Life After Organizing: An Interview With Carrie Cooper

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Carrie Cooper

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Carrie Cooper, who’s been one of my clients for over eight years. When she first contacted me for help with her website, she owned a professional organizing business called Organize a Difference, LLC. She’s undergone some big changes since then, and I’ve invited her to share her story with you.

Hi Carrie! Thanks for stopping by Your Organizing Business. Can you tell my readers a bit about your time as a professional organizer?

When I started my business in 2013, I really had no idea that professional organizing would shape my career, and my life over time. I wanted to show up with excellence, so I joined both NAPO and ICD that first year. I soon discovered there were many adventures in organizing to come my way!

I connected with amazing colleagues, took a ton of educational classes, attended annual conferences, and found myself equipped with industry standards of professionalism. I was blessed to have an opportunity to present at two 2019 conferences: NAPO in Ft. Worth and POC (Professional Organizers in Canada) in Toronto.

During my decade of working with many clients in their homes, I found myself most drawn to those challenged by loss and chronic disorganization.

What was the most surprising thing you discovered while running your organizing business?

Time and time again, I began to notice how outward clutter seemed to be connected to inner clutter of mind and soul. There seemed to be a  huge difference between clients who hired me to work ‘for’ them versus those who wanted to work ‘with’ me. Those who were curious and engaged in learning how to be more organized despite challenges had a different experience.

In 2015 I started my first coaching class with other professional organizers through Coach Approach Training. I fell in love with coaching, and continued to take advanced courses. I found that first and foremost, coaching transformed ME and every area of my life. During these years, I had a growing desire to shift the person, and not so much their stuff anymore. Coaching is a perfect fit to do just that!

You’ve now rebranded as Carrie Cooper Coaching. Why did you decide to make this change?

In 2018, I was just finishing up getting my credentialing as a Professional Life Coach when my brother Mark died by suicide. He was one of my best friends. It was a time of deep anguish for me, as it was layered on top of other traumatic things which had been going on in my life. I entered into the wilderness of grief in a way I’d never experienced before.

As I slowly healed over time, it dawned on me how years of coaching had prepared me for such a time as this. I sensed God leading me to get even more training, and so I went on to get certifications in grief, trauma and mental health first aid. It made sense to rebrand, and focus solely on what had become a natural fit for me: coaching.

How did your training and experience as an organizer prepare you to become a Professional Life & Grief Coach?

Cluttered spaces come from cluttered minds. Underneath it all is often unresolved grief and loss.

My own losses brought about a recalibration of life and priorities. They caused me to reflect on everything about my business. What did I feel called to do now, in light of all that had happened?

I still desired to show up in service and add value to every client I work with and yet I felt more change coming. I realized that I needed to reorder things in my business and made some tough decisions on what to “keep and pass” which created more opportunity for growth.

I now run my business in a way that allows for flexibility and freedom to keep my priorities in right order and focus on what matters most. I still help clients organize their life, but in a different way. It all starts with decluttering their thoughts. It’s an honor to provide a safe space in which people can process feelings and figure out what they need through the coaching process.

What type of services do you offer now?

I offer private individual coaching sessions and six months of coaching through my “New Day Dawning” program, which combines a comprehensive model of life, grief and organizing coaching to impact every area of life. My clients are empowered to face the overwhelm, move past what keeps them stuck, and experience new ways to live. The process works because it’s collaborative, customized and adaptable to specific challenges and needs. A colleague and I will also be launching a 7 week group coaching course called “A Walk Through Grief” in Spring 2024.

Do you work with clients virtually or in person?

On occasion, I still take on a referral for on-site jobs, but most of my work is now done virtually. I’m able to coach clients from anywhere in the world and I love, love, love working from home! I am currently taking Sheila Delson’s certification training program for professional organizers which will provide me additional tools to support people. This skillset will enable my clients to take even more action and develop life changing organizational skills. How amazing!

Is your target audience the same or different than it was before?

Looking back, I have always been drawn to clients who struggle with loss, whether from a death, broken relationship, chronic health challenge, empty nest, move, or career change. As a life coach specializing in grief and disorganization I recognize that life is indeed messy.

We all struggle, and can find ourselves stuck in a place of uncertainty, insecurity and hopelessness. I’m here to tell you it does not have to be this way. You are NOT alone. And, you CAN get organized from the inside out, heal from loss and create something beautiful out of any life experience. I’m a living testimony to this truth.

Did you run into any obstacles while you were rebranding?

Yes – and they were all in my mind. LOL! The story I told myself over and over was that it would be too difficult, and too time consuming. Just as I do when I work with my clients, I took time to sit and sort through the cluttered thoughts that were not serving me, and decide which ones to hold onto, and which to discard (some went right into the trash). Once I got to that place, rebranding was so much more simpler than I had anticipated it to be.

What is the biggest challenge you currently face in your business?

For me, stewarding my time and energy will likely always be the challenge. We live in a world where things are constantly changing, and the invitation to be involved in “all the things” always seems to show up in your Inbox.

A life changing practice I started when I was working through my personal grief was to have ‘Coffee With Jesus’ each morning. It was a time of solitude, healing, reading Scripture and focusing on all that was still good, right and true. It remains my favorite time of the day – a time to be still, process, pray. From this place, I plan out my day and run this business in a way that fits life now.

Are there any specific tips or advice you would offer to others considering a change in their business model?

As a coach, I cannot emphasize the importance of knowing who you are, what your unique strengths are and what you value. What brings you life, and joy as you work? Many times the women I work with have never taken the time to explore how God has created them, and what they’re passionate about. I would say this is always a great place to start, of knowing more deeply who you are and how you can best show up in serving others through your business.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I have learned to embrace the simplicity of life; for me, my ‘happy place’ is anywhere I can connect with God, family and friends. I especially love being outdoors, whether sitting and reading, hiking, biking, kayaking, or going for long walks around the lake.

What else should we know about you?

I’ve faced many challenges, and have experienced post traumatic growth. The paralyzing pain I felt as I went through the process of grieving caused me to become situationally disorganized. I’m honest about this, and there is no shame. I found I needed the support of others to dig down and sort through the clutter that built up in my own home, mind, and soul. If you are in this place, know that it’s OK. Reach out and get the help you need, so you can live with more confidence, hope and a deeper purpose. And, if you find that coaching together may be supportive, feel welcome to contact me here to schedule a Consult. I’d love to chat!

Thanks, Carrie!

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"As a coach, I cannot emphasize the importance of knowing who you are, what your unique strengths are and what you value. What brings you life, and joy as you work?" Carrie Cooper, Carrie Cooper Coaching

More About Carrie’s Rebrand

After working on Carrie’s website for many years, I was excited when she told me about her plans. I connected her with an amazing branding specialist, Susanna Miles, who helped her to develop her new visual identity, logo, and message which are the foundation of her new website.

The three of us collaborated to come up with her beautiful site: CarrieCooperCoaching.com.

Screenshot of Carrie Cooper website

If you’d like to talk to me about your website, schedule a free Get to Know You Session!

Let’s talk!

Have you ever rebranded your business and/or changed your business model? How was your experience similar to and/or different from Carrie’s?

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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8 Comments

  1. Avatar Seana Turner on November 30, 2023 at 4:13 pm

    What a unique offering, and one that is so needed. Grief can just wreck our ability to think clearly, even when we are normally very organized and efficient people. Having someone walk with us, and guide us, through such challenging times can change the entire experience.

    I also spend time with God every morning, praying, reading devotionals and reading Scripture. It does help set my intention for the day, and to be on God’s page with my plan.

    I loved learning about Carrie and her business here!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 4, 2023 at 9:09 am

      I think you too would get along very well!

  2. Avatar Jana Arevalo on December 4, 2023 at 9:36 am

    I love reading these interviews and how people continue to shift and change in their businesses. Carrie sounds like she has a true gift that comes from her own stories. Thank you so much for sharing this interview!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 4, 2023 at 11:42 am

      I was excited to have the opportunity to share Carrie’s unique story. She’s a lovely person!

  3. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on December 4, 2023 at 10:35 am

    I remember meeting Carrie through ICD when she first started out. Her unique life story is so compelling and I know she has and will continue to help a lot of people in this world. She’s a gift.

  4. Julie Bestry Julie Bestry on December 5, 2023 at 11:16 pm

    Grief is spoken up too infrequently and in too hushed tones such that people become afraid to acknowledge it, but whether grief is a result of a lost life, a lost relationship, or lost opportunities, it has such overwhelming power over us. I’m glad to know that Carrie is out there doing this work, and I agree that organizing thoughts is a natural extension of our profession. Thank you, Janet, for sharing Carrie with us.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 6, 2023 at 9:16 am

      You’re so right. We’re afraid to ask someone who’s gone through a loss how they’re doing, as if asking is going to make them feel sadder, but we’re also reluctant to share our own grief because we don’t want to make others feel awkward. It is a difficult but inevitable part of life that everyone goes through and it would benefit us to be more open about it. It’s great that there are people like Carrie who are there to listen and support those who need it!

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