If you’re looking to start a professional organizing business, or if you’ve already started one and aren’t sure what the next steps are, this post goes into detail about the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals — NAPO. By the end of this article, you’ll know if joining a NAPO membership is right for you and exactly what you need to do in order to become a member.
“I want to be a professional organizer, but how do I get started?”
I get this question over and over again, and honestly, it’s one of my favorite questions.
As a certified professional organizer with more than 20 years of experience, I know all the in’s and out’s of what it takes to start an organizing business, build clientele, and make a steady income doing what I love.
But, having the passion to help people organize isn’t enough to have a thriving organizing business. There are various certifications and organizations a professional organizer needs to have in order to become certified, and for the lack of a better phrase “super official.”
After all, if you want clients, you do need to prove to them that you know what you’re doing, right?
So, how do you do that? There are a few ways to get started with a professional organizing business, but this article is focused all on the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, otherwise known as NAPO.
In a nutshell, NAPO is a giant directory of professional organizers all around the world. Additionally, the NAPO website offers memberships, conferences, and updated educational training to help keep you and your business in tip-top shape.
Basically, if you’re going to be an organizer, you should consider joining NAPO.
But wait just one minute.
At what point in your business do you join NAPO? How much does it cost? Is it worth the money? What does the membership mean?
From experience, I can tell you that there is a proper time to join NAPO and it’s probably not what you think. Keep on reading below and I’ll be sure to answer all your NAPO questions.
Here is everything you need to know about joining a NAPO membership
1. First of all, what is NAPO?
NAPO used to stand for the National Association of Professional Organizers, but it’s since been renamed to the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. The website, https://www.napo.net, is a large directory of over 3,500 professional organizers around the world dedicated to helping people organize their space.
2. How do I use NAPO as a Professional Organizer?
If you sign up for NAPO as an organizer, you become a member of the organization and therefore you become a NAPO organizer. The NAPO membership gets you all sorts of perks such as listings in the Professionals Directory (after certain requirements are met), the chance to get Specialist Certificates, access to exclusive member-only content, discounted learning, and much more.
3. What are the benefits of joining NAPO?
There are quite a few benefits to joining NAPO, but here are my favorites:
- Get listed in the Professional Directory
- Get referrals from other organizers
- Potential job opportunities from outside of your market — this is my favorite perk!
4. Should I join NAPO? If so, when?
There are so many benefits to being a NAPO organizer, aka a member of NAPO, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily right for you to join.
First of all, NAPO is a financial commitment. Unless you are already making money with your professional organizing and have a few clients lined up, it’s not a good idea to commit to NAPO’s membership fees.
Ideally, before you join NAPO, you will need to make sure you have the money to pay for the membership. And, it’s important that you aren’t paying for the membership out of pocket, but rather with the money you earn from clients.
If you don’t already have clients, it’s a good idea to hold off on a NAPO membership until you really have your foot into the organizing door. Otherwise, you can end up wasting a lot of money, and that’s the last thing I want you to do.
I suggest that you get at least 3-5 paying clients BEFORE joining NAPO. If you don’t have clients, then you will at least need to have some leads that will eventually lead to an income for you.
Basically, join NAPO only AFTER you have an income with professional organizing.
But wait! How do I get clients?
Getting clients is the bread and butter of a professional organizing business (aside from the quality of your work, of course). Nailing down those first few clients might seem like a difficult task, but it’s actually much easier than you think.
Check out my Professional Organizer’s Blueprint Workbook to learn how to get your first few clients the easy way or you can get my Professional Organizer’s Course Bundle (which includes my highly popular Blueprint Workbook) and learn everything you need to know about starting and maintaining a successful organizing business.
5. How much does NAPO cost?
The straightforward answer is $300 a year plus an admin fee. But, that does NOT get you into the directory right away. After you join, they will pitch to you courses, conferences, and bundles.
But here’s what you ABSOLUTELY need to do in order to qualify for the directory (which is where you want to be).
They require that you take the “Going Pro: The Professional Practices Coursework”. Once you have taken these courses, which costs an additional $225, then NAPO will list you in the Professionals Directory.
So, you’re looking at around $525.00 to join NAPO. That’s why it’s important that you have a few clients lined up before you join because the costs add up.
But, once you are in the directory, you could get a call from a company outside your market and make $600 for 1 job, which would cover your yearly fees. In the end, it’s definitely worth it.
6. I’ve joined NAPO, now what? Join a chapter!
Once you’ve signed up for NAPO and taken the “Going Pro” courses, the next thing you’ll want to do is to join a chapter. Costs vary by location, but you could be looking at fees around 100 bucks. A chapter is a local group that gets together near you and is a great way to get local gigs. If there is no chapter near you, you can join a virtual chapter for a smaller fee.
By joining a chapter, you could get you access to past conference recordings, which gets you hundreds of hours of training and courses that you now have unlimited access to. This is a big deal and is a great way to save some money.
Additionally, you could get bonus content here: Free Classes for Professional Organizers
7. How to market myself on NAPO
The best way to market on NAPO is to connect with other NAPO members in your market. This can be done through your chapter. If you want to market yourself, but not on NAPO, the best way to do that is by picking a niche and networking in your area. If you need help with this, check out my free guide that walks you through this process.
8. Does joining NAPO make me certified? How do I get a certification?
You don’t just join NAPO and get a certificate.
They do offer certificate programs for $1000+ (but the most important thing you need to do is to get on the directory and start getting clients).
Getting a certification with NAPO is quite the process. One of the requirements is that you work 1500 hours as a professional organizer over the past 5 years.
For certification, you need to WORK FIRST. You don’t get your certification and then start working as an organizer. It’s actually the other way around.
You need to work as an organizer, prove you have experience, AND THEN you can get certified.
Again, getting clients should always be your first goal. Once you have clients, the rest will come.
9. Is my NAPO membership a tax deduction?
If you’re organizing business is set up as a legitimate business, then your membership dues are likely a tax-deductible expense.
If you don’t have a legitimate business established and are just organizing as a side hustle or a hobby, then no, it is most likely not a tax-deductible expense.
If you’re currently organizing as a side gig and are interested in making it a legitimate business, you’ll want to talk to your accountant and see the steps you need to take to get set up as each US state has different requirements.
Once you have your legitimate business established, there are some essential forms you need to complete before you can be on your way. But don’t worry, I have just the thing you need to make those essential forms a piece of cake to complete.
10. How do I make the most out of my NAPO membership?
- When you join, you will first just be a provisional member. Once you take the “Going Pro: Professional Practices Coursework” courses, then you can request to be placed in the Professionals Directory, which is where you need to be!
- Join a chapter either locally or virtually. This gets you access to past conferences, recordings, monthly meetings, trainings, and more.
- Connect with other NAPO members in your town and ask about contract opportunities.
I hope you learned all you needed to know about joining NAPO. Being a member of NAPO has brought me plenty of business, connections, and opportunities locally and nationwide. But remember, before you join NAPO, you really need to have at least 3-5 PAYING clients. If you don’t have clients yet, or if you need help getting your organizing business off the ground, check out my free professional organizing launch guide and my professional organizer’s course bundle.
My goal is to help you succeed with your organizing business!