McDonald's is largest fast food restaurant chain in the world. There are nearly 40,000 stores worldwide totaling $21 billion in annual sales. I used to eat at McD's a lot as a kid and young adult. My favorite meal was the breakfast combo Sausage, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin, hash brown, and juice. Ray Kroc founded McDonald's on April 15th, 1955. He was a big thinker from the beginning and pioneered the franchise model, where you have a system for each new store empowering the spirit of the entrepreneur and leveraging the success of duplication. The company knows how to advertise with their jingles being some of the most well-known on the planet. They know how to entertain, bringing playgrounds inside their restaurants to get more kids to bring their parents. The company knows how to grow and scale. If you ever study this, you will be impressed. So many cleaning companies adopt franchise models as well for the same reasons. Like McDonald's, they can scale to incredible proportions.
I met Tom while living with my mother in-law. He was so nice and gave recycled computers to Kenny from his computer repair store. It started Kenny on a path to do computer flipping as a side business. We stayed in touch with Tom, with a possibility of Kenny doing some interning for him. I bumped into Tom again when he was on the Chamber webinar where I taught the "9 Mistakes in Disinfecting". Tom was really impressed and wanted to have me speak on the topic in a local business owner's group. We stayed in touch as COVID slowed. He invited us over as he had more recycled computers for Kenny. I've been very grateful that Tom thought of my son and helping a budding computer entrepreneur. I showed up with my son a few days later during a podcast recording day. I was dressed in shorts and a tank top. While Kenny was rummaging through computers, Tom mentioned that he was interested in getting a cleaning quote down the road. Of course, I told him we could set it up. But as Kenny took his time, Tom said. "Would you like to see it now?" I was not in professional dress and told Tom that I felt funny. He laughed and took me around the building. I took notes and promised to get some quotes out to him. When I saw the bathroom, I felt challenged by the rings in the sink. I knew Kenny wasn't done yet, so I said to Tom. "I'll be right back. I'm going to get the big guns and make this sink look awesome." He didn't argue at all. By the time Kenny was ready, the sink was glistening and Tom was amazed.
This episode is completely different from others! I made a mistake in my industry, owned it, and it turned out really well! I'm a member of various cleaning groups on Facebook. One of them is called Professional House Cleaners, run by my friend Angela Brown of Savvy Cleaner. There are over 10,000 cleaning service owners active in this group to share lessons and best practices for the benefit of our industry. That's how it's supposed to work. We are all a part of the same industry and we understand that a rising tide, rises all ships.
This episode is completely my son's idea. Kenny jammed his finger a couple months ago. I noticed that he was dragging his feet with household chores because his finger hurt. He wasn't shooting the basketball well and losing in PIG because his finger was hurt. It seemed like everything Kenny did that first week, he was looking for empathy and wanting everyone to see him suffering. It also gave him a built in excuse why he wasn't performing in multiple tasks.
As we emerge out of the pandemic, people are wanting their homes and offices cleaned again. This week alone, I got 5 opportunities to quote! Before I share the 5 leads, I want to explain a principle. Are you familiar with the lotto machine?
Chest freezers are super-hard to get right now with the COVID pandemic. They are back ordered by manufacturers and the used market is dry. So when Teresa came across one on Facebook Marketplace, she jumped at the opportunity as she really wants one. It was a great deal and the seller was going above and beyond to save it for us. He assured me that it worked and I trusted him. He's a business person and had a solid story for why he was selling it. I'm usually a very good judge of trust.
We watched "Hamilton" as a family and loved it! Lin-Manual Miranda is genius and so talented. We can't stop singing the songs and I keep finding myself singing, "You'll be back" or "I am Alexander Hamilton". There was an incredible lesson in leadership that was introduced in the earliest scenes of the play and played out in the Election of 1800. Aaron Burr was portrayed as an excellent politician, but held no definite position. In the play, here's Burr's advice to Hamilton in the opening. "Talk less. Smile more. Don't let them know what you're against of what you're for." Hamilton's response was, "you can't be serious." Burr simply stated as a politician would. "You wanna get ahead? Fools who run their mouth off wind up dead." Burr followed his own advice and climbed the political ranks.
In the first year of my cleaning business, we were struggling big time! Every house was a chore and every dollar was spent before I even earned it. I'll never forget the house at Lake George. It taught me so much.
I used to get nasty poison ivy as a kid. It would bubble up and itch like crazy. The worst case I ever got was on my face. My eyes were puffed nearly shut in the heat and humidity of July. It was torture. Thankfully, the doctor gave me a steroid to help heal it. You get the point. Now my son gets it bad. Last summer, he attended a survival action camp for Royal Rangers and in that camp learned something amazing. Jewelweed is a natural remedy for the poison ivy infection. The best part is that God placed the Jewelweed next to the Poison Ivy! The cure was with the poison. This is amazing and frustrating at the same time, as I never knew this and had to endure harsh Poison Ivy every summer.
I am excited to introduce my friend and YouTube superstar, Cassandra Aarssen to Solo Cleaning School. I invited her to be an expert guest in the SMART Cleaning Tribe that I lead for team cleaning companies needing accountability around goals. Cassandra was a busy mom of two small kids when she started her home organizing business. At the time, she was also running a daycare with 9 children for extra money. She saw home organizing as a way to make extra money and possibly get out of the daycare business. It did WAY more than that! Her husband recommended that she record a video with her phone and upload to YouTube. Cassandra has continued this discipline for over 7 years and 750 videos! In this interview, she shares the Clutterbug story. You may be thinking... 'Ken, she isn't a solo cleaner. Why should I care?' For one, she was a solo operator of her home service business like you and I. Secondly, she turned her local brand into a global one that now earns her hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Check out these power quotes from Cassandra!
In my last solo cleaning business update, I shared how sharing my knowledge directly lead to my local pharmacy boosting a video I made leading to over 4,500 views! Collaboration is so vital. It's what networking done right really is. Like-minded local business owners sharing with each other for the greater good of the community. Life also gets in the way. I've shared how losing my Nana caused me to slow down work to attend to family matters. The last few weeks have been difficult as I'm the family point of contact for my autistic uncle. I had at least 2 full days of phone calls, emails, and updates to my family members and his team to take care of. I only share this to be real. I had less time and had to prioritize this week and I prioritized collaboration! Here are some examples of actions I took this week:
The spider monkey is extremely hard to catch due to its speed and agility. However, you can trap the monkey with a box and a fruit. That's all it takes. Place a piece of delicious fruit inside of a box designed to fit the monkey's arm. Once he grabs the fruit, he cannot let go, even though his clenched fist will not fit through the hole. The monkey is snared by its small thinking and desire for the immediate gratification of the delicious fruit. Ultimately, this is the undoing of the spider monkey.
While on a TLF mastermind call where Bee Evans was sorting out her various business projects, Vincent said something profound because Bee had a lot going on. "It's not the overwhelm that stops people, it's the work". Bee is a super hard worker and comes from an oil & gas family in Colorado. She knows work ethic. But she is torn as she feels called to continue her family business while starting various side businesses in professional corporate coaching, winning a spot on the Denver Broncos cheerleading roster, and being a wife and mom. She's got a lot going on to say the least! Each venture requires hard work and dedication and each has a huge payoff toward her family's goals and more specifically, her desire to help women in a new platform she's creating called "Tear Out the Tags".
I've been reading a morning devotional called "Daily Readings from It's Your Time" by Pastor Joel Osteen. On page 131, I read "Be a Bounce-Back Person" in amazement. Do you know that the little palm tree can endure the worst of hurricanes, when all other trees are thrown over? I didn't! The palm tree is uniquely designed by God to bend, but not break. Then, the palm tree grows after the storm because the root system is strengthened by the bending of the tree. It's absolutely inspiring and incredible! In this episode, I encourage you to be like the palm tree. Bend and do not break. Then use the storm to grow from!
Right in the middle of the hardest emotional week of my life, I took my oldest son Kenny on day trip to Jack Frost & Big Boulder Ski Resort in the Pocono Mountains. There are two monster lessons I learned this day and wanted to share them both.
We are not out of the woods yet. Many are still under stay-at-home orders, while less-affected areas are returning to work. Wherever you are, my Believers in Business Networking Group can help. A few weeks ago, we put out a document with tips from each member's expertise and personal experience to help survive & thrive through this crisis. I think you'll find these tips useful for your business and family. My own contribution was my tips on the "9 Mistakes in Disinfecting"
"It Just Got Real" was a very tough episode to release. I shared how my own mom was in the hospital being treated for various life-threatening after effects of COVID-19. Our whole family came together over the past 2 weeks to really show our strength, unity, and love for our mom. In that episode, I was very honest about how the pandemic had only affected us financially until my mom was in the hospital. It just got real and suddenly, I didn't care about money too much.
I've watched the devastation that cleaning companies face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I've listened to all sides of the quarantine argument and I'll tell you this... when Corona hits your loved ones and you get a gut punch, your perspective changes. It's one thing to feel the pain of the financial strain and only hear of the health strain many face from Corona. It's an entirely different thing to feel the pain of a loved one fighting for their life in the hospital with the disease. That was me this week. And it's my mom. Not to mention, my step dad and 2 of my sisters have tested positive and been through torture. I am not advocating that we keep our country in lock down forever, but I am so much more empathetic to those that have dealt with this virus on a human level and understand what they've been going through. Please take a moment and be thankful that you're only problem is financial compared to what others are dealing with.
Letra was working for a large national cleaning service when her boss recognized an entrepreneur's heart inside of her. Instead of offering a promotion, Letra was offered mentorship and the opportunity to go solo. This is unheard of. Businesses don't launch other businesses unless they are franchises or financially incentivized. That's why Letra thought she was being punked.
Check out this solo cleaning story and the plan she formed recently in her marketing with a little help from yours truly. Plus, be sure to listen for these quotes during the interview!
"If I wanted to get to the next level, I had to get out of my comfort zone."
"You can't grow without taking risks."
If you're in the Houston, TX Area, make sure to check out Letra's company, Ms. Moody's Cleaning Service!
Ellen Johnston (Above & Beyond Housekeeping Services / Wyomissing, PA) - 69 News in Reading, PA on 4/24/20 headlined "Housekeeping company gives out free hand sanitizer"
"I was in the disinfectant aisle, just because I wanted to see it, and there was an older couple, say in their 80's. There was no disinfectant of any kind," recalled Ellen Johnston. She overheard the wife ask her husband a question we all have probably asked over the past couple weeks. "It was so sad," Johnston shared. "She said, 'What are we gonna do?' and he said, 'I guess we will just have to drive around and look at other places.'" So Johnston and her staff decided to create a temporary place to give out much-needed refills of hand sanitizer, even the though the company is struggling. "We are down about 95% among our clients," Johnston said. "We are trying to spread the work that we have among our employees to keep them working," Johnston said.
In a grocery store aisle or anywhere else for that matter, nobody should have to do without. "Everybody has to dig deep and see how they can help their community," Johnston said.
Your kids are home and they are driving you crazy! We've been homeschooling for 10 years and wanted to impart some wisdom on how you could spark their passions with a little curiosity! There is a lot of busy work given to your kids by their schools. They want to maintain control of what they learn and how. That's fine. Here's what I recommend. Put away the devices and turn off the TV. That's when you can make curiosity the curriculum.
I learned work ethic by working and humility by being humbled. Here's what I mean. I watched my mom and day each work very hard toward their goals, but I truly learned work ethic when I had to do house cleaning chores every week. Over time, I even learned to like it and appreciate it. I was paid for my work and always had money in my savings account. It felt good and I could buy things that I wanted. I also learned humility as cleaning toilets and taking out trash is not glamorous and can be quite nasty. I learned that excellence in my work at every level strengthened my character. I have my parents to thank for that!
We are in a challenging time as we navigate the devastating effects of the Coronavirus. We need to be wise, use caution, and protect ourselves and families. But we also need to control our emotions and try to view things optimistically. A great example emerged a few weeks before the corona outbreak with my daughter. She was struggling as a pre-teen and allowing a small irritant to throw off her whole day. I told her the beautiful story of the oyster and the pearl. First, an irritant enters the oyster. It usually opens it's shell to eat and stays closed to not be eaten. Sometimes sand or small organisms enter. The oyster feels threatened and secretes a substance called Meka (or mother of pearl) to fight the intruder. This is the same substance that the mantle or inside of the shell is made of. The oyster also secretes a protein to act as glue to continue covering this intruder layer after layer. In the end is a pearl. To the oyster, it just transformed something irritating into something that is safe. To mankind, the pearl is of significant value. One such pearl from the Australian South Seas was recently sold for $1.5M. I shifted gears with my daughter and told her to be like the oyster. Turn your irritants into something beautiful. I now say the same to everyone reading this or listening to my podcast.
I alluded to this story in "There is a Huge Difference". If you'd like to hear this full story, listen to the episode. The quick version is this. I was working from home and noticed a car in our driveway. They were upset and waiting for something. After a half hour, I knew action needed to happen. But what would I do? I chose to assume the best in this person and it paid off big time. The stranded motorist was the owner of a local chocolate factory. Six months later, they remembered me when they needed cleaning. This week, I was able to get the estimate done for Asher's Chocolate. It was a blast! The best part was meeting the 4th, 5th, and 6th generation owners. Great people. Great culture.
In Marcus Sheridan's "They Ask You Answer", the author makes a powerful statement. "On average, 70% of the buying decision is made before the prospect talks to the company." This is amazing news.
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.