You have a passion and a flare for organizing, and you’d like to start your own business. How exciting! However, you’re not sure that a full-time business is for you. Maybe you want to test the waters and make sure your business is going to take off before you leave the security of your full-time job, or need to supplement your regular income. Maybe you have young children and want to spend as much time with them as you can. Or maybe you have health issues that prevent you from working full time. Whatever reason you may have for considering a part-time organizing business, there are several factors you should look at before making this important decision.
Start by defining what “part time” means to you.
How many hours per week do you want to work in your business?
Keep in mind that there’s more to being a professional organizer than working with clients. You’ll need time for marketing your business, communicating with colleagues and potential clients, attending networking events, and general administrative tasks.
When can you be available to work with clients, or speak with potential clients?
If you have a regular day job, you will have difficulty tapping into the corporate market, as they’ll generally want you to be available during standard business hours. However, being available on evenings and weekends could be a real plus for residential clients, as they won’t have to take time off from their jobs to stay home for their organizing sessions.
Are you flexible, or do you need to plan around family responsibilities or another job?
If you can only devote two specific days per week to your business, will you be able to deal with emails and telephone inquiries that come in on off days? If not, you’ll need to make it clear in your voicemail greeting and automated email reply when you will be responding, but even so, there’s a risk that your prospective clients may find another organizer in the meantime. You also risk missing out on opportunities if a client’s schedule doesn’t coincide with your own.
If you need help exploring your options, Maria Gracia’s Ultimate Guide for Professional Organizers is a great resource that covers this and many other aspects of starting and growing your business.
Many professional organizers have achieved success by starting out on a part-time basis. I was in an ideal situation, where I had outside employment with hours that were completely flexible, so I was able to change my shift whenever an opportunity conflicted with my schedule. In fact, it was when my job situation changed that I knew it was time for me to take my business full time!
I’ve known others who started their business on a small scale while their children were young, and were then ready to go full time once the youngest started school.
If you’re an established organizer, my readers would love to know:
Do you operate your business part-time, or did you start off that way? What challenges did you encounter? How did you overcome them?