Building a Team
Kate Jones of Orchid Organizing joins Melissa to talk about how she built a team of organizers in three different cities.
Have you dreamed of bringing a team of organizers with you to a client’s home–but are intimidated by the idea of “how would I do that?” Kate Jones of Orchid Organizing, who is one of our Inspired Organizer® students, has teams of organizers in three cities–and is ready to demystify the process of building teams for the Pro Organizer Studio listeners.
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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.
Melissa Klug: [00:00:32] My friend, Kate Jones is joining us today. Hey, how are you?
Kate Jones: Hi, thank you for having me.
Melissa Klug: Thanks for being here.So one of the things that I have no personal experience in whatsoever, but Kate is an expert in, is having people that work on a team when you are an organizer. So if at some point in your business, maybe you’re already there or maybe you dream about it down the road of having people that actually work on a team with you, so how does that work when you’re organizing?
Kate, can you just tell us a little bit about your business and how you got started in an organizing, but then how did you turn it into a team?
Kate Jones: [00:01:07] Yeah. So I got started organizing in the beginning of 2018.
And when I realized that being paid to organize was a thing and, you know, we all got, I mean, I think a lot of us got really excited when we found out that I’ve always been really organized and you can get paid for it, which was really awesome. And shortly after. Started I found pro organizer studio and inspired organizer, which blew my mind binge Jen’s YouTube.
And just knew that this was something that I needed to do. So if y’all have not been in that shameless plug, inspired organizer, just like was the basis of everything that I did in my business and gave me the ability. To be able to build a team. So I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to have a team and that I did not want to be, I wanted to slowly be able to remove myself from the business.
My goal was to, I didn’t know for sure if I wanted to continue to be on-site organizing. I hadn’t quite decided that, but I knew that I wanted the ability to. Not be there if I didn’t want to be. So that was where I got my start in 2018 and now fast forward, we have the teams working in three cities and I don’t live in any of those cities where we operate .
So I do not do any of the onsite organizing anymore. And I spend about four hours a week on the business and that’s. It, and we have six figures in revenue, so, yeah,
Melissa Klug: [00:02:43] which is awesome. And so if that is, you know, your dream, what we want to do is tell people, okay, so how exactly does that happen?
Kate Jones: [00:02:52] I will kind of back up a little bit to tell you how I decided that I wanted to have people on my team.
I recognize that it actually, well, it was in the back of my mind. I knew that I wanted to , but what, when it really push came to shove was that I had either something crazy, like four, seven consultations in one day and all the clients, it was wild and I’m like freaking out so excited.
But then I had these clients that I’m booking and I’m like, all right, well, I’ll see you in two months. And these are clients who are spending thousands of dollars with me and they’re like two months what, no, I want to see you like this next week. And so. What I did was at that point, I decided, okay, I need to have people on my team because there’s no way to do, to duplicate me and personally, I just didn’t want to burn myself out like that.
So, it is, I know you talked about a couple of minutes ago, like bigger projects and bigger houses and all those things.I actually started working with team members on every project, because it just was so much easier physically and mentally, emotionally, all of these things that you’ll start to see when you’re working with people. It’s just as amazing to have another set of hands, another set of eyes someone else to help manage the project.
So. It really doesn’t matter if you have how big the space is, how big the project is, all those things, but it’s certainly very helpful.
Max, we work with three organizers at a time. There are very rare occasions, like a massive unpacking job that we might bring on more than that. That’s just my preference.
So it’s personal preference on how many people you have, but when it comes to the actual organizing and what it looks like you are the person who leads and you were the one who, so what I like to do when I started out was they basically started out as kind of a gopher of where I was the one who was in charge.
I was the one who was talking with the client. Yes. They would say hello and, you know, carry on conversation . But for the most part, I was the one who’s talking with the client and seeing what needed to happen. The beauty of having a team member is that they can be. Going take, putting things on hangers, taking things off hangers. They can be breaking down boxes, like if you’re the one writing the labels, they can be unsticking the labels and putting them on, or, you know, you can be dictating to them a list of like, Hey, these are what the labels need to be. That we are going to be putting on the bins in the pantry.
It’s just so nice to have a second set of hands.
Melissa Klug: [00:05:43] Yeah, I actually hadn’t thought about it until you said it, but I was like, it doesn’t really depend on the size of the home. It could be like, it actually would be great to have someone to be able to do all those things. As you are working with a client.
Kate Jones: [00:05:55] because it also gives you the ability to have I, I felt like our clients felt like they were getting so much special attention because I was able to pay attention to them, hold a conversation with them, talk to them about, you’ll start to see how emotional the process is and how. People will reminisce or they might get kind of embarrassed when they’re talking about why they kept these clothes that are two sizes smaller than the size they’re currently wearing.
But meanwhile, you can still be getting the work done because you have the person over there. You’re slowly doing things and talking with them, but you got that other organizer who’s taking everything off hangers or like sorting things out. And so then the client gets the full experience of getting the organizing done, but also feeling seen, heard, loved, appreciated.
Melissa Klug: [00:06:45] And we do talk a lot about the emotions that come up with a client. And, even if you’re working with one of those clients that like just wants their things to be prettier, you know, there are still emotions in that process too.
Kate Jones: [00:06:58] Yeah, so much. Yes. And they want to talk to you because they want to be like you, that’s why they hired you or they want to like, maybe make themselves feel better to explain to you why they are the way they are. Yeah.
Melissa Klug: [00:07:11] But so from the assistant standpoint, so let’s, so you start out kind of with someone as more of the, that gopher role that you’re talking about, does it expand beyond that? So where maybe someone’s working in another room or, yeah.
Kate Jones: [00:07:26] Yeah. So you’ll start to see, I would start with the expectation of like, they are going to be watching you and see how you operate, see how you interact with the clients, kind of pick up your vibe and. How your method of operations for how you like to do things, and everybody’s going to do things differently.
You’ll start to also see what are their strengths, what are some things that they’re really good at? And so you can capitalize off of that so that they get to do the things that they’re really good at. Maybe I had one assistant that she was really. In love with fitted sheets, folding fitted sheets.
Melissa Klug: [00:08:02] That’s something I don’t do. I w I refuse to fold them either. I’m like, no, we got full fitted sheets. I just flat out say I can’t do it. So I’m not going to.
Kate Jones: [00:08:12] Yeah. So we were working on this project where they had this small business, had many AirBNB units, and we were organizing where all the materials went.
Girlfriend loved to folding those fitted sheets on like you and your fitted sheets. Have a great time. I’m going to be over here, rearranging things. So you’ll start to see where people have their strengths. And so then going forward, I knew that like when we worked on linen closets Alyssa wanted to those were the things that she would do, right.
Definitely people you’ll start to gain more confidence in one another about how you operate. Who’s good at what all those types of things. So then you can ask them, Hey, while I’m in here, will you work on this? And then you can be in different rooms. I mean, the possibilities are endless. I think that it’s good to still a maintain the, as the business owner and as the lead organizer, I think it’s good to still maintain that role so that it’s understood that you are the one who’s in charge.
It doesn’t need to be a dominance or like scarcity mindset thing that like, they’re going to start working with the other organizer or something.
Don’t worry about that. Cause if you put those vibes out, you will get that in return. So get out there. I just felt like I needed to say that. Cause I think that’s important. It’s really important to look at this person as someone who is there because they want to be there and create an environment where.
They feel that too, so that you’re not creating this scarcity or don’t speak it into existence that this person is gonna like take your clients or something. So it’s still, I think just for the client’s sake, it helps to maintain the role of. I’m the one who’s in contact with you.
I always text you, call you, remind you about your appointments. Have I’m the one who pretty much leads the conversation and where we’re going next. But also this other organizer is an organizer and they are fully capable of a lot of things. So I’m letting them have conversations with, with the client as well as.
Is important, but maintaining that role, that you’re the point person.
Melissa Klug: [00:10:22] Does it ever get hard to manage like all the different people in all the different projects that you’re working on in a day? Or have you just, is it the kind of thing that you just develop that rhythm and you just figure it out?
Kate Jones: [00:10:35] I have some pretty intense systems to make sure that I know who’s doing what at what time and that kind of thing. But I won’t lie. There are times where I have an organizer who will be like, I really loved working with so-and-so or they’ll say like, I love the, the clients today. They were just so sweet.
And I’ll be like, I’m on, I’ll have to be honest with you. I don’t remember who you worked with.
Melissa Klug: [00:10:57] Right. Well, like, and the only reason I ask this is because since I only work with people, one-on-one, I don’t have a team. Like I will tell you I had a client the other day where I was working
with the husband and the wife, and like, I would be working with the wife and then the husband would be like, well, I need another job.
Give me another job. And I’d have to like, switch my focus to what the husband was doing. And it like got, I mean, there were a couple of times when I was like, okay, I’ll just, I’ll, I’ll be in the pantry. And just one second, like I need to, so I just was wondering like with a team, obviously, Different because you’re working with people who are other organizers for versus working with multiple clients.
But I guess what I’m saying is like, there still were times where I was like, Oh, I’ve got too many people talking to me at one time. Yeah, what are we doing to like put a pin in it? I will be right back to you.
Exactly. But, but I just could think that it could, if you don’t have a good system in place, it could get overwhelming of like, Okay, Sally, I’ll be with you in a second.
Kate Jones: [00:11:52] Yeah. Yeah, it can be. I think we always, we keep a really strict schedule of when our working hours are. Okay. So part of that is having a lunch break and we’ll confer that. To make sure that we’re all on the same page about what’s happening, where and in what rooms and what comes next and what we’ll work on next and, or, you know, before.
So before we go in, before we walk into the house, we typically meet at the house. Before we walk in, we talk about what the project is, what we’re going to be working on, what the kind of plan of action is. So that we’re not talking about that in front of the client. And then confer again at lunch.
And then in the afternoon, just debrief.
Melissa Klug: [00:12:34] So you have actual teams of people that work with you, but you might be in a situation, especially if you’re a newer organizer that you might just say like, Hey, I’m going to bring my friend.
Who’s interested in being an organizer on the job with me or someone else in that person’s family wants to help out that type of thing. So even just trying to figure out, okay, having a plan in place of what the project is and how I’m going to direct those people to do work, I think is. It’s important.
Kate Jones: [00:13:01] It is important. But also be generous with yourself and trust your gut that you don’t need to have some like intense plan before you go in there. I mean, what I like to do with my clients, no matter if we have a team or not, as I like to start in the most. Used places first. So some people may say my office is a disaster.
I hate it. I want it done. But if they’re also on their list is their master bathroom. Do the master bathroom first because they are going to be, I mean, everything’s different now with a lot of people working from home, but for the most part, like do the things that they are going to frequent every single day first and put your plan of action towards that.
That kind of thinking versus like, where’s, so-and-so going to be when I’m going to be in here and all those things. You’ll see, just trust your gut when you get in there. And you’ll see, like, if it’s a tiny bathroom and one person needs to be pulling everything out, have the other person in. The adjoining room and have them like, or, you know, taking piles of stuff and moving it to get out of the way, just trust your gut.
Like you’ll, you’ll figure it out when you get in there. I always do talk to the clients ahead of time and I tell them, Hey, we like to start in your most highly trafficked and use spaces first. Is that okay with you? And they might say, no, I want you to do the playroom because I never want to walk in there again.
And it’ll look like that. Great. Then you do the playroom, but be flexible as much as you can be and work with. It all works out well.
Melissa Klug: [00:14:42] Is there anything else that you would like to tell our students about organizing or life or business or anything like that?
Since you are a mogul, you are a business. I don’t have operations in many cities.
Kate Jones: [00:14:53] Just just start, just get out there and start. It seems intimidating. It seems like there’s so much to learn and there is, but the best way to learn is by getting out there and doing the work. Yeah, don’t over plan it don’t over-engineer it to start with because you’re not going to know what systems work well for you.
What method of operations works well for you until you just start, get out there and get your first client. I don’t care if it’s a family member that pays you a dollar, go through the process of treating them like a full on client and get them to pay you something dollar. $5, whatever. And or your full rate do that.
Yeah, you should. You shouldn’t get them to pay your full rate. My family did. And go through the entire process and you’ll start like, just like they are. A random client that you’ve never met before. Nope. Hire process with them and have before, before they come on as a client, the consultation, the sessions, the post-project, follow-up all of that.
And you’re going to start to see where the gaps are, where your strengths are, what you need to work on, what could use improvement, all of those things. And it’ll start to give you a lot more confidence.
Melissa Klug: [00:16:14] And something that you said, which is really important is nothing is it’s like you, it’s not like you can’t change things if you don’t need to.
So just because you choose to start with something you don’t, you’re not married to that for the rest of your business.
Kate Jones: [00:16:30] Heck no, no. We have changed things so many times, so many times. Yes. And you can only figure out what needs to change through action and using. The systems and processes.
Melissa Klug: [00:16:43] Okay, Kate, you have given us so much great information here today. I, 100% would have you as my first call when I decided that a team is right for me, but Jen and I are very good at knowing what we don’t know. And knowing when we need to call in an expert and this year we knew that we needed to call you in because we wanted you to create something special for our students.
And it is a course about how to build a team because you are the expert in this. So do you want to tell us a little bit about that course that you have built and where people can find it so they can start building their team?
Kate Jones: [00:17:21] So we have a course that is open now for founding members.
It’s teams for pro organizers. One-on-one. And I’m really pumped to be able to share this with y’all because I think it’s a very intimidating kind of topic and, and project to even approach. But I want to make it super simple for you because it really doesn’t have to be so hard.
Melissa Klug: [00:17:46] Yeah. So you, Kate and I have been talking about this program, and when we started talking to her about it, I just remember I said, Oh my gosh, I wouldn’t even know where to start in building a team.
And then she just has said over and over again, it doesn’t have to be complicated, which is super important for people to hear it. It does not have to be overwhelming and it does not have to be complicated and you are going to demystify it for us.
Kate Jones: [00:18:07] Absolutely. So this is all about demystifying, the process I have, I’m all about systems and organizing out of my professional organizing business. I made a second business out of systems and organizing the business side of organizing businesses, which sounds. Psychotic now that I say out loud, but that’s, that’s the deep level of where I’d like to go on this stuff because to me, honestly, I’m lazy and I want things to be really simple and I want them to be systematized so that it’s rinse and repeat over and over and over again.
And so all that said, though, don’t let this be intimidating to you. This is the one-on-one level. This is how do you go about thinking about what you want your team to look like? Decide what that. Is, and the cool thing is, is that you can change your mind. It’s completely fine. And I’ll talk to you about that.
What is your vision? How can we change it? How can we go back and revisit the drawing board and then based on what you want to happen. How do we get the job requirement out there? What information do we need from them? How do we go through the process of interviewing, hiring, onboarding, all, looking for people that will fit with you and your team and what you want from the team that you’re trying to build.
So that we’re looking for red flags, we’re looking for green flags. We’re figuring out how will this person work with our team and, and all the little nuances that through hiring. So many people, so many people right now we’re at like 15 people. Um, but yeah. That’s at the current moment, we’ve had so many people that I’ve hired in and gone through and interviewed so many interviews.
So all of that, I I’ve really distilled that down through the process of what makes, what are good signs to look for. How are we going to incorporate that into our business? How are we going to incorporate that into our team? And then how do you interact with these people as your teammates, when it comes to.
Financially. What does that look like? Um, for on your side on pricing for the client side on what you’re paying your people on, how you pay your people on, uh, then. Everything about like the dynamics between you and your team and all of these things. So we’re talking about all of it, but I’m, I think that I’ve made it very simple and straightforward.
Melissa Klug: [00:20:37] Okay. Well, so everything that you’ve just said is if I were deciding to build a team for my own organizing business, everything that you’ve said would have been on my list of things that overwhelmed me or your word, which was great, which was intimidated. Like I think intimidating. Is the word that is great because I would feel like, Oh my gosh, I don’t know.
Like I built my organizing business, but how would I do this over here? And so taking that overwhelm out of it and saying like, I’m going to give you a simple plan to break this down. That’s what I would need. Because I think a lot of people over-complicate it because we just don’t know any better, you know?
Kate Jones: [00:21:17] Yeah. And I did like, I, I chose to go a pretty simple route to start with, but I certainly overcomplicated things that didn’t need to be so complicated. And so I’ve taken all that extra unnecessary stuff out of the process. It is difficult when you are in a service-based business, but not like we are the professional organizers.
Like there’s not a lot of other people out there who are professional organizers teaching you how to do that. It can be really scary, but it doesn’t have to be, and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. I know I listed off a bunch of things that we go through, but. Seriously, all it doesn’t, it doesn’t have to be so hard.
It really doesn’t way of teaching people and giving a system and like breaking it down.
Melissa Klug: [00:22:00] I am confident if I decided to build a team, you would be able to teach me and make me less scared about it. I know it
Kate Jones: [00:22:07] good. I’m so glad. And the best part is, is that as soon as you bring on your first team member, you are already doubling what you make.
Melissa Klug: [00:22:14] Yeah. Talk a little bit about. The, the financial part of it. So if people are sitting here going like, well, I thought about a team, but I’m not sure. Like how, how could I do that? Like financially, could I make it work? Talk a little bit about the glory of the financials of all of this.
Kate Jones: [00:22:27] Yeah. So the really cool thing is that the system that I teach within here is so simple, so straightforward, and you immediately start making double the amount of money that you were making, if not more so you can make up to, I think I looked at the numbers and it was like 159% more than doing the same work. If you just build your team.
Melissa Klug: [00:22:51] So it’s been tested and tweaked and tried out a million different ways over a lot of years.
So, um, I’ve done all the work, so we do not have to.
Kate Jones: [00:23:06] Exactly. Yeah. And I think overall, like the biggest thing, if y’all can, the biggest takeaway you can have would be that it does not have to be so hard. It’s can be really simple and it can alleviate a lot of stress and pressure on you.
Melissa Klug: [00:23:20] All right. So we are going to give a link to all of our pro organizer studio, friends as to where you can find this new course and it launches April 5th. Is that correct?
Kate Jones: [00:23:31] Yes. So the content launches April 5th, but if you want to get in on the founding members price you have to join right now. We already have a lot of the spots taken, so hurry and get your spot. And then the content launches on April 5th. So you will have, you’ll have your log in and everything. And as when April 5th comes around, that’s when the content will start coming out.
Melissa Klug: [00:23:54] Okay, great. So if we want to get in, we are going to have a link that you can sign up or you can contact Kate via her email, which is what.
Kate Jones: [00:24:04] My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa Klug: [00:24:08] I cannot thank you enough for all the wisdom you have shared with us here today. I am so grateful that you found inspired organizer and that it helps you really launch and grow your business. And then you are now able to take that into three cities and teach all of our people how they can go grow teams as well.
And I’m just looking forward to seeing everyone be able to take their businesses to that next level. If having a team is something they dream of. So we will put all of the information to find Kate. And her new program and the show notes. And we’re so grateful that you’re here with us on pro organizer studio.
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 www.poroadmap.com.
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 poroadmap.com. If you are interested in our Inspired Organizer® program, you can find us at www.inspiredorganizer.com 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.
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