Stuart Trier: Hey guys, welcome to Marketing Cheat Guides. Today I have somebody on the show, somebody who is niched down in the cleaning business. His company’s name is growmycleaningcompany.com, it is Mike Campion. Thank you so much for joining us here on the show and sharing some of your wisdom that you’ve gleamed along your journey. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into this business?
Mike Campion: Well first of all, very glad to be here. I was told there would be a free sandwich, which I’ve not received. As long as that’s still in play, I will give all the good stuff, but until I have some sort of assurance that’s happening, I don’t know that I’m willing to give you any information at this point.
Stuart Trier: Amazon’s got me covered. I probably could get it to you during the show.
Mike Campion: Perfect. That would be awesome by the way, if we could show me on video eating the sandwich from Amazon by the time. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but that would be glorious. All right, I am so glad to be here, thanks for having me. You asked a very good question, I said something ridiculous and have now forgotten your question, but if you repeat, I promise I will give you a non-ridiculous answer.
Stuart Trier: How did you get into the business? Tell us a little bit about you back journey so people get a flavor for where you’ve come from, what you’ve done, and how you’ve ended where you are today in terms of running the company you’re running.
Mike Campion: Yeah, perfect. I’m probably doing the opposite of what a lot of listeners are doing. Like a knucklehead, I started out in brick and mortar business with lots of employees and lots of overhead and lots of risk, and just pain in the butt reality. When I sold my last business, it was a car dealership, so lots of moving parts and employees and just inventory, and just a lot of, frankly work, and I told my wife, “We’re done with that [inaudible 00:01:32].” I committed, I got one employee, no more, and I haven’t hired him or her yet, I work with all vendors.
Anyway, all but to say I really went from a lot of, again, cash requirements, headache requirements, employee requirements, moving parts requirements, inventory requirements, and it’s funny, when I had my car dealership, we’d buy a car for 15,000 bucks, maybe we’d out $2000 into it, I’ve put all that money at risk, it’s sitting on my lot breaking every moment, losing value every moment, and hopefully sell this thing I’m into for 17,500, for $19,000. God forbid I make $1500 in profit. Then I’ve got to pay employees and for the building and all this sort of nonsense, to eke out a living.
Now I do coaching, I have no inventory, my clients come to me or they don’t, but I have nothing, my value goes up every month because I’m able to raise prices pretty consistently, If I take a month off or I have no employee issues, so I really went from the brick and mortar place which you can certainly make money at, but good lord is it a lot of work, to I guess you could call me digital marketing coaching, whatever you want to do, where I’m my own inventory and the pay and the risk, the risk is lower, the pay’s higher. Hopefully that’s a good summary.
Stuart Trier: That’s awesome. What made you pick this niche? Did you end up in the cleaning business at some point along your journey, that made you pick it, or did you just identify this niche? What made you pick cleaning?
Mike Campion: Lack of common sense for about two seconds is what made me pick it. Yeah, I actually started in the cleaning business, I was 22 years old. I saved everything I had and I saved up $10,000 to put down on a ServiceMaster commercial cleaning franchise. Bought it, tripled it in about three years, not even three years, and sold it and then took that, was my first real money I ever had, to buy my other businesses. Looking back on all the business, the car dealership, the construction, manufacturing, I identified with the owners of cleaning companies best.
It’s a huge pain in the neck because they’re all broke. I love you people if you’re listening, but you’re broke and it makes me crazy, but they are by far the people I want to work with. Car dealers have money, construction people have money, but picking the niche was a combination of they’ve got tremendous pain, we actually can help people, change people’s lives.
Most car dealers are doing pretty well. It’s one thing to go, “Hey, I can help you from working 100 hours a week making a quarter of a million dollars a year, to getting down to 30 hours a week making $500,000 a year,” versus, “I can help you go from not being able to pay rent or feed your family, to being comfortable and having something that you can give your kids.” That’s how I picked it. I did own a franchise, I was the owner of a cleaning company, and my heart is for those people who are just the nicest human beings ever.
Stuart Trier: When you started this about three years ago, how did you go about finding clients or building a name in this brand? Right now you’re pretty well established, but looking back, how did you start when you figured out your niche and you decided you want to go out and attract people to you?
Mike Campion: I started a podcast just like this one, and it was awesome. It took maybe six, seven months to get from zero to where it’s at now, and it’s just stayed. Man, my hand is huge in that camera. That’s frightening. I’ll do it back here. Less intimidating. It took me about less than a year to go from zero to where I’m at now, and I would say 90% of my business has come from the podcast, which I turned into a video and a blog, but it’s really just there are two podcasts a week that I repurpose for other stuff. That has been my entire marketing, client attracting strategy.
Lately I’ve started to do paid traffic, which at first I didn’t like because it’s right in the name, it’s paid for crying out loud. The podcast is free, but it’s more scalable. With the podcast, there’s only so many people. I can’t go choke people and go, “Listen to my podcast.” They’ve got to just show up, whereas the paid people, I can’t go, “Hey, here’s my ad. Pay attention, look at me.”
To answer your question, I started with just the podcast, which has been fantastic, but it was hard to scale. Lately I’ve been doing paid traffic, which is much easier to scale, but obviously more expensive.
Stuart Trier: Okay, cool. You said you were putting out a podcast a week, or two podcasts a week during that period of time?
Mike Campion: I started with three, because for anyone considering a podcast, for the first two months, iTunes gives you this new and noteworthy potential, which is really just free, [inaudible 00:05:39] the world that we’re going to put you on the front page in the first two months. I started with three because I wanted to have as much exposure and opportunity on that as possible. Once that was over and I got lazy, I went to two. I probably did three for two years, it was a long time in, but I started with three, now I do two.
Stuart Trier: Awesome. Cool. You put that out there and that was your initial transition. Were you helping them with digital marketing? Did you have that vision right away or was it coaching? What was the initial product that you were trying to bring people into, to help them?
Mike Campion: Because I’m ever so lazy and we sold our last company for a decent amount of money, so it’s not like if I don’t get clients I’m broke, it was more I’m 43, what, am I going to golf all day? I started with absolutely high dollar, five figures or more to work with me. That was it. That got frustrating because the clients I had were awesome because they had the money, they were motivated, they’re fantastic human beings, but I’d get 93 people out of 94 going, “I don’t have that kind of money. Are you out of your mind?” Then I felt guilty just going, “Well, best of luck to you, but I’m not helping you.”
Then I added cheaper and cheaper products, 70% out of guilt, 30% out of hey, I’m turning 92% of my market away, maybe I shouldn’t do that. To answer your question, yeah, I started with just high dollar consulting, and then moved down to group coaching, and now I offer a just content that’s really inexpensive. We’ve got stuff for everybody. My cheapest, my entry level product’s 47 bucks a month, and I tell people, “I can’t afford that,” and I’m, “You shouldn’t be in business. Go back and get a job, save up a couple of hundred dollars and come back.”
Stuart Trier: Sure, absolutely. When you were just starting out, obviously you were starting out from a position that is envious for a lot of people. Obviously I had a similar story. Selling a business and then coming to Marketing Cheatguides and starting it was a lot less stress for sure. What were some of the challenges in terms of growing your business at the beginning? Obviously money wasn’t one of them, which we’ll knock of the list, but what were some of the challenges in terms of scaling up the business?
Mike Campion: Gosh, I’d rather just talk about all the genius moves I made, not the dumb moves I made, but I guess I am getting paid a sandwich so I guess I have to answer as you ask.
Stuart Trier: Yeah.
Mike Campion: The first year, I just spun my wheels, spun my wheels, spun my wheels because I didn’t have a niche. My niche was I want six figure companies that want to go to seven figure companies. That’s like saying, “My niche is men under 700 pounds.” That’s not a niche, it’s a massive amount of human beings that don’t congregate. There’s not really a place. Stuart and I have talked off air, we’ve been in something called EO, which is an entrepreneur’s organization, other than that, which is a great organization, I don’t really know where they congregate, where people that are six figures all congregate where I could market or communicate with. I struggled and struggled and struggled, and then so really the biggest struggle I had was not picking a niche, or thinking I had a niche and I didn’t really have a niche.
It really got [inaudible 00:08:28] because for me to be famous or important, or known in the people that have six figure businesses world, even in just the United States, would take millions of dollars and years and years, or just a smarter guy than me, and I had none of those things. I wanted to get it done quicker. To be famous in my little niche, which is owners of cleaning companies, took me six months. Had I started from a paid traffic, I’d have probably done it quicker. The biggest mistake I made was thinking I had a niche, not niching, trying to be a little fish in a big pond as opposed to a big fish in a little pond.
Stuart Trier: Awesome. Now that you’ve come along this journey, you’ve been there for three years, how do you find you clients now? Is it still the podcast, and now that you’re entering into paid ads, are those your primary two ways that people are finding you? I know you said you translate into video and probably blog as well, are you getting some organic traffic now that you’re known in that niche?
Mike Campion: Yeah. The paid traffic just started, not even six months ago, so if we just take that, and it’s been less than 20%, well of my total clients, probably less than 5%, so I’m not saying it doesn’t work, I just started it so I don’t want to put myself out as the expert because I’m not. But I built my entire business, this business, just on the podcast. Again, yes, I repurposed that podcast into a blog and a video, but I didn’t do a video, I just hit record, and like what we’re doing, so the podcast was really it. I didn’t break down well, did they come from the video piece of the podcast or the blog piece, I just considered that the podcast because it was all one unit of work. 100% of my business up until six months ago, came organically.
Stuart Trier: Awesome. Looking back now, three pieces of advice you would give a younger version of yourself if you were starting out in this again. What would be three things that you would want to have known three years ago when you started on this journey?
Mike Campion: Well that’s such a good question. Man, if I could answer this and play this for me three years ago, that would be fantastic. If you can figure that out, let me know how. You can keep your sandwich, just tell me how to do that.
First of all, we covered this, it’s nothing new, I would have niched much sooner. Literally, I could have thrown a dart and picked any niche, and it would have been better than no niche. A lot of the people I coach get uptight, “Well I don’t know about my niche. Is this a good niche or is that a good niche?” They’ll spend six months picking a niche, I’m like, “Pick one. A crappy niche is better than no niche.” The entire time they’re quote, unquote, picking their niche, they continue to just take customers from everywhere and it makes it harder and harder because then when they do a pick a niche, they’ve got all these other people, and they’re like, “Well do I just fire them?” It’s an odd deal.
First and foremost, I would have said, “Pick a niche, any niche,” first and foremost, and if I’d asked myself, “Okay, but if I do want to pick a niche, what would you go?” I’d say, “Pain and money. If they have no money, it doesn’t matter how much pain they have, and if they have no pain, they won’t give you money.” If they have pain and money in size, if you say, “It can’t be someone that’s there’s nine of them that they [inaudible 00:11:12] have a lot of money.” That’d be the first thing, pick a niche.
Second thing is I’d probably go paid traffic quicker, just so I could scale. That was really the big thing, lack of scalability. For the organic it worked out great, I have as many customers as I want, but that’s that. Then I probably would have started offering lower dollar offerings quicker instead of just saying, “Hey, if you don’t have the money, I’m not going to help you.” I probably would have listened to my market and said, “Hey, this isn’t what I want to do, but these people need help and that’s why I’m here.” It’s not fair, I shouldn’t say it’s not fair, but it’s not effective. To just do it [inaudible 00:11:44] my way or the high way wasn’t ideal.
Stuart Trier: Perfect. You’ve created this system now for people in the cleaning business. I watched your webinar and it seems like you’ve put out a lot of good content in terms of taking practical business knowledge and bringing it down to the niche. Is that really what your podcast would be about, or are you bringing people onto the podcast and interviewing them? What kind of content are you creating on the podcast for your audience?
Mike Campion: Yeah, just like I interview owners of cleaning companies. It’s like talk show or call-in radio show. What do they need, and they get to ask pretty much whatever they want as long as it’s something specific enough I can answer in the 20 minutes we got. I help them, that’s it. I literally just live coach one person, one owner of a cleaning company per podcast, and some of the guys or gals are just starting or haven’t even started, some of the guys are doing 50, 60,000,000 a year, and everybody in between.
It’s a ton of fun, because every day just it’s cool because it helps me keep in touch with … I’m always telling my people, “You’ve got to know your people, you’ve got to know their pain,” and how do I do that? For me, I’m like, well I cheat. I talk to them, obviously I do the coaching and stuff, but it’s really nice, I don’t have to worry about what are my people into? Everyone’s like, send a survey, do this, there’s all these tips and tricks, I talk to two of them every week and go, “What do you want to talk about?” It’s cool because obviously I know that I’m hitting pain that they have because they tell me what their pain is, and it’s a lot of fun.
Stuart Trier: Awesome. Do you follow anybody in terms of learning, marketing? Obviously you have a background in building businesses, selling businesses, and that obviously gives you quite a bit of experience to draw on, but in terms of creating the systems that you’ve created, is there anybody that you follow or that you recommend looking at in terms of books to training, that people may benefit from?
Mike Campion: Yeah. I’ll answer that twice because I have two different categories. The first is brick and mortar offline business, which I don’t know how much of that background helped me with what I’m doing now which is all online. I don’t ever meet any of my customers, I don’t have a office, there’s no brick and mortar products.
Offline, I am a big fan of the old [inaudible 00:13:43]. Gosh, there’s a ton of them. I’m a big fan of the four Hour Work Week, which is a link between brick and mortar and online. There’s one more big one, I’m a huge Anthony Robbins fan, which isn’t really business, it’s more just about how to be who you are. Awaken the Giant Within was probably the first book that really woke me up and went, “Oh my gosh, [inaudible 00:14:01] universe.” Not specific to digital marketing, that’s probably the universe I play in.
Then on the digital marketing stuff, it’s the usual suspects. I’m a big Frank Kern fan. That dude, the way he does stuff just makes me smile. Russel Brunson, I’ve spent some time with him. I’ve had him on one of my podcasts. He’s a good guy. Who else? There’s probably three. I the saying that because you read everybody and I hate to just be like these are the two or three guys, and then someone will email me, “Hey, what did you call me?” There’s a ton more, but those are probably who I’m into right now at the very least.
Stuart Trier: Now that you’ve got your business to where it’s at, how do you divide your time? You mentioned before how a week [inaudible 00:14:38], so what does a week look like for you now and how do those buckets break down?
Mike Campion: Man, these are such good questions. I should be writing these down. I’m going to steal them and ask my people that. I’ll email you a PDF of my calendar. That’s not true, I won’t. I do what I coach my folks to do, which is in, out and on. In the business is where I give myself permission to do, for me, that would be a coaching call. I have to actually provide the service. This would probably be in the business. You and I are chatting, hopefully I’m giving some value to people, but I have to be here. It’s kind of leverageable because sending it out to your audience and they’ll immediately fall in love with me obviously, even when I’m not working. This could be in or on, but I’d probably count it in.
I try to spend under 30% of my time on the in the business. On the business would be creating systems which when I had my company, as a lot of actual systems for my employees to run. Here’s our accounting systems, here’s our client chat marketing systems. The nice thing I have, and this is one of my favorite things about digital marketing is when I had my car dealership, it was like good lord, if I could get 10, 15% of my time to [inaudible 00:15:38], that would be huge. There was so many moving parts, but I’ve got to hire this guy and fire this guy, we need to write a job description over here. [inaudible 00:15:44], if you ever want to start a car dealership, good lord it’s the worst. Regulatory stuff, so there’s just so many moving parts, and it’s like yeah, by the way, you’ve got to get customers to show up and give you money, total after thought.
With what I do now, I can spend half of my time on client attraction and creating an amazing client experience, which is so much fun. I try to do 30% in the business, 30% on the business would be creating a system and add something that’s going to generate revenue forever without me ever having to do anything again, and I work really hard at spending 30% out, where I play basketball every Wednesday and Friday with a bunch of guys that I like, I work out in the mornings, I do a lot of things that have nothing … I drive my kid to tutor time, which he loves because he’s little adorable.
That’s about how I break it up, a third in, a third on and a third out, even during workdays. We’ll go to do something like my podcast from my cabin, so we make sure there’s plenty of time to not work in there.
Stuart Trier: Awesome.
Mike Campion: Which I didn’t do at the beginning by the way. When I first started my company, there was no out. It was all in. Everyone’s like, “You’ve got to be balanced, you’ve got to be that,” balance is for once you’ve built what you wanted. Just to be clear to everybody out there that’s having money struggles, “Hey, I just didn’t sell a business for seven figures you jerk,” at that point in my life, I was very unbalanced and it was a lot of work for not a to of years, two or three years. You do it for a decade, that’ll burn you out, but for two to three years, if you work 60, 70 hours a week, as long as your family’s onboard with it, for me, that’s what it took to really build something the first time. What I’d do [inaudible 00:17:08] and what I would coach younger me to do before would be different things.
Stuart Trier: Okay, interesting. Now that you’ve built that brick and mortar business and you’ve had that success, and now it seems like you’ve created a situation of balance, which maybe the auto dealership didn’t allow for, do you view this as something that you’ll continue to do or are you again, building up to an exit and are you like the serial entrepreneur who likes to go to other businesses?
I know for myself, this is my fourth or fifth business. It just seems like I keep transitioning every couple of years because I like it. Curious, what about yourself? Are you viewing this as a long-term thing now?
Mike Campion: Total long-term. First of all, just full disclosure, I absolutely was working 20 hours a week at my car dealership, but I had it for two or three years before, just over three years before I sold it. The fr two years, I was working my tail off, but then I got to the point where it was 15 hours a week. When I sold the business before that, my first seven figure deal, I was working [inaudible 00:18:10], leave at 2:30 Monday through Friday, that’s it.
Again, on balance, it works both ways. There’s a lot of work where we work, work, work, work, work, focus, focus, focus, do that for two or three years, and then it wasn’t that way. The brick and mortar for at least, wasn’t just always working, it was work for a couple of years and then relax indefinitely. I sold the car dealership because I hated it, it was a huge pain in the neck. Way too many rules and regulations, it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t like it.
I have been a serial entrepreneur, always thinking the next thing would be the best thing, and the next thing was always better for me. I moved from one to another and it always got better. This is the first thing where I fricking love it. I’m sure there’s downsides, I don’t want to be this guy, and I’m not selling you anything so you don’t have to be like, “This is the perfect business, buy my product.” I have nothing. Most of you guys don’t own cleaning companies so I have nothing to sell you. [inaudible 00:18:58] selling nothing, I love it. We have [inaudible 00:19:02] speaking, I’ve got the podcast, I’ve written a book, I get to help people, there’s no overhead. [inaudible 00:19:10], I have zero plans of exiting, as long as [inaudible 00:19:16] people listen me to me, I’m going to keep going until you guys throw me off the internet.
Stuart Trier: Awesome. Two more questions. First one is did I not ask you something that I should asked you, that maybe you could share with our audience, any kind of insight or tailing parts I guess, or leaving wisdom that you want to give to people that are earlier in the journey? A lot of people are younger on that journey in terms of wanting to get to where you’re at. You seem self-actualized, you seem to have a business that makes you happy, makes you money, so anything you want to share on that topic?
Mike Campion: Yeah, let me think of that for … I should have this ready. Dang it, you should have hired a better guest, good with all this stuff.
Stuart Trier: You’re just waiting for the sandwich, let’s be honest.
Mike Campion: Yeah. Again, maybe if I had a sandwich, I’s think a little better. I’m just saying Stuart. I alluded, I thought I made myself clear earlier, but you weren’t picking up what I was laying down.
Yeah, if I was going to start a new business, I was actually just talking with a friend who wanted to go into a business, I’ve been clarifying over the last 20 years, what I would consider a good business or a bad business, or whatever business you’re looking into, first and foremost, margin. Like I said, the car dealership, I had to spend 15, 16, $17,000 to make 1500 bucks. It’s terrible margins. That’s part of the reason I love the cleaning business is big fat margins. You can charge double what it costs you. The business that I’m in, I’m assuming we’re in as this audience, the margins are 97%. It costs me nothing to create content and help people so big fat margins I love.
Second would be recurring revenue. Again, with the car dealership, I had that same, I don’t know what it was, 50, 60 grand a month that I had to pay every month, but at the beginning of the month I had zero deals on the book. I had to go and scramble and we had to sell some crap, and hopefully we hit that 50 or 60 grand somewhere around the 20th. But if it’s the 31st and we haven’t hit that much in gross margin, okay, I guess we try again. I write a check and we try again in the next year, or next month. Recurring revenue is huge, if you get big fat margins with recurring revenue, check and double check.
Then finally, I like cash positive businesses. I’ve been in business, like the construction business I had was cash negative, so the faster we grew, the more of a cash suck the business was. We’d be, at the end of the year, we’d be like, “Hey, we made a half a million dollars this year, fantastic. How come I’m broke?” “Well your receivables went from a half a million to $1,000,000, so cash-wise you have nothing, but on paper you did great.” If I was addressing a business to pick, I would go high margins first, recurring revenues second, and cash positive, i.e. I get paid before I do the service. I don’t have to put a bunch of money in infrastructure and then hope to get paid later.
Stuart Trier: Awesome. Now the last question that I like to ask is what’s something you’ve spent a couple of hundred dollars on in the, let’s say the last month or two, that you’re enjoying?
Mike Campion: Well we bought a cabin, which I love, but it was a little more than a couple of hundred bucks. I’d mentioned that I play basketball with a bunch of guys that are wealthy, because it’s Wednesday at noon, we’re playing basketball, so obviously you’ve got to have some sort of situation. I’d found that we were playing with these [inaudible 00:22:19] YMCA balls that suck, so I spent 50 whole American dollars on a very nice leather indoor basketball. I’m always the hero, everyone’s like, “Oh, Mike’s here with his ball.” I’m like, “You guys make $200,000 a year, you could buy your own ball,” but they don’t know that, so I am now the hero because I’ve got the ball. It wasn’t a couple of hundred bucks, it was only 50 bucks, but it has given me much joy that I get to be the hero with the nice ball. [inaudible 00:22:40] answer your question at all.
Stuart Trier: That is awesome. Hey, that’s exactly it. I play basketball myself on Wednesday nights as it turns out, but not everybody is wealthy. But it’s nighttime so everyone’s free.
Mike Campion: All right, well wait, next time you’re in Phoenix Stuart, it’s you and I. Wednesday or Friday. I’ll introduce you to the fellas, we’ll go down there. Don’t worry, I’ve got a good ball so everyone likes me. You’ll fit right in, we’ll make it happen.
Stuart Trier: Awesome.
Mike Campion: And you will buy me a sandwich.
Stuart Trier: I will definitely buy you a sandwich. I really appreciate you taking the time. Thanks for joining us here on the show. Guys, if you’re still watching this, hit the thumbs up button, hit the subscribe button if you haven’t subscribed. We’re going to continue to interview-
Mike Campion: Don’t do it, it’s a trap. Sorry.
Stuart Trier: Shh.
Mike Campion: Oh, sorry.
Stuart Trier: Continue to interview entrepreneurs, share their story, and hopefully you’ll be able to gleam some wisdom from their experience. If you have any questions or comments, drop them below. Myself and Mike will be happy to engage with you here on the channel. Mike, thanks a lot for taking your time and sharing the experience with us.
Mike Campion: My pleasure brother.