If you haven’t yet heard the buzz around professional organizing, it’s only a matter of time before you do. With shows like Tidying Up With Marie Kondo that took Netflix by storm, more and more people are realizing the benefit of cleaning up, straightening up, and getting organized.
If you’re a naturally organized person, you may have taken pause and wondered if you could use your talents to be a professional organizer. But how do you go about to become a professional organizer?
Do you have the right skills, knowledge, and business savvy to run your own professional organizing business? Let’s take a look.
Why Become a Professional Organizer?
If spring cleaning time comes around more like once a month instead of once a year in your life, if you’re known among your friends and family as the king or queen of organization, if you’re empathetic and love connecting with people, and if you crave running your own business doing something that you love, then listen up because the professional organizing business is exploding and there are tons of people out there that will gladly pay for your expertise.
Here’s why you should become a professional organizer:
- You LOVE organizing
- You love people
- You have a deep desire to help transform lives
- You’re non-judgmental
- You want to run your own business and make great money doing so
How to Become a Professional Organizer: What Skills Are Required?
While the idea of running your own professional organizing business may be appealing, like any job, it’s not for everyone. There’s so much more to this career than simply making spaces “pretty.” You have to have the right skill set to set you apart from the crowd and be the cheerleader that your clients need you to be.
So, what are the skills required?
Your clients will have items that they’ve collected and hung on to for personal reasons. In order to allow your clients to let go of the items that are not serving them, you must have the ability to dig deep and find the psychological reasons why your clients feel a certain way about their clutter and also find a way to show them how to release it to achieve their goals.
Aside from having the knowledge, dedication, and drive for organizing, as a professional home organizer, you must have empathy towards your clients. This skill ties in well with psychology as it relates to an understanding that letting go of things isn’t an easy task for everyone. You must have the ability to put yourself in the shoes of your client and then act accordingly. It takes patience, understanding, listening, coaching, and sometimes being a shoulder to cry on.
If you’re not a great communicator, you won’t succeed as a professional organizer. This job involves working closely with your clients and communicating nearly non-stop in order to get the job done right. Your communication skills are so vital that they have the ability to make or break your professional organizing career.
Time management skills
Typically, you’ll have your clients sign a contract for a certain amount of hours or sessions to complete the requested job. It then becomes essential that you work efficiently within that designated time frame to complete the task, all while handling your client’s emotions and any unexpected hiccups in the plan. If you’re not skilled at time management, you could find yourself working more hours than what you’re being paid for, and who wants to work for free?
Your job as a professional organizer will vary from client to client. You will never have two clients alike! Regardless of how much training you have, there’s always going to be the need for solid problem-solving skills that allow you to switch directions and execute on the fly.
An eye for design and spatial organization
It’s important that you have the ability to create a vision for a space before you roll up your sleeves and dig in. You must be able to formulate a solid plan and express that to your client for approval before you begin.
How to Become a Certified Professional Organizer
There’s a misconception that you need to be a certified professional organizer (CPO) in order to be considered a legitimate organizer, but that’s not the case. You can choose to become a CPO to show your potential clients that you’re the real deal, or you can simply put together a killer portfolio and rack up some stellar testimonials from previous clients and get more clients that way. The choice is yours, and there is no right or wrong answer here.
However, if you’ve been dabbling in professional organizing for friends and family for a while and you’re ready to take your career to the next level, it’s a logical choice to pursue becoming a CPO to scale your services and drive more business.
NAPO (the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) conducts CPO exams several times per year. The exam itself costs $450, but getting to the exam portion of the certification is a bit strenuous. In order to be exam ready, you must first complete 1,500 hours of documented, paid work within three years. That’s roughly 9.6 hours per week for three years.
After you take and pass the exam, you’ll be able to attach that coveted CPO to your name, but you’ll have to work to maintain your certification by paying your annual dues and reapplying for your certification every three years.
There are plenty of other resources out there that will help jump start your career, too. You can attend professional organizing conferences or seek one-on-one or group coaching from a dedicated coach for professional organizers who will show you the ropes and give you the inside track on the industry.
How to Get Home Organizing Experience
Whether you choose to pursue being a CPO or not, one thing is for sure: you’ll need lots of practice, experience, testimonials, and before and after pictures to help land your first clients.
The truth is, you can have all the certifications in the world and look great on paper, but people want to see results and proof that you have the skills to back it up.
You might be asking, ‘How can I get experience as a professional organizer if I don’t have any clients yet?’ To that, we say, get out there and start finding work anywhere you can! Ask your family, friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances if they’d be interested in your services.
You can offer your services at a discounted rate in exchange for testimonials and before and after evidence. Join networking groups and get out there and spread the word about your service. You can even exchange services with other up-and-coming entrepreneurs who are looking to build their brand and reputation.
But don’t underestimate the power of a well put-together marketing plan. If you know who to target and how to target, you can easily drum up new business without years of experience.
Marketing Your Organizing Business and Attracting Your First Clients
When you’re ready to really get the ball rolling on your new career, it’s time to hit your marketing plan hard. Here are our top 3 tips for marketing your new professional organizing business.
1. Get that website up and running
Today, anyone can build a website and documenting your work is a natural part of your job and overall marketing plan, so you should have plenty of content for it. Your website will serve as your storefront, your business card, and your resume.
It should be full of compelling information and pictures of you, your services, and your results. Bonus points if you include a blog that allows you to provide your visitors with helpful information as well as a chance for them to get to know you on a deeper level.
2. Start networking!
Networking includes both online and offline transactions. Join a local business group, become affiliated with your local chamber of commerce, and make sure you’re on social media.
You don’t have to be present and active on every social channel, but pick a few that will give you the most bang for your buck. Think Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to start. Build your profiles and get active with posting and engaging with your target audience.
3. Try some paid ads
Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Google Ads—these are all great platforms to invest some capital in to get your brand name out there. These ad platforms allow you to get super granular in your targeting so you can literally target your ideal, perfect clients.
When done correctly, your investment in online ads can net you an awesome ROI and allow you to snag your first few clients quickly.
Final Thoughts on Becoming a Professional Organizer
Whether you’re interested in being a professional organizer on the side or you want to make it your full-time career, your ability to succeed lies in how well you’re able to market yourself and land clients.
Of course, you still need to have the right skills and personality traits to be successful. As most entrepreneurs know, getting those first few clients is essential in building your brand and confidence as a new business owner.
By following our guide and advice, you’ll soon see that learning how to become a professional organizer can be a very lucrative and fulfilling career – all it takes a little skill, patience, and good old-fashioned hard work.
You CAN get paid to do what you love and you WILL love what you do.
Jen Obermeier is the entrepreneur behind Pro Organizer Studio. She has helped thousands of students around the world grow their own successful professional organizing businesses by coaching them through her unique Inspired Organizer ® program.