Clean Trade: Why I Quit My Glamour Job To Clean Toilets

The Cleaning Divas thrive on trust and relationships

Cleaning Diva Jessica Agate
Courtesy Jessica Agate (right)

More often than not, when I tell people that I left a glamorous travel writing job to start my own cleaning business, they look at me cockeyed. You traded in your passport and pen to scrub toilets?
Really? Why?

I'll tell you why.

I didn't want to spend the rest of my working life making money for somebody else. I didn't want a boss anymore, and I certainly didn't want to be stuck working at a desk behind a computer from 9-to-5 daily. I wanted my own business. I wanted to be able to make as much money as I desired, without the fear of being victimized by downsizing. I wanted to make the rules and not answer to someone else who was writing my paychecks. I wanted all of my dedication, hard work, long hours, and passion to put money in my pocket, without limitations. I wanted satisfaction.

And I got it.

Quite honestly, at first I didn't know how I was going to do it, or what I was going to do to get my own business, but I did know a few things – I love to clean, I'm really good at it, and I truly enjoy helping other people. So that's where I started.

I cleaned a couple of houses for friends, and quickly realized that my "clean" gene was much more prominent than I had thought. I felt euphoric and accomplished when I saw the transformation from dirty to clean evolve. I was happy. My friends were ecstatic. They referred me to neighbors, and those neighbors referred me to friends......and that's when I realized I could seriously start a cleaning business. Oprah would call it my "aha" moment.

I was really excited and knew I had to act fast to capitalize on the momentum. What was my business name going to be? How was I going to keep getting new clients? Do I need money to make money? No. What I needed was a business plan, stat.

So I got my game plan together, named my business The Cleaning Diva (because that's what I am), created a sassy logo, had some business cards made up at Staples and put an ad on Craigslist promoting my services. The response was instantaneous. One phone call led to another, and another, and I soon had a steady roster of clients, most of which are still on my current schedule and continue to refer The Cleaning Diva.

Referrals are vital to my business.

It's not just about the cleaning. I build relationships. I clean and treat my clients' homes as if they are my own, but I also enjoy and value the time I'm there engaging in conversations and really getting to know them. That's what makes The Cleaning Diva tick. It's also a principle I've passed along to my team of Divas. Yes - my team, my other lifeline. The Cleaning Divas take pride in having meticulous cleaning skills, trustworthiness and reliability, and most importantly, strong relationships with clients. Leading by example is crucial.

I'm a journalist by degree, and never took a business course, so The Cleaning Diva is definitely an ongoing, hands-on learning experience for me too. Some things are trial and error. Others just come naturally. Sometimes I have to do research. But at the end of the day I truly can say I love what I do, and it shines through in my energy. Every morsel of my hard work comes back to reward me. I have my own business. I control my success. Not someone else. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

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There are two kinds of people in this world. There are the ones that want a life, And the ones that don't want a life. True happiness comes from how a person feels about them self and whats around them and what they do day in and day out. And what Jessica Agate is doing is living her true happiness and living the life she truly wants. I wish the rest of this world could be like her and learn from the motivation that she has to make a life of her own. My hat's off to you my friend.

August 03 2014 at 12:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Good for you.You will be the best and thrive. It's the attitude. Now that you are established at the Head of your game, you can write travel articles on your own blog and be your own boss as well. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 02 2014 at 9:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Its good that she is staying home, taking care of her husband and his home.

August 02 2014 at 5:59 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to patriot1too's comment
Jessica A. Agate

I'm not married.

August 02 2014 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How old are you? That stuff went out a century ago.This is a professional woman. If she is married she should own at least half of the home and surely she is smart enough to find a mate that does not need "taking care" of. The only females I know of who do not have some type of occupation are the trophy wives of the social set who entertain and play tennis and the welfare queens who have a dozen children, but they don't have a husband to "take care" of.

August 03 2014 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Rosy; if that DIVA remark about the scuba outfit etc was supposed to be funny, I think you'd best keep your day time job. If you were trying to imply that Bostonians would pronounce DIVA like Die-Vah, I think you best travel up to Boston and listen closer. A Bostonian, or at least a well bred Bostonian would pronounce it "DEE VAH" just like any one else who was half way decent at speaking the English language. Sorry, but I've never met a fish who hired a Diva for OPERA or CLEANING THEIR OWN FISH BOWLS or BREEDING AREAS.

August 02 2014 at 5:07 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Well, for sure that was an interesting story of "How a Good Girl went ? ? ? ? BETTER. Now she's stii a productive person and per her own say so, a happier person, and Happy People are usually very nice people and tend to be healthier and live longer, so Long Live the Cleaning Diva.
We've just hired a company with a somewhat similar name, and the same characteristics, out here in the Peoria, Arizona area, and the name is THE CLEANING AUTHORITY. Once a month either two or three very friendly, yet industrious people appear and get busy making our house SHINE for another month. They are reasonable and they are fast in addition to being exceptionally well organized.
This might be a good occupation for some who have had difficulty in finding good employment in recent times.

August 02 2014 at 4:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Diva? A diva is a woman who sings opera. maybe she sings opear while cleaning showers etc. insteadof Diva a title could be "scrubby jess"
Now, If she is a true Bostonian and she says she is a Diva it could be a person who actually dons a scuba outfit and does some real diving.

August 02 2014 at 3:39 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to roseyoung's comment
Jessica A. Agate

I do sing, while cleaning sometimes, actually. Lol. I define the word "Diva" as its original Latin meaning, which is feminine, or goddess. :-)

August 02 2014 at 9:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

AND JUST THINK leaving everything in place for the day when "they" were to come to dust for __I__ fingers sake. LOL this would have been so fast & furious a chore that it will now cause a MASSIVE clean up. It will be known as the royal FLUSH down the dirty toilet........kind of like getting your pipes cleaned - blowin em away!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 02 2014 at 11:44 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Do you suppose Biden cleans the pools after he swims in the nude?

August 02 2014 at 11:25 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SkyDrop's comment

if he pees in pools the chlorine will automatically become a disinfectant.

August 02 2014 at 3:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Nothing wrong when money is earned with honor and honesty. I just have problems with those who put profits first and don't care how !any laws they break, politicians they bribe, who they step on or how many. Greed is eventually is the downfall.

August 02 2014 at 9:58 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tookie9293's comment

Yea...those democrats are something.

August 02 2014 at 11:24 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

You are what is known as a "kitchen sink fighter" .You will find away to weasel in the most ridiculous opinions in places that they do not belong in.

August 02 2014 at 3:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Below comment, 3 hours a day. Got 2 of those dorms to clean and do public buildings early in the morning those other 2 hours.

August 02 2014 at 8:45 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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