Start a Professional Organizing Business

Are you one of those special people that can corral chaos and clear clutter as easily and naturally as breathing? You might have what it takes to become a professional organizer.

Many people are turning to home businesses for their livelihood these days, and the best case scenario is to state a business that takes advantage of your natural abilities.

Starting a business to become a professional organizer is one of the most successful new ventures out there, and it’s desperately needed by those or are organizationally impaired!

What is a Professional Organizer?

The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), defines an organizer as a professional who provides:

“information, products and assistance to help others organize to meet their needs.”

When you become a professional organizer, it isn’t just about cleaning out a mess and cleaning closets.

Your goal should be to guide, encourage and educate clients about basic principles of organizing by offering support, focus and direction.

You should teach those who are willing to learn what to do with their clutter, in effect decreasing their stress and increasing efficiency and productivity.

Skills You Need to Become a Professional Organizer?

A professional organizer must be many different things to different people.  You must be part teacher, part secretary and part visionary.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before making the decision to start a professional organizing business:

  • Are you a person who sees the glass as half full?
  • Can you imagine order where there is chaos?
  • Are you logical, sequential, rational in your thinking and precise and organized in your actions?
  • Can you keep impeccable records, design storage units, and convince clients to part with items they no longer need?
  • Can you teach someone how to manage their time?
  • Are you “solution-oriented”?

If you answered yes to these questions, you might be an excellent professional organizer.

Decide What Type of Organizer You Want to Become

There are different types of businesses and you must consider what type of services you will offer before you open for business.

Do you want to teach, plan, perform hands-on tasks, or simply consult with clients? Would you prefer to work in office settings, private homes, or in conjunction with an interior designer or house cleaning service.

Perhaps you would be good at authoring helpful books or e-courses on organizing or becoming an organizer. Most organizers offer a variety of services, depending on client need, and charge accordingly.

How to Get Started

1. The Basics
Most professional organizers start small with little or no training.

Some organizers learn their craft by studying books or e-books, or taking an online course on organizing (see resources below).

Many specialize in one area or another: some specialize in organizing offices, some in home storage spaces; others have studied principles of Feng Shui and incorporate that knowledge into their practice.

To begin working as an organizer, start with your friends and family.  This will get your feet wet, and help you to decide whether or not you want to take your organizing to the next step of going professional.  If things go well then word-of-mouth referrals can get your business started.

Planning
If you decide to start a professional organizing business, you will need a business license.

The first big decision you will have to make, is between choosing to register your business as a sole proprietorship,LLC, or a corporation. This will take some research, and you can get some help and advice from the US Small Business Administration.

You should also write up a business plan, and plan your budget.  This includes budgeting for money you will need for marketing, education, certifications, supplies, and anything else.

Take into account that larger cities are generally the best places to start organizing professionally, due to a greater population base and number of businesses.  If you do not live in or near a large city, you may still feel that there is demand for your services in your area.  However, you should temper your expectations.

Education and Certification

  • There are several good books about starting a professional organizing business. A popular one is, How to Start a Home-Based Professional Organizing Business.
  • You can also find ebooks online, one of note is the Ultimate Guide for Professional Organizers (a little pricey at $34.95).
  • Becoming a member of NAPO would also be a worthwhile investment.  They offer online courses, allow members to put their logo on their business cards, and also put you in their network of organizers.  This means when people search the NAPO website looking for an organizer, they can find you.
  • Online courses can be found easily. A good one is from UniversalClass. This course can be done in your own time over 6 months, and is only $39 ($64 with a certificate).
  • Getting certified by The Board of Certification of Professional Organizers may be beneficial for you as a professional organizer. This is seen as the official certification for the profession. It is very expensive ($375 for NAPO members), and so you may want to hold off on the certification until business is up and running smoothly.
  • Marketing
    In order to continuously find work as a professional organizer, you will have to market your business. This may seem overwhelming at first, but there are many ways that you can attract new customers.
    Some business boosting ideas are:

  • Business cards
  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Build a website
  • Promote through social networking sites
  • Craigslist and newspaper classified ads
  • Research the Profession

    To become a successful professional organizer, good research and planning is key.

    Here are some useful tips:

  • Read about successful professionals who get paid to organize clutter, and how they started their businesses.
  • Do a Google search for support materials and products available to you as an organizer. (Be sure to check out testimonials and success stories before making a costly purchase).
  • Interview a successful organizer.
  • As mentioned above, joining a professional organizer association (i.e. NAPO) will provide you with networking and educational tools.
  • Creating Your Own Organizational Niche

    As in most independent enterprises, specialization is the key to building a reputation and a solid client base:

  • If you enjoy working alone and making a big visual impact, you may want to perform all organizing tasks yourself, rather than coach your clients through the process.
  • Is your background the business world? You might prosper as a consultant to big businesses.
  • Have an artistic flair? Why not join forces with an interior designer or architect?
  • Defining yourself as an organizer will involve really looking at your individual talents and preferences.

    Sharing What You Know With Others

    Any successful organizer will tell you, half the joy of being in the profession is sharing what they know with others.

    Because order is so vital to human functioning, helping someone to develop their own ability to get their environment in order and to manage their time, can be a deeply satisfying experience.

    Teaching others to live and work more efficiently is a highly valued skill. Few things in life have the same degree of impact.  Some professional organizers present at workshops, author helpful books, or build websites that teach others how to organize their lives or build their organizing businesses.

    Potential Income and Expenses of an Organizing Business

    Most organizers charge $40 an hour starting out, but as the demand grows for your service, you will be able to charge upwards of $100-$200 an hour. Of course, there will also be some expenses, especially when starting out.

  • You will need to apply to become a credit card merchant and open a business account at a local bank.
  • Most cities require you to formalize your business by registering it with the city clerk.
  • Business insurance is essential.
  • Start up costs will exceed initial profits, so you may need to keep your day job while you’re building the business.
  • Investing time and money into putting a website together, or starting a blog on the theme of organizing, will help you build credibility and perhaps connect you with potential customers.
  • Summary

    Successful professional organizers reap financial rewards, as well as the appreciation of their clients. Due to popular television shows, the profession has been given lots of free press recently.

    If you are a “natural” when it comes to organizing space and time, and have the personal traits required to stick with your business while it grows, you may do well in this novel, but growing profession.

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