Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rebecca Schaeffer, Founder of Simplicity Design & Professional Organizing, located in Durham, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
As a professional organizer, I help people manage the “stuff” in their lives. Building positive relationships with the spaces and things in our lives doesn’t come easily. It’s not simple, and too often, it’s overwhelming. We can have no idea where to begin or what steps to take to create the meaningful change that we crave. This is why I created The Simplicity Method of organizing and founded Simplicity Design – to help people, step-by-step, to successfully manage the “stuff” in their life or business. My customers are busy working and retired professionals who don’t have time to “get” organized – let alone “stay” organized! I work with clients in life transitions – moving, downsizing, or suffering the loss of a loved one. Whatever your current relationship is with the “stuff” of Life, one thing rings true: when it comes to dealing with it, it’s always harder to go it alone.
Tell us about yourself
When I was 18, my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She passed away three years later. At that time, I was her sole caretaker. It took me several years to really sort through it all while still dealing with the loss of a parent. For me, the process of dealing with my mother’s stuff (which became “my stuff”) is how I found myself. Facing this kind of challenge at an early age helped me define my values and what matters to me. And over the years, I’ve found ways to simplify and curate the “stuff” of life so that it brings more beauty, harmony, and meaning -- highlighting what truly matters in Life. Our relationships with the spaces and things in our lives can support us, or they can weigh us down. If I can play a part in helping make those relationships better ones – maybe even happier and more purposeful ones – that’s the most rewarding job I can do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of the key metrics in growing a business is scalability. The accomplishment that I cherish most is reaching the point where I could bring my first independent contractor on board. It makes me proud that my business not only supports me but also the livelihood of others.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Weathering the ups and downs of the market. The pandemic was a crucial pivot point for many business owners. It’s important to get creative about ways to sustain your business through unanticipated downturns in revenue or unexpected spikes in expenses. Being able to identify and take advantage of new opportunities can make the difference in helping your business to thrive in tough times.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First, if you’re passionate about your business, it will help fuel you through the long hours to launch and get your business off the ground. When you work on a project that you are passionate about, it gives you energy, the more energy you put into it. As a business owner, you must wear many hats – making decisions when it comes to customer service, human resources, design and marketing, administration, finances, and legal matters – all while running your business!
My second tip is to contract out for anything that you don’t love or aren’t proficient in. One of the best investments you can make is to seek targeted advice from skilled professionals, whether it’s marketing, accounting, law, or graphic design. (Hopefully!) You started your business from your passion… Spending long hours slugging through areas outside of your expertise will only slow you down.
Lastly, when you’re first starting out, don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth! I know from experience – Setting your fees too low when you launch can affect your self-concept of the true value of your services. In raising your rates, you will likely find that the benefit your clients receive far exceeds the cost. Think about the full package of the product or services you offer and what change you are providing in circumstances or behavior. Consider your clients’ lives without your product or service, and what your business services enable them to do.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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