From clearing out closets and arranging paperwork, to managing calendars for busy professionals, these savvy women have turned their passion for order into serious cash. Learn their secrets so you can start earning too!
“When I left my job as a project manager for a technology company, I started to help neighbors and friends organize their closets, kitchen cabinets and cars. Soon I realized I could turn my passion for de-cluttering into a business and become a home organization expert.
“Launching the business was simple. Although it’s not necessary, I became a certified professional organizer with the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO), which cost a few hundred dollars. Then I got started helping more families de-clutter their homes and put systems in place so they can find what they need and be able to keep their spaces organized. I help them decide what to keep, donate or throw out. I also help them organize print and digital photos. I use many of the same tools I used in the corporate world, like online calendars, apps and time-management techniques to help them stay on track.
“I’m frequently hired as a professional speaker, and I’m involved in a lot of professional communities, which helps me market my services. I also wrote two books about organization. A lot of my business comes from word-of-mouth referrals.
“I love that I can help people find peace and purpose with my work. I earn a six-figure income doing this. It’s fun and flexible and it allows me to be available for my kids, take trips and attend conferences.” — Darla DeMorrow, 48, Wayne, PA
“I used to work as a radio DJ, but after I had my son, I didn’t want to have to put him in daycare. I liked the idea of helping people stay organized, so when I learned I could work from home as a virtual assistant without any experience, I knew it would be a great opportunity to make money.
“To get started, I taught myself how to use office tools like Google Calendar and Google Docs. Then I found Zirtual, which matches virtual assistants with jobs and gave me basic training. Another site I found to be helpful was VANetworking.com, which offers training and resources. After a few years, I went out on my own and launched 8 More Hours Virtual Services.
“Today I work with entrepreneurs and small business owners. A majority of the work I do is scheduling and managing calendars. I also perform research, type their notes, create spreadsheets, book travel, order gifts for their family and colleagues and interact with their clients.
“All of my clients are word-of-mouth referrals. Since I’ve worked with them for so long, I’ve developed a great rapport with them, and they know they can count on me.
“I like this work because I enjoy helping my clients stay organized. I also love the flexibility: I can work, then take my son for a hike or volunteer at his school. Every week is different, but I work 25 to 35 hours a week. I charge $25 to $30 an hour and make $40,000 to $45,000 a year — money that helps support my family and pays for travel and daily trips to the coffee shop!” — Chauntelle McAlhany, 43, Ogden, UT
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“I’m a military veteran and my husband is on active duty, so we move frequently — that makes it hard to find a long-term job. When I was looking for a flexible way to make money on my own schedule, I thought about how my family and friends were always asking me for help with organizing, so I decided to start my own organizing blog, Organized31, which I can do anywhere.
“I write about free and affordable organization strategies like repurposing plastic food packages for storage, as well as tips for de-cluttering and moving and how to fold clothes so they work better in a closet. I also write about bullet journaling — a personalized planner that you create and tailor for your life.
“I market my blog with a weekly newsletter and on social media. I earn money from affiliate marketing (a way to make a commission off the products or services I link to), sponsored posts (companies pay me to write about their products) and from Google AdSense and other ad networks that place ads on my site. I also sell my own printable planners, checklists and e-book.
“This work is so enjoyable — I make a positive impact on people’s lives, and I love being my own boss and being able to take care of my family wherever we live. The money I make between $1,000 and $3,000 a month which goes toward my kids’ college educations or to pay for impromptu road trips.” — Susan Santoro, 52, Northern Virginia
This story originally appeared in our print magazine