Over the last few years I have received countless emails and phone calls asking me questions about my professional organizing business Kuzak’s Closet. People want to know everything from how I got started to who designs my website. Today I am answering the most popular questions that I have been asked so readers can find the answers in one place. Please let me know if there are more questions that you would like me to answer, I am an open book!
How did you get started as a professional organizer? I have always loved to organize so I started by helping my family and friends. Organizing helps me to relax so when I was a law student I would help all of my neighbors organize their homes during finals, ha! When Chris and I moved to Chicago in 2006 I started organizing for strangers for the first time and I actually enjoyed it more. I started to have more and more new clients call me and I realized that I could have a part time business. After a few years I wanted to take the plunge and try to work as a professional organizer full time and that is when Chris took a job at Google in California in 2009. I decided to turn my part time business into a full time business after we moved.
How do your clients find you? In Michigan and Chicago clients found me through word of mouth (mostly because I didn’t have a website or blog). Now 85% of my new clients find me online through Google or Facebook. The rest are referred through other small business owners and happy clients.
What got you into blogging? After we moved to California in 2009 my husband encouraged me to start a blog in hopes that it would help me feel more connected to the friends and family that I left in the Midwest. I thought I would blog a few times per month but with lots of encouragement from my sister I started blogging more regularly. Over the last few years my readership has really grown and it has become a marketing tool for my business which is a good thing and a bad thing. I only say it is a bad thing because I really have to edit myself and make sure that I maintain my client’s confidentiality at all times. Sometimes I wish I could share more stories from my organizing sessions, maybe someday I will write a book.
How do readers find your blog? Most readers find the blog through online search engines like Google, through other blogs that have my blog address listed as one of their favorite sites, Facebook, and Pinterest. Right now 2,000+ readers come from Pinterest every week. Tomorrow I will share the most popular projects that bring them to my site.
Do you make money blogging? Yes, I make money through the ads that are placed on the right side of the page through BlogHer and Google Ads. Because the blog helps clients make the decision to contact me for services I feel like it generates income as a low cost marketing tool.
Do you ever feel unsafe when you go to meet new client for a consultation at their home? No. I try to follow my gut when someone calls or emails me but in most cases the people that contact me are fantastic. I will say that not all of my clients are what you would call “normal” but who is, ha! I really like working with extremely disorganized spaces a messy yard or unkempt house doesn’t scare me away.
What is the weirdest thing you have seen during an organizing session? I see a lot of strange items and collections but the strangest thing I think I have found is a dead cat. The scary thing is that my client didn’t remember having one so we didn’t know how long it had been there or who’s it was.
How did you discover that you liked working with hoarders? I was first contacted by a hoarder when I had my business in Chicago. She didn’t tell me she was a hoarder (of course) so when I went to her house for our first session I quickly found out. She was extremely unorganized and her house was so full she couldn’t live in it anymore. I found the client and the project fascinating and have been helping hoarders ever since. To read more about my first hoarding client click here.
What is your favorite type of project? I love organizing clothing closets. I also love any project that involves an extremely unorganized space like a garage, living room, or kitchen especially now that I have my assistant Matt to help me with the physical labor. I also LOVE estate sales.
Who is your ideal client? Anyone who is READY to get organized or needs to liquidate an estate.
How did you come up with your business name Kuzak’s Closet? For my first few years in business I didn’t have a name or a business card. When my business moved to Chicago I had to store all of the items that I was selling on eBay in the closet in my home office and I often referred to it as Kuzak’s Closet and the name just stuck. Looking back I am glad that I didn’t over think the name, it has a nice ring to it. Sometimes I wonder what I would have named my business if I would have kept my maiden name Chappel.
How do you find your assistants? I find my assistants through word of mouth. Matt has worked for me for about a year and I met him because his mom was a client of mine. He is a great worker and we have a lot of fun together. I had an assistant named Devin for a few months at the end of last year and his sister who reads the blog suggested I hire him for the job. He was great but once he started graduate school at the beginning of this year he no longer had time to help me. My summer intern Jennalynn helps me mostly with estate sales and I also met her through a client. I also have 3 haulers that help me with estate cleanouts and moving furniture from time to time.
Who designed your website? My husband Chris, what a trooper. He is not a graphic designer but he has done a great job with it. I am currently in the process of making things look a little more polished so he will probably need the help of a professional.
Do you really work full time? Yes! Most weeks I am working with clients 5-6 days a week. Like any small business owner I have a lot of work to do behind the scenes when it comes to marketing, billing and finances, and planning for the future. I also spend several hours a week working on eBay sales.
What is something you get frustrated about with your business? Some clients think that I need to be as old as their antiques to organize an estate sale and from time to time I lose out on a project because of my age. My estate sale business has grown by 300% from last year to this year so I am hoping that over time my great service and reputation will help potential clients overlook that I am only 30 something.
What is your professional background? I have a liberal arts degree from Alma College in Michigan. I attended law school for 2 years and no I am not a lawyer. I have worked as a personal shopper, a personal assistant, a school registrar, and an operations manager of a K-12 school.
How did you learn to be an organizer? Do you take classes or read books? Organizing is something that comes natural to me. It is also a learned behavior because I grew up with organized parents. I do attend a regional organizing conference every fall through NAPO, my professional association. I learn a lot from each client session I listen to audio books and read blogs from time to time.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business? Remember you need clients to have a business so quality service is key. Also, it is important to roll with the punches, learn from your mistakes, and keep moving and shaking!