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Showing posts from 2008

MARKETING TIP

January is Get Organized (GO) Month. There is no better time than the month of January to teach a class on organizing at your local community college or community center.

If you attended our training program in 2008 you received three workshops you can present; Paper Management, Time Management, and Clutter Control.

There’s no excuse. Get out there and get known in your community! Call and book a location and then send out an e-mail news blast, or use Constant Contact, to all of your clients, leads, friends, family, business connections, co-workers or former co-workers.

Be sure to send a press release to your local newspaper about your workshop. Who knows, they might come cover it and you will get free publicity!

ASK THE TRAINER

Question:

Hi Anne,
I feel like my business is stuck and I really need help with marketing. Can you give me a boost?

Answer: Marketing is something you never stop doing, or shouldn’t stop doing, for two important reasons. One – it keeps you in front of your client and potential client. Two – it keeps you sharp and focused on your services and what you can offer.

If you really feel stuck and want some expert guidance I suggest you work with a Marketing Coach specific to our industry. And, lucky you there is one. Her name is Brandie, Kajino and her business is The Home Office Organizer. Check out what she can offer Professional Organizers at www.thehomeofficeorganizer.com/organizers-only/. Good luck and tell Brandie you heard about her from me.

If it is a website you need—my #1 marketing recommendation--I can help you with your website development. To get started read what we offer and then complete our online request form. If you have a website and would like to link with ours, y…

RECOMMENDED READING

Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy is by far the best book I have read regarding procrastination. Brian discusses 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. An easy and enjoyable read! I love saying to my kids, "Eat That Frog!".

Marketing Tip of the Week

Identify a new market.

A good friend of mine, also a Professional Organizer, wrote to me yesterday and said she thinks she wants to specialize at something so she gets really good at it. I say, “Brilliant!”

It’s a fact. The more focused you become about who your ideal client is and what you want to do, the more you become an expert in that area. And, we all know experts can command a niche market that can also command top dollar.

Do you know who your ideal client is? Are you working with them? Are you marketing to them? If not, that should be your focus this week.

VOTE FOR ME!

The Los Angeles chapter of The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-LA) is proud to present The 2009 Los Angeles Organizing Awards.

On January 30, the professional organizing industry will recognizes the best in the professional organizing industry world-wide. Professional organizers who set the standard for home and business productivity will be acknowledged for their accomplishments, along with those products and services that help consumers and businesses organize anything and everything.

For the 4th straight year, The Los Angeles Organizing Awards will honor twenty individuals and/or companies that represent the best of the best in the professional organizing industry world-wide. Recipients will receive their awards at the public congratulatory gala on January 30, as National "Get Organized Month" comes to a close.

Voting for the 4th Annual Los Angeles Organizing Awards closes December 31. All winners will be decided by popular public vote and will be anno…

Ask the Trainer

Question: I would like to run this opportunity by you for your suggestions and/or thoughts. I have the opportunity to speak with some tenants of an office park about organizing their work space for the new year. I have about 50 minutes total to teach them something! I was planning on providing some take-aways, besides my business card! Any thoughts?

Answer: You could talk about just paper management or time management or a combination of both.

Talk about what a lack of organizational skills causes; loss of time, money, space, energy, relationships and then talk about the value your services can provide; regaining time, money, space, energy and relationships. Sell your VALUE!

You could give them a little questionnaire to find out if their preference is for paper or electronic time management tools. Gives them an activity and you a break.

Or, you could have them fill out the Your Relationship With Clutter exercise from Unit II.

If you are feeling really brave, do a demonstration. Or…

Fun Calendars

Looking for a new background for your computer? KLeigh Creative is a great web site for finding new CALENDAR backgrounds. Check it out at kleighcreative.com... New calendars to choose from every month!

What is your organizing WOW factor?

Recently, I have researched many TV segments featuring Professional Organizers sharing their ways of organizing various areas of one’s home, business and lives. Additionally, I have read many of the latest books written by Professional Organizers explaining their methods for organizing. Lastly, I have perused numerous Professional Organizers websites from newbies to veterans.

What has struck me is...nothing! There is nothing revolutionary being said. No WOW factor. I feel like I have heard it all and seen it all when comes to “how to” organize. If I feel that way, I wonder, does the public at large feel that way too?

Which brings me to my point of this blog post…what is the organizing WOW factor for you? What makes you say, “WOW I never thought of that before!” or “WOW I think that might really help me to get organized!”

I want to hear from you whether you are a Professional Organizer, a person in need of organizing, someone who has always been organized, or someone who has recen…

ASK THE TRAINER Q&A

Hi Anne,
I hope you can help – and are willing to help your “in over her head” student. I am not really in over my head, I am just not sure how to go about something.

I have my first project where I may need the help of someone else, and I am not sure how to go about it. It is a larger project and the client does not want to have anything to do with it, other than for me to tell her what I have done and what she needs to do to maintain it. I can do that – although not the ideal scenario as I am used to having the help of a client.

I am used to having the client help with a project, so what do I do now when I don’t have any help? How do I approach her about whether she is fine with me doing the project on my own – or if she wants me to hire someone to get the job done faster? How do I go about including an assistant in the estimate? If I charge by the hour, or by the package deal, how do I account for another body – especially when I don’t even have another body? Where do you find help? H…

MARKETING TIP

Stay in touch with your clients during the holiday season. You can still send Thanksgiving cards and tell your clients how thankful you are for their business. Do you think it will take too much time? Too much work to handwrite all of those cards? Then check out http://www.sendoutcards.com/. You can upload your contact database in one stroke and send out cards in another. You can even do it in your own handwriting! What are you waiting for? I'm sending mine out now!

RECOMMENDED READING

One of life’s great ironies is, the busier we get, the less time we find to put stuff back, sort stuff out and throw stuff away. Before we know it, we’re spending more time looking for something than we are accomplishing anything.

Teach your clients to break the cycle with this helpful guidebook. Divided into four tabbed chapters and a resources section, you’ll find tips on everything from cleaning out your car to ending relationships that take up more time than they’re worth.

Author Meryl Starr is the owner of Let’s Get Organized, a professional organizing service, and her ideas for organizing have been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens andSelf. She has also appeared on HGTV and other national and local news shows.

Available from SeeJaneWork.com

ASK THE TRAINER

Question: When we determine a project is going to be too much for us for whatever reason and we refer the client to another organizer, how do we handle a situation when the other organizer charges a lot more per hour / job? Should we try to refer our client to someone who charges the approximate same as us? Should we alert the organizer of what we mentioned to the client prior to referring the client? This could be awkward for all parties involved.

Answer: Referrals can be tricky. I refer to Professional Organizers I know and I have worked with, so I know I’m giving a good referral. Turns, out they typically have the same fee structure as I do, or very close. When in doubt, refer your potential client/client to the NAPO website or your local NAPO chapter website and they can choose based on specialty, location, fee, experience, or what is most important to them. It is always a good idea to talk with the organizer before you give a direct referral to make sure they want the client and a…

WEEKLY MARKETING TIP

If the economy is causing a decrease in your client time, now is the time for you to update and polish your services. If you have an open block of client time (ie no billable client time) then work in your office.

Really focus on what is your unique niche that you can bring to clients. If you haven't identify who your key client is do it now! Are they single professional women, families, small business owners, store-front businesses, home-based businesses, students, seniors, crafters, who are they?

Next create a marketing message and develop your marketing materials (website, brochures, business card, menu of services, flyers, etc) focused on your key client. You don't need to attract everyone, you do need to attract clients you want to work with.

Then watch the magic happen...

RECOMMENDED READING

The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to Take Control of Your Time, Tasks, and Talents by Nancy A. Ratey Quote from Publishers Weekly: "Ratey has produced a valuable resource for people addressing the daily challenges caused by the neurobiological condition of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Symptoms of ADHD include difficulty with organization, focus, and time management. Ratey, a professional ADHD coach who was diagnosed with the disorder herself while in graduate school, provides a set of concrete tools that ADHD adults can use to help themselves traverse both personal and professional situations, though the author emphasizes that her book is not a substitute for diagnosis and treatment. Short sections explaining the biological reasons for the disorder's more exasperating symptoms are contributed by Ratey's husband John, a psychiatrist specializing in treatment of ADHD and co-author of Driven to Distraction, a seminal ADHD book. With a nod to her audi…

ASK THE TRAINER

QUESTION: I would like to learn how to do workplace assessments for litigation lawyers. Most of them have paralegals and other staff dealing with the paper. The lawyer needs an integrated system to file and retrieve others' work, and integrate her/his own work with theirs. Any ideas?

ANSWER: The Paper Tiger software would address it. For more information look at www.thepapertiger.com.

WEEKLY MARKETING TIP

Get Linked In. Check out my profile and let's get linked in. It's a great place to find someone you are in need of through someone you already know, like and trust.It's also a form of social networking.

RECOMMENDED READING

4 Weeks to an Organized Life with ADHD by Jeffrey Freed, M.A.T. and Joan Shapiro, M.D.This innovative program offers practical, useful strategies for people with AD/HD so that they can make use of their brain functions that do work well and learn day-to-day skills that may be otherwise too difficult to master. Based on the concept of visual thinking and filled with tips on how to keep the body at its highest functioning level, this program helps AD/HD sufferers become more successful in their everyday lives. The authors share simple yet powerful techniques to develop and harness the strengths of the visual right brain.

ASK THE TRAINER

Question: I have been meaning to call for advice. I got all ready and then have stalled. I wanted bit more experience before I really promoted myself, but that does not seem to have happened. I am "working" on 4 jobs but none are finished. 1. Playroom: I did the initial consult. Suggested some storage units. She chose some and we made plans to continue when they arrived - one week. She called a week later to say that she had changed her mind on her choice. So I sent her four other product line choices. 2. Garage re-do. Great project. 3rd garage to be filled with shelves and racks. Did consult, she wanted to paint garage first. Very excited. Paint done. ($1000) They are real estate agents in a slow market, so it may be a few weeks before they have $500 to continue so I am in wait mode. 3. Holiday storage room. This lady has over 40 large totes in a 8x 10 room. You could not step into it. We did consult, and cleaned out bins. I suggested some carpenters for inexpensive shel…

RECOMMENDED READING

Susan C. Pinsky; Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder
Offering easy steps and simple solutions. Pinsky states, "The best organizational system for someone with ADD is the one that is most efficient, simplest, most convenient, and the easiest to maintain, because it requires the least amount of steps and materials."

ASK THE TRAINER

QUESTION: What is your guidance around completely emptying the room? Always? If you are focusing on just one section of it, per client request, i.e. one table of papers stacked, I am assuming you don't always need to empty out the furniture and all, but.....I am thinking of two scenarios:1. The thought for one client, of completely emptying out her kitchen and starting over, FREAKED her out, so I tried to work within/around it.....thankfully I was volunteering....it went ok/not great.... 2. A different client.....HOARDER to the hilt......we started in the kitchen (stuff in boxes, she had moved and due to a huge accompanying life transition - divorce etc., she had been unpacked for months.) The only place available to even start sorting through the boxes (stuff all thrown in there to move quickly) was the front yard, there literally was not adequate room to sort inside because every room was a disaster. She did not want to do this, so I made due with this very uncomfortable tiny sp…

WEEKLY MARKETING TIP

First, read Do You Have 16 Boxesat Seth Godin's site.

Second, if you are in your first year as a Professional Organizer review the action list you received at your training with me (Business Plan session). What on your action list is unfinished?

If your business has slowed due to the economy there isn't a lot you can do about that--unless you can now control the economy :) That isn't in my power so I'm not focusing there. However, you can focus on what you can finish on your action list. When the economy picks up, turn around, or whatever it will do to stimulate the general population to start spending their discretionary income again, you will be ready for new clients.

If you have been in business for more than a year, you most likely have a great list of contacts (leads, clients, and other interested people). Create a newsletter or blog if you haven't already. If you have created one of these marketing pieces, now is the time to send out more with lots of juicy tip…

WEEKLY MARKETING TIP

Create an RSS blog feeder to receive up-to-date information on your profession, industry, product, target market groups, etc. Or, read articles from trade magazines and newsletters. Not sure where to find a blog on organizing? Google it!

These are the blogs in my reader:

43 Folders
Disorder2Order Blog
Home Office Organizer
Organising Queen (10)
Professional Organize...
[ real neat ] - real ...
See Jane Work
Seth's Blog
SolutionsForYou, Inc.
Story of Stuff
The Clutter Diet Blog
Virtually Organized
Your Life. Organized..


For tips on managing blogging visit Marcia Francois's blog theOrganizing Queen.

Better tip, start blogging and send me your blog site when you do.

ASK THE TRAINER

Question: Hi Anne, The training program manuals are great ‘after training’ references. I have been reviewing the information and I have a question about the actual work with clients. I understand the "30 second hook" has the first phase as the complimentary needs assessment.... Is this done over the phone or in the client's house? Has there been a commitment to use your services at this point? Actually onsite certainly allows for better assessment but this could get expensive if they don't follow through. What are you thoughts on how this is usually handled?

Answer: Good question. First of all, the needs assessment doesn’t need to be complimentary. Second, the assessment can be done other than on-site. You can do assessments by phone, e-mail, web site form, in person, or however you choose. I would suggest you do all of your assessments onsite until you are comfortable with the needs assessment questions and have performed enough onsite assessments to understand what …

Welcome

The purpose of my training program blog is to stay in touch and support training participants after completing their training program, keep the public informed of our upcoming programs, hear what our participants are saying about the programs, and to provide you with industry information that may be helpful in your pursuit as a Professional Organizer. I want to provide you with information you are seeking. If you have ideas for a blog, please send them to me. Also, send me your questions for the "Ask the Trainer" blog posts where in future blog postings I will provide you with answers based on my experiences, training and education.