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Professional Organizing as a Niche Business Starts with Distance Learning

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 7/5/2011

Online classes for becoming a professional organizer are a hot commodity for would-be small business owners with a penchant for organization. It is interesting to note that this is a business that spans multiple facets, and the classes offered can easily prepare you for many of them.

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    Who Needs a Professional Organizer?

    There are plenty of solid tips for setting up the file system of a thriving home office. Of course, a good many entrepreneurs might not get around to thinking about it until they are in their third year of business. By then, filing cabinets might be bursting at the seams and papers are stored in boxes and bags. This is where you, perhaps after taking some online classes in organization, come in.

    It is interesting to note that your work as a professional organizer would not be limited to fellow entrepreneurs. Instead, families with attics full of boxes containing photos, closets that are out of control, professionals whose computer files are hopelessly cluttered, and businesses seeking to streamline their operations may soon be your clients. There is no limit to the kinds of things you may be asked to organize or the the makeup of the clientele you may add to your list of customers.

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    Taking Online Classes in the Field

    To get this home based business off the ground, you might consider taking online classes. At this time, there are no college degrees in the field. Moreover, studying professional organization is not a requirement for going into business. That being said, it is a good choice for the aspiring entrepreneur who wants to learn about breaking into the business and also running a lucrative business from home.

    The Professional Organizer Training Academy is one venue where you may take online classes. The course consists of a study portion and an optional apprenticeship program; there are no exams to pass. If you choose to enroll for only the eight- to 10-hour course, the cost is $155. If you choose the apprenticeship option, which consists of yearlong email support by an industry insider, you pay $190. You will become intimately acquainted with the organization industry, the how-to of organization clients, and also the intricacies of running and marketing your start up business.

    At the end of your studies, you should be able to walk into a client’s home and turn a disastrous closet into a well designed and ordered space. You can transform a dysfunctional kitchen into the heart of a home or change an unappealing office space littered with boxes into a structured, welcoming space. On a much smaller scale, you may also take boxes of photographs and enter them into albums or scrapbooks.

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    Beyond the Online Classroom

    As a new business owner, it is wise to join a professional organization devoted to your industry. This step also helps the new entrepreneur to start off a sole proprietorship the right way. In this instance, it is the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). The organization recognizes a professional certification exam administered by Certified Professional Organizers. To be eligible to sit for the exam, you must be able to prove a total of 1,500 hours spent working as a paid professional organizer in a three-year span.

    The exam covers a wide array of topic areas germane to the field of professional organizing such as legal considerations, ethics, how to assess a venue, the creation of an action plan, project management, and also follow up skills. You may take this test at an ISO Quality Testing center near you. If you have joined NAPO, the fee is $375; otherwise, it is $550.

    Although this certification is not required -- just like the online classes for becoming a professional organizer are not a must -- it is a voluntary means of showing your expertise in the field. It is also a superb marketing tool for setting yourself apart from the competition.

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