19 Jun LMOI is 5!
How has it possibly been five years already?!
June 3rd is the official day I filed my FBN (or fictitious business name, sometimes known as “doing business as” or DBA) with San Mateo County and set up a business bank account. Getting the business up and running started in May of 2014, and the website didn’t launch until mid-June. I had my first LMOI client on June 11th – a client I still work with (and cherish) today.
Just like with any anniversary or birthday, it’s hard to believe how long it’s been, yet at the same time it feels like time has flown by in the blink of an eye. My reflections after my first year haven’t changed much from today: I still believe it takes a village.
When you first start a business there’s a lot of hustle. It reminds me of so many other industries where it’s “hurry up and wait!” You do so much and put so much in place, only wait to build the clientele, and your confidence. I was so lucky to have a very supportive group of friends and family to help guide me, an incredible network of professional organizers both locally and national who were always so forthcoming with their advice and support, and of course, there were the clients who really believed in my talents and referred me to everyone they knew. You learn to lean on people and ask for help – it’s both humbling and empowering.
In that first year I learned to better estimate jobs, improve my skills, and built my confidence. I volunteered with NAPO-SFBA as the Director of Marketing which got me out of my comfort zone and taught me so much about running a business. In the second year, I began moving at a faster pace, and took on crew members for certain larger projects. I continued to volunteer with my chapter, and started to speak publicly about professional organizing.
My third year really felt like I was coasting and getting the hang of things. I switched volunteer roles, had the confidence to make better decisions about running my business, started writing a children’s book series on getting organized, and continued to build on my public speaking. I was also booking out 4 to 6-weeks in advance and organizing full-time, almost 40-hour a week with on-site client hours. I expanded my work past the west coast, and was organizing with clients in Utah, Georgia, and New Jersey. Many of my colleagues thought that I had been in business a lot longer than just 3-years.
By the fourth year, I had the ability to select clients I wanted to work with, and start to set a schedule of meeting with certain clients monthly, while leaving other slots in the month open for new clients or time sensitive projects. I began volunteering at the national level with NAPO, doing some pro-bono organizing work for other non-profits (like LifeMoves and Ronald McDonald House Charities), and soaking up as much education as I could in my spare time. I filed several trademarks related to Let Me Organize It and filed as an S-Corp. I was nominated and voted in as the POINT committee Chair (our national organizer’s forum), acted as co-leader for our Holistic Organizers Special Interest Group, and had the honor of presenting to my peers at the 2019 NAPO National Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.
These years have been so packed with lessons and growth opportunities, it’s hard to believe I’ve come this far in just five years. Though some were incredibly tough and awkward, I am so thankful to have experienced them at all. And of course there have been some equally wonderful experiences that remind me that this is absolutely what I’m meant to be doing.
And of course some things haven’t changed – I’m still striving to find that work-life balance, which is always difficult when you’re the boss, and the “goose that lays the golden egg,” as one person so aptly put it. But that’s what makes me relatable to my clients, and why they trust and appreciate me so much (and I them).
As I tend to do each year around this time, it’s time to evaluate my plan for the next several years: where do I want Let Me Organize It to go next? What goals to I want to achieve? I’m considering taking the next leap – out of my comfort zone – and hiring employees and really expanding. It’s terrifying! But then I remember how it felt when I was starting LMOI; how I looked at fear and did it anyway, and look what it became. I’m a firm believer that when you take a leap of faith one of two things happen. Contrary to what the movies will tell you, it’s rare if ever that you crash and burn. No, instead you either land on your feet and try again – or you fly.
Five years later, I’m still excited about sharing my passion and talent with my clients. I feel fulfilled. And just like my reflections after my first year, I write this during a full moon (this time a Strawberry Harvest Full Moon) and once again feel full: of the possibilities that lie ahead, of the excitement in those possibilities, and especially of the gratitude for everything that has lead up to this point!
Here’s to five more years of organizing bliss and soaring just a little bit higher!