Friday morning I drove into Savannah to meet with The Organized Woman, a.k.a. Cuffy Sullivan. To say I was anxious and excited doesn’t quite cover it. I arrived to the café about 30 minutes early. And then I had to wander around until I could find an ATM because I didn’t have enough change for the meter. So it was a good thing I was early. But, seriously? Thirty minutes early for a cup of coffee with someone = slightly excessive.
Fortunately, Ms Sullivan was absolutely friendly and put me at ease right away. She came in running a little behind on schedule and not all perfectly organized like I was fearfully expecting. She sat down with a muffin and coffee and started telling me all about how she got into professional organizing and her motivations for it. She told me about what services she offers and how she works with people. She asked me about my background and where I would focus. When I mentioned that I have experience with office filing and paperwork, she said that if I made that my niche, she would send people my direction because that’s not one of her strong points. She recommended books for reading and other resources. She gave me a list of things that I should start putting together in order to establish a small business. And, best of all, she invited me to shadow her on a job that she’s going to do on Hilton Head Island.
She was very encouraging about being a PO, and said that she highly recommends it. When I mentioned that I’m not naturally gregarious, she didn’t sound concerned at all. I know that I can be outgoing when I need to be. And if my behavior in the meetings at work about organizing our department is any indication, I can also be convincing when I need to be. I get passionate about organizing. One of my coworkers laughed with me about it yesterday because I got so worked up in a meeting. But then he sat down with me and asked my opinion on how he could rearrange his living arrangements so he could set up a home office.
I left the meeting with Ms Sullivan so completely jazzed. I believe I can make this work—not a lot all at first because I need to develop a deeper skill-set and learn how to organize strangers. But with some experience and developing myself further, I believe I can make this work.
A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in the office of a gentleman in town and mentioned that I would love to clean up the desk he had along the back wall of his office. He laughed and said that if I did, he would buy me dinner. Friday afternoon, I went back to his office and asked if I could talk with him about his desk again. I told him that I am a starting-out Professional Organizer and I need experience working with people on their spaces. I said that I would love to organize his desk—for free.
He was thrilled! He sat down with me and we went through his desk piece by piece, throwing away old information, filing papers that needed to be filed, moving things that he didn’t use to a supply closet in the hall. I really didn’t expect to do it that afternoon, but he wasn’t overly busy (I did get kicked out once so he could talk with a customer) and we got most of the way through before I needed to leave. The other people in the area were a little confused about my presence, but whenever someone came in, he told them that I was learning to be a professional organizer and that I’d offered to help clean up his desk. And as long as I wasn’t looking at customer paperwork, they were fine with it. It sounded like a lot of them were actually fairly curious about the concept.
I had to leave before we were finished. He was getting busier with work and I was getting very tired, so I excused myself and went home. But we’re going to finish up another time, when I have my label-maker with me. He asked if I’d be interested in helping him organize his house, too, and I said that I would. Justin said that I should charge for the house, so I have to talk with Ms Sullivan about it. Also, I think I should work up some legal paperwork to cover my butt.
But I’m started! I found some helpful websites yesterday that I’m going to explore some weekend. They talk about how to write a business plan and financial considerations and all of that. And I need to find some more people to organize for free. I think the gentleman I worked with on Friday is going to be very helpful for word-of-mouth advertising for me, if he likes what I do with his space.
I still have a lot to do. But I’m excited! I really think this is going to work.