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Carlos Gonzales
01-03-2009, 12:29 AM
All of us in the washing industry are at different levels or stages as it relates to owning our business. Some of you have been around for many years and some are just starting out. No matter what level you are at we all know that one of the main reasons for being in business is to make money...and lots of it! While earning money is very nice, just as being broke isn't to much fun especially if you have bills piling up, the question I’m going to ask all of you is whether you really love your business and your life.

Now before you immediately answer that question with a quick yes....take a momement and really think about it. Do you REALLY love your business? And if you don’t, why don’t you?

The problem with most of us as business owners is that we allow fear to get in the way. Barry M, a colleague of mine and to some of you spoke on this the other day on another BBS. He spoke about how FEAR can be a major hinderance to a business owner. I thought about what he said and he is right (Barry if you are listening thanks). We as contractors place not only fear but also real obstacles in our way so that we cannot fall in LOVE with our business. And we always manage to find a way to place blame on those obstacles as the reason why we can't appreciate our business or LOVE it. We stay stuck in a dead end job (notice I did not say business ~ more on that in a sec).

That fear of stepping out is stronger than the pain we feel of our current situation. This factor is what holds many talented washers across the industy from having just a job verses becoming a very successful business owner.

Fear, if not controlled or checked can end up in having you creating a life that you will ultimately hate as you try to do all the work of your business. Instead of delegating the work or putting systems in place that will create a long term business cycle, we simply create another job for ourselves. Do you still think you LOVE your business or is it a job?

The problem for the majority of us is that we get pulled down by having to spend way too much time working on things or something that we would sooner not work on because either we’re poor at it or shouldn’t be doing anyway. Items which aren’t part of your skill set should be immediately delegated to others if possible. In your washing business, what are your strong points? Are you good at washing but terrible at sales? Or can you sale your tail off but don't know what that red colored tip is used for? :biggrin:

Falling in love and marrying your significant other did not happen over night. Same concept applies to your business. As a contractor become intimate :yes: about the pressure washing industry both at a local and national level. Get to know the BUSINESS your in instead of just doing a job.

What are your gifts or strenghts or better yet what do you do well with your business? One of the easiest ways to find it is simply by asking the people who know you best…your friends, colleagues and family. Ask them what seems to come naturally for you. When you’re gifted at something, you can almost do it without even trying. The areas that you need help in, that is where you delegate responsibility. By starting this cycle in your "job" will eventually led you and find yourself in LOVE with your business.

Ken Fenner
01-03-2009, 10:27 AM
Good post, Carlos. I love business in general. Its probably not real healthy, but business consumes me. The maneuvering, the marketing, the selling, the planning, its what winds my watch. People often say they need a vacation. I tell people that business is my vacation. I do try to practice spirituality and stay focused on not filling a void in my spirit with material things or my business activity. God is my spiritual center that ties everything together. When I practice God first, family second and business third, my life is content.

Terry Miller
01-03-2009, 12:19 PM
You guy's are on a roll!! LOL
Loving our business is like having a different life to me. Being James Bond for instance! I can do things in our business that doesn't exist outside of it. Also like pouring honey over an idea, like the movie "10"! Gentle caressing and massaging an idea into an adventure! Actually being one with ourselves and our business. We need to love what we do. Having time and doing the right job will be decided as the time goes on. We are lucky we have the availability to do this.
Keep it rolling! Thank you.

OrlandoRoofCleaners.com
01-03-2009, 12:22 PM
Having one's own business definitely comes with it's challenges and headaches, but the freedom and sense of accomplishment of knowing you succeeded is the greatest!

What my company does can be extremely dangerous, so if the love and passion wasn't there, there's no way I would be as interested.

CleanKing
01-03-2009, 03:31 PM
Great posts guys! Here's an interesting question... How does everyone keep the constant motivation to love the business and keep it interesting?

When I first started my company I worked 12 hours a day and absolutely loved it! Everything was new and exciting. I was giving it 110% all the time.

Now that everything is set up, equipment, vehicles, marketing, systems, employees, customers, etc. It seems more difficult to maintain that same level of excitement. Maybe it's just me. The business is still growing and there are still challenges, just not the same as in the beginning. Now that I have delegated a lot of the work to others, I have more time on my hands. That sounds like a good thing, but I'm afraid it might not be for productivity.

So for you guys that have been in it for a long time, how do you keep things exciting and challenging? How do you keep the enthusiasm and motivation at high levels?

Ken Fenner
01-03-2009, 04:08 PM
Chris, I just had this conversation with a friend from this industry. In the beginning you stop and give a card to every business. You interact with everyone within handshake distance. as you get busier, that tends to slow down. As you systemize and begin handing off work to employees, you can lose touch with the pulse of the market. I look to a guy like Sam Walton who used to fly in his company helicopter to stores and shake hands with his people. I think that is what kept him motivated. Most of the guys that I consider successful in business are chronic entrepreneurs. When a business gets to a level where it becomes routine for them, interest wanes.

To get back on topic.. The above is why I said I love "business". Not particularly any single business I own or have owned, but the bigger picture. I try to stay objective and look at my companies for whatthey are worth.. income streams. I never want to get so married to anything that I cannot see the forest for the trees. If someone offered me an above market price for any of my ventures, I would sell it off and start something else in its place.

CleanKing
01-03-2009, 04:33 PM
Ken - I like your biz philosophies. I think the ability to separate yourself emotionally from the biz is important. Sometimes I think about selling and moving onto something new. I worry about losing all the time I have invested, but then I remember that I can just re-create it again, but probably much better and in a different form!

Your right about interaction with the people in the business being very important. I have customers that I've never even met in person or seen their property. Their good customers and are happy customers. Maybe my systems are working to well! Maybe getting back into the field more often is what it's all about.

I've heard others entrepeneurs say: "Starting and growing a business is fun, maintaining one is not."

plainpainter
01-03-2009, 04:40 PM
I've always thought painting was not a bad gig - I was stuck in traffic the other day around 5 in the afternoon - and it really brought back memories of commuting every day fighting the rest of traffic. My only complaints with business is first not making decent money - and second, not knowing/understanding enough of what can go wrong and end up in a dispute. As I am getting more and more professional and making more and more money - I like doing the business more and more. And as I am systemizing my business and documenting procedures for dealing with customer disputes - I am feeling better and better about that as well.

It took a long time to figure out that homeowners that try and chisel you down to bare bones minimum pricing - are in fact increasing the odds that you will make an error that will result in damage. You will make the mistake of not buying a professional ladder in an attempt to save money to stay within budget - and end up with dinged up hardwood floors as a result. Homeowners that accept professional pricing get the advantage of a well funded company that can afford all sorts of equipment and trinkets to ensure a well orchestrated job.

topcoat
01-03-2009, 04:40 PM
I'm reading a good business book right now which made an interesting point about entrepeneurs, basically that entrepeneurs are easily bored, and dont particularly care for the nuts and bolts side of managing their ventures personally. It goes on to say that when a good entrepeneur becomes bored, this is bad news for the competition.

Carlos Gonzales
01-03-2009, 04:45 PM
Scott...what is the name of the book?

CleanKing
01-03-2009, 04:51 PM
Yeah, I would like to check that out too.

topcoat
01-03-2009, 04:53 PM
Scott...what is the name of the book?


"Swim with the Sharks" by Harvey Mackay

My local marketing consultant turned me onto Mackay this year and this book, while a bit outdated, is kind of a classic. It has alot of good information. Mackay was the founder of Mackay envelopes and pretty respected as a businessman. One of the principles that I like best is what he calls the Mackay 66 as a method of gathering 66 essential bits of information about each customer (not all at once, but over time) in order to understand their needs better and how to build relationships that last. Good stuff. I do alot of reading by the woodstove here in Vermont during the winter.

If a guy can make something as innocuous as an envelope business fun and successful than we can make washing and wood restoration, or as Ron has shown even dumpster cleaning, respectable and legitimate successful business too.

Carlos Gonzales
01-03-2009, 04:55 PM
"Swim with the Sharks" by Harvey Mackay

My local marketing consultant turned me onto Mackay this year and this book, while a bit outdated, is kind of a classic. It has alot of good information. Mackay was the founder of Mackay envelopes and pretty respected as a businessman. One of the principles that I like best is what he calls the Mackay 66 as a method of gathering 66 essential bits of information about each customer (not all at once, but over time) in order to understand their needs better and how to build relationships that last. Good stuff. I do alot of reading by the woodstove here in Vermont during the winter.

If a guy can make something as inncuous as an envelope business fun and successful than we can make washing and wood restoration, or as Ron has shown even dumpster cleaning, respectable and legitimate successful business too.

Thanks bro...sounds like a great read....I am Barnes and Noble bound.

hey quick question...what is your mailing address over in Iraq

topcoat
01-03-2009, 04:57 PM
Thanks bro...sounds like a great read....I am Barnes and Noble bound.

hey quick question...what is your mailing address over in Iraq

I think you have me confused with someone else, I am in Vermont. I did see another member in another thread in Iraq, and if memory serves, his name may have been Scott.

Ken Fenner
01-03-2009, 05:00 PM
I have that one, Scott and "Beware The Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt" in my library. There are probably more up to date books that are a bit more relevant but the cores of business success have been around for a long time so either is a great read.

Carlos Gonzales
01-03-2009, 05:01 PM
I think you have me confused with someone else, I am in Vermont. I did see another member in another thread in Iraq, and if memory serves, his name may have been Scott.

Sorry Scott...yep..it was the 'other' Scott...:rolleyes: Too many Scotts I guess....give your address also...we will send the care package to you also!!!:rolleyes:

servicemark p.w.
01-03-2009, 09:05 PM
i love having some control over my future,if i fail, it's because i really haven't tried. i guess i've always been lucky that i've done very well. sure it's not been all fun. but doing a job well done is almost as rewarding as getting paid. and the great thing is the more i learn, the easier it gets. looking back to when i first started. i was one of those hacks, i guess i didn't know it. but now i feel like i do a professional job, and thats something to be proud of.