Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in home care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sara Losonci, Founder of Shelfie, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Shelfie is a New York City-based interior organizing service that transforms cluttered spaces into beautiful, relaxed, and organized environments. The Shelfie Process ensures each area in our clients' homes is accessible, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. The Shelfie system is customized to each client's needs.
Our systems are maintainable for the whole family and built to last. We know life is exhilarating and optimistic, but it can also be highly chaotic and exhausting. People need a calm and serene space to come home to and decompress - Shelfie creates that space.
Shelfie clients are typically going through a life transition. We work with everyone from busy, young professionals to a couple cohabiting for the first time to people welcoming their first baby to a family of 6 outgrowing their space. The same system is customized differently for a single empty nester trying to clean out their home. We get down and dirty under the bathroom sink, storage units, kids' play spaces, kitchens, and beyond.
Where you need us, we go! Whether in a tiny walk-up or a spacious multi-level home, the "Shelfie client" recognizes they need a change in their space, which may range from the house to the office, storage unit, etc. - we have no limits to where we will declutter! The Shelfie clients are invested in creating a healthier environment in their space and know this will improve their mental health. The one thing they all have in common is that they are ready to make a massive change at home and recognize the value of bringing in a professional to help them reach this goal.
Tell us about yourself
I created Shelfie amid a midnight meltdown. I was lying in bed one night inside my 4th-floor walk-up apartment in Hell's Kitchen (a neighborhood in Manhattan). My bed touched three of the four walls inside the windowless bedroom, the floors were crooked, the door to the building was never locked, there was an ongoing mouse issue, and my neighbors never stopped screaming at each other.
It was my very own NYC cliché. I had recently left a job in the Digital Ad Tech Start-up space, my second in 12 months. I was no longer fulfilled by my career and didn't hide it. Overwhelmed by the unknown and unable to sleep, I began reorganizing my apartment, as I often did in times of stress and for fun since I was a child.
I began re-styling my bookshelf, throwing away old paperwork, and moving my couch to two new positions. I wished to myself that I could do this all day. After all, I've always been great at organizing within tiny, cluttered spaces and know firsthand that the space struggle in Manhattan is real. That moment, I decided to find a way to make a living doing this, and voila: my home-organizing business began.
I'm motivated each day by the work itself and, of course, the fact that I improve the lives of others. My business allows me to have relationships with my clients and doesn't keep me at a computer all day long. I see firsthand the improvements I make in the lives of others, and it's advantageous.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has enough work to maintain a seven-day work week and to be booked two months out. It blows my mind that only a couple of years ago, I would lay in bed wondering where the next rent check would come from, and now I have an employee and enough work to keep us going.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The paperwork. Billing, bookkeeping, taxes, insurance, and everything else that a big company used to handle for me when I worked in Ad Tech. It's all on me now. I can't stand it. I'm working to offload it onto others at this point.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just do it! This was the best advice I had ever received, and it came from one of my best friends. I was worried about a website, business cards, a name for the business, processes, etc. It was overwhelming, but all of those things fell into place organically once I committed to the company.
- Say yes to every opportunity upfront. It will lead to new opportunities and open other doors. Eventually, you'll get to a place where you know what types of clients and companies you are willing and unwilling to work with, fine-tune your strengths and weaknesses, and learn what works best for you in your business. My job is like a relationship; I can say no to new business now if I know the partnership won't work, but I learned this by saying yes. Say yes, then figure it out.
- Don't compare yourself to others in your industry (and trust that gut!). Looking at what others were doing could have been more productive for me. I found it overwhelming, and I put pressure on myself to do what others were doing that I didn't care about or didn't work for me. I'm confident in my work and have had incredible repeat clients for seven years and counting, which allows me to move forward without comparison. I operate my entire business in a way that works.
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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