Ken Carfagno shares how he left his dream job to start a cleaning business and find freedom

How Ken Carfagno Left His Dream Job to Start a Cleaning Business – BtR 299

Entrepreneur Ken Carfagno shares his story of leaving his dream job as an engineer to start a cleaning business and find freedom.

BtR 299 Ken Carfagno

When Golden Handcuffs Become Less Golden and More Handcuffs

The term “Golden Handcuffs” began around 1976 alluding to the handshake that sealed the deal between employee and employer. The exchange? Your continued service to the company in exchange for higher pay, perkier perks, and maybe even a promotion.

That is what we strive to achieve in our careers, right? We’re expected to go to school, get good grades, find a well-paying career, then progress up the ladder to our fame and fortune, or at least our fortune. It’s the prestige we’ve been looking for. The payoff is here! We may even get to brag to our friends and family that we have arrived.

What if the price was too high, and like a wish made to a genie, it costs you in ways you didn’t expect.

Americans have a way of racking up debt. In 2021, CNBC shared that Gen X’ers had an average debt of $140,643. The overall range for Millenials through Baby Boomers was $87,000 to over $140,000.

Not only do our expenses tend to expand with our growth in income, so does our use of credit. Both combine to turn the “golden” part of the Golden Handcuffs into false scarcity and create for us stronger Handcuffs.

The pressure to work longer hours to appease our employers becomes greater. Excitement shifts into survival mode. Celebration and the good life turns into disappointment from your family as you miss another family milestone or event.

You may feel trapped. Maybe the better thing to do for yourself is to give up the career and start a cleaning business, tree trimming business, or change up careers to something that aligns with not just your passions, but your life’s needs as well. Let’s take a look at Ken’s life to see how he made a lasting change almost two decades ago.

What Led Ken to Start a Cleaning Business?

“If you want a personal life, you cannot do what I do,” were the words spoken by an executive leader at GE during a leadership development session Ken Carfagno attended. Ken was hopeful for a leadership role in the company. He’d dedicated time already towards the endeavor, and made considerable achievements to get on that path.

This executive standing on stage with a moment of vulnerability and honesty was a wake-up call. Ken had a family now. His wife and newborn child meant the world to him, and he just learned the price of success in his company was a connection with his family. Was it too late to walk away? How would he replace his family’s income?

In This Episode

Benefits of eating healthy fats include the following:

  • Expanding your capacity so you can achieve your dream
  • The need to continue to grow your dream and capacity circles
  • How to beware of the Golden Handcuffs where your dream becomes your prison
  • “You’re either growing or you’re dying” and a combat analogy – moving is the key to winning
  • A career in leadership at General Electric
  • The management training program that ended Ken’s management trajectory at GE
  • Time to start a cleaning business
  • Helping others start a cleaning business
  • Fulfilling a dream to write a book, Arctic Land, for dads to read to their children
  • How to learn about starting your own cleaning business

Ken Carfagno

Ken Carfagno was overwhelmed and alone in his cleaning business, working 5-6 days per week and never seeing his family. He lost hope because he started my cleaning company to have MORE time with his family. This was no different than leaving his promising career as a leader at General Electric years prior.

Ken needed a major change!

His solution was contrary to the typical model. Instead of scaling, Ken optimized his solo cleaning company to a 2-day per week schedule without employees, while maintaining a $60,000 income for his family.

Knowing there were others like Ken, he started the Solo Cleaning School!

Resources and Links

Listen to Ken’s podcast, or learn how to start a cleaning business, through his website and show with the same name, Smart Cleaning School.

Listen to these past episodes:

Energize Your Way Out of a Job Jail Rut with Dondi Scumaci – BtR 082

Find Career Clarity with Career Catalyst Tracy Timm – BtR 181

Freelance Your Way to Freedom with Vincent Pugliese – BtR 197

Connect with Us

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Episode Credits

Host, Editing, and Production: Jerry Dugan

Music: “Oceans Apart” is our theme song composed and performed by Scott Ian Holmes.