People always say never forget where you came from. Have you sat down recently and looked back on where you came from? I saw a quote the other day that made me think. It said something to the effect of, where you are today is where you wanted to be five years ago. From my perspective, I never thought I would be doing what I am today. How many of your friends and family look at you funny for being a window cleaner or owning a window cleaning company? It is a little strange, to say the least, that we get paid to clean windows.
I often think back to high school part-time jobs or hourly jobs during college. I would kill to make 400 bucks working 40 hours a week, and now you can knock out 400 bucks of window cleaning before 10 AM. Even when the checks are great, it doesn’t get you as excited as they used to in the beginning. The big jobs are not as big anymore, and you can get into a slump or burnout pretty quick being out in the sun all day. I love when people say, just think what 16 year old YOU would think of YOU today. I bet he would want to sit down and ask you for advice.
We will never have this all figured out, no matter how long you are in business. Life loves to throw you curveballs. This industry is comparable to a wild animal that you try to tame. You have to keep an eye on it. You can let it roam, but it won’t stick around if you don’t offer anything better than what is on the other side of the fence. You have to continue growing. Usually, people don’t classify themselves as salesmen, but if you are not always selling yourself and your service, people will forget about you quickly.
I have been doing this long enough to know that the busy season is super busy, and the dead season is very dead. That probably will never change. You must pick your battles and know when to keep working or call it a day. Business is a big mental game. You will always have surprises, whether a one-man show or running ten trucks. I promise you have not seen it all. I have been in the business for five years now and still wonder to this day, “wow, I thought I would have seen it all by now.”
Everyone always talks about the highs of window cleaning but rarely talks about the downfalls. It’s great to be your own boss, make great money, and take off when you like. But it is tough when you have no jobs booked on the schedule and you miss your kid’s sporting event because you have to catch up on work. I’m in the same boat as a large majority of people who often feel that if they are not working 24/7, they will fail or miss an opportunity, which can cause problems with their work-life balance.
Do you ever feel like you have short-term memory regarding business practices? Anyone I talk to seems to forget how long the slow season is. Yes, I know you probably don’t advertise and have work booked out for the next three years. Unfortunately, it does not work like that for every company. I talk to the same people on the phone every year in January, and it’s the same conversation every year. “Hey man, what ads are you running? I can’t get anyone to bite.”
For me, it’s all about enjoying the moment, the winter is super slow, and the spring is super busy. I complain in the summer that it’s too hot and in the winter that it’s too slow. When I’m doing office work, I wish I was in the field; when I’m in the field, I wish I was doing office work. I think that’s just a guy thing. Whether you are a veteran or just starting, remember you will have many great moments and downfalls, make sure to slow down and enjoy every moment in your business.