Do you have a picture of your ideal business in your mind, but perhaps it feels impossible because you're a military spouse and you're constantly moving? Maybe your business feels out of reach because you have young children at home, and you feel called to stay at home and care for them. Maybe your business idea isn't out of the question if you just think outside of the box a bit!
Framing her ideal business in a new way is exactly what Melody Granger did when she started The Well-Organized Entrepreneur. She took an in-person, location-dependent organizing business and turned it into a business done completely online.
No longer did Melody have to start from scratch every time her family moved. No longer was she constantly searching for customers that she could reach. Now, Melody can work with clients who live anywhere in the world.
Are you intrigued? I know we were! Press play on the podcast player below to hear Melody's story, how she turned an in-person business into an online reality, and some great organization tips for any mom entrepreneur!
On the Podcast
01:40 – Organizing the Life She Wanted
04:37 – From In-Person Limits to Online Success
06:08 – How to Work with Customers in the Virtual Space
09:13 – Finding her Ideal Audience
13:02 – 2 Tips for Managing Your Day
15:44 – To-Do List Trouble? Melody can Help!
17:21 – Marketing an Online Business
19:38 – Why Melody Takes the Long View
22:23 – Why the Right Mentality Makes all the Difference
22:55 – Melody's Funny Mom Moments
Organizing the Life She Wanted
When Melody's girls were little, she was still working a traditional job. She hated having to balance work with the needs of her family. She felt guilty every time she asked off because her girls were sick or her family wanted to go out of town. She decided for herself, “I'm not doing this. This is not the life I want.”
She started brainstorming and considering what she loved to do. She quickly realized that one of her favorite tasks was cleaning up messes! (Melody, would you like to come live at my house?!) From an early age, Melody remembers understanding the crucial link between our environments and our attitudes. Having the right space to work and live can make us more kind to another, more calm, and so much more.
Knowing that she didn't want to start a cleaning company, Melody started an organizing business instead. She quit her job, created a website, and people started calling her!
From In-Person Limits to Online Success
Melody successfully ran her in-person organizing business for seven years. However, during that time, her family moved to a new city, then a hurricane hit and they were forced to relocate once again.
She quickly became tired of starting over in each new location. Her light bulb moment happened when she realized that she was still able to connect with and help her old clients via phone. Why couldn't she help new clients in the same way?
Melody confessed that it was quite a hurdle to convince new customers that she could help them without being physically present. She would say, “let me just show you how this is going to work. ” By giving initial consultations over Skype and having her clients make progress right away, she was able to prove to them that she could help from a distance.
How to Work with Customers in the Virtual Space
Sarah and I were both curious about what it actually looks like to help a client with a very physical problem, such as clutter, over Skype. Melody broke the process down for us.
Initial contact – Melody usually chats with her customers via email first. Often people have questions for her before they're ready to commit. She answers their questions and eases their initial fears.
1st Skype Meeting – Before they move forward, Melody and her prospective have an initial video meeting via Skype. Melody has them take their laptop around the room or areas they want to organize to show her what they need help with. She'll often have her prospective customers take a few small action steps during that initial chat to give them a taste for the how the process is going to work.
Game Plan: After Melody sees the area and they discuss the major problems the customer wants to solve, Melody comes up with a loose game plan. Melody is a very intuitive person, so although she develops a plan for each customer, she's able to be flexible based on their needs and schedule.
The Sessions: Once Melody is hired for an organizing job, the project is divided into sessions. She meets with her clients for a minimum of 2 hours via Skype for each session. During that time, she is on video with them, and they are taking action. Melody encourages her clients to think out loud to her while they take action. She's listening closely to what they're saying to uncover their true problem areas, their priorities, and more. She helps them to organize their spaces based on the way that they think. In this way, the space will be something that works for them, not just a space that Melody might personally think works.
(What a great idea, to truly be in tune with your customers individual needs and create a plan based on their own life, problems, and priorities!)
The Homework: After each session, Melody creates a homework checklist that's customized for that client and very specific to what they accomplished that day. They generally have 2 weeks to complete the homework, then they'll pick up again with another video session.
Continual Communication: In between each session, Melody and her clients email back and forth. They'll send her photos and updates, ask questions, and of course, celebrate little wins along the way.
The Timeline: Since each job and client is unique, the number of sessions per client is also unique. Sometimes Melody will work with a client for months depending on the size of their space and the level of organizing help they need. Melody keeps things moving at a steady pace, but is very intentional to keep the working relationship LOW pressure. She encourages her clients to do the best they can, and keeps things positive and enjoyable. (It's easy to see that this is the case by checking out all of Melody's rave reviews from her customers!)
Finding her Ideal Audience
Since so many individuals need help with organizing, how did Melody settle on entrepreneurs as her ideal audience?
Melody discovered her ideal audience by, essentially, becoming that target customer herself. She went through a time period when she was growing her online business, her husband had lost his job, and she was feeling overwhelmed. She was stressed, and not taking care of herself or her environment.
Then she had her light bulb moment. There were other people just like her, working at home, trying to organize both their personal lives and work lives, and they could use her help.
She had experience in organizing both corporate spaces and people's homes, and now she could merge those two concepts together to help people whose homes and workspaces were one and the same. Essentially, she could help people just like her!
2 Tips for Managing Your Day
- Start Your Day with a Clean Space. Melody is a strong believer in the affect environments can have on our focus and mood. A clean, organized environment can make you feel good, inspired, and in control. For this reason, Melody recommends that you do a quick tidy of your work space in the morning. Clean off your desk or workspace so you can focus without distractions.
- Create a Routine. Melody believes that finding a rhythm to your days and weeks can make your life feel more manageable. For her own life, Melody divides her business tasks by day of the week. For example, Tuesdays-Thursdays are client commitment days where she does sessions over Skype. Melody keeps Mondays and Fridays free and open for those weekly business tasks that must be done. Mondays are her reach-out days. She writes guests posts and finds other ways to market her business. Fridays are reserved for administrative tasks such as getting her inbox in order.
To-Do List Trouble? Melody can Help!
As moms and entrepreneurs, we all have miles-long to-do lists! Sometimes, it feels impossible to get everything crossed off. While that may be true, Melody has a simple to-do list trick that can make your whole day feel better.
Tackle that project that is weighing your mind and body down first. You know the ones Melody is referring to : they keep crossing your mind, they worry you, there's stress around the task. Maybe there's a deadline attached, or the deadline you set has already passed.
Knock out this task first so you can get that negative, stressful energy off of your mind and body. Then, the rest of the to-do list doesn't feel so scary or stressful anymore!
After Melody tackles this one, most stressful task, she always feels relieved and wonders, “Why didn't I do that sooner?”
Marketing an Online Business
Melody shares 5 strategies that help her to market and grow her business.
- Blog regularly
- Use Facebook regularly
- Connect with other Entrepreneurs (i.e. her ideal audience)
- Guest post often
- Find other Media Outlets (i.e. podcasts, TV appearances, and/or blogs where she can become a regular contributor)
Why Melody Takes the Long View
Sometimes, it can feel discouraging to spend a lot of time on a guest post and see little results initially. Maybe we even get the chance to do a TV spot, but again, customers aren't knocking on our door.
Melody takes the long view and believes that being omnipresent pays off in the long run. The more people see her name and run across her, the more they'll remember her when they are ready to hire someone to help them get organized.
Melody remembers one such example where the long view made all the difference. She had the opportunity to appear on the local news a few years ago. A year or two later, Melody received a phone call from someone who saw her on the news. That one phone call turned into one of her biggest income generators for the next year.
As entrepreneurs, we just never know where our next customer may come from. Even when it seems like our efforts aren't paying off, Melody says, “people are seeing you. They may not be responding immediately, but it will happen. Give it time.”
Why the Right Mentality Makes all the Difference
Speaking of growing a business, Melody shared a great tip that we might not consider as entrepreneurs. Our mindset can make a huge difference in our business.
Melody shared about a time when she was running her business out of desperation. It was a few years ago, and she wasn't happy. People could sense that she wasn't happy or at peace about things, and they could also sense that she was being pushy!
Now, Melody is at a place in her business where she's having fun, she's happy, and she's at peace. Knowing that, it's much easier for her to market herself and her business and be more successful.
(I never considered how working from that place of desperation, although it could be a great motivator, might make us act and communicate in ways that our potential customers don't relate to. This is a great point for all of us to examine our motives in business and the attitude we're showing to the world as a result.)
Melody's Funny Mom Moments
Life with two teenage girls sounds crazy and fun at the same time. Listen to hear what Melody's girls do to keep her laughing!