organized and energized

I was recently a guest on the Organized & Energized Podcast with Kathi Burns.  It was great to talk with a fellow organizer that has been in this business as long as I have.  Click the photo below to listen.


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. The Organized Energized podcast is produced for your enjoyment and show notes are found at 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 organizing energy and Facebook. All links are in the show notes. Now let’s get into the show. Hi everyone this is Kathi and I’m here with Jennifer Ford Berry. She’s the best-selling author of five books, the hosted 29 minute mom podcast and inspirational speaker. She’s a mom to two teens and a wife to Josh. She’s here to give us easy tips of how to release your donations back in the world with grace, because I know she has a lot of stuff on our website, so we’re going to talk about that. But for starters, I want to welcome Jennifer, thank you so much for giving me your time and being on the podcast today.


Jennifer Ford Berry  1:14
Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me, Kathi.


Kathi Burns  1:17
Absolutely. Hey, so talk to me. There’s always life before we become professional organizers. What was your life before you found your calling?


Jennifer Ford Berry  1:27
Well, I wanted to be in corporate America. So as soon as I graduated college, I moved to Charlotte with a booming job mark at the time got into I actually worked for a company doing cell phone like when the cell phone craze was starting with Cingular Wireless and Bell South mobility, and then I moved over to Clear Channel radio. Radio was a really fun industry to be in. And then all of a sudden I you know, I was married at the time and had pregnant with my first child and 911 happened. And a lot of people were laid off from the radio station. So I was kind of you know, at home taking a break with new baby thinking, what am I gonna do with the rest of my life? I don’t think I want to go back to corporate America. And you know how it is it’s kind of like it is right now where things are all your priorities line up easier when the world takes a spin. So I was doing this reading this book called do what you love and the money will follow. I love that book. Yes, I’m so have you heard of it. It’s old now but it was very inspirational. And it kept saying, you know, kept asking, What are you passionate about, and I had to really dig deep. And then I walked kind of through that process and realize that I have been very passionate about organizing since I was a little kid. I can remember organizing when I was five, six years old, asking my grandmother to organize her jewelry, organizing my room, like relentlessly, like what kid does that? Yeah. And so I just decided that it would give me flexibility with my daughter. And I guess you know, I always joke because I have two other sisters and we’re all entrepreneurs. And we literally laugh because when we were kids, my dad had a selling worms in a worm business. When it’s like everyone jokes, I can’t believe you’re all in business for yourself.  I was like, it must have been the worms because we saw that there’s freedom and being your own boss. And you know, supply and demand and customer service and advertising. It kind of was like the bare bones but it worked. You know, now I’m just feeling very grateful. I wake up every day doing what I love and could not imagine a different career.


Kathi Burns  3:39
Yeah, I feel the same way. And you know what, thinking back, I actually had a little, a little restaurant in my friend’s basement where I was selling cookies. So I think when you think you’re an entrepreneur, you’re an entrepreneur, it I was doing that at seven years old myself. So that’s so cool. Yeah, catastrophic life events or big life events, always make a step back and really look at our lives. And I know when 911 hit, the same thing happened to us. I had a publishing agency. And I actually we closed down we held on for a years we were in tourism in Florida. And then I said, I’m just gonna reassess, what do I really want to do when I grow up, right, and it gives you time to take a pause and think and I know that a lot of people are going through that right now. A lot of women out there if you’re listening, it’s possible to create the life you love, doing what you love, and most importantly, making a lot of money doing it. So I think I’ll put the link to the book down below as well Jennifer and I know my book that I read What color’s your parachute? And I take people through that training as well, because it took me a long time to figure out what are what are my skills, what are my passions, right? And so  anything that you can do to find your way into creating the life that you love is really the big thing. So, as a professional organizer, what do you feel is the main thing, Jennifer, that you help clients do or come or become or be here?


Jennifer Ford Berry  5:12
Yeah. So I am really, I feel like I’m not your typical organizer in this sense that to me, it has nothing to do with cute containers and labels and Pinterest perfect houses. I really am there to help the client understand that they’re put on this earth for a specific purpose. And for a specific calling. And if we can get rid of all of the clutter that’s preventing them from doing that, whether it just be taking up their time, I say everything you own takes up stem, space, time, energy and money. So it can be a lot and all of a sudden, you’re caught up, especially women in this day to day activity of you’re taking care of other people, you’re taking care of a house and you’ve forgotten who you are. And you don’t even think about your purpose. So for me, I know when they bring me in their home, that they are thinking I want the cutesy Pinterest perfect house. But I know there’s a deeper reason why it’s gotten so bad, and I cannot wait to get them to the other side. It’s really kind of a deep process working with me. And I think that that’s why I’ve had a lot of clients for a long time, because I, I don’t just get rid of the clutter. I start you know, doing like goal setting and time management and just even spiritual coaching and get them to a point where they’re just excited to wake up every single day and the stuff isn’t preventing them from living the life of their dreams.


Kathi Burns  6:38
Yeah, you You and I are simpatico on that, you know, it’s never about this stuff. It’s about what they really want to create in their life. And oftentimes, there’s so much stuff that they can’t see what they want to create. I’m a case in point, if I wouldn’t have had a year off after 911, when our business closed down, I probably would have never figured out what I wanted to do. So it takes space and time to really wrap your mind around what you should be doing and what is what’s your purpose, so to speak. So I love what you do. It’s such a necessary thing for all of us to clear our stuff. So when you started your business, what do you think was your biggest obstacle to overcome as you were becoming an entrepreneur, after you left the radio biz?


Jennifer Ford Berry  7:21
I think it was the fact that I didn’t have a portfolio and I didn’t have, you know, a lot of experience in this field. So I was literally, you know, asking my former co workers at the radio station, you know, hey, I’ll I’ll do your closet for free. I’ll know I was working with friends just to build up experience. And also to find out, it’s easy for me to organize my own stuff, but I had to make sure that I was going to be good at organizing somebody else’s stuff. And you you know, Kathi, that this is so much more than just physical stuff, we are really doing a lot of psychology work, a lot of emotional work, there’s reasons why people get stuck in the clutter. So just kind of working on you know, getting to know people at a deeper level getting them to trust me trust is huge in this business.


Kathi Burns  8:09
Yeah, yeah. Well we basically have their life in our hearts in our hands when we working with them. And it’s very, very important that they I just I’m so honored that they trust us to help them that’s like a huge honor. Because they’re opening up their gut, so to speak. And it’s a precious resource. So yeah, I think you know, a lot of organizers, that’s how we also are as like, Hey, let me organize you let me organize you. And that’s how we started. And that is a huge obstacle to get that get that business under your belt. If you had to give advice to anyone who wanted to start out being an entrepreneur, maybe not an organizer, but just start their own business, what piece of advice would you give them?


Jennifer Ford Berry  8:52
You know, you can sit there and dream and plan all day, every day and just be stuck yourself, you don’t see any progression. The best way I’ve ever learned to do anything, is to jump in the deep end and start swimming and figure it out as I go. I think people wait because they want all of the answer delivered to them in a little platter and it’s never gonna happen if you try and you know, and stop waiting for the perfect time because there’s no such thing. But when you jump in and you start practicing what your service is going to be, then you learn how to make your service better and you learn how to deliver what your customer needs more. I mean, jeez, I think every year I’ve learned during this business so just start doing it. I think so many people have dreams that they always talk about and think about and they never act on.


Kathi Burns  9:43
Yeah, I totally agree. And even if you get it given to you in a platter the platter is gonna change let me tell you you’ll have different courses and different entrees coming at you that you want to eat instead. I totally jump in and I think as organizers we’re all action takers you know Let’s just take some action, because you don’t want to talk about it. Well, no, let’s let’s take action and talk as we go. Because that’s really how you get to the nitty gritty of challenges and I agree is never about the stuff. And so if you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur out there just jump in and do something that’s related to that field, follow someone shadow someone that’s doing it. I interviewed someone just recently, he’s like you never be afraid to ask very important people, your questions, people who are like, at the top of their field, don’t don’t, don’t be afraid to ask him the question, because he, I think he had 147 people on his podcast or on his in his mastermind, he invited 147 very influential people, 142 people actually did it. And these are famous celebrities. So you can always ask anybody that you want to do something, the worst they can say is no, but the best way to learn is to be with that person, shadow that person, ask that person question. And people are givers, anybody wants to ask me anything. Newbie, professional organizers, I’m sure they hit you up all the time do it’s like, and I’m more than happy to tell them things. Because it’s there’s so much business in the world. And there’s so much that everybody has to offer that’s different. So yeah, so there’s lots for that.


Jennifer Ford Berry  11:33
I couldn’t agree more. I. I mean, it’s funny, because when you and I started around the same time, which I’m cracking up that you read that book, and you, you know, tied in 911. But I remember when I first wrote my first book, I thought to myself, even when I started in this industry, I don’t know about you, but I looking back only remember two professional organizers that I knew of was Julie Morgenstern and Peter Walsh, I reached out to Peter Walsh, and I said, Hey, you know, Hey, can I interview you for my blog? He said, Yes, of course, I was thrilled. And one of the things that he told me kind of on the phone, I don’t even remember if it was part of the interview, or was just him giving me advice. Still sticks with me today. And I think he was so gracious and so far into the game that I would never, you know, shame on me if at this point I ever told somebody no.


Kathi Burns  12:32
Right. He’s so gracious and so awesome. And so kind. And I think he’s in the mid been a mentor to most of us as pro organizers. Thank goodness for people like Peter and Dorothy Breininger, who’s going to be on my podcast a little bit. I mean, it’s just fantastic. So ask for help. That’s the biggest thing that I say is if you want to start something new, ask people who have been doing it for a long time, their advice. Now, that leads me to the next question is, what’s the best piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs who feel stuck, I call it being stuck in busyness,  so they’re depleted, they have no more energy. They wanted to do what they wanted to do. But now they just can’t see their way through what what would you tell them what would be your piece of advice to get them unstuck and create more energy in their business?


Jennifer Ford Berry  13:27
So as you know, an entrepreneur, I think it’s very common I, I love to plan I love to dream. And I think that’s part of the beauty of being an entrepreneur is that you can create any sort of life that you want to live, you don’t have to answer to anybody and sky’s the limit. So you know, the first thing is, you have to believe anything is possible if you don’t believe that you’re gonna short yourself every single time. So um, you know, I just think that that’s number one. Number two is, there’s so many things out there floating, you know, that you could do, right, you can do what somebody is doing on Instagram, you could do what somebody else is doing with their organizing business, somebody else has a business down the street, you’re looking to find, you know, kind of a hat to put on from someone else, put your own hats on, be true to yourself get real clear. Do the work in define who you really are, what is your calling, what is your purpose, do the work so that you know and that will kind of keep you in your own lane that rather than trying to be a different kind of entrepreneur. And then the other thing and I swear by this is when you’re an entrepreneur, the list is so long of all the things you have to do it like literally never ends. And that’s okay. Don’t even complain about it. Because until you’re dead, the to do list is going to be there. But I think it’s hard sometimes for entrepreneurs to prioritize because we’re so excited about everything. So what I do is every day I wake up, and I have a journal and I write down seven goals. And I want to accomplish in the next quarter. And I literally write them as if they’re already happened. So it’s you know, the Bible says called things that be not as though they are, that’s how I live my life. And I write it every day, not new goals, the same ones every single day until they come true. And then I swap a new one in. And as a powerful because it just keeps my mind on I could be doing all these 30 things. But today, I have to make sure I’m doing something toward these goals. So it just helps me stay focused.


Kathi Burns  15:31
That’s fantastic. Yeah, and and act as if they’re already done. I totally am a believer in that, we created our destiny. So if you’re feeling like you’re, you’re in your business, and you’re feeling depleted, and you’re feeling not energized, I totally agree. Go ahead and write where you want to be as if you’re there, and you will get fresh, renewed energy from your business. Because oftentimes, I agree your to do list is gonna be there till the day you die, always we never get it done. That’s the one thing that we encounter as we never get it done.  Yeah, that’s okay. I mean, you better It better be okay, because that’s all you can do about it. Yeah. I totally agree. So I know you have a valuable resource that you’re going to give the guests and we’re going to put the link down below, what is it that you’re going to offer the the viewers here.


Jennifer Ford Berry  16:25
So the first few books that I’ve written, they are very straightforward, because at the time, when I first started writing, I thought nobody wants to read a book, a novel size book on how to get organized, they’re bait, it’s like a trainer at the gym, or a financial advisor, just like when I go just tell me what to do. Just like, give me a list. Tell me what to do. I don’t eat all the fluff. So the first books that I’ve written, were all about 52 weeks in like, they tell you every area of your life and how to organize it step by step. And so after that, that’s great, right? You get you’ve gotten your kitchen organized, for example, but the maintenance is key. And so I’m going to do we have a one month for every like things to do a checklist for every month, every three to six months and every year on how to stay organized. And it just kind of takes the guesswork out of it. Because I think that’s part of the problem is people just are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I hear that all the time. I’m overwhelmed. And I don’t know where to start.


Kathi Burns  17:29
Overwhelmed is the big word of the day. Yep, key word. So check it out. Everybody’s checklists. I mean, I love looking at checklists. And they helped me in every aspect of my life, even the organizing aspect, it’s like, what should I mean? I forgot. Hmm. Okay. So if I had if what have I missed asking you what’s the most important thing, if I’ve missed anything that’s important that I should have asked you that I have not during this show.


Jennifer Ford Berry  17:58
I think you know, a lot of people have questions about how to get started, if they have it, you know, on their heart to write a book about anything. As an entrepreneur, a lot of times, if you’re an entrepreneur, and you can get a book down in writing, it can be a product that you can use to help you with your career marketing and all that. So I think for me, a lot of people that have said, you know, I want to write a book, I feel like I have a book inside of me. But where do I start, and I want to just give some really honest advice. So what the first thing is start writing. Just start writing, don’t talk about anymore, get your computer out, set a timer in your phone, start writing at least one hour a day until the timer goes off. And do not try to worry about perfection, because you will get stuck. None of us that write books, get it right the first time. That’s why there’s editors and drafts. Thank goodness, yes, get it down on paper. And then the other thing is, do not stop until you get a yes. I mean, I don’t know if that’s gonna be you know, five no’s or 500. I don’t know. But if you feel like you have a message to give the world it’s important to get it to the world. If that means that you’re going to end up self publishing, go ahead and self publish, there’s no right or wrong. get the message out. And like we talked about before, you can always perfect it later. You can always grow it, you know, get it better, you can do that. But to actually go through the process of publishing a book, I will tell you, you will feel at the end when you you know you get a book like this in your hands and you’re just like, this is legit a book. It’s like your baby. Yeah, and you see it and you’re like, Okay, I did it. I can do anything, because it’s a long process. So just you know, don’t wait like don’t let fear stop you because if you let fear stop you, you’re done before it even you know you even get started.


Kathi Burns  19:58
Yeah, and one of my mantras when I wrote my first book, How to match your muck, is perfection is overrated, and simply not worth it. Nope. And you know, you can’t get stuck in the perfectionism thing, as you know, with a lot of our clients are stuck in perfectionism, and there’s nothing that’s perfect anyhow, so just, you know, get over it.


Jennifer Ford Berry  20:20
And guess what? Nobody’s doing it perfectly.


Kathi Burns  20:23
Yeah, no one’s doing it perfectly. I learned that and that’s a good thing that I call back from from yoga. There’s no perfect pose. And that really helps you so much through all other aspects of your life there is there is no perfect pose, there is no perfect book, there is no perfect prose. There’s just what your soul is trying to say. And I totally agree with you, if you feel called to express yourself through the written word, do it, because that’s a message that someone out there that definitely needs to hear and will hear if you keep at it. So yeah, wow, this is good.


Jennifer Ford Berry  21:00
Yeah. And, and the other thing is to if your writing takes accountability, like you have to actually write to get have a book. So nowadays, it’s easy to write on other platforms and keep that momentum going. But if you say, Okay, I’m going to put out a blog post once a week that can give you some accountability, you can start building a following before you even publish the book. And that’s really, really important, as you know, publishers want to see a following before you will get a yes. So and they want to see how are you going to sell the book. So if you have, you know, a following that’s your, that’s your platform, and that’s what they are looking for nowadays. So,


Kathi Burns  21:38
yeah, because publishers don’t market anymore. So they’re really looking at people who can market themselves. So I’m self-published, I think I always will be self-published. Actually, I, I just have a I’m writing a book for somebody for a publisher. But But typically, I prefer the self-publishing angle, because it’s easy. It’s so easy right now to Self Publish, and you have to do all the marketing anyhow, so why not? That’s what I say. Okay. Anyhow, Jennifer, thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate your tips during this month of get organized go month in January, and I will see all of you sooner than later. Hopefully. Thank you.


Jennifer Ford Berry  22:18
Thank you.