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building a strong network

Episode 69: Developing a Network + a Personal Board of Directors

Jan 21

Welcome to Episode 69: Developing a Network + a Personal Board of Directors

Laura Brown of the sisters of industry podcast

Entrepreneurship can sometimes feel a little lonely. Developing a network, and finding people who can be a professional support system is important–but can be overwhelming. Today Melissa Klug and our guest Laura Brown of The Sisters of Industry podcast talk about steps you can take to build a network and a personal “board of directors” to strengthen you as an entrepreneur and a person. 

If you are considering starting or growing a professional organizing business, we have a brand new for 2021, totally free workshop you can take that goes beyond this podcast–you can register here if you want to check it out!

Links for listeners:

The Sisters of Industry networking podcast episode

The Sisters of Industry website

NAPO: National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals

BNI: networking group (search for a local chapter near you)

Pepperlane: networking group

Want to network with other professional organizers? Here is information on our Inspired Organizer® group which includes a private networking community.


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Jen Obermeier: You’re listening to the Pro Organizer Studio podcast with Melissa Klug and Jen Obermeier. Thank you so much for joining in our mission is to broaden the horizons of savvy business women in the organizing industry by instilling confidence and inspiring authenticity. You’ll gain new insight into strategies designed specifically for professional organizers.

So now let’s get started.

Melissa Klug: I am so immensely excited to be here today on the Pro Organizer Studio Podcast with someone that, well, I have a lot of names for this person, but I, my favorite phrase for this person is she is my work bestie from one of my old companies. And I have spoken on this podcast before many times about my corporate background.

And one of the things we’re going to talk about today is the importance of networking and having people. And Laura is one of my people. And one of my most important people in my whole life, but definitely in my career. So I would like to welcome Laura Brown to the podcast.

Laura Brown: So excited to be here. And you’re one of my people too. So I can’t think of a better person. I’d rather podcast with, don’t tell my usual podcast partner I said that.

Melissa: I absolutely will not. I am going to let Laura introduce herself in a second, but Laura has her own podcast and it is one that I recommend to everyone who is in business. It is called The Sisters of Industry and her podcast partner she refers to is her real life sister. I am her fake side sister, but her actual real life sister, they get together and they talk every single week about great topics about business and leadership.

And I highly encourage you to check it out. I have learned so much from it, but Laura, can you tell us a little bit about your background, what you do and all of that good stuff.

Laura: So I’m one of those people that Melissa left behind ring corporate world. Right? I just, I can’t get out, man. I don’t know what to do. Just when I say that jokingly it’s good for me. So I’m one of those people where the corporate crazy works.  And I have so much respect for what you all do in the entrepreneurial world.  So I have been with the same company in corporate world for two decades, with the company called Glatfelter that does heavy manufacturing. And so I am a woman in a manufacturing world. And my role currently is the Vice President of Sales and Operations Planning. So I get to do all sorts of cool stuff on a global scale coordinating between our operational folks and our sales folks, which means I always find myself in the middle of an argument. Just like at home with my kids. So I get to use the same skills everywhere I go every day. It’s awesome. 

Melissa: Mediation skills, whether at home or at work and now home and work are the same thing. So there you go.

Laura: I can sometimes do a two for one. They don’t kids don’t know. They think I’m yelling at them. I’m yelling at the screen. Everybody’s taken care of. 

Melissa: Amazing. So Laura and I met many, many, many, many years ago. And it’s funny as you talk about being one of the only women in a manufacturing business, I tell the story occasionally when Laura and I first met, I walked by a conference room and she was in there and I’m like, Oh my gosh, there’s another woman here! This is so exciting. And there were so few of us in that world. And now in the professional organizing world, it’s exactly the opposite. It’s almost all women and it’s a very refreshing change. So it’s nice. I have gotten both sides of the aisle in my career for all men or all women. So.

Laura: So we’re going to have to find the industry someday where men and women mix freely together in all sorts of love and harmony. And then we won’t want to do.

Melissa: Exactly. Well, I introduced you at the top of this as you were my work bestie at my old company. And I have been fortunate that I have been able to cultivate a deep relationship with someone that is a sounding board and a person that I can go to, to talk about work things at all my companies. So I had you, I went to a new company, I had a very dear person there to me, and then I became a professional organizer and I was on my own. Right. And I just happened to find someone who was in the same industry, did the same type of organizing as me and that person became a dear friend and also eventually a business partner. But I have been fortunate that I have been able to develop those relationships, but in all seriousness entrepreneurship can sometimes be super lonely. You feel like you are on an Island. And most of the people in our industry are solopreneurs. Sometimes people have a business partner, which is awesome. But even if you have a team, often an organizer is leading that team making all the business decisions and you and I have had something, a relationship, a business relationship that we have called personal board of directors for a long time. So in a business, a board of directors runs the company and they make decisions about the company, but you and I are on a personal board of directors. So can you tell us a little bit about that concept and how important it is?

Laura: Absolutely. So I think to me, you cannot beat having people that are your go-to people. Right? And the first thing I’m just going to say is those people do not have to understand what you do every day. I think a lot of times we, I’m going to use a phrase that I use often. We assume ourselves into isolation. So we build up all these assumptions about why we think no, one’s going to understand me. They don’t have the issues I have. They won’t, I’ll have to explain too much. It won’t be worth the energy. But the reality is we are all challenged by things that come back to some core themes. Right? We have decision fatigue.

We’re just exhausted of having to decide things all the time. We’re struggling with our work-life balance, whatever the case might be. There are themes that apply everywhere. So I think it’s so important to take away all those assumptions that you’ve made that have you sitting alone thinking no one understands me.

I am going at this alone and right away just recognize you’re not alone. And there are people that are going to understand you. So let’s go. Find them and get your own Avengers assembled or more professionally, get that board of personal advisors put together. And that board of personal advisors can be informal or formal.

Whatever works for you. The most important part is to do it and to do it in a way that is meaningful for you. So you keep at it. 

Melissa: So you keep going with it, which is exactly right. I see people sometimes that they find an accountability partner or they find someone to help them out with a business problem. And they say that they’re going to do it, but it lasts for a very short period of time and kind of fades away. And it needs to be something that you continue with and something that is sustainable and I love what you said about it does not have to be someone who knows exactly every single detail of your personal business. It does not have to be someone who is also a professional organizer. It could just be someone else who is a woman with an entrepreneurial business, a service business. It could be someone like, you and I obviously have very different daily work lives, but in the end we have a lot of the same challenges. They’re really not that different. And so finding that person, and sometimes it’s finding someone outside of your industry, because sometimes they come at something with a completely different lens. I think.

Laura: I actually think that’s perfect. In fact, you really need three or four people that represent a whole lot of different points of views. Right? Like I love the fact that in my case, I’m lucky because I have a sister by blood who’s part of my personal board of advisors. She’s in a small organization, kind of nonprofit setting. I have you, you’re entrepreneurial. I have some others that are in a more corporate. Point of view, some that are international, some that are domestic, the point being there’s a lot of variety there because the reality is that variety forces us to approach things differently.

Sometimes I’ll talk to you, Melissa, and I’ll realize, Oh my gosh, I’ve allowed the corporate bureaucracy or over-complicating to completely agree. Cloud up what I’m trying to deal with right now, wipe that away. And that ability to have an advisor who sees through that boom takes care of some things on the flip side.

Sometimes I can go, Hey, here’s something that we structure because we are a corporation and it can be valuable for you as a small organization to find the same kind of structure. Cause maybe it’s legal protection or it’s a place where process is going to help you work more efficiently. Right. So I think we can learn so much from each other, even if we don’t understand the actual details that we’re working in on a day-to-day basis.

Melissa: That is so powerful because I do think as entrepreneurs, a lot of times we struggle with that idea of processes. We struggle with the idea of a well, like it’s just us. So I don’t have a director of operations. I don’t have a VP of HR. I have to call myself out on my own HR violations. There’s no one to tell me not to do that, but we have all of these people and we were all of those different hats ourselves. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot have processes in place for your business. And one of the biggest things entrepreneurs really struggle with is time management of working on the business versus working in the business. And I think someone like you with your background or anyone in a corporate business, where there are lots of people you have to manage and lots of processes to manage could really give you some of those benchmarks, which I think is important.

Laura: It is really important. I mean that on versus in the business thing, we all go through that. If you’re in any level of leadership, I think about the fact that you and I talk about it sometimes ? We all manage it differently. I color code my calendar like a nut so that I can visualize this was strategic work.

This was tactical work. This was just. Busy work. I even have a category for that. Right. This is personnel work. Um, you have a cube. I can’t think of the name of it, but you flip right here or you flip it right there to track–Timeular. I can’t ever remember that. But we, we have systems, right. But we’re doing the same thing.

We’re trying to understand where we spend our time. It’s the same thing. We do it differently. You get to do it in a fun, funky entrepreneurial way. I do it in a boring corporate way, but the job is get done, so that we understand what each other are going through. And it’s so funny, because again, we often come back to the same theme.

Oh my gosh, I worked 10 hours today. And seven of them were going through issues that are going to do nothing to help me grow my business in the next two years. 

Melissa: Right. So. That I think brings me to another point that helps drive you to honesty between each other too. Like really opening up about what’s the real going on on the other side of your screen.

Well, that honesty concept really helps  last week, great example, if you had asked me last week, I worked on all my most important projects that I needed to get done. And then when I got to the end of the week, I realized, Oh, actually I had two projects that I didn’t do a single bit of work on.

And even though I was paying attention to it, And here is something that helped kind of catch me in this and help me get regrouped. I have an accountability partner where every Monday and Friday we check in with each other. Carly and I are working on a very specific project together. And on Monday we send each other what we want to accomplish for the week and Friday, we do a chicken on whether we did it and I fessed up that, Hey, I didn’t have a good week this week.

I didn’t get done what I needed to do. And she very lovingly said no judgment at all, but why didn’t you get it done? And I ended up having a really good introspective moment where I said I was working hard this week, but I was working on the urgent versus the important.

Laura Brown: Which is so good. So I think you just hit on a second one too, right?

So whether it’s an individual, who’s your work bestie or this board of advisors, whatever concept you’re using, you have to be honest with them and they have to be willing to give you the tough love back. And there needs to be a no hard feelings. No repercussions. Two way street going on there because if you’re honest and barrel and they do the nice, well, you really tried.

So thanks for coming. You’ve got nowhere. In fact, you’re being enabled in that situation, right? Like that’s not good. You need to have somebody who’s, who’s willing to say, timeout.  I’ll offer an example–like my sister and I work in extremely different worlds, but by virtue of doing a podcast, we also spend some time every Friday, just talking to one another, before we start.

And a couple of weeks ago she was struggling with a particular decision and I’ll admit I was a little mean to her. In retrospect, I probably owe her an apology, but I kind of said, why is this decision so hard? Like you need somebody, who’s going to say what’s so hard.

What do you know what don’t,, in the case of decision making, what additional information do you expect to get. Is there any reason why there’s continued debate here ? You need someone who’s going to probe and ask you questions like that. And again, I don’t know anything about what my sister does at work and she doesn’t know anything about what I do at work.

And I surely don’t know anything about what you do at work. Melissa, even though you’ve taught me how to fold my shirts properly, and you’ve tried very hard to get me to get my own LLC set up correctly. There’s a lot there. I need to learn from you, but the reality is there’s so much applicable discussion just to hold each other accountable.

Melissa: Yeah, well, and that, that honesty and that asking each other, the hard questions, so a little bit of tough love, and that may hurt in that moment. But the important thing is it’s driving you forward and no one loves to hear not great feedback, right? I am a person that takes things personally. And so I’ve had to work very hard to take feedback. And it’s challenging. None of us love to hear, hey, here are 10 things that I think maybe aren’t quite going your way and that you’re not doing quite right, but it’s so important to drive you forward and to find someone from whom you will accept that graciously and understand that they are just trying to make you better.

And like you said, to your sister, what is so hard about this? Sometimes we vastly overcomplicate things and I will say professional organizers kind of on the whole, because we are planners because we are very organized and very methodical. Sometimes we can have a really hard time making decisions or have a really hard time moving forward.

I talk a lot about progress over perfection because a lot of times people want to go to that perfection place and having a person to say, why is this decision hard? Just go make an LLC. Please just call yourself your name, you don’t have to come up with 25 names for your business. Just pick a name and, and move forward, just go post something on social media, whatever it is you’re struggling with. I promise you you’re overthinking it. You really are.

Laura: Right, right. There’s no doubt about it. I even have a little sign behind me that reminds me jokingly, that actually says, hold on, let me go overthink this. And I look at it all the time because we all tend to be overthinkers, let’s be honest as women, we really lean into overthinking. It’s like our specialty. which is why I like making sure I have some men on my board of advisors too, because let’s just be honest, another perspective that we may not always like, but it’s so helpful. Can be gender. It can be cultural, whatever the case might be putting some level of diversity in there.

It really does make a big difference. I think. 

Melissa: So accountability is part of this concept of a personal board of directors, the concept of holding someone else accountable. And that may sound dramatic. And I don’t mean it to it’s legitimately just having someone who is there to say like, Hey, what are your goals? How are you going to reach those goals? How can I assist you in reaching those goals and have that be a two-way street as well? 

In our Inspired Organizer® program, we match people up with accountability partners, so they can have a start of that group of people who can be their personal board of directors. But if someone is on their own and they don’t really have anybody, and I know this is a word that sometimes stresses people out and you in fact have a whole podcast about it, which I encourage people to listen to, but it is the word “Networking” and people get really stressed out. 

I think sometimes with that word networking, I think sometimes they think about like their high school friend. They haven’t talked to in 20 years who is trying to sell them something or they think they’re going to have to go to some sort of event where they’re making very awkward, small talk with people and eating bad appetizers, and it’s going to be awkward and all these things, but networking can be a very broad encompassing term. It’s about increasing the number of people who know about what you do so that they can refer you. And so you have a good network of people in our business to sometimes recommend to other people. Can you talk about a little bit about networking and your view of it?

Laura: Sure. So networking, I will definitely admit it’s one of those things like I, my stomach balls up a little bit. I kind of want to throw up to think about networking.

There are probably name tags involved and really bad cocktails. That I do not want, so it is not something I get excited about on the surface, but I think one of the realizations I’ve had in the last couple of years is that networking has inappropriately gotten a bad name. There really is so much value and networking does not have to be that worst case scenario that we all just conjured up in our mind, you can network by doing something as simple as having two or three people that you have an online connection to and saying, Hey, would you guys be game for a FaceTime call once a week where the three of us can discuss some of the things that are giving us a challenge this week, um, maybe offer each other, some encouragement. It can be that informal and that easy, really, to be honest, right? I think the most important thing you want to do is think, what do I want to get from a network I’m trying to establish, right.

Do I want to get really solid industry professional advice? Then you might want to find an established thing like–I’m a supply chain professional by trade. So the APICS organization that is one that’s specifically networks and works in supply chain. 

On the other hand, I would say if you’re looking for encouragement and people to just help you think differently, For heaven’s sake, a book club might do it for you.

You might want to say, find five people and say, let’s read Atomic Habits, intentional book reference there. I know you and I both loved that book. Right. Let’s pick a book and read this book together and discuss it. And you can you start to build connections that way. It does not have to be the icky yucky thing that we all think networking is you can approach it from so many different angles. The key is that you actually do it and make the hard step of saying, Hey, want to talk? Because I think what I like to remind myself is that. I’m not the only one that feels lonely and is out there looking for a network.

The reality is you’re probably going to ask somebody who was thinking the same thing and maybe as personally struggling to start on their own. And they’re going to be so thankful for you asking worst case scenario that you’ve conjured up in your mind that they’re going to tell me that I have nothing possible to give to them. And why would they want to talk? This is not going to happen. So go ahead and wipe that from your mind. The important thing is to actually go for it because everybody needs it.

And even if they already have one, they might invite you into their network and it will be an awesome ready-made thing to go. Just do it. 

Laura: One of the things you talked about on your podcast on this issue was, and I wrote it down because I loved it. It was a concept of intention versus obligation. So if your intention to go to a networking event is, you know, you’re going to get something great out of it. Versus, Oh, I have to go to this meeting. It’s an obligation for me. If you are just going to X, Y, Z networking event, because you feel like you have to check a box or you have to do it, but your heart isn’t in it, it is not going to be a great networking event for you. And it’s going to be a self fulfilling prophecy, because you’re going to say, well, networking doesn’t work because you are not putting the effort into it. 

To your point, it can be a formal or an informal group for professional organizers. The formal group example might be NAPO in your area, either the national chapter or in your local area, but it can also be a, an informal network of other moms that you’re in a group with. Uh, it could be a book club, like you talked about, right.

When we talk about what we do for a living, people do find it fascinating. I have actually been at parties where people kind of only want to talk about my job as a professional organizer. And so if you are in an informal network, don’t forget that you can use those people to talk about what you do, um, in an informal way.

And networking can be a very organic thing. It doesn’t have to be the formal thing. And does it have to include a formal chamber of commerce membership? For instance?

Laura: Oh, please. No, because that’s probably no, we won’t go there. You’re probably not going to have great networking there to help what you’re trying to achieve. So be clear about what you want to do, be intentional about it. And the other thing that I like to point out and make it easy, do not put yourself in a position where it’s on a Monday night at six o’clock and you just can never get out of the office. Whatever the case might be, don’t make it hard for yourself to do it either. That is consistent with James Clear’s, third rule in Atomic Habits. Right? When, when he talks about habit building, I’ve already mentioned that book twice. It tells you how great it is, right. Either a convenient location, maybe it’s on zoom. So you can go in your pajama pants, whatever the case might be, maybe there’s child care or because you’re at a stage of your life where you need that. I actually know of a couple of women, and this would be a non COVID statement that we’re meeting at.

The cafe nosh, which is what the little cafe in my gym is called.  They were meeting there because they could use the gyms childcare, because that was important to them. There find ways to make it easy to get with this group, too, because if you’re distracted by the act of getting there, and then it’s not even where you really want to be, it’s a worthless pursuit.

Melissa: There are so many options now, too, because of COVID for organizations that previously were in-person networking, which that may feel a little bit more inaccessible or scary to you. And so you might not want to do it well now they have online options.  Some of the networking groups that are very well-known, BNI is a great example. Those meetings are virtual now so that’s a great way to get your feet wet and say, um, you know, can I find this group of people that really fit with me? Not every single group is going to be the right fit. It may not be the right group of businesses, or you might not really connect with someone maybe that there is a chamber in one town that’s great.

And then the chamber, the next town over is not your jam that is probably going to happen. But trying these groups out now while they’re online and stuff, Stakes are lower is never a waste of time. 

Laura: It isn’t and I think there’s also a thousand years ago when Melissa and I were college age, you talked about the shotgun strategy of marketing? Just put a million things out there. Apply the same concept here. Right? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Maybe you get four or five people on that board of directors, because somebody is going to leave at some point.

There’s going to be something maybe they relocate. Maybe they just decide that they would like to change the course of their professional or personal life. Whatever the case might be, things are going to rotate. Do not expect this to be a lifelong commitment and don’t place that expectation on someone else.

Honor it for what it is now. Take everything that you can from it, give everything you can to it and allow room for, to change over time. And I think actually that becomes an even greater blessing because I’ll use us as an example . We started as work besties. Now we’re on a personally chosen board of advisors and we’re each other’s people as well, just in both work life and play.

Right. So it’s beautiful. Watch those things evolve over time. 

Melissa: I just think finding that person or people that can be your true rocks in your career and your business, finding those people to commiserate with, to laugh with, to cry, with, be frustrated, with, to be happy with, to cheer on, to give advice. To give tough love , to give good news and bad news makes our journey and our career infinitely less lonely.

The key part of any of these relationships that we are talking about, whether it is an accountability partner, a board of directors, or just your person being vulnerable with that person and saying, Hey, I’m struggling. I need your help with something, whether it’s business or personal, or the combination, the intersection of business and personal, whatever that is, it makes that relationship all the much richer.

Laura: It does. And I think it also, it gives you a place to take your emotions and use them safely because one of the most difficult lessons I’ve had to learn in business over my career is how to manage my emotions. And I know sometimes, particularly as women . I know a fair number of our listeners will be women for this podcast.

Right. We get branded a lot with being emotional and it can make us angry that we get branded that way. When I was finally willing to own that as part of my reality, And learn how to constructively direct those emotions. It genuinely game changed my career. Um, and I remember being angry to our point earlier about sometimes you’re upset when you get a message from somebody.

I was angry with the first person who was brutally honest with me about that being something that was impacting my career, but now I have this. Very thoughtful approach that says I’m going to have days that infuriate me. And I need to whether it’s the tech stream with my unofficial board of advisors or it’s the one-on-one mentee mentor relationship that I have formally, I need to find the right place to channel those emotions. So having folks that help you learn to navigate that, I think is huge because I don’t think any of us are doing ourselves a favor. If we think either we have it under control. Or that we want to deny that that issue really exists. PS men have that issue too. It just manifests differently, right? It just completely manifests differently and is perceived differently. But at some point we have to acknowledge it, own it and deal with it.

And I’ve found that to be game changing too, to know my extreme emotions need to go somewhere else. And I manage the middle publicly at work and that’s made a huge difference.

Melissa: I am also a person who lets emotions rule the day. And I have worked very hard on that within myself to try to change that as much as possible. It is very hard.  But a couple of weeks ago on the podcast, Jen and I were having a discussion about how you have to show up for your client.

And Jen was saying it. So eloquently, hopefully you guys listened to it, but, um, you have to show up for your client and not let, what is ever going on in your personal life or at home or in your business, get in the way of your client session. You have to be there coaching your client and whatever you have going on, you have to be present for your client.

And so these people that we’re talking about, you can take that frustration and  emotion of that day. Back to that personal board of directors, maybe it’s the frustration with your client session that you need to talk out a little bit and, and , you take it back to those people and you don’t reflect it to the person that you’re actually working with at that time.

And so reflecting it off the job so that you can be present on the job, you can kind of fashion that for and use it for emotion for good, rather than evil. 

Laura: It’s a spouse or your significant other who might get way too much of it. I can’t tell you how often I look at my husband and go, I’m going to tell you the six things I’m angry about before I get on this conference call.

So I don’t say them when I get on this call and the fear that casts over his face is overwhelming. So find a constructive place to proactively manage those things and spare the ones living in your immediate proximity that hear way too much. 

Melissa: Yeah, I can tell you for a fact, my husband is always very appreciative when I take some of my daily “Hey, you will not believe what happened to me today”– sometimes he likes to hear it, and sometimes I think he’s appreciative of my personal board of directors who gets to hear that. 

One of the things I would really encourage people to do, once you have established some level of trust with your accountability partners or your personal board of directors that you have put together, I would really encourage you to ask them for actual feedback. One example would be having those people look at your website and give you feedback of how your website feels to a potential client.

Sometimes we’re so close to our own things that we can’t really see them, or we’re protective of them and really letting go a little bit and saying, I am looking for feedback. I would love to know , how my social media appears to a client. Or did you see my presentation that was online? Did you see my new YouTube?

How do you feel like I connected with clients asking for some of that feedback and really using your accountability partners for that. It is going to help make you better as you show up to your clients.

Laura: I think that’s really important. And you know what I’d add to that, Melissa. Sometimes it’s important to let people know what you’re looking for. When you put that stuff out there. Like sometimes it is guys beat this up, let me know. I want the feedback. And it’s only fair to also say, Hey, sometimes. I’m so proud of this only positive the back welcome, right?

Like just own it at least own how you’re coming to the table about the conversation. I actually have a lot of respect for people that do that. I’m not going to waste my time, editing it. If you’re telling me all you want is for me to be able to say that is amazing. Good job. And that’s okay. That is totally okay.

But I think a really good way to use your network well, is to also let them know what you’re expecting from them at any given moment. I mean, I know sometimes I will text even you or others in the group that we use and say, you know, Hey, I’m so excited about this. Be excited with me and you might be on the other end going, she’d be psycho.

That is not good, but. I was looking for you’re happy now is not the time. We will find the time to say, Laura, this may not have been the best decision of your life. Right. But I think it’s really good to allow people to know what you’re looking for. Um, and to give them the okay, to give you constructive feedback, sometimes people need to know they’re off the leash.

Melissa: I have an actual live example using you. And that happened a few weeks ago. I had designed this page for something and I sent it to you guys in my group, on my girl boss group text. And I was like, guys, look at this amazing thing that I made. And all three of you came back and you’re like, Hey, um, so I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but, um, so this link doesn’t work. And also this doesn’t really look right on mobile. And guess what? I needed that feedback because I hadn’t looked at it on mobile and it didn’t look good on mobile. And you guys saved me from a bad result because I brought it to you.

And you said, Hey, this looks great. Just one more thing and that’s important. And that’s why we go to people for feedback. And we trust people and we are vulnerable with people. It’s all of these things that we have talked about. So find your people, it will benefit you in so, so many ways.

If you are listening to this podcast and saying like, yes, I am totally ready to be bold.

I want to go start doing some formal networking. There are a lot of options available for you, and I will put many of them in the show notes, but. Just giving you some ideas. Obviously in the professional organizing industry, we have a trade association, NAPO. A lot of people are members of that. There is the national NAPO  that puts on a program once a year, the yearly conference, there are also local NAPO chapters that a lot of people are involved with and you can meet other professional organizers and network a little bit and get to meet people who do what we do.  Yesterday I also asked our inspired organizer community  what kind of organizations have they done networking with and have they had success and have they enjoyed it?

And there are so many great options out there. Some of them that you might be familiar with, one of them is BNI, Business Networking International. That is a group that has local chapters. It’s, a large group. It’s actually all over the world. But they have local chapters. And what’s interesting about it is they only allow one person per specific industry to be in a group. So you will be the only professional organizer in your local chapter. There are other groups that have local chapters, such as a group called Tuesday morning, which several of our organizers said that they had been involved with and enjoyed. There is Polka Dot Powerhouse. There is a group that I was involved with for a while called Pepperlane. And that organization is where I was able to meet one of the best networking contacts that I’ve had. There is a woman in my local area who is a stylist, a fashion stylist, and she and I have connected.

And we have just had such a great friendship and a great business relationship. And that was only because I got involved in Pepperlane. So I really, really would urge you to look at some of these options and see if there is a group that really speaks to you. And right now is a great time to try out some networking groups because you can do it virtually decide if it’s for you.

And then when the world goes back to a little bit of normal branch out to that in-person relationship, 

one thing I will say is it may not be with a networking situation that you say, boom, I have just gotten 22 clients out of this networking event. It may be a little bit more of a slow burn. , it may be that you find people that you can refer within your network.

For instance, if you have clients that are looking for a contractor, or if you have someone that is looking for a service that could be part of your networking. It could also be that you just develop relationships with people that strengthen your business skills. That’s one thing about my friend, the stylist that I was just speaking about, she has really strengthened a lot of my business skills in our networking relationship.

I have learned so much from her and she is not a client of mine but she has given me so many other things. And that is the true value of networking. And that’s why you do it.

Laura: Right? And the only final thing I’ll add, and this is the same advice I give to my kids. When it’s about friendships, you get out of things, what you put into them.

And I think we have to be clear about that. If you approach the topic of networking all about what you want and what you need, you’re going to also struggle. So go find those people. And the best way to do that is go be somebody’s person.

Melissa: I love that. And I think there is no better place to end this podcast. I am so happy that you are my person, and I hope that our people on this podcast go find their people after this. And there’s a lot of peoples in one sentence. Uh, so tell us really quickly, Laura, where can people find you on the great wide interwebs?

Laura: As Melissa mentioned earlier, I do have a podcast that I do with my sister. It’s called the Sisters Of Industry, it’s available on all the major podcast forums, including Spotify, Apple, Google, et cetera. Um, the Sisters Of Industry, you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram under the same, and on our website,

There’s all sorts of contact forms and information. If you ever wanted to get ahold of Jen or I for our unique perspectives on what you might be dealing with in business. But we’d love to talk to folks.  I appreciate the chance to have been on this podcast. It’s so fun to podcast with other podcasters because we know what each other up to, and if any of you would like to join us, we’d be happy to welcome you.

In addition to this lovely family, you find yourself in with Melissa and Jen. We’d be happy to welcome you to our podcast family. That is also co-hosted by Jen. Well, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it very much and we will see you on the internet.

Thank you so much for listening into the Pro Organizer Studio Podcast. If you’d like to get our roadmap for success as a pro organizer, head straight to

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Thank you so much for listening into the pro organizer studio podcast. If you’d like to get our roadmap for success as a pro organizer, head straight to

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Photos of jen by ANGELA ZION