Hello, my name is Chance Herriage and I am the former owner of Lubbock Maids. In February of 2020, Lubbock Maids was repositioned to become Homeer to spread our mission Texas-wide.
Today I’m going to talk about a lot of things. What went to plan, what went horribly off-track, and some of the things that I learned along the way. Before getting started, it’s important you know how and why I, an 18-year-old Texas Tech student made the home cleaning industry my home.
Let’s get into it.
As a kid, I knew I was different, but I never took the opportunity to determine what was making me different. Instead of taking my entire life to figure it out, I've crammed the journey and the lessons that came with that adventure into the last five years of my life.
The day I turned sixteen I got my first truck and then the very next day, I started my first business. A lawn care “business” that would prove to show me the pains that come with physical labor and management.
I put the word business in quotes because it truly was not. It was just a mosh-posh of guys wanting to help their community without having any idea of what we were doing.
Ignoring that though…
This was a business that gave me an insight into the lives of my community members. A business that immediately quantified my hourly worth. A business that immediately showed me the assistance people in my community needed. A business that gave me an outlet for my desire to leave a lasting impression on the people in my life.
Through the exhausting first months of building my lawn care business, I learned the importance of personal mental health, how to learn the things I needed to, and more importantly how to make the decisions that will alter my life for the foreseeable future without worries of having regret.
Months in the future my lawn care business proved to be only as scalable as the man-power I had available. It was not a great business to have started for my first one. But, it did teach me the aspects of local business ownership, growth, and death.
I continued to grow as a person, experiment, and learn how to make the best business I could while I was counting down the days towards leaving for college at Texas Tech University.
I left for college, joined a fraternity, and was introduced to many problems in society that I was previously blind to. I could now see the pain that every single society member feels. Ranging from the elderly to the college students, all the way down to five and six-year-olds. The anxiety. The stress. The drive to succeed. The desire to focus on what makes them truly joyous. To me, it was all so clear why the issues were issues.
But, being young in a place of seniority I couldn't make the impact that I wanted. With a few months of questioning who I was, talking to the people I trusted in my life, hitting the books, and attempting to talk to anyone I could; my efforts were endless as well as fruitful.
I ducked my head down and started working on my next business. It was an attempt at a clothing company that was backed by the desire to have an easy and profitable business. It wasn't filled with passion. Instead, it was filled with greed and ignorance. It failed painfully and expensively and I learned I needed a partner that compliments my abilities.
Failures are your best opportunity for growth though...
I knew I wasn't giving up on my dream yet. With such a spectacular failing I knew that my next thing would be another focus on the community members that have touched my life.
In the few experiences of failure I had gone through I had become a strong believer in the idea that you truly have to believe in your business mission or your audience will be able to tell that you don't. And I wholeheartedly believe that my community deserves everything they want. Knowing that in my heart has made some parts of deciding my path for the future easy. Getting through those challenges hasn't been any easier, but deciding what path to take has.
I had also learned I needed an industry with higher profit margins and that is built upon genuinely helping people. Making money wasn’t everything to me, but being able to support a business to deliver my mission at the quality I have always strived for, was.
So, I started Lubbock Maids.
Lubbock Maids was a home cleaning service that was started with the mission to give my community members the life they deserve. We focused every waking hour on being a better cleaning service, offering a custom maid experience, and giving our community the maid service they should already have available.
At Lubbock Maids we were striving to operate more efficiently with livable wages for our employees and to see levels of quality that had never been seen before in Lubbock.
I won't lie to you.
I stole ideas from the biggest companies out there like: Amazon, Google, and Thumbtack, and more. Modeling after their successes I was able to build a foundation of Lubbock Maids that solved many of the problems my industry had been facing for years. Determined to solve problems like...
Clients struggling to get a hold of a team member to book a maid service. It was 2017, there's no reason this could not be done online twenty-four hours a day.
Clients having to pay rescheduling and cancellation fees just because something came up in their life that ruined their plans. Life is unexpected, no one deserves to be fined for that.
Clients having to worry if the clean would be satisfactory at all bookings. There's no reason for that.
Clients having to worry about the price changing once the booking has been scheduled. Our flat-rate pricing allowed all clients to know what they are booking and at what price without worries of future price changes.
There was still a lot left up in the air, but I had determined a business model and website structure that reflected my passion to take care of my community. The image of what this maid service would become started to appear.
In the beginning, I was doing all of the cleaning work myself but I loved it. I had finally found something I knew that people needed and wanted. I wasn’t an expert yet, but with the relationships formed with my clients, I was getting feedback fast and improving faster than I could’ve dreamed.
I had cracked the code. I was on a path of fire and I was determined to take over Lubbock.
Or so I thought…
Four months into Lubbock Maids I had a full schedule that gave me a forty-hour workweek of cleaning alone.
It became painfully obvious that what I was doing wasn't scalable beyond myself. I was so busy that even turning away bookings, I did not have time to spend with friends. As soon as I was done cleaning I would spend the following six hours on the computer catching up on the "office" work that had piled up through the day. It wasn't maintainable.
I made the same boneheaded mistake I had with my lawn service. I had limited my business to what I could do instead of building teams that would empower my mission.
Instead of fixing the issues, I ran and began building a new business...
A business that was focused around a single piece of software that utilized machine learning to match people with where they should eat lunch or dinner.
It was a wild ride of being in a new industry, learning how software companies operate, chatting with CEOs of huge companies, and attempting to take every step I could to enter a "bigger" industry. But I hated working for the product and business. I hated waking up to a list of fifty things to do that day. I hated not being in control of how we would help our community. I hated that I had gone so far away from whom I had aspired to be just a few months ago.
With Lubbock Maids and my side-project on what seemed to be upward momentum, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.
Did I want to stop building business and follow a "traditional" career?
Did I want to focus on entering the "software" industry for the rest of my life?
Did I want to stay local and build a business I loved?
How was I going to incorporate the people I love into my business's mission?
I was lost and wasn't sure what to do. It seemed like everything I did, I continued to make the same mistakes without learning any lesson from them.
Then I found the book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Jim Camp.
It's an amazing book that helps the reader determine what they are doing with their time. Up to this point in my life, I had always been a big reader. However, when reading this book I wanted to read it in one sitting. It felt like the book was written for me. But about forty pages into the book Simon reminds the reader that one shouldn't rush through this. Determining yours or an organization's purpose isn't so easy that it can be done in minutes, hours, or even days. One's "why" is a thing that manifests over the years and breathes the life of one's experiences and memories.
Following Start with Why I picked up the book Start With No.
These books aren't necessarily meant to be read together, but they are a wonderful combo because the reader is taught in a series to value themselves and then to defend that by reading Start with No.
I had taken months hyping myself up. Waiting for the stars align and hoping that one day I would know: "Now is the time."
The stars would never align though. Instead, having a clear image of what I wanted to do with my life; I took a leap of faith.
Willing to believe in myself even if I couldn’t find a group of people to model my future after I was determined to achieve my goals regardless of any existing circumstances.
Deep down I knew I was soon going to end my career in college and adventure down the Road Not Taken.
I wasn't ready yet though. I continued reading and adding books to the stacks that had built up in my house, office, on every shelf, and every floor. I had never taken so much value from books in my life before. I was finally learning things that were incredibly interesting to me and I couldn't seem to get enough. I read:
Taking the appropriate amount of time to go through each book and taking notes with each page turned, I was making solid progress. Not in my business, but in determining the direction I would personally take and what I needed before I could achieve that. Reading these books though became difficult while attempting to mash all my learnings into a single plan of direction.
Dredging through school each day felt like I was wasting opportunity every single time I walked into class. Every instance the professor would assign homework I would weigh the newly assigned items against my already filled schedule. Talking to my advisor they could see I wasn't invested in my future college career any longer. I was burning money with absolutely zero expectation of going into a career for what I had been learning.
I was burned out and uninspired. I still hadn't determined what I was going to do or how I was going to succeed at doing it, but I knew I wasn’t going to give up.
Then I dropped out of Texas Tech University.
Like my good pal Jon Gordon said:
"You haven't failed until you stop trying."
I had learned this from first-hand experience and I was tired of failing.
At this time, I still hadn't learned why it's important not to share all of your goals and dreams. With that lack of knowledge I made this post on my personal Facebook feed. The post announced I was dropping out of college, thanking everyone that had support me thus far and letting my people know that there is much more to come. It was important to me that my people knew I wasn't giving up on college because I had failed; I was giving up college because my businesses had succeeded and I knew I could turn that short-lived success into life-long success with the proper plan and team.
Now when I have dreams I keep them to myself because:
Receiving praise too early into the process of achieving the goal can make actually achieving that goal much more difficult.
Receiving “personal praise” versus “process praise” ritualistically decreases my motivation. This is just a natural human response and is a very hard one to fight.
When you’re a beginner at anything, getting negative feedback can stop you right in your tracks regardless of how confident you may be.
Accountability doesn’t always work. It's as simple as that. To achieve your goals regularly you have to be your motivation. Relying on others is dangerous to the success of your goals and dreams.
Hearing about competition might make you back off. You can't let yourself get bogged down. Fight the urge and build your passion! Don't worry about what everyone else is doing.
So you may be thinking: "If I shouldn't share my goals what should I do with them?"
Write them down. By taking notes on your goals, responsibilities, and daily tasks you can prevent yourself from forgetting the smaller things and even promote forming healthier and more realistic plans.
Showing the progress to your audience isn't important until you can track, quantify, and notarize the results.
What's the best way to do that though?
In the last five years, I've gone through over seven notebooks. Never throwing any away when I've reached the back page, I have a nice stack of notes and memories on my shelf that can be looked back onto whenever they are needed. Quick I am going to cover how I take my notes so that you can begin planning and tracking your progress more clearly.
First, let's take a look at what my notes usually look like.
Now that you have seen my notes. Let's talk about what is going on here.
All of the notes I write are taken without the expectation of needing to go back and look them over in the future, but maintaining the ability to do so if needed.
It's important that you give yourself enough information in case there are a few months between when you take the notes and when you need them again. There will always be some things that you understand well enough that you don't "need" notes. It's an understandable conclusion that comes from years of experience, but if you're under the impression that you don't need notes; those years of experience are misleading you. Instead of wasting time determining if you should take notes, just take the damn notes. You will not regret it. Even if you end up never referring back to your notes you've at least taken the time to form a more concise image and plan instead of just jumping in head first hoping to figure things out along the way.
To give myself the best chance of success utilizing my notes in the future I follow The Outline Method.
The Outline Method entails a process of taking a wide-angle approach. I suggest starting with writing down the top-level things that you will be taking notes on. It's important that you go ahead and write all of your headlines. You don't want to write one headline and then start taking notes before you have the rest of your headlines prepared. Personally, this has been the best method to utilize. Not following an outline method while taking notes can lead you down a cascading network of things you need to take notes on. It's just a bad plan to go in planning on picking up the messes.
For example, as you start taking notes on Subject A you may run into an issue and need to take notes on Subject B. Then, as you're researching Subject B you find another issue and move on to Subject C. Before you know it, you have found yourself at Subject F and cannot even remember what you started taking notes with. Operating like this isn't a winning formula.
Instead, when you are taking notes you should start with a clear image of where you will finish as well as list all of the subjects that make up your top-level subject. Don't skimp out here. Doing this will prevent time from being wasted researching things you don't need or won't use.
It can be difficult to see what all needs to be done along the way, but it gets easier as you use this method. Don't stray away just because it's difficult the first time. With your outline finalized you will begin filling it. Starting by writing down the questions that you have for each piece of the subject you plan on taking notes for.
Below you can see what a modern-day version of my notes looks like. As you can see, I've written headlines with each item that must be done and questions that accompany those items. Then, when they've been 100% completed I've drawn a line through those items and written the conclusion where appropriate.
It's a relatively easy process that becomes easier the more you become familiar with it. Not everyone will have the same note-taking style so if my exact style doesn't work for you don't be afraid to make the changes that will make your life easier and notes of higher quality.
Through the time of all my team members working alongside me, I make sure to teach each person the best way to takes notes for their position. Everyone has different needs from their notes, but everyone needs them from time to time. There isn't a single person in the world that can get by without having to write down notes. So, why do it inefficiently?
With college in the past, I had been making incredible business progress. But the progress with my personal life and desires had stalled. I had reached the limit of what I could find in books and knew I needed someone with much more experience than I had and that could share theirs.
This period of my life was the first time I didn’t have many people I could ask for honest feedback and/or perspective. I had grown up expecting to have someone to ask my dumb questions, to make my mistakes and bounce solutions off of, to provide the honest feedback that is needed to do anything great. This time I didn’t have a relationship with anyone close to me and finding my way back felt impossible.
Then the stars FINALLY aligned…
In the first few months of building Lubbock Maids, I shared the website and booking form as I made changes. I was offering everything I was learning for free to other business owners in the industry. They were giving me feedback, they were connecting me with people, then suddenly they were connecting me with their mentors.
They wanted to help me just as I had helped them see that there are better ways we can run our businesses in the cleaning industry.
With an insane amount of feedback each day on the system, I stumbled upon my first mentor and immediately connected to the things they had gone through in their life.
(My mentor has requested to remain private for this post as they no longer offer this type of mentorship).
We talked about a lot of things in the first few weeks of getting to know each other. My dreams, their dreams, how they landed here in front of me, and how we planned to move forward.
There's one specific meeting that stands out. It was early Sunday morning on a Texas Tech Game Day and we were meeting for coffee at 8 am. It was a morning game so I went into the meeting hoping that it would be short. That we would talk about what we needed to so that I could get to the game.
I never made it to that game though.
At this meeting, we sat down and immediately got to business. They started by saying they wanted to skip the chit-chat today. They had a horrible week since we last talked and it was showing. They had learned a valuable lesson and they were dying to share it with me. Hopping in, they visualized the importance of keeping a circle of people that will give me relentless feedback. Explaining that having a circle of people that gives honest feedback can prevent disasters similar to the ones my mentor was facing at the time. It was interesting to see them out of sorts. In the entire time, I had gotten to know my mentor they had never before let their concern show on their face. Today it wasn't just showing. It was shining blindingly bright.
I like to think my mentors' look of worry is what allowed me to see the true value they were offering that day. All of a sudden it clicked. All this time I had a circle of people that were willing to give feedback, I just hadn’t allowed them to do so.
Armed with that one special piece of knowledge I was ready to get the feedback I had so desperately needed for months.
Throughout the next months of my life, I slowly talked to each client I had acquired about what they feel I should do now and how I could best help them. Always making sure to let them know that I was looking for personal guidance on how to be the best person for them, not how to be the business. To me, this has been the single biggest lesson I have learned in the entire time of building and growing businesses.
Armed with the confidence of all my clients I prepared myself and the business to begin hiring teams. It was worrisome and extremely difficult at times.
I remember my first interview like it was yesterday. I had scheduled my very first interview at Starbucks.
You can probably guess the direction this went, but if not let me give you some detail.
To start I had never told the applicant what I was wearing, where I was sitting, or even set up a little sign that drew the attention to my table when they walked in. It was my first mistake, but one of the smaller ones to occur on this day.
The first thing the very first applicant said to me was not “Hello”, but instead “How old are you?” It hit me like a brick wall. It wasn’t that I had never considered my age during this time. I had just never considered it relating to delivering my mission. I knew I was young to run the business I dreamed of, but I also knew that I was not too young to give my community what they deserve.
The first months of interviews went horrible. Not at the fault of my applicants, simply due to the fact of my entire lack of experience. I went in blind. I went into the experience uninformed. I had done zero preparation beyond the necessity and the results reflected that. There wasn’t a chance I was going to be able to build the home-cleaning business I wanted without taking a look at myself first.
With so many colossal failures associated with these interviews, I took a few weeks off to get my appearance together. Making sure to focus on cleaning up the website, unifying our social media pages, and finally, upgrading the clothes that I was wearing in and outside of work. This time, I was determined to show my applicants that they had a professional and willing-to-improve place they can work at. During this process, I realized how important it is to me that my team believes in their appearance as a part of the team.
Finally finishing making my business and personal appearance more professional I had completed our newest version of the website.
For this design I had stepped away from the branding that had been formed through the last months of building Lubbock Maids. I'm still not sure what spurred the idea to stray so far from our color scheme and marketing methods, but this vesion of the website opened my eyes to what goes into tracking ones website performance. With the newest version of the website resulting in more bookings than ever before I knew I needed to implement a few more things before I could get back to interviewing potential team members. So without slowing down for a second I started implementing:
All of these things added were focusing on one thing: Determining who was visiting, using, and loving our website and how these users were navigating the website.
Having the website cleaned up, the social media pages were next to get some time, care, and love. The key focus here was that Lubbock Maids would pivot from selling our maid services on those pages to offering real and actionable value related to our industry.
Note from the future: Looking at the image above you can see that the post did not perform well. This is because we had established a Facebook audience to sell to and when we pivoted to offering value we had to start from square one in regards to our Facebook audience.
More prepared for what’s coming my way; it was time for some real action and team growth.
For weeks I went through interviews and explained the training process as I outlined my expectations of quality and client relationships. A lot of people weren’t right for the position and then I stumbled upon Amanda.
Amanda is known by many of our clients but she is a Lubbock local that has been one of the single largest factors in always driving all of us towards excellence. If you know her, you know I don’t need to say anything else. She’s amazing. If you don’t know her, she’s still with us and she’d definitely love to have the opportunity to meet you! With Amanda joining the team and my regular clients transitioned over, I had been gifted the time I needed to make sure the business could provide Amanda what she deserved.
Determined to give Amanda and Lubbock Maids the best chance at success we got our first office.
Note from the future: Amanda is like my Lubbock Mom. She gives it straight one-hundred percent of the time and puts in more than one-hundred percent every single day at work. Truly, Amanda is not a member of my team, but a member of my family. Alright, back to what you came here for.
It’s not a lot of space, but it was more than enough to give our community members the level of service they deserve. If you look closely at the picture above you can see a small basket of supplies in the mirror. Yep, that’s how our supplies were managed and kept... That was just one of many issues that would soon be addressed!
Armed with a more professional appearance in every area we were ready to begin building teams that we planned on having for the foreseeable future.
I was slowly introducing the new team members to the clients I had formed relationships with and passing on the respect and appreciation that we had formed for one another throughout the last months.
I saw immediate appreciation.
My business wasn't just growing fast, but our clients were loving us and telling all of their friends and family members about us. Booking online, leaving tips, calling just to say thank you. It was amazing and a lot to handle at the ripe age of 19. Day in and day out I was able to see the true impacts of going into my community members’ homes and returning them to perfection. Moving with the goal to take care of all the chores in the house and attempting to remove any stress along with the trash!
Finally, we were not just becoming a better business, but a better cleaning service.
From this point on it's been clear that I am here for my people and that will never change. But, if things were nearly that easy we would all be millionaires and have a play-pin full of unicorns.
We continued to grow and I continued to add teams at a record pace.
But still, I hadn't yet learned the value behind the saying: "Hire slow. Fire fast."
With several teams established at Lubbock Maids, we were quickly introduced to a new set of issues: The Growing Pains.
With growing pains, we entered a new stage of business life where we were growing faster than we could keep up. No matter the amount of time we were given, it wasn't enough. During this phase of building Lubbock Maids, we were the only modernized maid service in Lubbock, Texas. This meant we were picking up a significant number of clients compared to other businesses in the area at an incredibly low cost. At this time all I had to do to get a few bookings was to let our community know we had openings. The spots were filling themselves. We were experiencing exponential growth and I couldn’t keep up.
My downfall during this time wasn’t the lack of employees like it had been before... And while I made a handful of mistakes here, I did maintain a consistent base of clients that had come to be accepting of our constant changes and excited for the level of quality that we were striving to deliver.
Then I tossed it all away. I got greedy and lost sight of the mission I had started Lubbock Maids based on. I had chosen to take the stance of desiring financial success over personal fulfillment and was willing to sacrifice other aspects of what I saw as success to achieve that. I had built a profitable business, but I didn't love what I was doing for the right reasons anymore.
Note from the future: Typically, this isn't a thing that I would talk about so publicly, but this single experience rippled throughout my life and changed the way I approach the majority of things in my life. It's important to me that in the off-chance someone in a similar position as I was stumbles upon this post and sees the path their taking mirrored in what I did; it's worth it. I'd do anything to prevent my people from having to learn this mistake the hard way like I unknowingly chose to do.
Because of this, I created a ridiculous amount of messes that I would find myself cleaning up in the coming months. Things like:
It was tough for me as a person.
The majority of people that haven’t gone through a period of crazy growth will stand up and scream “I WANT TO BE A MILLIONAIRE OVERNIGHT!!!”
The people that say that don’t know what they’re getting themselves into. Let me explain...
To become a millionaire overnight a few things must happen:
If an aspiring business owner cannot do any of the five things above they need to stop right now. Go ahead and pack up shop and save themselves some money because they will inevitably find themselves or their business lost in the wind. If that's you, please take some time and think about what you're doing.
Money isn't the key to happiness and chasing it for the majority of your life only makes that realization harder when you do see it.
If you think that's cliche this speech by Gary Lewandowski may change your perspective a little bit. The topic of the speech was getting through break-ups and you may be thinking: "What are you even talking about Chance?" I'm talking about the fact that breakups don't just happen with a significant other. A breakup can be with a personal viewpoint you've held, an addiction, a business, a stranger, a loved one. The list is endless.
It's only an 11-minute talk. Below I've included the video so you don't have to leave this page if you don't want to.
In case you don't want to watch all of it, I'll give you the quote of what I think is the most important part of his entire speech.
"Whether your relationship is awful, good, or great, we don’t like endings, we don’t like to lose things. And especially, we don’t like to lose things that are important to us. And make no mistake, relationships are the single most important thing to you in your life. It’s the source of all of your best memories, it’s the source of all of your worst memories.
When you think back on your life when you’re 95 or 100 years old and you look back over the course of your lifetime, you’re not going to think: “‘I wish I owned a better phone’, ‘I wish I spent more time on the Internet’, I wish I spent more time at work or sleeping’”. It’s not going to be any of those kinds of things. It’s going to be: ‘I wish I spent more time with the people I loved'"
Since hearing that talk, my life has changed drastically. I didn't stop working so much, but I did find fulfillment outside of work. No longer was I working because I had to, but because I wanted to. Just because I was having fun doing doesn't mean it suddenly became easy though.
Sixteen months into building Lubbock Maids the issues that I was faced with now, were personal issues.
I still wasn’t ready to be the business owner that my team members and clients needed. I was failing and it was obvious.
Our cleaning quality was sliding, our system quality was sliding, everything was getting ugly and it felt like this was going to be an issue I never found a solution to. I wanted to be able to do better, but I simply didn't know the information necessary. I didn't think I would ever find a solution to the things that had plagued my life for the months and years before...
I was wrong though. I did find the solution just not in the place I expected.
During this time I had to take a break and take some time to collect my thoughts and determine if this was truly my passion or if I was trying to be someone that I thought would make me happy.
Getting started I went back to my hometown and saw some people that I had held dear to my heart before I left for college. I explained to them the journey I had been on. The things that I learned and the things that I had implemented to tackle each situation as it arose. Explaining how it feels like being a business owner is a constant battle that never gets easier.
After taking a short recharge I knew I needed to take an even farther step back. Thankfully, I had a supportive group of friends at this time. We started traveling when we were free and focused on taking a deep breath each time we went. To me, these trips became a form of meditation that would soon show to form my actions in the coming years.
Along each trip, I always tried to focus on myself. Making sure that the business would be okay, but that I would come back better and ready to help the business in ways that I couldn't before.
During this process, I was burning through books. Earlier in the process of becoming who the person I am, I took a great deal of knowledge from books. I thought I had reached the end of that, but that still hasn't changed to this day. In a few short weeks, I had made it through a hefty list of books. All focused on one thing: Leadership.
Reading these books gave me a new-found drive to become not only a good person and businessman but also a great leader. All of these books focused on serving each person on my team in a truly individual way. Even with that though, each author still had their own unique approach.
Finally, I understood why none of my plans resulted in the outcomes I had expected. For years I had tried to follow the example of others while expecting results that I had never seen before. I had bought into a game that dealt me a losing hand. With that revelation, many aspects of my life suddenly became much more clear and changes began falling into place.
The pieces were coming together. I wasn’t just hoping I may have found an answer; I knew I had.
Having so swiftly fallen in line with those setting the example before me, I knew setting the example of what I wanted would be vital to a smooth plan of progression.
Following the example was finally a thing of the past. It was time I started setting it.
I started from scratch with my teams and focused on building the person-to-person relationships that are key to my team members and clients. I talked with each team member that was already on my team letting them know we are clearing the slate right then. This would be the only time we would void the past and start completely fresh. No strings attached beyond the expectation for both of us to be free of scrutiny and contempt from previous mistakes or situations.
Things got a little dicey.
A lot of my team members had become used to the 'lax attitude that I had in terms of management. Before this period I hadn't shown them what I expected so when I did it came as quite a shock to the majority.
In the following weeks, we lost roughly 76% of our total revenue to clients canceling when their home cleaner chose to leave Lubbock Maids. Losing many of our best home cleaners it was impossible for me to slow the loss down. For months we had claimed to not only have one of the best home cleaners in the area but all of them. Quickly, it was showing the best home cleaners are the ones that make the connections with their clients. Not necessarily the cleaners that work the fastest.
We still had a high turnover of employees and clients and I was introducing opportunities for that to continue rising, but this was expected. I had planned for this. The relationships being formed with the team members and clients that stayed were worth it. We had gone from having a window looking into the community to an open door with open arms.
All my hard work from the months before was walking out of the door. I couldn't stop them from leaving though.
In the previous months, I had failed to set the example that was needed. I couldn't confidently tell my clients that I could have another team member deliver the same quality they had grown to love. I would have been lying to them and that wasn't going to happen. Instead of calling it quits here I just continued to follow my plan.
Continuing to improve Lubbock Maids and me as a person any opportunity I was given we saw a drastic increase in aesthetic and organizational quality by:
The business grew up a lot during this time, but that wasn't the true value in this period. The real value from this period was in gaining the experience and knowledge of how to CONFIDENTLY identify problems and solutions, implement solutions, and verify those solutions breed a higher level of quality without needing an example to be set beforehand on how to do so. During this time we also saw a massive shift within our team atmosphere. No longer was I the only one hearing the call of our community being in need. After years of struggling my team members finally began hearing it as well.
We had officially taken a step towards seeing very high quality without the need for supervision and the outcomes finally lined up with my expectations.
It was clear now. I had finally broken the mold of needing the following someone else's example. Following my realizations, Lubbock Maids entered another massive phase of growth.
With wonderful team members, consistently high quality, and the scene is set for the next chapter. Lubbock Maids was able to take its first breath of fresh air in a long time.
We had officially gone through another long period of improvements to my business, teams, and the way we deliver our services. I felt great. But, one worry was growing larger by the day and I was going crazy not having an answer...
I could not ignore my worries anymore. I wondered if I changed Lubbock Maids so much that I had become disconnected from the clients that blessed me with this opportunity in the first place. If I had, we would be sure to fail in the coming months, but I wasn't going to let that happen without having done anything to answer that question.
Up to this point, I had been confirming the quality of the cleanings by giving each client a call once their booking had been completed. But, this had some issues...
Knowing good and well why follow-up messages should not be done by a person I was ready to tackle the challenge of automating that.
Using Twilio we were able to build a simple flow of instructions to confirm the quality.
With this flow being implemented Lubbock Maids gained the unique ability to:
Confirm the quality of the booking without bothering the client while they're doing something important.
Confirm the quality of the booking without having to pay a team member labor cost.
Confirm the quality and to ask for a review when the client was very happy.
Confirm the quality and immediately notifying the team of unsatisfactory services when the client rates the cleaning poorly.
Spread reviews across the platforms Lubbock Maids utilized instead of piling a large number on one platform.
I hadn't perfected the system yet. But, with the follow-up messages in place, it did not take long for my worries to be put to bed.
The reviews started coming in.
It seemed like every time we had the opportunity to take care of a community member they were loving it. With each review, I was becoming more confident. Not just in my ability to clean, but in my ability to build a business that would prove successful.
This time is still one of the most formative times I've had the opportunity of going through. Every passing day I was getting feedback that would soon become the life-blood of improvement for Lubbock Maids. No longer were we waiting to hear the things our community wanted. They were telling us without having to be asked!
I can clearly remember the feelings that came with being able to confirm that I had been taking the proper steps for the last three years. All of my efforts were finally paying off. I don't want to lead you astray. Lubbock Maids still had issues though and they weren't being fixed quickly... The issues caught up to me...
On a bright and sunny day, I was dying to take in some of the heat, but Lubbock Maids was melting down and we were in a pile of a disaster that had to be cleaned up.
On this day we were overbooked, had multiple teams call in sick and I had just implemented a policy that we were never going to force clients into having a different time or date for their booking than the one they chose. There's no easy way to put it besides that the paint felt like it was chipping off the walls and the lights were struggling to stay on with each flicker.
Then I got a call.
It was from one of the first clients I had met along this path and I had formed a relationship that allowed for extremely honest conversations to take place. They weren’t calling to make any changes to their booking but, simply to call and show her appreciation. She so succinctly summarized the effort I had been putting into the last six months of life. She had noticed and she cared enough to make sure I knew that. This call was amazing and even thinking about it now sends chills through my entire body.
That call was all I needed to know that I was finally on the right track. With that perfectly timed reminder I embarked on cleaning up the mess I had created. The solutions this day were nothing special, but the feedback received was.
To this day, this is still the best phone call I have ever received.
The importance of being a local cleaning service was apparent. My clients had come to love the flat-rate pricing, the satisfaction guarantee, the custom, and personal touches added with each cleaning... Finally, our residential cleaning was proven with the help of our community.
Now that we were backed by the confidence of our community members I knew we would soon focus on commercial cleaning as we tackle keeping Lubbock, Texas offices clean.
We had left the period of not getting feedback on our home cleaning services. Our clients started talking to us on a regular basis and haven't stopped since.
With what felt to be consistent appreciation it became important that I could extend my mission to community members that couldn’t make the monetary obligation. Again, I didn’t start this business for the money and we still aren’t in it for the money.
Determined to give back more than I had ever received we began running the Lubbock Maids Nomination Program. This was a list of local community members that were nominated by other community members that just deserved some help. At times we would make public posts asking for anyone in our community to nominate people in their lives. Sometimes having criteria and sometimes allowing anyone to nominate or be nominated.
For the first time in my business life, I wasn’t just saying that I had other goals than to make a lot of money. I was showing my community members that I meant it.
I had also determined how I would make sure that my team members and I remained fulfilled on more than a monetary level. Coming with this was the challenge of showing my team members that there is more to fulfillment in a job than being paid well. The Nomination Program was a great start towards that, but a few last things were standing in my way…
Today I'm not going in-depth on the Nomination Program. That's something you'll have to stay tuned for. If that tickles your jimmies go ahead and make sure to join the newsletter so that you never miss when a new post is shared!
With the future vision of Lubbock Maids finally solidified we entered our second stage of explosive growth.
Having teams I believed in allowed me to shift my focus for a short period to combat the issues that were being introduced with each passing day. They weren’t big issues anymore, but they were growing pains that I had never experienced before. Still relying on what I learned from previous mistakes, I went to my team members and clients for feedback every time I thought it had any chance of helping. I most definitely annoyed some of my team members asking for their thoughts in the middle of the night and I grew to regret that. However, it did allow for an unparalleled time of improvement and reflection.
At this time we reached the point of Lubbock Maids seeing it's last branding change on the website. I didn't know it yet, but things were fixing to take on a much larger scale.
Among all the feedback I was receiving; the need for a business partner was becoming more and more apparent. Refusing to allow this issue to fester without any attempt of resolution I began talking to the people in my life. In search of someone that would excel at and love that role. It didn't take long to find the right person for the spot.
Austin Carruthers, a friend of mine from college was about to graduate from Texas Tech University and he didn’t have a job lined up yet. Knowing his morals were in line with mine I offered him a position at Lubbock Maids. A position that now would never be offered, but because of the growth-to-death cycles I had experienced months before I could assure a wild ride at the least.
Thankfully, Austin said he would love to and joined the team of Lubbock Maids. Enlightening me to issues I had still never considered, I was hastily shown my future dreams for Lubbock Maids were much too small. I hadn’t dreamed big enough and it was apparent.
Upon Austin joining the team we entered what is still the craziest time of my personal and business life. This 90-day period was crazy and a lot happened, but a few of things updated include:
During these days I couldn’t even take notes as fast as I was learning.
Our residential cleaning area continued to grow.
Our commercial cleaning showed to be needed even more than the home cleaning services...
Commercial cleaning introduced to me and my teams to apartment cleaning, office cleaning, doctor office cleaning, and even school cleaning. Quickly increasing the amount of insurance that was carried we began taking steps towards offering office cleaning to much larger locations. We weren't quite ready but we need some experience with office cleaning or we'd never be able to begin marketing heavily for that.
My outlook on life was changing.
The person that I had strived to become was starting to manifest in front of my eyes.
But, even with all that we still hadn’t perfected our craft…
I wasn’t giving up though. This had been the best 90 days of my business-life so far and I wasn’t going to stand idly by as I watched the number of bookings decrease each week. By this time I had come to understand the value that my team members and I can bring to our communities. So, we took our foot off the gas and slammed on the breaks. All in the name of building a foundation that our future house would sturdily stand on.
Now having someone I knew could rely on, I spent months training Austin and getting him up to speed on the expectations we operate with and the brand that we aim to represent.
I messed up big here though. At this time I had forgotten why I first started Lubbock Maids. I was so into getting my business growing that my dedication to my community had been forgotten.
I didn’t just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, I was the wrong side of the bed.
It was at this time that I had to go back to the most important people in my life and ask for feedback yet again. This time around though I was met with many of the same answers as before and one simple sentence kept being enforced: “You can follow the example or set the example.” It wasn’t just one person this time either. It’s like everyone had gotten together and swapped notes of what to say to me. It was strange, to say the least, but sometimes the best things can’t be explained.
I had heard that saying just a few years ago and had taken so much value from it at the time. Then I had forgotten the importance of it as the months and years passed and that won’t happen again. I can promise you that. I’ve learned to accept that you cannot argue with that saying and trying to do so only makes the hard times harder.
Hearing the feedback from my people we go to building our plan.
It took weeks of consistent work and struggles to fine-tune the path my teams and I would be taking. Making sure to not skip over any aspect we first had to find the tool we would use to build said plan.
There are a ton of todo apps out there, but few contained all of the features we were hoping to find. Along the way we tested:
Each coming with their pros and cons this process took much longer than it should have. The time required to find the right solution wasn't an absolute waste though.
While testing each piece of software I would build out the foundations that we knew would stay the same in the coming months. Going through the first few I was worried that there wasn't a piece of software that would allow me and my team to keep everything in one place and work together seamlessly.
Milanote solved all of our problems.
The second I looked into Milanote it was clear that I had found the right software to use. With free-form organization and all of the formatting standards I had grown used to; Milanote was essentially plug and play for my workflow. Having determined Milanote is the tool we'd be using for the foreseeable future I built our home page.
Making sure to grey out the aspects as they were completed my team finally had an easy way to see the progress we've made and what remains on the list of things to do. Compiling everything into Milanote has been one of the single most-helpful tricks learned in recent problem-solving times.
We were off for the races!
As Austin fortified his position in Lubbock and in the minds of his clients I stepped farther away from the day-to-day operations that were required to keep Lubbock Maids open and growing and moved to Midland, Texas to focus on our expansion project.
Although now I can tell you that I stepped away a few weeks too early, I have absolutely no regret about leaving. Let me tell you why.
To start, I had just thrown Austin into the game. We had spent months building and preparing him. It was time for him to fly and I was prepared for the inevitable failure. But, as I had learned myself and Austin soon would, failure is a key part of becoming the person one aspires to be. Leaving Lubbock, Texas took me home to be around the community I had grown up in. Arriving in Midland I expected a lot of things but, the one thing I didn’t expect is to find myself yearning to get back to Lubbock. I had built a family of people I loved that I had so swiftly left.
Still writing this post I can’t put into the words the attraction that I have for that city. The people, the vibe, the weather, everything. It’s like a little piece of history plucked out of the books and dropped into modern-day society.
The thing is though. Any city, state, and even country can be amazing. Along this journey I’ve found myself to be a strong believer that places can be amazing but, they won’t be amazing unless you have people in your life to make it amazing. At this point in my life it seemed to become more clear with each passing day that I truly had found my passion; to give back to my community.
Seeing the importance of community impact my life so forcefully for what felt like the hundredth time, I finally stopped trying to fight it. I will never be as happy as I am when giving back and that is why my team members and clients can trust I will be here for the long-haul.
What I do changes, but the reasons for doing those things never do. It’s a simple realization and not one that should have taken me four-plus years. It did though and at this point, the only thing I can do is to make the best of it.
The quote by C.S. Lewis of “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” perfectly summarizes mine and my teams' philosophy when approaching any situation now. It’s apparent in everything we do. We take pride in taking an honest and level-headed approach to the things we encounter every day being a part of Homeer.
Knowing that my entire team, my clients, and all of my communities deserved more, we stepped into the public light with Homeer.
That brings us closer to modern-day.
At the end of 2019, we began taking action on the plan for Lubbock Maids to transform into Homeer. Focusing on expanding our official services to all surrounding areas of Texas we were able to see our team members become more committed every day at work. Aiming for absolutely zero acreage left uncovered by the Homeer service area all of our team members took months to build the image and business that would allow for such a massive step forward.
Several long months of work led to a never-ending cycle of changes to announce, new issues to tackle and new weaknesses exposed that were previously hidden to the naked eye. Empowered by the amazing team that we had built we were able to come together and build a better business that can offer an even better service.
When we approached the situation this time I came prepared and the results were reflecting that. This time, we were not worried about the future anymore. We had determined our position in our local communities and we were ready to make what we offer public.
The day came, I finally introduced Homeer to the communities that I've been blessed to be a part of.
Guns locked and loaded Austin, my team and I jumped into action to take our mission and business into the next chapter of our story.
Finally being in the public eye Austin made his first official introduction with Homeer. Allowing our existing clients to get to know him a little better. Having spent many months now taking care of his community it wasn't rare to get a call from a potential client that requested to speak to Austin specifically. So, it was extremely important to me that our people had a way to get to know what an amazing addition he has been to the team. On our Facebook Page, you can find his introduction post and get to know him a little better.
We came out a-blazin’.
Built on an incredibly simple foundational appearance Homeers' branding and styling are focused around using subtle colors with attention-grabbing words. We're not trying to trick people into thinking Homeer is the service they want with fancy styling and distracting imagery. Unlike our competitors, we have chosen to build a platform that is approachable and allows our audience to get to know my team and me instead of our audience being met by a standard sales pitch that they have heard many times before.
We started our Facebook page with posts of value and immediately saw the appreciation in offering true assistance to our community members. Focusing on being more than just a business that sells on Facebook, but trying to be one that offered real value in our areas of expertise.
Building an audience that knew to come to us when they had a home-care question we started with posts such as:
The public response to one of our first posts ever was crazy and lead the post to go viral locally. I remember posting this and texting Austin: “I think I just realized what our community has been asking for.” and the results of that post clearly showed it.
374 reactions and almost 700 shares. Those were unprecedented results for us.
Previously we would have spent hundreds of dollars to get a fraction of that engagement.
In all the efforts previously my team and I had approached Facebook as a paid-marketing tool. Operating under that assumption couldn't have been more wrong though. By looking at is a free/organic traffic source the value of Facebook skyrockets. Now, instead of paying Facebook to spread our post; Facebook was essentially paying us as a thank you for the value we've offered their platform.
Since this day Homeer has maintained a much more consistent brand that's spread like wildfire. We had broken the chains of paid marketing.
Moving forward with a brand that I was proud to represent my team and I were able to stop selling. Years into the process and we've finally reached the first time that we aren't limited by our marketing budget. Not because we've saved enough money to ignore it, but because we no longer need to budget an insane amount of money to ensure reliable growth.
The first few weeks were what you could call: eventful. In Midland, we were seeing never-before-seen levels of interest from potential commercial clients that we were not prepared for. Instead of making the same mistake I had each time I had faced this before, I had a better approach.
To turn the work away.
To tell them that we cannot possibly deliver our services at the quality we expect at that scale.
Instead of taking those sales and becoming a company worth a nice chunk of change in the first week of its life, I turned away the majority of calls we were getting. But, I wasn’t beating around the bush. I was being upfront with each person and letting them know we simply were not ready for this kind of response. To give us a few weeks as we put the bow on the final things we needed to do.
This was a big challenge for me. I had spent the last 4 years building up to that exact point and then it came and I didn’t want it. Suddenly the idea of having too short of a plan seemed more realistic each time my phone dinged with a notification. We didn’t let it get us down though. It was only fuel on the fire as it was quite literally the best form of validation we could have asked for while proofing Homeers’ position in our local communities.
Following this realization, we went back to the basics.
Just take a look at the information that is built for each team member within the first few days of joining the team...
We didn't stop there either. Continuing the improvements with:
Although on a different level, I will talk about increasing the compensation for our team members once again. (Reasons behind this will be covered in an upcoming post.)
Finally having sound plans for each aspect of Homeer we got back to action.
We added additional office space and got our act together. Giving Amanda control of the team management, as she is without a doubt the best person to be doing this.
With our continued efforts we were ready to accept anyone that needs our help. Homeer was finally ready to serve our communities.
On February 14th, 2020 Homeer had the first fully-operational day of work. With teams active in Lubbock, Midland, and Odessa on the first day we’ve seen constant improvement and appreciation from the new clients we’ve met on our journey of expansion.
Since then we have:
Although this was almost exactly time with the start of the COVID-19 reaction among our local community, we didn't slow down. During this time instead of taking a break from the progress, we moved planning into the home.
With this time came a sudden loss of booked clients. This time though we weren't losing clients due to something we did. For the first time in my entrepreneurial experience, I couldn't be upset about losing the majority of our clients overnight.
Fortunately, there were a few blessing among the storm. This here is another topic I am going to write about soon as we have to go completely through the time before I can share the entire experience.
The single thing I am most proud of though is we began putting the plan to action. There was finally movement on expanding our range of services to include more than just home cleaning. You read that right. Homeer is not just a home cleaning service. Not just a better cleaning service. We are a full-range home care service. A locally owned and operated service that is determined to bundle all of our home chores into a single booking so that our clients don’t have to coordinate fifteen different providers throughout the week.
Can you imagine how nice having all of the below in a single booking all delivered by a single service provider?
It doesn't have to be just an image in your mind. These aren't even all of the services that are in the pipeline either.
At the time of writing this post, Homeer team members can currently and proudly provide:
We haven’t been able to add every service to our arsenal yet, but our teams are hard at work pushing to have everything ready before we receive our first call asking for one of those services. The last few months of expanding our service area, expanding our services, and expanding our team and mission have been a rollercoaster of emotions.
Our key focus being to never lose our local touch. We are here for our community and we will never forget that. It is ingrained in who we are as a business and people. I’d love for you to have the opportunity of seeing that.
Although a lot of changes have been made since Lubbock Maids was started and even since Homeer was started, there are also a lot of things that stayed the same.
For starters, we haven’t outgrown our home. We have come to love our space on 50th street and continue to add offices within that building instead of moving out. Let me just say, Brent Tidwell at Tidwell Properties is one of the best landlords I’ve ever had. He’s a blessing of a man and had faith in my business when I came to him for an office the first time.
Along with keeping the base of who we are the same, our Satisfaction Guarantee has also stayed the same. Adding the focus on giving all of our clients 24 hours after the booking has been completed to make sure that everything is perfect.
We’re still the same core of people that operate with a unified mission.
Our pricing has remained transparent and upfront. With our flat-rate pricing, none of our clients ever have to worry about price changes once the booking has been started or finished.
Our website offers the same convenience that it always has with twenty-four-hour availability and fee-free scheduling.
As you can see, a lot happened from start to end of Lubbock Maids.
In summary, I’ve learned to believe in myself and my team along with all of the community members in my area. Nothing can be accomplished without believing it can be done and the first step of that is giving yourself the ability to be prepared for that.
So, next time you go to follow your dreams make sure you give your all. Don't half-ass the process. Full-ass it.
I’ll leave you with one final quote by Ken Schram:
“A smart person learns from his mistakes, but a truly wise person learns from the mistakes of others.”
Show me you are wise. Learn from mine instead of forcing yourself to struggle through those situations as I did.
I hope I’ve shared enough today for you to learn from my mistakes and to be excited about what we introduce at Homeer in the coming months. If you would like to see more details about this entire process please drop a comment down below. I have been considering compacting all of this into a single book, I just need to hear that you are interested!
Sincerely, Chance Herriage
P.S. There's always someone out there that feels the same way, is going through the same things, and has gone through the same things. You just have to be brave enough to find that person and make contact! I've found most people are not only willing but would love to help.
P.P.S. Love ya
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📝 Written By: Chance Herriage
🗣 Published: 04/26/2020
⏰ Updated: 01/23/2021
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