Freelancers & Entrepreneurs: Is It Time to Organize?

No. This isn’t a post about organizing a new union for freelancers and entrepreneurs. (Although personally I’ve enjoyed the benefits I get here in New York from the Freelancers Union.) It’s actually about the entrepreneurial spirit and a way to make money just by providing a much-needed service.

I just stumbled on to something that really amazed me. I knew people made a living offering organizing services for homes and offices. But I never knew there was an actual professional organization for these folks. Well…there is. It’s called the National Association of Professional Organizers.  Now I’m guessing at least some of you are thinking “This is the great entrepreneurial business you’re talking about?”

Yup.  Let me explain…

Any business you can create on your own and has customers willing to pay for your services is potential entrepreneurial territory. What? You’re thinking no one can make a real living from this?

According to some of the rates I’ve been finding, on average organizers might charge anywhere from $40 – 150 an hour. Do I have your attention now?

What’s a professional organizer?

Basically, professional organizers help you get organized. In all kinds of ways. Maybe a person has a messy office and needs help. Or a closet that’s about to take over their entire apartment. There’s a need for organizing skills in the business world as well as in people’s homes. And there are even niches for organizers to help folks whose special circumstances make it hard for them to get organized and/or stay organized.

According to NAPO’s website, professional organizers help their clients by:

“…designing custom organizing systems and teaching organizing skills, (and) they help individuals and businesses take control of their surroundings, their time, their paper piles, their lives!”

The site goes on to explain:

“…some organizers prefer to work with corporate rather than residential clients; some specialize in creating custom filing or closet systems; others may specialize in preparing for moves or organizing collections and memorabilia. There are even professional organizers who specialize in working with clients who are chronically disorganized or have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD).”

While I don’t know NAPO and cannot offer any objective opinions about whether or not they’re a good resource, I think their website is at least a great place to start your research. And if you’re really interested in turning this into a business for yourself, they even have reasonably-priced classes – although I’ll bet many of you already have the skills you need.

But I don’t actually want to do the organizing work!

OK. So maybe hands-on stuff isn’t your forte. No problem.  If your entrepreneurial spirit feels the call, you can always create a company that offers organizing services (or other much-needed services). This way you can help find work for others who actually enjoy doing the organizing work. Many of those folks might not enjoy all the details of running their own company. Or they may not enjoy having to market themselves when looking for new clients. So this could be a real win-win.

So is it time to organize? Have you ever wished you had an organizer to help you? Or maybe this sparked ideas for other entrepreneurial service businesses. Please feel free to add your thoughts.

Hope you enjoyed this post. I’m going to keep looking for off-the-beaten-track career ideas. I’m betting not every answer to your work dreams involves a 9 to 5 job.  😉

For more info here are some links from the NAPO website:

What professional organizers do

Why do people need your organizing services?

Why become an organizer?

And if you’re a hopelessly disorganized person:

How would you go about hiring an organizer?


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

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