The other night I was going to bed late. I didn’t want to wake up my already sleeping husband, so I decided to brush my teeth in the children’s bathroom. As I reached out to turn on the faucet and wet my toothbrush, I noticed sand (SAND!!) all around the back and sides of the sink.
My first thought was, “Who put sand all over the bathroom?”
My second thought was, “If I ask the kids who did it, I’ll get the same answers I always do. ‘Not me! Not me. Not ME!’” I swear I must be living in a haunted house because none of my children ever make the messes I discover.
But then I started thinking…
I spend most of my time cleaning up other people’s messes. And not just at home. As an instructional designer for the American Management Association, I was to go-to-gal for projects that had gone wrong. The developer they’d originally hired discovered he couldn’t do the job and I was brought it to clean up the mess.
As an editor/ghost writer I would have clients submit their “book” to me. More often than not, I discovered that their book was nowhere close to being a book and their writing needed cleaning up too. So again, I was paid to clean up the mess.
In fact, when you think about it, there are TONS of jobs built upon the idea of cleaning up someone else’s mess.
Here are just a few:
Attorneys—Whether it’s divorce, bankruptcy, taxation, personal injury or criminal law, if you need any one of these attorneys, it’s because you’ve gotten yourself into a mess and you need help getting out. In fact, you need expert help getting out.
Cleaners—Dry cleaners, house cleaners, pooper scoopers, garbage collectors, window washers, pool guys, landscapers, carpet cleaners and even hair dressers all specialize in removing stuff we don’t want anymore. I don’t want spots on my windows or carpet. I don’t want hair that’s this long or frizzy. I don’t want grass up to my knees. And I don’t want my neighbors or friends to think badly of me. So in order to keep up appearances, I sometimes need a cleaner to help me.
Health Care Professionals—A surgeon removed my gall bladder a few years back. My dentist keeps my teeth clean. My orthodontist straightens my teeth—which are a mess again because no one told me as a teenager to wear that retainer the rest of my life! Dermatologists make spots, wrinkles and acne disappear. Make up sales ladies hide what the dermatologist missed. Personal trainers take that “mess” of a waistline and try to get rid of it.
Automotive Car—The car wash cleans and vacuums out my car. Sam’s Club fixed my flat tire last week. Discount Tire is fixing my spare tire when the special order comes in.
Financial Services—My accountant does my taxes. My bookkeeper comes once or twice a year and clean up my Quicken and Quickbooks files in the course of four to five hours. My financial advisor finds me spare money. My attorney updates my family trust so I don’t end up in a probate mess when someone dies.
I could go on forever almost. But can you see how must of the service industry is focused on cleaning up someone else’s messes?
Think about your own business and your industry. What messes are you cleaning up? What messes are others in your industry taking on?
I’m in the coaching and content creation space. Just in the last six months I have:
- Edited books
- Rewritten books
- Revised or rewritten sales pages and email campaigns
- Coached clients on divorce
- Coached clients on closing down a business that wasn’t profitable
You are uniquely qualified to clean up someone’s mess. What kind of messes can you help with? What exactly would you do for a client who finds herself in just your type of mess? What kind of offer can you make—this week—to help people get out of suffering and into satisfaction by cleaning up their mess for them?
Figure out the answers to these questions and you’ll soon have people saying…
“I’ll pay you to clean up my mess!”