The Highs & Lows of a Second Year in Business
“It’s not about making it perfect, it’s about taking action, getting a result, and adjusting accordingly.” – Mel Robbins
It’s hard to believe that it was two years ago I decided to go self employed and set up Better Organised. Here are a few of the stand out moments from the last twelve months.
Working with clients on a range of projects, from decluttering playrooms and paperwork to project managing the clearance of a house after a bereavement, has been a privilege. I love helping people on a practical and emotional level, often at a point when they are feeling overwhelmed and simply can’t face undertaking a project on their own. Organisers say it’s never about the stuff, it’s about the person. The last year has certainly demonstrated that to me in so many ways.
The PA side of the business has also evolved and I have continued to support business owners in the administrative and organisational aspects of their roles. I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients across a broad range of sectors to help them achieve better balance and productivity, so that they can focus on the things that are most important to them. From organising years’ worth of paperwork to updating CRM systems and securing places to showcase products at high-profile events, there has never been a dull moment and always plenty of development and learning along the way.
The professional organising industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth, partly due to it being highlighted as a profession in the Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It is very exciting to be part of a community of committed individuals who are so passionate about helping people to simplify their space, manage their time and replace chaos with calm.
I have partnered with colleagues from the Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers (APDO) on a few occasions in the last year, including a large decluttering project and a clutter surgery, and look forward to seeing what the coming months and years bring for me and my fellow association members.
2018 saw the launch of the Better Organised newsletter, online shop and workshop programme. It was also the beginning of a series of presentations to groups, including Women EmpowerED, Business Gateway’s Women in Business and the Women’s Institute.
Presenting your own material to a group is certainly more nerve-wracking than delivering information that’s already been prepared but the feedback was thankfully positive. There are more Better Organised workshops and presentations in the pipeline, commencing with a time management & productivity event in partnership with Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce on 13th March.
As any business owner knows, being visible in your business and active on social media can feel all-consuming, exhausting and uncomfortable! But when I started out on my own, one valuable piece of advice I got was ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable’ (not what you want to hear when you’ve always hated having your photo taken!).
I openly admit that the sales, marketing and social media side of business will always be the part that I most struggle with. However, over the last two years I have had tremendous support and encouragement in this area. I’ll never outsmart an algorithim but I continue to feel my way, improve my knowledge and try to produce content that’s interesting, useful and relevant.
On a cheerier note, I was thrilled to be approached to be an advisor in the renovation advice hub at the Ideal Home Show and to share tips in an accompanying article in Good Homes magazine. I was also involved with blogs for Avery UK, Small Business Saturday and Really Moving.
I particularly loved my first stint on radio when Diane Goldberg invited me to be a guest on her radio show on Cumbernauld FM to highlight National Organising Week!
Learning & Collaboration
From networking at workshops and events to engaging in online groups and attending the APDO annual conference in London, the value of a support network has proven to be immeasurable over the last two years. I am constantly amazed by the diversity of businesses and the passion, skills, support and commitment that is demonstrated by hard-working and driven business owners that I connect with.
I have been deliberate in my efforts for continuous professional development so have undertaken APDO training, attended workshops, seminars and conferences, and embraced podcasts, TED talks, audiobooks and articles with a view to continually improving my skill set and knowledge.
The One That Got Away?
Over the last year, I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked with super clients on rewarding projects. To have a mix of assignments that have allowed me to partly work at home but also be out and about is fantastic, and balancing vital childcare commitments has been made possible because of the flexibility of the role.
On the flip side, I have turned down opportunities that simply didn’t feel right, where I wasn’t in a position to commit the time and attention they deserved, or that didn’t align with the core values of the business. Quiet spells and financial uncertainty are particularly unsettling and worrying. I have also experienced the disappointment and frustration of serial postponements, promotional projects that never got off the ground due to circumstances out of my control, and the realisation that what seems like a great idea doesn’t always translate into a financially viable addition to a business’s product offering once you’ve done your research.
In summary, the last year has certainly reaffirmed my beliefs that what’s for you won’t go by you and that every day is a school day. There is learning and laughter throughout my business journey and with lots of client projects, another APDO conference and a couple of big campaigns coming up, I am looking ahead to my third year in business with enthusiasm and excitement!
If you have enjoyed this blog, please click the link to read my 3 reflections on my first year in self employment.
I’m Kate, a professional organiser & PA and the founder of Better Organised; decluttering and organising homes, offices, businesses and lives in and around Milngavie, Glasgow. For more information about my services, client testimonials and to sign up to my newsletter, please visit www.betterorganised.uk