Archive for Business

What does a professional organizer do?

POC Gold Leaf Member

Perhaps you are familiar with the Professional Organizer industry.  It is an unregulated industry.  Anyone can call themselves a Professional Organizer.  Professional Organizers in Canada  (POC) was established about 17 years ago and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) the American organization is about 30 years old. Look for organizers listed on these directories.  Most Professional Organizers have their own business and specialize in areas of organizing. As you read their websites you will be able to see their years of experience,  type of training and continuing education.

What happens when I call an organizer?

Usually there is some type of conversation over the phone, Skype or email to discover what type of problem you want solved.  It might be to have a spaced organized, help with moving, develop systems to make things function more smoothly, downsizing, coaching or virtual organizing etc. Then there is a description of how the job will be completed. This is about the only common business practice.  Since we all own our own businesses we have varying ways of continuing.

When you contact Mind over  Clutter:

Can I get an estimate on the cost for the work to be completed?

Most times it is hard to estimate how long a job will take during the conversation.  I offer a free one hour assessment to see what the job entails and give you an idea of how long I think it might take and what we will do.   One of the biggest factors on how long a job will take is how easily and quickly you can make decisions on if items stay or go.  The second factor is, sometimes the job expands to include unforeseen work: filing papers, assembling shelving or bookcases, corners and areas not discussed during the assessment. I work on an hourly rate and offer a package of 10 hours at a reduced rate.

How does it work?

80% of my clients work with me to go through items and decide what will stay and what will be donated or recycled.  Then we discuss the best place and way to store the items so they can be easily found and used. Most clients like to learn  the skill of organizing and so working together helps them to learn where start, how to sort, how to decide what stays and what goes, how to store things in containers and where is the best location to store different types of items.

What if I don’t want to help or can’t help?

If you don’t want to help, I can work alone sorting items based on our conversation on what you want to keep and what you want to donate.  Then I create a donate pile  and a garbage pile and recycle pile.  Nothing leaves the house until you have looked through each pile.  If you can’t help you can sit with me and I can bring you things to do and you can answer my questions.

What if I need some guidance but can do all the work myself?

We can work together virtually.  You show me the space to organize over Skype and I send you a plan and you complete the work.  Here is more information about virtual organizing.  Or I can coach you through the process in a conversation in-person or virtually discussing what you want to accomplish and how you can accomplish it.

What happens with donations and recycling?

At the end of each work session I take the donations.  I will drop them at centers that will take your things.  I can take them to the donation center of your choice too.  I take non-curbside recycling at the end of each session. Usually that includes, batteries, paint cans, small electronics , small appliances, textile recycling, medications, and plastic bags.

Why wouldn’t I just do it myself after the one hour free assessment?

Some people do.  They have enough information and can continue with the job.  Most people feel overwhelmed and stressed by doing it on their own.  They find it easier to work with a professional who can guide them through the problem, help solve it and reduce the stress they feel about the situation. Working with someone makes you block time out for the appointment and helps you to stop putting it off.  It is always more fun working with someone than working alone.

Will you give me homework to do?

Only if you want it.  Some people like to keep going with the work and get it done quickly.  Some people don’t want to work alone or would feel bad if they didn’t get the homework done so I don’t that person anything to do.  There are some tasks that are very time consuming and if you can do it on your own it makes it more cost effective for you, sorting paper, going through books, CDs, VHS tapes, clothing.  However those tasks can be difficult to figure out what to keep and what to donate that you might it better for you to do it with me present.

Please post your questions in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – @julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

Coopetition

Do You Play Well with Others? A look at cooperative competition

Professional organizer Julie Stobbe sharing tips with other local businesswomen

Coopetition occurs when companies work together for parts of their business where they do not believe they have competitive advantage and where they believe they can share common costs. (Source: Wikipedia)

In my experience, most professional organizers are very happy to share resources and expertise with their colleagues and reap many rewards from doing so. I asked my client, Julie Stobbe, about her thoughts on the subject, and was so impressed that I invited her to share them here today as my guest blogger.

Cooperating with someone in your line of business is a great way to get to know people, brainstorm and  learn ideas and help each other with areas that you are weak in.

When I decided to try coopetition, I did it on a project basis. I used it to help me to market better, because marketing is not my strength.

I would think about something I would like to have (product development) or something I would like to do (offer a new service) and think about someone who had mentioned that they had an interest in the same thing.  I would approach them with an idea and see if they were interested in working together to develop and implement the plan.  It was nice to have a partner to walk the path with and hold my hand.

The payoff is having to do half the work while increasing business for both parties with the understanding that if they get busy and need help, they would approach me first, and I would do the same for them.  If you develop a service with a partner, if someone gets sick, you have the other person as backup.   I always selected someone who lived east of my main marketing area.  This made it easy to get materials delivered over a larger area – half the work, twice the area covered.  This gave us both exposure to a larger market.

Here are some examples of projects I’ve worked on with people in my field and with complementary businesses:

  • Developing organizing tip booklets; we have 4 different topics.
  • Developing courses to offer to colleges, school boards and groups; we have 3 different 3 hour courses prepared.
  • Advertising someone else’s electronic resources (because I don’t want to develop them at this time) in exchange for services.
  • Advertising together so the cost of printing is shared by both companies.
  • Recommending specialty services to clients, such as clutter removal service, rug cleaning, and website design.
  • Inviting someone to attend new meetings and events with me. That way I don’t have to walk in alone, and perhaps they can make introductions too.

Although I have been fortunate and careful with whom I partner, there are always things to consider.

  • The person you partner with now represents your company as well as their own.  Make sure you have similar business ethics or your company’s reputation maybe adversely affected.
  • If you are producing a product and the quality of what they produce is not up to your standards, you may be disappointed.  However, you have both contributed time and money to the project so they may use it the way they want to.
  • One of the companies may work much harder at marketing the product or service than the other company.  Make sure that you can live with it if you realize that you are marketing them but they are not marketing you.

Overall, I have gained a lot from coopetition with others.  I have grown as a business person, I have learned new skills, I have made good friends I can depend on, and I have learned to be flexible.  I hope my coopetition partners have found me to be reasonable, supportive and hard working.  Taking a chance to work with good people is really making a sure bet.

Thanks to Janet Barclay of Organized Assistant for interviewing me.  Join her Maximize Marketing Club.

Julie Stobbe is a POC Trained Professional Organizer and the owner of Mind over Clutter in Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. You can also like Mind over Clutter on Facebook.

Top 10 Productivity Time Killers

Carolyn Shannon is my guest blogger today.  Her business Venting Creatively helps people find creative ways to shine a light on their lives from a different view.  She runs a monthly networking group BEE Niagara.com and publishes Women of Worth magazine.

Top 10 Productivity Time Killers

Everyday countless hours are wasted away due to non-productive activities. Time is money, so when distractions and procrastination sets in profitability will decline. A survey conducted by OfficeTime.net has revealed 10 of the biggest time killers. The main offenders that reduce of our productivity are:

1. Emails

How much time do you spend surfing the web?

2. Surfing the net

3. Watching TV

4. Procrastination

5. Meetings

6. Non-business conversations

7. Commuting & travel time

8. Social networking

9. Cell Phones & texting

10. Dealing with red tape

Types of Time Wasting

There are many factors that lead to procrastination. There are a few broad categories that most time wasting falls into.

Is making a decision a time consuming task for you?

1. Indecision. Perfectionists will often struggle with indecision. Some things may never become perfect, and putting too much focus on perfection will mean too much time spent on one job. Splitting the work into smaller tasks is one way to deal with it more effectively.

2. Avoidance. A fear of being judged can be the main cause of procrastination. It could be fear of failure or even success. Neither of these are something to be ashamed of. Success should be celebrated, and failure is the best way or learning. Think less about what others may think and more on trying your best at the task on hand.

3. Thrill Seeking. This is when procrastination is justified because the worker likes the thrill of an approaching deadline. If this is the case it is best to move deadlines closer and set personal targets. This still gets you the thrill of working against the clock, while reducing procrastination.

watch your minutes

Time flies

How to Put an End to Time Killers

The first step to battling time killers is to understand and appreciate the amount of time that is being wasted. What is the value of all that lost time? Time wasters will directly affect your career advancement opportunities and reduce the amount of income you could have received.Tracking where your time is spent will allow for efficient time management. Don’t just rely on your memory to remember what you did during the day. Use a system so that you have a written record that can be looked over and analyzed. This could be as simple as creating a timetable on a piece of paper, or utilizing a computer program or app to record your daily activities. Cutting down on time killers is a good start, but there are other strategies that should be used to effectively manage your time:

1. Define your purpose. You need to know exactly what you want when starting on a task. Without a definite purpose you will lose focus.

2. Smart goal setting. Choose realistic and specific goals and targets. It should be measurable so you know when it has been completed.

3. Plan on a regular basis. As factors change, you plan should be adjusted to reflect the reality of the situation.

To truly beat time killers you need to work on your mindset & stick to your plan for the long-term.

Which type of Time Waster Are You?

1. Thrill Seekers feel they can procrastinate, as they enjoy the feeling of working against a deadline

Tip: constantly set and adjust deadlines so that you still get the adrenaline rush but are using your time more effectively than procrastinating

2. Avoiders prefer to procrastinate as a means to avoid being judged. Whether it is a success or a failure

Tip: Success is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed of. Failure is a way to learn and improve. Focus on doing the best job you can and not on what others think.

3. Indecisive people are often perfectionists but procrastinate to shift responsibility from themselves

Tip: Not everything has to be perfect so try to take small risks and use your intuition. Mistakes may mean you learn something new. Try to split the task up into more manageable parts.

Need help managing your time effectively contact Mind over Clutter.  Julie can work with you in person or virtually to help streamline your processes and routines.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

5 Spring cleaning and organizing tips for your home office

Spring cleaning your home office can lead you in many directions.  Perhaps:

  • your inbox is inundated,
  • your files are filled or
  • your time management is missing.

You need to start somewhere so let’s start with the S.P.A.C.E. that houses your office.

Look around your office and start:

1. Sorting the items that are visible into groups of papers, books, office supplies, client files, product, advertising materials etc.

Start with the visible clutter first.

2. Pair down each pile to the items that are current and recycle or shred the rest.

3. Assign a convenient place to store your resources.  If you use them often keep them near your desk, if they are used infrequently store them further way but still in your office.  If they are never referred to but needed for tax or legal purposes they can be stored in another room.

4. Take each of those piles and select the best Container for keeping the items organized, binders, magazine holder, bins, boxes etc.

 

Organize with binders

Organize with bins

Organizing for the person who likes to see everything, the visual person

 

 

5. Evaluate your new S.P.A.C.E.to make sure it will help you be more efficient, productive and profitable this year.

 

 

Share one of your office organizing tips in the comment box.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Organize Your Work Schedule with an Interruption-Free Hour

Many people realize that multitasking is not the best way to get work completed.  However they experience many small interruptions in their day, e-mail, texting and phone calls that take away from concentrating on a project.

These small tasks, added together, use up your work day.

“Drive by” conversations, when  colleagues  stop by your desk or stop you in the hall and give you information also take time away from important tasks to be completed. As well the information may be forgotten or lost.

Being interrupted by colleagues stoppingto chat can cost you a lot of valuable time.

Some offices have designated a specific time of the day for working on projects. It is an interruption free time to concentrate on work during which employees can’t send or answer emails, texts, phone calls, attend meetings, etc.  Each office is different so the designated time maybe office wide or scheduled into each person’s work day, week, or month individually.  It is important that this time and format is respected by your colleagues and supported by management.  You maybe surprised how much you can get done in one hour with no interruptions and your full concentration on one task at a time.

Contact Julie at Mind over Clutter to come and speak at your office.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Paper or Electronic To Do Lists, What Keeps You Organized?

Check Your List

People have tried to find electronic solutions for most things that used to be done by paper.  However would a paper To Do list work better for you than an electronic one?  Here is a thought provoking blog post on the topic.  Which ever system works best for you, you must check your list. People will make lists but not look at them.  Use a system that keeps your to do list on your mind.

Why the Old-School Paper To-Do List Is Superior as a Productivity Tool (& How to Make It Work for You in Under 5 Minutes)
 There are lots of styles of To Do Lists, let me help you find the one the works for you during an in person or virtual appointment.

 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Need a New Style Binder for Organizing?

Samsill  2-in-1 and 3-in-1 Organizers

Samsill  has a 2-in-1 organizer and a 3-in 1-organizer.   They are binders with a section of 7 clear plastic accordion style dividers and a fold-over cover with an elastic closure to hold the organizer closed.  They come in a variety of colours.

1 Inch 3 Ring Binder + 7 Pocket Accordion Style Expanding File + Hanging File -

1 Inch 3 Ring Binder + 7 Pocket Accordion Style Expanding File + Hanging File –

There are very few differences between the 2 products.  The 3 in 1 organizer has 4 slide out clips that allows you to hang the binder in your filing cabinet.  The clips lock into position making it easy to use them. This function makes storing the files neat, tidy and easy to retrieve.  No more shelves of binders that slide and tip over every time you remove one.

The binder has clips to hang in a filing drawer.

The binder has clips to hang in a filing drawer.

 

The 2-in-1 organizer has tabs on the top of each file section making it easy for labelling. It also has 2 elastic closures so you can open just the file section or just the binder section.  This is helpful as it prevents any loose papers from falling out when you open the binder section.

In addition to the clips to hang it in a filing cabinet, the 3-in-1 organizer has tabs only on 3 file sections for easy labelling and one elastic closure.

The fold over lid is quite stiff and initially caused me some problem but if you fold it open and re-crease the fold the lid will stay back and make it easy to access the plastic file section.  The files hold paper that is exactly 8 ½  by 11 inches.  If you have manuals or slightly large paperwork you may need to trim it.

Fold over lid keeps document secure.

Fold over lid keeps document secure.

At first you may be fooled and think the elastic closure won`t stay closed because the elastic is loose. The elastic closure works well when the organizer contains paperwork making the elastic tighter.

The elastic closure hooks securely onto the front of the binder

The elastic closure hooks securely onto the front of the binder

The file sections are open at the bottom edge, it is not a pocket.  Some small items may slide under the edge and into the next section.  If this is a problem for you try using an envelope to hold small items in the file section. The dividers are flexible and bend slightly making it is hard to get paper to slide easily into the correct section.  As you get used to it and you have more paper in the sections it becomes quite easy to use.

This may be the perfect product if you have large client files.  You can record your ongoing notes, to do lists, reference information in the binder section and use the file section for billing, receipts, marketing material, information to give to the client, calculator, and ipad.etc.  It would also be a great networking tool.  You can have a place for notes, following up with clients after a meeting, recording upcoming events and to do lists and file all your marketing material. It would always be ready to go when a networking event arises.   Having the binder and file system in one organizer gives you the flexibly of storing paperwork in the way that suits your preferred style and the paper best. You can pick it up and go and look like you are ready to work.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca  www.mindoverclutter.ca

Do you need organizing solutions for your home office?

MIND OVER CLUTTER is offering a free 30-minute Virtual Organizing Session.

Mind over Clutter logoHere’s how it works:

1. We book a virtual appointment with video chat: Skype, Face Time, Google Hangout, Facebook video or send me photos or a video and chat on the telephone
2. You show me your home office.
3. I recommend solutions for  your organizing dilemmas.

Contact me to take advantage of this free introductory offer via JULIE@MINDOVERCLUTTER.CA

Need Help Virtually all the Time?

Virtual Assistants are a profession that supply businesses with help in areas where the owner can’t or doesn’t want to do certain tasks.  This allows the owner to do the work that they are good at and hire a Virtual Assistant for as many hours as they need or can afford.

Janet Barclay of Organized Assistant  www.organizedassistant.com is a fantastic Virtual Assistant.  She specializes in website design and social media.  She designed my first website 7 years ago and redesign my new responsive wordpress website last year.  She takes care of hosting the site and letting me know what directories I might want my site on in addition to the directories she  has already used.  She is a wealth of information and  will answer my questions quickly and clearly.

An Organized Assistant can help you virtually all the time

An Organized Assistant can help you virtually all the time

She also is a blogger.  She runs Blogging Organizers for, yes, Professional Organizers who blog and Professional Organizers Blog Carnival. This blog has a different topic each month and contains lots of information for the public, submitted by Professional Organizers.  Her current topic is Organizing Basements and Attics  http://organizedassistant.com/organizing-basements-and-attics-professional-organizers-blog-carnival/  She helps the industry and Professionals Organizer become better known to the public.  If you are in a specific industry, look at her blogs and how she is helping the industry to grow, increasing her visibility  and helping other people in the industry.  It is a great model to explore if you want to become a leader  in your industry and love blogging.

Janet is an expert in social media.  She will do newletters, post on sites or teach you how to do it.  If you want to increase your visibility and need help with any platform use a Virtual Assistant to help you.

There are many Virtual Assistants who each specialize in different areas,

  • bookkeeping,
  • social media,
  • web cast videos,
  • specific software programs. etc.

Janet facilitates the Golden Horseshoe Virtual Assistants Association www.GHVA.ca .  Check out this site if you need help virtually all the time.

 

 

Interested in Starting a Business?

If you are interested in starting your own home based business,how to start a home-based…. is a great series of books. They  contain information about the field of business, clients and practical materials such as forms.  Some of the books in this series are Computer Repair Business, Personal Chef Business, Interior Design Business and Professional Organizing Business.

how to start a home based Professional Organizing Business

Great series of books for information on how to start a business

how to start a home-based Professional Organizing Business has sections on:

  • helping you to decide if Professional Organizing is for you,
  • setting up your office,
  • finding and working with clients,
  • products and
  • forms

For approximately $20.00 you will have enough information to confidently start your business.  The books contains a script for the first  phone conversation with a new client. This is very helpful especially with your very first client.   It has sections on setting your rate and a number of different ways to charge along with the pros and cons of each ways.  The book lists a number of ways to market your business.

Along with the business side of Professional Organizing  half the book contains skills and information a person needs to be a competent organizer.  It teaches the the psychology of clutter, why areas become disorganized, how to declutter a space and products to use to organize a client.

The section containing forms is very helpful and they are easy to customize to your own business.  There are assessment forms, invoices,mileage records, marketing plan sheets etc.

This book is written by  Professional Organizer Dawn Noble.  It is easy to read and use.

If you want to start a business see if this series contains a book that could help you be successful.

On-line Lifestyle Organizing Coaching leading professionals From Clutter to Freedom
Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area