For this month’s fabulous small business owner interview, I’m going to turn the tables on myself. I’m not fabulous =), but my entrepreneur interviewees are! You can read about them here.
Being an entrepreneur, we need to remember that we need to evolve to make our business a success over time. So, I am going to share how I evolved my business while answering the fabulous small business owner interview questions. Here I go!
Tell us about your business and when you started. Why did you start it?
My road to my small business entrepreneurship was not a straight determined one. I didn’t start my business right away, nor did I jump right in with two feet and drop my other job. I started my organizing business as a side business around 1994 before there was a Professional Organizer job title. I worked with several of my parent’s small business friends and colleagues who needed help organizing and purging their home and office. I did this for many years until my second child was born and decided to take the next step into becoming an entrepreneur.
Even at my day job, I was creating systems.
My day job was as an administrative assistant, then an office manager. I had the opportunity to create several effective systems and reporting documents that were established nationally by my employers. This is where I started finding my calling to help simplify systems in businesses.
So, when it came time for me to start Sabrina’s Organizing and Admin Services around 2001, I knew I wanted to combine my love of helping organize clients’ homes and offices.
As my business grew, I had injured my body and had to stop doing hands-on organizing. I had to make a decision, what should I do with my skills, and how can I continue to evolve my business? At this point, I realized what I was passionate about; it was to help small business owners. I loved supporting these driven individuals and wanted to continue doing so while allowing me to have more flexible time with my family. So, I started to develop services that would help take the busy out of their day. I started with assisting with only administrative tasks.
Within a few years, I branched out by doing more bookkeeping services for 1 -5 employee businesses. I helped clients and learned as I went and they were so supportive.
Then, the internet exploded and I wanted to be involved in this new avenue to advertise my business. So, I started learning website html code, SEO, and started blogging on my home organizing blog and my small business blog. Even though, I was doing this for my business, I found that a lot of my clients needed the help as well. It eventually became a very marketable service.
I then found that social media became more popular and sharing was the next big thing for small businesses. So, I started to get knee deep in the different avenues of sharing online. This became another great money maker for me as well. You can read my list of services here.
At that same time, because of my injury, I had to reduce my home organizing services to only Onsite Solution Consults and virtual organizing consultations. And the rest is history.
What do you feel is an area you struggle with when starting your business? What did you do to overcome this struggle?
Well, as you see I have evolved my business several times so I will talk about what my struggles were at the very beginning.
When I started my organizing business, it was hard for me to know where to market it locally since there wasn’t much guidance in the organizing industry. I had two kids, two dogs, and my husband was traveling a great deal at that time. There wasn’t a huge internet at that point so focusing on local audiences was a priority.
I started volunteering at the local MOMS Club and started spreading the word about how I help organize moms in their homes. The small business services shift didn’t happen until my kids were in kindergarten because it allowed me a good chunk of time to take care of clients’ tasks. This was around 2005.
I also started to volunteer with NAPO, and that was before the internet directory on NAPO’s website was established. I was the main person all the inquiries would come to when they needed an organizer. Yes, I was the original Professional Organizer or Productivity Consultant directory for NAPO in the PA, NJ, and DE area at that time. This volunteering lasted about three years and it was fun meeting new people and communicating with these like-minded small business owners. I also took on a yearbook coordinator role at my kids school for several years which connected me with parents to share my story and business with them.
As the years progressed, I volunteered more and spread the word about my admin and organizing services. I was able to share my business with individuals and small business owners a like.
Even now, I am known more as a Professional Organizer entrepreneur than any other title. It’s probably because of my love for creating more streamline systems wherever I go.
Because I took a risk and stepped out of my comfort zone, it had helped me meet some great people and move beyond just home organizing.
Please share some tips on how you made your business a success.
Take your time and really focus on what you want to do with your business, and what type of client you want.
First, decide on what you want to offer people. Will it be a service or a product? How will you do your service/product? Sketching out your business’ process helps give you direction.
Then, determine their demographics like how old they are. Also, make a list of places and sites that you want to share your business. It could be online or your local area. Doing these steps before you even start, will give you direction and make it clearer in your mind who your ideal client will be.
Remember that these steps will take time to evolve. Try not to put pressure on yourself. The right business plan will come about as you start focusing your energy on your business.
I hope this interview about me helps inspire you to take action and move into your role as an entrepreneur. Please comment below with any questions so we can continue the conversation.