How NAPO Northcoast Can Do For You What It Has For Me
Cindy Illig-Lum, Owner & Manager
The TimeFinders LLC
It was the middle of winter about six years ago. I had just finished writing a business plan charting a new direction for my life, creating an opportunity that fit my skill set, my interests and my passion. I have the privilege of being able to set the terms of my employment, the top one being that I love the work I would be doing each day. So, I was about to become a Professional Organizer.
Fast forward to today, I have my own company, consistent work and a healthy income. I pick the work I want to do, charge what I am worth, and enjoy most of the tasks set before me. I owe some of my success to my friends and colleagues in the Northcoast Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Here is why.
1) Guidance from People who Started Exactly Like I Did
There are many activities a person should never do alone – mountain climbing and starting your own business are two of them. It is vital that you talk with someone, preferably more than one someone, who knows the challenges, can provide guidance and cheer you on. At NAPO Northcoast, I found a roomful of these guides. I was careful not to ask for too much and not to expect them to give me hours of their time for free. But unlike many networking groups, the members of NAPO Northcoast welcomed me with open arms and were generous with their support and helpful information.
2) Access to the Knowledge Necessary for Success
The members of NAPO Northcoast have a wide range of experiences, specialties and personalities. There is bound to be an Organizer sitting in the room with you that you can relate to, who is doing the type of organizing you want to do, and is willing to share her or his experience. Not sure how to get your business started? Ask to hear how members got their first clients and eventually you will find an idea that appeals to you. Need some new techniques for a chronically disorganized client? You will find an answer in this group. How do you build a referral network? We each have our favorite sources and ways to connect with them, just ask. Not only are the members themselves great sources of knowledge, but each chapter meeting will feature a speaker on a relevant topic whether it be related to running the business, working with a specific type of client or using particular techniques.
3) Experience the Connection and Comradery to Sustain You Through Tough Times
Professional organizers most often work alone. There’s no one in the office down the hall to talk shop with and your significant other or best friend isn’t going to have a clue what it’s like “out in the field.” There is something empowering, energizing and downright affirming to be a room full of people who are dealing or have dealt with precisely your situation (or close to it). Nothing like a collective sigh, ooh or ah to make you feel not quite so alone after telling an on the job anecdote. Meanwhile, once a year, you can work on a team of local organizers to help out a charity during National GO (get organized) Month, or head out with some colleagues to the national NAPO conference where you can connect with hundreds of professional organizers from all over the country. Any way you look at it, by joining NAPO, you become a part of something much bigger, a group of like-minded individuals that can keep you going strong in your new career.
Now what are you waiting for? Success is waiting for you at the next meeting.
- Cindy Illig-Lum, Owner & Manager
- The TimeFinders LLC