Archive - September 2017

Why I chose myself and Quit MY Business

I QUIT. I worked at it, I analyzed it, I was done.

What am I done with? MY business.

Starting this past January, I started up a janitorial cleaning business. I knew this industry well enough through my prior job running a janitorial supply company and thought I’d give it a shot. My partner and I had worked out a $30,000 a month account and when I crunched the numbers, and it was too good to pass up. So we drew up a contract with this new client and got everything finalized for us to take over cleaning their buildings.

I started with 14 employees between 8 buildings to get our feet wet with this account. We thought we had done enough preparation to have this thing go without many hiccups. Boy, was I wrong. Throughout starting up this business we knew the work it would take to train our crews, and the capital it would take to start up. We checked the box on both of those, and thought we were good to go with a good crew manager.

We started and went on our way into the business. Night 1 – total nightmare. Night 2 – worse. And so forth. Nothing seemed to go right. But that’s expected in a start up, especially one so labor intensive as this. So we fired our crew manager, fired half of the crews, made adjustments and hoped for better results. As days went on, things got better, our crews improved with training, but the stress was a constant.

What was the problem with the crews and crew manager? The problem was that they both went against what they were hired to do. The manager canceled meetings, didn’t show up to manage the crews, and didn’t establish any semblance of consistency in these buildings. He didn’t last a week. When it comes to cleaning crews, they wouldn’t do the job the right way unless you were to micro manage them and follow their every move. If you were with them one night they would do great, if you were to let them run solo the next, they would do terrible and the customer complaints would flood in.

The result? Be with the crews every night to ensure the job gets done the right way.

This is what I saw – literally and figuratively every morning and night. A dark and gloomy road block. The road block figuratively, was how this business, albeit profitable, was driving me crazy and keeping me away from my goals in life. Literally, this sign was a road closed right outside where I live where I had to take a “detour” that increased my drive an easy 5 minutes. It doesn’t seem like much, but trust me, at the end of the day or beginning of a long one, it messes with your head!

Let’s recap real quick:

Within 1 week we fired our crew manager, and half of the crews because they deviated from the plan. We hired new crews who did the same thing if they weren’t managed. As days went on, the crews stayed the same. The job was all peaks and valleys, peaks depending on if we were present to monitor or not, like-wise for the valleys.

OK. That’s some serious turnover.

I began asking myself…

Did I want to succeed? You bet! Did I want this to consume everything about my life? Absolutely not!

As the quality of the work continued to be abysmal when we weren’t around (satisfactory when we were), it became increasingly obvious that it was time to get in and commit to cleaning every night, or get out.

I decided to let the business fail. I recognized the chaos in this industry is normal, and decided that even if this business were to succeed further (keep in mind it is already earning over $30,000 in revenue) the chaos and stress would not subside. Keeping this business did not inch me any closer to my goals in life.

Check out my goals here.

For a free goal-setting template, click here!

 

The money was great, but the body of work that produced the money wasn’t worth it.

From that day forward, we made moves to dissolve the business and offload our buildings.

The thing about the cleaning industry when it comes to medical office buildings, is that it is a hard and thorough clean. It is physically demanding, stressful, and has a high employee turnover. These are not what I want in my life, even if I was to be paid as handsomely as I was.

Let’s breakdown the failures, success, and further why I decided to let it fail.

 

The Debrief

Successes

Despite me quitting this business it was very successful for how long I had it running for. Most businesses can’t get the sales I had in their first 1-2 years. We broke ground on a new industry while being very similar to the supply side and stayed above water. We hit profitability in month two after repaying shareholder contributions and paying off equipment purchases.

We hired and implemented crews to clean 8 different buildings ranging from 12,000 square feet up upwards of 50,000 square feet while starting them all on the same day. We succeeded in organizing the chaos and establishing our selves as a cleaning company to be reckoned with.

 

Failures

In my opinion, there are more failures that successes. I say this because there were several things we could have done different that would have changed the trajectory of the company, although my feelings about it would not have changed.

When we first bid the account, and eventually won the bid, we didn’t do our due diligence on it. We offered what we knew would make us money while saving the customer enough to give us the business. The problem is, we didn’t know exactly how critical the tenants in these buildings were. If you missed a trash can, missed refilling a dispenser, let alone failing to clean a section of the facility, you were chastised as if you robbed them blind. The clients were by far the worst and we didn’t even have the foresight to find out their specific requirements on a per suite basis. We knew what the customer needed in the grand scheme of things, but many of our issues stemmed from their tenants who demanded more than our customer did. Due to this, complaints occurred way more than anticipated. The tenants worked us into the ground demanding us clean and do things that were beyond the scope of our bid to this customer. We didn’t have to abide by these requests – but we did to make sure we kept the account. Let’s call this strike 1.

In not doing our due diligence, we also hired (and fired shortly thereafter) our crew manager whose job was to find, implement, and maintain the crews for the entire account. He procrastinated and waited until the day before we started to ensure the crews were ready to start. Keep in mind we had months to prepare our crews for this as we knew well in advance of when we needed to start cleaning these buildings. The crew manager was in no way, shape, or form prepared. Because of this the crews were most definitely not prepared either. We fired almost all of them after this development. This in turn caused my partner and I to have the be present with these crews, both new and old, to make sure the job was done to our expectations.

Why I let the business fail

In summary, I let this business fail because it didn’t align with where I wanted my life to go. And as you read further, you will learn why.

My goals in creating a business, is to succeed of course, but in building to that success I want to have more time freed up to allow me to do what I want with my son, my wife, and myself while making an income to satisfy all of our needs. When I say more time, I mean that I want to have something built where my time doesn’t directly impact the money I make. I want a business model that has as much passive income as I can build it to have. But remember, all passive income streams still require time and effort. I understand that I’ll need to put in a lot of time and effort to start up, but once built my time will be mine again to do with it what I want.

I knew that this business would not meet any of my goals no matter how hard I fought for it to. It is a stressful industry that requires more time and effort that I was willing to give up, because the time and effort expended would not result in my time freedom. It would result in substantial money. This money came at a cost though. The cost being my life being consumed by this business that I did not even enjoy. I’m not willing to work myself to death to make money for a business I loathed.

That was another reason I let it fail, I hated it. I went into it for the money, and I left the money to take back my sanity.

If there was one thing I took away from this above all else it is that I need to whatever will align with my goals and eventually guide me to meeting them.

This business was not it.

I QUIT!

 

Because we are all about testing, I feel it would do you no good if I didn’t write an article on if I were to take a do over and what I would do different going into the contract I secured.

CLICK HERE to get it!

 

Why I decided to Escape the Suck (And create this blog to chronicle it)

What is your time worth?

Let’s go back to the beginning. My brother and I grew up in a single parent household on the outskirts of Seattle. Our dad was a man who chose to not be around. Our mom was a woman who had chronic depression issues and nothing but time on her hands. And not in a good way. Throughout our childhood our mom channeled her inner abuser to emotionally attack us daily. But what was worse? Emotional abuse or a ghost of a dad?

Probably the abuser…

I tell you all of this because our parents didn’t make time for us, to raise us, to teach us. These parents were stuck in their Suck and couldn’t (or didn’t) do a thing about it.

I learned one big lesson from my parents, as many of us do. This one lesson was that in no way, shape, or form, did I wanted to let the Suck take my time away from what I wanted in life. It would not dictate my life.

So, what is “the Suck” you ask?

The suck is anything that is a negative impact on your life, those aspects of your life that take your time with little payoff, or things that aren’t acceptable to your goals in life. Even circumstances that make you lose your time-money trade-off.

You can find Stu and I’s further defined take on the Suck here.

These all suck don’t you think? Great! Glad you agree.

Now you know what the Suck is. Let’s look at our lives and think what the Suck? What is “the Suck” in your life? Let me walk you through my current Suck and why I started my journey to ESCAPE it.

What the Suck?!

That’s right. That’s what I’ve been saying through my struggles. My current Suck started in 2014 after I had just graduated college and was hired to run a janitorial supply company. I was taken on and thrown into the fire to get learning how to run the company. Some teaching occurred, but most was self-taught.

You are probably thinking that I lucked out or that you would love this opportunity..

And you aren’t necessarily wrong, depending what your goals are.

I was doing EVERYTHING, and I still am. This is a business that has forced me to do many tasks at the same time, which means I can’t do any of them as well I could individually with 100% effort (if you don’t believe me, read The One Thing – this book was of vast importance to me).

But let’s get back to what the Suck is for me real quick. I’ve been doing everything, working like a dog, and come 2015, my wife was coming due to have our son. Fast forward a few months and we have this beautiful little boy. Even though I’ve had this life changing little man, I didn’t have any time for him, myself, or my family. I had none before and I still don’t despite this massive change. My job wouldn’t allow me to take time off to be with my newborn son. From that point on, I decided to take any and all steps to Escape the Suck.

I have stayed with this company attempting to free more time up and to be more productive through implementing new processes and developing my staff to be more productive and self-sustaining in their work. This didn’t eliminate the Suck though (it may – but it hasn’t yet). As a new parent, time for my family was something I wasn’t willing to budge on. I knew I could make more than enough money while not giving up my time doing it my way.

A year later I started a commercial cleaning company with a big contract landed. Looking to Escape the Suck, I ran with it. Although, in hindsight I should have reviewed the business model much more thoroughly prior to securing this contract. This business required me to physically clean and be in the trenches in order for it to survive. I thought about the direction of this industry a bit more.. janitorial cleaning is a dying breed, before long it will be done almost entirely by robotics … decades down the road – but it’s coming!

I went from seeing my son 30 minutes a day to not seeing him for several days straight. What should I do? I go back to my goals in Escaping the Suck. Did this conflict with my goals? Absolutely! I started the process to shut down the business the second I answered that question.

Check out why I quit my business HERE for a breakdown and further analysis of this venture.

But what next? Where do I go from here?

My time-money trade off needs to align with my goals. If it doesn’t, then I escape it. If it does, then I attack it.

If there is one thing you take away from this, I want to question the things in your life that are “the Suck”. If you don’t know what that is just yet, that is perfectly fine. I will help guide you towards the discovery of your suck, and how to escape it.

Ask yourself:

What are my goals at my job or business?

What are my goals for my family?

Do they align with my current path?

What am I willing to do to make them align?

Is there something better I can do to get what I want?

How much time am I giving up and how much will I get in return?

Get your FREE goal-setting guide to get started!

 

As you can see, time is the one constant. How much TIME are you giving up and what are you getting in return? Your return needs to be worth it to you. If it’s not, then a change is necessary. Your time is worth everything. The key here, is realizing where the suck is and figuring out how to get away from it. I have gone through the suck, heck I still am. I am escaping it with you. And we can do it. I have no doubts that if we start questioning what the suck is in our lives are, escape it(or them), and attack our goals, then we will get the results we want.

This is exactly why Stu and I created this blog. We are Escaping our current Suck, as you are or will be very soon. I want more than I am getting in my life, and I have the power to achieve it.

As I go through the steps in my Escape, I am going to document it all on this blog. Be it money-making tips or tests, productivity tips or life hacks that have helped me in my Escape, resources that I have used in my process, and even how I started this blog and brought it to where it is today.

I am going to show YOU everything I have done and will do!

For those of you are stuck in a rut, or are fearful of taking action and making the change you know you need to make. Follow us on our journey, and take tested (by us) action.

CLICK HERE TO START YOUR ESCAPE TODAY!

 

YOU CAN DO IT!

Share you story with me, every week we will be doing a featured Escape the Suck post from a submission to provide a fresh perspective on an Escape the Suck journey!

 

Swagbucks Surveys – Can you make money?

Online surveys tested: Can you make money?

I always wondered if taking surveys online was truly a way of making money. You always see people talking about how much money they have made. I kept wondering, so I decided to find out for myself. I originally signed up for Ipsos i-Say and was unable to get an account setup with them. I ended up signing up with Swagbucks who as I researched further were highly recommended in the internet community and got to work. The set up was pretty straight forward, all I had to put in was my email and create a password.

Once I did that several options came up to “earn” Swagbucks right away, such as adding the Swagbutton, making Swagbucks the default search engine, taking a featured survey, explaining how I heard of Swagbucks, and any featured purchases or bonuses I could activate. Signing up cost me $0.00 in case you wondered!

You will be asked to check a box saying you will answer all surveys honestly. I checked the box as I wholly intended to be intentional and answer all questions honestly and thoroughly.

Afer you sign up, I recommend you go to the “Swagups” screen and check any of the items that will double your points or increase how quickly you can grow them. After I signed up I activated two Swagups, double points for my first 3 surveys, and double points on a Swagbucks search.

Last note before we get started: at the top of the screen there is a daily goal, once you reach the goal you will get a bonus Swagbuck allotment. It is usually 3-4 SB but is a free bonus for already taking surveys and earning. So why not??

A few things I am going to do through this test:

  • Attempt as many surveys as possible within my 1 hour allotment each day for 10 days.
  • Take the daily poll which will earn 1 SB each day
  • Document everything!
  • I will decide after the test is complete whether or not I made money, and if it is worth pursuing as a money making method online.
  • Document all of my attempts, time expended, averages, SB earned, and any other data I feel is relevant to giving you as much information as possible for this test.

What I will NOT do:

  • Activate the Swagbucks search engine
  • Watch videos
  • Play games
  • Any other income strategies on Swagbucks

 

Why? I want to provide you with an accurate depiction of what you can making taking surveys only. If at the end of this test I decide it is worth doing an additional test to see if the additional strategies are worth evaluating I will then mention that in my grade of the survey test and let you know how that goes!

Now it’s time to get started!

There is a daily 1 question poll I recommend you take as it takes no time and provides you with an easy 1 Swagbuck.

Survey time!

You’ll want to go to the left hand side of your screen and look for “Gold Surveys”. This is where you want to be to find the best surveys available for you to attempt, alongside any featured surveys that may be available at that time.

Side note: Before you can take the survey, you must first QUALIFY. The test to qualify can be quick and painless most times, but some take much longer than a couple of minutes.

If you qualify, you’ll be taken to the test itself and go along your way answering the questions to earn Swagbucks.

If you DON’T qualify, you are then brought back to the Gold Surveys screen and told you were given 1 SB for your time.

Once you’ve earned enough Swagbucks to redeem a prize you want, simply go to the left hand side and look for “Redeem your SB” and choose the prize you want.

Hint: You can only redeem 2 prizes per day.

Alright! Now onto the results of MY test!!

I tested 1 hour a day for 10 days.

My results? I earned 907 Swagbucks which amounts to roughly $9.07. My hourly average is $0.907 per hour, or $1.00 if you feel like rounding.

My experience with Swagbucks was bittersweet. Most surveys took me more than 10 minutes, while offering a variable amount of Swagbucks or “SB” as they call it. The most common result of my surveys was that I didn’t qualify and was given 1 SB as a result. The worst part was that most days I was disqualified from a minimum 2 surveys, while some being 3 or more. Once you are disqualified from 3-4 surveys, you stop getting the 1 SB. Which, let’s be honest, that 1 SB or $0.01 doesn’t change much.

The qualifying surveys varied in time and questions, while most seeming to take me 5-10 minutes, some more, some less. Questions varied from very little (10 or so) to way too many (50+ just to qualify!).

But what about the surveys themselves you might be wondering??

I had just a couple that took me less than 10 minutes, while most taking 15-20 on average, some even more.

I averaged less than 2 surveys per day over my 10-day test while averaging 3 disqualifications.

Get my daily results HERE !

The burning question… can you make money here??

In a short answer, YES, you can absolutely make money using Swagbucks. My question to you, however, is, what is your time worth in making money on this platform? For me, if I am averaging less than a dollar an hour, which I did, I definitely do NOT want to be spending any of my time here attempting surveys in exchange for pennies. However, you might have a free hour every day and choose to use it doing on online surveys which is absolutely great because you CAN make money here, it just takes time.

 

 

 

Because I was testing Swagbucks in just the survey format I was limited in what I was earning to whatever surveys the Swagbucks Gods would qualify me for.

In the end of the test, I redeemed my Swagbucks for 3 different $3.00 Amazon gift cards which are going to be emailed to me. When redeeming, keep in mind that you can only do 2 prize redemptions per day. Meaning, to redeem my $9.00 worth of gift cards it took me 2 days to do so.

I personally think there are better ways with which we can make money online than the survey method.

There are other methods with which you can increase your Swagbucks earned, though. You can set your browser to the Swagbucks “SwagButton” and get a 50 SB bonus right away. You will be alerted of websites you visit that Swagbucks offers deals on. In addition to this, as you search with the SwagButton you will earn additional PASSIVE Swagbucks.

UPDATE 8.25.17:

Since I started using the Swagbutton, I have averaged almost 100 SB a day in passive earnings just my using it as my search engine. Definitely something to recommend regardless of your intent to complete surveys.

Another very passive method of maximizing your Swagbucks earning potential is to watch the Swagbucks TV online or on the app. Most video packages offer 1-5 SB while taking 20-30 minutes. My recommendation is to do this on a device you aren’t using and just let it run for hours. I want you to only do this if data and battery life is not an issue, as this will drain both extensively.

I plan to test out more methods and show YOU what works!

Online Survey Experiment grade: I give this test a passing grade because I DID make money, but I recommend to use this method only when desperate.

On another note – merging the passive methods with taking surveys online will easily double your SB earned. If you want to sign up for Swagbucks, this is the best way to earn.

If you’re struggling with anything in particular – let me know and I’ll get it tested!