May 1, 2013, I launched Clever Girl Organizing. It is a little bit of an arbitrary date, as anyone who has ever started their own business will attest to. Launching a business has many steps before you leap. It wasn’t when I joined NAPO (The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals); that was a few weeks earlier. It wasn’t when I created my first website or my Facebook page; that was a little earlier, too. I even had my tax ID for my company by April 27th. But my chosen date is a bit more ceremonial. As April 30th was my last day of employment at my corporate human resources role, May 1 was my first day where Clever Girl Organizing became my one and only focus for my livelihood.
This year, the Annual NAPO Conference coincided almost exactly with my 5th Anniversary.
This Conference is a combination of stellar education for people in my industry and the opportunity to deepen relationships with colleagues and create some new ones, and I’ve been able to attend all five since launching Clever Girl. This year was a little special for me, too, as I had been selected as a Speaker for one of the sessions. With 500 attendees at the Conference, being selected as a speaker is kind of a big deal 🙂 Having reached that milestone I’d hoped to achieve someday, and to have it fall on ALMOST my 5 year anniversary, it was just the right time for me to reflect on what my hard work, commitment, and quite frankly, PURE LOVE of what I get to do every day, has given to me.
I’ve accomplished so much more than I could ever have imagined, and way more than I planned (and I’m a planner).
If you had told me when I started my company that in five years that my business and my presence in the industry would look like it does today, I really could not have believed you. In my 5 years, I have:
- Worked with over 130 clients, for over 2,000 hours, both in person and through computer screens across the globe
- Obtained my Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) designation, something that less than 5% of our industry achieves in their career
- Published my first book, Clever GIrl’s Guide to Living with Less
- Created 6 Clever Girl Organizing Challenges in which HUNDREDS of people have participated
- Delivered more than 40 presentations to corporate/business settings and community audiences
- Been featured in the Boston Globe (twice), 2 issues of Better Homes and Gardens “Secrets of Getting Organized”, several local papers, and have been interviewed on more than 5 podcasts and 3 local television programs,
- Focused on developing other professional organizers, by hosting 7 educational webinars for my NAPO colleagues, creating and hosting a professional development seminar day for my local NAPO New England chapter, and launching my professional-organizer coaching business, working with newer professional organizers/productivity consultants or veterans looking to gain insight as they examine what comes next for themselves
- Written more than 200 blog posts (not including another 50 or so just for the Clever GIrl Organizing Challenge private membership groups)
- Launched KathyVines.com, my website focused on all the coaching, speaking, and media, as a way to establish “what’s next?” in my world!
My most precious artifacts of all of this, however, is how often and how many ways I receive gratitude. There is my “Thank You” wall, a board with the thank you notes and cards I’ve received from my clients over the past 5 years, the ones who have graciously invited me into their homes, and opened themselves up to get the help they need for the change they most crave. But the messages of thanks come in different forms. When I see a client rave about me or refer me to others on Facebook, proudly announcing they worked with me, or a referral to a new client, it’s the best thanks I could ask for. And when I get an email from a former client, with a show and tell or an “I just wanted you to know that the system we set up is still working for me” note, my heart sings. I never lose sight of the fact that, whether someone has invited me into their home, or sat in an audience to listen to me speak, or read my book or blog, the fact that they’ve looked to me for help is humbling, and I never want to stop feeling that way.
But the real gift of launching Clever Girl is knowing that I found the “Sweet Spot”.
I tell my career strategy clients that the best ways we can create a purposeful living for ourselves is to find that sweet spot on the Venn Diagram between Things You’re Good At, Things You Love, Things that People Need and Things People Will Pay For. This is based on the Japanese concept of Ikigai. It’s easy to find jobs that meet one or two of those circles. But the magic is in the middle.
There are few things that I’m more grateful for than (a) the fact that I found mine and (b) the fact that Handy Boy and I make a wonderful team of support and encouragement for each other that he implored me to take the leap five years ago!
I can only hope that in another 5 years, I’m back sharing all that I’m proud of, and that I still love it as much as I do today, and continue to bring clarity and change into people’s lives! Thank you to all of you who have been with me since the beginning, or to those of you who hopped along the ride with me along the way. I’m so happy to have you by my side!