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Becoming a Professional Organizer

Reprinted with permission from "The Best Home Businesses for the 90's" by Paul and Sarah Edwards

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Knowledge and Skills You Need to Have

There is no particular training or background required to be an organizer. The following skills are important, however, in order to do it successfully.
  • You need to be organized yourself, although not necessarily perfectly. Once people find out you’re an organizer, they look at you through a microscope, looking for any problem. So you need to be able to be on time, deliver on your commitments, and locate information that you need when you need it without stress.
  • You must be flexible enough to work with individual needs and quirks; you cannot have a cookie-cutter mentality that imposes one regimen on all.
  • You should have a knowledge of various systems, products, furniture, supplies, and accessories for organizing a home or office. Dee Behrman, who specializes in working with medical, dental, and legal offices, believes that "a broad-based product knowledge is essential so you can offer your clients a range of options and customize a system for their particular needs." In working with four medical offices, for example, she found that each one wanted to use a different type of chart.
  • Although many organizers are not computer literate yet, we believe that a sound knowledge of computer hardware, software, and other high-tech equipment to streamline an office or household will soon be a must for any organizer to remain competitive.
  • You must be able to analyze your clients’ needs and develop clear plans for how to make order out of their chaos. You must feel challenged instead of stressed by disorder.
  • You need to be able to listen and advise tactfully. Telling people what to do doesn’t work. You need to be able to understand your clients sufficiently to figure out what will work for them within their budget range.
  • You must be willing to admit you don’t have all the answers and to keep your mind open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.
  • You must be compassionate toward, not judgmental of, your clients.

As Harriet Schechter says, "You must have a poker face when you see people’s disorder. Some people are insane over a small pile of papers; others seem unperturbed by huge mountains of paper.

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