Julie Kessler joins us from Picture This Organized in Highlands Ranch, Colorado…
Share your story about how you became a photo organizer…
It started with a photo album project for my father’s 80th birthday. I coordinated the project remotely. It was such fun seeing everything coming together and in the process I realized my organized tendencies were a valuable asset to making the project successful. When I started my professional organizing business in May 2011, organizing photos was one of the services offered.
Primary services and which do you most enjoy?
Organizing, scanning and album design are the most common. I get the most satisfaction out of being able to manage a full collection because it gives me the ability to help my clients see the value their stories have on their life. And it shows them how important it is to take care of everything so they can pass along that legacy.
How did you find APPO and how long have you been a member?
In the fall of 2011, while a new professional organizer, I became aware of APPO while perusing past conference recordings for NAPO. There was an ABC’s of Photo Organizing option, however, I didn’t listen to it as I couldn’t imagine being paid to make photo albums! Then while attending the NAPO Conference in spring of 2012 I attended Cathi’s presentation and was hooked! I joined at that conference!
Favorite tool or vendor you use for photo organizing?
I seem to switch around depending upon the service. For print organizing I keep it simple and use tools found in craft and office supply stores. Love the Legacy Box as a prize for completed projects. For digital organizing I have some of my own checklists I’ve created to help me and my lead organizer keep track of things. I use Dropbox, Mylio and Flickr as resources for organizing and sharing photos for remote clients.
What is a big (or small) mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it?
There was a prospect that should never have been pursued. This was a friend who thought her mother would benefit from my services. Mom wasn’t convinced on the value and upon their request, I provided a quote for all phases: organizing, scanning and album design. This completely overwhelmed her. Since she wasn’t convinced that her story was valuable, she couldn’t be convinced of the value of my services. Was a very sad story but has been a good lesson on building a relationship with a client.
Best client success story…
In 2013, I received a referral from a NAPO colleague. I had been advising her on basics for how to help her client with print organizing in preparation for an anniversary album. When the client was ready to begin the album project, I had a very short time to organize, scan & design! After putting everything else on hold, I delivered a 97 page album with almost 500 photos! Since that time we organized the rest of her photo collection, created 7 more albums and are about to set up Mylio for her. I have become a trusted advisor, her “go to” resource for her photo collection. This is a role I seek to have with all my VIP clients.
What is your favorite family tradition?
Cooking our Thanksgiving meal together. We talk about what everyone likes, start preparing a couple of days before and then roll up our sleeves and go for it! While most of us aren’t really adept in the kitchen, this is the one meal we do together! It’s fun because we are working as a team! Every year there are mishaps because we let our conversation distract us! It’s more about the experience rather than preparing a perfect meal!
If you weren’t a photo organizer, what would you be doing instead?
Oh boy! That’s a tough question. Can’t say that I know what that would be. Likely I’d go back to working for a non-profit in a service/admin role. Or travel to see my kids who live out of state. I am happiest when I’m productive so I find that I do well when there’s a purpose to each day!
Are your own photos organized?
My own collection is a work in progress. I have used it to create workflows for my clients so parts of it are organized!
Best tip for a new photo organizer…what you wish someone would have told you sooner?
I would say that you need to know whether this is a hobby or a business. If you choose to regularly give your services away then you’re really a hobbyist. Because if you can’t ask people to pay you then you’re not going to succeed. But know that when you start charging, you need to keep track of your time, your money and your business relationships (clients, referral partners, resources).
Anything else you want our readers to know?
Providing photo organizing services is the easy part. You can find the tools you need to serve clients well. Running a successful business that is efficient with good customer service takes time and intention. Pay attention to providing good customer service and develop good relationships with local resources and referral partners. Then you’ll have a community of folks who can be a sounding board and clients who will refer their friends!
Say hi to Julie in the comments below and share something you learned from her interview…
P.S. Check out our brand new Master Training Office Organization 101 that is now available for purchase! Julie graciously agreed to hosting us at her home where we videotaped her home office and shared some great tips that you can use in your own home office!