have a friend that I recommend. She serves your neighborhood." Then I connected the two and both were very appreciative. This was a win-win-win. Stephanie gets what she wants. My friend got a lead. Emily looks good that she had a great referral. I don't get the client and that's a good thing. Plus, I created future reciprocity between me and my other local cleaner friend. This is why I turned work down this week the first time.
This is the first Solo Saturday episode. You are still my people. I'm a solo cleaner and have always been one. This monthly Saturday solo show will guide you along my ISO Model. In this first episode, I'd like to start with a 15-minute clip from a recent Optimizer's Workshop I did with Heather Parke from Heather's Housekeeping in Roy, Utah. The Optimizer phase is the final part of my ISO Model. Over the years, I have developed a tool to examine and analyze a solo cleaner's business. It's called an Optimizer's Workshop. I did this workshop with Heather from the Solo Cleaning School Elite Membership as a perk of her membership. We spent 90 minutes together on Zoom to map out her business to see if she was an Optimizer yet. My goal is to show you the analysis needed to properly assess your solo cleaning business. I also realize that this workshop clip is harder to understand without seeing it. Therefore, I have also included the video on my Smart Cleaning School YouTube Channel.
How did I find my buyer? I had 6 months left at this point and no training system to train the buyer. Plus, I no idea how to move clients from me to them. This is where I was ready to hammer my list of 600 people in my phone I had generated scripts and was ready to start the grueling process of asking quality people if they were interested in an opportunity. I was overwhelmed as I had very little time. This is how it worked for me. I'm a Christian and I prayed about it. As I was driving to one of my houses one morning, the Lord clearly said inside of my ear. "Call Ian.". Ian was becoming a good friend and a new commander in the Royal Rangers ministry I had served for 6 years. He looked up to me as I was the Senior Commander. He was 26 years old with a lot of promise and potential ahead of him. I got to the house and I texted Ian. "Hey are you around today." He said. "Yeah call me." I called him and I told him this, which was absolutely true. "How happy are you with your job?" Backstory... I knew that he had been working for a tape manufacturer operating heavy machinery. He had also worked at the rail yard but always doing physical labor. He was beating up his body and was earning $17 an hour. As a single guy, he was profiting between $1,500 and $2,000 a month, but not really getting ahead in life. I knew that if he learned how to clean and saw the opportunity he could triple his income and have freedom. He wanted to do more Royal Rangers, but his job was also second shift, and often was hard for him to get to the church and serve the boys. I knew he could work two or three days a week and triple his money. Back to my question. "How happy are you at your job?" He said. "Well not that happy. Why do you ask?" I told him. "I'm going to move to Philadelphia." He was shocked and said. "Ken, you can't leave!" I told him. "God was calling me to leave New York and go back home to be around my family. I'm going to sell my company and I have a short list of people that I think would be great fits. You are one of them. On my way to work today God told me to call you." We talked about some details briefly over the phone. Then he confided and told me that he was just thinking about his future and setting up a 401k and retirement, but wondering if his job would help him get to the next point in life. He was excited about this opportunity. He asked if we can meet at Starbucks that Sunday. Side note. I was going through my third battle of Lyme Disease and was feeling awful. I showed up and essentially pajamas and slippers to the Starbucks on Sunday afternoon, feeling nauseous and wanting to vomit. I brought my notebook and sketched out my business. He had lots of questions and he kept me there for almost 3 hours. At the end I said. "Hey Ian crazy question. I'm going to Dallas for a cleaning conference. Would you like to come with me?" He had never been on a plane before and said heck yes! By this point, he had known the numbers of my business as I showed him the valuation. He knew the price at $79,500. I told him I would take any expenses that he incurred from the Dallas trip off of the sale price as a perk.
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.