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PRO ORGANIZER STUDIO

PRO ORGANIZER STUDIO

Podcast Episode 4: Getting Published as a Pro Organizer with Jennifer Ford Berry

May 1

Welcome to Podcast Episode 4: Getting Published as a Professional Organizer with Jennifer Ford Berry.

In this episode, I am joined by author and professional organizer, Jennifer Ford Berry. She’s going to share her story and all kinds of tips on getting published as a professional organizer and what authoring books has done for her business. This is a super interesting interview, so I hope you enjoy!

What We Talk About:

(00:00) – Introduction to this episode
(00:53) – Introduction to guest Jennifer Ford Berry
(05:53) – How Jennifer’s first book (Organize Now) was born
(08:51) – How Jennifer took the leap of faith and balanced family and business
(11:07) – What Jennifer attributes the most growth happening for her business
(15:12) – Insights on how the book helped Jennifer gain credibility
(17:39) – What advice Jennifer has for building your professional organizing empire
(19:30) – What Jennifer’s next ideas and plans are for her business
(27:05) – The underlying reason your clients are unorganized
(33:29) – Hear Jennifer’s why for her professional organization business
(37:47) – Where to find Jennifer Ford Berry

Resources Mentioned:

Organize Now

Jennifer Ford Berry, Created Order Conference

Jennifer Ford Berry is an organizational expert, best-selling author, host of The 29 Minute Mom podcast, and national speaker who has presented to corporations, churches, national conferences, mom groups and school districts. She currently resides in western New York where she continues to work hands-on with her clients helping them to eliminate clutter and live their dreams.

Jennifer is the founder of the upcoming Created Order Conference happening in Charlotte, NC June 28-29, 2019. Its purpose is to bring together women and teens that want to learn how to eliminate clutter and get organized in order to live their God-given purpose. Professional organizers are welcome! To get more information and register to attend, visit https://jenniferfordberry.com/created-order-conference/.

Website

Takeaways

Understanding your passion and God given talents will never be a bad idea. It might be scary to follow after your dreams, but it’s possible to earn a living doing what you LOVE, and Jennifer is the perfect example.

Full Transcript

Jen Obermeier:

Hey everybody, it’s Jen Obermeier with Pro Organizer Studio. I am so excited that you are here. I am interviewing Jennifer Ford Berry today. I have been on Jennifer’s podcast, which is really awesome. She has one called The 29 Minute Mom, and Jennifer has been an organizer for a lot longer than me and she will tell us all about that story. Jennifer is the author of several books. In fact, a lot of the girls that were in our Facebook group or like I … well here’s an organizer I really recommend. I love her book, I love this book. I’m like, “She’s in our group,” and they’re like, “Oh my God”.

Jen Obermeier:

Jennifer is kind of sort of famous in that way, which is really cool. And so I wanted to bring her on to this chat to talk a little bit about what the process is for writing a book and what that does for your business. However, because Jennifer and I already know each other, you know somewhat more than that, I do definitely want to talk about some other topics today. And, if you guys have questions for her or me or whatever comes up, I would like to hopefully kind of go with the flow on that too. So Jennifer, why don’t you introduce yourself and a little bit about your business story and we will listen to you.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Thanks for having me, Jen. I’m excited to be here and it’s been a very long journey, but a very exciting one. I have been doing professional organizing for 16 years now. Sixteen years ago I got laid off from my job as an advertiser for a radio station because of 911, and I had just had my daughter, she was a baby and at first I thought, “Okay cool, you can pay me unemployment and I’ll stay home and be a stay-at-home mom.” But probably about two months into that I decided that I still loved business and I love marketing and I love creating things and using my brain. And I wasn’t cut out to be a full time stay-at-home mom. So I started this little newsletter, I created a website and it was called Organize This Life and it was really bad.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I did it myself and it didn’t … nothing compared to what we want to see today, but I had this little newsletter called Weekly Organizing Tips and it was free, and I would literally, Jen, just give out a tip every week that people could do. And I realized after a year of doing that, that what people wanted was simple, straightforward tips and they wanted me to tell them how to get organized. And they didn’t want to read through paragraph after paragraph to figure it out. It’s very similar to how I feel when I hired a financial advisor or I hired a trainer. I don’t want to learn all the in’s and out’s. I don’t want time. I just want someone to tell me how to do it.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

And if you’re the expert, people are looking to you to just forget all the fluff, just get to the point, so I think that’s why they liked the newsletter. What was funny is that … Back up one second, why I became a professional organizer when I had my little layoff time was because I picked up this book called Do What You Love and the Money Will Come. And back then, and you and I have talked about this, I did not know any professional organizers. It wasn’t a big industry. The two organizers that I could really place names to was Julie Morgenstern and Peter Walsh, and other than that, I didn’t know anybody else doing this for a living. So, when I was reading that book, I kept trying to talk myself out of starting this business because I thought, “How am I going to make money? Yeah, I would love it. I’ve loved organizing since I was five years old, but how am I going to make money?”

Jennifer Ford Berry:

And really, as I got through the book, and I had really been going through a spiritual look at myself and say, “Am I the type of person that wants to do corporate America the rest of my life? Probably not, especially not as a mom.” So I kind of decided, going through an answering all these questions that really my true passion was organizing, and it had always been that way. This is literally how I was born. This is literally how God created me. And this skill that I have isn’t something that everybody else has. But at the time, I thought … I didn’t know that. This is just the way I was. And it’s funny, because now I look back and I’m thinking, “Not every five year old wants to clean their bedroom.” Not every five year old asks their grandmother if they could organize her house every time they went there.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

So, I decided to say to myself, “This is my skillset. This is my passion, and if I am passionate about it, people are going to see that and they’re probably going to … they might hire me.” I started my business in Charlotte. And what happened is … the funny thing is-

Jen Obermeier:

You were living in Charlotte at the time?

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Yeah, I was living in Charlotte at the time. I had started this business, and then as my daughter started getting a little older, I had this real pull to go home back to New York. When I moved back to New York, it was funny because it was kind of like … organizing was kind of taking off in Charlotte, but back her in Buffalo people were like, “What’s a professional organizer?” So, it was a little behind the times, and what I decided to do is I decided to go back to corporate America so I could get a solid paycheck.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

And then about a year and a half later, I had baby number two, and I had had two miscarriages in between. So, when I had him, I didn’t really want to miss a moment, so I opened another business. I left my corporate job and when there were no customers at my business, I would start writing my first book. I had this shop. It was a consignment shop. I had a baby. I had my grandmother with me to help me with the baby, and I had a business going on. But when he was taking a nap and there were no customers, I was writing this book. So, there’s no excuse not to get it done and if you really have a dream of writing a book, trust me, you can get it done.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

And what I had used is that Weekly Organizing Tips newsletter. I had saved all of that. I didn’t know at the time that was going to be the basis of my first book. The book was done, and what I did is I self published it briefly, for maybe a year. And I kept track of all of the sales on a spreadsheet. And why, looking back, that was a super good idea, better than I thought it was at the time just because when I went to publishers, I had proof that this book would sell. We can go on and on about the publishing side of it, and so much has changed, but the biggest thing is, I think that still proves to be true, that any publisher, they’re being bombarded by authors every day, and they don’t want a huge risk.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

And so it was less risky for them to see hey, I have a customer base. I have people that want to buy a book like this. And so that’s when the first book ended up starting, and once that first book became published it gave me a much bigger platform. And then I got to do my dream. I got to sell that business. People were no longer saying, “What exactly do you do for a living?” And it took off from there.

Jen Obermeier:

That is amazing. Okay, so I have so many questions because on the one hand, it’s like this was amazing for your business and then on the other hand, I’m thinking your personal life, you’re still trying to balance having two young children and be the organizer. I want to ask you about both of those things, but first of all, how did you … because I know so many people go through this where they’re like, “I really want to start this business.” Now you’re saying 16 years ago you’re trying to convince yourself this is a thing and it’s not just the silliest idea in the world. And people are still going through that because it’s just not a well known accepted thing that people can and will pay money for.

Jen Obermeier:

How did you … what were the things … I know that so much of what you do, your spiritual life is a big part of that, so I’m sure that plays into this answer, but how did you take that leap of faith of being able to balance having … I don’t know if you had kids with, like you said, their grandmother or in preschool or a nanny, and going out and making this business happen. Were you doing that really all on your own? Did you have an assistant from the beginning? Tell me what that was like just in terms of your time.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Yeah, my time … first of all, I will say this, that one of my best … and I didn’t know all these things. I’m talking from 16 years of experience. Looking back at my younger self, the two little kids … you know one of the things I’ve really realized is that I made the most of my time. I hate wasting time. I’m very efficient with my time, and so I … and I also love a good hustle, so I work my tail off. None of anything you hear from me today came to me easy. I literally work probably more than I should because I love what I do, and I feel like that’s the hugest blessing in the world.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I mean, if you have to make a paycheck every single week, you might as well love what you’re doing. That’s a blessing, and it totally can happen. I’m very grateful that I took that leap of faith, but yeah, with babies and toddlers, my husband was even working out of town for five years, and he would be gone four days and then he’d be home eight days, so that was all going on when I was building by business and writing my books, and I balanced it so if I needed a babysitter I would keep it very small, like maybe two or three days a week. I didn’t put my kids in daycare. I had somebody come to my house. Like I said, I brought them to work with me when I had to.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I did what I had to do to make it work. I knew that once I started this business it wasn’t going to come easy and I would have to put my nose to the ground and really hustle, and so I kind of just did it all in between. I would be with a client and then I’d have to go get my kids, and then I’d be writing at night. It was kind of just like a juggling act, but as long as I put some effort into each part of it every single day, it got done. I find a lot of times women are always worried about what wasn’t done by the end of the day compared to giving themselves credit for what is done, because that to do list is never going to end until you die, so get over it.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

It’s just going to be there, so you do the best that you can every single day. When you’re done with that, you’re like, “Okay, tomorrow’s a new day.” As long as you know you put your best effort in. But it wasn’t easy. There was a lot … my days were very, very busy. Very busy.

Jen Obermeier:

I can imagine. I can imagine. Okay, so just in terms of putting books out there as a marketing tool, and I don’t know if you want to speak to how … you said when you first put out a website that it was just bad, or it was what it was. Did you kind of like evolve the website as the same time as your books became more popular, and do you think that helped your business overall? What do you attribute some of the growth to?

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Well, I’ve changed my website. I’ve changed my logo … I’ve lost track how many times. I’m going to change it again this year, because I’m going to go in a different direction. So yeah, it’s totally evolved. So has marketing, so has social media, so has these tools that we have. I used to make my website with FrontPage. Now we have Wix and things that are just move it around with the click of a button. I was doing coding, so it was just a nightmare. It’s totally evolved. And the thing is, you asked if I had an assistant, I didn’t have an assistant because I wanted to keep all the proceeds. I didn’t have an assistant for maybe into the third book, and even then I had several different assistants because I would hire people that would be gung ho to work for me and I would notice that they didn’t have as strong of a work ethic as I have myself or that I would like them to have.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

And then it would just be like okay, by the time I’m holding your hand all day long, I could have done it myself. I mean, honestly. So it’s been really hard as far as assistants go, and virtual assistants and things like that, so you’ve got to be careful with that. The book thing and the organizing business are literally like two separate businesses. They’re the same theme. They’re the same information and one gives me a platform, sometimes I get speaking engagements from the organizing side and sometimes I get organizing jobs from the book side. But if you want to get into writing books, just tell yourself right now you’re going into another business. It’s not the same. It’s completely different.

Jen Obermeier:

Talk to us more about that, then. Talk to us about what the reality is versus what we think it might be right now.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Whatever hours you’re putting into your full-time organizing business, you’re going to put into that book, because it’s all … When I first started out, and it’s funny because Peter Walsh ended up talking to me when I wrote my first book and he’s like, “Don’t ever write a book for the money. Write a book because you have something to say that you want the world to know.” And don’t even have it in your head how much money you’re going to make or how many books you’re going to sell. You have to do it from your heart because you want your message to be out there in the world. That’s the real reason to write a book.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

So, you’re going to put your heart and soul into it. And then you’re either let it just do whatever it does and be okay with that, or you’re going to pound the pavement with marketing and promoting, because especially now you have to be your own publicist, your own marketing person, your own everything, because the publishers, when I started from now, do way, way less. Way less. But Peter was right. That first book was on fire because I had a story to tell. I had a message to tell and I really felt passionate about it. And it started out that they were doing a lot of promotion behind the scene, but again, and this is important to know, even if you go with a traditional publisher, you only get really one year of marketing.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

After that, you’re on your own. They’ll still put it in Barnes & Noble. Our bookstores are going away pretty much anyways, but when I started there were a lot of stores and a lot of outlets. They’ll do that for you, and that’s a perk, but you are going to be pushing your books all the time. It’s a tremendous amount of work, tremendous. Unless you just want to put it up on Amazon and let it ride. Depends what you’re looking for. Anything you want to do well, you have to put your heart and could into it and you have to work probably double of what you had in mind.

Jen Obermeier:

Okay, so just in terms of … you said you moved to New York and people up there were not really educated on what the industry was even about. Do you feel like once you wrote that book that it just gave you a credibility, that people said, “Okay, I believe that she can do what she says you can do,” or did it at least help explain to them what the possibilities were of using a professional organizer? The long answer, or the short version of that question is did it help you get more clients, but also did it help you get clients who really understood what you were about?

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Absolutely, because … first of all, it gave me a platform. People will start … it went from nothing to crazy because I was on radio shows all the time. I was being interviewed by bloggers. People were putting me in magazines without me even reaching out. They were calling and saying, “Hey, do you want to be in Better Homes & Gardens?,” and organizing magazines. It’s just kind of funny how just putting a book out into the world gives you this expert status, when really it kind of makes me laugh because you’re always evolving.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

It gave me a lot of business. It gave me a lot of cool opportunities. It made me money, so it was a bonus all the way around. It definitely will tell people what you’re more about. I’ve had people that said, “Oh, I can’t believe that you’re in my house and I’m hiring you because I had your book six years ago.” But then on the other hand, there are people that don’t even know I wrote a book and I’m in their house organizing. So, it just depends. I think that it gives you … also when you’re writing your thoughts down, you’re doing a lot of research and you’re getting really straight in your mind how you organize and so that kind of helps yourself when you’re out in the field too.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

It’s hours and hours and days … it’s like basically you have … if you sign, you have one year to write your book, so you’re going to be doing a lot of work in a year. I think it really gets your thoughts straight of how you want to say the message, so that’s just going to relay into how you speak it to a client too. But by all means, it definitely helps your business.

Jen Obermeier:

Do you have any tips … and then we can move on to some other topics that I know we want to talk about … do you have any tips, like if you … I mean, I know you’ve been in our industry for a while, but also you said you’ve seen the book publishing industry change a lot. What advice would you give to someone now who wanted to put that out there as part of building their empire and building that expert status kind of thing. If that was truly their goal, what would you recommend to them?

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I think I would honestly do it exactly how I did it, knowing what I know now. I would self-publish briefly. I would keep track. I would prove … And you know, the thing now is you would have a mailing list and people would say, “Hey, I love this part about your book,” or, “Hey, I hate this part about your book,” and you could get feedback. And if you have a blog, you can write your blog post every day based on your book and kill two birds with one stone. You can multi-task that way. You can speak your chapter you wrote last week into your podcast. You can be getting your name out there and making money now while you’re writing a book behind the scenes.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I would self-publish. I would show that I was credible. I would go to publishers and I would lock one in. Not because it’s the best and only way, and we can get more into my story in a minute, but because there’s no faster way to get your name out around the world than to go to a publisher, because you as an individual do not have the resources that these publishers have in place. Bookstores are basically waiting, Amazon’s basically waiting saying, “Here, give me the next book.” And that’s all over the world. So me peddling my books around when I first started like I did had no … there was no comparison to handing it over to a publisher.

Jen Obermeier:

Let’s move on to the next topic, which is what is next in Jennifer’s life and world, because I know she … I’m always saying to people the cool thing about having an organizing business is that it can change forms and you can take it with you no matter where you go, so I think that your story of how it has evolved through the years is so fitting for that, but also will you just tell us about what your next new ideas are and where you want to take it and what you want to do with it and how you see it evolving for you?

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Sure, so basically one thing I wanted to mention earlier is that if you’re an entrepreneur, I think the best way to look at your business is like a stool. It’s not just one leg or it’s not going to be balanced, so what I have done is I’ve created different pockets of income, different stream of income so that you can ride out the ebb and flow of your business. It’s funny because throughout the year, I might be more … I have other businesses, so I might be more focused on this business because of the season and then I come back to this or that.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Or maybe I’m really focused on a book and I have to tell my clients I can only take a few a week, or whatever the case may be. And that keeps it interesting, honestly. I’m a person that likes change, so I get bored if everything’s the same all the time. I don’t know if that’s every organizer, maybe it is, but totally-

Jen Obermeier:

It’s definitely me. I get bored very easily.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Yeah, and I like to create new ideas and I like to create new challenges. It’s interesting, though, because I think after years and years of doing this, I’ve realized that just being true to myself is the key, not trying to be like somebody else. If you’re starting your business, don’t even worry about what all of us other organizers are … how we’re branding ourselves and what our message is, because you have to … if you’re not true to yourself and you’re not going with your unique skillset and how you relate to people, then it’s not going to work anyways. People are going to see right through that.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

And you also have to know what’s driving you, and it can’t be the money. It has to be an inner reason why you’re organizing. For me, it’s very clear that why I do what I do is because I want everybody in the world to stop having a death grip on things, and I want to go against the grain of what marketing and society is telling us, that we have to accumulate and gather. And I want them to be so free that they can go out and do their own passion and live their own purpose, because there’s nothing better. I can tell you that, like I said, I work a lot and I work like a dog but I love it. Everything I’ve created I love working at because I know my why, and so that’s the motivation.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

If you’re just making yourself do this business because you think you should, you’ll never last. It has to be an inner drive, and so for me, like I said, it’s for people to free up. When I go in and work with a client and their house is a disaster and they’re like, “I don’t even know where to start. I’m overwhelmed,” my excitement comes from I want to know what their vision for their life is, not just for their kitchen. If you had less things … because every single thing we own takes up space, time, energy and money. I call is STEM. Everything, so you have to be very particular of what you’re allowing in your space because you’re giving up those things, what you’re allowing in your life.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

It’s going to take away those resources that I can be using to make an impact on the world. And so that’s what excites me, when they start going after the job they want to do, when they start losing weight, when they start getting out of debt, and they find love. All those things are because the clutter has now been moved out of the way.

Jen Obermeier:

I agree, yes.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

That’s the most motivating part. So, what’s next for me is really being bold about my spirituality when it comes to getting organized, and really learning how to organize God’s way, because if you look through the Bible, everything was written down for us. He spelled it out, and we’re trying to make up all these new fancy words and fancy slogans and fancy systems when it’s really all there. For me, I want to be bold about that and I want my message to be that life is about living, not about things.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Nobody’s going to remember you for how many pairs of shoes you owned. Nobody’s going to remember you for how many square feet your house was. They’re going to know you for how you made an impact on their life, and if you’re constantly shoveling clutter around, you’re never going to get there. If you’re passionate about being an organizer, I’d say go for it and figure out what is your why and what’s your spin on it because you’re going to need that to connect with people. I have a lot of things in the works, but you’ll see that kind of branding coming from me from here on out.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I’m going to tell you guys that those years and years of having that publisher, as my brand evolved in a spiritual way, they really tried to keep it quiet, because when a book is sold all over the world, you may offend somebody with Christianity. And so a lot of times they would say, “Well, why don’t you not put so many of those Christian words in your books?” Or, “Let’s take that scripture out.” Even the last book, Think and Live Clutter Free, that was supposed to be Organize Now Your Body, Mind and Spirit, and they took out the word spirit. I felt like I started getting … somebody else was running the show, and that didn’t feel good.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I have recently parted ways with my publisher and I’m not, just for the first time in 11 years, in charge of how my books are distributed, where they’re going and what they say. And not to say that if you pick up one of my books, it wasn’t me at all, but I wanted to be 100% and I can’t be the organizer for everybody, I can only be the way I want to be. So, that’s what I’m focusing on this year. We’ve also talked how I really want to start a conference this … I don’t know if it’ll be 2018 but if if it’s not 2018, it’s going to be 2019, just to bring more organizers together, organizers that want to look at organizing as a lifestyle.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

People that want to apply organizing as a lifestyle, because we’re really living in this time where Pinterest and shows on TV are making it seem like if you’re not … organizing’s all about getting your home perfect. And it’s not that at all. It’s not even just about how you put your shoes on the shelf in the closet. It’s the whole entire lifestyle. I think that’s really exciting.

Jen Obermeier:

It is, because you are definitely not alone. I know you know that you’re not alone, and being an organizer who sees the connection of … whether you call it your spiritual life or your mental energy or whatever it is in your heart and soul, that there is a for sure, for sure connection between your stuff and what is going on with you. And again, whatever … I know you have specific words that you want to use to describe that, but I know that a lot of other organizers out there feel that, and so I think that people who … I don’t know if you’ve noticed, or maybe you can tell us what you’ve noticed, when people first come to you, do they say, “I have a stuff problem, but it’s more than just that.” Do they know that, or did they come to see that through your work together, that it’s not just about the stuff that you’re moving around? You know what I mean? I feel like people must know that on some level that it’s not just-

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I think it’s funny. I think it’s like half and half. Some people do get it, and then the other ones don’t get it all and it’s like day one, you’re thinking, “Oh boy, I have a lot of work to do here.” I don’t even know if they’re ready for my message, because we’re going to go way deeper than this closet. And I know that before I go in. I can see the potential in people. I can see the potential in space, so I already have in my head where I want them to go. I’ve just got to get them on the bus with me. And that’s sometimes pretty interesting because you don’t know if they’re going to want to do it.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

But I’ve ended up most … I’ve had clients where I feel like I’m never going to get through to them, but there’s this part of me that feels like I wouldn’t be there if I’m not meant to get through to them. And sometimes the ones that are the most lost are the most rewarding. There’s going to be your clients that you get and it’s just a joy. Easy house, they’ll let you do whatever. You can buy whatever you need and they’re just so happy you’re there. And then there’s the other ones that everything you do, they’re going to question you and after a while you’re like, “Are you the expert or am I?” It’s going to be both.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I used to try to avoid that second client that was … I was young and I was not as confident in my ability to help them. But now it’s like whoever God gives me this week as a new client, I’ll take it and run with it because I’m not there to just make their house look perfect. I’m there to get them to the next level. And sometimes that takes several sweeps with the stuff. I call it sweeps. I’ll know when I’m talking to someone and I’ll think to myself, “This is going to be three sweeps before this girl gets it.” Or, “This one’s going to get it the first time,” because they’re just like, “I give up. I don’t know what else to do. Help me.” And I usually just ask people, “How willing and ready are you for a change? A serious, deep lifestyle change?” And I want them to answer, because then it will tell me how it’s going to go.

Jen Obermeier:

That is a great question. That is a great question, I guess, to start with and help you filter where you need to steer each person.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Yeah, absolutely. And sometimes they don’t even know. They just know that they can’t live the way they’ve been living. And the thing is too, this is a morbid statement but I use it all the time. I was even speaking at a church Sunday and it was a pretty liberal, older group, which is the toughest group to get to, because they’ve had parents from the Great Depression era and that’s a whole nother story and psychology. And I have to stand there and say, “You came in the world empty-handed for a reason, and we’re leaving empty-handed for a reason,” and that really shakes some people up sometimes.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

We know it, but we don’t stop and think about it, and we just keep going through the motions. It’s like no, we have one chance to get it right. I think also people don’t even realize how good advertising and marketing is to make you think that you need something. You have to be pretty intentional about fighting against those messages. I was in advertising. I know how to do that. You’re trained to do it. It’s just like with my clients, they’re always like, “Well, what can I go and buy before you get here? What should I get?” They’re so ready to spend. And every single time my answer is exactly the same. Zero, nothing, nada. Do not bring another thing into your house.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

We’re not even remotely close to that answer yet. I think that’s just the funny part about it is that people want to get organized with organizing products, and it’s like that might not even be the best product for you. I will tell you this, Jen, I don’t know if I told you this story before but this is a really perfect story of that point. I used to play volleyball every Monday night, so my husband was flicking through the channels while I was at volleyball and he cracked up because he was going through and there was this episode of Hoarders, and they were showing this lady buying my book, and it was great publicity.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

She’s going into Books-A-Million. She’s going to the shelves and she picks up the book and she’s holding it and they’re filming it, and you’re like 10 seconds, 20 seconds, okay how long will they show this, this will be awesome. And then she goes home, and you know what she was hoarding? She was hoarding containers and books. Now you know she never read my book. They showed her living room. Every single thing she owned was stacked from floor to ceiling in clear see-through plastic containers. The right organizing product, but she wasn’t getting rid of anything. She was grabbing all of this stuff. She had a collection of things in containers and a collection of books. It just goes to show you, buying an organizing book isn’t going to get your organized and buying organizing products isn’t going to get you organized. It was funny.

Jen Obermeier:

That is hilarious. Well, hilarious but also so sad. It’s like yeah … it’s like a whole nother … like I said, it’s a whole nother topic about why things are the way that they are. But I feel grateful that, like you said, God made some people like us, that we can be matched up with people who really, really need us and that it can be a fulfilling career, so that’s definitely a blessing and all of that. That is really exciting and you’ll definitely have to keep us posted on what and where you end up doing this, or bringing people together.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Right now I’m looking at Charlotte. But I’m excited because I think … I’m in another industry and when we do our conferences it gives us all of a bond and it helps during the year, because it’s not like we’re a teacher and we know all these other teachers that we can go to with our questions. We’re pretty much a unique group, so that … just like you have with your group. People need that, and especially if they’re starting out, they don’t want to pay the price that NAPO charges for conference. You can still get together, meet up, get ideas, get support. You don’t have to spend $2000.00. So, I’m excited to do it. I definitely will let everybody know when I’m ready.

Jen Obermeier:

That sounds awesome. What is your … I know you’ve touched on this some already, so it’s not like we haven’t talked about it but when it comes to you being able to do all the things and work as hard as you do, I know a big part of it is having that really strong why, which I completely hear you, I completely agree with. But also what are the things that are most important to you in terms of self care, so that you don’t burn out, either physically or emotionally, on the many things that you have your hands in?

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I call it fuel. And everybody’s different. I’ll just go ahead and tell you my fuel. My fuel is a morning with God. It’s constant worship music in my car. It’s podcasts if I’m working alone. A lot of my clients aren’t even with me any more. I get them started. I’m very, very particular of what I let in my brain, in my ears and in front of my eyes. As far as my body goes, I get the same amount of sleep every night. I drink nothing but water, after my coffee, all day and I’m huge into holistic living. I feel like I wouldn’t have the energy, and I know as my holistic approach gets stronger and stronger over maybe the last five years, that is giving … Because I’m getting older and the thing is I also wonder, physically with this job … First of all, how many days do you go to work and you’re like, “I just worked out at work,” because it’s so physical.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

But I don’t want to quit any time soon. I can’t imagine not doing this, and so I feel like it’s important for us as organizers to take care of our bodies and have that energy. Because if you start out your day and you’re drinking coffee and the next thing you know you’re grabbing pop, it’s like your energy is going to tank by 2:00 when your day is not over. So, I think it’s really important as far as making sure you have those veggies, those fruits on hand, because you usually don’t sit down, I know I don’t, and take an hour lunch break. It’s never going to happen.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Be nice, but I’m just not that person. I want to get through my day, so I always have things that I’m grabbing so that I don’t wait til the end of the day and go home and I’m starving and I’m just throwing whatever into my mouth. I read a lot. I love reading, and I also just like to do things, just to have fun. If you’re an organizer, you like to plan, so I’m definitely the planner in my friend group. I’m the planner of vacations in my home. I love traveling. I love doing anything that’s an experience.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

I don’t care about things, but I do care about relationships and experienced. And I always laugh and say, “You can come in my house right now and if you wanted something, I can give it to you, because I’m really not attached to anything,” but I’m super attached to people and I love experiences. So it’s like I’ll get rid of stuff, but I like to keep everybody in my life all the time, so it’s a funny, interesting way of looking at things. But yeah, I don’t … as far as the stuff goes, I could care less. Except for my books, that’s my one weakness. I feel like I always have a new book I have to order on Amazon.

Jen Obermeier:

Yeah, those were all such good answers. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for sharing all those other ideas, because I think it is important in terms of long-term strategy to come up with things that you still enjoy doing that support your core business but that are also helping you just get visibility and helping you grow your expertise in the world. Thank you so much for everything you shared that is a part of that.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Absolutely. I think the cool thing about this profession is, like you said earlier in the beginning, you can take it anywhere you want.

Jen Obermeier:

Yeah.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

And that’s something that is really unique to the business. And obviously, like for me I’m planning on starting my business in Florida soon because I know I want to end up back in Florida. All you need is a client base. You don’t need hundreds and hundreds of clients. No matter what town you live in, big or small, focus on a small number and grow, because what do they say, 80% of your income comes from 20% of your clientele, something like that. I feel like that’s true for me.

Jen Obermeier:

Yeah, thank you so much for sharing all that. So valuable for people who are starting out or somewhere in the middle of just growing and trying to figure out what their next thing is, because you can still have a next thing even once you’ve decided to do this.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Yeah.

Jen Obermeier:

I think that’s such an important message to have. Okay, so thank you so much and if people want to learn more about you, they can go to your website or they can also listen to your podcasts because you have so many great tips and stuff. I know your podcast is The 29 Minute Mom, and then your website is … is it jenniferfordberry.com?

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Yeah, yep.

Jen Obermeier:

Okay, I wasn’t sure. Jenniferfordberry.com.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

It’s easy to remember, and then I’m on Facebook under Author/Organizer Jennifer Ford Berry, and then Instagram is #organizenow, which is the name of the books.

Jen Obermeier:

Thank you so much, Jennifer, for doing this. It was so fun.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Thanks for having me, Jen.

Jen Obermeier:

Okay, talk to you soon, girl.

Jennifer Ford Berry:

Okay, bye-bye. [inaudible 00:38:01]

Jen Obermeier:

Bye-bye.

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