Resources to Become a Professional Organizer
Find here a wealth of resources to become an organizer and where to start.
National Professional Associations
When I first started in the organizing industry I was so happy to find plenty of information on the web, however it was all over the place. If you are just starting or if your business is young and you’re looking forward to give it a boost, consider these resources to become a Professional Organizer
NAPO – The National Association of Professional Organizers congregates about 4,200 professional organizers and offers training and information for both, Professional Organizers and the public.
ICD – ICD’s mission is to benefit people affected by chronic disorganization and they offer an amazing schedule of weekly teleclasses which will prepare you further to work with your clients and deeper your understanding on their needs and challenges. I highly recommend becoming a subscriber and signing up for the teleclasses.
BCPO – BCPO® Certification is a voluntary, industry-led effort that benefits the members of the organizing profession, as well as the public. It is a recognition of professionals who have met specific minimum standards, and proven through examination and client interaction that they possess the body of knowledge and experience required for certification.
Professional Organizer Coach/Mentor
Consider hiring a coach/mentor to guide you through the process of building an expanding your organizing business. You’ll benefit from their experience, learn the ins and outs of the trade as well as build a lasting relationship based on trust and mutual respect. You’ll feel accountable and will generate more results knowing someone you admire and aspire is waiting for you to “report back” with your accomplishments. You’ll be able to review your plans, but most importantly, start with a solid base. There are many coaches working for Professional Organizers today, so make your research, talk with colleagues and schedule an individual session to find your fit.
- Geralin Thomas, CPO-CD, Metropolitan Organizing – New Organizer Training
Starting your Professional Organizing Business
Before you take off and go work with a client you must create your business. Make sure you educate yourself well on the various options of IRS you have to make the best choice according to your plans and current personal situation. State legislation varies widely and you should discuss with a CPA what your options are. Another source of information is www.SBA.gov.
IRS – You will find all the information you need to educate yourself on business structures and their requirements on the IRS website. I love this site exactly because I can find anything here when it comes to my business. Go to the link or when on their main page, click on “business”. Then, look for the bar on your left where you’ll find all you need to start your professional organizing business.
Selecting your company’s name
To register your business you’ll need to have a name for your future company. This is no small task and I see it just as picking the name of a child. You should love the name, it should be clear about the service you provide and hopefully it will be unique. You must research – at least in your State, to make sure it is available, that there isn’t another company under the same name, and if you prefer make a national search to be certain that if one day your company goes national, you can do it without concerns.
A good way to brainstorm on a name is to focus on the type of service you want to provide, the niche you want to serve and the main words that would describe who you are, what you want your clients to experience, the results you want to bring and how you want to be remembered. All this can be a source of inspiration when choosing a name. Also consider how your name will go along with your personal image.
Registering your Professional Organizing Business
You can take two routes here: DIY or hire someone to do it for you. If you can navigate the web, you can do it yourself. First, Google “how to register LLC/DBA etc. in the name of your State/County”, then follow the link to get the instructions. In MD, for example you’ll find the information on the site of the MD Department of Assessment and Taxation. In CA, to register a DBA you need to file with the County Clerk, so as you can see, it will vary from State to State. The same with San Diego for a DBA.
If you however prefer to outsource this service, I had a positive experience with Legalzoom.com and would use them again. Please, educate yourself and make the choice that best fits your personal situation. I receive no commission from any of the services listed here.
A very important part of your business will be to keep all records of income and expenses up to date. Make it a habit to log all this information as it happens, or at least weekly. You’ll find yourself overwhelmed if you don’t. If you’re not a fan of papers, have no inclination to keep records or aren’t sure on how to do it correctly, this is one expense that is all worth the money invested. You can find great bookkeepers in your area through colleagues or if you need an online source to find one, you can use bookkeeping.net.
A Virtual Assistant can take from your hands work that will consume your precious time with your clients, and bring professional results for a rate that is all worth it if you are feeling like you are always running against the wind. Again, asking for referrals is an option. A great blog post that can educate you further when looking for a Virtual Assistant is this one “Post”, by Janet Barclay and the other ones in these series on VA posts. Check it and you’ll find great resources.
Before you start working, getting really busy and never having time again to work on a plan, give yourself the gift of time to write yours. It’s a very important tool and you’ll be happy you did it, because not having your business plan is like navigating out on the ocean without a GPS! You’ll invest your money in the wrong channels, you won’t focus on your target, because you don’t have one, you will lose your time and energy. You should have a good understanding of who you will work for, how is your market, who are your competitors, what language to use on your communication, what are your strengths and weakness, what are your tools and on and on, but you can only know this if you have a plan.
There are several tools and consultants out there and I recommend you research until you find the one that is a perfect match for you. Here are some suggestions:
- SBA.gov – excellent and free source of information and advice.
- University Press 1
- University Press 2
Recommended Reading – from the BCPO website:
BCPO® does not endorse any particular text or author. It is not required that you read all of these books, nor does use of these books guarantee successful completion of the test.
|BCPO®||Code of Ethics for Certified Professional Organizers|
|Allen, David||Getting Things Done|
|Baker, Sunny||The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Project Management|
|Bruce, Andy and Langdon, Ken||Essential Managers: Project Management|
|Goldberg, Donna||The Organized Student|
|Jasmine, Grace||Fabjob Guide to Become a Professional Organizer|
|Knight, Porter||Organized to Last|
|Kolberg, Judith||Conquering Chronic Disorganization|
|Lehmkuhl, Dorothy, and
Lamping, Dolores Cotter
|Organizing for the Creative Person|
|Mark, Teri||Organize Your Office: A Small Business Survival Guide to Managing Records|
|McCorry, K. J.||Organize Your Work Day In No Time|
|Morgenstern, Julie||Organizing from the Inside Out|
|Morgenstern, Julie||Time Management from the Inside Out|
|Roth, Eileen, and
|Organizing for Dummies|
|Silver, Susan||Organized to Be Your Best!|
|Smallin, Donna||Organizing Plain and Simple|
|Stanley, Debbie||Ethical Pitfalls|
|Taylor, Harold||Making Time Work For You (old and new editions)|
|Tiani, Jackie||Organizing for a Living|
|Waddill, Kathy||The Organizing Sourcebook: Nine Strategies for Simplifying Your Life|
|Walsh, Peter||It’s All Too Much|
|Winston, Stephanie||Getting Organized (2006 edition)|
There are numerous other resources that can be of value to your studies and your practice. We encourage you to not limit yourself to this list.
|Allen, David||Getting Things Done|
|Glovinsky, Cindy||Making Peace With the Things in Your Life|
|Hemphill, Barbara||Taming the Paper Tiger at Work|
|Izsak, Barry||Organize Your Garage in No Time|
|Mark, Teri||Organize Your Office: SML Business Guide to Managing Records|
|Nakone, Lanna||Organizing for Your Brain Type|
|Noble, Dawn||How to Start a Home-Based Professional Organizing Business|
|Passoff, Michelle||Lighten Up! Free Yourself from Clutter|
|Paul, Marilyn||It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys|
|Pedersen, Sara||Born to Organize: Everything You Need to Know About a Career as a PO|
|Sgro, Val||Organize Your Family’s Schedule in No Time|
|Silber, Lee||Organizing From the Right Side of the Brain|
|Stanley, Debbie||Newbie Pitfalls – 50 Obstacles on the Road To Success as Professional Organizer|