Q: WHAT BACKGROUNDS DO ORGANIZERS COME FROM?
A: Every background imaginable -- teachers, counselors, corporate executives, home makers. Many organizers either come from "HELPING professions" or jobs which required them to be exceptionally organized. But they all share one common characteristic -- they wanted MORE from their careers -- more satisfaction, more control over their time, or more freedom.
Q: WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED TO BE AN ORGANIZER?
A: Regardless of their background, all successful "veteran" organizers share certain characteristics -- a PASSION for organizing principles, a strong set of people skills, the ability to TEACH new ideas to people, sharply honed "problem-solving" skills, and the ability to organize their own business dealings. But don't worry if you feel lacking in some of these areas -- becoming an organizer is a continual process of growing, so you will acquire these skills as you grow and evolve.
Q: HOW DO I GET HELP STARTING MY BUSINESS?
A: You can get all the help you need to learn how to be a successful organizer through one of our "OnlineOrganizing Academy" training / coaching / mentoring programs. The course is broken into 12 modules that cover every aspect of STARTING an organizing business -- from choosing a specialization to creating a contract to what you will do at your first client appointment. We also offer a series of toolkits that provide you with hundreds of TEMPLATES, sample agreements, invoices, contracts, tracking sheets, and forms that you can use in your business -- much better than re-creating the wheel! If you need a customized logo or a website designed specifically for Professional Organizers, we can help. And be sure to check out our business start-up discount packages, offering everything you need to take off and succeed as an organizer, and one low flat price.
Q: HOW DO I ATTRACT CLIENTS?
A: The first rule of thumb is to tell everyone you meet about your new business -- you never know who will have a potential client for you. Don't waste a lot of money on expensive advertising. Relationships and REFERRALS are the key to getting clients. You can also build your client base by joining our referral network -- just tell us the TYPES of clients and the geographic area you serve, and we'll start sending you referrals.
Q: WHAT IF THERE AREN'T MANY CLIENTS IN MY AREA?
A: If you live in a rural area or a state with a smaller population, it may be difficult to find enough local clients to sustain your business. But you can also work with clients who live a bit further away -- either by TRAVELING to them for appointments (you may need to charge additional travel fees) -- or by providing long-distance phone or e-mail COACHING.
Q: SHOULD I PRESENT MY CLIENTS WITH A CONTRACT?
A: That's up to you. But consider what a contract does. It lays out all of your business policies (including pricing, cancellations, the purchase of supplies, etc.) up FRONT so there is no confusion between you and the client. It educates clients about how you work. And it PROTECTS your interests if a client takes advantage of you. So what do you think? If you aren't sure how to set up a clear, defensible contract on your own, consider using one of the templates included in our toolkits.
Q: HOW DO OTHER ORGANIZERS CHARGE?
A: Each organizer charges differently -- some are paid by the hour, some by the day, and some by the project. And each organizer's fee will be different, based on his or her level of EXPERIENCE, the area of the country, the type of service being provided, and what the market will support. While hourly rates for organizers can vary anywhere between $15 an hour and $150 an hour (and even more for speakers), you can count on the AVERAGE hourly rate for a professional organizer in the United States being between $45 and $65 an hour. Our toolkits offer some standard pricing charts, so you can make sure you are in line with the competition.
Q: HOW SHOULD I CHARGE AS AN ORGANIZER?
A: Your fees should be determined by several factors. The first is your level of EXPERIENCE -- you will certainly charge more as a veteran organizer than as a novice. Also consider the types of services you provide and the responsibility or DIFFICULTY level of your work. Finally, find out what clients in your area are typically willing to pay to get organized. Our toolkits are filled with forms and templates to help you hone in on a pricing strategy, and our training / coaching / mentoring programs contain lessons that are specifically designed to help you help you decide on the right rate for your business.
Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO ON MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
A: Relax! Just go into your client's home or office with the intention of doing the very best job you can. If you have the opportunity to provide a CONSULTATION first, do it. This gives you a chance to check out the situation and plan your strategy before beginning work. You will also have an opportunity to tell your client what SUPPLIES they need ahead of time. Our toolkits contain a variety of intake, assessment, and action plan forms that will help you to lay out your strategy on paper before you dig in. And our training / coaching / mentoring programs include role-playing exercises requiring you to imagine and walk-through that first appointment with a variety of hypothetical clients (great practice before you start organizing in-person!)
Q: HOW MANY ORGANIZERS ARE IN BUSINESS?
A: Over 3000 Professional Organizers belong to one of the two major professional associations (National and International Associations Of Professional Organizers) -- and the number is GROWING everyday. Many other organizers run successful businesses, but are not members of a national professional association.
Q: ARE THERE ONLY ORGANIZERS IN THE UNITED STATES?
A: Most Professional Organizers operate their businesses in the United States -- although the industry is EXPANDING quickly into Canada, Europe, and other areas. You can expect to see Professional Organizing take hold a strong hold worldwide in the upcoming years.
Q: WHAT PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS ARE AVAILABLE?
A: The National Association Of Professional Organizers or NAPO has been around the longest and is the most recognized name in organizing, and accepts members from all over the world. There is also a group called Professional Organizers In Canada and one called the Australasian Association Of Professional Organizers -- and look for more overseas groups to start up in the coming days.
Q: WHY SHOULD I JOIN A PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION?
A: You can get to know other organizers through your professional association -- and build a strong SUPPORT network. In addition, The National Association Of Professional Organizers provides a number of educational and business building opportunities -- through their annual conference, newsletter, and local chapter activities.
Q: CAN YOU HELP ME BECOME CERTIFIED AS A CPO?
A: Yes. Our training / coaching / mentoring programs include detailed information about what's involved in taking the CPO exam (in the lesson on on developing credibility) -- you will understand the number of client hours you must have under your belt, the educational credentials you must have obtained, and the core competencies you must have developed in order to pass the test. You can't really take the exam until you've been in business about 1-2 years, and that's by design -- you must have a certain level of field experience in place before you sit for the test. But our training is meant to help organizers get started more quickly, log those client hours faster, and develop those core competencies with greater ease, so they can take the test sooner and actually pass it the first time around.
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