Two Questions to Grow Your Network
This podcast is evolving into a show that grows your vision, solidifies your business owner's mindset, and teaches through stories. For the first 158 episodes, this podcast was the Solo Cleaning School. I was bringing vision, mindset, strategy, and most importantly, my own journey as a solo cleaning optimizer. I was challenged to add my journey in Gatlinburg, TN at the TLF Retreat by my mastermind friends that love and support me. Their challenge was simple. "Ken, you've built a solo cleaning business to $60k profit on 2 days per week and sold it for $80k. You are teaching this to solos. Why not do it again in another state and catalog your journey? It would be the ultimate accountability tool from you to those that you are trying to help." I was challenged big time and accepted! If you start this podcast from the beginning, you will experience the growth of my second optimized solo cleaning business. In fact, I've grown this business from $20,000 annual revenue in October 2019 to $90,000. My solo cleaning business now is better than the one I sold for $80,000 in New York. I've accomplished the goal that I set to accomplish in Gatlinburg. In a previous episode, "A New Freedom Vision", I shared what's been stirring in my heart on the future of my cleaning business. Our family has a dream to visit all 50 states! We don't need to do it in one long RV homeschooling trip. We love our area and the roots we've established with our family in the Philly Area. Yet, we are still excited to live a life of time, money, and location freedom. I shared on that podcast how my friend and leader Total Life Freedom, Vincent Pugliese, challenged me to pursue my long-time dream of enjoying a whole month in warmth during the winter. Again, I accepted the accountability challenge. We are going to the Gulf Coast in February for a month! This means a lot of things practically. I need to delegate my cleaning business for a whole month and have enough money to make the trip! My dream expanded. In my first solo cleaning business, I optimized to sell. In this solo cleaning business, I'm optimizing to scale. Ken, the solo cleaner, is hiring in 2021. I will continue to update you on Carfagno Cleaning and my progress toward this dream! I hope you enjoy it!
I've started looking around for quality people to hire. I'm not hiring yet, but I'm hyper aware of everyone I meet locally. If they impress me, I get their names and write them down. By the time, I'm ready to hire I'll have a list of 20-25 candidates to reach out to. I will only need 2-3 employees. I'd like to hire for my office cleaning side as offices are much easier and less stress for me. Plus, they are 1 day per week. I can hire professionals with full time jobs looking to make extra money to help them achieve their next dream like being debt-free. There are tons of people like that! I'm on the fence about house cleaning. I currently have 6 clients and will likely give these clients away to a member of one of my groups, sell them, or possibly hire someone off my list to maintain them. My focus for the rest of 2021 is fully optimizing this solo cleaning business, reducing my house cleaning side to the ones I want to keep, and add a few more offices to replace the current houses. Ultimately, I'd like to delegate 10 offices to my employees for February 2022. I have a lot of work to do. I have 8 offices now.
I attended the TLF Pittsburgh Retreat in late April. It was an honor to be selected to give an opening talk to 25 entrepreneurs on the power of your Why. I shared my personal journey of discovering my own Why and how this has influenced my life and business over the years. I ended the talk with selected stories from over 30 cleaning owners that I did goals workshops with in 2021. After the talk, I lead breakout sessions to guide each participant through the discovery of their Why. This sparked such a bigger purpose and dream in my heart. The Smart Cleaning School exists to help visionaries create the impact they were meant to make. I was doing this vision with visionaries outside of cleaning and it grew my dream! I can totally see myself speaking on stages in the future. But for now, I need to get Carfagno Cleaning and the Smart Cleaning School businesses 100% time, money, and location free. You are supporting that vision by listening to this podcast and I truly appreciate that!
Prior to the retreat, I had two estimates scheduled. One was a house and one an hair salon. I did both estimates out of integrity, but my heart was stirring. By week end, I emailed the home owner and told her this. "I'm very sorry, but I will not be able to take on your house at this time." Here's why I did that. Another house doesn't align with my Why and goals for 2021! The hair salon did align. I did the estimate and submitted the proposal a few days later.
Let's wrap up this episode with the title. I met Max Delavai from Thrivent Financial on an Indian Valley Chamber new-member webinar. I was asked to lead a segment from a new member's perspective on making the most of the chamber. I gave the advice that Ken Byler gave me (from "Get a Name for Doing"). I was instructing the newbies to seek opportunities to demonstrate your skills to the chamber in smaller committees. I shared how I applied this advice in 2020 as I recognized a weakness in my chamber and started leading Zoom webinars to help facilitate and educate the members. I became known for this! Max was impressed and reached out privately. He wanted to meet for breakfast. I always say yes to meeting new people that grow my network and give me an opportunity to help. Plus, breakfast is my favorite meal!
It took a month and finally, Max and I met for breakfast at the local cafe. Max is 23 years old and a graduate of Liberty University. He came with a notebook and pen and an appetite to learn. I couldn't help NOT being impressed. When I asked him why he wanted to connect, he inspired this podcast episode. "I had a professor at Liberty give me the best advice of my time in college. When you get out into the business community, make it a point to connect with quality people ahead of you in life. Ask them two questions: How did you get to this point from graduating college (can you share your story)? What is one piece of advice that you think would help me as I get my career started?" I LOVED these questions and went into mastermind mode with Max with the goal of helping him. I told him my story and answered his questions. During our meeting, I mapped out a strategy for helping him to launch a podcast to become an influencer in his industry either for his current company or to build his own down the road. I told him that he should record the answers of every person he meets with and call his podcast "Two Questions with Successful Local Business Owners" or something like that. I showed him how it would build a following of newly graduated entrepreneurs. He was very thankful and I was so happy to do it. Do you know why? Max asked the best questions I've ever been asked at a business networking meeting. He made me feel important and successful. Thank you for that Max!
I won't leave you hanging. Here's the answer I gave to Max. Obviously, you've listened to this podcast for 175 episodes and know my story. My one piece of advice was simple. "Say yes to uncomfortable opportunities that have the potential to grow you into the person you need to be." I explained that I just lead a talk to 25 entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh on the topic of the Why and that scared me. I did it anyway. I told him that doing webinars to educate the community through the chamber was scary, but I did it. I told him that simply meeting with successful business owners like you're doing now was scary, but I stretched myself and did it anyway. Max's eyes were wide with excitement and I hope yours are too.
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!
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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.