PROFILE: From a Shoestring Startup to a Booming Business

Startup Sign

Two phones, one computer, and two products. That was everything my new carpet cleaning company had when I started it in the summer of 2006. Now eight years later, we have an entire Scheduling Center, a suite of powerful business tools, and a fantastic team working to make our 250 locations across the U.S. and Canada as successful as possible.

So how did we go from a bare-bones business to a leader in our industry? The answers are actually pretty simple – but I’ll be the first to admit they’re not easy.

I’m Jonathan Barnett and these three lessons that made Oxi Fresh what it is today.

Green Lights: “You’ve Got the Green Light Until You Get the Red.”

There’s one thing that kills a lot of great ideas – the people who have them. They may come up with a brilliant invention or revolutionary business concept, but then they hold back. Why? Because of emotional and mental red lights.

It’s not ready yet. What if something bad happens? I’m not prepared for ________. These red lights flash in people’s heads so they stop. Wait for the green. They think ‘I just need to wait until everything is ready’. So they wait, blinded by the red lights in their head, not realizing that opportunity has pushed forward and left them behind.

I’ve always operated Oxi Fresh like we have a green light. My company pushes forward, grows, adds new tools and services, and we only stop when we must. Then, once we figure out what to do about that red light – a tangible barrier, by the way, and not an imagined one – then off we go again.

Overalls are your friends: “People miss opportunities because they dress in overalls and look like hard work.”

I think the word opportunity is misunderstood. Most of the time, an opportunity isn’t something an entrepreneur stumbles across, finding it fully formed and ready to print money.

Real-life opportunity is anything but easy. It looks like hard work, like long hours and tough challenges. A forward-thinking entrepreneur knows that if they persevere, they’ll have a chance for success that no one else will have.

I knew getting into carpet cleaning wouldn’t be glamorous or easy – it’s an incredibly competitive industry, all the way from the minor leagues to the majors. However, I could see past the challenges and recognize the enormous opportunity for a technologically adept, green company that focused on the customer above all else. Oxi Fresh’s success is proof of that conviction. That’s why overalls are my friend.

Mind Control: “Thoughts turn into actions. Actions turn into habits. Habits define your character. Your Character becomes your destiny.”

Despite the title, I didn’t use mind control to make Oxi Fresh successful. Well, actually that’s not true. I did use mind control, but I used it on myself.

The mind control that I’m referencing is embodied in the quote.

I knew that I wanted to be a fair and stable business person. I wanted to be like my grandfather – the first entrepreneur I ever knew – who worked tirelessly, dedicated himself to invention and always helped others.

I took his lead and tried to think in a similar mindset. Whenever I had thoughts of giving up or taking it easy I pushed them away. It took a lot of doing, of course, but I found that it worked. My actions were those of a committed entrepreneur. Over the years, those actions have become habits and those are shaping my character.

It’s All in Your Head

There’s a theme to these three lessons. They’re all about controlling what’s in your head.

  1. Don’t let yourself create red lights. You’ve got the green, so go.
  2. Don’t think like a defeatist. Think like the entrepreneur you want to be.
  3. I realize that this isn’t easy, and it’s going to be hard to implement in your life, but without doing these things you will not achieve your dreams and goals.

I want to end with a quote from a businessman who’s inspired me.

“Jonathan, do you know what it takes to be successful? Being willing to do whatever it takes.”

Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

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About Jonathan Barnett

Jonathan Barnett founded Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning in 2006 and has since grown the brand to become one the fastest growing carpet cleaners in the nation, earning national attention and numerous awards. Today, there are more than 250 Oxi Fresh locations throughout 45 states, which includes a network of 150 franchisees. For more information about Jonathan and Oxi Fresh, please visit www.oxifresh.com.

Twitter: @OxiFresh

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