How to break a bad habit in your business

We all have bad habits that prevent us from being our best selves in business and in life. One of my favorite people, Darren Hardy (the author of The Compound Effect), just shared his experience of going on a “vice fast” every three months where he picks a vice that he has and gives it up for a month. The point is to see if his bad habits have begun to master him or if he’s still the boss of his habits. If there is a real struggle in giving up the habit for a month, then he knows that it’s probably something he should permanently get rid of.

As soon as I heard this, I realized it was a great tip to apply to business as well. Think about it—what is happening in your business that you need to change, what are those bad habits that are undermining your ability to grow or that are detracting from the amount of success you could have experienced this month or year? If you had to give up one of those habits for thirty days, how well would you do?

How to break a bad habit in your business

Here’s how to tackle this.

  • Write out a list of the things you think are bad habits in your business.
  • Circle the one you think will have the greatest impact on your company if you gave it up for a month.
  • Give up that habit. If you struggle, it’s probably the one habit you need to give up the most. Stop doing it for 30 days and don’t backslide.
  • Track your results. Whatever your habit is, break it for a month and see what kind of a difference you see in your business. Do you make more money? Do you get home earlier?
  • Determine if the benefits of giving up the bad habit outweigh the discomfort of not doing it. If so, stop doing that bad habit completely.

Are these bad habits in your business?

When you’re making a list of bad habits you encounter in your business, you might not know where to start. Here are some things that I saw when I was more involved in the day-to-day workings of my company.

  • Checking email first thing in the morning and letting it interrupt you repeatedly throughout the day. Do not allow email to set your priorities for the day. It’s much more important to make sales calls or return voicemails, anything that will help you grow your business. I actually try not to check my email until at least noon.
  • Gossip. We love to talk about other people, but it’s not a good use of time and it can contribute to a negative feeling in the office.
  • Facebook. While we have to use Facebook to promote our business, sometimes we get sidetracked looking at pictures of family and friends and spend much more time there than we intended to spend.
  • Negativity. Our business is full of challenges and it’s easy for people in the office to get annoyed and irritated. Negativity comes naturally in this environment, but it is not helpful or productive and it really poisons the atmosphere of the office.
  • Dawdling or goofing off. This is when you’re trying to work but you’re just not focused or disciplined. Maybe there’s not a lot of pressure to get things done that day, so you dawdle a bit, working on things that aren’t important or goofing off. I find myself throwing laundry in, making another cup of coffee, maybe watching the news, and then I see that it’s 10:30 am and I have yet to sit down at my desk. That’s dawdling and it’s unproductive.
  • Other fun social media, like Pinterest or Instagram or Twitter. You can spend hours on these sites and it does very little to help your business.
  • Idle chit chat. Before we made a conscious effort to reduce this in my office, we would waste so much time just chatting with each other. Now the culture is that unless you’re talking about business, you should take a break to talk about things unrelated to work.
  • Online shopping. Amazon is an addiction. Once you look at something on there, you can’t stop looking. What if you had to cut yourself off from Amazon for thirty days? How much less time would you waste?

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.


Was this helpful? Please let me know in the comments.

Fight the summer slump with move-in and move-out cleanings

If you’ve been working in the maid service industry for at least a year, you know that there’s such a thing as a summer slump. It’s in July and August when your sales are slower —when customers skip appointments because they’re on vacation or when teachers put their cleaning service on hold because they’re at home during that time. Luckily, this is also the busiest time of year for people to move, so you can offset the summer slump with additional business from move-in and move-out cleanings.

Switch gears to focus on move-in and move-out cleanings in the summer. A move-in cleaning is a great opportunity to capture repeat business, but for a move-out clean you need to charge the maximum of your pay scale because most likely you will never see that customer again. If you haven’t already, you should establish your move-out cleaning pricing now. Not every cleaning service does them, and people want it done right the first time. They don’t have the luxury of time to be able to fiddle around with a cheaper service.

For move-in cleanings, I usually give them a price break because I want to win their repeat business. But you have to realize that you’re not likely to get their business right away. There are all kinds of expenses that crop up with moving, and often people don’t initiate their cleaning service until they’ve been in their house for at least 3 to 4 months. Whatever you charge, don’t lose money on first time cleans for move-in or move-outs.

How to attract move-in and move-out cleanings

Build relationships with the moving industry or other local vendors. Find out who is a part of the moving industry in your community; this includes realtors, movers, painters, window washers. Then go visit the owner. Offer to take them to lunch or set up a quick 15 minute meeting. Bring them a gift of some kind, like swag from your company, and give them your brochure. In the meeting, tell them you do a lot of move-out cleans in the summer and often people are looking for a mover/painter/realtor, and since you are always looking for reputable companies to refer, you’d love to be able to refer their company. You haven’t asked for a thing from this business owner—you met, gave them a gift, and said you’d like to send business their way. This is the best way to build relationships with local vendors who are in a position to refer you for cleaning work.

Join private Facebook groups for your community and do a search every day for the words “cleaning,” “cleaning service,” and “moving.” If you join 5 or 6 local groups and search every day, it will take you about 15 minutes, and you can respond when you see an inquiry. You’ll get free exposure to all the people seeing your response in addition to the person who’s question you’re answering.

Run paid ads on Facebook or Google AdWords. If you know what you’re doing or if you’ve hired professional help, you can invest in the move-out/move-in cleaning category. This is a great way to capture some summer work and fill in gaps from customers who are skipping or who have cancelled due to moving.

Pay for leads. Home Advisor is another opportunity to consider using during the summer, where you pay for leads to help capture jobs. If you advertise, use very specific verbiage to be able to target the move-in/move-out cleans. Thumbtack and Takl are other sites to try. If you’re able to jump on the leads ASAP, you’ll get more benefit out of these sites.

Do a Facebook Live broadcast offering moving tips. You can search for moving tips and then repackage them as short video broadcasts, like “Summer moving tips from ABC Cleaning: Everybody finds it difficult to get boxes for moving day, so here’s my tip on where to find high- quality moving boxes for free.” End your live broadcast by saying – “if you know a realtor who would like to share this tip with others, or a friend needs this help, please tag them.”

Market additional services to your current customers. Launch a promotion to your customers around laundry or light cleaning. Maybe they wanted to stop the full cleaning for the summer, but you can suggest they get light cleaning and laundry help to handle the additional load with their kids home from college.

Don’t forget door hangers! Get employees to help you with door hangers in neighborhoods they are cleaning. These are relatively cheap to print, and a great reminder of your business to homes in the nearby area.

Whatever you do, be sure to track your progress and pay close attention to your business’s seasons. In my maid service, we know July and August are our slowest months, so we focus more on winning move-in and move-out cleans to make up the gaps.

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.


Was this helpful? Please let me know in the comments.

What is cause marketing?

In my last article, I covered some of the benefits of cause marketing. Here are a few more ways you can take advantage of doing good while growing your company.

How to spread the word

On the local level, the best way to help get your company exposure is through free publicity that comes from cause marketing. It doesn’t cost you a dime, and you are giving back to your community. But your eager participation in a cause like Cleaning For A Reason won’t translate into publicity unless you actually tell people about it!

You’ll be the best kept secret in town if no one knows that you’re providing this free service. So start to spread the word that you’re giving free house cleanings to women who are battling cancer. It’s a feel good story that people will love to pass along to their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

Social media is a great place to start. Post on your local Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Nextdoor, Twitter, wherever you feel comfortable. Post a picture of your staff and announce that you are giving back to the community (bonus tip: take the photo in front of your sign or branded cars).

Not sure where to start? Why not try Cleaning For A Reason, a nonprofit that provides free house cleanings for women who are battling cancer (full disclosure: I’m the founder of this organization).

Create an email campaign to notify your customers and prospects to announce that you’re offering free house cleaning services to women with cancer. This creates front-of-mind awareness. Ask people to share this email with their friends and colleagues. You’re offering an incredible service, completely free, with no strings attached. People will be happy to pass that information along to anyone they know who might benefit.

But don’t just tell people once. This is key. You’ve got to remind people that you’re giving this free service.

Create a letter or flyer to drop off in every home that your team cleans and have your staff ask their clients to spread the word to friends and neighbors who might need help. This will turn your customers into referral partners. In relation to the free cleaning you’re giving to the community, people will see your company name and hear about your good work.

Often there are local business groups you can join online that have rules around self-promotion. Generally, you can promote Cleaning For A Reason on those groups because it’s a free service that helps the community.  Many of these local groups have thousands of members in them, all talking about local things. They’ll appreciate knowing how you are giving back.

Don’t make the mistake of posting once and then never posting again. Get on a schedule to post maybe once a week or every couple of weeks. When you repost, don’t just say the same thing over and over— mix it up and provide a story or a detail about someone you helped. This is organic exposure that drives awareness for your cleaning company and will create unprecedented brand alignment with giving.

Be consistent and you’ll create the buzz and exposure you are looking for.

What about approaching your local newspaper, tv, or radio station? Reach out to them and let them know what your company is doing for the community. This is especially effective if you’re already buying advertising in those media outlets. One of your pitches is that you’re trying to get the word out about the program because you haven’t had many patients to serve since they don’t know about the program. So pick up the phone, make the effort. Send follow up emails. Keep trying. Don’t give up if you don’t hear back from them. This will be easier in October when media outlets are looking for pink, cancer-themed stories. Being able to tell a unique story about your community is incredibly newsworthy to them, instead of running yet another piece about a Race For The Cure.

Let me recap some of the benefits of cause marketing:

  • It gets the word out about your company.
  • It creates unprecedented exposure for your business.
  • The credibility factor for your company goes sky high when you’re on TV – you’re looked at as an expert.

You can leverage any media coverage by posting it on your Facebook page and in emails. Use it a couple times a year; you don’t need to be freshly interviewed each time you post it. Remind people that you’re still here, still available, still helping your community. Give people a reason to talk about you and share what you do and how you do it.

Align your brand with giving. It resonates emotionally with your customers. When you don’t let them know that you do this, you miss an opportunity to touch their heart and let them know how special your company is. The best thing that you can do for your brand is to create this kind of positive awareness.

Are you already in the Cleaning For A Reason program or some other local giveback program? Please leave a comment below— I would love to know what you are doing!

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.

How to create positive brand awareness for your business

In addition to running my own successful cleaning company and consulting business, I’m also the founder of Cleaning For A Reason, a nonprofit that provides free house cleanings for women who are battling cancer. For years I’ve seen the benefits that companies gain by participating in this program and donating their services to women during their treatment.

By aligning your brand with the concept of giving back to your community, you will create more positive brand awareness for your company than anything else you could do. This type of marketing is called “cause marketing” and it’s a way for you to get absolutely free press. I’d like to cover a few simple strategies related to cause marketing that will help you gain more exposure for your business.

When you start giving back to your local community, you’ll get people talking about your business and telling their friends and coworkers about your company. This is a good thing—you want people talking about your brand and your name.

Consumers expect to do business with brands that give back to the community and have a social conscience. Studies show that consumers will switch to or pay more for a brand that is making a difference in their neighborhood. Consumers want to know when they spend money with a business that some of the money is going to help people. There is nothing better for your business than to align it with a caring attitude and giving back to your community. You can enjoy the feel-good benefits of making a difference AND reap financial benefits at the same time.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

— Winston Churchill

One benefit of providing free services to your community is the opportunity to differentiate your business. It’s hard to stand out from the pack of other cleaning businesses when everyone offers the same money back guarantee, everyone promises to provide all supplies, and everyone says they conduct background checks on their staff. If you participate in Cleaning For A Reason, you’re helping your community AND it’s a great way to stand out from the competition.

When you join Cleaning For A Reason, we do the hard work of vetting patients to confirm that they qualify for a free cleaning. We’re also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and by aligning yourself with us, your local media and customers will trust that you’re really offering a service, not a bait and switch. Sometimes people are suspicious of others’ generosity and are afraid to take a chance to contact you for the free cleaning, wondering what’s the catch. By being a part of our program, you take the risk away so customers and journalists know you’re the real deal.

By participating in something like Cleaning For A Reason, your company stands out and it’s an incredible conversation opener. What a great talking point for your chamber of commerce meeting when you stand up to announce that you’re offering free house cleanings to women who are battling cancer!

Are you already in the Cleaning For A Reason program or some other local giveback program? Please leave a comment below— I would love to know what you are doing!

Our organization has served over 29,000 women since we started, partnering with cleaning companies all across the U.S. and Canada to donate over $10M in free house cleaning services. Those numbers really get the attention of the media. Your local newspaper will be happy to interview you about your participation especially when you include that statistic. We help you track your individual contribution, and you can include that detail in the story as well; for example, if you did 20 free cleanings over the past couple of years, you’ve donated over $3000 in services. We track the data for you and help you use that data to your advantage.

One of the rewards of giving back is creating lifelong relationships with the patients you help. You also get customers, but that’s not why you join. It’s a side benefit when some of the women go on to become paying customers.

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.

4 more life lessons from my mom to help you with your cleaning business

This month I’m continuing to honor the memory of my mother by sharing some of the lessons I learned from her which have helped me in my life and business.

For those of you who don’t know, my mother passed away this February, still running her successful cleaning business at the age of 87. She led a fantastic life and was an amazing person who taught me so many things, and I’ll share a few more of the lessons that can help you in your business or in life. (If you missed the first four lessons, you can catch up here.)

Lesson 5: Take decisive action

When my mother made up her mind to do something, boom!—it was done. She was a very decisive person, not a procrastinator. She amazed me. When she decided that, “this is what we are going to do,” it got done. I saw this in her personal life and in business where she made decisions and acted immediately.

I frequently consult with cleaning business owners about their business and I offer a discount to join my Cleaning Business Fundamentals course if they sign up with me while we’re on the phone. The people who join while we’re talking are those who take decisive action and immediately begin changing their business for the better. Then there are people who just can’t decide, saying “I need to think about it,” and “I’ll get back to you.” Most people who say they’ll think about it never follow through. You will never be as motivated to move forward as you are in that moment where we’re discussing it on the phone. Some of the people have spoken with me a year later and mentioned regretting that they hadn’t joined the group when we had been discussing it the previous year. They missed out on a full year’s worth of business growth by not being decisive.

I’ve noticed that the people who take decisive action have the best follow through. They participate and benefit more from my program. The people who move forward quickly have the best results in a shorter timeframe—they make immediate change in their business and begin to recoup their expense.

Lesson 6: Strive for consistency

Consistency? Don’t you mean excellence? Well, few people realize that if you have to pick between consistency and excellence, you’ll be more successful if you choose consistency. Of course, I want you to have both—consistently strive for excellence. But most people strive for perfection and you won’t be consistent if you try to be perfect.

My mother wasn’t a perfectionist. She wasn’t sloppy or haphazard or mediocre, but she was consistent. I got a birthday card from my mother every year, for every year of my life. I’ve never seen anybody else, much less any 87 year old, who was able to consistently send out birthday cards out to all of her children and grandchildren. I was always like, “Mom, how do you keep up with that? I can barely remember my own anniversary and my husband’s birthday!”

Which trait do your customers prefer? Consistency. If they had to choose between a good, consistent cleaning that they can always count on, versus a cleaning that teeters wildly between amazing and mediocre, your customers will prefer consistently good cleaning. Life is full of surprises, but your customers don’t want to be surprised by varying levels of service.

Lesson 7: Practice positivity

My mother really excelled at this— she was the most positive person I’ve ever known. She was so positive that if something went wrong, she’d find something in the problem that went right. Now she didn’t bury her head in the sand, she did confront issues, but in a positive way.

Successful people practice positivity. I could focus on negative things all day, but I don’t want to. I could focus on the flaws in my children, my husband, my business, but I’d prefer not to.  I’d rather focus on the good things and then work on the things that I can fix. If you practice positivity, you will reap many more benefits than practicing negativity.

Most of the entrepreneurs I consult with are quite positive, but maybe 2 out of 10 will have a negative bent. Those are the ones who constantly harp about people’s bad work ethic and how they can’t fix things. It’s much better to talk about the things they want to achieve and how they are striving for their goals. Don’t focus on the negative, I tell them, let’s fix what you’re doing wrong.

So practice being positive. If you have the tendency to be negative, work on it. Don’t accept it, don’t decide it’s good enough. Work on being positive. Your business will benefit.

Lesson 8: Set boundaries for how others can treat you

My mother was very good about setting boundaries. She was very giving and positive, she always saw the best in people. But when she saw that people were trying to take advantage of her or mistreat her, she was done. She wasn’t a sucker, she would not allow it. This was a positive, loyal, consistent friend, but she understood there are boundaries that people should not cross.

If your business is a mess where you’re structured so that you don’t have any leverage with employees, you don’t have the luxury of being able to fire a bad employee and you let them walk all over you.

That’s demoralizing for a business owner. You had this dream of having an amazing business, being a wonderful boss, having all these great employees that need you, but your business turned into a nightmare that runs you ragged, is on your mind day and night, you can’t get away from it emotionally, it doesn’t pay you enough for your time and pain, and your employees walk all over you. This is incredibly frustrating for a business owner.

You have to have the power in your business to fire bad employees, otherwise it will wreak havoc on your business. It will frustrate other employees who watch you tolerate bad behavior and it will hurt your reputation with your customers when employees do a bad job. You need a strategy to control turnover so that you can set boundaries.

I can help you with implementing this strategy (and many others). Please consider joining me in Atlanta on June 29 and 30 for my Cleaning Business for the Pros conference.



If you find this post helpful, please let me know in the comments!

Lessons learned from my mother (who ran a successful cleaning business into her late-80s)

This will be my first Mother’s Day without my mom, so I’m not particularly looking forward to it. To honor her memory, I wanted to share with you a few lessons that I learned from her over the years. She started her own cleaning business after retiring from a corporate job at age 65, calling me up to ask me to teach her everything I knew.

That was over 20 years ago and she ran her successful cleaning business until she passed in February of this year. Looking back, I love that she was my first coaching client and I was able to help her launch her own business. I was afraid at first; I knew my system worked but I wasn’t sure it would work for her. She’d never been an entrepreneur, but she took my step by step formula and followed it. We had coaching calls on the weekend where I talked her through what to do and what not to do. Within a few years her business had grown to have 14 employees with an office manager to run the day-to-day, and one of the reasons she was successful was that she followed my proven formula step by step.

I taught her about running a successful cleaning businesses, but there are many things that I learned from her as well. Here are a few:

Lesson 1: It’s never too late to start.

Anyone who thinks that they’ve missed their window of opportunity to create a successful business should consider her example. If I can help a 65-year-old woman who has never owned her own business and never even cleaned her own house, I can help you!

Lesson 2: Be an great delegator.

My mom was an amazing delegator. I learned this lesson from her a long time ago when she was delegating tasks to us kids to help around the house. People who struggle with perfectionism have a hard time delegating responsibilities. They trip over their own perfectionism and hold their businesses back. You need to learn to delegate to the right people who have adequate training, and then back off. Delegation will help you create freedom and increase your quality of life. But it’s hard to delegate if you refuse to give up your perfectionism. This will kill your opportunity to grow your business. But remember, it’s never too late to learn to do it right.

Lesson 3: Be generous – give give give.

Both my parents were givers. They helped struggling families in our community and I didn’t realize at the time what they were doing. That spirit of generosity carried over into my mother’s cleaning business. Her employees absolutely loved her— they cried when she passed away and all of them came to her funeral. Generous people are loved by others. A generous employer will be loved by their employees. This doesn’t mean you should be wasteful or careless with your generosity, but when you create a business that is so profitable that you can be generous to your own employees, you will experience the joy of giving.

When I launched my non-profit, Cleaning for a Reason, my mother was one of first cleaning partners to donate free cleaning services to women with cancer. She didn’t have a huge company but she never turned down a cancer patient. Every time one applied to get a free cleaning in her area, she’d take them on. Generocity = reciprocity. What goes around comes around. If you’re a giver, life will give back in one way or another.

Lesson 4: Respect everyone.

Respect starts with loving people. If you respect people, you don’t treat them badly even if they deserve it. Treat everyone the way they should be treated, not the way they deserve to be treated. Some people might not deserve to be treated well— they might steal from your customers or even steal your customers—but you should still treat them with respect. This doesn’t mean you let people walk all over you. I have fired people and given them hugs and prayed with them as I’m firing them. My mom had a few bad employees over those 20+ years that she had to fire because they thought they could walk over her or stole from her, but my mother didn’t berate them or demean them when she let them go. When you have a policy of treating everyone with respect, whether they’ve earned it or not, the benefits of that policy will come back tenfold.

If you want to benefit from my training just like my mother did, please join me in Atlanta for the Speed Cleaning for the Pros conference on June 29 and 30. It is absolutely worth the investment and you’ll start to reap rewards immediately.

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Don’t be defeated by customers leaving or bad reviews

(If you find this post helpful, please let me know in the comments!)

I just had a conversation with a cleaning business owner who got upset and discouraged whenever he lost a customer. He felt like a failure and felt defeated. He said it was a terrible feeling, that things weren’t working out and it should not have happened.

The reason he got so discouraged and defeated was because he always saw losing a customer as a failure. The problem is, it was just a small failure because he was crushing it otherwise and making lots of money. But those isolated incidents felt like a failure.

I had to explain to him that the reason he felt defeated is because he saw those incidents as failures. The reality is, you’re always losing customers in business. You’re only a failure if you lose more customers than you gain or lose customers at a much higher rate than you should.

Customer attrition is a natural part of business

I explained the concept of ATTRITION to him. You’ve got to understand that a certain number of your customers are going to leave your business each month and each year. With a larger business, you’ll have a more obvious number of customers leaving, losing some every week or month. You’re never going to stop losing customers. That’s never going to change. Are you going to spend the rest of your time always feeling like a failure? It’s just a part of business— it’s called attrition.

If you take time to analyze the customers you lost in one year in aggregate, most are lost for reasons out of your control. People call us up all the time to cancel their service because they’re moving away or are remodeling or are selling their house or they’re retiring or have a kid headed to college so are cutting back financially. Of course, sometimes it’s due to an incident— we might get fired for doing a bad job or showing up late or not showing up or the second time we broke something expensive. But most times it’s things out of our control.

Yes we can get better about not showing up and forgetting to put a client on the schedule. We can get better at training our employees. We’re not going to be able to eliminate all breakage or complaints. Sometimes human error will happen. As long as it’s not out of control or happening chronically, it is what it is. We can’t please everybody all the time forever. We just can’t. So we’re going to lose some people. Just accept the fact that we win some and we lose some.

You are always going to be losing customers if you’re growing. If you’re not losing any, you probably have a very tiny business and aren’t growing. If you’re expanding and growing, you’re probably going to lose customers. Track it and measure it and make sure it’s somewhere in 2-5% rate of attrition. If you’re losing 20-30% of your customers, you have a real problem. If you don’t even know how to track it or what to measure, you should take my Cleaning Business Fundamentals course.

Don’t let the normal aspects of business defeat you.

Don’t let the normal aspects of business defeat you. Customers coming and going are just a normal part of business. Don’t allow that to defeat you. Look at your business in aggregate so you see the the big picture.

Here’s a good example of how this happens to all of us— say you have four amazing reviews in a week but you also get one nasty complaint that erases all the wins you had all week. We let that feeling of defeat take over and rob us of the joy of success and wins that we had all week.

If you took time to analyze the wins/loses, the defeats/progress, you’d notice that you’re progressing more than you’re losing. You’re moving forward more than backward. Look at the whole picture and see you took five steps forward and one back.

Don’t let a customer cancelling her service ruin your day

Don’t accept defeat. Don’t let a customer cancelling her service ruin your day or rob you of the joy you got from the amazing reviews praising your service. Don’t let that one bad review wreck your week. Learn from your mistakes or just move on if there was no mistake.

I had to learn this years and years ago. I didn’t need to pay attention to the customers who cancelled as long as the number of cancellations was within a reasonable, predictable amount each month or year. I didn’t need to micromanage my staff and demand to know why each customer cancelled. I just wanted to know how many we would predictably lose each month. This kept me from looking over their shoulder and driving my staff crazy. If i’m grilling them over three or four lost customers, I’m not recognizing the work they’re doing to bring in 20 new customers.

So back to that cleaning business owner. I told him he needed to get over it, that he was only focusing on the one or two minor failures. You’re robbing yourself of the joy of success by focusing on these failures. Acknowledge that we win some and lose some. As long as we win more than we lose we’re going to grow the business.

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.

Was this helpful? Please let me know in the comments.

Double your tax refund

(This is a long post. If you find it helpful, please let me know in the comments!)

Tax season is here again! So did you get a tax refund? I have some ideas on how you can double that refund. This advice also applies to anyone getting a small windfall—maybe you made an extra profit or you got a lump sum from somewhere. Here’s advice on how can you double that money, not just spend it.

There’s a great Zig Zigler quote that “Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” What you do with your money is determined by your mindset. Let’s say you’re getting a tax refund from the IRS. A lot of people think about treating themselves to a vacation or putting a down payment on a nicer car or buying some furniture or upgrading their laptop.

If you want to double your tax refund, it starts with whether to spend it or invest it. If you don’t want to have to work hard all year long for the rest of your life, stop thinking about treating yourself, stop giving yourself a raise every time you get a bigger profit or buying something when you get a boost in income. People who invest that money have quality of life and freedom that others do not. Shift your thinking from spending money to investing it. Take your $1,000 refund and increase it 10x—it can turn into more money than the $1,000 treat you were going to buy yourself. Remember that the minute you buy a computer, it starts to devalue. It might feel like an investment in your business but it’s a cost, not an investment.

Invest your tax refund in marketing

There are two ways to take that refund and make it work for you by increasing your revenue and quality of life. First, you can spend it on marketing. Let’s say that your marketing cost averages to ~$250 for you to obtain a recurring customer. If you spend $500, on average you’ll acquire two customers, and if you spend $1,000 you can expect around four recurring customers. And let’s say that recurring customers will annually spend about $3,000 with your business. By spending $1,000 on marketing to acquire four recurring customers, that will bring in $12,000 in additional annual revenue. If they stay with you for two years, that’s $24,000 in business from $1,000 you spent in advertising.

Marketing, if done correctly, is an investment. It’s not a waste or a cost. If operationally you’re not prepared to convert those clients or don’t charge enough or don’t have a good system in place to convert them into recurring clients, then it is a cost. But it’s never a waste if you spend your dollars in the right place and handle the leads correctly. Don’t look at marketing as an expense but as a way to make more money. (How to effectively use marketing is covered in great detail in my Cleaning Business Fundamentals course.)

Invest in yourself

Besides spending your tax refund on marketing, the second thing you can do with the money is to invest in yourself and in your personal development. I’m constantly taking leadership training, or sales training, or courses on how to be a better consultant. I’m never going to be finished learning. I spend money on consultants to come in and work with my staff, and spend money to train my staff.

Investing in yourself is one of the best ways to get a return on your tax refund. If you could spend between $2,000 and $10,000 to invest in the rest of your life, to get out of the field and stop cleaning, to double or triple your income, wouldn’t you do that? What if you could have been making $50,000 a year but you didn’t invest in yourself, you bought a fancy car instead. As your car deteriorates in value, you realize that you could have invested in yourself and begun to build that empire that you thought you’d have by now.

My Cleaning Business Fundamentals (CBF) course can absolutely help you increase your business, get you out of the field, and help grow your revenue. However, you have to ask yourself if it’s a cost or an investment. It’s a cost if you purchase the course and don’t follow through, but it’s an investment if you actually follow my advice.

I recently asked people who had taken my course to let me know what they thought. Here are some of the comments that I got:

“Investing in CBF is one of the best decisions I ever made.” – Jeannie H.

“CBF is a God-send!” – Rhonda B.

“Best thing I have done for my business.” -Stephanie R

“It got me out of the field and now I’m a compassionate business owner.” – Michelle A.

“Best decision I made and best money I spent.” – Bonnie C.

“One of the smartest business decisions I’ve made in 9 years. “ – Molly M.

“Really comprehensive, well organized, thorough and complete information, plus the amazing support and terrific community of caring and generous business owners. One of the best business experiences I have ever had. So glad I made the commitment to myself and my business. Really the best.” – Christy L.

“CBF has shown me the roadmap to a successful business and slowly but surely we are on our way!” – Eduardo C.

The model that I teach in CBF is guaranteed to work, but I can’t guarantee that everyone who takes it will follow through with the model. It’s not complicated but it does require effort. I used my formula to build a multi-million dollar business where I’m an absentee owner not involved in the day-to-day decisions. I have a formula that works 100% if you follow it, and I’ve been teaching this formula to cleaning business owners for ten years and put it into practice in my own business for close to 25 years. I can help you get out of the field and build the size of business that you want.

So what is CBF or Cleaning Business Fundamentals? It’s a 32 hour course where I give you EVERYTHING—all the tools, information, and forms you need, as well as six months of coaching. It lasts over 16 weeks and you participate via phone and internet. Are you ready to double your tax rebate? Invest it in yourself. Ask yourself if you’re worth the investment. Don’t wait another month or year. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.

(Was this helpful? Please let me know in the comments.)

9 simple and consistent keys to success

Please let me know in the comments if you found this helpful. I’d really like to hear from you!

Keep it simple, do it well, repeat

Success in business comes from doing six things really well that you repeat thousands of times. This is called the compound effect. Most people think that success comes from taking giant leaps, but that’s not common. It’s rare that you strike gold overnight or have one thing lead to massive success. Mostly it’s a handful of things that we do really well, over and over. Don’t chase dozens of ideas—start simple, and master half a dozen things that you get really good at. Simplicity is a good place to start.

Knowledge without action is useless.

You don’t need more knowledge, you need a new plan of action. I talk to so many people who have gone to such-and-such conference or took so-and-so’s seminar, or are in a Mastermind Group, or took this business program and that coaching program. They’ve accumulated so much knowledge over the years that sometimes it results in conflicting advice. With this approach, all you do is create confusion. Instead of collecting knowledge, you just need a plan of action. Put one foot in front of the other; take one step, then another. You have to ACT.

What’s the ultimate key to success? Consistency.

Over the years I’ve found that the people who consistently show up for our Mastermind meetings, who stay plugged in, continually asking and answering questions, who share ideas and post challenges end up being the most successful. They are continually engaged with the community and not left alone to struggle and guess their way to success. They consistently follow the steps in our Cleaning Business Fundamentals group. They don’t just take off on a fast sprint and fizzle out or take a seminar and do things for a few weeks before doing nothing for a few months. They are consistently marketing, posting every day on online channels. I’ve seen some people who set up their pages, make a few posts, and then don’t post anything for months. It’s the same with cleaning. You are not going to succeed if you give your customer an inconsistent experience. You’re better off having consistently good cleaning instead of a perfect clean followed by a mediocre clean followed by a great clean followed by an uneven clean. All that inconsistency creates customer dissatisfaction.

If you aren’t better, work harder.

This is simple. Get better at running a business. Most of you are good at cleaning, but have you gotten better at business? It involves marketing, customer service, figuring out how to scale your business, managing your online reputation, understanding your margins so your profits don’t erode as you grow. If you aren’t seeing success, work harder at getting better at business. Figure out how to control and scale your business, how to be amazing at attracting the best cleaners and at keeping them long term.

Let the compound effect work in your favor.

I talk about this throughout the entire Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. The compound effect is the strategy of reaping huge rewards from seemingly insignificant actions. It is those really tiny things that we do that make a BIG difference. It’s the small steps that we take consistently every day. A little bit of marketing here and there will add up to massive results. It’s those little things that we do every single day that will help us achieve success.

Small choices matter over time.

If you consistently make the same small choices over time, you’ll get significant results. For example, I talked with someone today who decided to take the Cleaning Business Fundamentals course and who signed up on the spot. Another person I spoke with today said she wanted to take the class but needed to save up some money. The person who made the small choice to sign up for the class is already on the path to reaping bigger results. The one who didn’t sign up, well, what if a week goes by and her resources haven’t gotten better? And then two weeks, and later five months go by. She tells herself “I’m going to do that someday.” You know what she’s doing? She’s consistently procrastinating. She’s not doing anything to get her business unstuck. If we check in on the person who signed up today in a year’s time, she could have gotten out of the field or doubled her income. The other person most likely will be in the same place a year from now.

Knowledge uninvested is wasted.

You can’t just learn, read books, listen to podcasts, go to seminars. You have to put that learning to use and take action in your business. Learning without investing that knowledge in your business does nothing.

Choice is central to success and failure.

The choices that we make every day will determine whether or not we’re successful. The choice to procrastinate is a decision not to change your life. What we choose makes the biggest difference. Too often we sleepwalk through our choices and do what society tells us we should do. Take personal responsibility. My success or failure is the result of my own choices. That is such a freeing feeling. Making better choices puts you in control of your success. This is freedom. We can make better choices and succeed more.

Keep a daily gratitude journal.

Every day, write in your journal about something you are grateful for. It could be about life, your kids, your spouse. If you do this every day, your journal will be massive at the end of a year with all the things you are grateful for and you’ll feel encouraged about all the support and help you get in your life. Gratitude is acknowledging that there are people in your life who do things for you that you can’t do for yourself. What you appreciate (have gratitude for) will appreciate (get bigger). Do you appreciate your employees, your business metrics? If they’re important to you, they’ll get better.

Was this helpful? Please let me know in the comments. I’d really like to hear from you.

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.

How to respond to negative reviews

Listen, respond, learn

No matter how perfect you and your team are, no matter how diligent and thorough, no matter what level of effort you spend, there will always be a client who is unhappy. When they leave a negative review for you online, it can impact your business by warning away other potential clients. Here are some things you can do to remedy the situation.

  • Bury bad reviews.  This is the single best strategy to control your online reviews.  Be proactive instead of reactive. Commit to continually asking your happy customers to go online and review you. Don’t just wait for the random reviews to come in on first-time cleans; ask your weekly and bi-weekly customers to review you, too.
  • Call the client and listen to them. Take a deep breath. Walk around the block. When you are calm, call them up, tell them you are sorry that they were disappointed and ask what you can do to make it good. If they refuse, thank them for their business and end the call. If you can make them happy, once they’re satisfied ask them to update their review.
  • Respond to the review. Once you’ve reached out to the complainer, you can write a response to the review online. If you were able to fix the issue, let people know. If the customer refused any of your suggestions, clearly outline what you proposed to them. “I’m disappointed that Mrs. X would not give us a chance to make this right. I offered to have someone come back to clean the stove at no cost. We take great pride in our high level of service and want all our customers to be satisfied.”
  • Flag the review. Some services allow you to flag the review as abusive or false. If you feel this applies to the negative review someone left about your business, reach out to the review site to see what your options are.
  • Consider reviews a valuable source of information. Once you get over the pain of someone having left a bad review, now it’s time to get something out of it. Come back the next day and re-read the review, considering all the points. Maybe your client is doing you a favor by letting you know about a team member who is underperforming.
  • Generate positive publicity for your cleaning company by giving back to your community in some way. You could sponsor a food drive or have your team volunteer hours at a local charity. You could donate a portion of your profits to a good cause. Whatever you decide to do, be sure your local news knows about it. News organizations are always looking for this type of “good news” story to brighten people’s day. . You can overwhelm the search results that have bad reviews about your company by making sure that Google finds good articles about your company.

Was this helpful? Please let me know in the comments.

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.