So, you’ve decided you’re good at organizing. You’ve decided you’ve got some time on your hands. You’ve decided to be an entrepreneur. You’ve read our post on how to become a professional organizer and you’re pretty sure it’s a path you’d like to take. So what timeline are we looking at for becoming a professional organizer?
Becoming A Professional Organizer
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this one since everyone does things a little differently.
From the time you get that first thought in your head to the time you have your first pain client and booked up calendar can vary based on a million factors.
Your timeline to becoming a professional organizer is going to depend on how much time you have, how serious you are, how much money you’d like to invest, and how much overthinking and perfecting you do. Getting a job working under another professional organizer can speed up the process a bit while venturing out on your own will probably take a while longer.
The good news is, it can all go quite fast if you decide not to be too picky. The bad news is if you’re considering becoming a professional organizer, you’re probably pretty picky. (No offense intended, we speak from experience!)
What I can share is my experience and timeline. Some people move faster, some people move slower.
My Journey to Becoming a Professional Organizer
When I left my career to stay home with children, I turned to organizing to keep myself occupied and sane. It was an escape for me. I thought it would be more fun with company, so I encouraged a group of friends to join an organization challenge with me. We’d share our before and after pictures and celebrate with one another.
Friends would casually encourage me to help others and organize professionally, but I was skeptical that professional organizing was an actual profession, let alone one that would make me money.
The first inklings I had that professional organizing was an actual profession were in early 2018. Could that work for me? Bit by bit, I thought it could, and I took the first step towards becoming a professional organizer in the fall of 2018 — I started doing some googling. That was it. Just a tiny baby step, but the seed had been planted, and the thought kept returning and returning. I didn’t take action on it for several months.
The next action towards becoming a professional organizer, a scarier one, was telling my husband my intentions. He looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, “Is that a thing?”
While this was exactly the same response *I* had, his lack of outright and instant enthusiasm slowed me down a bit. Was it a thing? Would people pay me for it? Would I just embarrass myself?
After doing some market research (aka hanging around on Facebook groups, listening to other moms talk, viewing professional organizers’ social media accounts) I decided it was a thing, and I was going to do it.
I brainstormed business name ideas. This probably wasn’t a perfect first step, but it was something that I felt like I needed to do. I needed to create a picture in my head of my business and what I wanted it to represent. To me, coming up with a business name helped give me a vision and made the whole thing more real.
The next thing I did was to announce to my close group of friends what I was going to do. I was a member of a mom’s club for several years and we had done organizing challenges together. They knew I was a little extra with organizing and immediately supported and encouraged me. A few even offered to let me come work on spaces in their homes.
Next, I started off the new year by making a commitment to myself and my new business. I invested in a few classes and opened a (secret) Instagram account. I wasn’t quite ready to share my business with the general population yet.
I paid a few hundred dollars for my classes, which kicked my Mom Guilt into high gear. This was money I could use to feed my children or spend on my family. What the heck was I doing spending it on myself and some silly dream?
With my husband’s encouragement that our children would eat and our family would be just fine, I continued. I sat in the online classes during nap times and in the evenings. While the particular classes *I* took weren’t especially informative, they boosted my confidence and helped me feel like this was something that was not out of my wheelhouse.
My next step and investment was to register my business as an LLC. This was another couple hundred dollars (more Mom Guilt), but if I was going to do this thing, I wanted it to be legitimate and official.
I did some research and began collecting materials for my organizing work bag. I was in about $1,000. What in the world was I doing?
Remember that Instagram account I started? I was very active here. I took pictures of my home and posted several times a day (with no strategy or even quality pictures). I made connections on social media. I called myself a professional organizer, even though I hadn’t been paid for a single job yet. No one on social media knew any different. Fake it ’til you make it, right?
I compared my social media account to other social media accounts. Mine weren’t good enough. I took better pictures; I brightened them up a little and slowly, slowly I got my face on stories.
Finally, I took my biggest and scariest step to becoming a professional organizer in March 2019.
As I connected with other professional organizers, I found one in a neighboring town. A client contacted her, but the organizer’s schedule was full. Could I fit this client in? Seeing as my schedule was WIDE open, I said yes.
Related Post: Community Over Competition
After about 2 months of thinking and 3 months of prepping, I had my first client! I charged way too little. I scrambled around to find a babysitter to watch my kids. I probably paid the babysitter more than I actually made after the commute time was it factored in, but none of that mattered!
I walked into a hot mess of a living room and I didn’t really know what I was doing but started tackling it one box at a time. It wasn’t a glamourous job, but we took the living room from a mess to a mostly blank slate, prepping it for future furniture.
Then I went home to hug my kids and hand over almost all my money to the babysitter. I also increased my prices.
My first client turned into my first repeat client. She called me back to work in her two kids’ rooms and this time, when she paid me, I used all the money to purchase insurance.
During the time, I listened to more podcasts to educate myself and build my confidence. I listed myself on some websites and directories. I worked on building my website so I would look legitimate when potential clients googled me.
The directories I used were helpful, some more so than others. Using these directories, I received inquiries (aka leads) from several clients with major organizing needs — entire houses and packing and unpacking for moves. These jobs took me through my first summer as a professional organizer. After that, I got referrals from previous clients and inquiries through social media and my website.
6 Months to Becoming a Professional Organizer
A lot of factors come into play in becoming a professional organizer. A lot may depend on your current career, family situations, a social network, the time and money you have to invest in your business, and how long it takes you to decide and commit.
Here’s my timeline, from stay-at-home mom to professional organizer making an income:
- Months 1-2: thinking about it
- Months 3 to 4: planning, educating, building an online presence, and making it legal
- Months 4-6: working with first clients, learning
- Months 6-9: getting referrals, more clients, creating routines, purchasing a new phone that takes better pictures
- Month 9-12: building following, begin casually working with companies, start blog
- Month 18: 10k followers on Instagram
- Month 24: hiring help
After a year, I was sometimes booked a month out and sometimes had nothing on my schedule for weeks at a time. Professional Organizing is a business that ebbs and flows with the time of year. Try to enjoy the free time when you have it. Try to appreciate the rush when you have that.
Becoming a Professional Organizer
Remember, terms like “successful” and “established” are subjective. Establish your own timeline and do what works for you. Create your own criteria and schedule. Becoming a professional organizer won’t happen overnight, but with consistency and determination, you can make it happen!
If you need guidance, Organizers Connect offers courses and resources to help you tackle hurdles and clear the way. Drop a comment below or reach out to us for more information!