I'm excited to take you backstage again into my own solo cleaning business as I work to achieve my 2020 SMART goals! Now that the school year was back for my family and for my clients, I made a shift to my new schedule. I shuffled my biweekly Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday houses to Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. My goal was to reduce driving. When you're adding new clients like I've been, it's hard to optimize for location as you go. I tend to put new ones where I have the time to do an amazing 3-part initial cleaning. Once I speed up and lock in new clients, I begin to play calendar Tetris. As a practice, I try to move clients infrequently like once per year or less. Once I had the new schedule decided, I connected via email and text with each client to let them know. They all happily agreed.
During one of my house cleanings, I connected with my friend Ed Weidman. He helps companies attract their ideal clients through SEO, Facebook & Google Ads. After hearing several success stories on other cleaning companies running successful Facebook Ad campaigns, I decided to give it a try. I only need 4 more houses to hit my 2020 goal. I know that my prospect filtering process is highly effective and it will probably take 30 leads to generate the right 4 clients. Ed was very confident of this. He gave me the outline of what I need to do and I will keep you up to date on how this works out for me!
I've mentioned my cousin Seth Bryan in the podcast. He was on the good and bad end of a podcast. I shared his impressive story of how he finds potential houses to buy on "Finding Opportunities" and another story of how he cracked open his chin on Thanksgiving morning. Seth is like a brother. His wife Abby is part owner in a family business of a historic site for wedding venues and she asked me to come over for a cleaning estimate. We arranged to meet up early with the whole family before we went to a playground and saw a dinosaur show at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. During this estimate, Abby shared how unhappy she was with the current cleaner as well as the scope and frequency of the work. I took detailed notes of the facility and gave Abby much to consider. It's a lot of money, but the hours aren't ideal for me as she needs upward of 2 visits per week with one after 11pm on Saturday night. I promised to get the proposal out to her and go from there.
My integrity was challenged on Saturday morning. As I approached the door to office #2, I noticed a flyer stuck inside. I had to remove it to open the door. It was a business flyer for another cleaning company. Ooh, what to do... what to do? What would you do? Many would take the flyer and throw it away. That's logical. Remove the competition. That's one way to become the tallest building. You can knock the others down. I did something different to align with my integrity. I took the flyer inside, placed it on the receptionist's desk, and wrote a note. "I found this in the door. Have a great week!" This is the other way to become the tallest building is to build your building taller. This comes from a quote from Jim Rohn. Not only did I feel good about myself, but my kids saw me do it. I am confident in my cleaning and this was my way of building my building taller by building more trust with the owners. Remember, "Trust is Everything with Beth Lane"!
Several months ago, I met Tom McKee on LinkedIn. He invited me to his Edward Jones office for an estimate a week later. Then, he showed up as a new member of my MCBA networking group and we quickly became friends. Tom and I have been back and forth all summer about getting together at a burger place for lunch. We kept rescheduling. Finally, we met for burgers and boy, was it worth the wait. We connected, goofed off, shared family stories. When we talked business, our conversation went such an interesting direction.
I shared the Mexican Fisherman story from the "Four-Hour Work Week" by Tim Ferriss with Tom. It's incredible! I'll do a YouTube video on this in my Solo Cleaning School channel down the road. Tom loved it and it lead to a discussion about retirement. He made a simple statement that stopped my wheels from turning. "Ken, I help people plan for retirement versus planning to live in retirement." I asked him to explain. "Some clients come to me decades ahead of retirement and want to figure out how to have enough money in their nest egg such that they can live off the interest alone. They are planning for retirement. When they get there, they enjoy the money and their life and never run out. Other clients come to me at retirement age and ask for help. They have savings and pensions and such, but not retirement nest egg large enough to sustain them. The time compounding benefits are behind them. All I can do is help them with budgeting, cutting costs, and figuring out how they can live in retirement with what they have." I thought of a metaphor for this incredible lesson I was getting. "Tom, it's like the kid's sandbox. At the beginning of the summer, I buy sand to fill up the box and it's gone by the end of the summer. Those other clients are coming to you with a sandbox that they've been playing in and want your help on how to keep the sand in the box the longest. I want a sandbox that you can play in and have stress-free fun, not caring how much spills over and yet knowing that someone comes every week to dump more in for me!" Tom loved this story too.
This lesson is a gut punch. We all need to create the type of cleaning business that not only provides the sand now, but will provide the sand long after we are cleaning. We can do that by scaling and growing a large company. But we can also stay solo and follow my ISO Model to build a company that is uber profitable. Look at me right now. I'm solo and closing in on $100,000 per year. We live off $5,000 per month. We just paid off the rest of our debt and just started investing into a Roth IRA. We've started the process. Our next steps will include other retirement investments like the SEP or Solo 401k that I can take pre-tax as a legitimate tax write off. If you don't have a long-term plan, I can't recommend Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" more! Come on solos! Let's prepare for our future!
The books I've recommended are both linked on my Resources page.
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.