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!
Now that you've got the seasonal perspective of my new Philly cleaning business, I'd like to announce a segment change to the podcast. I've been sharing weekly updates on my Carfagno Cleaning business since inception in October 2019. However, I've been adding more and more value-packed influencer interviews and snippets from expert calls within my paid groups, that I don't have the space to continue them. For this Summer season of Carfagno Cleaning, I will shift from weekly to monthly updates on my cleaning business. I will not share every detail as I have been. I will share relevant wins, struggles, and lessons that I feel will best support your own business growth. Most importantly, I will keep you updated on the progress of my efforts to scale my business so this long-time solo cleaner can get out of the field and live a life of time, money, and location freedom.
This will be the last weekly update in this Spring season. It's called "Stay, Scale or Sell". As you probably know my story by now, I'll share the summary points. My wife started Carfagno Cleaning in 2005 before I was fired from my engineering job at GE. I hustled as a solo cleaner in 2006 gaining experience in apartment, real estate, and window cleaning. I added my first recurring houses and office in 2006 too. But we also had our car repo'd and had 30 creditors calling us every day for the $170,000 we owed them collectively. A large General Contractor hired us in 2007 and off I went. I deep cleaned a school library, pool, college administration building, and buffed a gymnasium. I had to learn everything on the fly and hired whoever I could find. I had to get double hernia surgery in December 2007 a few weeks before our second child was born. I had no idea what I was doing. I cut back on employees and decided not to pursue anymore GC work in 2008. By late 2008, I went back to cleaning solo as I gradually added a steady base of recurring houses. This was a great spot for me. I was earning money, not dealing with employees or how to pick them up or deal with their excuses, and I had consistently scheduled clients. My time on the phone and beginning of the week job uncertainty dropped considerably. I remained a solo cleaner for the rest of my first cleaning business in Upstate New York. During the time, I created the ISO Model as I took my 5+ cleaning day per week business down to 2 days per week at the same profit of $55,000 per year. It was amazing to enjoy the peace of mind that came with 5 days at home with my family every week. I obviously glossed over a lot of my story, but this podcast fills in the blanks well.
In late 2017, I decided to sell my cleaning business and move back to our hometown as we missed family badly. It was one of our best decisions as it gave us the time with my Nana and Pop-Pop that I longed for before they passed. I am so thankful for those 2 years of time with my parents before losing them both in 2020. Anyway, I sold my business for $80,000 in 2018 and moved to PA. We started and optimized a second solo cleaning business in the Indian Valley near of the Philly suburbs from 2019 to early 2021 as I've mentioned. I used my ISO Model for the second time and created a business where I cleaned 2 days per week for $70,000 per year profit. This has been a great business and even better than my first one. I had accomplished nearly everything I could for my family and the solo cleaners that follow me through my podcast and second business.
As I've already shared, my heart shifted to a bigger dream recently and I was forced into a Decision. Let me back up just a step and share something that is part of my ISO Model Course. It's from the final module. This course teaches startups and solos how to build and optimize their solo cleaning business to the levels I've done twice. This is called the Optimized Solo Cleaner. I then teach my students that there are 3 paths you can take from here. I call it the 3 S's.
Does that make sense? Do you see the Decision I faced? I needed to scale my solo cleaning business in this Summer season. Let me share some truths. I had fear and upper limit challenges. I didn't believe I could do it. In fact, I was at the TLF Pittsburgh Mastermind Retreat and a new friend Jonathon Tavarez said this to me. "Ken, I heard you talk and saw the value you bring to people. Then I heard your net worth and couldn't believe it. I thought you were crushing it and you're not." That hurt, but I was so thankful to Jon for waking me up! My mastermind worked on my doubts and fears and unbelief as well. Each week, they'd push me. Here was an example of a conversation.
"Ken, you want to go to Florida in February for a month and want our help. You have two businesses. Here's what we see. You're an absolute expert in one business and very good at the other. One business is 80% of the way toward the income you need to be free and the other is 20%. One business is proven and the other is not. Why are you investing 80% of your time and energy into the one that will take longer to earn your freedom?" There's the dagger. Thank you Andy Storch, Christine Hughey, Wendy Norman, Jon Appino, Adam Zach, John VanderMuelen, and Vincent Pugliese. You saw it clearly. I had a huge opportunity to earn my freedom if I just focused my 80% on the business that was already 80% of the way to freedom and invest 20% into the business that was already 20% of the way there. That business was Carfagno Cleaning and the only way to do that was to scale my solo cleaning business. I desperately needed this kick. Jim Rohn used to say that "You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with." I do my best to level up by putting myself around people that are high performers in every area of life. This stretches me to continually grow our income, businesses, family & relationships, health, and spiritual walk. This is exactly what happened. I was stretched and would either perform or break! I will not break! It's time to SCALE my Solo.
Make sure to check out the many free & paid resources available at the Smart Cleaning School website. Also, do you have questions for me? Book a free coaching call on my website!
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.