Recently, a listener to the podcast took me up on my free coaching call option on my website. Niki Kempf of Custom Cleaning in Dyersburg, TN had some pretty big questions. Niki was close to pulling the trigger on a coaching program for $10,000+ and decided to hold off. She left that situation discouraged as her family has big dreams and no idea how to get there. Our call was awesome. I didn't ask her about her business or what she wanted her business to look like. Instead, I asked her about her dream. She shared an awesome vision. First of all, she is recently married and Niki and her husband want to grow their personal ministry to help people coming out of rehabilitation programs. She wants to mentor them, possibly hire them, and definitely donate to organizations that support them. She wants to get her husband out of his job to help her in the cleaning business. This lit her up! Then she told me something amazing. They have a dream to give away 80% of their income. Whoa! I shared the JC Penney story and how he was known for giving away 90% and living off 10%. This is the opposite model of the church/tithing model where the Christian tithes 10% and lives off 90%. Niki loved this. Then I built her dream as I shared a story of a cleaning friend doing something similar. Jessica comes from a rough situation where she dealt with abuse. She has a huge dream to help battered women in her area. She wants to hire woman coming out of the shelters to get them back on their feet. Then she wants to start a non-profit where her cleaning business funds a portion and both the cleaning business and non-profit could be in a commercial building that she buys. Jessica would have a building for everything she wanted to do and the income to do it. Niki LOVED this even more. That's when I shared the Home Depot story.
"Niki, let's say you wanted to hang a picture in your living room. You walk into Home Depot and find a worker. You ask him where the tools are for hanging pictures. Instead of telling you, he asks you a question back. In fact, he asks several questions. How large is the picture frame? How much does it weigh? Is it fragile, made of glass? What type of wall are you hanging it on? Is it plaster or dry wall? If it's plaster, how thick is the plaster and is there brick behind it? If it's drywall, can you locate the studs or will you be able to use studs? You would look at this Home Depot employee like he had two heads. You'd wonder why that all mattered as you simply want to hang the picture frame and need the tools."
I went on to explain the metaphor. "Niki, most people just want to solve a problem and go right to the tools. Or in your case, they go to the coaches for the program. That's the How and it's NOT where you start. Do you see how excited you got when I described the dream you have back to you? I simply held up a mirror and repeated in my words what I heard you telling me. Your dream is the picture you want to hang in your living room. It's the Why. That's the first step. You need to know all about your Why. How big is it? How much does it weigh? Is it fragile? These were the first questions that the Home Depot associate asked you. The next line of questions he asked you were about the wall. You see, the goal or the Why is to hang the picture so you can look at it whenever you want. The Home Depot associate needed to first understand your goal by assessing the picture frame. Then he needed to assess the best way to attach the picture to the wall. It may need Command strips or more than likely a hole. Well, what hole do you need? That depends on the picture. Your coach, the Home Depot associate can guide you to the best picture hanging model based on the questions he asked. Once that is figured out, he will walk you over to the hanging tools and supplies. The picture is the Why. The hole is the What and the tools are the How. Do you understand this metaphor toward your business?"
Niki totally understood it. She realized that pursuing the coaching program first was like going to the supplies aisle in Home Depot and hoping she bought the right stuff. In this case, the coach she nearly hired has a great package for people that want to build a certain type of business. This is not the business that Niki wants to build to fulfill the dream she has. Thankfully, she did not buy it and called me for help. At this point, I helped her with the design of her hole and kept it basic.
"Niki, you said a few things about your picture. You want to give away 80% of your income and you want to support the less fortunate rehabbed people in your community. You also told me that you want to get your husband out of his job to work with you in the business. Let's look at various hole sizes. You probably need at least $60,000 to live on. If you were to give away 80%, you'd have to earn $300,000 per year. If you gave away 50%, you'd need to earn $120,000. You currently have 8 clients and it nets you just over $1,000 per month. If you stayed a solo cleaner like I have done for a short time, you could grow to $5,000 per month of income on 3 - 4 days of cleaning per week. With this income, you could get your husband out of his job. If both of you cleaned 3 houses each, 4 days per week, you'd earn between $120,000 and $150,000 per year profit. You could drill this type of hole. You'd be working 4 days and off 3 to spend time with family and help the people you'd like to help. You could also give away nearly 60% of your income and still have $5,000 per month left over to cover your bills. Here's another hole. You could build a 7-figure cleaning company with 20 employees each averaging $50,000 of annual recurring revenue. This will create between $200,000 and $300,000 per year of income. With this hole, you could hire people out of rehab and start a non-profit or ministry. Plus, you could give away the full 80% and live on the same $5,000 per month. This is another hole. Do you know Niki, that you can accomplish this goal through residential, commercial, or both?"
With this, everything clicked with Niki. I gave her options for how to hang her picture. I even told her that she could do a hybrid. She could build her solo business to $5,000 per month and get her husband out of his job. They can then build a million dollar company together. I told her that I know all of the major coaches and programs in our industry and, like the Home Depot associate, would recommend the right tools for the job. In full disclosure, I told her that I have a few programs and it's possible that one of mine would be the right fit. But that's not what she should be deciding right now. She left the conversation with homework. Niki needed to do more vision boarding or dream building with her new husband. Once they knew what they wanted, I instructed her to show him all of the numbers and "hole" options that I laid out. From there, I told her that I'd personally help her find the right program or tools to hang her picture. It may be the resources of the Smart Cleaning School. It may be the resources of a friend of mine. And quite possibly, it could be a mixture.
I love using metaphors as tools in teaching others. In full disclosure, I stole this metaphor from Greg McKeown and his book, "Essentialism".
How does $70,000 profit and growing on 2 cleaning days per week sound? There is a system and strategy to achieve this level of results. It's called the ISO Model and it's included in the Solo Cleaning School Elite Membership. You can join this elite group of solo cleaners working to optimize their businesses. But... don't expect any of it to work for you if you do not concurrently take my free course. No matter where you are in your journey, this podcast is the curriculum for business owner's mindset. That's why I call it a school! I hope you decide to take full advantage of this free resource and then check out my Learning Hub for more free content and mindset. From there, I encourage all startups and solos to join the Elite group and apply it to your business so you can soar!
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.