A teacher, a mentor, a coach and an entrepreneur with a longing to make change – Kerri Ann Kedziora was a guest on The Rhonda Swan Show this week. She’s the founder of A-Team Accelerator, which helps cleaning businesses scale to six figures. Now, while curious, successful cleaning business is run by 50 employees, she spends her spare time doing what she loves by helping others overcome obstacles to finding their success not only in business, but also in life. Kerri’s purpose is much more than running a cleaning business company – her focus is on hiring women in need, people with mental, financial, family, physical and also personal challenges and empowering them to overcome obstacles through gainful employment. 

Rhonda Swan:

Kerri Anne, you’re a perfect example of how a business owner can not only impact the world every day, but also really focus on the your business, how does this journey play a role into you actually, hiring and how you hire your hiring practices within your company?

Kerri Anne Kedziora:

When I think back to the very first day that my husband and I decided we were going to hire employees, the first thing we did was – we said “What kind of people do we want to hire? And what kind of employers do we want to be?”. We really talked about the employers that we had had in our lives that weren’t satisfying to us and how we had always been overlooked. Even though we were the hard workers who showed up, we both always were leaders. 

And so, being a really great employer came before I understood how important it was for business growth. Once I started to understand the importance of being a great employer, I started to understand that I could impact people’s lives. Then I could make a change, or help people make a change to find whatever it is that they define as their success in their life. 

And being a cleaning business, I understand that nobody really comes to us wanting to stay for 40 years – this isn’t a career. This is a place that you’re using as a catapult to your goals. Then I realized that I could help people, using my cleaning business to do that. 

Rhonda Swan:

Can you tell us – was there something in your life that brought you to that state?

Kerri Anne Kedziora:

Totally – I was a survivor of childhood trauma and alcoholic for 27 years. This week will be 7 years of my sobriety. 

When I came into my new life, I really reflected on why it took so long to get sober and how I could help other people overcoming obstacles to their own success. 

For a long period of time, I prayed and wished somebody would step in and help me. And that didn’t happen. When I realized that I had the power to step in and help others, I understood that this was my mission. 

Some people don’t want to help, some people aren’t ready for the help. But when people are ready for the help, and it’s very clear that they need a helping hand, then I am so thrilled to be able to do it. At the end of the day, understanding that I have been able to help somebody through whatever the difficulty is – is so rewarding.

Depending on what the issue is, we will work with our employees to be able to just learn how to commit to the job, get out of bed and come to work, feel the confidence in holding a job, think about their future goals and understand that they actually can have whatever they desire.

Rhonda Swan:

Kerri, you’ve taken a business service and really turned it into a coaching business. Are you actively running not only your business, but also coaching people? Is that something that you’re doing as a separate operation of your other business?

Kerri Anne Kedziora:

Yes, I am a coach. My cleaning business now runs itself, or is run by the people that I have employed. In my cleaning business I work one day a week, and five days a week is spent on my coaching business, because this is what I do for fun. As you know, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t have any other other things keeping me busy or taking up my time, so this is so fun for me. 

What I love about it – is because of my experience of when I almost lost my business to COVID. I understand the fear and the pain when cleaning business owners come to me and they feel like they’re at their wit’s end – I’ve actually survived that, so I have the skills and the abilities to teach other people how to do that as well.

Rhonda Swan:

When COVID hit – what did you do? Everyone was locked out – can you tell us how you got through that? You not only went through hard times when you’re going through alcohol recovery, you also helped others, and you were in a space where your business needed to get into people’s homes.

Kerri Anne Kedziora:

When I look back to that or think back on it, I am still shocked about what transpired. We were actually sailing along pretty nicely with 21 employees. We were bringing in about $40,000 a month in revenue. And one day COVID hit, and 20 of my 21 employees were gone. 98% of my revenues were gone. I was in a lease-to-own situation for my home, and I was to sign on the dotted line for my mortgage on March 13th. 

On March 11th, they called us and said: “We’re freezing all loans, we can’t give you this mortgage until September, at the earliest”. And the owners of the home refused to extend the lease agreement. 

I actually lost my home, and I was homeless for three months – I was living in a decrepit trailer, a fifth wheel trailer that I managed to buy with the little bit of money I had.

My husband and I then pivoted to vacation rental and commercial cleaning. I got myself a coach and a mentor to help me learn how to get amazing employees, and I just hit go. I just went for it and it probably is my life of survival, that gave me the strength to choose the hard route for my own sake.

At that moment, I had no idea if it was going to work or not. But I honestly felt like I was at rock bottom. I have been to rock bottom before. And I’ll tell you – when you’re at rock bottom, the sun is shining. There’s nowhere to go but up. I’ve come so far I’ve done so much. When I was in that course they called me Kerri the Conquer. Because I would make the decision and I would do it, no matter how scary it is.

Rhonda Swan:

How do you think women can create these discerning boundaries in their decisions? 

Kerri Anne Kedziora:

What I believe is – only believe the words that make you feel good. 

If people tell you that what you’re doing is bad, don’t believe them. If they tell you “You’re not good enough” – don’t believe them. If they say “You’re doing awesome!”, even in the worst situation possible – that’s when you believe them. I am doing awesome in my situation, and I will prevail. 

Just don’t believe people when they say nasty, ugly things to you because they are wrong and they’re pulling you down.

There’s a lot of things that’s happened in my life, a lot of things that I’m not proud of, and it’s actually something I had to face on this journey. 

I plan to be gigantic, I plan to be on stages, I plan to be in people’s faces. And someday somebody’s going to come and tell a story about me. That’s true. And I’ve already decided – when that day comes, I will stand up and say: “Yes, I did that, and I learned from it. I’m a different person now”. 

And that’s the thing – always remember that you can make mistakes and still be this amazing person that you really are on the inside.

Rhonda Swan:

There is always a difference between who you were then and who you are now. Let’s talk about radical personal self-responsibility – what do you think about it? 

Kerri Anne Kedziora:

My daughter always talks about this. Referring to my uncle Glen, she says that “You get to a point in life where you stop blaming everybody around you for what’s happened. And you start understanding that you have control, and this is your choice. You’re no longer living as a victim, you are now owning it. That is your day of reckoning”. 

When it comes to taking responsibility, that was the day that I was leaving treatment, when I finally got sober. We were told to make two promises, and live by those promises for the rest of our life. So, my two promises were that I would never ever again tell a lie – because the truth is when you’re in addiction, you’re lying to yourself every day. 

The second was that I would spend my life helping other people. And those two promises take me forward. I really believe in those 28 days in treatment – that was when the change happened. But the change was brewing for so many years, that I was just ready to do it. 

Rhonda Swan:

Kerri Anne, how do you help a client go from tipping over the edge?

Kerri Anne Kedziora:

Oh, something just happened very recently with one of my clients – where she was almost having a pity party for herself. That day I just said to her that I have to stop them right now. My job is to tell my clients that they need to stop thinking that way. They need to start thinking positively. 

I went into the whole spiel, I got really frank with them. On the inside, I was cringing because kindness is my thing, and when I have to break somebody’s pattern and tell them the truth, if it’s not a nice truth – that’s hard for me, but I realize that it’s my job. 

And I did not mean to tear them down. But I needed to help them understand that they need to change their thinking. And they just stopped, realizing how they got caught in that pattern. 

It was amazing, because it’s one of those moments where I realized that the things that I have learned in my life really can help other people. 

We all have moments of imposter syndrome – it won’t matter how confident you become, you’re still always going to have those moments. In those moments it is very important to be able to draw from my natural ability to get through to people and help them see things from a different point.

To see the full episode of The Rhonda Swan Show with Kerri Anne Kedziora where she shares how helping people helps yourself, click link below: