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What people respect and give credit to in this life is not the things that “really matter” but the things that have NO eternal reward.  How much you or I amass on this place we call earth, by the words in the Bible, have no weight on our eternal salvation.  I want eternal salvation, but trying to “save lives” daily is a drain on me emotionally and physically!  These are grown people who should know right from wrong, good from bad and can make decisions for their lives without someone watching over them.  They don’t even appreciate the effort that is made.

I have one such person who took off from work on Monday because she wanted to “get drunk” on Superbowl Sunday.  She then took off on Friday, because the following week was Valentine’s Day and wanted to spend time with her “boyfriend”??!!  This is the same person who drives over an hour to get her paycheck each week and most of the time doesn’t have enough gas to get home so she cashes the check immediately.  Go figure!  Where are her priorities?  With two children to care for, getting drunk and running after a boyfriend, show me that her priorities are completely upside down.

The sad thing is that this is not uncommon with many of the people who walk through my doors, and I TRY to HELP!  But, it is just too draining!!!  I can’t get through to them!  I am NOT a Social Worker, but this is basically what I have been doing because of who I have working for me.  I cannot be there for them in that manner anymore because I am in Business, no one pays me to solve the problems of my staff!  I am not earning $$ listening to their problems or trying to fix an emotional or psychological problem that runs way too deep!  I didn’t go to school to be a psychologist, I went to become an Accountant and Business Person, how did I get so sidetracked???

After a loss of a Client this morning because of again poor priorities on the part of my staff, I have to change my take on things and look at my business as “just business”, making money and reaching my monetary goals.  I will still be providing jobs, many more jobs, now that I have a different perspective, I will still assist Clients and Staff in building relationships and long term stability in their households, but it HAS TO BE DIFFERENT THIS TIME.

I will give them the jobs, God will have to change their hearts and minds.  I will continue to be a fair boss, provide opportunities for growth and empowerment, but they will have to find it within themselves to bring themselves out of where-ever they are to where they need to be.  I am not a saver of lives, only God is!

And, because of how I have been, people first, lives first, souls first, has me LAST on the lists of so many people, even myself.  My focus has been on people and not money, wealth and growth!  Maybe if my focus was on the business growth and money, those who don’t view me as important or worth their time, would see me in a different light. But do I really care what others think of me?  The answer to that question is YES or it wouldn’t bother me as much!  As long as I can live with myself, look myself in the mirror each day and know that I have done my best, I am OK.  I will continue to create NEW jobs and opportunities for others, but I will not get involved in trying to save lives anymore, again, I repeat, that is God’s job!  More business, less Social Work, makes good business sense to me!  That is where and who I am today!

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Did I mention in one of my earlier blogs, that I really HATE Fridays?  Well if I didn’t before, I am saying it again!  Not the day, just what it stands for . . . Payroll!  Staff who don’t appreciate anything that I do for them, Customers who won’t pay , I can go on, but I won’t!

I feel as though, I have stepped back 4 years and I haven’t moved forward with my business . . . I know that isn’t true.  I have made strides to automate the business through the web site and I have worked on organization and putting better systems in place.  So despite my discouragement, and my seemingly depressing attitude, I know that I have grown this company!  The numbers prove it.  It just gets frustrating when you try to do things the right way, and every step of the way, there is a stumbling block. But isn’t that LIFE?

What I am looking for is “change”, positive change!  Change to allow me to overcome these obstacles and move onto the next big thing.  I am there . . . waiting!  Do I need to mature as a business person first?  What is holding me and the company back?  Is it me?  What am I afraid of?  I hate being so uncertain, this is not a good trait for a leader, and I AM a Leader!  I am also the root of the problem – it is ME!

I am a small business woman, with an amazing concept and business, simple and wholesome.  It sells,and it will continue to grow  but I can’t keep on making the same mistakes.  New ones maybe, but not the same old problems over and over again.  The questions are:  What do I need to change in myself and what do I need to change in my company?  Successful leaders have a successful team around them.  I need to hire a management team.  Just like the house managers that I place in my clients’ homes, who handle everything from soup to nuts, I need a business manager for my business to handle everything, but where do I find this person?

The labor pool in Miami is dismal, I hear it all the time from other business owners, the extremely poor work ethic and habits.  So, if I can’t change people, then I have to change myself or my way of perceiving things.  Enough of my self-pity rant!  Even I cannot take it for very long, as a Leader, I must be strong and confident, my decisions must be made well, they must be firm and I cannot vacillate.  I like my staff, but they are not my friends, they trust that I will provide them with work and I do. I have FAITH in this business and that I AM doing what I am supposed to be doing with my life.  What else do I need, I have the confirmation from above!

Until the next time . . . 

 

 

This morning, I started reading this book, “The Mirror Test” written by Jeffrey W. Hayzlett, which I purchased from Borders just before their store closing, a result of the bankruptcy filing and the sign of the change in our times, economically and technologically. I am only on page 12 and I have already been able to appreciate his words as I believe I have lived them in my own way.

The chapter that I am reading is on Focus and it asks the question “Why are you in Business?” I started answering the question in my head, and then, I thought that instead of thinking it, I should write it, so I grabbed my notepad. Then, I thought that I should do it one better, and not just write it, but I should eternalize my answer as this is the reason and meaning behind my business and my passion for my business, thus this blog.

My intention is to answer the series of questions with “integrity” and honesty and by doing so, I will strengthen my fortitude for my business. I hope that you will stay with me as I uncover some of the fundamental reasons for why I am doing what I am doing and why it is worth continuing along this journey.

So, here we go . . .

Q. Why are you even here – why are you doing what you do? What is it that you want to do? Make money? Build huge profits? What then? What is the purpose of what you are doing? Do you want to please people? Build the best widget? What do you do after profitability? Expand? Be the best in the business? What do you see? Are you looking for a better way of life? A better lifestyle? Well-being? Safety?

A. This past week, I have asked myself this question many times, but I was too busy to answer. I was overwhelmed with the many problems of running a people intensive business. But now, I need to take the time to answer it honestly and directly, with nothing held back. I am baring my soul . . .

I, am the CEO of a residential cleaning company and I am doing this because it was good additional income for my laundromat that was my primary business. Then, my laundromat failed due to under-capitalization and some poor business decisions. Once the laundromat failed, I took the profitable side business, the cleaning services, and made that the main business.

Initially the business was just about cleaning, however, in order to be able to do this type of business day in and day out, I needed to have a reason, a purpose. The purpose came from my need to help people, to provide a solution to the problems that I was able to identify after my initiation into the cleaning business though watching the vicious cycle of unemployment and instability in so many of people who came through my doors. I want to provide my staff with stable employment, opportunity for personal, emotional, financial and professional growth. And provide my clients with stable house-hold staff and the best professional level house cleaning that encompasses the basic wholesome good and honest values that seem to be a thing of the past for most service companies.

I need and want to set my company apart from any other cleaning company, I am convinced that this is not just a cleaning company, it is so much more. I want to change the lives of our staff, clients and vendors by educating the general public on one of the most under-appreciated industries and adding a positive difference in their lives.

I want to be able to make money by making the company profitable while doing it, but not at the expense of others, only by helping and serving others. Only then would I be able to wake up every day and have purpose.

Once the systems are stabilized and the company is profitable, I would like to expand the same concept in every city throughout the country while maintaining the professionalism and good, solid core values of the company that is expressed by each staff member in the company at all levels.

The ultimate goal is to have each staff member in control of their own financial destiny by them using our company as as stepping stone to a better more stable and fulfilling life by creating “mini-franchises”. My life is bettered by the improving of the lives of others. Therefore, our Mission Statement:

MISSION STATEMENT

“Each one, help one”

We will stabilize the lives of our staff by giving them constant employment; We will uplift the lives of our staff by providing education, encouragement and opportunities for growth; We will improve the lives of our Clients by providing Professional Staff for their homes and businesses. By helping others, we would have in turn helped ourselves”

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to meet some very impressive people, with wealth and power, and I consider myself privileged to have met them.  The excitement building up to my meeting of these persons and the actual meetings were two different things.  I was looking for the “wow” factor, I thought that just by breathing in the same  air (as crazy as it sounds) might make me smarter (just kidding).  But the actual meetings were a bit of a let down.  They are just like you and me, tired, overworked but with just allot more money.  I understood their positions, but I still wanted more!  It wasn’t enough that they had amassed so much money, yes, that is impressive but I still needed more.  That is not to say that I am not reminded of their ability to do so much more in community service with foundations to help different causes, and that is definitely to be commended.  However, if I remember correctly, in the Bible, it was the old widow who gave the smallest amount, but because she gave all that she had in the world, was recognized, not the wealthy patrons whose gifts were substantial in monetary value but only a small portion of their amassed wealth.

My excitement to meet these men comes from a place in me, that thinks that one day, I too will change the world.  Many, many years ago, I met Donald Trump and when I did, I was excited to meet him as well and I told him that one day, I too would be a “mover and shaker” just like him, but way before that meeting many years ago, I knew that I was destined to do something great!  And with that knowledge, I always look to those who have accomplished great feats of accumulated wealth and power and sharp business acumen, to see just “how” they were able to do it and what character traits differentiated them from me.  I have worked with some very smart people, Michael Adler, Joel Levy, Jorge Lopez, Lenny Wolfe, Jim Clark and TJ, Luis Arizurrieta, Milton Jones, Harry Bookey, Aubrey Fountain and there were so many more people who have influenced my life with their brilliance either directly or indirectly.  I believe that each one of them has played an important part in my growth as a person and business woman. The one thing that they all have in common, is integrity.

So, to get back to my original rant on my “let down” after meeting these influential men, maybe what I believe that they lacked is “integrity” or maybe I wasn’t given an opportunity to see it in the short space of time.  Maybe the integrity is the “it” factor.  My 17 year old daughter, has “it”, one example is of her commitment to her social responsibility, her education and her financial responsibility.  Without a car, she puts on her roller-blades and leaves school to coach a little league and then roller-blades to her part time job so she won’t be late.  She has me in awe at her abilities and integrity.  A young man started working for me this week on a construction site and then he missed the 2nd day of work.  I found out that he has epilepsy and needed to see doctors and get medication, but he has not let that stop him.  Initially I was upset when he called in, I didn’t know why, but when he showed up for work with his documentation, I have to give him a chance to prove himself and to make the most out of this job – he has integrity.  That is what really matters and counts, at least to me.

So, I have decided that what I am building through this company, Suds Domestic Services, LLC and the hiring and training of people to give them stability through jobs, may not make me the Billions, it may not get me on CNBC or Larry King Live, forget about Oprah, or being an advisor to Michelle or Barak Obama.  But, maybe, I would be able to make a mark in the lives of some of the people who have worked with me in the same way that some of the people that I mentioned above have influenced me.  They may not remember my name, but I remember theirs and their integrity. These are the things that matter, the really important things.

I guess that there must be something wrong with me – it’s Saturday in Miami and here I am sitting @ Taste Cafe (that’s not the “wrong” part – as a matter of fact, that’s the good part) working!

I know, I’ve got to work to make a living and to be successful, but what about life?  

I watch all of these other people who are enjoying life and I wonder, what happened?  When did I get caught up in the rat race that I had always warned myself against.  I wanted to stay young at heart, but between the poor economy and the change in everything – I got caught up even before the bottom fell out! Making 6 figures, and never seeing my kids was not an option.  So I believed that my own business was the best recourse – yes, I do see my kids more often, they come to work with me (everyday during the Summer) but, here I am still stressed and still chasing that proverbial $$.

I need to get back to the basics . . . I need to go back to the  way that things used to be – simple. 

I remember when I first purchased my first home, and I did it knowing that I could hold any job and still maintain my home.  But I got caught up in the chase for more and for bigger!  I got the bigger home, I bought the  bigger, fancier car, I bought the nicer things, but here I am today, tired, and worn from the struggle every day to try to maintain a standard of living that was not built on a solid foundation, but on reaching for the next thing without thinking properly of the debt or problems that can come with it.

My lesson is learned, I will move back into my modest Townhome and restructure my finances, I’ll still work hard, but I will take breaks and spend “quality” time with my children (whom I love dearly)!  I am going back to the basics and I won’t change again because this is the only way to live!

Next time I write on my blog on a Saturday, I hope that it will be the NEW me who would have re-learned how to enjoy her life in a more modest fashion.

Take care, and enjoy your life . . .

Well, I’m here to help you make what seems to be a difficult decision – weighing the money and the legal ramifications gets kind of hairy . . .  let me help you! 

Yes, you should hire a cleaning company instead of your friend’s mother’s cousin’s sister-in-law who is visiting for the last 3 years and still can’t speak a word of English and has no plans of becoming legal in this country.  Sure, your friend’s mother’s cousins’ sister-in-law would be cheaper, but what recourse do you have if anything goes wrong?  And, if you are anything like me, something always goes awry when we least expect it. 

Legitimate cleaning companies are licensed, insured and thier employees are bonded – this is done to protect you the consumer.  What protection would you have if you hire an individual instead of a cleaning company?  I belive that the answer is “None”!  No one is there to support you or to guarantee the work that should be performed.  Sure, you’ll pay allot less, but at what cost?   

So, you decided to hire a cleaning company – but you are still stuck on paying them what you would your friend’s mother’s cousin’s sister-in-law and expect that this company will provide you with the same number of hours for the same price.  Well it just won’t happen.  Expect to pay more for the service, but expect a top notch service.  Screened and trained employees in basic uniform will provide the household duties on a professional level. 

Most of my clients stated that our cleaning was so thorough, that they could wait for bi-weekly service instead of weekly.  Complaints are handled immediately and our service is guaranteed 100%.  The only way a complaint isn’t handled is if the customer chooses not to bring it to us and then there is nothing that we can do.

To keep your costs down, think of the things or areas in your home that are most important to you to have cleaned each time, and then the other areas can be done on alternating weeks or service dates.  If you want your refrigerator cleaned, go through it first the night before the cleaning crew arrives so that they don’t have to decide what to keep and what to throw away – that will just take up more time which is = to more $$.

Give the cleaning company a budget that you want to work within and try to get them to stick to a flat rate – this way if they go over on the time it is the responsibility of the cleaning company and not yours.

Also, give them a realistic estimate of how many hours you believe a thorough cleaning would take for your home – this will help the company give you a realistic estimate – also tell them a little bit about you and your home, family and pets, so that they can better provide you with a service that is tailored to you and your family’s needs.

Last but not least, pick up what you can before the cleaning crew arrives, put the dirty clothes in the hamper put the trash in the garbage bins and think about what you want them to do for you on the visit – I believe that you will be pleasantly surprised and you will have a great relationship with a professional cleaning company.

Until the next time . . .  I am only a blog away!  🙂

How to beat the competition?  Well, if you’re not going to join ’em, we will find a way to beat ’em!

The question was, “How can we differentiate our company from the rest of the cleaning /concierge companies in Miami?” The answer came to me when I had one of my older employees come into the office.  Let’s say, her name is “Gwen” – well, whenever Gwen would work with one of the clients, that client would always ask for her to return by name.  Which in turn meant repeat business for me and more working hours for Gwen.  Also, Clients did not mind paying a little more for the great service that was provided.  Gwen, ended up being one of the highest paid employees on my staff – consistently!

I am not sure what she did, because, I would follow up with each client to see how the service went, and each one had a different experience.  One lady stated that she loved the way that Gwen arranged her magazines in the living room.  Another, mentioned that Gwen knew of her physical disabilities when she came, she would always do something to make her day if not life a little easier.  I came to understand that Gwen, would get to know each client and then tailor her “gift of kindness” to each client which is what made each one feel “special”.That did not take hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars in a new marketing plan, just getting back to the basics of good customer service and taking pride in yourself and your work. 

It seems that too many of us have forgotten these basics, good wholesome truths, by which to live and work by.

With each bump, hill and mountain that we encounter, I cannot forget to give thanks for the small blessings (some of them seem so insignificant, but they are blessings none the less) as they are the ones that keep us going.

Until my next entry . . . God Bless!

I am frustrated today!  Trying to make a living, doing it the straight and narrow way.  I am licensed and insured and have my employees bonded and I am not able to compete with the illegal immigrants who sell thier services at 1/4 the price that I do.  I refuse to give in or up on my business because of the unfair advantage that the illegal immigrants have over me. 

To my customers and loyal followers, how would you feel if you lost your job, your bread and butter to someone who is less qualified and shouldn’t even be here in this country – shouldn’t be allowed to work in this country? 

I’ve heard it all!  Service, service, service!  Yes, I agree, but on days like today, it just isn’t enough!  I work hard, pay taxes, register my business, pay my employees legally and do everything by the book, but “they” still keep on getting my jobs and work! 

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know . . .

OK – this is my first time bloggin’ so please don’t be too harsh!  🙂  Where do I begin?  Well I am determined to keep my business alive, despite the economy and this recession!  The question is how to make it work despite all the obstacles?  So I am taking jobs that I would have never thought to take in a million years.  For example, I just completed the 2nd part of what I like to call the Rescue Cleaning – My client was committed to a mental institution and we were hired by the guardian ad litem to clean the house – when I first arrived to give the estimate, in the living room, I thought that I was walking on carpet, well it was really human and animal feces and that was only the beginning!  That night, when I returned home, I stripped down immediately and disinfected every item of clothing that I was wearing, including my shoes!  The cleaning of the house took 2 days, I had 2 men and 1 woman working on Day 1.  About 1/2 way through the day, I received a call that both of the men were sick.  I arrived to find them laid out on the front lawn with neighbors administering fluids – the woman who was working was also sickened by the condition of the house, but kept on working.  On Day 2, we had no idea as to what we were going to face.  The 2 Men from Day 1 never returned to work.  We had 2 New Men and the same Woman who had worked the day before, the job was sickening and I worked along side them.  Then, we went into the garage and started pulling out old boxes that were taped shut.  We opened 17 of these boxes and found the carcases / skeletons of the cats that had died in the house.  Unbelievable, sickening and true.  The 2nd part of the job included the washing of the terribly soiled clothing and linens in the house.  There were close to 350 lbs of laundry to be done and all of it was covered in vomit, feces and bodily fluids. The laundry was washed 2 to 3 times with hospital regulated disinfectants, odor removal and every chemical possible to sanitize it!  Was it worth it? Did we get paid?  Yes & Yes.  Would I do more of these jobs?  Definitely!  And the struggle continues .  . .

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