At the start of 2019, Netflix dropped the series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and instantly blew up the internet with even more people wanting to learn how to become a professional organizer.
Weeks after its launch, hundreds of people were still inspired to tidy up and remove anything in their households that doesn’t spark joy.
If you feel you can be the next Marie Kondo, then you might need to switch jobs and become a professional organizer.
Professional organizing is an industry that boomed in the 80s as a way to develop systems and processes that would improve efficiency of personal and business day-to-day tasks.
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It’s still a viable option today so I put together a guide on how you can turn your organizing skills into a full-blown business.
Professional Organizer Skills
The professional home organizer title may seem amusing to someone who just heard about this profession, but the job actually involves complex skills such as:
- Psychology – People collect stuff for various personal reasons and often become emotional if they are placed in a position where they have to dispose items attached to memories. Professional organizers dig deep and find psychological reasons why their clients feel this way and act accordingly to reach their clutter-free goal.
- Communication skills – This job involves talking to clients non-stop. It doesn’t matter if the clients are easy to deal with or not, but communication skills can make or break your career as a professional home organizer.
- Problem-solving – Professional organizing changes on a case-to-case basis. While there are guidelines followed by every organizer, it’s likely that problems will arise and it is his/her job to solve it for the client.
- Time management – When an organizer takes on a client, a contract is drafted and deadline determine. It’s not easy encouraging people to make changes, but an organizer should be able to take all tasks into account and handle client emotions to meet deadlines.
- Empathy – Aside from having patience, drive, dedication and passion for the job, a professional home organizer must have empathy towards his/her clients. Letting go of stuff isn’t easy for everyone, so an organizer must be able to put himself/herself in the shoes of the clients to actually make a change.
Contrary to popular belief, professional home organizers do not actually clean a house from top to bottom.
Instead, they develop a process or system for people or businesses to follow to avoid clutter as much clutter and unnecessary stuff as possible.
How to Become a Certified Professional Organizer
If you’ve been working as a professional organizer for family, friends and anyone else within your circle, you’re already one step ahead. But if you want to scale your services and turn this career into a business, you should become a CPO (certified professional organizer).
The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals conducts with CPO exam during February, June and October. The exam costs $450, but getting certified isn’t a piece of cake. Aside from having the exam fee ready, you should also tick of these eligibility requirements:
- A minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Agree to adhere to the Code of Ethics for Certified Professional Organizers.
- Be prepared to document a total of 1,500 hours (an average of 9.6 hours per week) of paid work experience in the three (3) years prior to applying to take the exam.
While the paid work experience can be a mix of coaching, workshops, training, consulting, speaking engagements, military service, volunteering, and continuing education (among others), the important thing is you’ll be able document these activities using the NAPO log template properly.
Randomly selected candidates are audited, so you should be prepared to support your log.
If you’re new to the industry and can’t complete the paid work experience hours required, check continuing education courses at NAPO University.
5 Ways to Get Clients as a Professional Organizer
Assuming you’ve gotten certified as a professional organizer and you’re all set to make your career into a life-changing business, the next step is to fill up your calendar (and your portfolio too!).
Here are 5 ways you can find clients:
1. Start Networking
You’ve been probably networking to gather clients as a freelance, professional organizer.
To scale up your networking, make sure to decide on a business name.
Once you have a name and a logo, divide your time marketing in the real world (offline) and online. Join local community groups, forums, and so on, and learn how to advertise services online without being tagged as spam.
Create profiles for every social media websites you could find. You may think that Instagram is only for celebrities and selfies, but photos from your portfolio can be shared there. You’ll never know if someone checking out your posts decides to hire you based off that post.
2. Build a Website
Documenting should be a natural to you once you’ve taken on a career as a professional home organizer. Take pictures; log files… These will help you build a portfolio.
Show off your work on a website. It serves as a modern calling card, so leave your active contact details as well.
Plus points if you decide to blog because this will give your site a more personal touch. In fact, a reader may just be so impressed by your writing/storytelling/information that he/she hires you from there.
3. Get Active on Social Media
Imagine being a keyboard away from hundreds of potential clients. Being active in social media allows you to have an audience, even if you’re just starting out in this field.
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Take time in crafting your posts, learn all about staging photos, and create an online personality that’s going to be hard to ignore.
Join professional networking sites like LinkedIn for extra bump in your network.
Once you’ve set up all your social media accounts, be sure to link them all back to your website (consider it your home base).
4. Start Rolling with Ads
If you have extra cash for ads, you can use some for online ads.
I recommend checking out Facebook Ads, if you’re new to online marketing. It helps beginners target its audience as easy as 1-2-3. And since Facebook already has information of its users readily available, you can try targeting local clients first before expanding your reach.
Google ads work too, but it may be a bit more complicated if you don’t know your way around keywords and analytics.
5. Share Free Content
Creating free content may seem like a time-waster for most people, but you’ll be amazed at how much this could benefit any new business.
Write an e-book, record an audiobook, make a video tutorial or design an infographic about how to make your home clutter-free. Share it for free everywhere.
If you’re lucky and your content goes viral, that free advertising can go a long way and land you plenty of clients. Heck, if you have the personality to back up your organizing talent, you might even get your own show ala-MarieKondo.
How Much Can You Make as a Certified Professional Organizer?
Certified professional organizers can expect to earn between $55 to $100 an hour, if your contract is long term.
Project-based rates go as low as $200 to $800 for residential work, and in the thousands for business organizing. On average, CPOs earn around $500 for a 5 to 10 hours worth of work. Certified organizers would probably charge higher than those just starting out.
The Bottom Line
Whether you choose to do professional organizing on the side, or as a full-time business, the probability of succeeding in this field lies in how well you’re able to land clients.
As most self-employed professionals know, the first few clients are the hardest to find. But if you follow the guide above and continuously work on your portfolio (and networking), you’ll see how lucrative becoming a CPO can be.
Want to see if you’ve got the heart for this job? Test our your organizing skills at home, and while you’re at it, check out these 6 Apps That’ll Pay You Cash to Spring Clean.