How to get more clients or customers is an age old question if you are a salesperson or provide professional services. How to find organizing clients certainly is the biggest question in our industry.
My father was a salesman. The old fashioned kind that traveled to where you were to make the deal and sealed it with a handshake. He made his living this way for 30 years, and he was good at it. He could sell anything. That was his strong-suit.
For many of us selling ourselves is a bit harder.
I hear from so many new organizers who open the doors to their business, get their business cards, organize for a few friends and think the phone should be ringing with organizing clients. But as they soon find out that’s just not the case.
In today’s post I thought I would share a few of the things I’ve done to gain new organizing clients. I will also mention a few things that really haven’t worked for me but may work for you.
Where to start: Gaining New Organizing Clients
Create a business plan budget for your organizing business.
- Many new organizers today seem to think they can start a professional organizing business with little or no money and that’s not really true unless you are very lucky. You are going to need some money to give yourself a proper start. Budget: Free you can find templates on the internet.
- Borrow from you savings
- Borrow from the bank (small business loan)
- Borrow from a friend or family member.
My Tip: To start my business I would sell things online (eBay, Craigslist, a Facebook neighborhood sale) for my clients. It a lot of work for a little money but I was able to cover my whole first year of costs that way. I was able to get my first big long term client that November who paid for the beginning of the following year and my first conference.
Join the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).
- Why should you? Well, do you want a group of peers and established individuals 6000 strong to be your instant friends, mentors, and support group? Do you want access to free forms, a community forum, and education classes specific to your niche? Do you want to network and receive client referrals and find partners to collaborate with? Budget $275. Click here JOIN NAPO.
My Tip: I’m not sure why new organizers aren’t joining NAPO right away. I couldn’t wait to join NAPO. Yes, I’ve admitted making financial mistakes in my business, but I can tell you NAPO is not one of them. I have made the greatest professional organizing friends through NAPO!
Get a website and optimize your SEO.
- You want to be known by google as a local organizer in your area. Learn how to optimize each page of your website for SEO. If you are completely out of your element invest in a website designer. This will pay for itself soon enough. You want someone in your areas to google “professional organizer, your town,” and your name to pop up. Budget: $500-$1000 (unless you do it yourself).
- For every single client you have you should get reviews as soon as the job is complete. These can become your testimonials. You should get reviews on Yelp and Google first. You can use your testimonials on your website, your blog, your business card, your newsletter. This is called “social proof.” Budget: Free
My Tip: Create or purchase a feedback survey you can leave with your clients with a self addressed stamped envelope. Or create an online survey you can email them when the job is complete. Survey Monkey lets you create a 10 question survey for free.
Go to Business To Business (B2B) Meetings.
- My very first client came from attending a B2B meeting for my neighborhood magazine. I also joined the Chamber of Commerce where I found one of my best long term clients. The meetings are free and usually have food and drinks. Budget: Free
Call a Business or Organizing Coach.
- You are probably wondering how this will help you get clients right? Seems like it’s just more money you have to spend. So not true. What a business coach or organizing coach can teach you in an hour will blow your mind. You have free reign to ask that list of questions you have and get specific answers tailored to you. Not only will this save you hours of research on your own but you can act on these tips right away to draw in clients. Plus, you can start an ongoing relationship with a coach and likely get discounts or other benefits in the future. Budget: $100-200 per hour.
My Tip: I started with a Organizing Coach who could help me setup my business, market my business, and find clients. You may have heard of her she’s the fabulous Geralin Thomas of Metropolitan Organizing. She is also a guru at working with the media and her forms are fantastic. Budget $300-$500. I then went on to use a coach specific to marketing, the fabulous Cena Block of Sane Spaces Budget: Her programs and coaching vary so check her site here. I wanted to start creating my own products and knew she was the way to go. She specializes in helping mom entrepreneurs (Mompreneurs). I have a seven year old at home, so work life balance is a little different for me and I knew she would “get me” (See how Cena’s marketing attracted me?). I have to mention my friend Sarah Buckwalter, CPO and Founder of Organizing U here who also has a fabulous course for new organizers. She has some amazing forms you can purchase to get you started on her site. Budget: Forms $5-18 each, Programs and Courses $200-$1900.
Free Business Profile in Paper.
- Contact your local newspaper and see if they do a free business profile on new businesses. Budget: Free
My TIP: The reporter that did my interview was so curious about what professional organizing was this led to a cover story in the local paper.
What Not To Do:
- Don’t rush out and spend a ton of money on hundreds of business cards and rack cards. Start with 25-50. I redid my cards three times before I liked them because I was still trying to figure out who I was in my business.
- Don’t start with print ads unless they are free. Print ads can be very expensive. They rarely bring you clients to start with.
My Tip: My first print ad cost about $750. I didn’t get one client from it. Because I didn’t learn my lesson I did another print ad in a bigger magazine for $2000. I didn’t get one client. But luckily a vendor saw it and contacted me and through referral feels I eventually made up that money. That was pure luck. I could have been out $2750 from bad decision making. You would be better off going door to door in your neighborhood or wherever you want to organize and handing out business cards.
These are a few things to get you started. I’ll be back with more soon!
If you are interested in learning more please join my Facebook Group: Smart Happy Professional Organizers
If you are a new organizer what would you like to know more about? Please add to the comments.
If you are an established organizer what’s one thing you would add to this list?