I don't really worry about perception anymore from friends family. Only my customers. I work 1/3 of what I use to and my bills are paid. I'm not on welfare. I'd say carpet cleaning is pretty good. 9:30ish to 3:00ish is all I work. No employee stress. No furniture. Stay steady after 5 years. After the military I learned that time was the most valuable resource and has the best ROI with the family. Money is necessary but not in excess. I could afford a bigger house but I am keeping the one I'm in. I still have a '95 Honda accord that I drive mostly. I do have a newer explorer and I could make payments on a nice new car but then I would have to work more so I choose to live a super modest life. This is the life I asked God for and he provided it. Did I think it would be doing carpet cleaning. Never. But God works in mysterious ways.
From the perspective of someone who makes around $100k a year we're just chumps or whatnot.
From the perspective of someone who can't manage to keep the lights on or hold a part time job we're "making buku bucks".
People perceive things incorrectly.
Thankfully I think I have found a happy medium with my current customers. I started out doing low paying hard jobs like move out cleans and housecleaning. Theres no room for growth doing that low level work. That just keeps the working poor, well poor.
I joke with people sometimes and say: " If I was rolling in cash would I be driving a 40 year old van?"
I had a neighbor once who was on disability/welfare when he wasn't disable. Just worked the system. Resented everything I did. Dummy should have been thanking me because people like us cover his check.
Those people make me steam! Selling their tax payer funded food stamps for .50 on the $1 so they can buy beer and drugs. Stay home all day cause they are 'disabled', but have no problem working under the table doing manual labor. Meanwhile we break our backs working to keep them going.
My newest employee sums up how people generally view me. I felt bad for the kid because his truck broke down so I let him borrow $250 to fix it. After 2 months went by I figured I'd ask when he thought I was going to get paid back. He says he can't pay it back yet, he's broke. His cell phone bill is to high, his medical insurance and car insurance keep preventing him from even giving me $1 a week back. And the big kicker is since I'm "rich" I can afford to wait a little longer.
If someone is JUST a carpet cleaner IMO that means they are an employee of a carpet cleaning business. We are business owners. That means we are in marketing, human resources, business management, accounting, customer service, and sales.
I've worked for myself and worked for others. Several employers told me that I had a problem with authority. While that may be true, I have a bigger problem with being told to do something inefficiently or how to deal with a customer in a way I find unacceptable. I don't need fame or fortune, and I'm unimpressed by snobbery. I find cleaning carpets therapeutic, and my average restoration job is done in just over 3 weeks, the quality is always better after I rebuild than it was before. Even though some restoration customers don't appreciate it (they have no experience to compare it to, and don't understand the average in this town is 3 to 6 months, with mediocre quality) I can sleep well knowing that I did the best for them. With my carpet cleaning customers they are generally pretty damn happy and express it loudly. I get a few haters, but I'm just getting started and have a long way to go. Hopefully I'll be able to get MORE haters, because that'll mean I'm doing well. We all care about what other people think, it's human nature. But if we focus on ourselves and a handful of people we truly care about, the haters don't matter so much...