To be a successful organizing coach or consultant, you need knowledge, a passion for imparting that knowledge to others, and basic business skills. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve talked about a number of resources for professional development and networking to help you attain those skills. Today I’m happy to share my top tips to help you start and grow a successful organizing business.
Getting listed on online directories and/or creating social media profiles is better than having no online presence at all, but it’s far more effective to have your own website. While third-party sites can help to connect you with potential clients, your website is your home base, and you have total control over how you design and use it.
Take a look at your goals, evaluate your niche, and consider the type of clients you want to work with. Then you can begin to set the rates for your services. To position your business as an exclusive provider, charge more than the going rate in your area. If you don’t feel confident charging that much, sharpen your skills until you do.
You don’t need any special certification to be a professional organizer, but it can help to lend you credibility, and may be the deciding factor in a client choosing you over someone else. The Certified Professional Organizer credential requires that you have a minimum of 1500 paid hours of organizing work in the past three years to be eligible to write the exam, so it is definitely not for newbies. Until you qualify, investigate other credentials that may be beneficial.
Offering services for which you lack skills is unethical and unfair to the client. Capitalizing on your strengths will help you to boost your self-confidence and provide a much better experience for your client. When you’re ready to take on a new challenge, take a course and/or look for an opportunity to work with a colleague who has the appropriate experience before assuming responsibility for a project yourself.
To grow your business, you need to be constantly meeting new people and making a point of staying in touch with them. Begin building a network as soon as possible and work on building strong relationships with your contacts. You never know who might offer you valuable business advice or connect you with an opportunity.
Whether you conduct your initial consultation over the phone or in person, having a set of standard questions about your client’s current situation will make it easier to identify ways you can help them and develop an appropriate organizing plan.
7. Be organized
Don’t just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk! You have to be an organized, disciplined self-starter in order to operate your own business. You need to be able to manage time, stick to a schedule and plan your day well. The entire consultation process from answering inquiries from potential clients to sending follow-up reports should run as smoothly as possible.
It costs more to get a new client than to keep an existing one, so offering discounts or bonuses to your regular clients is a worthwhile investment. You should also reward those who recommend you to others, because word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful and least expensive way to attract new clients to your business.
Volunteering is a fabulous way to grow your network while giving back to your local community or professional association. Choose an activity that suits your interests and availability, and allows you to demonstrate and further develop your expertise.
Never make the mistake of thinking you don’t have time for marketing. If you stop promoting your business during busy periods, once things settle down, you may find yourself with no clients lined up, and back at square one again!
Are you a successful organizer (or other professional)? What would you add to this list?
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