Why You've Got To Check Out Today's Episode:
Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:
“I think setting those healthy boundaries is not only good for me, but it's good behavior to model for my family. It's also good to train your clients that you're not on call 24 hours a day."
Kathi Burns 0:04
Hi there, I'm board certified professional organizer Kathi Burns. I'm really glad you're here. This podcast is designed for busy entrepreneurs just like you who want to take better control of your business and move forward with less stress and more success. If this is your first time listening, then thanks for coming. TThe Organized Energized podcast is produced for your enjoyment and show notes are found at ThePodcast@OrganizedandEnergized.com. Come back often and feel free to add this podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow me on Twitter at organized energy and Facebook. All links are in the show notes. Now let's get into the show. Hey, y'all, I'm back and I am with Laurie Palau. She is a fellow organizer and I just want to talk to her about her hacks, her tips, her tricks to keep her clients organized and keep yourself organized. Because guess what, we're all in this together. We're all women entrepreneurs who are just cruising along and taking numbers and making things happen. So welcome to the show. Laurie.
Laurie Palau 1:10
Thank you so much, Kathi. I am very excited to be here.
Kathi Burns 1:15
Well, I know you're a veteran organizer as myself, I tell me what you did prior to that, what's your backstory?
Laurie Palau 1:21
So my backstory is I spent 15 years as an executive recruiter. So I've always enjoyed working with people. And I think it's funny because I look back now, over the over decade and a half that I've been doing this. And I see so many parallels in the strategies that I use to work with people to find out what motivated them for job change. And what motivates people to streamline declutter organize their lives. Whether it's more freedom, whether it's more space, whether it's whatever the fill in the blank is, it really comes from an understanding and being able to communicate that. That's what I did and like we were talking offline in 2009, in this crazy world that we were in at that time with the recession, people losing their jobs, I was like, let me start a luxury business where people can hire me to help them declutter and organize their stuff.
Kathi Burns 2:20
Laurie Palau 2:21
Perfect timing and here we are.
Kathi Burns 2:24
Because you were working with people in transition back then. And what I find is a majority of our clients, and you're going to say the same thing are in transition of some sort, whenever they're ready to get organized. So that's interesting. It's a similar similar transitional time. So it makes total sense. What now why organizing, you could have done anything. Have you been organized all your life or not? Or how that work? Yeah. And
Laurie Palau 2:53
Yeah. You've worked with other professional organizers, you spoke to them. And I feel like sometimes we, we can all sound like we have a similar elevator pitch to a degree, right, everyone's got their story. But yes, I guess intuitively, I was naturally organized, I was always pretty good with the physical stuff in terms of not liking physical clutter. But I was also really good with time management, and just kind of juggling all that life has to throw at us. I guess my thought process, looking back of when it really I started putting these practices into place was when my kids who are now 18 and 21, were babies. My husband, I always tell the story, my husband traveled a ton, great guy, super helpful and home, but just wasn't around a lot. I was like a single mom with a paycheck and so I was wearing all the hats. I was trying to work first and then I went up taking time off. I was stay at home mom for a while. But either way, I had to run the whole household from shopping, laundry, paying bills, taking care of the kids, anything that needed to get done, for the most part fell on my shoulders, because I was one in the trenches on the day to day. I had to for survival purposes, develop simple strategies in order to get everything done. Otherwise it would fall through the cracks, whether that was checklists to do lists, routines, habits. I was just instituting these things for my own self never back then in the early early 2000s. Was I thinking, I'm kind of laying the groundwork of the foundation for a business. But then fast forward close to a decade and I saw so many of my friends other fellow moms that were struggling. Sometimes they were professionals and they were struggling with why am I together at work and I'm a hot mess at home. Or they were stay at home moms and they were just struggling with physical overwhelm or just not having the right routines in place. And so I just started helping my friends, like, why don't you do this? Or have you thought about doing this? A girlfriend of mine, who's an interior designer said, Hey, you should do this for business. And that's kind of how it all came to be.
Kathi Burns 5:15
That's fantastic. Yeah, I was egged on by a friend as well that I just helped innately get organized. She goes, You should be a professional organizer. I'm like, what is that? In 2003. Fortunately Clean Sweep had come out.
Laurie Palau 5:30
I was obsessed with the show. It's like, I look back, I was obsessed with the show Clean Sweep.
Kathi Burns 5:37
Awesome. So yeah, that's really good. I think that it, organizing is a gift. And what I really love what you said about that, Laurie is it for all you women out there listening, I know that husbands don't understand how overwhelmed you can get, and they don't understand all the intricate moving parts of running a household. Add that on top of you're a full time mom, and full time worker and a full time mom with an absent husband, for whatever reason, you could be great guy, but he's just not there. There's a lot on your plate. Don't you find that sometimes the men just don't understand how much women have to do around the house to run it.
Laurie Palau 6:19
Absolutely. I even think and this isn't exclusive, just by gender, I think, when you think about all of the moving parts, I always say I wrote this one article years ago, very early on in my professional career when I was blogging back in the day when like, blogging was super big, and, you know, 2010, or whatever. I wrote this article for a magazine, and it was called being the CEO of your home. It was really about understanding how in business because I had worked in corporate America and worked with a lot of corporations. So in any business, you don't, you rarely have one person that wears all the hats. You've got your CFO, you've got your CEO, you've got your marketing people, your admin people, your tech department, you've got all these other sales, all the different departments that help run this well oiled machine. What I was finding was that moms in particular, because that was my core demographic was moms. They were doing all of the facets of running this household business, this entity, but they weren't looking at themselves as the CEO. So they weren't delegating. They weren't outsourcing, they were trying to wear all the hats. I'm like, no business runs efficiently. When you are doing when you're paying the bills, mopping the floors, coming up with the business strategy and presenting to the world. Like you can't do it all. It's just impossible. And so something's got to give, whether you're in a position that you can hire somebody to mow your lawn or clean your house, or you have to enlist a friend and do a co op swap where you watch your kids while I run errands. Or you have a come to Jesus moment with your spouse and going I need actual health. But to be able to take a step back, because we just innately somewhere ingrained in ourselves that we have to do all the things. As somebody who took time off from my recruiting to be a stay at home mom, I drank that Kool Aid myself for a little while, where I felt like Okay, now this is my job. So I have to do all the things.
Kathi Burns 8:26
Yeah, good point. Good point. We are here both to tell you ladies out there that you don't have to do it all. And actually, you shouldn't do it all. Because you won't have enough of yourself to give at the end of the day to be your true self and to feel fulfilled. So we give you permission. Yeah, delegate?
Laurie Palau 8:45
Yeah. Yes. Right or delete, just say, I'm not doing this. Like don't say yes to everything. You know, there are things that trust me, there are things that I'd like to say no to that you can't. But there are things that we are allowed to say, not now, this is not in this season of my life. I can't volunteer in this season of my life, I can't help you do this right now. Doesn't mean you're a bad person doesn't mean that you're not a good community member doesn't mean that you don't want to help. But sometimes you have to put these boundaries in place. It's a hard thing for a lot of us to you women to to admit and to really put into practice.
Kathi Burns 9:27
Yeah, it's easier to say yes than say no. Sometimes I used to have a magic wand and say I I grant you all permission to say no or bare minimum. Thank you so much for this opportunity. Can I get back with you tomorrow after I checked my schedule that gives you time to ruminate and not say yes, for sure. So when you got your first client was so your first client was maybe your girlfriend that you helped. What happened when you got your first paying client? What kind of gig was that and have that feel?
Laurie Palau 9:55
Oh, my gosh, it was great. So well. My first paying client was somebody that I knew locally because it was very much again, I started this business, very grassroots. I didn't want to invest a ton of money, because I didn't know if it was going to take off. And so it was very, you know, who do you know, and whatnot. So it was somebody local, my community, and it was a playroom. And I loved it. It was funny, actually, I'd spend so much time as a recruiter all day I was on the phone, right? I was on the phone with people, whether it was hiring managers, or candidates, and I just would talk, talk, talk, talk talk all day. I like that I'm an outgoing, extroverted person. I was working in this play room. I was working with the client for like, a short time and then I said, Okay, once we went through, sort of the editing process, then I said, Well, you can go and do what you need to do. Now I can organize it create some systems. It was so nice, because I was able to actually work and be productive, and I could listen to music. I remember that being like, the first thing that I thought about was like, Oh, my gosh, I can do this and like, not have to be on air quote, and fight anybody that's listening. That I was like, this is great. I remember bringing her up for like a reveal, I guess afterwards and it wasn't anything major. We didn't bring in a ton of products. It wasn't like an HGTV show, reveal. But it was just, we had worked through stuff, gone through the editing process, rezoned everything so that we had kind of our like with like, put the things that we wanted them to be age appropriate, accessible, and whatnot. Because she had three kids, and just showed her you repurposing what she had. I wasn't even bringing a new product at that time, that was really super simple. Just seeing like, this light bulb in her eyes, like, oh, my gosh, this was great. Seeing how that gave her, like the freedom to be like, ah, to breathe. I said, Wow, and then she paid me and I was like, this is awesome.
Kathi Burns 12:11
I can go into my Zen space, and I can do what I love and not be bothered and make money. Well, and create an impact. I love the impact of clients lives. Do you find that the majority of your clients need follow up sessions? Or do they get it? The busy moms, I know, it's a lot about training the kids, how does that work with you and your clients?
Laurie Palau 12:33
Yeah. And so that's a really, really great, great question. Just to just in clarity purposes, so I don't really see a ton of clients anymore. So my business has evolved over time. So I see a few Cornerstone clients. Now I like you also work with other women entrepreneurs, and I focus a lot on teaching through podcasts and books and resources. But what I do, I would say, I try to always incorporate a maintenance plan into any of the organizing. I'm calling packages, for lack of a better word projects, let's call them projects, because it's not. So any projects that I do, I always try to incorporate a maintenance type project, or plan into it because life happens, life is fluid. We go through seasons, the seasons change. Having things whether it's literally the season, like we're gonna help you flip out your garage from summer to winter for somebody in the northeast, like myself, not like someone like San Diego doesn't have to worry about snow. Or my kids have grown and so we need to cycle out clothes. A lot of the people that I work with, and I think this is a really important distinction is knowing kind of your lane within the organizing space. For me, it my kind of core demographic was always the busy mom. That was not exclusively but that's the core bulk of my business. The people that listen to my show the people that read my books, that's like my biggest, my biggest area. So you're talking about people that are that aren't, you're not sure about your extreme hoarders or your extreme minimalist, you're talking about busy people that just have maybe a volume of stuff and don't have the right system strategies or time to make them happen and keep up. Being there, like you would have your landscaper say, hey, it's time for your fall cleanup. Summer cleanup or spring cleanup, or your exterminator say, Okay, it's time for your checking, because we're going to do it. It's not a one and done and that's thing about organizing. I always say whether it's tweaking the existing system, or maybe something worked for a while, and now it's not and that the pandemic is a prime example of that. We had systems that we put in place for people when everyone was going to work and go into school and ife was one way. Then all of a sudden, everyone's world switch and we had to repurpose spaces. We had to incorporate new things into different places and get really creative about how we were going to keep our spaces functional and organized. So there's always that need. So I always encourage people, it's not a bad thing. If you're like, oh, I need to come back, it doesn't mean that you failed as an organizer, you want to be somebody that is developing a relationship for me, right? I shouldn't say everybody, because it depends on the scope of your business. But for me, I was always a very relational business. I wanted to be a part of these people as they go through life.
Kathi Burns 15:45
And in organizing, it's not a one off at all. So and there's nothing wrong with saying, oh, I need to see my organizer again, in a few months or whatever. When life changes, we were talking about that off mic that when people are in transitions when they need us, and we're in transition all the time. Major transitions are what really are the impetus to okay, you have to shift it just like, like you said, during the pandemic, when everything everybody now work from home, including everyone and the kids.
Laurie Palau 16:16
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Kathi Burns 16:21
So what's your best piece of advice for women entrepreneurs who are working from home, you have a hack that you help them with, to create more freedom.
Laurie Palau 16:31
So for me, I think it's really important to be able to separate, I worked from home for years before the pandemic. So I was somebody who was always very internally motivated. Like, that was just how I was wired, it was something that it wasn't hard for me, I would be able to come in my office, even when I was a recruiter. Back when my kids were little, I would drop them at daycare or at school, come back, work for my block of time till I had to do my hard stop, go pick them up, and then put my mom hat on. I was very diligent about not flipping the laundry, or making dinner and doing these things. Because I think we have this tendency where we want to multitask where we want to maximize these things. I'm not saying I never flipped a little laundry or took a break, and I think you can do these things. But one of the things where I see a lot of people struggle is because there's a very big gray area, when you can work from home, that if you're not disciplined with your time and how you're spending it, whether you're using time blocking strategies, or Pomodoro method or whatever you want, that's going to work for you. I think that's really important because it sets those boundaries. In the same token, it's really also hard to turn it off when you are working from home. Because and when it's your own business, because you're invested in it. So I think it's equally as important to as you would stay focus is to know when it's time to step away for the day. I have put into practice specific like I don't answer emails before certain time. I don't answer emails after a certain time. I'm not a brain surgeon, no one's gonna like die on the table if I wait until the morning to respond. I think setting those healthy boundaries is not only good for me, but it's good behavior to model for my family. And it's good to train your clients that you're not on call 24 hours a day.
Kathi Burns 18:38
Absolutely. Yeah. I think that's one thing is turn off your emails, stop responding. Time blocking is critical for getting on and getting I'm like you I'm very driven. And I can really focus and I can just walk away from the office and leave. But a lot of people can't do that when they work from home. I think right now a lot of people are adjusting to that. Whatever it takes if it just takes shutting the door to your office, simple things like that to say, Okay, I'm off work. Closing the computer, don't take the computer with you.
Laurie Palau 19:10
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. That's where I think knowing your own natural strengths and weaknesses really comes into play. As opposed to shaming yourself for struggling in a certain area. Just know, okay, I need a little bit more boundaries. I'm not somebody that's self disciplined, and I'm not I am going to check my email. So you know what, like you said, I'm not going to bring my computer downstairs, or I'm going to leave my phone in the other room or whatever you have to do, so that you can put that distance between it.
Kathi Burns 19:47
That's the beauty of getting organized is there's no one way to do it. And there's no perfect ultimate way to do it. And it's all about you and how you think and how you use your space and how you use your mind for your time blocking but time blocking is superduper important. I'm with you on that. And we all have a tendency to multitask, but just don't go there if you can stop yourself.
Laurie Palau 20:07
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.
Kathi Burns 20:10
So, tell me about a time when you found when you when you were stressed when you're growing your business, that you found a powerful tool to help you curve back the stress level of growing your business. What did you find that helped you?
Laurie Palau 20:28
Like, aside from like an electric wine opener? Is that what we're talking?
Kathi Burns 20:33
We can do the wine openers, I know, we need to have some wine and be BBFs.
Laurie Palau 20:40
I think for me, I'm a big app person. I'm like digital products, because I don't like paper clutter. I'm all about, like, teach this to my clients is about organizations about the ease of retrieval. It's not about the act of putting it away. It's how quickly can you find it when you need it. So for me, as a business owner, I wanted to create systems in my business so that I could easily retrieve information when I needed it. So for example, if a client called me that I hadn't, like, I needed to know we're there, what are we talking about in our last call, so I knew what I was talking about. When I went for a consultation I wanted to write down I wanted to remember all the details that I took down during our time together, whatever it was. So for me, I would say, and this will just be a shameless plug for Evernote. But I mean, you could use whatever you whatever program or app or solution you want. But for me, it happened to be Evernote. I loved it because it syncs wirelessly, I could use it with any of my devices. It allowed me to essentially have this digital notebook that I could just punch in keywords and retrieve information on a dime. So I don't just use it in business, I use it in my personal life too. But specifically, from a business perspective, it was great because in those early days, I would just create a new notebook for each client. Every time we would talk either on the phone or we go in person, I could take notes in there, if I needed product, everything was there. So I knew instead of going, I'm at the store, oh darn, what did I need? I left it on a piece of paper or post it note or whatever. I always had it with me on my phone and to this day, I use Evernote.
Kathi Burns 22:30
Well, I love Evernote, and I think we could talk a little bit more about it for those of you who are not familiar with it and I use Evernote too a lot. What I like about it is not only keeping notes, but you don't really have to organize things necessarily within it. Although I tend to real over organize my Evernote because it doesn't really require organization because it does finds words, but I like to shoot pictures. Yeah, products good shoot pictures of other pieces of paper. So it incorporates everything. I remember way back in the day, just flipping out when they had the PDF recognition where they get actually words and pictures. I was like, well, I could wait for that forever. So yeah, Evernote is brilliant. I think you should all check it out, you know, there's free version. So you can do it, you know without even having to buy anything. So when you get really consumed with it, obviously you'll start paying.
Laurie Palau 23:26
Yeah, but for but for me, it's worth it. Because again, it comes back to what is your time worth. It saves me time and not just time but it saves me stress and anxiety and all of those other things. So for me again, I'm an Evernote user, but I know other people use other modalities and that's fine too. The other thing I just want to say because it's easy to be like ooh, shiny object syndrome, and I have to watch myself is there's so many different products on the market. You have to find what works for you because again, you might be I love Trello, I love Asana, I love this. I love that. They're all great, but you have to figure out what works for you. I think we as entrepreneurs, and specifically women entrepreneurs and add on to it in organizing entrepreneur, it is so easy to try to find the next greatest latest way that is going to just revolutionize your world. Sometimes just keep it simple and if you've got something that's working for you go with it.
Kathi Burns 24:32
Choose your weapon, choose it wisely and stick to it. Stop bouncing all over the place. But yeah, Evernote is tried and true. So yeah, I mean, we could shameless plug. I don't mind plugging Evernote at all because it's brilliant.
Laurie Palau 24:45
Kathi Burns 24:46
So let's talk about the best piece of advice you've ever received. It could be about business or life. You have a really something that just sticks in your mind and someone told you you go back to.
Laurie Palau 25:00
I don't know, I guess somebody told me this because I now tell it to other people, especially young people. I mean, I have, again, the season of life, Amen is I've got kids that are in the college entering into young adulthood, and there's all the stress of like, what am I going to do with my life and all that. The advice that I give to them, which I know somebody gave to me is, find something that you're good at, that you can make money doing. You don't have to know exactly what your future is going to look like, but just do that thing now and we'll see how it evolves. That's kind of what I've done with my business, I would say. I stumbled into being a recruiter and I stumbled, really into starting my own organizing business. If you would have asked me in 2009, would I be writing books and mentoring other organizers and hosting a podcast and doing all these things, I would be like, not like, I wouldn't even have thought of that. But it was a lot of series of deliberate, small, actionable steps that kind of led to other doors opening. So I'm all about planning for the future, and thinking big and all of that, I think that's great. But the devils in the details, and so really just rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work. If you can find something that again is comes naturally to you, intuitively to you and that you like. Chances are somebody else, just like that woman with the playroom, that first person that paid me, like that was something that was so valuable to her that she just was not able to do that on her own. I'm able to be able, I'm glad to be able to provide a service that helps people, so whatever that is for you, right, whether it's organizing or whatever your passion is.
Kathi Burns 27:13
Yeah, I think that's great advice. Because whatever you're good at is typically what I would consider a God gift. It's something like absolutely, and then play it out. And it could be in make money at it. And it could be that it's not really the passion and the purpose, but it will lead you down that path towards that. I really believe that. That's really that's really good advice. Okay, so you have a valuable free resource. Hopefully, for the people here that are listening. What do you want to offer them?
Laurie Palau 27:42
Oh, my gosh, I've got a whole bunch of free. I have a whole bunch of free resources. On my page Jeepers, I'm just trying to think I mean, there's so many I have a bunch of different templates and whatnot. Can we just link up for the Resources page and let people choose their own adventure?
Kathi Burns 28:01
Absolutely. All this put the resources page down in the show notes. You guys have fun galavanting through the quarter?
Laurie Palau 28:10
I don't want to limit because some person might need one thing, some person might need another. So we'll just give it well, let's let you guys figure out what's going to be the greatest value for you.
Kathi Burns 28:20
I love it. Okay. Is there anything that we should have discussed that we haven't touched on? I mean, we could talk forever, actually, we could talk for the day. But what do you want to say that we haven't talked about so far? Anything you want to add?
Laurie Palau 28:35
I just want to say to anybody that's out there who is a woman entrepreneur, or is thinking about dipping your toe into this entrepreneurial space, whether it's a side hustle, or a mompreneur, or whatever you want to call it. There's so many people out there that are cheering you on. People like Kathi, people like myself. There are so many, where for anyone that's watching, I happen to be coincidentally wearing my hat that says community over competition, which is kind of what our motto is that simply be organized. It's all about in trying to help inspire and empower other women to kind of follow their passions and not feel like they have to be can constantly comparing themselves or that other people are gonna be comparing them. It's just a matter of finding your people find your community of people, whether that's in real life community, podcasting community, online community. People that are going to help build you up, give you resources and insight and mentor you in whatever area you're looking to grow. Because I think that's that's what we all need.
Kathi Burns 29:42
That's what we all need and it's what we all give. Yeah, you're not alone out there. There's so many women that are breaking out and creating their own new identity actually creating their own new life because it's limitless out there what you can do and we are here to support you. Absolutely. So that's what it's all about. So that's a good way to end and Laurie, I so appreciate you and appreciate your time. I will sign off for now and y'all have a great, fantastic rest of your day.
Hey, thanks for listening to this podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you want to hear more, feel free to subscribe on the platform of your choice. Also, if you feel so inclined, I would truly appreciate a good rating from you, to me have a stellar day.