I started this podcast for many reasons in October 2019. I love creating and expressing ideas to others. I'm a natural teacher and the podcast platform has allowed me to get my ideas out of my head and do an audio journal for myself and for anyone that wants to follow. When I started, I was struggling to get my second solo cleaning business off the ground. The struggle wasn't tactical. I knew how to build a company. I just didn't want to. I was challenged by close friends and a new friend I met at a podcasting conference to start. I used this show as a public accountability to the world that I could and would build a second business. I did. For 175 episodes, I built my company and shared my weekly progress with anyone that would listen. Over time, I've added new features like the "Funny Papers" to entertain you with silly stories. I shared clips of membership and expert calls that I facilitate in the Smart Cleaning Tribe. At the end of 2020, I changed the name of the podcast from the Solo Cleaning School to the Smart Cleaning School, which brought the new tag line of "helping visionaries make the impact they were meant to make." This branding change opened the door to add a monthly long-form, hour-long interview with visionaries from the cleaning industry. I literally did nothing by the book. Normal interviews are organized and questions are sent out ahead of time. I didn't want that at all! I wanted to have a conversation with great people and ask them deeper questions than others in their spheres ask. And I wanted these amazing guests to feel comfortable enough with me to answer them. Therefore, I have no structure to my interviews. In fact, the average 60-minute interview that you hear edited is actually a 90 to 120-minute recorded conversation. I also didn't want to leave my solo cleaning friends high and dry. I added a 10th monthly episode called "Solo Saturday" just for this incredible tribe of cleaning owners that work by themself with no employees. I have simply kept this in front of me. I am creating shows for cleaning business owners all over the world to entertain them and to educate them on leadership, business owner's mindset, efficiency and optimization, and how to live a balanced, healthy life.
Why am I sharing this with you, my faithful listeners of the Smart Cleaning School? Simple. I'm adding the next piece to this podcast and quite honestly, it's something I thought I'd never do. I'm hand-selecting excellent brands and companies that I personally endorse to sponsor the Smart Cleaning School. It blows my mind that this podcast would be downloaded over 50,000 times in all 50 states, 79 countries, and 6 continents. It blows my mind that companies would be willing to pay me to advertise their products to offset the costs of creating this show. The difficult part would be the WHO and the HOW. Who would I endorse and how would I do it? Most podcasts have a corporate feel when they bring in sponsors. The host takes a moment to thank their sponsors and then does a 30 to 60-second read or commercial. Sponsors pay podcasters based on the number of reads and how many people would hear those reads. I hope it doesn't surprise you that I wanted to do it differently. I have no structure to my interviews, except I want to extract the heart and vision out of each guest. I wanted my selected sponsors to be no different.
Enter Damon Washington. Damon is a 28-year veteran in the janitorial business. He has owned multiple franchise and non-franchise businesses. He is a family man through and through. He is a fighter and never gives up. And he is a problem-solver. This is what lead to the creation of his new product, the T-Bag Company. He solved a problem that he was having while cleaning large buildings and wanted to help others. For the past year, Damon has been marketing and designing and prototyping and just flat-out being a scrappy entrepreneur. His assistant found my podcast and reached out to me for a potential sponsorship. Damon and I emailed a few times. I decided to get on a Zoom call to learn about him, his family, his cleaning journey, and his product. We connected for over an hour and a half. I loved his story. Damon send me a free sample of his product, the T-bag. I used it with my kids on a few consecutive weeks of cleaning offices and I was sold. I'm all about efficiency and this super simple product speeds up trash collection by 5 minutes per hour being conservative. This $30 product could save me over $500 per year, per client. That's huge. This sealed it for me. I knew Damon would be the Smart Cleaning School's first sponsor because he is a visionary. His story is awesome and his product works.
"So what now, Ken? Are you going to do commercials on every episode and annoy me?" Honestly, I have no idea. Here's what I do know. I will not bring on a sponsor that I don't 100% like and 100% endorse their product from personal use! I also decided that all new sponsors must interview with me first. If I like them, their story, and their product, I will air the interview and then promote their products on upcoming month's shows in hopes to help these amazing companies. I will also strike deals with sponsors to get exclusive discounts for Smart Cleaning School listeners and I want to only work with sponsors that have amazing customer service. Thus, I encourage you to try these products, services, and courses out that will become the part of the Smart Cleaning School ecosystem. And by the way, this part is super cool. If you're a blogger, or podcaster, or YouTuber, or Social Media influencer, you can get paid to share companies through sponsorships and affiliates. Who knows... maybe you'll be doing the same thing I am down the road.
I appreciate each and every one of you that tunes into this show. Thank you for your emails and encouragement. Thank you for your podcast reviews. Thank you for your critique. It's all part of the process of creating something that stands out among over 2 million podcasts. I now introduce the first sponsor to the Smart Cleaning School, the T-Bag Company and it's founder, Damon Washington. Enjoy this conversation about a life-long entrepreneur that endured failure over and over again to emerge each time stronger. His tagline throughout his business was simple and is a great title for this interview. "Respectful, Reliable, Responsible." I could hear these 3 words ringing in my ear the entire interview. Damon is exactly the type of visionary that represents the values we have on this podcast!
Thank you so much for listening! What did you think of our first sponsor? Did Damon's story inspire you? Make sure to check out his website and products at the T-Bag Company or go to my sponsors page for special deals on his products.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."