I get a lot of requests from aspiring organizers for advice. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.
How did you get started as an organizer?
I met my first client thru the restaurant I worked at twice a week. I catered a party in her home and we hit it off. she referred me to my next client who referred me to my next client and so on....
How did you first get clients?
The first couple of years my business was all word of mouth. I kept my rate low to gain the much needed experience I needed. Organizing for friends or at the office where you work is very different than helping a stranger who is paying you as an expert.
Did you take classes? read books?
I read a couple of Julie Morgenstern's books but I developed my own process over the years, using my experience working with difference people seeing first hand what worked and what didn't. Every organizer takes a different path, it depends on the type of work you want to do, the market you are looking to serve as well your own drive and personality.
How do you get clients now?
It's a mix of word of mouth, thru my website and social media, and/or seeing my work on other blogs and magazines.
Are you in napo? is it worth it?
I joined NAPO in 2007 and attended their annual national conference which was invaluable to my business. I learned more about the business side there than how to organize. They're a great resource.
Are you a certified professional organizer?
I've chosen not to get certified. Certification came about after I was already organizing for a few years and at that point I don't feel it's necessary, especially for the kind of organizing I do.
Do you work with hoarders?
Hoarders require special care that I am not qualified to provide. As an organizer helping the public you have a duty to understand the needs of various people and only take jobs that you are qualified for. Hoarders, pack-rats, people with ADD, ADHD and other learning disabilities, the chronically disorganized, people under emotional stress can be hurt by well intentioned organizers who do not fully know how to deal with them. If you're not sure you're qualified, do not take on the project.
Do you do this full time?
I chose to do this full-time from the start though many organizers do this as a side business. There is no right or wrong way.
What is a typical day like?
There are no typical days when you have your own business. It's a mix of working with clients, emailing, researching new products, administrative work, updating my portfolio... The list goes on...
What are your hours?
I work seven days a week. there's always something to do. I try to give myself evenings off but it doesn't always happen!!
What's the best and worst thing about being an organizer?
The best thing is my clients. I've had the pleasure of working with wonderful people who I truly enjoy helping make their spaces more of a home. I love walking into a space, visualizing what can be done and then actually doing it. The worst part is I don't always get to see the final result. My approach is about empowerment so some clients end up finishing on their own. The best and worst thing about having my own business is that it's all on me...
Can i shadow you for the day?
I do not offer 'shadowing'. I work very closely with my clients, it's a very personal and private experience so having someone else there throws off the dynamic. Many of my clients don't even like me bringing an assistant.