You’ve decided that professional organizing is the career for you – congratulations! For years I’ve coached new organizers who are just starting out, and I read the questions that new organizers post on discussion forums.
One common question I hear from new organizers is “How can I get the training I need? I’m confused about what to do next!”. I certainly understand. With so many courses and programs out there, it can feel overwhelming.
Let’s take some of the mystery out of getting the education you need to succeed in your new endeavor. Consider this your freshman orientation class!
What I’m about to share with you is not the only way to go about getting your education as an organizer, but I promise you it is a way that works, without wasting your time or money. Here’s your curriculum guide.
Step 1: Take NAPO 001, Introduction to Professional Organizing and Productivity
(Cost for NAPO members is $45; non-members pay $90.)
Maybe you’ve joined NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers (I recommend that you do), or maybe you haven’t yet decided. In either case, make your first step to enroll in NAPO’s class 001, Introduction to Professional Organizing and Productivity. Over the years I have taught thousands of new organizers in this course. As the title suggests, the information is relevant for both home organization professionals and productivity consultants.
This two-hour webinar is taught online, so you don’t need to leave your home to take it. You can join the live webinar, or listen to a recorded session at your convenience.
In this course I will:
- Define the profession of organizing
- Introduce the history of professional organizing industry and NAPO
- Present an overview of how a professional organizer works
This course will help you get your feet on the ground and set the stage for your next set of courses.
Step 2: Take NAPO’s Professional Practices Coursework
(Cost for the three courses for NAPO members is $220; non-members pay $750.)
Once you’ve gotten the brief overview of how organizers work, it’s time to dive deeper into the principles and practices that will guide your work with organizing clients. NAPO has divided this information into three courses, which they call the Professional Practices Coursework. This curriculum includes:
- 101, Fundamental Organizing and Productivity Principles, a six-hour course
- 102, Fundamental Organizing and Productivity Practices, a four-hour course
- 103, Ethics for Professional Organizers and Productivity Specialists, a two-hour course
There is a tremendous amount of information packed into these three courses. I recommend that you take these three courses in order. Each one is taught by an experienced professional organizer, and each one builds on what you’ve learned before. While you can sign up for these courses one at a time, I recommend purchasing the bundle of three courses to save money.
Step 3: Take NAPO 104, Starting an Organizing Business
(Cost for NAPO members is $360; non-members pay $460.)
In this best-selling webinar I provide you with the blueprint you need to be ready for your first clients. It’s four hours packed with all the questions and answers you need to launch and grow your organizing business. Here are just some of the topics we’ll cover:
- Writing your business plan
- Building your organizing toolkit
- What to ask a potential client on the phone
- What to look for around the house when you conduct an in-person assessment
- Blogs and books to read to increase your learning
- The advantages of social media to get new clients
- Branding and marketing advice
- How to learn and earn by working for other organizers
If that sounds like a lot to cover in four hours, you’re right––I don’t waste a minute, so you can build the best organizing practice possible! You’ll get the tips, techniques, and strategies you need to help your business grow.
Step 4: Consider Other Courses For Your Needs
By the time that you’ve completed your “freshman courses” outlined in the first three steps, you will no doubt have more ideas about your strengths and interests. Now you’re ready to look for any courses that will help you build the business that’s unique to you.
A course devoted to time management is a good choice to round out your skills, since many clients will need help organizing their time and energy as well as their stuff. In addition to NAPO University courses, you might look at courses offered through Lynda.com, Coursera, or your local community college.
You may want to learn specific tools to help your clients. For example, you can find training in using Evernote or OneNote through Lynda.com or through the products’ own websites.
If you want to work with clients who are dealing with chronic disorganization, look at the courses offered by ICD, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. If helping clients organize photos is your passion, proceed to AAPO, the Association of Professional Photo Organizers. Or if working with seniors is your preference, check out the classes offered by NASMM, the National Association of Senior Move Managers.
Whenever you consider a class, look for instructors who are experienced, and look for someone who is a member of a reputable professional organization. If you are considering a program that is not offered by an organization or university like the ones I’ve described here, be sure to find out about the instructors’ time in the industry, where they got their training, and whether they attend organizing conferences to keep their own skills current. This will help you avoid costly mistakes when choosing where to spend your professional training and education budget.
Once you have invested your time and money in the basic training, there are many interesting and profitable directions to take your organizing business. The profession of organizing and productivity keeps advancing, so there will always be something more to learn.