What It's About
A fresh and clean hustle, inspired by a Reddit post.
Words of Wisdom
Neel says if he could go back and do anything differently, he would “not be afraid to spend money and invest in myself. I went extra frugal at the beginning and extra scrappy to be conservative. In hindsight, I would have accelerated faster if I was willing to re-invest my earnings back into the business in the beginning stages instead of cashing out.”
When Neel was pursuing his side hustle while working full-time at a corporate job, he earned the nickname “drug dealer” because his coworkers would see him walking around during lunchbreaks and talking on his phone constantly, coordinating cleanings and building MaidThis.
Notes from Chris
For Neel Parek, the decision to start a side business wasn’t just so he could quit his day job and travel the world while still having an income—although that was part of it. It was also a decision guided by his desire to provide for his parents. He took a number of paths as he tried different side hustles—creating an eCommerce site, blogging about pet hair vacuums and more—before stumbling across a post on Reddit from someone who started a cleaning company. In the post, the author laid out the detailed steps he’d taken to get going. After reading through the post carefully, Neel decided to give it a try himself. In early 2013, he established MaidThis in Los Angeles, a cleaning service that specializes in Airbnb and residential cleanings. Neel’s first step in doing so was creating a website—a tall task as he had no technical background. He bought a template for about $100, researched how to host a website and published what he says was initially “a crappy looking website.” Overall, it took Neel two months to get up and running. To find his customers, Neel focused on digital marketing. He says local marketing is a hidden gem because you’re competing against local businesses only, not the entire world, so it’s a bit easier to manage. His first customer was in July 2013, which he remembers because he snuck outside at his full-time job and started dancing. He operated the business as a part-time gig for two years. By 2015, the business was doing around $30,000 in monthly sales at a 20 percent margin ($6,000 in monthly profit). With this success, Neel quit his full-time job and booked a one-way flight to Colombia. The business doubled that year, and he’s since traveled to more than 35 countries to backpack while scaling what was once his side hustle. Looking to the future, Neel hopes the franchise arm of the business takes off. He’s aiming to be the “millennial franchise,” disrupting the old-school cleaning franchise industry.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Learn more about Neel's business at his website, MaidThis.com.
- Hungover Accountant Starts “Morning After” Party Cleanup Service: Hungover after a night of hosting a party, an Australian accountant comes up with an unusual cleaning service that goes on to earn $30,000/year part-time.
- Retail Worker Cleans Up With Litter-Picking Business: Despite having little in the way of business skills, money, or education, this retail worker turns his father’s side hustle into a multiple six-figure business.
- Yoga Teacher Cleans Up with Home Organizing Business: After attending a live podcast taping, this longtime side hustler starts a new project that helps people declutter while donating items to local refugees.
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