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Expert Insights On How To Create More Success

Priceless Business Wisdom
Expert Insights On How To Create More Success


I was invited to join a full score of experts and industry leaders from around the world in sharing their best advice for a business success compendium. I’m quite certain poor Graham McGregor (the lovely gentleman who interviewed me) had no clue what he was getting himself into when he sent me that initial email — but I hope at least I made him laugh as he typed all this up.

What type of business are you currently involved in?

I joke on my social networking profiles that my official title is “Renaissance Woman” — I have too many interests to run just one business at a time! I’m all over the board (an artist, a speaker, and a writer on top of everything else). But here’s a brief description of the three major consulting hats I wear:

  • regain-control-over-your-life professional organizer — I’ve been helping folks to create order and better manage their time/space/paper (both at home and at work) since 1998. I’m a Golden Circle Member Of The National Association Of Professional Organizers many times over.
  • have-the-life-you-want-rather-than-the-one-you-were-handed coach — Since I sold everything I owned and hit the road as an RVer (living, working, and traveling year-round in a 29-foot Airstream), I’ve also added simplicity/accountability coaching to my repertoire of butt-kicking-excuse-imploding-obstacle-removing activities — along with clutter/productivity coaching, financial coaching, healthy lifestyle coaching, even full-timer coaching. (You name it, I am happy to hold folks accountable for achieving their goals!)
  • take-your-business-to-the-next-level mentor — I also work with other organizers, small-biz entrepreneurs, and self-employment wanna-bes to help them accomplish their career goals — everything from start-up issues to exit strategies, marketing to administrative concerns, recovering from a slump to expanding your horizons. I especially enjoy helping folks package their expertise into passive-income products, develop their speaking careers, and get paid for their writing.

If you were starting again, what would you do differently?

I would have married the many disparate parts of my life together into one business a lot sooner. I spent several years compartmentalizing my skills — keeping my anal-retentive side separate from my creative side, and my personal life separate from my business. But since I have brought them all together under one umbrella, I am finding that I’m much more successful at everything I do. When you’re selling yourself (rather than a product or service that you can subcontract out), YOU become the brand — and I find that sharing the whole package with folks is more effective than trying to dole out little bits and pieces of who I am and what I do.

Anything else?

I would also have liked to have taken my business on the road a lot sooner — however, I had to wait for technology to catch up with us, first. Communication tools like mi-fi cards that allow you to carry your internet with you wherever you go, affordable unlimited cell phone plans, and mail-forwarding services that cater specifically to full-time RVers weren’t available 10 or 15 years ago — but these days, you see all sorts of apps and services popping up that make a mobile working lifestyle possible. There’s no reason for folks to wait until retirement to hit the road, anymore!

What was the most valuable business advice you ever received?

When I was starting out, folks in the organizing industry told me to be myself — in being “myself” (which means multiply tattooed with nine piercings above the neck, biker boots paired with a mini skirt and blazer, and strong opinions about EVERYTHING), I have created a persona that’s carried me much farther than talent or experience alone might. For those who think that business success means buttoned down suits and bankers-business-blue, I beg to differ!

What is your business philosophy?

I come from a Social Work background, and it’s been drummed into my head from day-one that the more you help others, the more you succeed yourself. I have built every aspect of my business on generosity — participating in the larger professional community, giving free advice wherever I can, posting tons of gratis content on the web, and always being willing to lend an ear or offer a resource to help out. I have definitely experienced the “law of attraction” in my business — what I give out comes back to me tenfold.

What are the two most useful business books you have read?

Of course, I love The E-Myth by Michael Gerber — because it focuses on the idea of moving your business from adolescence to adulthood (whatever your definition of adulthood might be). But early on, I also read a book called The Max Strategy in which Dale Dauten shares the wisdom he learned chatting with an executive in an airport during a flight delay. One of his gems that has always stuck with me (and informs the way I live my life and run my business every day) is “You can’t get to better without first getting to different.” That willingness to shift gears when things aren’t working that has allowed me to enjoy the life I’ve got today.

What were your two most valuable lessons in business?

The first is that, no matter how hard you might try, you can’t plan for everything. (And that’s a difficult lesson for a Professional Organizer to learn!) You never know what might be coming right around the corner — every day is a surprise, and I find opportunities landing in my lap that I never even considered during my strategic planning sessions. Again, we’re back at the “law of attraction” — the more you put out there, the more comes your way. This also leads to my second valuable lesson, which actually comes from a favorite novelist John Irving, rather than a business source — “Take every opportunity given in this world, even if you have too many. Because one day, the opportunities stop.” Unless I am lying dead on the floor, I never turn down a chance to try something new, to go in some as-yet-uncharted direction with my business. And that road less traveled has made all the difference.

What advice would you like to share with other business owners?

The first is, never be afraid to invest in yourself or your company. I meet so many new entrepreneurs (Professional Organizers as well as folks in other fields) who are hesitant about spending money on their own success — and they end up failing, because of it. I don’t mean expensive electronic gadgets or costly advertising or every sexy new marketing trend that passes by — I am talking about personal development, education, building your skills, hiring a mentor who helps you find your way, and making sure you have the right tools to do the job. And ESPECIALLY, knowing when it makes more sense to outsource a job (and focus on what you do best) than waste your time trying to do everything yourself!

Anything else?

My second bit of advice is to gather a little power in your corner, and build your business on the shoulders of giants. Become a gatherer of knowledge and an incorporator of good ideas — read every business book you can, attend seminars, subscribe to blogs, follow industry leaders on twitter, whatever it takes. Then (based on your research) take a minute to catalog your strengths and weaknesses, figure out your short- and long-term goals, and decide what strategies will get you there the quickest. And if you’re having a hard time doing this on your own, find a coach who can help you through the process — you’ll thank yourself later when your business takes off faster than you ever imagined possible on your own!

You have 30 seconds to share one key business idea — go!

It’s all about networking and building relationships — tell everyone you meet what you do to make folks’ lives better and how much you love your job. Spread the gospel of your work with every human being who will listen, and you’ll be amazed at how many converts you get!

I love Ramona’s quote on “Take every opportunity given in this world, even if you have too many. Because one day, the opportunities stop.”

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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