Interview with Neel Parekh, Founder of MaidThis
Originally published on IdeaMensch. Source
Neel Parekh is the CEO and Founder of MaidThis, one of the top-rated national cleaning franchises. MaidThis offers hassle-free house cleaning for busy individuals and vacation rental hosts (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.). MaidThis has been called “the franchise for millennials”, given its fully remote model and new-age spin on an old-school cleaning industry. As he built his business to reach millions in revenue, Neel traveled for five years while managing a fully remote team — he is now on a mission to help others achieve the same! A renowned business expert, Neel mentors other entrepreneurs on the do’s and don’ts of managing a company, essential tips for franchise operators, how to be a successful digital nomad, and much more.
Where did the idea for MaidThis come from?
When I was working in corporate, my goal was to start a side hustle and eventually quit my job… I wanted the digital nomad life of working remotely. Therefore, I focused on the traditionally ‘remote’ business model. This included things like creating an eCommerce website, dropshipping, blogging about pet hair vacuums (yeah, seriously), and more… none of it really took off at all. Eventually, I stumbled across a post on Reddit by someone who started a cleaning company — this inspired me to launch MaidThis!
Now, MaidThis is one of the top-rated national cleaning franchises, offering hassle-free house cleaning for busy individuals and vacation rental hosts (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.). MaidThis has been called ‘the franchise for millennials’, given its fully remote model and new-age spin on an old-school cleaning industry. The top factor that sets us apart from other cleaning companies is that we are the first and ONLY US-based vacation rental cleaning franchise that exists.
MaidThis is a fantastic franchising opportunity for aspiring business owners because it is low-cost, very lean, and fully remote, allowing you to live and work from anywhere (and hopefully help you escape the rat race too!). Because MaidThis uses a lot of technology to make the customer experience seamless, it really is a new-age cleaning franchise — other cleaning franchises are pretty old school. Franchisees are able to follow our proven business model to build their own remote local business and get financial/location freedom.
The coolest part – franchisee owners can start this franchise as a side-hustle and eventually quit their jobs and manage it full time, which means there is lower risk.
There is explosive growth in the in-demand, fast-paced vacation rental market, fueled by Airbnb® and other popular short-term vacation rental websites. Franchisees are able to follow our proven business model and tackle the growing short-term rental market.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My day starts the night before, with planning the next day’s schedule to the hour. I’ve never been much of a planner, but this small trick has changed my life and made my day 10x more productive. I always ask myself, ‘what is the most impactful thing I can do to move my business goals forward?’ Then I schedule that task as my first action item in the morning.
I start the day around 7:30 a.m. just getting ready for the day. I timeblock my day until 12 p.m., meaning no meetings until 12 p.m. (as much as I can help it, at least!). This morning timeblock is where the big strides happen… I work on the business and knock out the most important tasks. These tasks can range from writing articles to recording podcasts to researching… anything that I’ve decided would provide the most impact to my business.
The afternoon time is largely dedicated to meetings and coaching for our franchisees.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Careful prioritization and planning all new ideas is key to figuring out what is going to move the needle.
I have a Google Doc called ‘Plans’, in which I list all of my plans and ideas for growth. Once I decide that a new idea should be put into action, I first list all the steps needed for this idea to come to fruition and include dates that I need to get each action done by. I review the ‘Plans’ weekly, and incorporate each action item needed into my daily itinerary. Depending on how important it is, I’ll dedicate the first part of my day to getting that task done.
What’s one trend that excites you?
As it relates to my business, I think the trend towards remote work in a post-COVID world is huge. It’s something that we’ve been doing at MaidThis since day 1 in 2013, and something that our MaidThis Franchise program is based on.
Now that more people realize they don’t need to be tied down to a specific location, they’ll start realizing they can run their business from anywhere in the world. This is the ethos of MaidThis and why it was started in the first place — it is what our franchise owners are trying to achieve.
The entire crypto and decentralized finance movement is absolutely fascinating for me too, and I’m excited to see how that evolves over time.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The one habit that I’ve developed over time that helps keep me productive is always asking myself ‘What is the biggest thing I need to get done this week to move forward towards achieving my business goals?’. And then I write it down daily and make sure I take action on it.
This helps me define what a productive and successful day is, and helps me move forward on the biggest impact items on my checklist.
What advice would you give your younger self?
One piece of advice I would tell my younger self is to be more aggressive at the beginning and take more risks during those younger years. One quote that really stuck with me is ‘Success loves speed’ — when things are rolling well, you should put some lighter fluid on it and get it blazing even faster. Being able to go faster isn’t always the best option, but you’ll generally achieve more by doing than by waiting.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Pineapple on pizza is an abomination and should be outlawed.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
This is probably something a lot of entrepreneurs already do, but I’ll say it anyway: read books.
You can learn quickly what someone has spent their entire life figuring out, and you can grow so much faster because of it. A lot of the ‘a-ha!’ moments I’ve had in life come after reading a book. I’ve found that I’m pretty slow when it comes to truly understanding a point, so reading books constantly helps hammer home ideas and lets me achieve more clarity on my direction in life.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Our internal team is split across 7 different countries, all to manage a local business in the U.S. We were able to grow rapidly, since we figured out how to manage a fully remote team well and find the right talent across the world.
We teach the same to our MaidThis franchisee owners now as well, so they too can have a fully-remote operation.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Only one?! Where do I start…
I’ve had a ton of failures and successes in business. One that comes to mind is how I handled conflict with team members earlier on. I avoided conflict, which led to a bad culture internally and a lot of problems.
I learned that problems, especially with people, don’t go away on their own. It’s the leader’s job to deal with these uncomfortable situations and keep the culture intact.
Now I try to deal with personnel issues head-on and embrace the discomfort involved.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It’s 2021 and people are STILL standing on scaffolding tens of stories in the air, washing windows. Drones exist…. why not have drone window washing?
You can often dominate a local business niche by implementing current marketing and technology (e.g. residential cleaning, which is how MaidThis grew). People often get excited about new tech (drones, for example) but their enthusiasm wavers before the breakthrough tech makes a sizable impact on the real world. There’s plenty of opportunity in implementing tech from five years ago, and I believe that is the case with drones for commercial use.
Action steps for this would be to investigate permitting in your local city and then possibly pre-sell window cleanings to several property managers (they often sign yearly contracts). Your selling point is that your clients will never have to talk to you again after signing up. You take window cleaning off their plate for a fraction of the cost of having a real-life person get on scaffolding to wash some windows.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A Roost laptop stand. It’s one of those stands where you can mount your laptop on it, and it is very slim when folded. I travel a lot and work from coworking places and coffee shops. Having a very light, easy-to-pack, and ergonomic workspace setup on the road is so amazing. I think it’s around $40, and you’ll also need to buy a slim external laptop and mouse. Totally worth it!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Asana to store any thoughts in my brain regarding things I want to look at in the future. It’s a great place to dump my thoughts and ‘someday’ items, so it’s out of my brain but stored somewhere.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One really impactful book for me was The One Thing, by Gary Keller. The premise is that the tasks you devote your time to are not all equally important. If you focus on the ONE single thing that can make the biggest impact on your goals, it will have outsized returns.
Another book that really helped me was Getting Things Done, by David Allen. I am not an organized person by nature at all. Getting Things Done is THE productivity book that helped me create my own productivity system. I’m now able to prioritize my time and get a lot more impactful things done in less time.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is:
‘Well, what can you do now?’ – my Dad.
Any time a situation or problem comes up in life, he just says ‘well, what can you do now?’ and carries on with his day unperturbed.
It’s the equivalent of ‘no use crying over spilt milk’. Can’t do anything about the present situation? Cool, don’t sweat it then. Deal with it and move on with your day. This helps keep me present and more stress-free in my business journey.
- The trend towards remote work in a post-COVID world is huge.
- Now that more people realize they don’t need to be tied down to a specific location, they’ll start realizing they can run their business from anywhere in the world.
- You can often dominate a local business niche by implementing current marketing and technology.
- Be more aggressive at the beginning and take more risks during those younger years.
- Read books!
Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers: History, Tradition, and Innovation
Table of Contents
- Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in fashion?
- What inspired you to start Rowing Blazers?
- Can you walk us through the design process of creating a new collection?
- How do you stay true to your brand’s identity while also keeping up with current fashion trends?
- Can you tell us about a particular challenge you faced while growing Rowing Blazers and how you overcame it?
- What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own fashion brand?
- What’s next for Rowing Blazers?
- Closing Paragraph
Jack Carlson is the founder and creative director of Rowing Blazers, a fashion brand that combines classic American style with a contemporary edge. Jack Carlson, a former national team rower, and scholar of history draw inspiration from vintage sportswear and traditional Ivy League fashion. His passion for design and fashion, combined with his unique background. Jack Carlson has resulted in the creation of a brand that stands out in the industry.
Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in fashion?
I’ve always had a passion for fashion and design, even while pursuing my other interests. I grew up in Connecticut and started rowing at a young age, eventually competing at the national level. While studying history at Harvard, I became interested in the traditional clothing worn by rowers and began to collect vintage rowing blazers. This sparked my interest in fashion and led me to start designing my own clothing. After completing a Ph.D. in archaeology, I decided to pursue fashion full-time and founded Rowing Blazers in 2017.
What inspired you to start Rowing Blazers?
I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the rich history and tradition of American fashion, particularly the preppy style of the Ivy League. At the same time, I wanted to bring a contemporary edge to classic designs and challenge the boundaries of traditional fashion. I was inspired by the vintage rowing blazers that I collected and wanted to create my own versions that were both authentic and modern.
Can you walk us through the design process of creating a new collection?
The design process always starts with research and inspiration. I spend a lot of time looking at vintage clothing, archival photographs, and historical documents to get a sense of the styles and aesthetics of a particular time period or culture. From there, I sketch out ideas and work with my team to refine the designs and select fabrics. We always strive to balance classic elements with modern twists and unexpected details. It’s a collaborative process that involves a lot of trial and error, but we always end up with something that we’re proud of.
How do you stay true to your brand’s identity while also keeping up with current fashion trends?
For us, it’s not about following trends, but rather creating timeless pieces that will never go out of style. Although we draw inspiration from the past, we don’t limit ourselves to it. We’re always looking for ways to innovate and push boundaries while staying true to our brand’s core identity. We’re not interested in fast fashion or disposable clothing – our pieces are meant to last and be treasured for years to come.
Can you tell us about a particular challenge you faced while growing Rowing Blazers and how you overcame it?
One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is scaling the business while maintaining the quality and craftsmanship that we’re known for. We’ve had to find the right partners and suppliers who share our values and are able to produce our garments to our high standards. We’ve also had to be very strategic about our growth, taking things one step at a time and not rushing into anything too quickly. It’s been a learning process, but we’ve been able to grow the business in a sustainable way that we’re proud of.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own fashion brand?
My advice would be to stay true to your vision and never compromise on quality. It’s also important to be strategic about your growth and not try to do everything at once. Start small and focus on doing one thing really well before expanding. And always be willing to learn and adapt – the fashion industry is constantly changing, so it’s important to be flexible and open to new ideas.
What’s next for Rowing Blazers?
We’re always working on new designs and collaborations, but we’re also focused on expanding our brand beyond just clothing. We want to create a lifestyle brand that encompasses all aspects of American style, from furniture to home decor to travel accessories. We’re excited to continue growing and evolving while staying true to our brand’s identity and values.
Jack Carlson’s passion for fashion and history has resulted in the creation of a unique and innovative brand that stands out in the industry. His dedication to quality and craftsmanship, as well as his commitment to sustainability, sets Rowing Blazers apart from other fashion brands. To stay up to date with Jack Carlson and Rowing Blazers, you can follow him on LinkedIn.
Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Gracie Cedres
Interview with Gracie Cedres: Insights on Entrepreneurship and Work-Life Balance
Table of Contents
- Can you tell us about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur?
- How did you come up with the idea for G.R.A.C.E.?
- What are some of the challenges you faced in starting and growing your business?
- What is your vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years?
- Can you share with us some of your favorite success stories from working with your clients?
- What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
- How do you maintain a work-life balance as a busy entrepreneur?
- Closing Paragraph
Gracie Cedres is the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E., a company that provides virtual assistance and project management services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. With a degree in communications, Gracie has always been interested in helping others succeed in their businesses. Her passion for helping entrepreneurs led her to create G.R.A.C.E., which has been helping entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. In this interview, Gracie will share more about her journey as an entrepreneur and the success of G.R.A.C.E.
Can you tell us about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur?
Sure, my name is Gracie Cedres, and I am the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E. I have always been interested in helping others, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners, succeed in their businesses. After completing my degree in communications, I worked as a virtual assistant for various entrepreneurs and realized that there was a need for high-quality virtual assistance and project management services. That’s how the idea for G.R.A.C.E. was born, and since then, I have been working hard to help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their goals.
How did you come up with the idea for G.R.A.C.E.?
After working as a virtual assistant for several entrepreneurs, the idea for G.R.A.C.E. came to me. I realized that many entrepreneurs were struggling to manage their time effectively and needed high-quality virtual assistance and project management services to help them become more productive and profitable. I saw an opportunity to help entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing them with top-notch virtual assistance and project management services, and that’s how G.R.A.C.E. was born.
What are some of the challenges you faced in starting and growing your business?
One of the biggest challenges I faced in starting and growing my business was finding the right team members. It’s important to have a team that shares your vision and is passionate about what they do. I also faced challenges in marketing my services and reaching out to potential clients. However, I overcame these challenges by networking, building relationships, and creating high-quality content that showcased the value of my services.
What is your vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years?
My vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years is to become the go-to virtual assistance and project management service provider for entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. I want to expand my team and services to be able to help more entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. I also want to continue building strong relationships with my clients and providing them with top-notch services.
Can you share with us some of your favorite success stories from working with your clients?
One of my favorite success stories is working with a small business owner who was struggling to manage their time effectively. By providing them with virtual assistance and project management services, we were able to help them increase their productivity, improve their marketing strategies, and ultimately grow their business. It’s always fulfilling to see my clients succeed and achieve their goals.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to educate themselves and never stop learning. It’s important to constantly learn new skills, stay up to date with industry trends, and seek out new opportunities. It’s also essential to have a strong work ethic, be persistent, and not be afraid to take risks. Don’t let failure discourage you, instead use it as a learning opportunity and keep pushing forward.
How do you maintain a work-life balance as a busy entrepreneur?
Maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging as a busy entrepreneur, but it’s essential for your well-being and the success of your business. One of the things I do is prioritize my tasks and delegate when necessary. I also set aside time for self-care activities like exercise, reading, and spending time with family and friends. It’s also important to know when to disconnect from work and focus on other aspects of your life.
Gracie Cedres is an inspiration to entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. Her dedication to helping others and passion for entrepreneurship has led to the success of G.R.A.C.E. With a vision for continued growth and success, Gracie is sure to make an impact in the virtual assistance and project management industry. To learn more about Gracie Cedres and G.R.A.C.E., visit her website and follow her on LinkedIn.
Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Evan Cagner
Interview with Evan Cagner: Insights into the World of Tech and Entrepreneurship
Table of Contents
- What inspired you to start TechBlue?
- What sets TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies?
- How do you stay on top of emerging trends in the tech industry?
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the IT industry?
- What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?
- What is your vision for the future of TechBlue?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Closing Paragraph
Evan Cagner is the founder and CEO of TechBlue, a company that provides managed IT services to businesses of all sizes. Evan has over 15 years of experience in the tech industry and has helped numerous businesses grow by leveraging technology. He is a thought leader and innovator in the IT industry, with a keen eye for emerging trends and technologies. In this interview, Evan Cagner shares his insights into the world of tech and entrepreneurship.
What inspired you to start TechBlue?
I’ve always been passionate about technology and how it can be used to solve business problems. I started my career working for a large IT consulting firm, and I quickly realized that there was a big gap in the market for managed IT services. Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to keep up with the latest technology trends, and they don’t have the resources to hire full-time IT staff. That’s why I decided to start TechBlue – to help these businesses leverage technology to grow and succeed.
What sets TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies?
There are a few things that set TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies. First and foremost, we are incredibly focused on customer service. We believe that building strong relationships with our clients is the key to our success. Second, we have a team of highly skilled technicians who are constantly learning and staying up to date with the latest technologies. Finally, we are very flexible and can customize our services to meet the unique needs of each of our clients.
How do you stay on top of emerging trends in the tech industry?
I’m always reading and staying up to date with the latest news and trends in the tech industry. I attend conferences and meet with other thought leaders in the industry to discuss new technologies and how they can be used to solve business problems. I also encourage my team to stay up to date and share their knowledge with each other.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the IT industry?
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the IT industry. With so many people working remotely, there has been a huge demand for cloud-based services and virtual private networks (VPNs). There has also been an increased focus on cybersecurity, as remote workers are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Overall, the pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digital transformation and has highlighted the importance of having a reliable and secure IT infrastructure.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?
My advice would be to focus on building a strong team and never stop learning. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who have different skill sets. Be willing to take risks and make mistakes, but also be willing to learn from those mistakes. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from other entrepreneurs who have been through it before.
What is your vision for the future of TechBlue?
My vision for TechBlue is to continue to grow and expand our services to meet the changing needs of our clients. I want to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies and continue to be a thought leader in the industry. Ultimately, I want to help as many businesses as possible leverage technology to achieve their goals.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and staying active. I’m an avid runner and I also enjoy playing basketball and golf. I’m also a big fan of music and enjoy going to concerts and discovering new artists.
Evan Cagner is a true leader and innovator in the IT industry. His passion for technology and customer service has helped TechBlue become one of the most respected managed IT services companies in the business. With his keen eye for emerging trends and technologies, Evan is sure to continue to make an impact in the industry for years to come. To learn more about Evan Cagner and TechBlue, you can visit their website or follow them on LinkedIn.
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