So often I am asked: “Katherine, how can I quit my full-time career and follow my dreams to start my own organizing business?”

I know, it seems like an impossible task.

I took that leap of faith back in 2002, and my guest today has done the same.

I’m speaking with Laura Souders of Healthier Spaces Organizing. She is an author, speaker, and frequent guest on Good Day PA. Her book, Organizing Her Life, chronicles her journey from quitting her job as a middle school teacher of 18 years and becoming a full-time Professional Organizer.

She is a member of NAPO and has certificates from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. Laura and I met while working on A&E’s Hoarders and became fast friends.

Organizing Her Life: How My Journey Can Help You Declutter Your Spaces and Your Life
  • Souders, Laura (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 250 Pages - 11/02/2018 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Laura will tell us about starting her organizing business. I’m asking:

  • Why did you quit your job to become a Professional Organizer?
  • How did you pay the bills when starting your business?
  • How did you find your first paid client?
  • When did you know you’d “made it” as a legit business?

Why did you quit your job to become a full-time Professional Organizer?

Laura: I felt trapped. I felt like my skills weren’t being used, my natural skills weren’t being put to their best use. I really like organizing. And during the school day, I tried to organize my students as much as I could, but most of the time I really had to spend teaching, which I didn’t want to do. And the teaching drained me. So, when I went home in the evenings, I really was drained. And ultimately, I wasn’t happy in the job I had.

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How did you pay the bills when starting your business?

Laura: I gave myself and my husband a full year to figure out a game plan, a strategy I had spent years of not being happy, but I never had sat down and figured out how could I get out of this? And so we took the time to plan on me not having my income. So we really downsized so much of our lives. I realized if I was going to be moving to a job that maybe I wasn’t going to make as much, especially in the beginning, but I’d be happy at the job. I didn’t need to have a mocha every day. If I was going to be happy and fulfilled in my job, I didn’t need to spend time on vacations or going away or treating myself to different things because I would be happy more of the time.

We started cutting down some of those expenses. I got a job waitressing before the school year even ended. So that during my summers, when I normally wouldn’t work, I could start making a little bit of extra money to pad the time when I wasn’t going to be having as many clients. And not only did we lower our day-to-day expenses, we decided to downsize our whole lives.

We decided to sell our house, put our house on the market and sell it and downsize to a much smaller home. And I tell this story of the house that we moved into in my book, it was actually a hoarded house. We got it at a really good price and we’re able to do all the work on it.

We downsized pretty much every aspect of our lives.

How did you find your first paid client?

Laura: Finding that first paid client of somebody that you don’t know is such a huge step in your business.

I had gone to several networking events. But being a teacher, I really had no experience with marketing or advertising. My students just showed up every day. I didn’t have to go out and find them. So, to find clients to me was a whole new issue. I actually thought once I decided I was going to be an organizer and had business cards and told a couple of people, that just by word of mouth, I would be booked right away.

I went to these networking events and would give my 30-second elevator pitch. And I thought that’ll be it. Now the phones will be ringing off the hook. I’ll be busy, I’ll be full. I did several of these and people would talk to me about my services and be like: “that’s really interesting,” “that’s really great,” but it wouldn’t get any further.

So I told my friend about it, she had her own business. She said, why don’t the next networking event we go to you say, for anyone who books my services today, I will give you half price. At the next meeting I stood up, said my same elevator pitch and offered the half price discount. And that day I had five people send me their business cards as I was speaking.

I booked five clients immediately.

And wow, those clients were so valuable. Being booked five times at half price was much better than being booked zero times at full price. I booked those five people and several of them did several sessions. Some of them became my biggest advertisers, putting my information on social media, telling their friends about me, and just really promoting my business. I learned so much from them.

When did you know you’d “made it” and were running a legit business?

Laura: I think I didn’t realize that when I had made it, my children noticed it before I did. I was so busy just making sure my business was growing and that I was getting clients and making enough money. I really didn’t see how much it had changed.

When I was first waitressing, and taking just a few clients in a month, my children would call me often from school or texts me that they forgot a book, or they needed sneakers for gym that day. And I was always available to run it.

And when I sat back and looked at it, it was just amazing.

One day my son who was in sixth grade, said Healthier Spaces Organizing as a real business. And I said, yeah, yeah, it is. Why, why are you saying that? Like I thought that too. And he said, well, it didn’t used to be really because you’re always at home really wanting clients and wanting to do it, but you weren’t doing it all the time. He said: “now you’re pretty much gone every day!”

For more about Laura’s story including what happened when she bought and renovated a hoarded house check out her book, organizing her life.

Organizing Her Life: How My Journey Can Help You Declutter Your Spaces and Your Life
  • Souders, Laura (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 250 Pages - 11/02/2018 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)

Need help setting up your home organizing business?

There are many things to consider when starting an organizing business like:

  • What will I name my business?
  • Where will I find clients?
  • How do I become an organizer?
  • Do I need to be certified?
  • How will I structure my business?

You have come to the right place! Check out my other blogs on starting a decluttering business:

How to Start a Professional Organizing Business

The Ultimate Reading List for (wannabe) Certified Professional Organizers

How to Create a Name for your Organizing Business

7 Ways to Get Clients for your Professional Organizing Business

Get a copy of my free guide “Professional Organizer’s Launch Guide” HERE

When you are ready to start your own decluttering business, check out all my courses on working as a professional organizer in my course bundle for the best price on courses to create and market your organizing business and design a system of organization that will work with all your clients no matter how small or large their volume of clutter!

Happy Organizing!