How long you have been in business for yourself?:
I started my business in June of 2003. I wrote a letter to 80 people, prayed a lot, mailed it out and went on a planned family vacation for a week. I booked my first two clients the week I got home. I rejoice whenever I realize I have been doing this for 11 years now!
Business product or service:
I am a certified professional organizer. I help people -individuals and families – organize their homes and offices and schedules, to help them live better lives. I spend most of my time in other people’s homes and offices, providing hands-on organizing services. I can also work with clients virtually (via the internet) or by phone, offering organizing coaching for my clients who want to dig a little deeper into their organizational challenges.
Another important component of my business is Public Speaking and Presentations. I offer presentations on a range of organizational topics, like Time and Paper Management, Kitchen Organizing and Menu Planning, and Clearing Clutter for groups from 5-100. I studied for and took my certification exam in 2008, and am very proud of that accomplishment.
What led you to start your business?:
When researching “how to have a garage sale” in 2000, I came across the concept of professional organizing and the National Association of Professional Organizers. I found the idea fascinating, but I had a great job at the time that I loved and didn’t pursue it then.
As my husband and I started our family, I quickly realized one of us needed to be closer to home, instead of an hour away by train. I needed autonomy and flexibility, and time with my children while still contributing to my family’s finances. I began to explore starting my own business, and in 2003, I took the leap.
What kept/keeps you going during challenging times?:
When I started my business, there was not a handbook on how to start an organizing business (there is now). I relied heavily on my own organizing skills to manage my business. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, and I am fortunate that my skill set lends itself so well to running a business. Juggling a fledgling business with two young children was a challenge, too, especially when we decided to add a third child to the mix!
The economic crisis in the last 6 years has been hard on many small businesses like mine, since professional organizing services can be considered a luxury for some. My business and I have grown every year, though, and I am so grateful to my clients for believing in the value of organization!
What keeps me going is the conviction that I am helping people, and the belief that there is no limit to the positive impact we can have on the world if we just keep moving forward and doing good things.
One lesson you’ve learned during your entrepreneurial journey:
Being a solo entrepreneur can be lonely! I am surrounded by a wonderful family and community, for certain, but as my business and I have evolved, I realized that handling every aspect of the business on my own left me feeling inadequate and unprepared.
I have also built a community of professionals to help me in the business of running my business! I have a lawyer, an accountant, an IT guy, an accountability partner, and most recently, I worked with a graphic designer and printer on a new logo. The lesson learned is that “We are Never Really Alone.”
One thing about your business that makes you smile:
Everything makes me smile. I really love what I do. I get the opportunity to meet and work with great people ever day. I bring calm and order to chaos, one person at a time. I help my clients improve their lives and the lives of their families and co-workers. I work hard, and I reap the benefits of my hard work. I smile all the time.
Favorite motivational quote:
Luke 12:48 – “Much will be demanded from everyone who has been given much, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked.”
I know that every good thing that I have – family, health, education, skills to help others – is a gift from God and meant to be shared. Our gifts and talents, tangible and intangible, are not given to us to be hoarded and hidden away, but to be used and shared for the benefit of others.
Dark of course, and if there happens to be caramel somewhere inside, so much the better.