Sunday, February 14, 2010

Opportunity Cost

Today is Valentine's Day. As a gift to me I am giving myself some downtime. In that downtime I have decided to write.

This week I have 2 organizing projects going on. Actually most weeks we have 2 projects going on at the same time. This takes some planning, dedication, and organization from my organizers. I have a Project Manager that has been with me for over 3 years. Her name is Patty and she is amazing. What I love most about Patty is her ability to see through all of the chaos and come up with a plan for the client and for her team that is both efficient and easy to implement. I never have to worry when I have Patty running a project. My clients are truly lucky when she steps into their house.

When anyone is doing a project or running a business they have to have things or people in place that give them that sense of peace. Patty lessens my stress at work. The systems I have in place at home lessen my stress there. I have very little down time. I have 2 small children with a full plate of activities, a husband with his own very full career, and a business with many employees to keep organized. Can you imagine on how many levels my organization exists?

I am never perfect. I am always striving to be my best. I know that without being organized I cannot be my best and I cannot give my family what they deserve either. So I have color coded calendars and a pantry that looks better than grocery store shopping, and closets that allow me to dress in style every morning. It's also why it's important to surround myself with positive and capable people.

For a business owner, the right staff, can make or break you. I am looking to hire a new organizer right now. I have a stack of resumes and a very clear opinion of what I am looking for. Anyone who becomes and Amanda becomes family. That is scary and such an important decision.

All of these decisions are mine. I choose to be organized, to hire the right people, and to do what's right. I could at any point, give up, admit defeat, or not do what I need to do.
My clients and each of you have the same choices. Sometimes making those choices means bringing in capable people to help. I can't do it all. If I didn't have Patty, I couldn't grow and develop my business to the same level that she provides me. The same goes for all of the other people who help me. I made the decision a long time ago to hire someone to come in on a weekly basis and clean my house. I made that decision by using opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is the only thing I really took away from my economics class in college!! But it was enough to impact my life.

Opportunity cost is the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. We use opportunity cost on an almost constant basis without even realizing it. For me the opportunity cost of paying someone to come into my home and clean it far outweighed the cost of having to do it on top of my already crazy schedule. It's important for us to stop sometimes and think about what the opportunity cost is for the decision you are making at that moment. Every decision comes with one.

Oh and by the way I can't stand the show Clean House. I don't agree with their methods and the way they make fun of their clients for ratings. It's not the way I would hope that real organizers go about helping people get organized. It's certainly not how we do it! Can't change the channel fast enough when it comes on! OK. Thanks!

See you later!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How it's been and how it will be!

I have been bombarded with questions on why I quit blogging. The answer: I haven't had time and like I always say, "sometimes you have to choose and prioritize".

The good news is that we opened our new store: Clutter Prescription by The Amandas.

I completely underestimated how long this project would take and how much money too!! As most of you know we have had a retail store for the past three years. Not that any of us took it too seriously. As we made the decision, my rationale was that it would be an easymove since we had the fixtures and the product and knowledge of how it would all work. Boy was I mistaken!! My office manager of three years moved on to another career and a new office manager came in. As good as Lauren(the new right hand) was, she was still new and needed time to learn and get up and moving. So I did as I always do with new people, I threw her into the deep end, without a lifesaver, and shouted at her to "swim or die!!". Luckily for me Lauren speaks crazy and so she is swimming. Not only is she swimming, she sometimes swims enough for multiple people.

The store is doing GREAT! We love it and the people of Birmingham do as well. We have created new and unique services, support groups, and community programs that are all beginning to bloom. The organizing and in-home services couldn't be better. I dropped to my knees on Monday to thank God for all of the blessings in my life. I am lucky and just saying thanks didn't seem like enough. We have a new project on the horizon and I have promised God as a way to say thank you that I would give 10% of the gross to the church. Now I just hope it all goes through!!

As we moved into the new building, I was dealt a gut wrenching blow. Both of my organizers in New Orleans were leaving. Not only were they leaving but New Orleans had been so neglected from some bad apple employees (not necessarily the ones leaving) that it was in deplorable shape. How could I have looked the other way as people destroyed what took me so long to build? Why did I make the mistake of letting unqualified people in the door in the first place? As my sister always says, "It's never good to make decisions when you are desperate". I look back and see how desperate I was to hold on to New Orleans. It's my home and my heart. The clients I have in New Orleans are family. I sat in my new store surrounded by the best employees you could have and I was filled with sadness over the mistakes that had led me to watching the New Orleans territory fall apart.

I wish I could sit here, even now, and tell you how I had a miraculous moment and figured out how to save it all. I haven't. I do still have great clients there. The ones who's trust I lost with bad apples, I am gaining back. The competition who pounced on my weakness, well there day will come. As for New Orleans; I may not live there but my heart is still there and I will rebuild what others took for granted and let fall apart.

I do not place all of the blame on them. How could I? It's my business. I chose to leave them in charge, I chose to hire them. They did what they could and more often, what they wanted.
Along the way I had some incredible employees there who just got caught in the middle of bad management. I hate that happened.

I have taken the bull by the horns and decided what the people of New Orleans need from my company is ME! That's who they feel comfortable with and it's what is best for growth. So, I am back to one week a month in New Orleans. As it grows back I have knowledge of how to better set it up for success and I will.

And . . . now that things have calmed down I will blog again. We will discuss organizing as it pertains to real life and not some fairytale rambling about how easy it is to get organized! It's not easy but it's doable and it's worth it!!