Author Topic: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....  (Read 4839 times)

tag

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Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« on: December 09, 2017, 06:14:01 AM »
I am a homeschooling mother of 4 young children We are FI and will RE in 9 months.
I have always missed working. I miss getting a paycheck, meeting other people etc.
I think working 8-12 hours a week would actually do amazing things for me! Creative outlet, adult socialization, ownership, a purpose outside my kids, a confidence boost, great modeling for my kids, I'd learn a ton about business even if it was really small, pocket money etc.

I want to be a Personal Home Organizer/Minimizer.

I have spent countless hours doing this with and for family members. I am good at it.

My initial questions:

How on earth do I figure out how much to charge?
-Thinking maybe this would be something I would do for fairly affluent families because having money to pay for this kind of thing may be a luxury to most - right?

Should I find a few people who will give me projects for free? As a trial for me and maybe also for referrals for first clients?
Like I said, I only want to work 8-12 hours/week. I'm hoping that might also mean that I could work basically solely off referrals and word of mouth. I despise marketing. BUT, I'd need a first set of clients in order to get those referrals and - how do I find clients?!

I can just do this for free and/or under the table for a while first, right? I mean I wouldn't go get a business license or anything before a trial period when I'm likely not making much....right?

What other questions should I be asking, what else do I need to know!?


And does anyone in North Carolina or Seattle, WA (spending the next month in Seattle) want to let me come over and sort through and organize their garage or create a capsule wardrobe for free?! :)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 06:20:23 AM by tag »

electriceagle

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2017, 06:43:53 AM »
Identifying good business ideas can be tough. Lots of people have skills with value, but without a clearly identifiable customer base. These end up being bad businesses.

Start with a customer. A customer is someone with money who needs things. Find out what they are willing to spend, and then decide how your skills can meet their needs.

secondcor521

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2017, 11:35:09 AM »
To figure out how much to charge, there are several ways:

1.  Google and find people who are doing similar things to what you're doing, but in a different city.  Call them and find out what they charge.  For the kind of thing you're talking about, you could either bid on stuff on a project basis ("$100 to organize 3 closets") or a per-hour basis.

2.  Ask your friends and family that you've done it for what they would consider a fair price.

3.  Compare it to other broadly similar types of services in your city - luxury personal care services is the broad category, so consider things like having one's nails done, or massages, or hair salons, or home staging, or interior design.  Those will give you a broad idea.

Once you get a ballpark range, pick a number and go with it.  Once you start getting clients, raise or lower your price until you're working the 8-12 hours per week that you want to:  Too many clients?  Raise your price.  Too few clients?  Lower your price a little or, more likely, figure out why you're not getting clients.  If your prices are too low people will assume you're not any good or there's some sort of trap.

Free services at first?  Generally I would say don't do this, it has a tendency to get out of hand and you'll be doing too much free work and will struggle to switch to paying clients.  Be straightforward and up front about what services you offer and what benefits the customers get from those services and what you charge, and people will respect you more and you'll make more money.  Win win.  Since you've already done it for family members, you can use them as references if anyone asks (ask the family members for permission to use them as references, of course) - no need to get any more references unless you find out you need them.  For example, someone calls you and wants to hire you but asks for five references and you can only give them two.  Even in that case, just give them 2, say you're just starting out.  Even in that case, I would offer a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee.  Most people will be reassured by that and will not ask for their money back.

Under the table:  Legally you can't.  It's not too expensive, but you should get a business license and business checking account before your first client and pay taxes on all of your income.  In my state if you do a DBA (aka a sole proprietorship) with your name in the title "Suzie Q. Johnson Personal Organizing Services" that is free and no paperwork is required.  Your local credit union or the bank where you already bank can probably set up a business checking for not much money if any.  I'd suggest Quickbooks or something similar so you can do some basic bookkeeping.

You seem uncertain how to get customers.  For businesses like yours, word-of-mouth is best.  Tell all your friends what you're doing and ask if they know anyone who might be able to use your services.  Do this repeatedly and it might take some time - you need to create awareness and then it takes a while for people to decide and actually make the phone call to you to get started.  And tell all your friends and people you meet on a one-on-one basis when you see them.  Tell the grocery clerk as you check out.  Tell everyone you meet.  Soon you'll get a customer or three; ask them for referrals, maybe offer a discount to them or their friend for the referral.

Finally, just start.  People, including me, get all wrapped up in all sorts of peripheral things - business cards, business names, what color should the business flyer be, legal agreements, NDAs, etc.  Just start organizing people's stuff, make them happy, and get paid.  The rest will follow.

Good luck!!
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tag

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 03:19:14 AM »
Wow, that was really really helpful. Thank you for your thoughtful reply!

And yes, I was talking about getting referrals...and needing first clients to get those. Not worried about references as much as I feel like people rarely check them. But if they wanted to, I could give them the contact info of my family members.

Thanks again!

Fuerchtegott

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 03:28:33 AM »
Don't do it for free or too low charges. The lower the cheaper the people get. Avoid discount, draw a line and be bold. Even if you don't have experience.

Customers are sometimes spoiled children. Keep that in mind when customers make negotiations.

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Fuerchtegott

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 03:29:08 AM »
Don't do it for free or too low charges. The lower the cheaper the people get. Avoid discount, draw a line and be bold. Even if you don't have experience.

Customers are sometimes spoiled children. Keep that in mind when customers make negotiations.

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iris lily

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2017, 11:01:01 AM »
There is an association of professional organizers. Do you belong? What do they say about charging?

Does anyone actually make real money at this? I hear the idea floated around several  simplicity blogs but do not know who is making actual money.

I would shoot toward makng $10 per hour. If you think this is too low, perhaps it is, but I will gently point out that this is a low~skill/self educated service you are providing. Most people could do this for themselves. I would put it on a par with house cleaners. How much do they make an hour?

If you get to a place where you have lots of work and a good reputation, you may be able to charge by the hour rather than by the job. Cost estimating is the trick in service jobs.

DH Had his own business  doing 🚎light construstion and /handyman  work. Estimating the time it would take to do a just b was tricky and is part of the risk of a service business. For customers who knew that he was a dedicated, fast worker who did not waste time on the phone or smoke breaks or etc, they were happy to pay him by the hour.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 11:04:12 AM by iris lily »

SC93

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2017, 12:33:35 PM »
I guess it's time for me to point out..... I have a friend that was in the house cleaning business while I was. She also added organizing and charged $100-$140 an hour for organizing. $10 an hour is employee pay. You don't charge anyone $10 an hour for anything when YOU are the boss. You will quickly find you MUST charge $25 per man hour MINIMUM for ANYTHING you do when working for yourself.

House cleaning is also a low level skill service and I made millions from it.

iris lily

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2017, 04:49:11 PM »
I guess it's time for me to point out..... I have a friend that was in the house cleaning business while I was. She also added organizing and charged $100-$140 an hour for organizing. $10 an hour is employee pay. You don't charge anyone $10 an hour for anything when YOU are the boss. You will quickly find you MUST charge $25 per man hour MINIMUM for ANYTHING you do when working for yourself.

House cleaning is also a low level skill service and I made millions from it.

Ok, you have experience so you are far more right than I am. I just wonder about the viability of this. And also, geographic locaton plays a role in how much to charge.

I think you all can tell I dont much value Organizing services.

SC93

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2017, 07:52:56 PM »
It's that low skilled work that sometimes pays the best. Location does play a big role in this, that's why I said she should charge atleast $25 a man hour and not push for $100 per man hour. Why would anyone work for less than $25 an hour doing anything? That's just crazy unless you work for a company (that's crazy too but that's the choice you make when working for someone else). There is actually a big calling for organizing, she just has to market it. And speaking of marketing... that's the problem most people have, they don't know how. The outcome of this will be whether she REALLY wants to do this or if it sounds good but it doesn't sound good enough to put the effort in to it that is needed. <<< The same with anyone wanting to start a side gig or business.

bwall

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2017, 11:46:52 PM »
There is actually a big calling for organizing, she just has to market it. And speaking of marketing... that's the problem most people have, they don't know how. The outcome of this will be whether she REALLY wants to do this or if it sounds good but it doesn't sound good enough to put the effort in to it that is needed. <<< The same with anyone wanting to start a side gig or business.

+1.

SC93 could charge hundreds per hour (note the plural) in a business consulting service capacity. But, as always, the problem is in finding paying clients. . . . . .

Drole

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2017, 12:54:47 AM »
Personally i'm amazed at what others pay for things (like my friend who sells banana bread for $30 a loaf). So I agree that that you need to charge at least $25 hour.

The capsule wardrobe idea could be interesting in working directly with clients on what makes them feel good, what looks good on them, creating their own signature look in a capsule. Maybe that could be a $250 flat fee or something.
Another niche might be creating lists of all serial numbers and photographing items in the home for insurance/in case of theft.
 
I would also recommend getting insurance so you are covered if something breaks/someone claims you stole something/etc.

Try creating a facebook identity of capsule wardrobe consultant. Research what people are googling on the topic and what comes up in your area. 

Villanelle

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2017, 01:14:50 AM »
Do you have any friends who are real estate agents?  You could perhaps give them flyers for your services, offering a 10% discount for your "new move-in" package.  (Figure out what that would be, but perhaps something like a visit immediately after they move in to help them decide where to put everything (especially in the kitchen and garage)--maybe one hour, and then a follow up visit a week or two later where you spend another few hours helping them refine and actually put stuff away.

As someone who suck at organization (and all things executive function, really) and who moves often, having someone come in after I'm maybe 90% unpacked, to help me figure out if the glasses should go in this cabinet or that one and where I should store the suitcases and how to organize that under stair closet to make the best use of the space would be incredible.  In reality, it's something I'd be extremely unlikely to pay for, but I suspect plenty of people would. 

Related, but I think you should come up with various packages so it's super clear what people are getting.  The move-in, the advanced move in (more hours and perhaps shopping to buy necessary organizational pieces once you discover what is missing), the closet touch up (organization only), the deluxe closet ( to include helping them figure out what to keep--you'll need to decide if that means having them try on pieces or not--, and perhaps you can have a secondary service of taking their mending and drying cleaning out to get done once the organization is finished), the garage organization (estimated 2-4 hours at $30 per hour, or whatever you think it would likely take), etc. 

I wouldn't work for free even at first, but you might offer a significant discount for people in exchange for them writing reference letters if they are happy and allowing you to use before and after photos for your portfolio. 

SC93

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2017, 04:33:53 PM »
Why would you work for free? For a reference? 99% of the people don't even ask for a reference. As luck will have it, I bet the first 2 people you try to work for ask for references and after that you could probably go 5 years without anyone asking for one. And I bet you get those first 2 jobs WITHOUT a reference anyway. Don't do something crazy like work for free!! If you are going to work for you, you have to have confidence in You! Go in there, find out what they want done, figure out how long it will take you.... now add on atleast 1 more hour and now with your quote sheet in hand, WRITE down the price you want to charge them.

Why write it down? Try it once.... go in and tell them you want to charge them $150 verbally. It will be hard. But go in with a pen and quote sheet and you can EASILY write down $180. Writing down a number is always easier than saying it. And see how I got $30 extra just by writing it down!!

tag

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2017, 07:04:25 PM »
Finally getting back to this thread, thank you for all of your thoughtful replies. I read them all.

Iím just gonna do it! I enjoy it. I am good at it. I donít have to feed my family with the money and would have zero overhead so itís so low risk for me.

Thank you for your input!

rementis

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2017, 02:28:38 PM »
Just to chime in, this is a great idea for a side business.  Would be pretty easy to work as much/little as you want.

Accidental Miser

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2017, 06:53:55 PM »
I would start a blog and a youtube channel.  I would charge $100/hours and not a penny less.  I used to work on computers and install networks for 90 dollars per hour and had more business that I could do, that was 10 years ago.  I wouldn't quote by the hour though.  I'd bid by the job.  Figure out what you'd be thrilled to do it for and double it.  Always ALWAYS be professional.  Join the Rotary club and local business organizations.  Go find your local Small Business Development Center and have them help you write a business plan.

Get a license, biz checking, biz credit card.  Do it right and charge professional rates.  Just make sure you can deliver on what you promise. 

Good luck to you!!

Shale Butter

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2017, 03:44:21 AM »
Suggest you read the book "Anything You Want" by Derek Sivers. You want to be helpful and that is the right mentality to begin with for a service business.

tag

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2017, 10:54:26 PM »
Just to chime in, this is a great idea for a side business.  Would be pretty easy to work as much/little as you want.

Thanks! I am super excited. A hobby you can get paid for is a good hobby to have. 

I would start a blog and a youtube channel.  I would charge $100/hours and not a penny less.  I used to work on computers and install networks for 90 dollars per hour and had more business that I could do, that was 10 years ago.  I wouldn't quote by the hour though.  I'd bid by the job.  Figure out what you'd be thrilled to do it for and double it.  Always ALWAYS be professional.  Join the Rotary club and local business organizations.  Go find your local Small Business Development Center and have them help you write a business plan.

Get a license, biz checking, biz credit card.  Do it right and charge professional rates.  Just make sure you can deliver on what you promise. 

Good luck to you!!

Great ideas. But I canít imagine someone paying $100/hr for this. I think pricing is super important. And Iím a little nervous bidding by the job bc especially at first itís going to be really hard for me to tell how long itís going to take. I did put together pricing packages though. I do have ideas for keeping everything super professional though - I like that.

tag

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2017, 10:55:14 PM »
Suggest you read the book "Anything You Want" by Derek Sivers. You want to be helpful and that is the right mentality to begin with for a service business.

Thank you. Iíll get my hands on that book for sure.

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2017, 07:13:25 PM »
I've known someone who did this, served on a board with her.

The professional association is NAPO, go spend some time over there.  http://www.napo.net/
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civil4life

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2018, 11:29:45 AM »
I actually hired a professional organizer and worked with her for about a year (once a month in 4 hour spots) decluttering and organizing my house. 

I live in a MCOL, but near HCOL.  As I did my research, anyone not credentialed charged between $30-$50 an hour, where as credentialed ones charged $80 - $100+.

I went with a credentialed one due to the fact that I have some hoarding tendencies and knew I needed to work with someone that had experience working with someone that was more than just disorganized.

The company I went with also worked with businesses to organize files and other organization like photographs and moving/staging houses.
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SC93

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2018, 02:12:03 PM »
Damn it civil4life, don't be bringing facts in to this! :)

As for a credentialed one charging more, the same could be said for house cleaners but it's not true. Oh, the credentialed one will always say there is a reason they charge more but in the end, anyone can charge what they want and ALWAYS get jobs.... with that said.... see, $30-$50-$80-$100+ IT'S ALL POSSIBLE but only IF you take the step and get the first job.

Kinda like the guy with the lawn mower.... one guy wants to charge $25, the other guy wants to charge $35 and the other guy wants to charge $45.... true story by the way. Do you know what the difference is? They guy that wants to charge $45 has more confidence in himself than the $25 an hour guy. Either way, the grass gets mower.....

CNM

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 02:42:38 PM »
Where I live, I have heard people say that there is a need for people who (1) organize and pack for moving, esp. long-distance moving; and (2) organize/arrange estate sales for elderly persons moving to assisted living and/or recently deceased people.

Not exactly the same as closet organizing, but similar.  Maybe you could do # 1 and/or #2, and have closet organizing the 3rd service provided.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2018, 04:24:44 PM »
Supporting the $30 to $80/hour price range, though from 2015:

https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-do-professional-organizers-charge.htm

This article says National Organization of Professional Organizers has been around since 1985.  I would take that a sign that there is a body of experience and typical practices out there that you can use as benchmarks.  Also, a sign that the market is probably big and stable enough to carve out a niche according to your own tastes, somewhere within or near the industry's typical practices:

https://www.fastcompany.com/3050562/decluttering-your-life-is-not-just-a-trend-its-big-business

Fwiw, the first page of Google results on "decluttering companies" also brings up Thumbtack list of numerous providers.  You could go on Thumbtack if you want to get some professional gig experience, though competing on price might be tough.

nurseart

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2018, 01:06:59 PM »
Popping in to say this is a great side hustle idea and it is worth it to go ahead and get a business license.

LOVE the realtor "move in special" idea!

doompatrol

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2018, 09:28:10 AM »
Love the idea of this side hustle. I know a lot of people who active seek out these types of organizers and they tend to charge ~$50/hr in a mid-sized metro range. I think demand for these types of services will increase as well as I noticed more people are moving towards minimalism. You could ride the trend and make some good money on the side!

If you are interested, I actually built a calculator to help you get some rough numbers on what your side hustle revenue could look like as well:
https://www.financialtoolbelt.com/app/side-hustle-calculator/

profnot

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Re: Need your thoughts on my side hustle idea....
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2018, 02:47:51 PM »
Chris Guillebeau has two great books on what you need (and don't) need when starting a business:  $100 Startup and Side Hustle.
I borrowed them from the library. 

I suggest you contact Assisted Living facilities and Nursing homes for referrals.  Usually the adult child of the resident moving in would love a hand getting Mum settled in.  I know a gal who does this work in Canada.  She loves it.

Good luck!