How I Became a Professional Organizer
Updated: Mar 17, 2021
For many people, organizing their home or office is a chore. I get it! Taking time to sort through clutter and chaos, create effective systems, and put everything in its place is quite a project. But for me, organizing is a passion and one I’ve had for as long as I can remember.
My path to starting my own business and creating The Brittish Way has been an adventure in learning and taking chances. I could never have imagined a career that would allow me to help people by organizing for them, and I’m so excited to do what I love every day!
Today, I’m sharing the story of how I became a professional organizer.
Always an Organizer
I’ve always been someone who really enjoys organizing. Even as a kid, I would purposely mess up my room just so that I could put everything back in its place. How many kids do you know who like cleaning their rooms??
Back then, I didn’t dream about becoming a professional organizer, though. For starters, I didn’t know that providing organization services could even be a career. I was always drawn to business (maybe subliminally pushed!) because it was versatile, and the only thing I remember wanting to be was a CEO.
Finding My Path to Entrepreneurship
I attended George Mason University and majored in accounting. After I graduated, I started my career in Internal Audit and then worked in e-commerce before moving on to run a large assisted living community.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but each role I took was people-focused and customer service based. Helping people and providing quality customer service have always been important to me. The skills I developed in those years would come to serve me well!
In 2014, I decided to go back to school for my MBA at the University of Richmond. I needed to add an elective to my schedule, and one of my options was Entrepreneurship 101. I’d always had an inclination for business, and there was that part of me that dreamt of owning a business, just like my uncle. I was intrigued by the idea of a class about starting businesses.
I enrolled in Entrepreneurship 101, and, surprise, surprise, I ended up loving it! Taking that course lit an entrepreneurial spark in me, and I knew I would do something unique with that fire.
Building My Entrepreneurial Network
When I moved back to Milwaukee, I focused on connecting with as many local entrepreneurs as possible. I got comfortable introducing myself as an “entrepreneur without an idea” and actively networked with people I wanted to learn from.
I followed several networking 101 rules that helped turn introductions into relationships:
I had a goal for every meeting.
I bought (or at least offered to buy) their drink.
I offered to return the favor if there was ever anything I could help them with.
I always followed up with a thank-you email.
The Moment That Changed Everything
Each entrepreneur I met with led me to the next. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to meet Kelly Fitzimmons at a Milwaukee Business Journal’s Bizwomen Mentoring Monday event in 2018. Kelly is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, and genuinely kind soul who took me under her wing.
She said to me, “I don’t know what you’re going to do, but we’re going to figure it out together.” Kelly gave me opportunities to oversee her home renovation, plan trips, and help with other projects. Then, she asked me if I would be interested in organizing her kitchen. Hold. The. Phone. She wanted me to do an organizing project?!
Could the organizing I loved be a service people would be interested in? I finally knew what my “it” would be. I would start a business as a professional organizer.
Making My Organization Services Official
Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure that organization services could be a legitimate business. But, I was going to try!
One of my first steps was deciding what to call my business. The Brittish Way was the perfect fit – It’s a play on my name, Britt, and a nod to my mum, Nana, and Great Aunt who are all British. The three of them taught me everything I know about how to be neat, orderly, and organized!
Then, I poured hours into starting The Brittish Way, creating my website, having a friend design my logo, and ordering business cards. Soon I was registering my LLC and working on building my client base.
My first home organizing project for The Brittish Way was helping my in-laws clean out their garage. I snapped before and after pictures, got a great testimonial, and had a satisfied client on the books!
Executing that project confirmed that professional organizing was what I wanted to do. I helped people with something challenging or difficult for them, I got to purge (one of my great joys in life!), and I was doing work that let me be active. I loved everything about this job!
Throughout the fall of 2018, I slowly added clients to my portfolio, mostly through word of mouth, and took some important steps to grow my business:
I worked with the Marquette Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic – an excellent resource! – to create a contract.
I signed up for booths and tables at events where I could promote and showcase The Brittish Way.
I worked with BizStarts to develop a solid business plan.
I hired an amazing and local social media and communications team, The Edit Effect, to launch my business on social media.
I started sending out newsletters and building my mailing list.
I joined local networking organizations such as Emerging Women Leaders (Tempo Milwaukee) and Boss Ladies MKE, the national industry-specific organization NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing) and met other professional organizers, small business owners, and owners of industry-adjacent companies.
Creating Relationships and Experiences With Clients
Clients welcome me into their homes and lives. During the time we spend together, I listen to their stories, help them navigate sometimes-difficult situations, and of course, get them organized.
Earning my clients’ trust and confidence is important to me. Organizing their lives is personal, and it can even get a little emotional at times.
Clients can count on me to listen, keep track of every detail, and make sure that when we’re done with their project, they love their space.
Wearing Multiple Hats - Professional Organizer and Finance Director
While I’ve been busy building my business, I’ve also juggled responsibilities at my other job. That’s right; I have two! I’m also the Finance Director for Capri Senior Communities. I reduced my hours in that role to four days a week in 2019 to give more time to The Brittish Way. I was lucky to be able to do that, thanks to a fantastic company and boss.
One week before the pandemic hit, I attempted to quit my position with Capri Senior Communities to take The Brittish Way full-time. However, it quickly became clear that the world was drastically changing, and I was offered my job again.
It’s an interesting experience, having a foot in both the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds, and I love it!
Looking Back and Ahead: What’s Next for The Brittish Way
I’ve learned so much on my journey building The Brittish Way to what it is now. From being a kid who loved cleaning my room to my role as a professional organizer, finding a way to turn my passion into a profession is a dream come true.
If you’re interested in starting a professional organizing business, my advice is to just get your first client. Figure out if you enjoy the experience, take small steps to grow your business, and get your name out there.
I’m excited for what the future holds for The Brittish Way. I’ve loved every step in growing this business so far. The people I continue to meet and the opportunities my work creates have been amazing. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Ready to learn how my services can help you get organized and love your space? Contact me to set up your complimentary 15-minute discovery call!