Work for Someone Else? Work for Yourself?

Finding Your Own Path

Understanding yourself and the life choices you’ve made enables you to clearly see and choose the path that lies ahead.

Owning a business is not for everyone.

We each need to find our own path in our business and personal lives.  I’m going to stay away from the “personal life” side, except where it intersects with how you function in your “business life”.

Work for Company? Work For Yourself?

Work for Company? Work For Yourself?

The way I see it, in business there are two distinct paths, and the one you choose is personal.

Let’s start with the fact that we are all our own, personal company – a “Company of One.”  As individuals, we all have skills and time, and we choose where to use them.

Being a homemaker, getting a job, starting a business – these are all personal choices we make based upon our free will and circumstances.

You may combine your resources with a spouse, friends and family, but ultimately you choose your own path.  You make the decisions.

The “Company of One” is you.

When you choose to accept money for your time, the paths are:

Path #1:  Work for Someone Else: Perform tasks, get paid. Lower Risk, Measured Rewards

Path #2:  Work for Yourself: Perform tasks, earn money.  Higher Risk, Variable Rewards

The choice your “Company of One” makes is how much risk you are willing to assume. It’s a very personal decision and there’s only one right choice.

Yours.

I’m continually asked, “Why did you purchase a Window Cleaning Franchise when you could have built one on your own?”

The answer:  Because it is the right choice for me.

Becoming An Entrepreneur 

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life.

In fact, I come from a family of entrepreneurs though they’ve never really called themselves such.

My mom opened a cake decorating store, my sister started her own architectural firm and my Dad joined his fellow PHD graduates and started a prominent scientific research firm.

I even married an entrepreneur.  My wife Cynthia is a musician and actress and it’s called show “business” for a reason.  You are your own company and definitely your own boss.

Though as a child I sold lemonade and mowed lawns, I became a entrepreneur during my first “real” job in my senior year at college.

The Secret Key to Success

Working for a small computer consulting firm, the owner told me the following story that changed my life forever.

What is Success?

What is Success?

An enterprising young man is working for a large corporation and he really wants to know what success is and how to achieve it.

He works late every day and one day around 7pm he sees the company’s Founder/CEO walking down the hall.  With some nerve and a good amount of naivete, he approaches this successful man and says, “good evening, sir.  My name Mark and I’ve been working for this company for two years.  I admire you and I would really like to know what success looks like, and how I can achieve it.”

The CEO looks at his watch, sees they are the only two still in the office, and realizes this kid is giving his all to this company.

“OK”, the CEO says.  “Meet me tomorrow evening at 7pm, on this building’s helicopter pad.”

The next day, Mark wears his best suit, puts in a full day and at 6:50pm walks onto the roof.  At 7pm sharp, the CEO arrives, they board the helicopter and take off.

The CEO pulls out the Wall Street Journal while Mark looks out and reads the CEO’s name on the building.  He looks at the city below and just smiles.  Yes, this is success.

They land 20 minutes later in a grassy area and get out of the helicopter.

Mark is very excited and the CEO begins to speak.  “Mark, imagine up on that hill a large ranch-style home with swimming pools, tennis courts and horse stables.  In this area, there’s a gated community and we are standing on the private golf course.”

Marks is awed and very impressed.  “Yes, yes.  These are all examples that demonstrate a successful life.  How does one achieve these?”

The CEO answers.

How do you define Success?

How do you define Success?

“Work hard every day, listen to your manager and exceed at your assignments.  Focus on moving up in the company and take on more responsibility.”

“Yes, Yes.”  Mark is soaking in every morsel of this wisdom.

“Motivate and inspire your fellow workers to also work hard and contribute to the company.”

“OK, I can do this!” Mark says with a smile.

“Find ways to innovate and grow this company and make it great.”

Mark nods and waits with baited breath, listening for the secret key to success…

The CEO points to the imaginary house, pools and golf course and concludes:

“Give everything you have to this company, and one day… all of this will be mine.

I was changed. 

The CEO (and my boss who told me this story) had clearly demonstrated his own Risk vs. Reward relationship.  He started and owned a business and pointed to his Path – Path #2: Work For Yourself.  

There are many secret keys to success, just as there are many paths to success.  This one resonated with me.

Path #2 had worked for them and it could work for me too.

I worked with this computer consulting firm until graduation then joined the working world with a new focus – Being an Entrepreneur.

Do you have a similar story that changed your life?  Please share in the comments below.

Next week I’ll answer why my wife and I chose a franchise and share with you our thought process.

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend! 

_______________________

About the Author

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.

With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day.  He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.

John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)

If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.

Tasha - Rancho Palos Verdes

Cats Love Clean Windows!

Our controversial findings that our furry feline friends love clean windows!

Jake and Friends - Los Angeles

Jake and Friends – Los Angeles

Wow, a number of you have requested a re-post of our in-depth research.  

What?  There aren’t enough controversial topics to discuss?   

Well, I’m all about giving the public what they want.

So here goes…

Through exhaustive research, we have found that Cats Love Clean Windows!

The “Name That Pet” Game 

John & Billy The Cat - Manhattan Beach

John meets Billy The Cat – Manhattan Beach

One of the funnest parts of owning a window cleaning business is meeting many wonderful people each day, and also their pets.

As my wife Cynthia says, “the windows don’t come to us” so we spend every afternoon driving into neighborhoods, meeting customers and writing residential window cleaning estimates.

While doing estimates, we are usually greeted by a dog or cat and we always ask to be introduced.

That’s when the fun starts.

I get to play a quick, personal game of “Name That Pet

My wife and I have been together for 10 years, and very early on we developed a little game called “Name That Pet“.

Mr. Peabody - Torrance

Mr. Peabody – Torrance

It’s very simple, here’s how to play:

  1. Observe - The next time you see a pet and their person, take a moment to watch the pet and get a sense of their personality.   Male of  Female? How do they carry themselves and interact with their person and the environment?  What is their personality?
  2. Associate – Now that you’ve got an idea about the pet, associate a name.  If the dog is very confident, you might choose “Duke”, “Chief” or “Champ”.  If the cat is spunky, you might think “Charlie”, “Tommy” or “Miss Binky”.  (It’s much tougher than you think.)
  3. Inquire – Take a moment to talk with the owner, inquire about the pet’s name, and get introduced.   People love talking about their pets and we’ve heard some great stories.  Also, quite often when playing in public, I’ll remember the pet’s name but I’ve forgotten the owner’s.  Funny how it works.

Buddy - Hermosa Beach

Buddy – Hermosa Beach

Were you correct?  Were you even close?

I’ve been playing the “Name That Pet” game for 10 years, and I have yet to get one correct though I’ve been close on two occasions.

Sometimes I let the owner know the name I picked, but most of the time I just smile and the owner (and the pet) have no idea I was playing my game.

The best part is coming home and sharing my “game” and pictures with Cynthia during happy hour. (She hasn’t guessed one yet, either!)

So, the next time you are out, try playing the “Name That Pet” game.

If you guess the name… well, that’s just beginner’s luck!  If you don’t, at least you met someone new and made a new furry friend.

Not a bad way to “stop and smell the roses.”  

We Meet A Lot of Cats

Bosley - Redondo Beach

Bosley is very demanding – Redondo Beach

There’s truth to the saying, “Dogs have owners, Cats have staff“.

Through our window cleaning business, I probably meet about 15 – 20 dogs & cats per week, or well over 750 fur pals per year.

I meet more dogs than cats, but I attribute this to greeting styles and general personalities.  Let’s just say I “see” a lot more cats than I get to meet.

With dogs, the tail wags and they are glad to meet me.  They say, “he smells good, my owners are happy and he just might have something to throw…yippee!”

On the other hand, with most cats I get a “colder” reception and I can almost hear them say, “great, the window guy is here to clean MY window.  Let’s get to it man!”

Pet Pictures On FB = New Business!

Mr. Kitty - Manhattan Beach

Facebook Star: Mr. Kitty – Manhattan Beach

Check us out on FacebookHowever we are greeted by the dog or cat, once we are introduced we love to take pet pictures and post them on our company’s Facebook Page.

Many of our customers check them out online and we’ve even had family members from Minnesota check out “Mr. Kitty” on our Facebook page, then call their local Fish Office to schedule a window cleaning.

I guess Social Media works!

Please take a moment to “Like” our Facebook page and post your pet’s photo too – we’d love to meet them.  

Our Findings: Cats Love Clean Windows

This Cat Wants Clean Windows

This Cat Wants Clean Windows

Here’s what our extensive research shows and the conclusion we’ve drawn:

Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen many cats in windows, but only one dog in one.

Cats are generally pretty clean and like to stay that way.

Therefore, I believe that cats like to sit in clean windows more than dirty windows.

Hence, Cats love clean windows.

Tough Guy Raja Loves Clean Windows

Tough Guy Raja Loves Clean Windows

What are your thoughts on this controversial finding? Please leave a comment.

Anyway, I thought I would share some of the cat pictures we’ve taken over the last couple of months.

Meeting these pets makes us smile and brightens our day.  Hopefully these pictures brighten yours too.

Thanks for reading and have a great week! 

_______________________

About the Author

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.

With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day.  He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.

John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)

If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.

Turkey Fun Facts (aka “Fowl Knowledge”)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Gobble Gobble

Gobble Gobble

I heard a really corny joke yesterday:

Question:  “What happens when two turkeys fight on Thanksgiving? “

Answer: “They usually knock the stuffing out of each other!”

This is a re-post from prior years, it’s always fun to have some Turkey Fun Facts.

Print these out and amaze Uncle Sal & Aunt Millie with your “Fowl Knowledge” 

Be safe and enjoy your Holiday!

The Fish Window Cleaning Team

——————

Where do Turkey’s get their name?

Have you ever wondered what Turkey (the country in the Middle East) and the American bird have in common? A case of mistaken identity resulted in the American Turkey being named after the country. When the Spanish first found the bird in the Americas more than 400 years ago they brought it back to Europe. The English mistakenly thought it was a bird they called a “turkey” so they gave it the same name. This other bird was actually from Africa, but came to England by way of the Turkey (lots of shipping went through Turkey at the time). The name stuck even when they realized the birds weren’t the same.

Turkey Fun Facts

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

  1. The turkey is one of the most famous birds in North America. In fact, Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the wild turkey, not the Bald Eagle, the national bird of the United States!
  2. The turkey’s popularity comes from the American people’s love of eating the bird for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  3. The wild turkey we usually see in photos or pictures is not the same as the domestic turkey that we serve at Thanksgiving.
  4. Domestic or tame turkeys weigh twice what a wild turkey does and are raised on farms for profit.
  5. Most domestic turkeys are so heavy they are unable to fly.
  6. After the female turkey mates, she prepares a nest under a bush in the woods and lays her tan and speckled brown eggs. She incubates as many as 18 eggs at a time. It takes about a month for the chicks to hatch.
  7. Wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) live in woods in parts of North America and are the largest game birds found in this part of the world. They spend their days foraging for food like acorns, seeds, small insects and wild berries. They spend their nights in low branches of trees (yes, wild turkeys can fly!).
  8. Wild turkeys are covered with dark feathers that help them blend in with their woodland homes. The bare skin on the throat and head of a turkey can change color from flat gray to striking shades of red, white, and blue when the bird becomes distressed or excited.
  9. When the babies (known as poults) hatch they flock with their mother all year (even through the winter). For the first two weeks the poults are unable to fly. The mother roosts on the ground with them during this time.

Tom Turkey’s Tale of the Tail

American Turkey

American Turkey

Peacocks aren’t the only birds who use their fancy tails to attract a mate. Each spring male turkeys try to befriend as many females as possible. Male turkeys, also called “Tom Turkeys” or “Gobblers” puff up their bodies and spread their tail feathers (just like a peacock).

Turkeys grunt, make a “gobble gobble sound” and strut about shaking their feathers. This fancy turkey trot helps the male attract females (also called “hens”) for mating.

Turkey Terms

What's For Dinner

Look What’s For Dinner!

  • Scientific genus and species: Meleagris gallopavo
  • Caruncle – brightly colored growths on the throat region. Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.
  • Gizzard – a part of a bird’s stomach that contains tiny stones. It helps them grind up food for digestion.
  • Hen – a female turkey.
  • Poult – a baby turkey. A chick.
  • Snood – the flap of skin that hangs over the turkey’s beak. Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.
  • Tom – a male turkey. Also known as a gobbler.
  • Wattle – the flap of skin under the turkey’s chin. Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.



_______________________

About the Author

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.

With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day.  He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.

John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)

If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.

selling_a_home

Selling Your Home? Clean Your Windows!

Selling Your Home? What to do…paint? Update the kitchen or bathroom?

First, clean your windows!

Finding the Right Agent is Very Important

Step #1: Find the Right Agent!

Ok, the actual first thing to do is to find the right Real Estate Agent.

We work closely with hundreds of wonderful agents and brokers and they each have different personalities, specialties and capabilities.  The key is to find the right agent that you “click” with, and who instills confidence that they can – and will – sell your home fast and for top dollar!

One thing that every agent agrees on:

Your need to prepare your home for sale.

Preparing Your Home For Sale

In most cases, your agent will offer suggestions to prepare, or “stage” your home to be more inviting for prospective buyers.  It’s pretty simple: Buyers need to see themselves living in your home.  You need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so, given your home is filled with your furniture, personal belongings and style choices.

Your agent may also suggest working with a professional home staging company to maximize your home’s value.  We also work with dozens of professional staging companies and they really know what’s required to increase the “curb appeal” and value of your home.  Most staging companies offer a reasonably priced “initial assessment”.  Ask your agent if they can recommend one.

Top three priorities for preparing you home: M. B. Lynch, REMAX Realtor

  1. Window Cleaning
  2. Carpet Cleaning
  3. Maid Services

Keep in mind: The moment a prospective buyer pulls up to your home, they’ll notice the windows first.

First impressions matter…What does yours say?

Top 5 Reasons Clean Windows Are Important

Preparing your home for sale can be daunting.

My advise: focus on issues that give the “most bang for your buck“.

Clean your windows.Feng Shui

And the Experts agree.  Here are their top 5 reasons:

Reason #5 -  “A bright, alive atmosphere is encouraged in Feng Shui and the home’s windows are an important aspect of this. Large, clean windows are important. They allow pure, bright light to flood the living areas in the home, bringing good energy… Clean windows and natural sunshine are important ingredients to a healthy, happy home.” - FENG SHUI

Reason #4 -  “ More than 75% of people who first view property on the internet will drive by BEFORE contacting an agent.” – CHRISTINE RAE, AUTHOR, HOMESTAGING FOR DUMMIES

Reason #3 - ” Curb appeal sells 49% of all houses.” – NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

Money ManazineReason #2 - “ A good first appearance of a home can add 5% to 10% to the value of the home.” – JOHN AUST, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS

Reason #1 - “According to 2000 real estate agents surveyed, the number one improvement that generates the best return on investment is window cleaning, and the ROI on window cleaning alone was determined to be 768%” – MONEY MAGAZINE

Clean Windows Make You Smile

My wife Cynthia and I have spoken with hundreds of our customers and they’ve taught us an important lesson: Sparkling windows brighten your day.  

Even if you are not selling your home, take a moment to clean your windows.

Then, take a deep breath, have a look and you’ll then see that A Clear View Through Clean Windows will definitely make you smile!

Have a great weekend!

_______________________

About the Author

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.

With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day.  He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.

John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)

If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.

happy-mothers-day (1)

Make Mom Smile…Clean Her Windows!

Want something special for Mom this year?  Try cleaning her windows, she will love it!

Mothers Love Clean Windows 

A couple of weeks ago I shared some fundamental elements about Fish Window Cleaning in my article, “Living Our Company’s Core Values (Feb 2012)

Mike, Linda and Jill Myers, Regional Development Director, American Red Cross

Mike & Linda Merrick w/ Jill Myers, Reg. Development Director, American Red Cross

The Company’s first core value is “Honor God and Family”.  This value is easy to say, but how do you actually do it?

Well, it hit me the other day when I thought about the unwritten rule we have at Fish Window Cleaning:

Your parent’s windows will always be clean.  For Free!

My wife Cynthia and I learned about this national, unwritten rule when we visited Fish Headquarters in St. Louis, prior to purchasing our franchise.

During our “discovery day“, we learned that Mike Merrick, our company’s Founder and CEO, still cleans his 89 year-old mother’s windows.  Mike and his brother Dave Merrick (also a Fish Franchisee) grab their ladders, buckets and squeegees and make mom’s windows sparkle regularly.

Mike is a humble man but he sure was proud when he shared this aspect of his life with us.

Everyone loves clean windows, but a child giving their time to serve their parent is a prime example of “Honoring Your Family.”

Especially when the child has grey hair too.

We Clean Our Moms’ Windows

Mothers love their home and they love spending time with their children.

And the thought of our CEO cleaning his Mom’s windows is quite inspiring.

So, each year just before Mother’s Day, I clean my mom’s windows and spend the rest of the afternoon chatting with her.

When I finish, she says the same thing each time, “John, it’s such a treat to have you clean my windows.  I love that you take the time to clean them, and they sparkle for many weeks after you are done.  I’m not sure which I like the most: The time doing them or the lasting sparkle!”

She says it with such sincerity, I almost believe that she’s truly perplexed.  Wink. Wink.

The Ladies of Fish Window Cleaning

Cynthia, Sonya and Tina in the Fish Window Cleaning Office

Our Employees Now Clean Their Mom’s Windows Too

Our employees are encouraged to clean their mom’s windows just like Mike Merrick.

The new cleaners usually balk until they realize they can save money while showing off in front of the easiest customer they have:  Mom!

Recently, even our office manager Tina cleaned her mother’s windows.  She did a great job, her mom was very pleased and I think she now has a better appreciation for the cleaners.

Our employees now get the message… Moms love clean windows.

As Mother’s Day approaches, do you want to get her something different than chocolate and flowers?

This year, try cleaning your mom’s windows, she’ll love it!

It may take a couple of hours and require some hard work, but I guarantee your mom will cherish every moment of it, just like our moms do.

Cleaning Your Mom’s Windows

There are two things to remember about giving the gift of clean windows:

  1. The time you spend is almost as important as the windows being clean.
  2. You must be safe or please stop reading this article and buy your mom some flowers like everyone else.

Because I own and operate a window cleaning company, I have the equipment and training to efficiently, and properly clean my mother’s windows.

What Equipment will I need!

Bucket, Mop, Towels, Squeegee and Dish Washing Soap (maybe a stepladder)

I realize this is not the case for everyone.

So, here are 4 ways you can clean your mom’s windows too:

  1. Use Mom’s Equipment: Your mom’s windows have been cleaned at some point, ask her if she has equipment.  If so, set a time, go over there and get to it!
  2. Buy Mom a Mop & Squeegee: If your mom doesn’t have window cleaning equipment, stop by a hardware store, buy supplies and give them to her.
    Here’s the important part: With this option, it’s very important to include a card that says, “I’m giving you this equipment so I can clean your windows for you.”  If you just give the equipment, you are better off just getting her nothing!
  3. Bring Your Own Equipment: If you have your own equipment, schedule a time, go over there and get to it (see option #1)
  4. Hire a Professional Window Cleaner:  Sometimes hiring a professional is the best option.  Spend the time talking with mom and pay the bill – her sincere smile and thanks will be the same as the other options.

Whichever way you choose, have fun and do your best – your mom will love it!

Have you ever cleaned your mother’s windows?  Please share your experience, we’d love to hear it.

Just remember: If you clean your mother’s windows, please be safe!

She wants them done again next year too! 

Happy Mother’s Day!

_______________________

About the Author

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran & Cynthia Julian

John Gran (@FishSouthBay) is an entrepreneur and former marketing and product development executive who has grown his successful Fish Window Cleaning franchise in the Los Angeles – South Bay area to become a leading professional in window cleaning services for business owners and home owners.

With his popular blog A Clear View Through Clean Windows, John shares his window cleaning expertise by addressing topics and answering questions that customers continually ask him during his day.  He also uses window cleaning pictures, inspirations and stories about his business to demonstrate the fundamentals for building a strong, healthy, thriving business.

John lives & works with his wife Cynthia in Redondo Beach, CA (she runs the business too!)

If you have a question or would like window cleaning services click Here or Call 310-973-3474 for a Free, on-site written estimate.