This is a follow up story for Pretty Neat: An Organizational Solution. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hello and glad to be back!
I'm Audra, a professional organizer in Oklahoma City, Ok, and owner of Pretty Neat: An Organizational Solution. Before becoming a pro organizer, I worked in the medical field and treated patients in their homes for many years as a physical therapist.
I saw firsthand how a chaotic and disorganized home can increase stress, overwhelm, and anxiety, and make it more difficult to physically get around; not to mention the wasted time spent looking for items you know you have but can’t find and spending money on duplicate items. I realized a BIG need and was ready to help.
In 2018 Pretty Neat: An Organizational Solution was born. We continue to help our clients organize their spaces. From move management services and home setup to downsizing and organizing entire homes, we still love helping others get organized to increase their function, efficiency, and overall quality of life in their home. It’s truly about way more than just a pretty space.
Check us out.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
Business for Pretty Neat is continuing to grow and we are so excited about that! I have an awesome team who help to give clients top service and great communication making most of our customers, repeat customers.
I believe this is a major reason for our success. We are also steady and consistent with our social media and putting our information and brand out for others to see. This allows possible clients to recognize us and trust us as a business. Of course, we still have the ebbs and flows of business but overall our numbers continue to grow.
Despite the growth, as a business owner, I do feel like the rising costs of everyday living this last year have made 2023 more interesting and sometimes more frustrating than the rest. There have been slower times this year for sure but (to put a positive spin on it) that just gives us time to continue working on the business and the advertising end to show clients how we can help solve their organization needs.
Challenges and hard times in business grow us and make us smarter and stronger if we let them.
Several changes we have made to help include outside help with our Google Business Profile and building up our local business viewers close to us since we are a service-based company, more blog help to continue putting helpful content out with backlinks and keywords to help our website rise to the top of Google, and revamping our website to make sure it is in top shape in regards to speed, information for potential clients, and overall look to attract new clients. Consistency always pays off with social media, Google, and other forms of advertisement. Even with a month that starts slower with client projects, we finish strong and our numbers reflect that.
Another change that has occurred since last year was changes in our team structure. This was both difficult and good at the same time. As a business owner, this was my first go with having to make some changes.
There were some members of my team that I was not able to utilize due to the locations of where clients and jobs, scheduling issues, and the physicality of the jobs we do. I had to discuss with them about not using them anymore on my team.
This was hard because it wasn’t them per se but more the logistics of the jobs we work on. As a business owner, I take it seriously when I have people on my team and it has to work well for both sides. I knew what I had to do but yet, liked these people and did not want to hurt any feelings.
Ultimately the team members deserved to know the truth. The conversations went well and it was the best thing I could have done for the Pretty Neat business and the team. Sometimes as a business owner, difficult decisions have to be made for the better of the company and the team.
I also believe that having the right team members has allowed us to continue growing and serving more clients accordingly.
Milestones we have reached recently:
- Celebrated 5 years in business
- Have a unique and talented team that works great together
- Client hours completed each month have increased by over 20%
- Monthly revenue has increased to $10,000 per month on average, up from $8000
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
The first challenge that we have faced this year is what to focus on in the slower times. How can we improve ourselves and our business? As a business owner, it can be discouraging if things slow down. I always ask myself where we can best spend our time so that when we do get busy again, we are set up for even more success.
Usually, we find that the best answer to this is fine-tuning our systems. Our systems are important and how we get a potential client to be an actual client.
Things we consider: how do we efficiently take a new lead through our consult and onboarding process and show them how we can help their specific needs and situation; once we get them as a client, what can we do to get their project completed efficiently to meet their goals; after their project is completed, what is the best way to offboard, follow up for further need, and hopefully get a great review for our business as well?
We have found the answers to a lot of these questions in the automation of specific systems through Dubsado and our website to be consistent in contacting the client quickly, scheduling clients, and following up. We also tune up the processes that our team uses when working with clients. The more the team is on the same page, the more we can better meet the client's needs.
I would say the second challenge would be for me as an owner to continue to grow in managing and running my team. I am naturally a people pleaser- many qualities that come with this personality trait, I believe, make me a great business owner. However, I am learning that sometimes decisions have to be made that are worth it but not always fun.
Third, I would say with a busy and growing business burnout is a possibility. I am taking steps to combat this because I want my business to be around long-term and continue to help others.
I am learning to let others help me more to take some things off my plate. Automation through my website and Dubsado help with this as well. I am also trying to rest more and allow myself some time off to enjoy traveling and my family. All these steps are helping to keep things more in balance.
Ultimately, challenges and hard times in business grow us and make us smarter and stronger if we let them. My motto with business is “I do things scared” and I continue to follow this. It is difficult sometimes but worth the learning and the growth that comes with it.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
I think the biggest lesson that I have learned over the past year is that having the best team members is better than having more team members. Fine-tuning my team and how many I have working for me has been a great decision for my company. I have less to manage and more skilled organizers allowing us to serve clients better than before.
I also am learning that there is only so much that I can control and try to relax and enjoy the ride; enjoy the ride in the slow times and in the busy times; I have proved to myself and others that we are continuing to grow year after year and helping clients exceptionally well.
To step back and remember this reduces my stress and worry in the more difficult times of business because I know we got this!
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
In the next year and beyond, we plan to continue serving clients well and being consistent with the business we have built. As the need comes, we will add team members accordingly.
In five years plus, I hope to have even more help serving clients and more help running my business. I hope to eventually move to more of a manager role in the business and less work in client care personally as our team is ready. This is a big step and a little scary but one that I am ready to gradually tackle.
This will open up my time to continue making business decisions and growing Pretty Neat. I always want to have a part in this business but would like to have the opportunity to have bigger breaks for travel with my family as my kids get older and be able to focus on the parts of the business that I enjoy the most.
Recently I have become interested in learning more about product development including bins, labels, and more that we could source for our clients but also use as another income stream. I'm still discovering but excited to learn more.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
I mostly listen to audiobooks and podcasts while I'm driving or exercising to continue learning.
Some of my favs are:
Book - Business Made Simple by Donald Miller as well as the podcast
How to sell online with Allison J Prince's podcast
The Pro Organizer Studio podcast
National Assoc of Pro Organizers (NAPO) podcast
Service Based Business Society podcast
These all speak to where I am at in my organizing business and allow me to learn more and generate new ideas.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
My advice for other entrepreneurs is to show potential clients how you can solve their pain points and their problems. If you can show others this, then they will want to use your services. Other than that, be consistent when working on your business and putting your information out there.
Don’t give up on your vision of why you started your business in the first place, and it will pay off. Be willing to make mistakes, learn, and grow for the betterment of your team and your business.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Currently, we are not looking for new organizers but I always love when someone is interested and they reach out anyway. It gives me ideas and options for future needs. I am confident in our team right now but as we grow, we will need more help.
I may be interested in new help from blog writers, website/ keyword help, and overall business management. My current VA, whom I have worked with most of my time as a business owner, is pivoting and changing her services around so I may need help in these areas.
Where can we go to learn more?
Learn more about Pretty Neat:
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
Get our 5-minute email newsletter packed with business ideas and money-making opportunities, backed by real-life case studies.
- 4,818 founder case studies
- Access to our founder directory
- Live events, courses and recordings
- 8,628 business ideas
- $1M in software savings