The McGhees Talk Raising Six Kids And Running A Family Business - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

The six siblings featured on the popular docu-series “Six Little McGhees,” who recently turned four years old will return for more tender moments and love-filled chaos in an all-new season premiering this fall on Saturday, September 6 at 10 PM ET on OWN.

In the new season, Columbus, Ohio’s first sextuplets, Josiah, Madison, Olivia, Issac, Rozonno Jr. and Elijah, aren’t so little anymore.  Inches taller and a whole lot more vocal and active, the kids are developing their own personalities, which means there are bigger tantrums…and even bigger adventures.

Now that the kids are older, parents Mia, 33, and Rozonno, 34, need to expand the size of their home to fit their growing family.  They must balance the challenges of raising the unforgettable brood, from enrolling them in new activities and searching for preschools. At the same rate, they must focus on growing their family run business, McGhee Upholstery and Carpet Cleaning.

The McGhee sextuplets first captured the hearts of America after an online photo went viral and the entire family appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2011. Now the popular OWN series, which premiered December 2012, is the winner of the 2014 NAMIC Vision Award for best reality show.

Six Little McGhees follows the lives of Mia and Ro as they juggle marriage, raise six children (Rozonno Jr., Josiah, Madison, Olivia, Isaac, and Elijah.), and run a business.

The couple, who met while in high school, both come from deprived backgrounds; they both suffered emotional abuse and physical neglect. Rozonno grew up without any contact from his father and with a drug addicted mother. When Mia was a teenager, her mother threw her out of the family home, forcing the girl to drop out of school to support herself. The McGhees were married for 10 years and suffered several failed pregnancies before they were able to become parents.

Mia left her job in mortgage services at JP Morgan Chase to care for the children, while Ro decided to take his experience in cleaning hotels to launch his own business shortly after the sextuplets was born.

Ro points out that there are over a 150 carpet cleaning businesses in their area.The McGhees have on average 4,000 customers, residential and commercial clients. In addition, the couple has expanded the business to provide janitorial services to local hospitals and other facilitates. Today, the company employs 25 full time and independent contractors. This is record year, say the McGhees. At the end of August the business was generating around $475,000 in revenue and come year end they project bringing home over $600,000.

What sets them apart is that treat their customers like they are another member of  the McGhee clan.”We try to build a relationship with them and make them feel like family, versus just a number as with other firms,”says Ro. In part this involves providing the personal touch, which includes sending a customer followers and a card to celebrate a birthday or to offer condolences of a lost loved one, adds Mia.

BlackEnterprise.com recently sat down with the McGhees to talk about their busy lives of raising six little ones and growing a budding business.

BE: How did you get started operating a carpet cleaning company?

The McGhees: (Ro) I was a manager for a carpet cleaning company. A year before we had the kids Mia brought me a portable carpet cleaning machine for Christmas. We started cleaning different hotels. We started off very small with one little machine. That allowed us to save money to buy more machines and build up inventory. Then we started knocking on doors to build a client base.

How were you able to grow the business?

The business really started taking off after we appeared on Oprah and she said if you live in Columbus, Ohio and you need your carpets cleansed call [McGhee Carpet Cleaning]. That was February of 2011. Once that show aired our phone didn’t stop ringing.

How are you able to manage married life, parenting and being business owners?

One thing for sure is that we have to have boundaries. Sometimes we cross the line as you see on the show. We try to separate talking about business during personal time. When we are at work we talk about work. From time to time we bring the kids to the office and pop in move while we work.

What are some challenges you have faced running the business?

Manpower in terms of finding good help and managing cash flow. Making sure that the right people have the right invoice so that they can pay it. We never took out any loans. So we financed the business ourselves. When we had our kids we depleted all our savings accounts and 4o1k plan and put it towards the business (about $35,000 in startup costs). Marketing also is important; referrals that is the best advertising; do great work the first time. Oprah gave us that plug and it helped but providing good work consistently has sustained us. We have some of the same customers since when we first started the business.

Have you set up college savings for the children and retirement savings for yourself?

That was the other challenge paying ourselves salaries. We are just starting to get that money back (in terms of savings). We have to pay everybody first and then whatever is left we pay ourselves. We have a college savings plan for the children. We started their business for their education. We contribute $50 – $100 a month for each. We also have a savings account for activities like ballet.

What advice can share  for our audience about running the business?

Companies today have lost great customer service. We like to make our customers feel like they have hired a five-star company. Every customer that gives you a check, they are your boss. They expect the job to be done a certain way. You have to cater to that person. You have to make sure the work is done right. When we have conferences or meetings with our employees we let them know that we are their superiors but that our customers are our boss.

What has fatherhood/motherhood been like for you?

(Ro) Fatherhood for me has been the best experience. In my community growing up there were no fathers in the home. None of my friends had fathers at home. To have six kids and to be there for them; I see a bright future for my family. For those fathers out there I don’t care have many kids you have you have to be there for your children. It takes love to [foster] education. If you show a child that you love them then they will learn. (Mia) there was a doubt that I would ever become a mother. Motherhood for me, I am in awe. I thank God everyday for my life and for not giving up. That is key: Believing in yourself whether you are starting a business or working in a business. There is no excuse. You have to give 150%–and to never give up and to keep going. When our kids get grown there should be no excuse for them (not to succeed).

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