In April 2017, 80 consultants representing over 20 countries traveled to the windy city with KonMari® on their mind and joy in their hearts. I had the privilege of welcoming the incoming class the evening before the Chicago 2017 KonMari® Consultant Certification Course by planning and hosting a meet-up sponsored by Slice.
It was a magical evening followed by an equally memorable first day of consultant training. Right before lunch, I was tapped to share my experience as a certified KonMari® Consultant with the group.
I didn’t take this lightly.
I was challenged to summarize everything I’ve learned since I started down this path into a tidy ten minute talk. Here are some of the tips I shared:
Pile your thoughts and ideas
I’m sure you soaked up a ton of great information about KonMari® and the art of tidying, learning from the instructors and each other by bouncing around ideas and thoughts. I remember having that same experience and leaving training on a high. But, when I returned home, my mind felt cluttered and I wasn’t sure what to tackle next.
I suggest that you take a moment to pile your ideas, similar to how we pile clothing when we tidy by category to confront everything in one place, all at once. This way, you can pick out what sparks joy, hone in on what’s priority, and map out the details from there. You’re left with a strong visual of your priorities that will continue to inspire you as you grow your business.
Make practice hours your priority over all else
Initially, your clients won’t really care what your business card looks like or why your website isn’t live! They simply have a problem and know you have the solution. So, don’t let a desire to achieve tidying business perfection stifle your momentum. Instead, use the hands-on learning opportunity of working with practice clients to drive your business copy and inspire your brand.
Select clients within your inner circle and evolving professional network
As an emerging tidying professional, I suggest selecting clients who are your advocates (friends, family, social circle) or potential strategic partners (media, local community, small business service provider) to practice with. For example, my brother and sister-in-law were my first two clients and I traded services with my photographer who recently read The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Provide clients with incentives that encourage commitment and action within a short timeframe
If circumstances allow, offer free or reduced rate practice lessons to encourage immediate action during the practice phase. At a minimum, ensure your clients understand you are building your business and KonMari® experience, so their feedback is golden and a sincere expression of gratitude. Require photo consent, testimonials, public reviews via online platforms, and feedback on any customer facing resources (blog, website, ads, etc.) you’re developing for your business.
Capture your entire lesson in writing and in photographs
Write down and photograph (with client’s permission) everything you observe or hear during one-on-one tidying time with your client (even direct quotes when possible).
- the client’s concerns at the beginning of the lesson
- questions the client asks (consider the “why?” behind their question)
- how you addressed their concerns
- things that do and do not spark joy for the client
- how the client responds to your guidance
- and how they are feeling at the end of the process (and/or a few days later)
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Use your practice time to refine your client relationship skills and standardize your unique interpretation of the KonMari® practice. If you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it! 99% of the time your client won’t even notice. Use this time to get comfortable and find your flow. Note particular moments that either sparked joy or were challenging and share them with the KonMari® trainee/consultant Facebook network.
Establish your brand identity
When establishing your brand, it’s important to step back and truly understand what KonMari® means to you and your personal “why.” I believe KonMari® is fundamentally rooted in principles of respect, gratitude, and joy. All of those virtues reflect love, so that’s how I landed on For the Love of Tidy as my business name. So, think about what aspects of the tidying process resonate with you.
Keep your business identity close prior to launch. Make sure you google your business name and your full name as you begin to reserve your social media handles and shape your digital identity.
Remember, if you’re struggling to nail down your brand, don’t let that slow your momentum! Let it take shape organically as you practice.
Get to know your customer
Having a firm understanding of your ideal customer is critical to the success of your KonMari® business (and really any business). We all have an affinity for keeping things in order and have immersed ourselves in the KonMari® subject matter. But, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t come naturally to everyone. We can learn so much from simply being in tune with and relating to our client’s questions, their pain points, and habits.
Just like we seek an ideal lifestyle, we should also have an ideal client in mind. It could be a fictional person. I know entrepreneurs who give their ideal client avatar a name, determine their household income, and other details down to what they eat for breakfast. These details may seem silly, but it’s actually a great way to help you make small and large business decisions – by simply considering what your client would want to learn, think, or do.
Grow your network
I’m sure you’ve created lasting friendships within your training class. I encourage you to continue to uplift your fellow trainees and partner together. For example, the Spark Joy podcast was a partnership that emerged from a chance meeting at a KonMari® seminar in 2016.
Reach out to trainees and consultants that came before and after you. Your professional network may also include:
- Traditional Professional Organizers: If you’re not adding KonMari® to an existing professional organization business, you can reach out to other professional organizers outside of KonMari®. They have experience with your ideal customer and the business side of home organization
- An Accountability Partner: I speak to my accountability partner almost daily. She is actually outside of KonMari® and the professional organizing industry, but we are at the same place business development wise, so we keep each other motivated
- Business Coach: A business coach serves as someone who can push you outside of your comfort zone and help you avoid getting in your own way
- Advocates: This includes your friends and family and anyone who has your back no matter what you produce
- Brand partners, affiliates, and influencers: Build strategic relationships with those who align with the KonMari® mission to choose joy. Partnerships are a great way to extend your reach and exposure
- Media: Because we are immersed in tidying education, sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Even with the debut of Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, there are people out there who still haven’t heard about KonMari® or spark joy! Therefore, it is important for us to continue to spread the word that KonMari® Consultants are available and ready to support tidying journeys!
Be joyful and patient!
At times, the pressures of the administrative requirements for certification may distract you, causing you to lose sight of what truly matters – cultivating a positive, life-changing KonMari® experience for clients. Marie Kondo reminds us “tidying is fun!” The same applies to consulting. Loosen up and remember why you started down this path in the first place. Empathize with and get to know your clients. They are your biggest fans. Share your own life-changing story and grow together!
There were many things left unsaid after my short talk.
Luckily, during lunch, trainees approached me individually with really great questions. This organically turned into a group chat where we were all learning and growing.
…and no, we weren’t talking about how to fold socks.
We discussed the realities and hard truths around starting your own tidying business and approaches that best serve clients. How to set up a webpage. How to attract ideal clients. How to create a brand. How to schedule appointments and accept payment…
Somewhere in the midst of these conversations, I realized I wanted to create a platform to help foster and serve a community of emerging tidying entrepreneurs with actionable tools and accountability that drives the thriving business envisioned in their ideal lifestyle.
The Tidy Mastermind was born.
As my business has shifted, I’ve decided to sunset my Tidy Mastermind program for prospective consultants, trainees and certified KonMari Consultants to dedicate more time clients, events, and other engagements.
I will also continue to leave a limited number of spots open on my calendar to discuss the business of tidying with emerging professionals. Feel free to sign-up below at any time!