Celebrating a Milestone – Cheers to 10 Years!

Celebrating Ten Years of Clever Girl Organizing and Kathy Vines Coaching

🥂 TEN. YEARS. TEN YEARS!!! (See below if you’re not shouting out loud with me) 🥂

Ten Years is a lifetime in a small business. Certainly, I couldn’t even have imagined what my business would look like today, and if I’d tried, it wouldn’t have included books, magazines, television, speaking all over the country, and being able to help people with their home lives and in their professional careers virtually all over the world.
My business-versary is May 1 (it’s a bit fuzzy, because there are so many things that mark a “start” of a business, but this was the date I chose ceremoniously in between getting my IRS paperwork, filing with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Melrose, the end of my corporate HR job at Fidelity Investments/Devonshire Investors, and making some sort of splash on social media and blogging. May 1, 2013 was the date that sounded official, and so I’m celebrating today!


 If you don’t know my business journey, and how I came to be both a Certified Professional Organizer / Productivity Consultant and also a Career Coach and Resume Writer, I’ll share that it wasn’t a solid plan. Organizing was the dream, and after a layoff following 20 years in Corporate Human Resources, Handy Boy and I agreed that we were in good shape for me to try something new and see if my long time “someday” dream could finally have its time. While I was building this business without a roadmap, I also worked a couple of days a week at a top-tier outplacement services company (yay, Keystone!) and it was steady and gratifying work while I built Clever Girl, client by client, networking meeting by networking meeting, blog post by blog post. After about 2 years in, I realized that Clever Girl had grown enough that my Keystone time was in conflict to getting to the next level, so I stepped away from there, and turned my Career and Resume work into my own private practice.


 In Years 3 and 4, I drove 5 big changes in my business:

  • I became a Certified Professional Organizer (less than 5% of organizers achieve this lofty milestone!)
  • I published and was starting to work on my first book (yes, the word “first” implies a second… hopefully by the end of this year!).
  • I’d begun virtual organizing when someone who loved my blog and my Clever Girl Organizing Challenge, wished she could work with me, but *happened* to live in England! So we began connecting via Skype. I loved it so much, I started offering it proactively to people, and built that next phase of my business. and this was, ahem, 4 full years before the world shut down and moved to Zoom.
  • My favorite time of year, My Clever Girl Organizing Challenge, went from being free (with 750 participants!!) to being a paid subscription model. About a month ago, we wrapped up my 10th Annual Clever Girl Challenge, and I miss it already! I’m grateful for the people who come year after year, as they honor their own journey with their stuff, their home, their lives.  
  • I launched KathyVines.com to be a separate website to manage my career coaching and speaking businesses, and made Clever Girl just about organizing and productivity, as it was everything up until then. 



Around that time, my speaking business was really starting to build. I think my first events were the Melrose Public Library and speaking at the Melrose Farmers Market, sponsored by what is now Zero Waste Melrose. (That one was low tech flip charts!). Since then, my paid speaking business (also pandemic impacted) has taken me to speak in 10 states, and virtual to so many more, plus Canada. I get to share to audience all sorts of inspiration and education about organizing, productivity, career growth, LinkedIn expertise, whatever I’m into at the time :-). Conferences, corporate lunch and learns or bigger workshops, community events… I love them all!
The media was an unexpected ride, too! From appearing in a dozen national magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Real Simple, many times in The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, podcasts, blog interviews, to the surprising invitation to appear on Inside Edition (over 2.7 million views??), you couldn’t have convinced me in 2013 this was part of where I was headed! Speaking and media exposure was the bonus I hadn’t counted on.
I also took on a much bigger role volunteering with my professional association, NAPO. I’d started with some roles in my local chapter early on but I continued to grow at the National level, serving on committees such as Membership, Nominating and Leadership, Conference Committee, and the DEI TaskForce. In 2021, I was shocked to be recognized at the Annual Conference with the President’s Award for my commitment and contributions to NAPO and the industry. I’m grateful for my Frolleagues (Friends+Colleagues) that I’ve made in NAPO not only because my involvement in NAPO has launched me and my business to unforeseen heights, but because they are a heckuva group to have as friends. 



 All along this time, however, the career and resume business was slowly and quietly growing, all via referral and word of mouth. By about year 6 or 7, I started to be a bit more upfront about it and see what would actually happen if I paid attention to it. In year 7, even changed my instagram name from “@CleverGirlOrganizing” to “@KathyVinesSays“, stepping out in the world with my dual personality a bit more, and sharing about both sides of my portfolio of services. Now, when someone tells me they found me on Instagram or LinkedIn or Google, it’s not as surprising as it once was that mid-career professionals are seeking me out to help with these challenges, too 
Part of me worried whether I could legitimately be in two businesses at once and that it wouldn’t give people the message that I wasn’t as serious about one business as I am the other. didn’t think I could do both. Everyone says “Pick one lane” and I just didn’t want to. I *love* helping people think about what they own, why they own it, and where they keep it, truly changing lives as they invite me in, in person and virtually, to help them usher in the future they dream of. I *also* love helping my GenX and Xennial clients figure out what they want to do with their career when they hit that mid-career bump, not quite sure what to do, or if they know, how to tell their story. Whether it’s getting them out of their “professional alibi” resume and helping them figure out how to market themselves, or walking them through the imagination of what the next chapter could be for them and how to get there, I love helping to change people’s professional pathways on their own terms.
I wanted to do both, and I’m doing both. Yes, sure, it’s hard when someone asks “So, what do you do?” and I have to give a complex answer. But people always ask to hear more. Why? Because they, or someone they know, feels stuck. At home. At work. The idea that they just met someone who might help is too irresistible not to find out more.



My portfolio is a full one, and as you might imagine these days, being in the Career Coaching and Resume Writing and LinkedIn advising business is a growth industry. I’m not doing a ton of in-person organizing these days outside of my immediate area. My virtual organizing business is steady and people find me from all over. The pandemic really shut down this industry for in person work and when it came time to re-emerge, I just had other things that I was doing with my time and energy, and I began to recast how in-person organizing fit into it. My parents moved near me from Florida during the pandemic, and having the flexibility in my life to be able to spend time with them or help out with their needs is a tremendous honor and joy for me, even if it’s just taking my dad to the library or my mom for lunch. Owning your own business means that every day you’re not working, you’re probably not earning money. It also means that you don’t have to convince your boss you need time off to take a loved one to the doctors. These days, flexibility and autonomy is the golden ticket. I’m grateful that Handy Boy and I have built a life that works for us to support our values and our dreams. 
I’m hopeful my journey is just rounding into the next decade of amazing things ahead, and I abandon the need to picture what 20 years will look like. If I’d stuck to a plan for 10, it wouldn’t have looked like this!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank YOU!

So, today, on my TEN YEAR BUSINESSVERSARY, I want to share my deep gratitude for my clients, my network, the people who refer me, my NAPO colleagues, The Melrose Community that continues to cheer me on, my friends, and my family for supporting and launching me. My gratitude is also to YOU, dear reader of my ever-so-sparse blog! Special shout out to my very first client, who insisted on being my very first client, before I even left Fidelity, Bonnie. Her support for me to find my footing launched the rest of my journey.  If you know someone who is thinking about doing their own thing, and you can support THEM in any way, make the effort. You won’t regret it, and they’ll never forget it.  So, sometime this week, raise a glass of your favorite thing to clink glasses with, and toast to my 10 years as I toast to you for being here with me! 






  1. Pepper Mintz

    Wonderfully written. I’m so proud of you. An amazing journey.

    • clevergirlorg

      Oh, thank you so much, Pepper! I’m so happy that connecting with you was part of this journey for me! Appreciate your support!

  2. Hazel Thornton

    Cheers to you, Kathy! You have accomplished more in 10 years than many organizers do in 20! I’m a big fan of combining organizing with whatever skills one comes to the industry with, or whatever else one learns along the way.

    • clevergirlorg

      Thank you so much, Hazel!! There’s no doubt that the connections I’ve made through my NAPO Frolleagues have buoyed me and help me launch to new levels year after year! Thanks for taking the time to read my story!

  3. Mike Wallach

    Yay you! You’re an inspiration to us all.

    • clevergirlorg

      Oh, thank you so much! <3 Love having you in my corner!

  4. Nadine Levy

    Such a tremendous accomplishment! I love having you as my froleague and can’t wait to see where the next 10 years take you. I hope you take the time to marvel in how wonderful you are!

    • clevergirlorg

      Thank you so, so much, Nadine! I so appreciate your support and friendship!

  5. Barry Izsak

    You’re an inspiration to many! Congrats!!

    • clevergirlorg

      Thank you so much, Barry! I so appreciate you and the fact that you took some time out of your day to read my story!

  6. Yuzu Byrne

    Loved reading about your journey, Kathy! Congratulations on achieving this special milestone.

    • clevergirlorg

      Oh, thank you so much, Yuzu!

  7. Joanne P

    Congratulations KV! You truly are an amazing person- both professionally and as a friend! Cheers to many more incredible years ahead!

    • clevergirlorg

      Thank you so very much! I’m so happy to have you in my life!


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