Better Life Maids is a company not just dedicated to hiring and training employees, but building great leaders. One of the philosophies we have adopted is the Lead Without a Title system created by Robin Sharma and expressed in his 2010 bestselling book The Leader Who Had No Title.
In the book, Sharma crafts a story of an ordinary man, who is given the gift of knowledge. The knowledge of what it will take to live an extraordinary life. A life without regret. Early on in the story the idea of the 10 Human Regrets is introduced and the idea that their are two ways to die, and that embracing that inevitable fact, and the truly short time we are here will force us to make a choice. That choice being to embrace life and living each day to the fullest, or to face these regrets on the last of our days.
These are the 10 regrets he lays out in the book, and I do think they concisely express many of our greatest regrets and fears. I think to truly live an extraordinary life you need to recognize these regrets so you can find a path in life that will help you avoid them. In a subsequent blog post we will discuss the ideas of the 10 Human Victories.
1. You reach your last day with the brilliant song that your life was meant to sing still silent within you.
2. You reach your last day without ever having experienced the natural power that inhabits you to do great work and achieve great things.
3. You reach your last day realizing that you never inspired anyone else by the example that you set.
4. You reach your last day full of pain at the realization that you never took any bold risks and so you never received any bright rewards.
5. You reach your last day understanding that you missed the opportunity to catch a glimpse of mastery because you bought into the lie that you had to be resigned to mediocrity.
6. You reach your last day and feel heart broken that you never learned the skill of transforming adversity into victory and lead into gold.
7. You reach your last day regretting that you forgot that work is about being radically helpful to others rather than being helpful only to yourself.
8. You reach your last day with the awareness that you ended up living the life that society trained you to want versus leading the life you truly wanted to have.
9. You reached your last day and awaken to the fact that you never realized your absolute best nor touched the special genius that you were built to become.
10. You reach your last day and discover you could have been a leader and left this world so much better than you found it. But you refused to accept that mission because you were just too scared. And so you failed. And wasted a life.
I hope that you can find inspiration to help you live your very best life, learn to Lead Without a Title, and craft a world class life full of victory and avoid these regrets. Please read more about this philosophy at www.robinsharma.com and pick up one of his many great books. The concept that one idea can change the course of your life is important. If you can take away just one idea from Sharma, or other great thinkers and writers you can continue to grow and challenge yourself each day.Matthew Ricketts President and Chief Experience Officer Better Life Maids
We just put a wrap on the 2013 St. Louis Earth Day Festival. While the festival has ended, we hope that everyone brought home lots of great ideas to make Earth Day a 365 event. We met lots of great friends, saw many of our long time clients, and enjoyed the great weather and festivities.
I hope you can join us this Sunday for the 2013 St. Louis Earth Day Festival. It will be at the Muny Pavilion at Forest Park. Their will be hundeds of green vendors on display, great food, and great music, and it’s a free and family friendly event. The weather looks great and it should be an awesome weekend to enjoy Forest Park.
As a thank you to the first 20 Better Life Maids clients that stop by and say hello at the Better Life and Better Life Maids booth, you will receive a free bottle of the brand new Better Life all natural Produce Wash. Their will also be 100 free bottles of Better Life products availabe to anyone who takes the Earth Day Challenge.
Visit our booth for demonstrations throughout the day and you can win a Better Life product starter kit, a floor care kit, and an auto care kit. We will also be having hourly product giveaways as well as a grand prize drawing at the end of the event for a $160 house cleaning visit.
Hope to see you there!Angela Ricketts Vice President of Client Experience Better Life Maids
We do a lot of coaching and team building at Better Life Maids. We talk about ways to operate at peak performance and generate our best work. I wanted to share a message that I wrote today for our teams. I hope it provides you some measure of inspiration that you can carry into your life and work today.
This day is special. It is the only day of its kind in your entire life.
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You always here the saying that “good help is hard to find”. And to some degree it is true. We literally screen nearly 100 applicants for each new Better Life Maid that we hire. We actually use our CORE values to look for great traits when hiring new team members. It is amazing when you find just the right candidate who possesses most if not all of our CORE values and demonstrates them well during the screening process. These future Better Life Maids are rock stars of our company, because they understand that Better Life Maids success will lead to greater opportunities for them as well.
1. DELIVER WOW! It may sound cliche, but our best Better Life Maids are concerned with going above and beyond for our clients. During the interview process we ask them about a time they have gone above and beyond for a customer. Most people can’t cite a specific example because they only do the bare minimum. However the ones that we choose can distinctly recall a time that they delivered an exceptional customer experience. The truth is the best candidates have extremely high personal standards, and all we need to do is set them loose with the stated goal do doing whatever it takes to make a client happy.
2. BELIEVE. Great employees have a strong developed sense of self. They believe in themselves and their ability to be great. They also believe that their work matters and they are part of building something.
3. CREATE FUN. We like to have fun at Better Life Maids and look for people who have fun or interesting hobbies to join our team. We also look for people that exude positive energy and can use that do deal with stressful situations as they arrive. So much of any employees success with us comes down to attitude.
4. INTEGRITY MATTERS. Integrity is really not something we are willing to train into our employees. In fact we do a lot of screening and testing to see if a candidate meets our rigorous standards. You can’t take any short cuts here. Better Life Maids have to be able to tell it like it is. It hurts our team if we have to find out they made a mistake from a client, before they tell us and give us the opportunity to make things right. One thing we teach our staff is that integrity is our lasting legacy. When we are gone, no one will care how much money we had, or the car we drove, but our integrity will be remembered.
5. SERVING. Being a service minded person seems like a pretty obvious trait to look for when hiring at Better Life Maids, but what I really am looking for is people that donate their time and talent in service to others. Some of our very best people work on relief efforts when natural disasters strike, have a long term commitment to a cause such as Haiti, and are often found giving their time to local efforts as well. Someone who knows how to serve others when they have nothing to give in return, truly understands how to give great customer service as well.
6. DEPENDABLE. Being dependable is a trait that is not always apparent right away during the interview process, it does help if they make the effort to show up on time or early. However, I can’t remember a candidate who hasn’t told us about how reliable, and how hard of a worker they are. References sometimes help here, but their really is no way to know if you can depend on someone, until you have to depend on them. People that are truly dependable, find ways to make it to work, they are on time or early every day, and you have to spend little if any time coaching them on tardiness or attendance. They do what they are supposed to do, because its the right thing to do.
7. LEARN & GROW. Truly great Better Life Maids are dedicated to growing as people and often they inspire others around them to do the same. They read great books, they share ideas, and they want to learn new things each day. You can find out a lot about your candidates by asking them what their ideal future looks like. Tell them to be honest and listen without judgement. I promise you might even hear some ideas you’ll learn and grow from. We also encourage this trait with all of our employees with a company lending library with inspirational titles from Robin Sharma, Michael Gerber, Napolean Hill, and many more.
8. PASSIONATE: Life is too short to live without passion. It can be hard to be passionate about cleaning toilets, but great employees are passionate about their job. When you are interviewing them, see how they feel about their current and past jobs. Most of them can relate some aspect of it that they loved. How about hobbies or activities that make them light up with joy when they tell you about them. Passionate people are fun, and their energy is contagious.
9. KIND. It should go without saying that we all want kind employees, but in our fast paced, social media world, many of us have forgotten how to slow down and smell the roses. In fact many of us have lost basic manners altogether. We really look hard for people who have great customer service skills and kindness. These team members tend to be some of the most beloved members of our teams. As the old saying goes, kill them with kindness.
10. BE GREEN! We look for team members who are interested in being good stewards for the planet. Many of our team members volunteer in organizations dedicated to green initiatives like organic farming, or community gardens. It is not a make or break characteristic, but we find that employees who tend to embrace ideas on environmental stewardship and care about the community and the world as a whole make Better employees in our organization.
The truth is what works for us, may not work for your organization, but if you know what the values are that shape your business you can begin to look for great employees that will mirror those values to the world.By Matthew Ricketts President and Chief Experience Officer Better Life Maids
With energy bills soaring and incomes shrinking, saving money on your home’s heating and cooling
bills takes on new importance. Not only does sealing cracks, crevices and gaps around your home save
money, it helps make the indoor environment more pleasant and comfortable. Even if your home is
well insulated otherwise, small imperfections around pipes, vents, windows and doors can cause energy
leakage that impacts your household bottom line. Filling the gaps to prevent energy leakage, along with its energy saving benefits, will make your home more comfortable as well.
Since the bulk of energy loss comes from those small holes, cracks and gaps, it only makes sense to seal
off those areas with a substance that will permanently (or nearly so) stop the problem. This is where
spray insulation, such as Touch ‘n Foam, Great Stuff and 3M 78 Polystyrene Foam come in. These should
be available at most home improvement and hardware stores.
Finding the Leaks
Before you buy any products to seal the leaks, walk around your house to determine just what you’re
dealing with. Certain leaks may require a more expansive foam, while others may only require enough
expansion to fill a tiny gap. You’ll want to be sure to use the proper product for each area.
An obvious way to find a leak is to feel air moving. In the living space, this is usually the easiest way to
identify leaks around windows, doors, baseboards and electrical sockets. In the basement, look around
dryer and heating vent penetrations, wall cracks, areas where basement walls meet the ceiling, around
pipes, etc. Outside, look around dryer vents, gas and electric utility penetrations, the bottom of your
siding where it meets the foundation, etc. If you have a garage attached to your house, look for similar
areas as the basement.
How to Fill the Gaps
Once you know what you’re dealing with, you’ll be better informed as to what foam insulating products
you’ll need to tackle your gap issues. Foams that have a “maximum” expansion will grow significantly
from what comes out of the can. These are perfect for bigger areas that need a lot of coverage. Other
products do a similar job, but with less expanding capability, which means they won’t displace pipes or
doorframes – or be wasteful.
A Quick Note on Insulating Doors and Windows
Nothing is worse than insulating a drafty door and having the foam displace the frame making the door
harder to open and close. Using a low expansion foam specifically formulated for doors and windows
solves this problem. These products seal the cracks without expanding so much that the frames move.
Environmentally Friendly Solutions
One thing to note – some products are made with environmentally friendly ingredients. The Touch ‘n
Foam MaxFill Maximum Expanding Foam Sealant is one of them. It doesn’t use the petroleum-based raw
materials found in other foams, so it’s worth a read of the label to determine if you’re helping or hurting
the environment as you insulate your home.
Videos to Show You How
If you’re new to foam insulation, it never hurts to be prepared for what you need and will encounter
as you seal your home. Touch ‘n Foam offers several videos to assist you in choosing the right product
for the job and how to evaluate your home for energy leakage. You can access all of their videos on
YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/touchnfoam?feature=watch
Please note that we aren’t necessarily endorsing the Touch ‘n Foam products, they simply had the most
information and offer an environmentally friendly option. We also like that they are another local St. Louis company.
Cleaning silver without harsh chemicals is the focus of this article. We all know that silver is a beautiful metal. Being the only true white metal on the planet, it gives pieces that are constructed from it a hue and shine unsurpassed. But silver has a dirty secret…over time it tarnishes or becomes “dirty.” Once this happens, it’s no fun to wear or use because it needs to be cleaned. While silver polishing cloths are handy, they don’t get into crevices, so the piece may not be as clean as it could be. And in an eco-friendly world, harsh chemicals that essentially DARE tarnish to stick around are too environmentally toxic to use.
So what’s a silver-lover to do? Perform magic. Well, not really, but that’s what it will seem like when you do this. In fact, if you have kids, let them get in on the cleaning action. They will be amazed!
NATURAL SILVER CLEANER
- You’ll need
- 1 shallow pan
- Enough aluminum foil to cover the pan cooking area
- Enough water to cover the silver piece
- Baking soda (from 2 tsp. to half a cup – depends on size of piece)
- A dirty piece of silver
Wash the silver piece. You’re doing this to remove any dirt and dust that can come off. This helps make the surface of the silver easier for the cleaner to adhere to. Use a mild soap and rinse the piece thoroughly.
Line a small pan, pot or skillet with aluminum foil. Cover only the cooking area. No need to cover the bottom!
Pour water into the pan/pot/skillet. Use enough water to cover the piece you’re cleaning entirely.
Stir in the baking soda. For one pair of earrings or necklace, use two teaspoons. For larger items, you’ll need one-half cup or so. Measurement precision isn’t necessary!
Bring the water to a boil. Take it off the heat as soon as the water starts boiling.
Put the silver piece into the water. Be sure it’s touching the aluminum foil – this is really important! Leave the piece in the water for 10 minutes. Move it occasionally to ensure contact with the foil. You may notice the water turning a light yellowish-brown, depending upon the amount of tarnish present.
Remove the jewelry from the water; dry it with a clean, soft cloth (not a paper towel). If you see tarnish hiding in some areas, poke the cloth into them to extract it. Continue buffing the piece until all the tarnish is removed.
Your piece should look shiny and new! If it doesn’t, you can repeat the process again using a new piece of foil and fresh water.
THE SCIENCE OF CLEANING SILVER WITHOUT HARSH CHEMICALS
Wondering why this works?
First, a little bit of science. Tarnish is the metal’s reaction to hydrogen sulfide, also known as sulfur. Silver, when exposed to air, will tarnish over time due to the chemical reaction that occurs when it encounters sulfur. Being handled can also cause tarnishing because oil on our hands, certain foods and products such as wool will react with silver.
The natural cleaning process works because it uses the properties of sulfur to work against the tarnish. The water and baking soda loosen the tarnish and make it portable. The aluminum foil acts as an attractant encouraging the tarnish to bond with it instead of thesilver. This is effective because sulfur is more chemically attracted aluminum than silver.
It’s not magic or rocket science and it may take more than one cleaning to properly shine your piece. But you are doing the earth – and you – a favor by not using harsh chemicals.
Creating fun is one of Better Life Maids CORE Values, and one we really try to achieve every day. One of the key things we do each day is to make sure great music is playing to help inspire us and our staff. Music is an amazing gift we share with one another, and love to discover new and old songs alike. We will even make mix CD’s to play in the cars while they travel between homes. Music is one of the things that inspires and motivates, and great music is one of life’s true pleasures. As the song Price Tag says, “We just wanna make the world dance”. I couldn’t have said it any better.
Here are some of the great songs that are on our current playlist helping us live our CORE Values, creating fun, maybe even helping us be passionate. Maybe some of them you have already heard a thousand times, hopefully some are new to you and will inspire and motivate you in the days to come.
By Matt Ricketts
Tuesday January 22nd I will be speaking on the topic of Social Media Strategy for ARCSI the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International. Small Business Social Media Strategy is a pretty hot topic right now, and many small businesses are struggling to find the time, and return on investment that engaging in social media promises. I will try to shed some light on the subject and keep it interesting at the same time. You can watch the live broadcast at http://www.betterlifemaids.com/hangout. I will be using the “newish” Google + hangout tool to do so. Sharing in real time, while simultaneously showing the functions of what I consider to be one of the most useful, yet underused social networks. If you are reading this after the fact, the entire hangout will be uploaded automatically to the Better Life Maids YouTube channel for you to watch at any time.
The first key to any small business seeking to grow their presence on social media is to be “Likeable”. Dave Kerpen talks about this concept in his aptly named book Likeable Social Media. The concept is really pretty simple, have something interesting to say, and say it in a way that is fresh and fun. The truth is, that not all businesses are cut out to be on social media. If your business is terrible in the real world, it will be terrible on social media and perhaps social media will amplify just how bad you really are. You can see a post I did about Boner’s Barbecue and their epic social media fail of 2012. If however you have a great brand, with a great message to share, than social media will help you amplify that message. Dare to be original, create a unique social voice for your business, and tell your story.
There are currently an enormous amount of social media channels in use, and even traditional websites are starting to integrate social media features. The most popular and relevant social media sites for a small business owner to be aware of are Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Linkedin, and YouTube. Google + is probably the best social network out there right now, but it just doesn’t have a huge mainstream adoption yet. However techies and others at the “bleeding edge” of technology are there, so keep your audience in mind when deciding to add it to your main mix. Some of the up and comers are Pinterest which is currently the fastest growing and has some real appeal for visual marketing, Instagram which is a photo sharing service with all the catch filters, and don’t forget review sites like Yelp and Angie’s List which I include because of their community based approach to sharing information with peers. If you have a product based business, sites like Amazon are even social by the nature of their reviews and deep peer trust. In addition to these main sites, there are literally thousands of niche communities, and many of them may share some advantage for your business that is worth exploring.
To decide where to focus your energy with all these choices of social networks is a daunting task at first glance. However, once you identify who your audience is, the choice of appropriate networks to focus the most of your energy on will become more clear. For Better Life Maids, Facebook is our primary social networking site. We chose Facebook due to its very large audience, but also due to its demographics, and the way people use it. If your business markets primarily to other businesses, you may still use Facebook in your marketing mix, but Linkedin might be more useful to target and network with decision makers you want to reach.
Start researching what other brands are doing on social networks. You want to be original, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at what others are doing for best practices and inspiration. Hubspot produces some great e-books on getting started on various social networks including various Facebook guides. Obviously Hubspot wants to draw you into a conversation and perhaps influence you to purchase their blogging software platform. If nothing else look at what they are doing and learn. I think Hubspot is one of the best examples of B2C marketing available. Every post they do has a point and it follows a pattern: topic, content, keywords, target market, and offer. By following a similar pattern with your own small business social media strategy, you will craft useful and targeted posts and content that is engaging and help your brand to become “Likeable”.
By Matt Ricketts
It’s fundamental in personal and business relationships. Without it, relationships can’t grow or will fail. Trust is the bedrock, the gut instinct, the driving force.
We’ve built our business at Better Life Maids based on this very important foundation. Trust is paramount in the home cleaning industry – after all, you’re giving us access to your most important possessions – often without being there.
Obviously we stand behind each cleaning with our 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE. Here are six more reasons to trust that Better Life Maids is the right solution for your home cleaning needs.
First – When we were designing our green cleaning company, there were some “non-negotiables” that we believe are the key to our success. One of those is our Core Values. These are the values our company was founded upon, and what we strive to deliver every day. We believe these help instill the trust necessary for our clients to invite us into their homes on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. You can trust us and our maids. We hold our team members to a higher standard. We talk about at least one of our Core Values, nearly everyday. Our team members know we expect the very best from them, because you deserve nothing less.
Second – Our attention to detail – in cleaning, but also in the products we use, is of high importance. It’s one thing to say we’re a green house cleaning company, but if we don’t back it up by using green products and seeking ways to reduce our waste footprint, then we don’t think we’re doing our job. We think our potential and current clients would agree. They trust us to be honest in our business practices…sneaking a non-green cleaning product into the mix just wouldn’t jive with that. We use the entire line of Better Life natural household cleaning products – and offer them to you at low prices so you can enjoy the same cleaning experience in-between our visits.
Third – We are upfront about what we can, and can’t do. Each new client gets a list of what’s included, so there is never any confusion as to what we will provide. For example, we can clean the windows inside your home. But we aren’t able to clean them on the outside. That’s the expertise of another type of cleaning company! (That being said, there’s not much INSIDE your home we can’t clean. Just ask.) You can trust we’ll always be honest with you.
Fourth – We’ve done the research. We’ve examined our competition. We believe we have the best green cleaning company available. Our business was built first on our desire to clean with the most environmentally friendly products available to reduce toxins in our home. You know the old saying, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Once we realized we could become green cleaning evangelists, we understood that helping other who also want to help the earth and families become healthier through green cleaning was a mission we couldn’t ignore. You can trust that our love for our children was the springboard for the business you see today.
Fifth – We’re not content to “sit on our laurels.” We still research and seek out the best solutions to cleaning issues. New ways of doing things are always popping up and we’re devoted ourselves to bringing the best solutions to our clients. You can trust that we’re on the forefront of the green cleaning movement.
Sixth – we could charge more for our services, but we choose to make it as affordable as possible to as many people as we can. You can trust that we will continue to price fairly and appropriately with an eye toward affordability for as many households as possible.
Trust is at the center of any relationship. You can trust that we value yours and will continue to work hard to earn and retain it.
Awards & Honors