This episode is mostly for C3 Team Members, but I wanted to share it with the Smart Cleaning School. In the episode, "Introducing the C3 Experience", I laid out the company mission, vision, and values. When I first released that episode, I had no idea it would become a mandatory piece of the C3 Team hiring process. I truly believe that episode was the single most important one that I recorded in the past 18 months! It shares so much about who I am as a follower of Jesus Christ and steward of His business. I remember starting my career with General Electric in 2000. I was so excited to work for GE. I joined the Edison Engineering Development Program (EEDP) and was thrilled to pursue my dreams in my new career. The onboarding process was basically checking off boxes and part of that process included me getting the GE core values on an index-sized piece of card stock. I glanced at it and then pinned it to my cubicle wall. I never looked at it again. I didn't care. That wasn't important. The work was important. The engineering was important. I mean, that's why I was there. Most of America enters corporate settings the same way. Core values are part of the onboarding process, but no one really "lives" them out. That's a problem and most don't even realize it.
Fast forward. Teresa and I started Carfagno Cleaning in 2005. It was a way to earn income so our family didn't starve as we spiraled out of control financially in 2005 - 2008. It become my full-time career by default and out of total necessity. I never created a mission statement and certainly no core values. Who cared? They were lame at GE and didn't help me make money. But then we started having kids and raising a family. As our oldest entered Kindergarten, we opted to homeschool after much research and prayer. This was in early 2010 after putting Kenny in preschool for a few months. We barely scratched the surface of putting our son is school and we were done! We made decisions all along the way about how we wanted to raise our kids. We thought hard about the type of adults we wanted to put into the world. We wanted to teach and model Christian discipleship in our homeschool and family. We wanted our homeschool to result in independent, creative, problem-solving, entrepreneurial leaders. Without even realizing it, we had created a mission for our family and homeschool. The mission was the table top and the core values were the legs. We then put bible verses to each of the legs or core values and put this up on our family room wall. We truly cared about the future of our kids and realized that we needed to design what that would look like. That's when I looked back upon the core values from GE and realized something very profound. I never cared about their core values because I was never a fit for GE! I wanted to be a part of GE because they were touted as the #1 place to work for engineers. It was the best career opportunity. But in all of my research, I NEVER once read their mission statement or examined the legs of their table. I never read the core values. I wasn't a culture fit for GE, so I shouldn't be shocked that I was fired in 2005. So many young people make the same mistake. They go to work for the biggest company with the best benefits and highest salary and best advancement. This is important, but what if they don't fit into the culture like I didn't fit into GE's?
Even with this profound realization, I did not incorporate a mission statement or core values into Carfagno Cleaning. But we built a strong foundation and culture within our family that would produce the adults we most desired and the ones that the Lord would be most proud of us for. At this time, the cleaning company was just a job and vehicle for supporting the family's mission, vision, and values. That changed big time in 2021. Our family had a "New Freedom Vision". We had talked about making living a life of freedom a core value and part of our family mission, but we never believed it was possible. In 2021, I was challenged by people that care about me. I was coached and held accountable to achieving the mammoth goal of a family trip to Florida every winter for a month as a lifestyle. We have always wanted to travel with our homeschool. We desired for our kids to experience other parts of the country for long stretches of time. I've already shared that our vision changed in our family. This vision would only work if we thought about the cleaning business differently. This is where the C3 Experience was birthed. It wasn't like the old GE days where core values were pinned to my cubicle wall. We understood the value and importance of having a design behind our family business. Oh wait, did I just say OUR family business?! Yeah, that's the other major change in 2021. We gave our business back to its rightful owner. As Christians, we believe God owns it all and we are called to manage or steward his property well. We changed our pronouns from OUR business and MY business to His business. I want to publicly thank my friend Kevin Smith from our interview, "It's Grace for a Reason with Kevin Smith". Kevin helped me to see this truth about stewardship and helped us change our pronouns.
On October 14th, 2021, I released the podcast, "Introducing the C3 Experience". As I've explained in previous podcast episodes, C3 was no where near able for our family to leave for Florida just 115 days later! We gave the C3 Experience back to God. We let Him lead again. It was a lot of work, but we accomplished our new freedom vision. It's 2022 now and Florida is over. Does that mean our core values get pinned on our cubicles? Certainly not. I would like to share an vision update with you! I've already shared these numbers with the Smart Cleaning School, so I'm proud to share them again. We declared in October that C3 was His business and we were 10-talent stewards. Let me refresh you on the "The Parable of the Talents". The master leaves his property and apportions a total of 8 talents to 3 stewards. The master gives 5 to the first, 2 to the second, and 1 to the third. He leaves to a far country for a long time and then returns. He demands an accounting of his talents upon his return. The one with the 5 had doubled them to 10 talents. He was praised. The one with 2 had doubled them to 4 talents. Likewise, he was praised. The one with 1 buried it and returned the 1 to the master. He was rebuked and his 1 talent was given to the steward with 10 talents. God's math is awesome. The 5 talent steward invested and did business to double his master's talents to 10. Then the master rewarded him with 1 talent that he never had to work for. The parable stops here, but I postulate that if Jesus would have continued this parable, the steward with 11 talents would have doubled them again to 22. The master would have found 1 or 2 more talents that he never worked for and added them to the 22. This compound interest would continue as the master found a very profitable steward. I read this and wanted to be that steward. I didn't realize this until late early May 2022, but our mission statement came true exactly as Jesus taught in his parable. On October 14th, 2021 when we declared C3 His business, we had $5,000 per month in commercial cleaning revenue. Think of $5,000 per month as 5 talents. The master gave us 5 talents to manage or steward. We worked very hard in October, November, December, and January. The business nearly doubled to $10,000 per month in revenue or 10 talents. Then we went to Florida for a month. When we got home, an unexpected $1,000 per month in new customers hired us! We didn't do any work to go from 10 talents to 11. This is the exact scenario in the parable that we wrapped our mission statement around. I was completely floored and immediately told my wife and kids. We celebrated and thanked God for his provision and trust of our stewardship. But that wasn't the end. It was time to set new goals. Coach Josh wanted to know our intentions for 2022 and 2023. The only firm date on the calendar was Florida, part 2. Yup, our family booked another AirBnB for a month outside of Sarasota for next winter!
On May 3rd, 2022, Teresa and I took a 3-mile walk with the sole intention of prayer, conversation, and talking this all out. We knew how much work it was to grow C3 from 5 talents to 10 talents in 2021. We evaluated the options before us. We currently had 11 talents. Would we work hard to double the 11 into 22 talents to remain a 10-Talent Steward? Or, would we be content to enjoy the business and lifestyle we built? That was the easiest part of our walk. We have to stay true to Mission C3: A Ten Talent Company! Let me explain why. Last October we made the decision to become a Ten Talent Company. We honored our decision with the work we did. God honored his part with the work He did. It doesn't end there. Teresa and looked at the parable a few more times on the walk. In Matthew 25:26, the Lord rebukes the 1 talent steward and in verse 28, He gives the single talent to the steward with 10 talents. Furthermore, Jesus declares in verse 29, "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away." His answer was clear to Teresa and I on our walk. If we rest on our laurels and bury the 11 talents we were blessed to manage, they would be taken away. That translated to us that we'd try to maintain the current C3 business and it would dwindle away. We'd lose clients and team members. So we felt convicted that the only path forward was to continue to honor our mission. This was the first decision. We were going to continue working to double the 11 talents into 22. This would provide more great jobs for current C3 Team Members, plus offer promotion opportunity as Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader positions opened up. It would provide opportunities for other amazing people in our community to find meaningful part-time work. Lastly, it would increase our family's income and ability to do more cool stuff together and be more generous in our church and community. We then turned our attention to the second question. The parable never establishes how long the master is gone. The text only says in verse 19. "After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them." Our second question was the When. When would we double the 11 talents into 22? This was an agonizing question. I won't go into the weeds here, but it came down to a family decision. Would Dad work like crazy for the rest of 2022 to achieve this goal? I'd be working a ton and have to sacrifice a lot of family time and possible smaller family trips to accomplish it. A huge goal demands a huge commitment. The other end of the spectrum was cruising through the year with roughly the same size business and growing it when we get back from Florida. Dad would have a lot of time, but money would be limited because we're still paying off credit card debt from our first Florida trip. The family didn't like either option and chose like Goldilocks. We picked the porridge that was just right. Here's what we determined. C3 was at 5 talents in October 2021, but we got to 5 in May 2021. Therefore, our doubling of 5 talents to 10 was a 1 year accomplishment. Let's set the same goal and double to 22 talents by May 2023. This would require us to work hard to grow by 6 talents before Florida and 5 more talents after. The workload would be manageable for me so I could enjoy plenty of family time too. Plus, it would increase our income enough so that we could pay off all current debt and come back from Florida next year debt-free. The family agreed to this plan and prayed over its accomplishment. I submitted it to Coach Josh and he helped us design a plan that put us in the best position to win. Now it's time to work!
Thank you so much for listening to this podcast episode. Whether you're a new or prospective C3 Team Member or a cleaning business owner somewhere in the world, my hope is that this episode inspired you to build and live by a set of core values, mission, and vision for your family and business. My hope is that it showed you that setting realistic goals and backing them up with work are vital. And for C3 Team Members and candidates specifically, my hope is that you will identify with our mission and want to be a part of a 10-Talent Stewardship Company with the core values of ownership, excellence, and safety so we can be proud of our work and honor God.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."