In my "January 2022 Freedom Update with Coach Josh", I inferred that we qualified for the trip to Florida that we booked after "A New Freedom Vision". I had just onboarded my fifth and final cleaner to cover our tenth and final building. The other 4 C3 Team Members were all doing well and Florida was inevitable. We had fought hard for several months and especially over the past 60 days to make this dream a reality. However, there was still 10 days to go...
We were due to leave for Florida on Sunday, February 6th at 4am. Let's go back to Sunday, January 23rd. I met the newest C3 Team Member at our biggest client to start training. Our van wasn't acting right either, so I knew it would need a drop at the shop to make sure it was okay for our big trip. The day of training went outstanding. I'm keeping the team member's name anonymous, but they were performing extremely well. I felt confident that I could train this Sunday and the next to get the excellence score over 8 so we could leave for Florida. After 7 hours and no lunch break, I asked if they were hungry. I had asked before and felt bad. I offered to go get food. They decided to take a 30 minute break to grab food, return, and finish the training job. "I'll be back. I promise." That was a weird thing to say. I was sitting in the waiting room of this vet hospital doing some work on my laptop. 15 minutes. 30 minutes. 35 minutes. Nothing. I started to wonder. A text came in at 40 minutes. "I had to take care of an emergency. Thank you for training me, but this job isn't going to work for me." My heart sank. I just sat there. I had been working around the clock since Christmas onboarding 5 new customers, ordering supplies, stocking offices, building out my systems in Swept, hiring & training 5 C3 Team Members. I was managing multiple cleaners at multiple sites at the same time all month. I cleaned houses during the week and offices nights and weekends. Just 45 minutes prior I was so thankful to reach the end of our massive goal to delegate our 10 buildings through 5 trained team members. I was ready to finish this vet, go home, and tell the family we were definitely going to Florida. But now my heart sank into the couch I was sitting. I literally didn't know what to do, but I had a choice in that moment. I could be positive and solution-oriented or I could be negative and accept defeat. I called my wife and shared exactly what happened. We prayed together. She said the obvious. "Well, you better get cleaning so you can come home." I then proceeded to clean the remaining parts of the hospital with my wife on the phone. We talked through everything and made a proclamation. We would not rest until this goal was achieved. We were not going to be denied. We would evaluate our calendar and literally clear everything that wasn't an absolute priority for our family at that time. I got home and told the kids. They got behind mom and dad as well. We prayed as a family.
The next morning, Teresa and I mapped out the plan and wrote the names of anyone that could fill in to clean that vet. We didn't care if they were temporary during our trip or long-term. We comprised a list of 10 names and both of us started making calls. Coach Josh had some great advice as well. There was a name on the list. Amber was a candidate that we offered a job to in November, but she declined as her full-time option improved and didn't need a side job. Amber responded to my message with potential interest in taking the vet on. I set up a meeting for Thursday night to show her the building so she could see what she was getting into. Josh told me to ask her if she could see herself doing this office for 6 weeks to help our family go to Florida. I would need her to commit, not call out, and do the best she can. In return, she's earn almost $1,000. During that week, every one of the 10 options fell through except for one chance. Amber and I met Thursday night in the freezing cold. I forgot the stinkin' office key! I had no way to show her inside the building. Dummy! I did the best I could to explain the inside and show her a few video clips I had of the inside. I was shivering as I explained. Amber thanked me for my time and promised to get back to me. That same day something else happened. Our mechanic told us some sad news. "You're van needs a new engine. What do you want to do?" Scratch off 9 potential cleaners for our final building. We couldn't go to Florida with our biggest one unassigned. Scratch off us driving the family van to Florida as its destination was salvage.
Amber messaged back on Friday. She accepted the temporary position! I trained her and 4 others that weekend and the next, while doing all of the other tasks. We updated our whiteboard every day to show progress for Florida. It was a fight to the finish. We rented a trailer for our Honda Pilot. The family packed up for a month away. I wrapped up the last of what seemed a never-ending process of delegating 10 buildings at 10pm Saturday night, February 5th. I hitched the trailer at midnight, slipped off to bed at 1am, and woke up at 3:30am. We loaded the kids and left for Florida. Looking back, we had everything against us. Nothing was happening in July, August, September, October, November. I was working and planting seeds, but no results. We added 5 buildings in December, but had no one to clean. We hired and trained 7 C3 Team Members in January. 2 quit and I didn't even mention the 2nd one that quit 2 days before we left! We worked so hard. We prayed so hard. The whole family joined together for this massive family goal. We could have given up at any point when our chances of going on the trip that we already invested $6,000 and 8 months of our lives into. It would have been so much easier to say. "Kids, we tried and didn't make it this time. It's not a big deal. We'll make it fun here in PA this month. We could have made excuses. We didn't do that. We fought. We scraped. We toiled. We cried. We lost sleep. We won.
We are now back from a month in Florida and I can tell you. The fight was worth it. Our family experienced a lifetime of memories. We spent over a week's worth of time on gorgeous Gulf Coast beaches. We saw breathtaking sunsets over the Gulf. We got to go shelling on Sanibel, boating in New Port Richey, park hopping at Busch Gardens, Sea World, and Aquatica. We enjoyed dozens of nature preserve walks with some of the most incredible wildlife. We were up close and personal with 9 foot alligators. We found a local church that our family loved connecting while we were away. We explored. We watched family movies. We slept in. We spent a lot of money in gift shops. We put work on the back burner to enjoy much needed family time. I love my daughter's take away from the trip. "I feel like our family really grew tighter and closer as a result of this trip." I love that we got to see our dear friends the Altmans from Little Rock, Arkansas for the first time in over a decade. All of our kids were instant best friends. I love that we got to hang out with her dear friends the Pugliese Family who lived an hour away from our AirBnB house. We got to spend quality time with their family on multiple occasions. We got to wake up in paradise for 30 days when it was snowing and cold back home. I got to see my wife's finger and toe cracks go away and her countenance revived for the first February in 20 years. We got to experience sunshine for over three quarters of our trip when it was dark and gloomy back home. We will never forget this trip.
What about the cleaning business, the C3 Team, and the 10 buildings? I can say with incredible gratitude. Our customers didn't complain. They actually thanked me for great service. Our systems held up as I maintained minimum work requirements. All in all, I worked less than 5 hours per week and mostly off my phone where ever our family was that day. The C3 Team served with excellence, ownership, and safety. I prayed for them many mornings in Florida. I would like to personally thank these amazing people now. Rhonda Rueckle, Taylor Brown, Will Bryan, Pat Banner, and Amber Casey... Thank you for your service to your assigned buildings. You each helped our family take the trip of a lifetime. We appreciate you so much!
I attended a business retreat with TLF in St Augustine and had a major breakthrough. My son also got to come with me to get his breakthrough for his podcast editing business that was only possible because he was already in Florida with me. I told the family on the first day in Florida. "Instead of working and fitting in family around work. I will fit work in around our family time this month." I did and it was awesome! I even got to meet up with a new friend, Ed Selkow. He is a cleaning industry giant that was 40 minutes away and he agreed to meet for coffee. That was an amazing 3-hour conversation. Our business is taking a giant leap forward because my mindset has taken a giant leap forward. My confidence has taken a giant leap forward. My ability to build and manage a team is taking a giant leap. My network was taking a giant leap forward because we connected with people while I was in Florida. My ability to grow to the next level took a giant leap forward because I got to experience how much control I really needed to run our business. It was a fraction of what I thought. Quality control at every cleaning, every week is so unnecessary. I did no quality control for a month and the business marched on. This removes a lot of unnecessary scheduled time for me in the future.
Let's get back to the title. The fight was worth it. I could have gone half speed or 3/4 speed and still had a nice business but missed Florida. I could have done that. I could have avoided the pain. But I would have avoided a lifetime of experiences and memories with my family. You don't know what you don't know what you don't know. I would have been fine with missing Florida because but I did not know what it would be like. But now that I know, I'm not okay with missing it. That's why our family just booked another trip! That's right! We're going back to Florida in 2023 for another month. We're also visiting our friends the Altmans in the late fall for a few weeks to explore Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. We can do this now. If our family can do 1 month, why not do 2? Why not go multiple places during the year. Why not? Our minds are open to new experiences as a homeschooling family. And if we can do this... you can do this! We are not special. We just did the work and prayed like crazy! I don't know where any of you are in your fight, in your journey, in your business, in your goals. They may seem so far off. I highly recommend that you join the fight. Pick up your helmet, your armor, your sword, and your shield. Enlist your family in the fight for what God has in store for you. The fight is worth it.
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.