In my Organiser Showcase interview series, I always ask:

What would you say to someone just starting out as an organiser?

Advice for New OrganisersSuccessful professional organisers have so much wisdom to share. It can be challenging for someone just starting out in an organising career. There is so much to do, so much to think about, so many choices to make. Here’s a compilation of advice for new organisers from my generous interviewees.

Rachael Wald from Time to Tidy admitted, “Starting out was daunting and to be honest, I was very nervous, but having a supportive family and the support of fellow organisers, like Angela and Wendy (from Hoarding Home Solutions), made the journey easier. Knowing that there is a great support network to call upon to answer any questions or give advice, makes it all worthwhile. Like all private businesses, there will be ups and downs but enjoy the ride!”

Christie Flora from florandorder said, “Try everything before deciding on your niche, if it feels right to you to niche. Try every sort of organising job you can get your hands on and follow the breadcrumbs as your business evolves. My business is completely different to what it was back in 2015. Oh, and subcontract for others. You learn so much!”

Amanda Lecaude from Organising Students advised, “Be yourself and do what makes you happy as that is all that matters. Be prepared though for the admin and management side of your business This can take time. Having said that, you can start small and add as you go. The overall key is to make sure you spend time both in and on your business.”

Narelle Sheeran from Organise and Enrich encouraged, “Give it a go! Experiences in your past are useful for drawing information from to help you on your journey into organising. Every organiser can offer a different set of skills – that’s why we are unique. Equip yourself with some practical advice (from one of Angela’s courses for instance!) and give it a go!” (Aww, thanks Narelle!)

Chantal Imbach from Photos In Order want you to “Be patient and don’t give up. It takes a while to build a business from scratch. Also stay true to yourself. If something like marketing strategies that are promoted far and wide don’t feel right for you, don’t do it.”

Shari Robinson from Sensibly Sorted got specific. “I would tell anyone else starting out to get some basic training. Doing a course like yours (thanks Shari!) pointed me in the right direction on several fronts. The component on what you need to set up was really helpful. You know, ABN, insurance, website etc. I then recommend getting more specific training. There are lots of complex clients out there and the more you know, the more you can help. I’d also recommend joining a local group of organisers. Meeting all the peeps at Professional Organisers of Melbourne meetings has been a game changer. I’ve had referrals, advice, and a bunch of new friends with a similar interest. Tell the people in your life that this is what you are going to do. It really kept me accountable and talking about what I would be doing and how I was achieving it was helpful for clarity. I am loving this new life. Apart from doing work that I enjoy I love the flexibility. I’ve been able to spend more time helping and spending time with family and friends. I love not checking in with a boss or having to account for every hour of my working day to someone. The downside is having to figure out and do a lot of stuff for yourself. Getting advice is great but you still have to do it. I think a big stumbling block is the website. My advice here is that you just need to spend the money and get it done. You can’t wait for everything to be perfect. My big stumbling block now is social media. I overthink every post and suffer writers block a lot! Stop worrying about lots of little details and hypotheticals. Once you start working a lot of the mystery dissipates and you can see more clearly about what you need. Always ask questions if you’re not sure. All the good organisers started somewhere too.”

Stefanie King from The Organising Project shared, “… so much…

  1. Ask yourself honestly, what do you really like about organising and focus on that niche. Work with experienced organisers to start with, it will definitely help you work out what you DO NOT want to do. I prefer working with clients on functional spaces. Pinterest perfect pantries are nice to look at, but most of my clients are far from that picture perfect world of stylish containers and rainbow sorting. Equally, I would find it very difficult to work exclusively with clients that live in squalor.
  2. Organising is most likely a tiny part of what you will be doing in your job. You will listen to people’s life stories, provide mental health support, be their confidant, be their hands and muscle, sometimes be their brain, all while trying to make their life a little bit better. So, learn as much as you can, not just about organising but also about the challenges that your clients may be facing. There is a reason they are disorganised, and you will be confronted with it at some point, so be prepared. Be humble, lower your expectations and work at their pace.
  3. Make sure you have someone to debrief after a difficult session.
  4. If you want to work for yourself, do not underestimate the time it takes for admin, marketing, tax returns, and professional development. It is not easy, but worth it. But it is not for everyone.”

Joey Camilleri from Creating Positive Spaces also has a few good points. Invest in personal development. Angela is always a great start. (Thanks Joey!) Listen to your gut. Let go of perfection – your business will evolve, so things don’t need to be perfect from the start. Yes, planning is essential, but so is action. Connect with the organising community; your competitors are your greatest allies based on my experience in this industry. Know your boundaries and stick to them.”

Marion Ivermee-Villarosa from A Place of Calm said, “Know your WHY? Trust yourself and do what works for you.”

Virginia Wells from WellSorted – Professional Organiser answered, “Be clear on if you want to work as just a PO (for someone else) or if you want to start a business and do all the things that come from being a business owner. Because you have to want to do both to be successful.”

Georgia Holmes from Thriving Spaces Organising said, “For anyone starting out in this industry I’d suggest reaching out to other POs in your area to connect. It really is such a unique and supportive industry. I love it! I think the best thing is just getting out there and getting some on the job experience. I learnt so much from my first few organising clients, especially as every situation is so different. I also did and still do subcontracting work for other organisers, which has been a great way of getting more experience.”

I think Amy Kennedy from The Organising Bee summed it all up when she kindly said, “I would give them a big welcome to our wonderful industry and remind them to be themselves and create a business that works for them and not to worry about what others are doing.”

Thanks everyone for your excellent advice for new organisers and generous sharing. There is one more thing I’d like to add. If you’re just starting out as an organiser, reach out to me for a chat about your options.


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