Last month I ran into a Quick Sprout reader at the Entrepreneur Magazine conference in Miami. Every time I meet a Quick Sprout reader, the first thing I ask is:
What do you do?
Within seconds, Juan got into his life story and told me he was a maid, who makes $150,000 a year. Once I heard $150,000, I instantly thought how does a maid make that much money?
Naturally, I started to dig deeper and realized that he had an amazing life story that I have to share with all of you. So, here it goes…
Coming to America
Juan was born in Colombia, and when he was young, he dreamed of being an automotive engineer. He couldn’t find many colleges in Colombia that specialized in automotive engineering, so he decided to look for colleges in other countries.
He found a lot of good schools in the U.S., so he applied to them. Within months, he got accepted to a school in Texas and relocated.
During his first year, he learned everything about cars. And by the second year, he was able to take a car apart and put it back together. According to one of his professors, he was on track to being a great engineer.
But he ran into one big problem…
During his second year at the university, he found out from the school that they lost his immigration paper work. They searched hard to find it, and they tried to resolve the issue with the government, but they were unable to do so.
Because Juan wanted to stay in the U.S., this meant that he had to stay as an illegal immigrant.
A tough life
Although Juan had a girlfriend who was a citizen and they were already planning on getting married, he didn’t want to rush things. He couldn’t get a normal job due to his illegal status, so he had to take side jobs to make a living.
He quickly saw how many immigrants were standing outside of local hardware stores. He noticed how competitive it was and felt that he could do better because he had a special skill: he was good with cars.
At that point, it hit him that he should help people fix their cars. So, instead of standing outside of Home Depot, he stood outside of AutoZone.
When people walked out with car parts, he offered to fix their cars for them right then and there, in the parking lot. He did it for $10 to $20. For example, if you walked out of AutoZone with a pair of brake pads, he would offer to replace them for you for $10.
The fight for survival
Juan wasn’t making a ton of money, but he was able to pull in anywhere from $20 to $100 a day. He wasn’t making stable income, so it was impossible for him to provide for his girlfriend if they ever decided to get married. So, he started to look for new ideas to make steady money.
One of his friends recommended that he start cleaning houses. That way, he could earn up to $100 a day, being a maid. Juan instantly latched onto the idea and started his own maid service.
He started out by cleaning his friends’ homes, and because he was doing a good job, they naturally referred him to more people. He got so busy that his girlfriend decided to join him, and together they started to clean homes for a living.
Within months, they got up to $3,000 in monthly income. Because now Juan felt financially stable, he and his girlfriend decided to get married.
The thirst for knowledge
Making $3,000 a month isn’t bad, but it wasn’t enough for Juan. He wanted to continue learning and further his education so that he could do better in life. But there was one issue. He didn’t have enough money to go back to college.
Instead of giving up on his quest for more knowledge, he started to buy audio books about entrepreneurship, marketing, and website design. He also started to read blogs like Quick Sprout and Mixergy.
From his readings, he learned that the best income is passive income. That means that ideally, you want to figure out a way to make money even when you are sleeping. This way your income isn’t directly tied to how many hours you are working each day.
The road to entrepreneurship
The business concept that Juan came up with was to start a cleaning service that connected people with maids in their areas, kind of like Molly Maid. He would focus on the Dallas, Texas, region.
In the first 30 days of launching it, he didn’t make a dime because no one came to his website. He actually lost money because he had to pay for hosting and wasn’t cleaning as many homes as he used to due to the amount of time it took him to create a website.
He quickly realized that he wasn’t going to be successful unless he figured out how to separate himself from the competition.
He surveyed his customer base and saw that there was a demand for an eco-friendly maid company. People were actually willing to pay a bit more if he used products that were better for the environment.
He decided to change the name of his maid business to Gmaids (Green Maids). Gmaids would connect people with eco-friendly maids in the Dallas, Texas, region.
Within a week of the site launch, the Daily Candy picked it up, and Juan was bombarded with new customers. If you fast-forward to a year after its launch, the company hit six figures in yearly income by getting people to subscribe to a monthly maid-cleaning program.
Growing the business
Now that Juan started to make a healthy amount of passive income from his business, he focused on growing it. He did everything from traffic acquisition strategies like search engine optimization to optimizing Gmaids for conversions by fine-tuning the copy, adding video testimonials and modifying design elements.
These days Juan is looking to grow Gmaids into a million dollar company by expanding into more cities. He doesn’t know if he’ll get there, but he’ll never stop trying.
If you don’t have money and things aren’t going your way, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful entrepreneur. Juan had a lot of things going against him, and he did well anyway. He had to learn English; he didn’t have much cash; and, worst of all, he was an illegal immigrant.
Keep pushing forward like Juan did and never let anything stand in your way. Yes, things won’t always go the way you want, but if you keep on trying, eventually something will have to work out to your benefit.
What do you think of Juan’s story? Do you know of any other people who went from having nothing to becoming successful?