Interview with Professional Organizer Julie Stobbe
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It brings me great pleasure to introduce you to Julie Stobbe, owner of Mind over Clutter. You may know her already, as she’s previously written guest posts for Your Organizing Business, and is a Professional Organizers Blog Carnival Star Blogger.
Julie and I go way back to 2005 when we worked together on an organizing project. Since then, I’ve had the honor of creating and looking after her website, and because we both live in Ontario’s beautiful Golden Horseshoe region, we even get to see each other from time to time!
A Gold Leaf member of Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) and POC Trained Professional Organizer (TPO), Julie serves the area from Oakville to Brantford to Fort Erie, and all the lovely big and little towns in that triangle. She also offers virtual organizing and organizing coaching. Read about Julie’s approach to virtual organizing on her blog.
Julie, what is your specialty?
My specialty is being calm but energetic. I help residential clients solve their organizing dilemmas, reducing their clutter, developing routines and manage their time.
What other services or products do you offer?
I also work with business clients to organize their work area, develop systems, and increase their productivity. I work virtually with clients to help them get organized by guiding them using Skype. I coach people to help them discover why being organized is a struggle for them and how to overcome the stumbling blocks.
How did you come up with your business name?
My oldest daughter suggested Mind over Clutter. At first, I didn’t like it because I thought people would get it mixed up with mind over matter. As I thought about it, the name grew on me. Now I know it is perfect for my business because I really enjoy figuring out how my clients think. When I can understand their thinking, I can successful help them to get organized.
Disorganization is never about the stuff; it is always about the mind, how we think about the stuff. Mind over Clutter, getting your mind in the right place to put your stuff in the right space.
Do you offer any products or services for other organizers?
I mentor new organizers. Some like to just talk with me about the business of organizing. I do offer to go out with them as an assistant on their first job and help them with the work and support them in dealing with their first clients, like a professional organizer “wingman.”
How has your business changed since you first started out?
I still do a lot of residential organizing but almost every job involves coaching clients through the stumbling blocks that are causing their anxiety with disorganization. As I get older, I’m exploring ways to help people with organization that does not involve as much physical labor. I’m adding virtual organizing, coaching and speaking to my business.
At what moment did you consider yourself successful?
Yes, success is different for everyone. I help people and love doing that. I have started a business from nothing and I am working at it full time. I am learning new things everyday and growing.
What would you do differently if you were starting your business today?
If I started my business today but was 12 years younger, I would look into the many government-sponsored programs that help new businesses to get started. By the time I learned about them I had been in business too long to qualify for the programs.
I would take more risks and move more quickly at growing my business. I once heard, even if you fall on your face you are moving forward. Indeed, you have learned something and progressed to a new level.
How do you approach a new organizing project?
Most of the time I look forward to a new client and new situation with excitement. When I feel that way I know it is a client in my target market. I offer a one-hour free assessment so the client can meet me. This lets them decide if they would like to work with me and it lets me decide if I would be a good fit for them and if the job is within my expertise. The next step is to determine a plan for the project and a schedule for the work.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about running an organizing business?
Before you start, you think you will have control of your time. Once you start, you lose control of your time and begin working when you don’t want to; you have trouble setting boundaries and saying no. At some point you decide that it is a business and you need a life and you start using a more balanced approach to running your business and you enjoy it more. I love running a business and meeting other business owners.
What is the biggest challenge you currently face in your business?
My biggest challenge is getting virtual organizing services marketed. I have been trying for about 5 years and I have not found the best way to attract people to virtual services.
What’s your favorite organizing product? Why?
My favorite organizing product is the one that solves the organizing problem and that the client loves.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy physical activity. When I’m not working, I like to be outside and go for a walk, bike ride, swim, run, go to the gym. I play volleyball in the winter and softball in the summer.
What else should we know about you?
I am a daughter of a business owner, a mother of 3 young adults, a wife of a medical professional and a retired teacher. My life has been influenced by all of these diverse experiences and has given me much knowledge that I bring to my professional organizing business.
Thanks for sharing, Julie!
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