Why Being a Snob Won’t Make You Rich

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I belong to a women’s networking group for entrepreneurs. We get together every few months to share ideas, experiences, vent… etc. It’s not a large group, but we always have interesting gatherings because most have completely different businesses and therefore, very different experiences. Some of the stories are priceless.

We recently had a very smart women join our team. After being a Financial Analyst for years, she decided that she was tired of trying to climb the corporate ladder and started a residential cleaning company. She’s very candid about her experiences, which I love, and goes into great detail about some of the challenges she faces every day. Because I’m nosy, I found her stories fascinating. The reality is that her stories are quite entertaining.

To solidify that even when we’re adults, we can still act like kids, one woman asked the question “cleaning toilets can’t be much fun, can it?” Her response…

“You know what is fun? Getting paid to clean them.”

Her business has been a success in less than a year. In the first 7 months of being in business, she’s had such a steady stream of new clients that she’s already hired 9 people. Her business is growing so fast that she’s had to turn away clients until she expands her team.

How many of us have ever had to turn away business in the first year?

Her days are hectic to say the least. Not only is she cleaning along with her staff, she’s also responsible for employee management, marketing, customer service and business development. She barely sleeps and when I asked her how she does it, she said that in another 5 months, she’ll be able to stop cleaning and just focus on the operations of her business. She plans to hire another 10 people in that time.

I was impressed.

Fast forward a few days – I have a friend who’s been looking for a job for close to 2 years now. Unfortunately, she chose a field that is quickly dying. She’s thought about starting a business but can’t quite decide what to do. Thinking she would be excited and inspired, I told her about the woman with the cleaning business and how well she’s doing

“I’m not that desperate” was her response. She was visibly grossed out.

It’s not about desperation, it’s about making money.

Don’t we all want to make money? I thought my friend would jump on this. This is one business where other than insurance, bonding and cleaning supplies, you really don’t have to put much capital into getting started. But the stigma was too much for her to overcome, which is actually pretty sad.

Sure there a lot of elbow grease that goes into every job, but if you’re making money,  isn’t it worth it? If I wasn’t working on a side business already, I would honestly think about getting into this. Even doing it alone can bring in a decent side income.

Needless to say, my friend still doesn’t agree. She’s still trying to find business ideas.

Would you consider this type of business?
How do you feel about the stigma of cleaning someone home?

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Daisy @ Add Vodka March 22, 2012 at 1:04 am

I don’t hate the thought of cleaning other people’s houses. At least not for the stigma part. I can’t handle other people’s hair, though, so I would have to vote myself out of that job.

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Jen @ SheBloggs March 22, 2012 at 1:10 am

Lol, I didn’t think about the hair part. I agree cleaning hair isn’t fun.

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Mochi & Macarons March 22, 2012 at 3:04 am

I would do it if it made me more than my current day job and if I liked it more (the money I mean), but I really love my career. Besides, she does the grunt work for a while but then she is rolling in the dough doing operations.

I knew a lady who cleaned stores at night. She made $150k a year on a high school education. Just needed the clients, some equipment and people to work.

The guy who sold the business to her, retired as a millionaire.

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Jen @ SheBloggs March 22, 2012 at 5:02 am

That’s what’s so lucrative about it – you do the grunt work for a while but then manage operations afterwards. As long as she continues to get a steady stream of clients, she’ll me like the guy who retired a millionaire.

I can see why she left her job to do this.

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Eddie March 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm

That’s hilarious about your friend. I totally agree with you, its not about desperation. Obviously your friend is struggling to do whatever she wanted to, I think part of it has to do with her mentality. (great example is her response to the cleaning)

Kudos to the woman who left the corporate world to start her cleaning gig. I bet if you asked her whether she’s happier now or in the corporate gig, her answer would be _________ (fill in the blank)

Great story.

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Jen @ SheBloggs March 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Sometimes our mentality gets in the way of our own success. I hope she’ll change her mind, but I doubt it.

The business owner is much happier now and she says the same thing most people who start their own business say – they like the freedom to control their own success.

Lol @ ‘fill in the blank’ :)

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Michelle March 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I know a couple of people who clean. The money isn’t bad and the hours are flexible.

I don’t think I’d be able to do it though. I gag really easily at my own messes, so I don’t think I could deal with others.

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Jen @ SheBloggs March 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I agree about the hours. The woman with the business said that’s one of the things she loves about it. I think as she’s grown her business though, she’s finding that she works almost the same hours as her corporate job.

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Harri @ TotallyMoney March 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Hats off to your enterprising cleaning friend!

I had a friend who used to work as an investment banker at Lehman Brothers. Well we all know what happened there. After the company went under he started working at a pizza restaurant. His friends gave him so much flack, but he stuck to his guns.

Well he’s the one laughing now. He owns his own pizza restaurant, which has been going strong for nearly 3 years.

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Jen @ SheBloggs March 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I just told my friend (the one who isn’t that desperate) this story! Thanks Harri :)

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eemusings March 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I hate, hate hate cleaning. Even if I was going to make six figures guaranteed I am not sure I could handle putting in the initial grunt work myself.

My ex’s grandmother became a cleaner in her older age (I think post divorce) and one of my BFF’s parents run their own cleaning business. I have to admit, sometimes I do focus on the stigma and the early/long hours they have to work (ideally they would be close to retiring but they were late immigrants from Zimbabwe and it’s not going to happen anytime soon) rather than the amazing fact that they work for themselves.

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Jen @ SheBloggs March 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I think a part of me felt the same way until I met this woman. It never crossed my mind as a potential business idea.

I love cleaning… now if someone offered me 6 figures to cook on a regular basis, I doubt I’d do it.

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The Happy Homeowner March 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Hahaha…I’m the exact same way! I really don’t like to cook, but I loooove to clean. :)

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Jen @ SheBloggs March 29, 2012 at 11:48 pm

We should get together and start a cleaning business… and hire someone to cook for us :)

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Revanche April 10, 2012 at 4:14 am

Done – I’ll cook, y’all clean! :)

Michelle July 24, 2012 at 5:45 am

My mom is finally coming around to the fact that with her bad knees, she really needs to hire someone to help her clean.

I think it’s a great business idea. I suspect that most people who are willing to hire cleaning help want to be cleanly – they just may not have the time to do it all themselves.

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