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April 23, 2021

Building and Running A Business Remotely – With Neel Parekh

Building and Running A Business Remotely – With Neel Parekh

This episode features Neel Parekh of Maid This.com. Discover how he has created a business that enables him to travel the world living the lifestyle that he wants without being tied down to a specific location.

Within the episode Building and Running A Business Remotely, Andy and Neel discuss how all business success comes down to marketing. Learn lessons from the founder of Maid This.com on how you can use your marketing to improve or create your own business and start living the life that works for you!

Episode Action Items:

If interested you can contact Neel at www.maidthisfranchise.com or through his email, neel@maidthis.com.

ABOUT THE HOST:

Andy Splichal - Make Each Click Count PodcastAndy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.

New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.

Transcript

Andy Splichal  0:02  

Welcome to the Make Each Click Count Podcast this is your host, Andy Splichal. And today we're happy to welcome an inspiring, inspiring entrepreneur to our program. This guest has proven that you don't have to be tied to your business, at least not in terms of location. Say hello to Neel Parekh. Hi, Neel .

 

Neel Parekh  1:07  

Andy nailed the last name, too. I'm excited to be here.

 

Andy Splichal  1:11  

Thank you. Great. Now, before we begin today's topic, which is building and running a business remotely, can you share your backstory and what ultimately led you to do what you're doing now?

 

Neel Parekh  1:24  

Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Neel Parekh, I actually started my career in the venture capital world. So I worked in finance for a few years. And then, you know, came up post came across a post online of Reddit, to start a cleaning company, and decided to do that. So I was always experimenting with Ecommerce and lots of other online based businesses before launching a cleaning company that started with a local company. And the goal for me was I wanted to quit my corporate job and travel and also help provide for my parents financially. And as I dove into the cleaning industry, we started doing a lot of Airbnb turnovers. And eventually, as of 2020, we, we've we've grown, grown, grown, and it's finally launched the franchise business, which is made this franchise to franchise this concept, but it's a completely remote cleaning business, localized cleaning business. And that's kind of our niche. That's what we specialize in. We've been doing everything remotely since way before the pandemic. And they built the systems and processes around that. And yeah, do you I guess why I'm excited is because I think cleaning in general, or any local services is basically a marketing business. I mean, I use all the tools and tricks I learned while I tried to start an Ecommerce company into cleaning, and it just crushed it. So I'm excited to learn more about that too.

 

Andy Splichal  2:39  

Sure. I mean, any kind of business really is a marketing business when you get down to it. But when let me ask you, when did you decide that you wanted your own business? And can you talk a little bit about your journey from employee to owner? 

 

Neel Parekh  2:54  

Absolutely. So I worked in corporate for about four years, and about two years into there is when I knew I wanted to quit and travel, I thought that backpack for a year and come back and figure something else out. But I knew I wanted to have some side hustle, and additional income. And you know, I think it came from just that the concept of not having one stream of income. And I kind of learned early on that while my job is really just one stream of income in in business, that'd be the highest risk possible. I haven't got a single client. So I always wanted to diversify my income. So about two years into my job is when I started searching for a side hustle, tried a bunch of different things out. And then two years after that is when I was making enough to actually quit and go full time.

 

Andy Splichal  3:38  

And I mean, you're you're relatively young guy, why? Why a cleaning business? He made this white made this. It's not something that most people think of why why a cleaning business?

 

Neel Parekh  3:49  

No, it's not at all. And like, I started off by thinking, Okay, I want to travel on the remote. What does that mean? Oh, I got to do ecommerce dropshipping digital marketing, like I just thought that's what you needed to do. And this kind of came up. And it was one of the many things I was trying. And as I dove into the local services business, the preconceived notion is you can't you can't do this remote. Right. That's what people don't get into it or you can't scale. That's why people don't get into it. And as I dove into this, I'm like, I kind of figured out like, well, you can do this remotely. And it absolutely can scale. Oh, and the competition doesn't know what they do with marketing. This is great. So I kind of it was one of the many things I was trying. And as I dove into it and understood the niche, I realized the huge potential and it's kind of like a blind spot for many people getting into the industry. So that's when I started to really love local services and understand the power and growth that's actually there.

 

Andy Splichal  4:43  

Now I would think that one of the many benefits of running a business remotely would be the freedom of not being locked down to a location. What have you enjoyed the most about not not being locked down to a single location?

 

Neel Parekh  4:59  

Oh man. Oh, I'm so when I quit my job, I went full time with me this I booked a one way flight to Colombia and South America. And for five years from then I was traveling. And traveling, you know, I started off, I was going very fast at the beginning and later on, I slowed down and spend one to three months in a single spot. But I was working on this local business in Los Angeles. But I was completely remote. And the beauty of that is multiple things. I think the biggest benefit for me was the people you meet along the way, I got involved in entrepreneurial communities of people who are location independent, I got, I met so many fascinating people on the road, which I never would have met at home. And a lot of those conversations for different thoughts helps promote your creative side. And a lot of people say, hey, in entrepreneurship, you're gonna experience burnout. At the beginning, honestly, I never did. And I think the real reason is, because when you're traveling, and you have so many new experiences, it kind of keeps you fresh, at least it did for me. So, you know, I felt like I was able to work better, more efficiently and have been a good mental space because I was able to work remotely and experience different cultures and lifestyle. So huge, huge benefits, and unfortunate because of COVID had to come back to the US temporarily. But that was a lifestyle for a while.

 

Andy Splichal  6:14  

I mean, that sounds sounds great. But let's talk about the challenges. Now. How do you employ people? If you're hanging out in Colombia, working on your Los Angeles business? I mean, how do you meet the people that are actually doing the work, you know, the service that you're providing?

 

Neel Parekh  6:31  

Yet, so with any services business, the types which are best to do a remote or what I call like have remote local business, would be ones where you're going straight to the client's home or straight to the worksite. So the cleaners go from their homes straight to the clients residential homes, are they Airbnb, Clayton home, right, there's no office location for them to come to. So the only time we would have to meet that is during the interview phase, in which case, I do have someone who is local, who works for me, who can do the in person interviews. The beauty of where we are now is everyone's completely fine with Zoom meetings now even cleaners. So since COVID, we've transitioned to purely Zoom meetings for those interviews. And it's been completely receptive, because that's just the nature of the world now. But prior to that, the only time we would actually need to meet the cleaners would be at the interview. And after that everything goes straight to the job site. So it's very doable.

 

Andy Splichal  7:24  

No given COVID. And the fact that, you know, most people are working from home, you mentioned the interviews, you can now do on Zoom. But have you found that this kind of strategy has gotten more competitive as people are looking for remote type businesses?

 

Neel Parekh  7:44  

I would, you know, honestly, I say I'll say yes and no, yes, competitive in terms of getting cleaners, I don't think it's because the remote part, I think it's just because we're in right now, at the time where you and I are talking to Andy, there's so much demand for cleaning with things opening up and people are finally ordering cleaning services. So that's why it's a little bit more competitive. But the reality is, the competitors we're competing against, let's talk about cleaning companies. In terms of marketing, I think cleaning companies are probably two, three years behind the times in terms of marketing. So the level of people we're competing at aren't going to be exactly on par with just kind of general standard. If you know marketing, you know what you're doing, they're not going to be up to there. And a cleaner recruiting funnel is the same as any marketing funnel. As long as you're good with your your marketing funnel and setting that up, then you're going to beat the competition, and I believe our competition isn't up to speed on a lot of these funnels. So I guess the answer the question directly, I don't think the Zoom calls have made it more competitive. I think it's more competitive for other reasons. 

 

Andy Splichal  8:45  

No, I hate to lose people lingo. I mean, you know, of course, when a marketing funnel is and I ended with a marketing funnel is but for listeners who might not can you dive a little bit deeper into that?

 

Neel Parekh  8:55  

Of course, of course. So marketing funnel is just if you think about how to get a lead and move them down to a close sale was pretty much all it is. And any any business is going to have a different quote unquote, funnel. Meaning let's say for us, I'll get a lead from throwing up a Google AdWord. And from there, they'll hit my website, I'll push them to give us a call. They call us and we close the sale that itself right there is a funnel. And there's different pieces of it right? There's someone who's looks at the Google ad and making sure I read the ad in a nice way to click on it. Next, they get to my website and to make sure that you know our numbers so obvious that they're going to click on it. So there's different pieces of the funnel that you optimize over time. And then at the end of it, you have very nice streamlined funnel, which will spit out a lead or close sale or cleaner on the other end. So that's all it is.

 

Andy Splichal  9:48  

Well, you know, halfway through here, I've been playing a game with my guest Are you up for it? Let's do it. All right. Well, the game goes like this. So I say a word you respond right away with the first word that pops in your head so it's a little word association game and, and always kind of curious on how people think this gives a great insight.

 

Neel Parekh  10:06  

I like this, I played this before. Let's do it. 

 

Andy Splichal  10:08  

Okay. Run

 

Neel Parekh  10:12  

Walk 

 

Andy Splichal  10:13  

stop

 

Neel Parekh  10:14  

 Go

 

Andy Splichal  10:15  

Fun 

 

Neel Parekh  10:17  

Play

 

Andy Splichal  10:18  

 Business 

 

Neel Parekh  10:19  

Ventures

 

Andy Splichal  10:21  

Success

 

Neel Parekh  10:22  

Failure

 

Andy Splichal  10:24  

Family 

 

Neel Parekh  10:26  

Warmth

 

Andy Splichal  10:27  

Email

 

Marketing

 

Promote 

 

Podcast 

 

Gratitude

 

Neel Parekh  10:37  

You sorry, you said gratitude? 

 

Andy Splichal  10:38  

Gratitude. Yep. 

 

Neel Parekh  10:40  

Loving

 

Andy Splichal  10:41  

 Wealth 

 

Neel Parekh  10:43  

Money

 

Andy Splichal  10:44  

Clarity

 

Neel Parekh  10:47  

 Oversight

 

Andy Splichal  10:49  

Growth

 

Neel Parekh  10:50  

Scaling

 

Andy Splichal  10:51  

Nice. I like it, you're very, very cut and dry on the answers. The shows are down to business.

 

Neel Parekh  11:00  

What have you been some interesting answers you've heard Andy?

 

Andy Splichal  11:03  

You know, it just varies. They're all interesting. They're all interesting. Um, so you now have scaled this to where you offer it as a franchise? Can you talk about that?

 

Neel Parekh  11:16  

Yeah, sure. So we've had interest from people saying, hey, no Airbnbs and short term rentals are hot in my market, I'd like to open up a cleaning service for them. And historically have not done that. But as I dove into it, I think it makes a lot of sense to franchise it out to other people who pretty much want to copy what we've done, right? I've done this for seven, eight years, made a ton of mistakes. And I don't think anyone should have to repeat the same mistakes we have. So this is a way for franchisee to fit our system for their value to partner with us pretty much copy the blueprint of what we've done partner with me, and bring me this to their locality. Right, and we do this in a completely remote way. Someone once called us, the franchise for millennials, because a lot of other cleaning franchises are from the 70s and 80s. And, you know, we're targeting a different crowd, we're coming at it from a very user focused way. It's completely remote. So yeah, I'm excited. It's just it's a way for people who want to get into business, who might be afraid of taking the risk of trying something else, something on their own, which they're not sure it's gonna work, to partner with an established company established brand with myself, and pretty much copy literally everything we've done.

 

Andy Splichal  12:33  

Now, why do you franchise and not just try to build a mega cleaning empire?

 

Neel Parekh  12:41  

Yeah, good question. We were probably doing both right. We're gonna expand corporate locations. While doing franchising. I think it's a nice way to be able to scale. There's lots of moving pieces in any business. So I think franchising and partnering with sharp people who want are motivated and want to copy what we're doing, well allow us to scale faster, right, I can maybe expand to five more corporate locations, but at the same time, we can probably expand to 15 franchise locations. And candidly, I just want to partner with really smart people, right? We it'd be really cool to have a large network of franchisees who I can help out drastically who maybe have life changing experiences by having made it I think it provided me another level of filament as well. 

 

Andy Splichal  13:26  

So are you just doing the cleaning business? Or is it other types of businesses but with this kind of model?

 

Neel Parekh  13:36  

Good question right now, specifically cleaning, so residential cleaning and short term rental clean. So we have a software which allows Airbnb hosts to sync with our calendar anytime they have a guest checkout, it'll automatically schedule cleaning with us. So a lot of the specialties around the short term rental market, but cleaning, specifically in the two niche markets are vacation rental hosts and just residential homes. 

 

Andy Splichal  13:59  

And over the last year, I'm sure that's taken a hit a little bit right with many people try. How how has that affected what you're doing? And how do you expect that to really ramp up here now that everything's starting to reopen?

 

Neel Parekh  14:13  

Yeah, I mean, last year, of course, was a hit with the travel ban with people not wanting people in their own homes. So that was a huge hit. We expected it just to be temporary, because at the end of the day, now that these are opening up, and what people have in mind with COVID and sanitisation. I think more and more people are going to say hey, I don't want to stay at a hotel obviously have to Airbnb. And more people are like, Hey, I haven't traveled in a year I'm going to travel more. So what we're experiencing now is insane demand on short term rentals. Like we don't have enough cleaners because we're just completely booked up and suddenly people want services. So it is kind of what was expected with you know, travel is not going anywhere permanently. And I think the trend is that more and more people are going to book short term rentals as opposed to hotels. So if you could service that niche, you're gonna be in a very good spot. So at least from what we're seeing right now, the floodgates are starting to open up, especially in the US. So it's probably one of the best times to be in the business.

 

Andy Splichal  15:16  

You know, you talked about not having to deal with burnout from your traveling experience, and being able to keep motivation what is it that keeps you motivated with your business? What's what's getting me out of the bed in the morning? Oh, great question. And yeah, the question is, what is your why? Why are you doing this? And it's -

 

Neel Parekh  15:35  

At some point, Andy, you would agree with me it's not just monetary right after you have the money to fulfill your needs and fulfill whatever you need to pay for. You need a reason to do what you're doing. For me it really is the team. I feel like there's a lot of people counting on me this who work for me this who are franchised locations and I want to see them succeed I kind of see made this as a I described anyone who joins us is this is the organization a community which it takes care of you and you take care of it so as long as everyone takes care of this community this organism which is made this it will allow you the platform to do whatever you want to do in life so for me it's I want to make sure made this is taken care of not for myself but for all the people who are dependent on it. So I'd say it's more people motivated then maybe at some end altruistic goal is just I want to make sure my community is taken care of.

 

Andy Splichal  16:28  

And if somebody's you know, thinking this sounds pretty good can you paint a picture of what life could potentially be like for them in a year if they started to you know, contact it was a great fit and they became a franchisee? 

 

Neel Parekh  16:47  

Yeah, I think the beauty is the goal of MaidThis is to be a way for you to design your ideal lifestyle, right and then allow your business to support that as opposed to us supporting your business. So it can be whatever you want it to be if you want to open up a home office and you want to stay in one place to be in specifically stay in your city and work from there you actually can't do that. If you want to have your business and then say I'm gonna go work for two months in Barbados, like our franchisee just did, you can do that if you want to travel every month you can do that. So ultimate flexibility with within the confines of hey, you still running your own business that is the goal, right? The goal is lifestyle design. The goal is to be able to have a good platform and live out your own purpose. So by starting a made this franchise and starting this type of business, even not with made this, I think you're going to be able to experience the type of lifestyle you want. Right? You'd have to work for it, but the path is there.

 

Andy Splichal  17:44  

So how does somebody contact you if they have some interest?

 

Neel Parekh  17:48  

Yeah, they if you go to a website and maidthisfranchise.com, you could find this there even myself, you could go to my own personal website, neelparekh.co. Shoot me a message over there. You know, my personal email though here knew I made this.com Just contact me. Let me know any thoughts and happy to help anyone out.

 

Andy Splichal  18:08  

Okay, great. Well, you know, that's all I had for you today meal. Was there anything that you are thinking, wow, I can't believe he didn't ask me this?

 

Neel Parekh  18:17  

And I really liked the game we played earlier. I think that's something I might steal from you for for some future conversations. But now I think we went over a lot of stuff. And I guess for anyone listening here, I consider local services. And this whole game marketing right and I know if you listen to Andy show, you're probably thinking about marketing as well. And just as you look into different business models, realize everything is a marketing funnel. And there's many things you can do. So hopefully, that is one key takeaway from this episode.

 

Andy Splichal  18:46  

Very well said very well said. And remember if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave an honest review and if you're looking for more information regarding Neel, or starting to contact him for a opportunity regarding his franchisees, you can contact him through how he just mentioned I'll add the links below in the show notes. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your Ecommerce business using paid ads, request to join at Make Each Click Count Facebook group have been releasing some new free live trainings and some more will be happening very soon. In the meantime, remember to stay safe keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.