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Chaos surrounds us all. Whether at your desk, in your home or in your brain, you’re almost guaranteed to find it. A professional organizer like Erika Salloux can help you declutter and focus on what’s important.
In today’s episode, Erika discusses her journey as she transitioned from freelancing to organizing, the importance of boundaries, and her recent business reinvention.
Listen now and discover:
- Why money shouldn’t be your primary motivation for following a job.
- Why you need to embrace your shadow side instead of pushing it away.
- How to think about worst-case scenarios.
- Why you should be a thermostat, not a thermometer.
- Why boundaries are extremely important, especially with our tech.
Important Links & Mentions
SSP043 Establishing Tech Boundaries with Dr. Heidi Forbes Öste
Kevin Kruse’s Time Management Article in Forbes
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Solopreneur Success™ Transcript
SSP045 Organize Your Life with Erika Salloux
If we want to be in that state of flow and also be more productive, we have to make sure that we are a thermostat not a thermometer. A thermometer just reacts to the environment. It just tells you what’s going on. But a thermostat changes the temperature.
You’re listening to Certified Professional Organizer Erika Salloux. If you’ve ever felt like your life has devolved into barely controlled chaos, you’re going to love today’s episode. In our conversation together, Erika and I talk about how to get control back in your life with specific tips Erika says her clients are using right now to improve their productivity and relieve stress. And you’re about to hear them now because Erika is today’s guest on Solopreneur Success.
Welcome to the Solopreneur Success podcast, where successful business owners gather to share true stories and sound advice to help you start and grow your own solopreneur business. Come soar with us and design the life you love. Now, here’s your host, Steve Coombes.
Hello, solopreneurs. Today, I’m interviewing certified professional organizer, Erika Salloux. I am super excited about this conversation because, as a solopreneur, I know, sometimes, that my environment devolves into barely controlled chaos. I’ve also found that I take the time to organize and use systems that keep me organized to have a lot more peace and focus. I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences. That’s why I’ve invited Erika, who’s been a certified professional organizer since 2003 and a long-time member of Holistic Organizers – now, that’s a group of international organizers who integrate spiritual and holistic principles and practices into their work and advocate for a compassionate heart-centred approach to organizing – to chat with me today about the importance of organization, and to share some real-world tips that are working for her clients right now so you can focus better and succeed faster. So, Erika, welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me. I’m so excited. Okay, I have to just say one thing about something you said, though. I’ve been an organizer since 2003, but not a certified professional organizer until 2009, because there was no such thing, until 2009, as a certified professional organizer. It didn’t exist. It only came into existence later, after I’d been an organizer and, sort of, we’re a very new industry, as you know, and so that certification just came into being then. Actually, I just got re-certified now, this past month in October.
Wow, so you actually predate the certification. You’ve been doing this for so long you probably, I’m just curious, did you have input into that the process for certifications or how did that come about that you got your first certification? With that topic I’ve got to run there now.
Yeah. Well, I didn’t have input into it when it started and I waited like a year before, you know with anything new you want to wait until they get the kinks out of it? So, I waited and then I was in the second group that got certified right after that, but now, I do have input. I’m on the item writing committee for the certification, so I helped write and form the new question because the tests always change for new organizers, so when you get certified it’s not just a test. You also have to have a lot of hours of organizing within a certain time period. So, a lot of organizers, even who had been organizers for years, couldn’t get certified because they did it part-time. They were really seasoned organizers, but they didn’t have a chunk of organizing in that small amount of time.
They really want people who are doing it full-time, that’s their job. So, now I do have input, so we go to Florida (not doing the pandemic), but we write questions, go through them, crafting them, to making new questions for the tests that they can use, and test can always be changing, and then, also, updating what kind of information relates to organizing. So, now, we cover a lot of things like productivity and neuroscience, and things that, years ago, wouldn’t have been in a test, because everything is always evolving, and we’re picking which books people should read to get certified, where the question is going to come from so they’re based on fact, and that sort of thing.
So, it really also helps me keep on top of what’s going on in our industry and the cutting-edge science behind organizing and our brain, and productivity, and all of that time management. So, really, I love being on that committee.
Wow. That really brings up a really interesting way to come into the topic of how did you get involved in this, because it wasn’t really that kind of a field, it sounds like, when you first got started. I didn’t realize the field was that new, actually. So, what got you into organizing as something you do? I mean, you must have a passion for something to just jump into this without being, organization that you’re joining, or a career path, necessarily. So, how did you get into organizing?
Well, there was an organization and, admittedly, they have been around, I think it was 25 years before, but it didn’t really become known, sort of household-y, in every magazine, until, I would probably say, about six or seven, or eight years in. Now, there’s Real Simple, and if you look at any women’s magazine, or even not in the women’s magazine, you see stuff about organizing. There’s TV shows about organizing. That happened even before a lot of the popularity. Now, there’s always new famous organizers. When I started, I actually didn’t know that it was a profession. That was in 2003.
I was in the entertainment industry. I came from a background of music entertainment and then public radio and TV, and I work with artists like John Mellencamp and Public Enemy, bands like that. I was really big into music, I had a degree in public relations, and I said, “I want to be a publicist in the music industry,” so that’s what I did. Then, I wanted to be, instead of publicizing, I wanted to actually create more content as I got more into public radio and TV and being in production. “I don’t really want to do more of that. Instead of publicizing whatever people make, I want to make content,” but I just kept hitting roadblocks. Even though I knew a ton of people in the industry, I was getting nowhere. I was still doing the stuff I was doing before the publicizing as a publicist, which I was really good at.
I had a degree in that, I was good at it, but, finally, one day, I was working with a producer, and she had hired me to redo her media kit and publicize her new business. She was leaving a big public television entity and starting her own company. As I was going through her old material to write new stuff, and looking at what she’d done so I could write new press releases on starting her business, I saw this thing, “Julie Morgenstern – organizing from the inside out” and it was a public television show that she had produced, and I was like, “oh, organizing is a profession.” Up until then, I kept hearing this word in my head, what I call my still inner voice, it kept saying “organizing” and I kept saying, “Erika, that’s not a job,” because I knew it was talking to me about my job and my career, where I was going, and I always believed, in a vocation, you don’t just do something to make money. You do something that you love. Even when I was little, I always believed that. I always follow that.
So, I was like, “that’s not a job. It’s not a job.” Then, when I read this press release, I thought, “it’s a job,” and I instantly knew that that’s what I was. You know, you just have an epiphany, and it’s a bright light kind of thing where I thought, “Oh, my gosh, it’s a job, and that’s what I am. I’m an organizer.” From then on, I just started calling people like, “does anyone know an organizer around here?” People that I thought might know an organizer. After a few calls, I finally met an organizer that had a business, but she wanted to like farm out some work, and she immediately was like, “you can take clients from me until you get started.” Literally, it was one of those things where everything fell into place so easily, not where I was struggling, where I’d been in the entertainment industry that I couldn’t break into doing as much production as I wanted. This was the opposite, where everything fell into place, where I instantly had income and then I just started working on what my website is going to be like so I can go out on my own and not work with this other organizer, who I’m still friends with all these years later and she still has her business.
So, I knew that it was the right path. You know when everything just works out, and you loved it. I realized that what I thought about organizing, which was more sort of the bad part of me, when I say that, I mean that shadow side of me that likes things really orderly and, sometimes, can be the other extreme of like, “I have to have order and I really like order,” but I realized that that’s not really what it was, and, I think, that’s why I was pushing it away. I thought that it wasn’t creative. I thought it was that rigidness of myself, but I realized that I could take that shadow side of me – instead of pushing my shadow away, as Jung says, “we need to embrace our shadow side,” that if I took that, I was, basically, transforming it into a gift to the world, because I’m so good at it, I’m naturally good at it. I see order out of chaos that other people don’t see. I know how to fix it.
So, that’s what happened. I just realized it was super creative. Every client was different. It wasn’t like this rote thing where I wasn’t creative, because I’m very creative and I like to create new things, I don’t want to do the same thing all the time. I can’t do the same thing all the time. So, it was this perfect job because it was different clients all the time who had different needs, but I could still bring in my expertise, which, obviously, got bigger overtime, over the years, but I did just dive in, and I didn’t know if this is right for me, and I have skills naturally. I just knew that I was bringing stuff to the table right away and it just was inherent to who I was that I knew how to do stuff.
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