Growing up, Ciara Lily says she didn’t have as many role models or examples in her life that showed her what she could be capable of.
“Especially as a woman in the LGBTQ community, you don’t often see people who look like you thriving in society,” she says. “There was an absence of that for me growing up, which I think fueled that passion to be that example.”
That’s what a day like International Women’s Day means to her. Ciara sees the day, and all of Women’s History Month in March, as an opportunity to be inspired by other women who have paved the way or continue paving the wya in making a difference in the world, but she also sees it as a reminder that she is one of those women.
“For me as a women business owner, it’s setting an example for other young women in what is possible, and showing that with a plan and the ability to operate that plan you can accomplish anything,” she says.
Lily formed her company Cleaning Network Worldwide with her business partner Edgar Ruth in 2018, but last year when the pandemic hit, they decided to focus on it with full force. They launched officially in May 2020 as a way to help the cleaning industry as more businesses and organizations were looking for increased cleaning services.
You can think of Cleaning Network Worldwide as a LinkedIn specific to the cleaning industry. Individuals looking for work can create profiles complete with their experience, accolades and areas for potential growth. Companies can then pay to be able to search this data base at a granular level to find potential employees in their area, salary range and expertise level to fill open positions. Companies can then set up initial contact with prospects through a messaging portal on the website.
There’s a real need for this type of platform in the cleaning industry, it turns out. Ciara says the industry has a turnover rate of about 200%, which means there’s a constant need for qualified employees.
Beyond that, though, Cleaning Network Worldwide hopes showcase some of the dignity there is in cleaning services. “We know the cleaning industry is often a thankless industry,” she says. “We wanted to bring some esteem back to the industry and give people a chance to celebrate the great work they’re doing.”
Though opening a business in the midst of a global pandemic has certainly had its challenges, it’s also in a way set Ciara and her business partner Edgar up for success. Cleaning Network Worldwide launched at a time when there was a real need and has also given both of them the opportunity to focus on their work and figure out a flow as co-owners as well. Ciara says they are growing quickly and are even looking to expand the team and take on interns.
Through the business and her work, Ciara’s goal is always to support the local community and others coming up. With Cleaning Network Worldwide, that means a focus on working with other small businesses in all areas they can. For her it also means being that example she didn’t see much of when growing up.
“I want to be able to help you accomplish what you want to do,” she says. “The business is a way to do that. Professionally there are things that allow me to do that, but there’s certainly this idea of I have to be that example for someone out there of what is possible.”
To learn more about Ciara and Cleaning Network Worldwide, visit their website. Just click here.