Be Your Own Boss
Be Your Own BossTo jump right in on how to be your own boss, I’m going to answer a question that I get a lot, which is a lot of people are working through part time or full time in another job and they’re really having difficulty understanding, figuring out or feeling comfortable with how they’re going to be able to transition from their job into working on their business full time.
The real question on how to be your own boss is generating enough income in their cleaning service business so that they can more comfortably leave or sooner leave their other part time job. So if that is something that you have had a question about or you’ve been struggling with or you weren’t quite sure, that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
Managing Time for Your Business to Be Your Own Boss
So in particular some of the questions that I get are things like,
“How do I know how many employees to hire?”
“Should I hire full time or part time?”
“How many days of the week we should be open?”
“How do I sort of set up the schedule?”
And then, “how do I make that transition?”
So, I want to set a stage for you if you’re in that situation already. You’re juggling your schedule because you have a responsibility to your employer whether its full time or part time, they’re paying you. Of course you want to give a honest days work for the hours that you’re spending there, but, you also need to be focused on growing your business. That’s really where your passion is. I understand that it can be difficult and nerve wracking because you’re sort of straddling two different things and you’re not really sure. I’ve seen a lot of people who want to see if they can work during certain times between their business and their job, or they’re just sort of wondering how they can structure it all.
Basically, for everybody that has this question or has this situation, they’re situation is unique. Some people are working their full time job 9 to 5 so they can really only devote the time in the evening hours.
One of the things you can think about trying to do is structure your lunch time or your breaks, so if you want to come in a half an hour earlier or a half an hour later, you can use the lunch time. Say maybe if it would normally be an hour or 30 minutes, you can elongate that period of time so that you can use that time to either attend BNI meetings or other networking meetings.
What is BNI?
BNI is something that I talk about quite a bit that I really highly recommend. It’s a super fast way to get a jump-start on growing your commercial or residential cleaning service. BNI stands for Business Networking International. I will talk about why I recommend BNI particularly how to make it work for you in the near future.
For the purpose of today’s training, Google the organization “Business Networking International”, it’s all over the world. It’s an amazing organization I’ve joined at various times in my business and works like a charm. So, if you were trying to think about how you could free up some time when you’re working full time in a job and you need to have time for marketing, check out BNI.
Most BNI meetings are either first thing in the morning or at lunchtime, and it’s an hour and a half, which can be a big chunk of time. The good news is it’s only once a week. Maybe eat lunch at your desk, or just take a 15-minute lunch a couple of days so you can carve out that time to do BNI. BNI will take you up to 5 hours week aside from the hour and a half meeting, but it is so worth it.
Hire an Assistant
The other thing you can do when you choose to be your own boss is you could hire somebody, either an individual or a company, to handle phone calls during the day inquiring about service. One of the things that I recommend that you do is get some sort of an online booking form or a contact us form that you can have it embedded on your website. There is also something that I have on my site called Fast Friendly Spotless. It’s an instant quote form, so if people want to find out how much it would cost to have their house cleaned, they’ll fill out the form and it will send them a price.
What’s nice about it is in order to get the price, the potential client will have to give me their email and phone number so that way I can contact them later to follow up and maybe try to close a sale later. The fact of the matter is that most people who visit your website are not ready to buy at that moment so it’s really important that you have some way to continue to market to those people whether you’re going to follow with a phone call or send them an email.
You can also use retargeting pixels, which are really popular, and a really smart idea. Have you ever noticed if you go to Zappos or Amazon or you’re shopping somewhere online looking at a specific vacation or a pair of shoes, for days and sometimes even weeks after that, that same item keeps popping up in your browser whenever you’re on Facebook or when you’re on the internet, that it called a retargeting pixel.
What happens is when you visit that company’s website they attach a little something to remind you of your interest on the item. There are people you can hire to set those up for you on your website, and that’s a wonderful thing to help you with marketing.
Be Your Own Boss ~ Commercial vs. Residential
If you have a commercial cleaning business because the buying cycle for a commercial cleaning contracts is really lengthy and is much longer than residential cleaning contracts. For example, if you’re going after a residential cleaning account they may reach out to you today and they may hire you and make a decision to start working with you in a matter of a few days or a few weeks. Typically, commercial cleaning contracts although may have cleaning everyday of the week they typically only rebid that service once a year, or even once every 5 years.
It could be a very lengthy process so if people are looking for that, if they’re starting to think about it and they visit your website, you definitely want to have a way to be able to stay in touch with them because it could be 6 months to a year even many years before they’re actually ready to buy. You want to be able to stay in contact with them.
These are just some of the techniques and strategies that you can use to begin marketing your business.
Advertising Your Business to Be Your Own Boss
In general I’m a big fan of systems and I talk a lot about automating processes. So if you are currently working in a job either part time or full time and you’re not really able to spend time marketing your commercial or residential cleaning service that shouldn’t be a problem, that shouldn’t hold you back. There are plenty of other ways you can do marketing that don’t require a ton of your time. You can also hire people to distribute flyers for you.
The other question that I get asked a lot is about the employees, and in particular someone asked me this in my Success Academy Group Coaching Program so I want to address that question.
One of the things that I did when I was first getting started with my residential cleaning business, is that I hired one person and I put her on a part time schedule so she committed to be available for me every morning from 8 to 1 five days a week. Her rate was $11 an hour and I agreed to pay her for that amount of time whether she was actually working cleaning houses or not. When she wasn’t working cleaning houses, I paid her to distribute doorknob flyers in areas where I wanted to get some clients. Any time she did have a client, I had her spend 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the job distributing flyers in the various neighborhoods and then if I only had one or two jobs in the course of a day or even sometimes 3 to 4 jobs a week maybe and I really needed to try to fill up her schedule, then what I would do is offer discount coupons on my Facebook page or in community Facebook groups so that I could just get enough money to pay her wages.
How to Make a Profit when You want to Be Your Own Boss
Let’s say she was going to go clean a house for 5 hours, and so at $12 an hour that was going to be $60 plus my overhead expenses. So let’s say you needed to make $90 on that job. If you offered somebody a one time discount, you can locate somebody that was interested in having service every two weeks or even once a month and maybe that normal 5 hour service was going to be, let’s say you’re charging $30 an hour so normally that would be $150, but if you offered to give it to them for their first time $90 just as a sort of get acquainted offer. Then what happens is they’re going to jump all over that deal so you’re going to be sure the you can get a booking.
You don’t lose any money, granted you don’t make any money, but if you think about the fact that maybe you’ve spent, well you actually didn’t spend anything because you didn’t lose any money by doing that deal. So you made just enough money to pay your worker, but you got a new client and you didn’t have to pay advertising cost, pay per click or yelp advertising or any sort of paid traffic. So you actually brought in a potentially long-term client.
If they’re going to be a once a month client and it’s going to be $50 overtime, that’s going to be $1800 over the course of a year. You broke even on the first deal, but now you got a new client that’s going to pay you $1800 every year, and if you keep that client let’s say two or three years it’s about $5000. You basically broke even on the first deal but you got a client that you’re going to make $5000 dollars off of over the next 3 years in your business. Lets say your profit margin is 20% that’s $1000, so you put $1000 into your pocket and you have very little out of cost expense.
One of the things that you really need to start thinking about to be your own boss, is that there is a cost to get a new client. Its really a matter of figuring out how much am I going to pay for that. Whether you’re going to pay your worker to distribute flyers and you’re going to pay them an hourly rate plus whatever it costs for the paper and the ink and printing for the flyers. It’s really just a matter of figuring out how much I am willing to pay based on what the client is worth to me.
So for the person that was asking about who to hire, I would recommend that you maybe start off just putting a part time person on a salary, or give them a certain guarantee and have them available for you either in the morning or in the afternoon. Maybe you can try to get a couple of people, so that you have work from one person this week and another person the next week. That way your have two people so that you’re not totally dependent on that one person in case something happens to them. You just make it your mission that you’re going to find enough jobs that week at the very minimum pay for their salary.
If they commit to be available from 8 to 1, that’s 5 hours at $12 an hour so that’s $60. Let’s say it costs you $80 a day for 5 days a week. That means you’ve got to generate a minimum of $400 worth of business every week just to break even on that employee. So then you just do whatever you have to do to make that happen. If it means that you’ve got to post on Facebook groups, if you have to send out an email to everyone you know in the neighborhood, whatever you have to do to meet that goal of $400 in revenue every week because $400 is your break even point so you want it to be at least $600 to make a profit. That’s how you being to get your business started even though you’re working a job separate from your business and then you just gradually transition that over time.
Advertising and Setting Hours
In regard to the question about setting hours, you don’t have to tell people and advertise you are only available in the mornings. You can simply say when clients call you, I don’t have any availability in the afternoon, but I have this morning time available. Is there a certain day of the week that morning will work for you. They don’t have to know you’re just starting and you only have one part time person and you can only do business in the morning, don’t make it seem worse than it is.
I really want you to get your brain going on how to be your own boss, so I think if you take the ideas I gave and carry them on to their natural conclusion, you’ll be able to brainstorm about a lot of other ways you can solve that. These are the kind of things that we solve on a daily basis in my Cleaning Business Success Academy, which is on Facebook.