I want to find out how a husband and wife who used to clean houses built a profitable online cleaning business.
Juan Chaparro and Karen La Spina are the founders of Gmaids, a maid and cleaning service in Dallas that brought online tactics to an industry that was stuck in the offline world. They also created MaidsRadar.com, technology that allows on demand booking for other maid companies.
If someone you know is eating Ramen, having a rough life, and feeling discouraged, this is the interview that I want you to give them. Wait until you see the shocking thing that happened to today’s guests because of their faith. It will amaze you.
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Juan Chaparro and Karen La Spina, Gmaids
Juan Chaparro and Karen La Spina are the founders of Gmaids, a maid & cleaning service in Dallas that brought online tactics to an industry that was stuck in the offline world.
Andrew: Coming up, if someone you know is eating Ramen, having a rough life and feeling discouraged, this is the interview that I want you to give them. You’ll see why.
Also, do you secretly have faith? I mean, spiritual faith. Well, wait until you see the shocking thing that happened to today’s guests because of their faith. It will amaze you.
Also, 2017, baby. There’s someone out there that Karen, Juan and I want you to meet by the year 2017. I predict it and you will see what I mean by the end of this interview.
All that and so much more coming up. Stay tuned.
Listen up. I hate to see commercials interrupt this interview so I’m going to tell you about three sponsors quickly now and then we’re going to go right into the program. Starting with Walker Corporate Law.
If you need a lawyer who understands the startup world and the tech community, I want you to go to WalkerCorporateLaw.com.
Next, I want to tell you about Shopify. When your friend asks you how can I sell something online, I want you to send them to Shopify and explain to them that Shopify stores are easy to set up, they increase sales and they’ll make your friends products look great. Shopify.
Finally, I want to tell you about Grasshopper. Do you want a phone number that people can call and then Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Tech Support, etc and have all of the calls be routed to the right person’s cell phone? Well, get your number from Grasshopper.com
All right. Let’s get started.
Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner and I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. You know it, guys.
In this interview we’re going to find out how a husband and wife who used to clean houses built a profitable online cleaning business. She’s nodding. She remembers those days.
Juan Chaparro, I’m doing my best Spanish accent. And Karen La Spina are the founders of Gmaids, a maid and cleaning service in Dallas that brought online tactics to an industry that was stuck in the off-line world. They also created MaidsRadar.com, technology that allows on demand booking for other maid companies.
Juan: Thank you, Andrew. It’s a pleasure to see you again.
Andrew: What’s you revenue right now?
Juan: Well, it’s above the $100k of course but we initially shared that info.
Andrew: You say good to see you again because you and I first saw each other at a conference in, where was it? In Miami, right?
Andrew: Miami conference. Soon afterwards you met Neil Patel. Neil Patel actually got your story. I mean, he really understood it. He did a blog post about it which is headlined basically ‘How a 27 year old maid makes $150,000 a year’.
What happened after that?
Juan: In our business side or personally?
Juan: Well, some people started coming a lot to our website, looking, I guess, for more stories. Obviously there was no growth of new customers because most of the audience is entrepreneurs or young people who have internet businesses. But I saw some growth and a couple of clients in Dallas. But mainly what happened is stirred up the market and a lot of people started opening maid services.
Andrew: So not a lot of business came out of it but you did get a lot of competitors because of it.
Andrew: Apparently I interviewed a competitor who read that areticle and ended up doing a similar business. We’ll get to that later. First I want to hear your story and focus on that.
Let me see. Juan, you became an illegal immigrant in the U.S. because of a clerical error, is that right?
Juan: Yes. When I was going through school in Houston, they lost my documents and my papers and basically when I wanted to renew the student visa, the person who was managing that he left and they couldn’t find them. So basically I finished school and I couldn’t renew or have a visa or anything so I just stayed illegal for a couple of years.
Andrew: So in a situation like that, if your paperwork is lost you just become illegal immigrant? Sorry, bad luck happened?
Juan: Kind of, yes. Since there is no support of the school that you could say that, you know, I wanted to continue going through school.
Karen: Because it gets renewed. It depends upon the verification of the school that you’re still in school. And if they don’t have your file, they completely lost the file. So I’m guessing they cleaned up the office and they . . .
Juan: Yeah. They couldn’t find anything about me. It’s so weird.
Andrew: Were you guys dating at the time?
Karen: Yeah, we were. Yeah.
Andrew: Did you consider getting married just for your . . . . actually, Karen, I’ll ask you. Did you consider marrying Juan just so he can stay in the country legally?
Karen: Legally, that’s always a question everybody asks me because we got married really young. But that was just part of the benefit. It wasn’t the reason why.
Karen: I mean, you don’t stay married a year to somebody just for their [inaudible] and building business and work 24 hours [inaudible] together [inaudible].
Andrew: Juan, if there was gay marriage allowed in the country, I would have married you just to keep you in the country. I feel like the country needs to keep smart entrepreneurs, good productive people in it, and court them and send them welcome packages and stick around. Like we should send them a drip email campaign, just to keep the good people in this country. But apparently politicians don’t agree with me.
Juan: I guess that’s part of the story, and that’s why we had some struggles to go through and that helped us build a business and ourselves as people.
Karen: As immigrants.
Juan: As immigrants, yeah.
Karen: It’s just a powerful story, and it’s just one of the things that when you look back, it’s just one of the hardship that you have to go through. There’s a stigma if you’re immigrant and you try to find your way here in the country. I wasn’t illegal. My grandparents lived here in the States a long time and then moved to Colombia, etc. But I was able to see the reality through Juan and his experience. Although he came legally into the country as a student and was not doing any harm or whatnot, it was just a struggle trying to find a way.
Andrew: So then Juan starting looking around outside of hardware stores and got an idea. What did you see outside of hardware stores?
Juan: Since I was so mechanic, I was fixing up cars out of parts stores. I was doing that. But it was really competitive. People were charging really low money, and a friend of us introduced us to cleaning homes. He said you could make . . .
Andrew: I don’t want to brush over what you were doing there. You saw that people were standing outside of hardware stores basically looking for day labor, right? They were day laborers who were looking for work. You said, “Okay, I’m an illegal immigrant here. I don’t know how to re-shingle a house, but I do like cars.”: So you took this interest . . . I’ve got to tell this story because I think this has an entrepreneurial feel to it. So with that passion, what did you do?
Juan: I just went to AutoZone and O’Reilly and all of these stores and started basically . . . I made like a big piece of cardboard and made an ad.
Karen: We still have it at home.
Andrew: You do?
Andrew: Karen, what does the cardboard say on it?
Karen: It says . . .
Juan: It was like a [inaudible] like four cylinder car.
Karen: Yeah. He beat this [inaudible]. So like if it’s a certain cylinder car, it’s a certain price. If you want to include the oil, there’s discount price.
Juan: It had off sales and everything.
Andrew: I’ve got to see that. Would you take a picture of it and put it in the comemnts if people asked for it?
Karen: Yeah, sure.
Juan: Yeah, I have it.
Andrew: Not unless the audience ask for it and demand it. Basically, what you were saying is if someone walked out with a part, you’d walked up to them and say, “Hey, you know what? I can install that part for you, or I can replace what you’ve got with what you just bought for a couple of bucks and also upsell you on a couple of other things.”
Juan: Yeah. That’s it. Just approach . . .
Andrew: That’s entrepreneurial. Why didn’t you tell that story right now? Is it because . . . were you feeling like you’ve told it before and so it’s not interesting? What kept you from saying it?
Juan: No. I think it was brave, and I was accustomed to talking to people because I was selling things always. But yeah.
Andrew: Okay. Jeremy in the pre-interview asked Juan why he had to build a business, why he had to do something, and he said, “I was just tired of living in a small apartment and eating Ramen.” Karen, how did you feel about that period in your lives?
Karen: Oh man, that was tough because I was living in California at the time, and he would call me and he would be like, I’m doing kind of mechanical work, things like that.” But there was a point that he was eating Ramen noodles, and it’s just like that was all he was eating. It was just like . . . it was just heartbreaking. I guess that’s one of the reasons why we decided to start working early on together, because he had ideas and I was interested in making them happen as well. So we partnered as a working team So whatever he did, I just like helped him out, and then it keeps moving forward. He’ll share later how he built our first website and things like that but it’s just heart wrenching because, I mean, sometimes you wouldn’t even have, we would have to go to a gas station to warm them up.
Andrew: To warm up the Ramen?
Karen: Yes. [??] warm them up.
Andrew: And so how did you become a maid? I guess you both became maids. How did you do it?
Juan: Well, a friend of us.
Karen: A couple.
Juan: A couple of our friends which we are very grateful, they just told us ‘Hey you, guys. You seem like a nice couple. Why don’t you clean homes? We can teach you. You can make $100 a day cleaning a few homes’ . And so we said ‘Sure. We’re not making as much doing mechanical work here.’ So we started to do that and they just showed us, teached us and now we decided to start getting our own clients.
But before that we worked at a maid service company who was paying us like $5-$6 an hour and, you know, working us all day. And we kind of saw all the things that really were not right in that business. So we just said, you know, we’re going to start our own business.
Andrew: For example, what did you see that wasn’t right?
Juan: Mainly the payment. Companies were charging like, you know, $150-$200 for a house and then the crew who were cleaning were getting like $30-$40, something just super-low.
So we saw that, you know, we’re seeing these big checks and we’re getting like really tiny checks at the end of the week and we said ‘It’s not right. I mean, we’re doing all the work. Yes, they’re finding all the clients but we’re doing all the work and we believe we should be, you know, paid well.
Karen: I remember the first two weeks that we worked. we got a check for $600 for the both of us. So we put full days of work times two weeks for two people.
Andrew: $150 a person for a full week of work.
Andrew: Why did you do it in the first place? I mean, you guys are smart people, well educated, going places in the world, business people today so that proves that if you thought that you had any intelligence then you obviously did. And you were cleaning people’s houses.
Why did you do that?
Juan: Well, she could tell you more about it.
Karen: Well, I was 18 at the time so I didn’t have any college education yet. There’s not many jobs that are available without any college education and the ones that were required that in Dallas, if you have a car, you pretty much can not do anything.
We only had one car so it had to be something that we had to do together. It would have to be something scheduled. And it would have to allow us to have free time in the night so that we could develop other business ideas. I mean, the cleaning part was never going to be a big thing like it is right now. It was just something temporary. We’re just going to do this for six months until we get our other businesses in order like we have.
So it met certain requirements that we needed at that time.
Juan: Also, I didn’t have any documents to work.
Karen: I didn’t want to say that.
Andrew: Why not? Why didn’t you want to say that?
Karen: Because it’s just, there’s just such a stigma to it. But I guess it’s also encouraging that you overcome those kinds of things.
I guess I don’t know. It’s a reality that many cleaning companies do hire illegal immigrants although they claim that they not. So there you go.
Andrew: You guys [??] sold things through multi-level marketing. What did you sell?
Karen: We sold soap, make-up, vitamins. We were in several. There was one that was cookware so we would sell door to door cookware in the Texas heat and summer.
Andrew: What did you do to these business? What attracted you to those businesses?
Juan: It mainly was that you could make your own money, any amount that you wanted, right? There was not a limit like $8 an hour, $6 an hour.
Karen: [??] commission we sold.
Juan: It was by commission. so we’ve always been driven by, you know, to make…
Andrew: Did you go to those seminars and watched someone on stage and have them take you to these places? Who was it?
What do you remember?
Andrew: I’ll tell you what I remember. I went to one. I went to this place and this guy who worked at one. I won’t even say where I worked but one of the guys that worked there said ‘Andrew, you look like a really smart person I really want to talk to you, I want to talk to you about where you are going in the world. And I was just in college, and someone actually identified me as a smart person that’s going someplace so went, but to come to this meeting you need to wear a suit and tie. Well, I didn’t really have a suit and tie that looked good, but I wore what I had. I went out there and it turned out to be a multilevel marketing thing. And the guy was like he said, hooting and hollering up on stage. Everyone was in suit so you feel like, well these people are important and their coming here to watch it. And they had this one exercise where they had you visualize how successful you were going be as you were doing this multilevel marketing program. And everyone got worked up, and I never signed up. But do you remember what it was for you that got you worked up? That part of the visualization I remember.
Juan: Yeah, mainly that you could achieve these dreams and these houses and these cars and this money and we were liking all of these things, so yeah, this makes sense. So we were doing that in the mornings, or afternoons, excuse me, and in the mornings we were cleaning homes trying to, you know, in the mean time grow this big multilevel marketing business which you never grew, you just took money away from us, but it left us with the knowledge and the courage that we got through the reading of the books and, you know, getting together with other people. That helped us to really build courage and strengthening ourselves.
Andrew: You know, that’s a good point, I want to give the full picture because I do remember years before Mixergy went too, just take a look at different companies and how they sold and a few multilevel marketing programs that I saw had real sales meetings that the person at the top of the pyramid or close to the top of the pyramid had really insightful, useful, helpful and I wanted to implement them in whatever business I started afterwards. Still haven’t had a chance to do so, but I see the power of that. All right, I can also see what you guys are building too. At some point you discover that you are going to build this business. What was that thing that made you go from being a hair that cleaned homes to suddenly having a business of your own?
Juan: Mainly, while I was cleaning I was always listening to broadcasts and downloading iTune stuff and marketing books, just anything business related so I was brainwashing myself to not be in the reality of cleaning homes. So after reading and reading and listening to books one of the books that really changed us was the Image by Michael Guevara and, you know, that book taught that you should implement a franchise style business that can grow without you and so forth. So we said ok, this sounds great, but let’s see if this works in reality, and then we just started applying these principles into the business just to see if it works.
Andrew: Were you just selling your own services at first?
Juan: Yes. So we started to apply, you know, slowly and slowly each of these concepts and suddenly the business started to grow, and you know, [??] revenue, and it was just exciting and after that we would say that we have this business, we should put more effort into it and give it a try, give it a go, and see how big it can be. And that’s kind of the point where it really took off and I, don’t know, we felt the universe and us came together and help us bring it to the next level.
Karen: I also want to add that, I mean, creativity or it’s challenges, and, you know, I want to say that the more challenges you have the more creative you are going to be. Not necessarily, but it does force you to figure out solutions and a way to work better and to earn a better living. …but also, do I have an example of that?
Andrew: Yes. The challenge that forced you to be better because of it.
Karen: Well, in just in general, for example, the first apartment that we rented was like $417 a month and then there was the time I had to call the police because the neighbor was yelling and I was afraid that someone was going to get killed. It was just kind of one of those environments and we just didn’t want to be in that position any longer. So after the second call I had to make to the police, we realized that we need to move, that means more money. Eventually, every position leads to, okay, we need to make more money.
Andrew: And so that pushes you to do what?
Karen: To figure out a way to make more money, to like…in this case, start a company, figure out how we were going get any clients and I had learned in high school how to build the website. So I realized that…well, Craigslist we had sold…we had gotten everything for our apartment on Craigslist we had sold a car [??], just everything we had together [??] available on line that we could use. And then…so we put up this website and apparently there are not many cleaning companies so it started up like that and then since we were in this multi-marketing company they had green products so we decided we would make it a green cleaning company. And then it was just like a huge melting pot of different ideas that we brought together and it just happens that there were no green cleaning companies in Dallas and after a few years into running the company we got featured into Daily Candy because they thought it was a great idea that a Texas company was green. And it was just like evolving organically, and once I did the website the first time I just handed everything down to Juan and he just blew it up to brand new level, and…
Andrew: Let me take this a step at a time, I really want to deep dive into this.
Andrew: So now you are seeing that if you run your own company you get to make 100% of the revenue, not collect just $150 bucks for a week’s worth of work, you get to keep it all. So you start your own cleaning business while working for other people. Wherever you can get your own jobs you do them, wherever you can’t you do with another company. You need to get customers, got your customers you said from Craigslist?
Karen: The first ones, yeah.
Andrew: The first ones on Craigslist. What else did you do to get customers?
Karen: They were…oh…see you are making me retreat my steps. We printed out some flyers. So we made this business card [??] I think we still have them, I’ll send you a picture of it. These business cards were like some green forest, our name was different at the time, and it was Buy Cool Maid Service. And then we printed up a whole bunch of other flyers, a loan with the business cards and we went around to houses in like nice neighborhoods, like in Holland Park, and just different areas in Plano. And we just…
Andrew: Flyers and handed out business cards.
Andrew: How effective was it?
Karen: It was, I think that a couple of bites…we handed out 400 flyers and we thought that like two people would call back, you know, it was…
Juan: It was mainly people that we cleaned for them and they just liked our service, they liked the way we did the job and how we treated their pets and so forth. And they just started, you know…that’s kind of how we got started, and we…the very first client that we had back then we still have her today. Yeah, it’s amazing.
Karen: Yeah, it’s…
Juan: Changing [??]
Andrew: How did you get your first customer?
Juan: She found us through, what was that, online.
Karen: The consigners of when we used to go to the apartments and give our cards to consigner and things like that, sometimes we’d get clients from the same building and you know, making friends with people as they get to know you, and as soon as they saw who we were, it was just the two of us. So they would know exactly what would be going.
Andrew: I see. When you first started posting ads on Craigslist and passing out those flyers and posting them everywhere, did you have a website at that point?
Andrew: You did?
Andrew: So at least you were sending people to the website, they could then call up and place an order.
Andrew: And that was revolutionary for cleaning people to have websites?
Juan: Yeah, 2004. Yeah, 2004.
Karen: [??] the websites that are out cleaning company needs are of newer companies not the typical franchises that could possibly have built a decent one.
Andrew: You know what, frankly, even just a couple years ago when I was looking in Washington D.C. for someone I couldn’t find anything online that was significant, I went to the consigner of my building, he gave me a card, that’s how I found the person. There wasn’t any online anything. I figured he trust them, they haven’t done anything bad to any of the neighbors, let’s do it.
Juan: Also you should look at how he worked in the past too. Still works today, but most of the people just Google and find true services in the local area.
Andrew: OK. So the website is still pretty plain, customers are coming mostly through word of mouth, some through Craigslist, very few from flyers, and what really helped you guys take off was getting into Daily Candy. How did you get into Daily Candy then? How did they even find out you?
Juan: You know, it’s hard to really tell, they just suddenly contacted us and say, hey, we want to write an article about you guys. Just out of the blue. Really, we don’t have any…
Karen: We’re like what’s Daily Candy?
Juan: We didn’t even know what “Daily Candy” was, so…
Karen: That was in 2007, so it was still new.
Juan: Very new. It was popular, but not…
Karen: Not in Dallas.
Juan: But we said, “Sure, an article, yeah, go ahead and write it.” And suddenly, they posted it up on Friday and during that weekend, we got like 4,000 hits on our site. Something incredible. Back then, we were using Microsoft Outlook, and it made a little…so, it was like, every fifteen minutes it was beeping. Beep beep, new clients, new clients. It was incredible.
Karen: I do want to point that during that time, I had to get a part- time job at another company, so I had a 9-to-5 job. I would take the Metro, or the train, and it was around downtown Dallas. We were trying to figure out how to make this business work, because it’s… OK. The cleaning industry is not something you’re going to be like, “Yes, I’m going to make a cleaning company, and this is what I’m going to love to do the rest of my life.” It’s so hard to manage people, to make sure that they go, on time, to the places… that they really put their heart and effort into it. We were having hardships with that. So we’re like, “OK. Let’s do one thing. I’m gonna take this job. We’re going to live from that job, and whatever we make from the company, we’re gonna re-invest it into the company.” So we built a model that actually meets our lifestyle, or the way we wanted to live.
So once we decided to do that, within the process, that’s when we got the phone call. Because we already decided whether or not to keep the business or not. Because if you have a company, and it’s just getting in the way of what you really want to accomplish, then you have to figure out a way around it. And that’s when they gave us a call, and they were really excited to talk about the company. They just wanted to ask some questions, just to clarify what products we use and things like that, for the copy they wanted to write for the newsletter. And it was a Friday candy post, so it stayed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They usually stay one day, because it’s “Daily Candy,” so that was another good thing.
Andrew: And you mentioned something, Karen, that you guys weren’t crazy about getting into the maid business for the rest of your lives, right?
Andrew: So how do you do a business that you’re not that passionate about?
Karen: We got passionate about running an online company, and that’s what it really turned into, for me.
Andrew: It was just an online company?
Juan: Online business, yeah.
Juan: A: We really managed, you know, in the way that we wanted to. Most maid services out there have a big office, all the people go there; from there, they give ‘em papers where to go. Currently, the way it’s handled is just very… brick-and-mortar. The owner is always there, waiting for the crews, gives them the products, tells ‘em what to do. And we didn’t like that, so we just started making it more of an online maid service. And that’s kinda how we’ve been able to run it and love it. We really love it now, because we don’t really feel it’s like a maid service. We just feel it’s an online business that provides offline services in the world.
Karen: I’ll also say that we recently had an annual meeting with our teams, and we had, like, a round-table with some of our senior teams. They were so happy. We’re talking about families whose sole income is the work that they receive from us. So when they’re so happy working with us, and they look forward to working for many years to come… which is rare in this industry, people usually last, maybe, a couple months, a day.
Juan: Maybe a year, maximum.
Karen: Maybe a year… it’s very rare to see people working with us six years and they’re still very happy about it.
Andrew: How did you find your people at first?
Andrew: Really? So you just post up on Craigslist, and then how did you know they were going to be good people?
Juan: We just interview them.
Karen: Yeah, we do an interview in person… background checks.
Juan: Background checks, and basically, you know, give them a try and test them out. That’s it.
Karen: We have gotten people through other sources, they refer amongst themselves… friends, or other family members. Some of our teams are related, like they’re family or cousins or sisters. But one of the requirements was that they were self-starters and self-manageable people and that’s one of the traits that either we’re posting ads online to take the initiative to get work that’s something that would qualify them…
Andrew: Oh I see you’re looking to see who’s posting their services online, and you’re figuring ah they’re posting their services they have the kind of attitude that we want as opposed to putting an ad up saying we’re looking for people to clean.
Andrew: The E myth book that you mentioned earlier my Michael Garber I don’t want to pass that up, that book was the best book I got out of my entrepreneurship professor in college.
Andrew: It talks about how to systemize your business, and I did that in my first company that at Mixergy I said I don’t want to systemize this has to be much more creative, how do I systemize all this? And I had an interesting interview with Derek Sivers [SP] where I just went back and forth with him on is this the right way to do it, or is it just deadening you know, like it doesn’t make the system the company too boring? Anyway I started using it here at Mixer GI the reason you’re here and pre- interviewed and I know where this is going and I know with confidence it will be edited properly and so on is because I now use that. How did you use the E myth to systemize your business?
Juan: Mainly it was the process of how clients get to our website and how that’s in turn into a schedule in the calendar and basically then what the team has to do once they get to the house. So there’s a whole process and you know, from degree and decline up to you know, exiting the door what they should be doing every time. So that’s pretty much from website up to when they leave the house and thereafter the follow up process to make them you know, a recurring client.
Andrew: And so how do you put that system in place?
Juan: Well mainly it’s just put in a manual of you know, what they should be doing at the house, and the other parties like internally us you know, how once a client gets to our website and books a cleaning then basically you know, knowing how it gets distributed to what people and who books it in. That’s it…
Andrew: That organization you see the problem that I found as I systemized this and I imagine the person who’s listening to us is going to have this challenge too, is you do something so naturally that you don’t even think of the steps that you take to do it let alone how to explain it to someone else, and you need something that will systemize. I sometimes will hire someone to comes sit here, watch what I do, and notice the things I don’t even notice that I do just with a clipboard and pencil write it down. And then we talk about where do I spend most of my time, how do we systemize that? How do we delegate it? And so on. Because I don’t notice it on my own, how did you do it?
Juan: Well the hardest part is really the cleaning part doing the right job every time right; the booker really insists that the product should be the same every single time the quality…
Juan: . . .should be the same.
Andrew: But the house is different every single time, so how do you systemize it?
Juan: So there’s a manual and there’s a basically a checklist that they have to go through, but even with checklists it is not like a you know, like a silver bullet that solves every problem. It’s really the people that we hire, they have to be really smart, they have to go you know, they have to be self starters, they have to know exactly how to leave this client happy. So there is not exact recipe or formula to make that happen it is just a matter of you know, getting the right people on board, giving them these procedures, and then letting them do the job, so that’s…
Andrew: Do they read the procedures? I wonder if people even read the manual sometimes that I put together.
Juan: Well we made it online so they have to go through like an online training…
Karen: And certifications.
Juan: and certification as we call it, and out of that they have to take a test and quizzes so we make sure they read…
Andrew: I see so to get the job with you, you create a . . . you teach, and then you quiz, and you make sure that they get certified.
Andrew: What software do you use to do that? Sorry Karen you were going to say what software?
Juan: I want to actually…
Karen: Yeah there’s one called Digital Chalk.
Andrew: Digital Chalk?
Karen: And then pretty much it’s just I did an introduction video explaining how it worked and then it’s just I created some slide presentations, and it has the software for you to upload and do all of this. But some slide presentations, web operations manual on the software, and then it’s just my voice recording going over it.
Andrew: And so you say you need to do this ,this and that, and then after they’re done watching the video you test them to make sure that they learned what you said?
Karen: Right and then I was telling you know, touching on the subject like every home is different I was talking about this with a trainer team that’s training right now and then it’s just if you’re willing to ask very simple… we say there are the wet areas and there are the dry areas. There is the kitchen bathrooms and the mopping up floors, and there’s the vacuuming and dusting, then taking the trash out. Every home is different and that’s why we send the same team to the same house, because they get to know the house over and over, the different knickknacks or the different things a client likes. Like if they like their shoes cleaned not that we clean the shoes but like the way people get used to the way the team arranges. Let’s say they have to vacuum the closet and they move the shoes and they put them back in a certain order. Well people get used to that and they notice (if done different) and they start to think maybe they did something else different, so they start looking around at the rugs to be in the right place and things like that. It’s just things like that, so it’s just for confidence that the client has the trust that the same team is going to be there and for the team to know exactly what they need to do and all in the same place at the same time. The checklist is pretty extensive and one of our senior teams told us this is a lot but they are used to doing this over and over that when they go every task they already know (what to do). It’s already in their minds they don’t have to think it through when they go to a bathroom they know they start from top to bottom.
Andrew: Did you just say paper checklist?
Andrew: So let’s talk about how you digitized then, one of the cool things about your company G Maids,I said this at the top of the interview that you bring new technology to an old business. What’s some of the way that you guys modernize this technology? It felt to me for a long time like the internet completely ignored it.
Juan: Well the first part is mainly the booking on the website and paying online. We have been receiving payments from back then (2004) which still most services don’t take payments on their website.
Andrew: They want cash in an envelope you leave it by the door.
Juan: Yep and check, so that was really the first thing to honor my dad. People really like to pay things online, I mean its very natural now days. In 2004 most services in general, not just maid services, most home services in general are always taking cash or a check. That was the first step, after that mainly putting all the training online instead of giving them paper where to go they just access an online calendar, and basically they know where to go.
Andrew: Who built that?
Juan: We did.
Andrew: You did, I mean you as a company internally?
Juan: Yeah not myself but yeah its internal.
Andrew: What do you mean? Who if not you? Who Karen?
Juan: No we had a developer helping.
Andrew: You hired a developer to do this? This is early on you were already at a place where you could hire a developer to do this. How did you find a developer?
Juan: Otis, Sea Land you know out sourcing sites.
Karen: Yeah. Whatever pod cast that he heard he resourced and he referenced to. He would go check it right away that night. He was very intelligent with that. You know sometimes we he would hear information that ill hear next year. Even if he wouldn’t implement it right away he would go to a website and put a date for an action for him to do that.
Andrew: So if he was in the audience right now, if the old you was in the audience right now, and you heard Karen and say “Digital chalk is what you used to train your people.” you would have written that down and said “We may not have the team yet but when we do this is what we are going to use.”
Karen: Yeah I remember driving listing to your interviews.
Andrew: You do?
Karen: Yeah we had a Scion and then the one that we had we have had several Scions, he is like addicted the Scions, the deviant square ones. We had one that had a screen so we would drive with your interview, with whoever you were interviewing. We would listen in the car whenever we were driving in traffic. I remember taking notes and things like that so it was just very…
Andrew: What kind of notes? You guys seem to absorb stuff, by the way let me get back to the notes and say that I got E-mails here from you Juan. Going back to 2009 you found the billion dollar jackpot that I did at grab.com. You found that, you e mailed that to me and said “hey just checked your YouTube channel and it came up across this billion dollar video you gave away on grab.com”. You started asking about that. Yeah looks like we went back and forth a couple times, because I told you about how Warren Buffet was the big winner on that one, we talked about interviews. Um there is a way that you’re listing, first of all your interacting, which makes you different than most people. There’s a way that you’re listing Karen, you said that you’re taking notes and if you were listing to this pod cast, to this interview, how would you take notes what would you do with it? What would you write down?
Karen: I mean, just, figure out what you have in your life right now and make it happen. I mean, sometimes we’re like, oh, it’s a cleaning company, how much bigger can it get? Or it’s a, I don’t know, if you’re a babysitter. I just met somebody recently that wants to start a babysitting company and I just had to tell her, well, I have a cleaning company maybe I can share some of the things that I’ve learned. And we started, you know, talking about it and, and, it’s just like, the next day she text me, still, do you start your company as an LLC or a C Corp? So it’s just like, it doesn’t take that hard, it isn’t that hard to go and do the research right away, so don’t judge small beginnings. But in general I would just take notes of like, if there’s any certain technology that, that, the one for the certification, the digital chalk. If you need something like then go check it out, if it meets what you need then perfect if not don’t stop there, find something else.
Andrew: I see, so basically you’re saying to yourself, what initiative do we ‘s in it that we have and then if we’re listening to this interview and there’s someone…in, they mention a solution that could work for us you note that down.
Andrew: If there’s something in it you’re not ready for, but you think you might need down the road, you note that down too.
Karen: And just principals, whatever principals, I don’t have my cell phone next to me but I have notes from my conferences and meetings back from 2009 and 2010.
Juan: We, we, we’ve always had the attitude of learning, really. I mean, we, we just like to learn. And we’re always, you know, reading and listening to stuff and you know, capturing as much as we can and eventually complimenting us we need to. But that’s been mainly the attitude that we have, which is we just want to learn. So that’s it.
Andrew: Is your revenue higher than it was back when, Neil, blogged about you?
Andrew: It is? Significantly higher?
Andrew: Okay. I won’t ask anymore. Why did you change the company name from BIO Clean to G Maid?
Karen: [??] Let me share this one, typically if you’re going to start a company you’re going to Google that name that you’re thinking of to see if there’s anyone out there with the same name. Well, as much as we should have done that we didn’t. We should all buy incredible products, cleaning BIO Clean. What happened to the term BIO Cleaning is referred to cleaning out crime scenes.
Andrew: Oh, I see.
Karen: And BIO has this [??] waste, so definitely not our type of industry.
Juan: You created out of the wrong association in the mind.
Karen: And not, not anyone, nobody really knows [??], usually knows, you know.
Andrew: I didn’t realize that. I thought BIO Clean was a good name and then I Googled it and I see.
Karen: Right, exactly, so oh, then he, he checked out three books on branding and marketing and one time when I came like from grocery shopping, I don’t remember, I was running errands. And he’s like, I have the name, you know, it’s like this eureka moment, and he’s like G Maids. And I’m like, G Maids, huh…G Maids, it stuck so and anyway…
Juan: I mean, mainly, I was looking to really create a brand, right, most companies are called, I don’t know, you know, Garcia’s Cleaning Service, or something, something very generic and there’s thousands of maid services in Dallas and around the country so everyone, has, very few companies have really catchy names or brands so part of being, on the [??] I wanted to create a brand that could go nationwide, right? So I had to find a name that I could trademark, that I could really, you know, tell the world that was unique, just one name that nobody else has that name, the domain should be open. I have like a check list of 10 things, before naming a company, that a name should really have, you know, like one of them is like [??] come most of the time and should be available, trademarkable, it should be unique, it should be short, should be less than seven words. Some of those things really help us shape that name, and, and sometimes you should mention the category of the service.
Andrew: Right, so people will know what it is.
Andrew: You had to take out a loan to make this change.
Juan: We had to make a loan to build some of the website part.
Andrew: Where did you get the money?
Juan: There was this…
Karen: Credit Union.
Juan: It was like a Credit Union for Latinos in Dallas.
Karen: For start-up businesses.
Juan: It was a small loan and they just, they asked, you know, very few collateral and stuff, we just told them we have a few computers and…
Karen: You know like, a computers and our car.
Juan: And that’s…and a car and that’s it. And so, that’s…
Karen: Something that would amount to the same…
Juan: That dollar amount.
Andrew: Here’s the curious thing. You guys were eating ramen for a long time.
Andrew: Just to re-brand your site and rebuild it, you needed to take a loan. You were struggling, struggling. Today you’re not, but you were struggling and all along you had this belief that you had to give people money. You need to, you know, donate. Talk about this 10% donation. Where does this come from?
Juan: Well, you know, we’re Christians, so God mentions that you should return 10% of your income to the church. So, we started doing that when we were making really small amounts of money, and we said well, if this is true, it should work, right?
Andrew: So you’re testing the Bible’s system? If it’s true, and we donate 10% of our money then life should be better. All right, I like the scientific approach. So what happened after you did?
Juan: So we did, and our first site was like $60. Really small. And we kept doing it for 6 months to a year, and we saw that our lives really changed, and our income increased because God says that your 90% will be pretty much enough to cover for the rest of the things.
Andrew: And you were doing this even when you had $60? With the first $60?
Juan: As soon as we could, we started basically returning the tithe, so we believed it, and then suddenly things started changing slowly after, and we kept doing it. We didn’t really believe in stopping it. Some people don’t agree, that the churches are just taking your money. We believe that, really, there is a God and we should honor that part. We’ve seen the results in our life. It’s not just financial results. God provides in other miraculous ways. He gives you family, he gives you peace, he gives you health, and some other things that really money can’t buy. That’s mainly how we believe it and we enjoy it, and we do it now.
Andrew: When I was a kid I used to read Jeffrey Archer novels, and in Jeffrey Archer novels there’s always a kid who’s scrappy, who has a wheelbarrow that he uses to sell fruit from, and then he builds that up into this empire. Pretty soon, he becomes Conrad Hilton and he owns the world. A big part of those stories was giving away a portion of your money. Even back when the kid was just a hustler and a teenager, just trying to sell his fruit, 10% would go. It wasn’t a religious thing, there was just some belief there that if you do it, your outlook on life changes.
Karen: It does, yeah.
Andrew: Karen, what have you noticed? What happens to you when you donate money?
Karen: I guess it kills some of the greed. It kills the greedy part in you. You always have something to give, even if somebody doesn’t have necessarily a huge income, whatever they give, I think God honors that because that’s the best they can give. When you have 10 apples, just give 1 apple. You see what I mean? For the most part, I think it kills the greed. And it forces you to be more organized. That’s how I started doing the financial part of the business. I don’t know if he mentioned this but Juan takes care more of the marketing and the website and things like that, and getting new clients. I manage some of the training of the teams, and the financial aspect of it. So, I remember I had this little notepad where I would write down every expense that I would make, and every dollar that came in I would write down, so it was a way for me to keep track of what we made, so that we could give our tithe, but also to keep track of our expenses and manage what we were making. Our hard earned money, to make sure that we’re not overspending. It forces you to be less greedy and more organized.
Juan: I think you were going for, it really changes you on the inside?
Andrew: How? Here’s the thing, I’m looking at the notes that Jeremy made on the interview conversation that he had with you, and the one line that I underlined here about this topic is “It changed everything when we started donating. We were struggling with money and still giving 10% of our income. If you can do that at your lowest point, the act of giving just will attract more money in your life.” And that’s what happened to you. “At one point, were making just $12,000 a year and we still donated $1,200. We lived on 90%. They are just principles we live by.” And that’s the thing. But what happens to your mind? Do you feel like, if I give, then I’m telling my subconscious mind that I’m going to get even more? That I’m not so desperate that I I can’t, what are you thinking?
Juan: It’s not just, it’s not exactly like, “oh, I’m expecting more money.” It’s just that once you’re able to walk away from money, your mind, your focus, it’s just not money, I mean, you’re focused on greater things. And it just, I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. Your focus stops being money. You know, every time you start a business…
Karen: Because you can surrender that.
Juan: Yeah. Most people just want money, money, money, right and, once you’re thinking, “oh, it’s the money,” everything you do is for money, then you start treating your clients different, you start doing things in another way, but when your focus is not just money, but creating a better experience for your client, or you know, being a different type of person, you act differently, you talk differently, people perceive you differently. And you know, we believed in good things to start coming back, so you know, some people start helping you out, suddenly Daily Candy gives you an article. We’ve never paid for advertising, we’ve never paid for press, and every year we get interviews and press, and it’s just, I mean, it’s hard to explain, you just have to try it, and you know, you could be at a church, you could be to, you know, help other people.
Andrew: Could it be to Mixergy, so can I just ask people to start tithing to Mixergy?
Juan: They could, if they wanted to.
Juan: But the point is…
Andrew: Should I undercut the church by saying I only need 9% and see if that.
Karen: Oh my god…
Andrew: No that doesn’t work.
Karen: How many miracles can you work up?
Andrew: The fact that we can actually record right now with no hiccups, I feel is a miracle. Maybe your connection to the church has helped; usually there are issues with the internet connection.
Juan: Mainly when you help other people that are in need, you know, I believe good things start coming your way, because you’re helping somebody that you know, needs a hand, and you get back some help again. And if you notice most wealthy people, you know the big wealthy people…
Karen: Yeah, there’s [??]
Juan: …they’re always donating money, they have foundations, they have scholarship programs. Those giving back to the community, so it’s, you know, it’s a principle, a select principle, and if you use it, there are advantages for it.
Karen: And some of the times when we think, “oh, when I have a lot of money, when I have a million bucks, I’m going to give away some money,” and I’m never having [??] something small.
Juan: You never get there, really. You never get to that million, so.
Karen: Yeah, I mean, it’s just a way of thinking.
Andrew: Let’s talk a little bit about some of the benefits of all this hard work. You guys were in Columbia in 2009?
Andrew: What happened there, do you know what I’m talking about? You were there, and what happened to the company? Who managed the company, and how did you guys get it to keep going?
Juan: Well, online obviously. As everything was coming, be we had the very first iPhone 3G back then, so we were basically, our calls were getting translated by Google Voice, and we were just texting clients back and forth. Obviously there was not so much volume as it is today, so it was a lot easier to reply to an email here and there, we were kind of like, doing things during the day, doing tours you know, in the city, you know, traveling, and then in the mornings we would go into cafes, small internet cafe and then reply to some emails, and at night, we’d just grab our laptop or phone, and just reply to couple of [??] emails.
Andrew: But mostly you were managing your business using your iPhone 3G?
Juan: Yeah, mainly.
Andrew: And I also don’t want to overlook that fact that you guys aren’t just doing houses, you also are doing businesses, right? So you’ve, your clients have included people at Accenture, Ernst and Young, did you guys do work for Ernst and Young, or the, people work there?
Juan: Mainly the clients, yes executives that work for the company.
Andrew: Dallas Mavericks, you guys did professional work for them, or home?
Juan: You know, a player.
Andrew: For one of the players? Oh really, which one?
Karen: No, we cannot say that.
Andrew: No? Which one? What’s his address?
Karen: No, that’s the privacy of our clients, that’s…
Andrew: All right, I’ve got it. I just actually, I don’t have anything.
Juan: We’ve had NFL players, lately…
Andrew: Let me ask you this, someone’s watching this, the way that you guys would have watched this before. They want to learn from your experience, what’s the one thing you want them to take away from this conversation? That you did right, and if they just take that one thing away from this interview, their lives are going to be better.
Juan: I will say, really loving, and really creating a product that really you enjoy selling, because at first, it’s going to be really hard to sell something, and it’s not going to take a lot of traction, so you need a few years to really make some product, get some more. So you really need to be enjoying that solution, loving that product you know, in order to really sell it, and obviously that’s coming from the more the product aspect, but from the inside of you, your entrepreneur, you really need to be learning every day, and you know, doing the right thing. That means, you know, not stealing, not lying. Just being the right type of person that, you know, brings those good things into your life. That’s the one thing I would say, you know, just do the right things, and the right things will come back to you eventually.
Andrew: And still you say, ‘Love what you’re doing,’ and still, I’m looking again at the notes from the pre-interview. I love that we do this kind of research. And you told Jeremy that one of your biggest challenges was lack of love for the business.
Andrew: And so, can you tell me a little bit about that internal wrestling match?
Juan: Yes. When we were starting to clean, obviously, we were just doing it for the money, right? We were doing other [??] business. After the emails, and we saw the business started to grow, we started falling in love with our product, with our company, with our name, with everything we were offering. So, that changed everything as well, you know. Once you see that the owner really puts their heart into the product, you’ve got a better product, you give a better experience to your clients. You know, you don’t put so many fees, you just treat them differently. All of these things, eventually, make you grow your business. You eventually start loving your business, because it’s, you know, giving you money, it’s providing for you, for your family. That’s the things that it changed, once this [??] inside.
Andrew: OK. Let me do, let me do a quick plug here, and then I wanna come back and ask you guys about, well, all this controversy that happened on my site, in the comments. Apparently, you guys have a lot of fans, and I want to talk about what happened.
Karen: [??] I don’t know if you were going to ask that, but if you wanted us to talk about the time that we didn’t have a car? Is that what you were leaning to, or?
Andrew: You know what, I didn’t, but tell me about that. There’s a reason why you didn’t have a car. What happened?
Andrew: You do it. I’ll come back to the plug. This is more important.
Karen: So, the reason why we didn’t have a car… part of our lifestyle was to give back, and it got to the point that we gave away our car. It’s just one of the things that, I don’t really… Can I start over again?
Andrew: Do it. We don’t edit it out. Let people see that we don’t speak perfectly. Go for it.
Karen: When we didn’t have a car, it was a moment where we were tired of the way that we were living. We had no idea what was the solution to it. We didn’t necessarily have a mentor in the cleaning industry; we had approached a couple people, but they couldn’t give us much information, because of the job descriptions they have. They wouldn’t allow them to give much information or mentor other cleaning companies’ executives that had high positions. To make a point, we had no idea what was the next step. Out of faith and desperation, we gave away our car to a church that we were attending at the time, and it was just one of those rare things that… my family still doesn’t understand why on Earth we did that, it’s just one of those things we felt was the right thing to do. We felt led to that. And during that time period, it was three months that we didn’t have our car, we still had to work. So we would go clean houses… on the bus.
Andrew: You’d take a bus, with the cleaning supplies?
Karen: We’d take a bus, we have pictures of that too. I used to carry my camera everywhere we went, just so that we would remember where we came from. And just the fact that we were taking pictures, it made it a fun experience. So we would take pictures and then drive on the bus, get to the house, some of the clients were like, “What do you mean, you came on the bus? There’s buses that come here?” And then we’d go back home, and that lasted for about three months. But it’s just like crazy stuff happened, like random people would stop by and give us rides,
Juan: Sometimes a lady just stopped by…
Karen: … stopped by and gave us cash…
Juan: … gave us a hundred dollars.
Karen: It was such a weird period in our lives.
Andrew: You gave away your car.
Karen: Right. But then, where I want to go is that, there’s a point I’m like, “God, we gave you this car, and I thought this miraculous thing was going to happen,” and then I just felt in my heart like, “You know, what are you doing about it?” So I just went online, and looked for a car, and I found one that like for, I think it was $600? It was WAY discounted. And we got it, and that weekend we got a car, and that like changed my life forever. It was just like one of those lessons that we needed to learn of taking action immediately and taking your own steps. And it’s just a strange story for me still because I still don’t understand all of it. But some of the things that we learned during that time we still reminisce about it.
Karen: Well, just that experience and that lesson. Also, we encountered several people that we learned a lot from as far as business is concerned. And people that we connected to, the lawyer that we started working with.
Andrew: But you didn’t have a car you connected with them?
Karen: Well, you start finding solutions, like we used to go to the local Resource Business Center…
Juan: Small Business Center.
Karen: So we would walk there and go to seminars. The first person that advised us in accounting, and things like that. It was…
Juan: The Emit book came from one of those meetings.
Karen: Right. Andrew: So what you’re saying is that it just pushed you to be more resourceful?
Juan: You have to trust. Your level of faith and inside of you, you just get so brave and so adventurous that you just kind of do anything that it takes to make things happen. You know, you lose any fear of doing things. And doing this is not very comfortable, giving a car away, is not comfortable.
Karen: I’m not suggesting it.
Juan: I don’t know, you just, we’ve been in the growing part of ourselves, so giving this thing away, helping others, just really pushes you to the limit where your mind just enters a different level of how things should work. It’s mainly that…
Andrew: All right. I had a past interviewee, we started talking about his faith and started talking about his…I guess I’ll leave it at faith. And I said, all right, I think we’ve heard enough about that let’s go back to business and the audience, and riffely so, just ripped into me and the comments, you can’t, you cut him off. We’re curious about this; you can’t keep feeding us the same things over and over when someone gives you a new idea shut up and listen.
Karen: Right, and it’s not something…
Andrew: So I’m listening here.
Karen: Yeah, thank you. It’s not something we should at least talk about, you know, if we met you two days, it’s not something I would tell you right away. It’s just something very personal that I think it’s important to talk about because it’s what made us to what we are today. It sets a strong foundation, a strong character. We’re indestructible.
Juan: And your business isn’t always being a gray marker, being copywriter, or being very smart or selling something. Sometimes it’s a different level of knowledge that you need. So most of your interviews are probably people tell you all this different traits and tactics, how to sell more, how to gain customers. But sometimes it’s…in our case, yeah, it’s been some of that, but some of the really big growth inside of us as entrepreneurs as persons of faith that has helped us grow our business. Many people will not tell you about this, but that’s what really helped us.
Andrew: Let me do a quick a plug here for Mixer G because I know most people listen to these interviews for my plugs.
Andrew: They’re fast forwarding, getting right to this point and they go wait a minute what happened to the plug? I got to give you the plug guys, here it is, go to mixergpremium.com. If you’re someone, like the three of us, who believes in the value of learning, if you believe in the pleasure of learning, go to mixergpremium.com. We have over 800 interviews, almost a 100 courses at this point that you can pop into your MP3 player and take with you on road trips, on the bus, to your cleaning work, on the train to your school the way I used to when I was in New York and used to go to NYU. Wherever you are, you just listen to it and you learn from people who will teach you what they did to succeed. And I’m going to suggest a few people based on this conversation. First of all, I’m going to suggest that you check out Bob Burg, The Go Givers, since we’re talking about the power of giving. Bob’s book was fantastic, The Go Giver. I invited him here to teach what entrepreneurs need to learn about giving and receiving and that course is one I highly recommend. Number two, I recommend my conversation with Derek Sivers that turned me around on this whole systems thing. If you’re someone that needs to be turned around go look up Derek Sivers and you’ll see that he’s talked about that. It’s the interview called, Leadership with Stories. And then two others, I’m going to recommend Sam Carpenter, both is book and his interview for systemizing, it’s fantastic. If you’re not into reading the book, listen to this interview for an hour. I am telling you, it’s going to show you how to organize your business. And finally, we have…actually courses with an exoergic that I recommend, Justin Roff-Marsh, systemizing your sales. And also, I’m just recommending so much. If you really want to automate your online sales, Germaine Griggs, tons of systems, tons of courses. Go to Mixergy Premium.com right now. Sign up. And I guarantee you’ll love it. Frankly, if you don’t love it, I’ll give you your money back and I want to hear. I think that there’s maybe even more value to me in hearing why you don’t love it, than your $25. So, part of me hopes that you sign up, cancel, and then say, ‘Andrew, this sucks because.’ The reason I want to hear that is because I use that to [??] to improve our work here. Go to MixergyPremium.com. You’ll love it. One way or the other, I’m going to love that you did it.
All right. Two things that we’ve got to get to very quickly. First, before I talk about this thing in the comments, you’ve got to tell me what Maids Radar.com is because that’s your new business. What is this?
Juan: Maids Radar basically is an IOS app that allows consumers to find maid services in real time. The reason this came about is that in the last year, I’ve been getting so many calls. People asking for service today, tomorrow. In reality, I sell this [??] weeks before. So I always say, ‘No, I’m sorry, I can’t.’
Andrew: You’re telling me if I wanted a cleaning service today.
Juan: Today, yes, today, now.
Andrew: Even in your area. Even if I happen to be in Dallas, you’re going to have to say no, because you’re booked.
Juan: Yeah. It’s hard. It’s really hard. In most companies, if they’re successful, they’ll have this issue. They sell this [??] weeks before. So, Maids Radar would allow these other maid services to publish in real time via the website their available times. And that are open today and tomorrow. On the other side, consumers just download an IOS app. And basically they’re able to see who’s available now. It solves that problem very simple. Customers in the past used to go to Google and start calling each company to find out who can come today and it takes hours. Now with this app, they just basically download it and see who’s available. You’ll be able to see us, Gmaids there and also other companies that are available. I’m not taking the business, but I’m passing it to someone else who can really take care of it.
Andrew: Right, I can see it. You’re a married person. You promise your partner you’re going to clean the apartment before your guests come over tonight. Things happen. You end up cleaning. You go to MaidsRadar.com, download the IOS app, hit the button. They come over and they clean for you. That’s the idea here. That’s the business that you guys are building. Next. I urge people to go check that out. I’m going to come back and say one more thing about MaidsRadar.com and give it one more plug.
First, let me ask you about this thing that erupted in the comments. Another entrepreneur came on here who talked about his online maid business. And people said, ‘Wait a minute, Andrew, you missed the fact that he really copied Gmaids.’ You guys had a trademark issue there.
Andrew: What happened?
Juan: Well, I think Karen could start with that because she’s the one that discovered this whole thing.
Karen: Well, it’s funny. Because somebody send me an email about this thread, this discussion thread about somebody that was explaining how he started his company and he mentioned our website. That’s how he based his website from. And they sent me an email, ‘You should be checking out this conversation, what they’re talking about. Because I think you would be interested in it.’ Having that this guy had broken down our website and pretty much duplicated it . . .
Andrew: Competed based it there were parts that were so similar, people in the comments I think said or maybe an email that actually referenced your site. So his site suddenly had GMaids in . . .
Juan: Yeah, the copy had.
Andrew: The copy had GMaids in it. GMaids is going to clean your house. Because he forgot to change that, OK.
Karen: Right. Up to that point. Then we sent him an email, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ We were trying to be likable about it. The person with whom Juan spoke, he said, ‘OK. We’ll take it away. We take the part that is the [??].’ They deleted some of it. But then it came back. I didn’t give much attention. I’m, like, he’s not even in our state, just not a big deal, just good luck. But it also encouraged Juan to find the interest is catching up to what we’re doing and we should push it further. That’s how MaidsRadar came to fruition. Then afterwards, somebody sent me an email, ‘Hey, this guy has been interviewed by Andrew Warner on Mixergy.’ I’m like, ‘I know him. I’ve met him before. Why is he interviewing this guy?’ That’s what I thought. Then I’m, like, I’m just going to send him an email. So that’s why I sent you, ‘Hey, you should check more about, for your interview and things like that.’ I didn’t say much. I mean, you can read the email out.
Andrew: I’ve got the email right here. I won’t read it.
Karen: But it’s just interesting how other people kept referencing. I didn’t go looking for it. I didn’t go looking for what this guy was doing. But after awhile, it kept building up into an issue, in the since that he was using our name, our trademark so we had to hire a lawyer and then go through the process. But in a nut shell, it’s just something nasty that happened, but it turned out something good, I mean we’re in an interview with you and then Juan built a client with a company.
Andrew: He pushed you because…he was doing…was he doing better than your business?
Juan: He mentioned that he does, and eventually he started selling his company on Flicka. He was mentioning he was making $70,000 a month and then he eventually sold it for $27,000 and he said that mainly because he didn’t have time, and so forth. In my experience, running or ruining a maid service business is hard enough to really…once you’ve reached $70,000 a month, selling it for $27,000 is totally…doesn’t make any sense. So I don’t believe he was really that big, he was just advertising that and making noise. But trying to make money out of his website, but in reality he didn’t have a real company behind it. Starting a maid service or any service industry it’s not just like putting up a website and hiring people, it really takes more than that. And that’s something I share on my blog that says, if you’re going to build a business like this you really need to build a business, not just put a website and hope people will come and book services. That’s mainly what I think.
Karen: And there’s a lot of human resource management because it’s a lonely business on our end. But it’s offline because we need to send people to actually do the job. So the whole process is not completed until the team finishes their day, so its bottom line, but it’s delivered off line. It’s managing the people and the whole work load of system advertising to make sure that every home is cleaned at the highest level that we possibly can. Managing that is much more work than people will usually think and I know they were selling templates of copies of our website and things like that. Yeah.
Andrew: It’s not just, hey, I’m going to copy it but anyone can copy it in your local city. I’m going to give you the design and the copy and all the other stuff.
Juan: Some people read it, telling me where they got from.
Karen: My point is, I’m not sure it’s just the template, it’s completely honest. Do you have this whole other part of the business. That if you buy a template for a company for $5,000 that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a successful cleaning company because you have all these other people and the half of the business that you still have to deal with.
Juan: I would say that 90% of the business is managing people, 10% is really the website and selling the service.
Andrew: All right.
Karen: But it’s really good, that you’re enjoying this. I mean, somebody would have just e-mailed back, I’m sorry, too bad.
Andrew: No, this is the part that bothers me, when someone tells me, hey, Andrew you’re not optimizing your SEO. Like even Neil Patel for months, for maybe even years said, get transcripts up on your site it’ll help with your search engine optimization. I kept saying that I’m not really interested, but eventually I did it because I couldn’t keep saying no to people. That doesn’t bother me, when they say, hey, you got that wrong, you didn’t push here. That’s when I get lit up and I even e-mailed you back Karen, and I said, well here, I did address it but maybe I could have addressed it even more. So I showed you, and I also let you know this bothers me, if I got the story wrong, if I didn’t push an entrepreneur be honest and open then I’m sad. All right, I don’t know exactly where the honest line is there, all I can do is allow him to say his piece and there’s no way for me to look at…some entrepreneurs show me their books before I have them on. I didn’t ask him to do it, but all I can do is leave it as it was and the audience will be able to figure out which other interview weren’t talking about I don’t need to say it. Instead, what I need to finish off with is maidsradar.com that’s where people can see what you’re up to. Also, Juan, you mentioned your blog, let me look for it because you…what I like about your blog, yes, there’s some religious stuff on there, which I think will draw some people over. But also, there are cars on there. I was eating lunch here, in preparation for this interview and I went and looked at this guy who had souped up his Porsche 911 and I said, this is what Juan is like, Juan is getting ready for one day owning a nice car, a good garage. He’s an ambitious person, and I dig that about your blog. It’s JuanChapparo.com, right?
Andrew: And you guys also have a company blog at GMaids.tumblr.com, do I have this right?
Juan: The Tumblr is kind of like a blog but it’s just mainly to put things for ladies, for the audience who follows us. The company blog is really under GMaids.com/community. They can find it on the bottom part of our website.
Andrew: One of my favorite parts is, in your personal blog, the happy photo of the two of you in the upper right.
Juan and Karen: Yeah.
Andrew: That’s the thing here, right? You guys took the bus, you guys gave away your stuff, you guys suffered through ramen. I have the dirty words that you guys used to talk about how much you guys hate your ramen. And here you are, happy, doing well, inspiring other people and I’m so glad you guys did this interview. At the time that you emailed me, Juan, I was going through this period, thinking, I think I was in Buenos Aires, and I was going “I’m doing all of this, I’m renting this big office just to do interviews. What a joke you are, Andrew. No one is paying attention to this, you don’t need this whole thing just for this. No one is out there anyway.” I can’t believe how much that was going through my head. If only I would have just shut that voice and said “Wait a minute, look who’s emailing you. Someone is out there, at some point this will have influence and they will build successful businesses because of it.” If only I would have don’t that, maybe I would have enjoyed my time in the early days of Buenos Aires more. But, the good news is, now I’m enjoying it because people can obviously see that this does have some impact. I wasn’t a fraud, I was doing something meaningful.
Juan: It does, I mean, it’s hard to measure it but it does.
Andrew: Thank you.
Juan:[??] working on people hearts and minds and helping them shape and become better.
Andrew: Thank you for doing that, and thank you for contributing to that by helping sharing your story. What was it like four years ago you and I first emailed? Hopefully in four years from now, 2017, someone will email us and please do not hide it. Email me, Juan and Karen or any one of us, and tell us how you were shaped by this interview. I know I was and I’m going to thank you guys for doing this and thank everyone for being a part of it. Thank you guys.
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