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how to organize your finances

Episode 73: Organizing Your Financial Life

Mar 19

Jen and Melissa have a chat about how you can use organizing principles to organize your financeses.

As pro organizers, we know that organizing can transform a house. But have you ever applied organizing principles to your financial house? There are some really smart things we do with our clients that can be adapted to work in thinking about finances, and Melissa and Jen talk about this plus how Melissa used these principles to do presentations with financial services companies for her organizing business and networking!

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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.

Jen Obermeier: [00:00:32] Melissa. I am so excited to be back on the podcast with you. My favorite bringing you on as a co-host has been wonderful because well, a you, you and I love to talk about all kinds of topics that are. You, you know, you just bring so much fresh energy. Thank you. 

Melissa Klug: [00:00:49] Oh, well, thanks. I love doing it. I love talking and that everyone is enjoying it so far.

Jen Obermeier: [00:00:53] If you haven’t joined our Facebook group, we do have a private Facebook group for the podcast pro organizer studio insiders. So you can check that out because that’s where you can tell us like, Hey, we loved this episode or we want to know more about this, or, Hey, why don’t you bring this guest on?

Like, we are always listening to your feedback and definitely hop in there and let Melissa know if you have. Enjoyed hearing her as, as one of the voices here too, because I know I certainly have. 

Melissa Klug: [00:01:18] Well, thanks. I love, love, love doing it. And I really love when people give us show suggestions. Yeah. Let me say that again. Show suggestions, easy for me to say,! Like I do, like, there are things sometimes that I go, well, I would like to know about this, but I want to know everybody wants to know about it. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:01:36] Right, right. Well, it’s been really, it’s been really, really fun. So one thing that I learned about Melissa, that I now get to share it with our audience today is that, well, as you guys know, she is a master certified KonMari® consultant and in the past in the real world, she has actually given presentations and other things. So I’m going to ask you a little bit more about this so she can share the details, but she’s given presentations too either in a company setting or in some sort of professional setting about applying KonMari® principles, which it doesn’t really matter if it’s Marie Kondo or not, It’s principles of organizing, it’s ways of breaking down very hard and difficult tasks. Applying those principles to, you know, specific topics like finances. So Melissa, tell us, how is it that you ended up giving a presentation about KonMari’ing your finances. 

Melissa Klug: [00:02:25] Well, and I think this is a good lesson because sometimes people are like, well, I really like speaking. I, like I’ve said, I’ve never met a microphone that I don’t like. I, I love speaking to people. Like I love audiences. I love being able to talk to people. And so I one of the parts of my organizing business that I felt was really important was to do presentations. And so I do presentations to library groups. I do presentations to all sorts of people, moms groups, MOPS groups, I gave a presentation about how to organize during Lent at a church last year. Like all sorts of stuff, right. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:02:58] Specific. Yes. 

Melissa Klug: [00:02:59] Very specific right. But one of the favorite things that I did is I partnered with some financial services people. So like American Express investments, one time and another, a private investment consultant to give presentations to their clients about how to organize your finances. And there are a couple of different aspects of it where we all know when we organize someone’s paperwork. Like it can be a total disaster, right? 

And part of Marie Kondo principles, of course, everybody kind of knows the spark joy thing, but I’ve had several clients that are like, what sparks joy about a mortgage statement? Like, well, nothing, right. Like I get it. But one like one of my people in my organizing life, she had a great phrase, which is what sparks joy for you is to be able to, to find the paperwork you need at the time you need it. 

Like right now, tax time. That organizing your financial life, so not only your actual finances, but your paperwork associated with it, that brings a peace to you.  So these presentations, like I just went about and I said, Hey, I want to just use KonMari principles of categorizing and finding everything and putting it in one place. And we apply it to finances.

Jen Obermeier: [00:04:19] Well, so not only, okay, this is brilliant on multiple levels because for one thing, I think this is I think this is great for people listening who are like, how would I, like, you know, I’ve been asked to speak at a, at a group or at a mom’s group. Like what, what in the world do I start with?

I like how you’re not trying to like, cover every possible organizing problem in the world. You’re like, here’s something specific that is a challenge that people don’t like doing, and they are procrastinating on it because they don’t have, like you said, that joyful system, like being able to find things.

If you guys are listening, so for one thing is this, that was a brilliant way of coming up with something customized for that audience. But then secondly,  what you actually just said is, so is such a brilliant reframe of like, do I want to keep all of these papers in an ideal world, new?

Like I just trash them,  but what you’re saying is spark the part that sparks joy is actually maybe sitting down and having a non-stressful tax time. 

Melissa Klug: [00:05:17] Yes. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:05:18] That of the dread and kind of the, you know, you just, you make all this anxiety out of out of even just trying to locate your stuff.  So I want to, so I actually want to go in and actually get you to sort of share with us about the KonMari in your finances.

Because one thing that Melissa and I have talked about privately is that every organizer feels a little bit. See, you know, maybe they sort of have their like secret shame. Like this is my one area of my life that I’m not that organized. And I want you guys to know, I’ve said this a million times.

You don’t have to be perfect to be an organizer. And you are not the only one who has some area of your life that you’re like You wouldn’t call me a professional organizer if you knew about this. So and so, so we think we always are trying to bring you guys content. That is, that is helpful to you on a personal level too.

So I so now I’m going to ask Melissa to get in a little bit more about that. Yes, we are recording this right at tax time. So we can talk a little bit about taxes and about paperwork, but just in general, Melissa,  how would you describe again, the concept of sparking joy or the concept of, of organizing just your everyday, like your everyday sense of budgeting and bank balances. And that’s something that a lot of people don’t like to look at until it’s a problem. 

Melissa Klug: [00:06:34] Cause it’s not fun. Right? Like more thing, that’s fun about  Oh, I need to go through the mail and I need to, you know, get my paperwork together  it’s not that exciting, right? Like there are many other things it’s more satisfying organize your closet or take a walk outside or do nothing. Right. One of the big principles of,  organizing in general. But what I learned in the, learning how to be our KonMari organizer is that you have to kind of face everything that you have.

Right. It’s okay. The process is you, you find every piece of clothing that you have in your house. And you need to put it all in one place, so you can be faced with, I call it shock and awe, everything that you have, and you find out that you have 50 pairs of yoga pants, whatever. 

Now for your finances, this might be less fun, but a lot of times, and I think this is also like, we could probably go pretty deep on this, but this is a woman thing, I think sometimes is like money mindset or being like kind of like LA LA LA. I don’t need to look at my finances. It’s fine. 

Facing whatever it is that you have, whether it is I’m not really sure how much money I pay in taxes or I’m not really sure how much money I owe, like how much debt I have or how much money I’m actually making in my business.  Knowing those details and being intimately aware of, I brought in $5,000 of revenue this month, but I really need to bring in eight, whatever that looks like. 

So that whole process of starting out and gathering all the information and kind of face, I will tell you once you face it, it makes it better because then you can say, I have a plan. And here’s my plan. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:08:17] Oh my gosh. All right. Well, build a bridge for us of like, how do you get there? Like if you, if you’ve convinced yourself to even open that scary closet and get all your documents and get all your debt statements and get all your business expenses and like lay it all out, like, how do you not run away? How do you suggest where to start because it’s so overwhelming when you have gotten it. If you just let it get messy and you’re not on top of it. Yeah. 

Melissa Klug: [00:08:45] It is overwhelming. What I will tell you is once you just say, okay, I’m going to do it, and I’m going to just like grit my teeth and get through it once you can put it all into a spreadsheet.

So we can just do a lovely, organized spreadsheet of here are all of my debts. Here are all of my, so we gather everything together. Not just debts, right? It is, what are my investment accounts?  And here’s another thing about gathering all the things together that I talked about with these financial groups is that sometimes people have like, you know, I have other companies that I’ve worked for, so I have to make sure that my 401k accounts from those companies are all rolled over into one place. Do I even know where all that money is? 

Sometimes people have  multiple investment accounts and they, they don’t even know where all their money is. Yeah. So you have to have a look at, I know where all my investment accounts are down to if you have a hundred dollars somewhere, it doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money. You just know exactly where all of your money as –your checking accounts, your savings accounts, you know, all of your debts whatever you have and then gathering it all into one spreadsheet. 

And when you look at it, you’re like, Hey, even if that number is something that is a little stressful to you, then from there you say. It’s like having 50 pairs of yoga pants. How do I determine what of that needs to go away? And then how am I going to do that? No gathering all that information. And it may take you a while, right? Like you may have to do some digging and figure out where all that stuff is, but just devote a weekend to it. Yeah. Get a, get your kitchen table cleared off, figure it all out and facing it is always, always better. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:10:30] And now is it better? Because then you’re now no longer procrastinating and you just have an answer, even if it’s an answer that sucks, like, right. 

Melissa Klug: [00:10:39] Like that answer. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:10:40] So it’s what you’re getting rid of in this sense is that dread of dealing with it because now you finally have dealt with it, is that sort of the reward that we’re promising.

Melissa Klug: [00:10:51] Yeah, well, and I always try to frame it in the same way as like, think about when you’re working with a client, if they have that scary basement that is filled with boxes, like you, as an organizer, wouldn’t even think twice about facing that you would just be like, come on, we got to dive in, we’ve got to just start opening the boxes and we’ve got to start, start dealing with it.

And once they start clearing that out, they, they start to feel better. It’s the same thing with this is once you know, what’s what your problem is. And maybe you don’t have a problem in which case? High five. Yeah. You’ll get a latte. You face the problem, then you can say, all right, I’m going to develop a plan to move forward.

And I think a lot of times with finances and by the way, I want to be very clear. I have fallen in this trap, you know, of it’s going to be fine. I’ll deal with it later. I’ll deal with it next month. And next month it turns into next year. And if you don’t. No, what it is. If you just shut the door to the basement junk room, it doesn’t make it not exist.

Yeah, it doesn’t make it go away. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:11:55] So you’re saying this is taking up a lot of space in my head that could be clear. 

Melissa Klug: [00:11:59] It’s probably causing you anxiety in the same way that our clients, like, sometimes they don’t realize their clutter is causing them anxiety. It’s probably causing you anxiety that you don’t even know about.

Jen Obermeier: [00:12:10] Like. Yeah. 

Melissa Klug: [00:12:11] And you and I talked about tax time, this year feels a little stressful. Cause you know, 2020 is like stressful, but  if you avoid it and you go, I don’t want to know it’s still a problem you’re gonna have. 

Hmm. It hurts fun. But I will tell you that once I did this myself and then taught other people how to do it, you’re able to just say, all right, how do I get out of it?

Jen Obermeier: [00:12:40] Interesting. Okay. So yeah. Tell us about that part. Like tell us, I mean, I know a lot of people are probably familiar with like some basic, you know, whether they were exposed to like Dave Ramsey or Susie Orman or, you know, somebody who taught them like, Hey, budgeting is a good idea, but you can’t just do it once you actually have to maintain it.

And that’s hard. It’s like any system is just like, I have to stay on top of this, so it doesn’t get hard again.   How do you decide and how do you yeah. How do you stick to it? 

Melissa Klug: [00:13:07] So one of the things that I always recommend to people, so it’s not just gathering. So you’ve got a spreadsheet where you gather, like, what, what are all my debts? What are all my what are all my investment accounts? Where’s all my money. 

The other thing that you can do, which you can do in a spreadsheet, or there are lots of systems you can use. But looking at what you actually spend money on every month. This is another thing that might be a little painful. At first, I use a software called You Need a Budget. I love it. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:13:36] They should be sponsoring this episode. 

Melissa Klug: [00:13:39] You Need A Budget is the best $45 I spend every year. It’s once a year, $45, that’s it. And it it gathers all of your accounts. You can get your banks to connect directly with it. And then you can categorize all of your expenses. So this is another one, just like any organizing scenario. You’re categorizing things. 

What I discovered is our family spends a stunning amount of money on food. I mean, like so much money on food. So then you can say, you know what? I wonder if I could reduce my food budget by 40% next month or 20% or 10% or whatever. And then you start to see, Oh, you know what? I didn’t realize I spent this much money on cable.

Maybe I need to investigate, how do I spend less money on cable? And then you start to add up those things. So that’s another one of just like, Hey, I want to know exactly how much I’m spending on something. Then I want to say, what’s my ideal  spending on this. And if I don’t spend the money on that, then can I apply that to one of the debts I have. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:14:41] Right. 

Melissa Klug: [00:14:42] And it, it all starts to flow together, but that budgeting thing and budgeting is not fun either, by the way. No fun. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:14:50] Now another, I was gonna ask actually another person who was influential to me in learning how to manage my financial life is a guy and I’m probably gonna mispronounce his name, but I believe it’s Ramhit Sethi. 

Well, Mike too, you know, everybody knows I love him, but this is more like from a from a personal standpoint, probably like 10 years ago, he wrote a book called I will teach you to be rich and he is very into the idea of automating as much as possible. So you don’t have to sit down and like by hand, like write out checks, they could be like easily, just automatically sent from your bank and automatically putting away, you know, 10% of your paycheck for savings.

Like just those things where it’s like, you’re not relying on your willpower. It’s just  handled for you. But the other big thing that he, he shared is that there’s only so much you can do to cut back on expenses. I mean, you should do that to some extent, especially if there’s things that you’re not even using like a membership of some kind, but that investing in being able to make more money has an and theoretically unlimited cap. Like there’s no limit, you know, whereas you could probably spend a lot of time trying to cut coupons and save your pennies every month, but you can say invest that same amount of time and actually making more money. And that was really beneficial for me to shift my mindset around when, when I was younger and, you know, I think that was something that led to even the idea of me saying like, Oh, I could have an organizing business and it can be a side hustle to a day job, or it can be a full-time thing. Like it doesn’t have to be, or I did both. And, and then, creating more money to work with that way so that, Hey, I could actually have savings because when I was young, younger me did not have that lesbian.

I was like 10%. I was like, we’ll save that when we’re older, 

Melissa Klug: [00:16:36] later, I there’s a TikTok. I love TikTok. And there was a TikTok I saw there was like a college student that’s like, “should I be working on my paper right now? Yes. But I’m going to make it a problem for future me.” And it was just hilarious to talk about. And so I sometimes say it that’s a problem for future me. 

Well, money is a problem. If you start even if you’re in your forties, like I am, and you still start today, 20 years from now, 20 years from now, you is going to thank you so much for paying attention to it. 

And I will tell you that a couple of different things. One of the things that Jen teaches and Inspired Organizer® is like an income planner. So you can say, Hey, I want to make, you know, I want to take two clients a week. Well, what, what does that financially look like after a year? And then you go, Ooh, actually that’s not enough. I need to take three clients a week or five or 12 or whatever.

And, one of the things that I realized when I moved from a corporate salary job, To one where essentially I’m getting paid by the hour is I look at money very differently now, like I will say that costs an hour of my time. So this pair of shoes is an hour of my work in someone’s house, taking their stuff, you know, out in front of the water shoes, getting rid of it.

Like I have to, I have to be on the third floor of someone’s house, pulling stuff out of their attic. Are these shoes worth it. And so like, it’s really given me a different appreciation for my money. And then like, well, maybe I could take that hour of my time and then 10 years. So now that hour of my time might be worth $2,500 because I invested it.

Jen Obermeier: [00:18:19] So that’s so mature. 

Melissa Klug: [00:18:21] It’s a mindset thing. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I have chaotic times, or I like, I do idiotic things. Right. Like I definitely do idiotic things with my money, but yeah, it made me think differently about it. And so then, You can look at how can I plan for whether organizing is your side hustle, your part-time job, your full-time job, whether you really want to turn it into your full-time job, because you hate your full-time job and you don’t want to do it anymore.

It makes you realize I have to plan differently so that I can make it my full-time job. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:18:51] Totally. So here’s another question I’m curious about when you were presenting to the cause I know you’re, you’re super smart, Melissa, and I know you tied all this back together because here’s the, here’s the thing is that at the end of the day, if people are con marrying their finances, at some point you have to look at that sort of discretionary spending and it’s like, do I want to continue bringing another item into my home that does not, that does not bring me joy and is not useful and is not even quality. It’s like you, you do. I think that cause no matter what organizing system you follow, I think one thing that people worldwide will say is that once they got rid of all the crap in their house, Yeah.

And they realized like I’ve been spit, this used to be actual cash for, and now it’s going out the door to Goodwill, which is good, but it’s like, do I want to now create that problem all over again? They generally say no. Like, they are much more mindful about how they’re spending their money. So I have to believe that you said to these people you’re like getting organized, is it an upfront investment? Yes. But it’s going to pay off by saving you money for years and years and years. 

Melissa Klug: [00:20:00] It will not only save you money, but usually I know with my clients, they always find money. Yeah, no, I’m serious. I mean, I’m like the one that will never stop amazing me as there was a woman that had, like, we found $3,000 worth of gift cards in one session that she had never used. 

And so, so there’s found money, but then there is saved money. And one of the things I talk about about my own organizing journey is I realized that I bought, I bought a lot of $20 things trying to. To not buy the $80 thing. And I know I’ve said this before, but I always use that example with people too, of like you do realize what’s actually important to you and you want to spend your money more thoughtfully.

And after you get rid of the four $20 things, you know, you realize I do want to just thoughtfully spend that money, but then it’s not going to have me waste money on the other end. So yeah, we go through all of those, sometimes you do have to spend money to make money, but you do end up net net in the end, saving yourself tens of thousands of dollars in some cases. And rebuying things. Like buying things that you already own in your house. Not find them a cross for people 

Jen Obermeier: [00:21:14] that’s huge. And people don’t realize that is like finding money now. And another example of finding money that that I experienced once is having, going through an office and finding stuff, receipts for things that are tax deductible. It didn’t have that receipt. They would have a not remembered it. And two it’s like, Oh, I made this huge donation to this thing. And now I can like write this off. That is also like finding money. So that’s a, actually, that’s a really good little hint for, for people who are not struggling to maybe say like, they have people who are interested in their services, but it’s like, Oh, is this really going to be worth it?

Put this in your arsenal of reasons. Why organizing is one of the smartest ways that you can spend your time. And, and. If you’re like, if you’re like me and like, I’m the organizing client and what I need is help going through my paperwork or going through my office. 

What I need is someone to literally chain me to the desk and get it done because I don’t, like, I can gather all my papers, like Melissa said, but then I’m like, Hmm, time for nap, time for snack. Like, I’ll come back to this later. So like, I have to have someone to hold me accountable. And so that’s why. You know, or I think organizers need to remind their clients too. It’s like, yes, you’re capable of doing this is going to happen on the time schedule that future you would really like for it to happen if, if you’re left to your own devices.

And usually people are like, I’m going to just say, I know myself and it’s. Probably not. 

Melissa Klug: [00:22:39] The organizing analogy that I always think is the most applicable is like hiring someone to be a personal trainer. And it is, yeah, and personal trainers are very expensive than most cases, more expensive than organizers. And we usually get better results.  

And a personal trainer is not going to do the sit ups for you, but they’re going to stand there while you’re doing the ups. And they’re going to make sure you do them because no one wants to do setups. So, yeah, we’re that person for you to make sure that you are going to follow through and then find that money or not spend that money or get those things out of your house.

So you get to the donation or receipt or file your taxes on time or whatever that looks like. 

 I tell this story occasionally, but I have a client who is a very, very successful woman very successful business woman, but she hadn’t gone through her mail in years, literally years, and she just never wanted to face it.

She had things that in her mail that she had never responded to and like checks, she hadn’t cashed. And so they, they took it to the unclaimed funds department of the state because they had said, well, she, she must not be with us anymore.

And so she, she had to go get the money from the unclaimed funds, but like facing that mail for some people, even very successful people is very hard. And that’s why, you know, Jen and I were kind of talking about this sometimes very successful, very savvy women like we have in it, listening to this podcast and in our groups, yes.

Money is something that they don’t want to face. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:24:14] Yes. I mean, I’m, I’m the first, I think I’ve said on the podcast before, this is not my, this is not what I excel at. Like I don’t, like, it’s not. The detailed orientation of that specific topic is not something I find fun. I do find satisfying, like the, you need a budget app, I find keeping that updated. I’m like, okay, I feel good. But then when it comes to some of those bigger things, I’m just like, Ugh, I don’t really want to make a, it’s like trying to come up with your own workout plan. You’re like, I don’t really know what I should be doing or what I what’s really going to be helpful.

So I’m just going to like keep winging it. And so you never really have like intention. I think that’s, I think that’s how I would describe myself. And certainly in the past I’ve been totally had it all a mess and didn’t figure it out until, till I was you know, in my late twenties, early thirties, mid thirties.

How old am I now? So, so I’ll just say like, it’s an ongoing thing that I have to work at. And so if anybody off there is thinking like  that any of us have all of our stuff together at all times. I mean, it’s just not true. Like you can be an organized person and still have these challenges.

So I, I just want to just say that because I want people to know like, you can’t look at anyone else and assume that you understand like how, like what they do or don’t struggle with. I think too, 

Melissa Klug: [00:25:31] you know, when you look at social media and you just assume, Oh my gosh, just really has all of her stuff together and look at her. She’s just killing it. And like, you don’t know what people are going through behind the scenes. You have no idea. So we definitely, because we don’t talk about money. Right. Especially as women, we don’t talk about money. And so we just say, well, I just assume that someone at, Oh gosh, look at her house. She must be loaded.

Right? Well, maybe she has $200,000 worth of debt. You don’t know. You don’t know. And, and so don’t assume that you know what’s going on in someone else’s life, but also don’t use it as an excuse not to get your own life together. And I will tell you from my perspective, cause I am I’m on a jury.

There are some organizers that actually put the, they actually do this as part of the organizing practice, but I’m on a personal journey, my mission is to be debt zero, except for my mortgage and 2020, didn’t help with that. Cause I, you know, yeah. It wasn’t the greatest year, but that that’s my mission.

And so, when you face that, and I will tell you, like, at the beginning of this, I faced my number and I’m like, woo. Wow. That is, you know, cause it was, it was a little scary, but then you just say, okay, I’m going to figure out a plan to get that work down and I’m going to figure out, and then my mission became every time I had a dollar, an extra dollar.

Even like, I’m not joking. Even if it were a hundred dollars, then I’d say, boop, I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw it over here. Then that starts going down. And that is like the most amazing feeling. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:27:04] Hmm. I, that sounds good. So I feel like I’m trying to pull out some of these intangible rewards, because I think this is a topic that doesn’t give you a tangible reward very often.

 So we said at the beginning, you get the, you get the mental space of just not avoiding it anymore. You’re like, it’s like free space in the basement or in your closet. You’re like, Oh, that’s nice. Like, I don’t have to put anything there now because it’s out. And then the other thing that you just said was you get that satisfaction of slowly chipping away at it and that, that feels like really, really good. 

Melissa Klug: [00:27:38] So, and I will, I’ll just add in here too. It’s like, and Jen and I were talking about this before we got on I’m refinancing our house, right? PS, 0% fun. It’s not fun. This is none of these things are that fun to do, but that’s another thing that you can figure out is when you gather all these things together, so your mortgage is just something that you pay, right? You don’t really think about it that much. Well, when you figure out that, Oh my gosh, if I refinance my house, I’m going to save my future, me $40,000 in interest, you know, like things like that. 

It enables you to face those things too and say, Oh, it’s worth it to me to go refinance my house because I’m going to save all this money or I’m going to save money on the house payment, or I’m going to pay my house off faster or whatever.

 Jen Obermeier: [00:28:28] Let’s talk a little bit about business finances while we’re at it. I know we were just kind of touching on, and I know we have talked about it in the past, like Melissa and I have a little bit different approach on how we spend money, you know, for business purposes. And, and that’s all good.

I think people are in a different comfort zone or range of like what their goals are and what they want to get out of having their business. But since we are talking to an audience of women who are, you know, entrepreneurial to an extent,  you want to have a business that you’re passionate about, but there would be no business if you weren’t in it to make money.

And so I think that that’s important. So I think that a lot of who might be listening to this are, are, they are using their business to, to fund some. Some area of their life, whether they are paying off debt or whether this is their full-time job and they’re relying on it you know, for like regular, everyday expenses, like this replaced Melissa’s corporate job or it’s just, it’s their way of having fun money that they get to spend on themselves.

And, and it’s not any big distress, but they want to have profit because otherwise none of those goals are met. So, if you can touch on just a little bit, like, is there any difference to you if you’re thinking about like, obviously the same way you get your personal finances laid out on the table, well, you got to know what, what am I spending on? Where is it going? How do you apply that to getting a real grasp on your business side? And I didn’t even touch on, we have to separate personal and business expenses. So that’s an organizing little project in itself, but once you’ve done that, like how do you approach the business side differently?

Melissa Klug: [00:30:04] On the business side, I will say I pay attention to it more regularly, like on an almost daily basis. That’s what works for me. And I have I’m a nerd. I like spreadsheets. I think that’s probably from my old corporate life. I had to have so many spreadsheets that I just like find comfort in those.

So, but you can have paper and pencil. You can have. I had a client that had ledger books, like actual,  old fashioned ledger books the other day, I was like, wow, that’s, that’s like an ancient thing. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:30:30] So, but whatever works for you, honestly, 

Melissa Klug: [00:30:33] a hundred percent, whatever works for you. So the business finances, you almost have to be a little bit more rigorous because you have to know what’s coming in.

You have to plan a little bit. Now, obviously this has maybe a little bit more for if it is your full-time job versus a fitness part-time or side hustle, but if you endeavor to make it your full-time job, You have to be paying so much more attention to what is your funnel? So what kind of clients do you have coming down the pike? What revenue might that be? So like doing some revenue, projections and this is where sometimes the business part comes in. Like sometimes people are scared of the business part, which I get, because they’re not as experienced in it. Yeah. Hopefully understand that. 

But whether it’s reading some books about, you know, business finance, whether it’s profit first by Mike McCalla, widths, or other, you know, some, you know, small entrepreneur, business, finance books, understanding what is coming in and then what your expenses are.

So if you have subcontractors you know, how much are you paying them an hour versus what you’re bringing in. Are you making sure that you have all of your deductions together? This is one that’s really big. Some organizers forget all the things that are deductible from a business. So at tax time, they’re probably losing thousands of dollars because they haven’t thought about all of the things that you can actually make a business deduction when you really have a business, right?

Whether it’s, you know, your cell phone that you use for business mileage in your car at 56 and a half cents a mile, all of those kinds of business finances, making sure that you have all of those deductions gathered up, that is that can be thousands of dollars for your business. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:32:09] Huge. What other, what other tips do you have about. Tax season. It was like, let me just say out, like it’s right now. And I don’t, you know, I’m like, I want some magic fairy to come and handle it for me. I don’t want to do it. Like, it’s not fun. 

Melissa Klug: [00:32:28] No, it’s not fun. So what I would say at tax time is some of it is don’t leave. Don’t make it a problem for future you.

The thing that I learned very painfully my first year of business now, my first year of business was only half of a year and I was building, so I didn’t have like a billion clients. But what I learned very painfully was don’t leave it until it’s. February 15th to suddenly put all your mileage together because you’re like, Oh my gosh.

I mean, I’m not exaggerating my first year I took, it was 40 plus hours. It took me to put all my tax stuff together. So do it. Yeah, it was painful. So what I would say is whether side hustle part-time full-time, it does not matter. Make sure that at the end of a month, So, what I do now is at the end of a month on the 30th, 31st, whatever, I will get all my stuff together and make sure that I have it in my accounting system, so that then you have less work to do on the backend and make sure you’re gathering all those receipts and that you have pictures of them.

I will tell you I’m not a big. I don’t spend a ton of money on systems for my business, but the best money I spend outside of Canva, which is my always my number one recommendation to people just pay for Canva is I use FreshBooks. You can use QuickBooks, you can use, I mean, there are lots of different systems, but fresh books transformed my business.

It’s an accounting software because you have all of your invoices right there, you know exactly how much money you’ve made. You put all of your expenses in there. If you buy something for a client, you put that receipt in and you say, is this billable to a client?

Yes. You put the client’s name in there. It adds it to their invoice. It’s just brilliant. And then at the end of the year, you just press. One button profit and loss statement and wallah, it spits something out that you give your accountant and you’re like here, and it has it, all your expenses categorized by what they are and you’re done.

 Spending that money for me, it saved me because. Add up your time. What do you charge clients on a per hour basis? Whatever your packages are. It still boils down to a per hour. So my time is a hundred dollars an hour. So if I spent 40 hours putting my taxes together, that’s a lot of money. I did not pay fresh books, $4,000 last year to do my accounting. You know what I mean? 

Jen Obermeier: [00:34:46] I just want to, this is, this could easily get into a whole nother conversation, but I’ll just, make kind of a comment that in doing this process for your business, especially for organizers who  have not really broken down how much do I need to charge in order to be profitable, in order to pay for business expenses, in order to set aside what I’m going to be paying on taxes out of that? 

What I have, what I have seen and heard over the years from not, I mean, from inspired organizers students too, is like, Oh, I finally see why I need to raise my prices up to what Jen was saying or even higher  because you cannot simply go out there and look at your competitors and just say, well, if this is what they’re charging is 45 bucks an hour. That’s all I can charge. Not true because you cannot, and you will never know whether that person’s intention is to actually even be private. 

Melissa Klug: [00:35:41] Correct. It may be a hobby care.

Jen Obermeier: [00:35:44] They may not use that money the same way that you do. And so do not base your pricing on what your competitors are doing. And if this is the first time you’ve heard me say this, consider it your official permission to raise your prices up to the level that they need to be in order for this to be a legit business and not something that is a hobby.

If, if your goal is to like, actually make money from it, because.  I don’t think there’s anything better than having this sort of personalized service and going in and having the satisfaction of helping clients get organized. It feels really, really good, but you will physically burn yourself out, trying to compete at a lower rate.

And I have been saying this nonstop for the last almost five years, y’all like, You can’t, you can’t do that. Like you will burn out and then there’ll be, you know, another organizer in your area who come and take your place because you’re going to be like, I’m physically tired and I’m still not making money.

You can’t live like that. So, yeah. Pull that together cause I’m if there’s, I may not be great at organizing my finances, but I am really good at helping people price themselves where they’re supposed to be in helping them teach and teaching them to sell the way that they need to in order to get those rates. 

Melissa Klug: [00:36:52] A business coach that Jen and I have in common, like one of her things she always says is  it just always comes back to math and it’s math, right? It’s not even hard math. It’s like my daughter’s in geometry right now. I’m like, Oh my gosh, forget that it’s addition and subtraction. You guys, it’s all an multiplication occasionally. And so I have to say like, what do I need to make in my business to, to fund?

So what is my goal? My goal is that I just want to be able to pay for my family to go on a big, a really nice vacation once a year. Cool. It’s $5,000. Or I had to say I’m replacing significant corporate income, so I have to make bliss. And then it’s just divided by the number of months there are in a year, and then it’s divided by the number of weeks they are.

And then how many clients do I need to have? And, Oh, well, if I only charge $50 an hour, I’m going to have to have 155 clients a day. Versus if I charge a hundred dollars an hour. You know, and it just becomes nap and then it, it removes some of the mystique from it too. It’s becomes a simpler problem to solve.

And then if the answer is, well, I actually need to take this many more clients, but that doesn’t feel good with my lifestyle.

Well, then you edit your lifestyle and you say, well, maybe I’ll spend a little bit less money on this. It’s just, it’s a balancing act.

Jen Obermeier: [00:38:09] Well, Melissa you like, yeah, I love you. Are, you are really good at, I mean, you’re really good at this. You’re really good at so many things. I mean, pulling together your, your KonMari principles, but also like speaking to people in a way that it’s like, I’m going to help make this not so scary.

So I love one that the people were blessed enough to. You don’t get to hear that financial, you know, kind of presentation in a non-scary way like that. That is awesome. But also that you shared that with us  for your peers. So I hope you guys really enjoyed this episode and got a lot out of it.

And Melissa, we just. Again, we just love having you on here. All of a sudden

Melissa Klug: [00:38:43] I’m happy to be here and I’ll, I’ll tell you too. One thing I’m at Jen said at the beginning, if you want to get in the podcast insiders group, I am actually going to share the presentation that I made to this group. I’m going to give people the slides.

You can just. Steal them. If you want to, you can not steal them, reappropriate them and use them in your office that offer that’s a good offer. You can use them in your pitch to a financial services. And you know, there are great opportunities out there to talk to people and you don’t have to be a calmer person.

You can be, you know, any organizing principle that you adhere to, you can make work for finances and just a fun way to get something new out there. 

Jen Obermeier: [00:39:24] I love that, Melissa. Thank you for bringing us so much value in this one conversation today, we will talk to you guys next time. 

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

If you are looking for business inspiration, we have a brand new free workshop that is called The 4-Part Plan for Landing Your Dream Clients in 2021. Jen Obermeier leads you through that workshop. Sign up for that If you are interested in our Inspired Organizer® program, you can find us at and don’t forget, we have a whole library of podcasts here, our YouTube channel, and  you can find us on Facebook and Instagram at Pro Organizer Studio.

Have a great week.

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

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