Lisa Woodruff is a professional organizer from Cincinnati, Ohio. She has helped thousands of women reclaim their homes and finally get organized with her practical tips, encouragement and humor through her blog and podcast at Organize365.com.
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- Generations – Lisa’s top business book
- The Mindset of Organization – Lisa’s book
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [01:01] – Lisa is a hands-on, entrepreneur mom
- [02:20] – Value Bomb Drop – “Pick only one goal to accomplish for the day and set aside one day a week for family.”
- [03:44] – What is something you’ve changed your mind about in the last 6 months? – That having a speaking career and having a family need to be mutually exclusive
- [04:00] – Lisa will be speaking at FinCon this year!
- [04:57] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment – Joining and engaging with a networking group, but not having anything to offer the group
- [07:33] – You need to know your audience
- [07:47] – What do you want to make sure Fire Nation learns from your story? There’s no point in asking people to follow you if you don’t know where you’re leading them
- [08:24] – Entrepreneurial AH–HA Moment: “I realized what was missing was the personalized organization based on my stage of life.”
- [11:31] – What is the one thing you are most excited about today? “I really wanted to talk about 100-day goals”
- [12:31] – Organize365.com/fire
- [15:17] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “Nothing”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “If you’re going to do something, do it sooner than later so you can enjoy the work.”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I love learning and I learn something new every day.”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – RainMaker Platform
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Generations
- Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world, identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experiences and knowledge you currently have – your food and shelter is taken cared of – but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next 7 days? – “I’d probably reflect, learn something about the place and find someone to love.”
- [18:55] – Parting piece of guidance – “Take the next step”
- [19:34] – Connect with Lisa through her website.
Lisa Woodruff: Good morning, JLD. Let’s spark up Fire Nation.
John: I love it. Lisa’s a professional organizer from Cincinnati, Ohio. She’s helped thousands of women reclaim their homes and finally get organized with her practical tips and encouragement and humor through her blog and podcast at Organize365.com. Lisa, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Lisa Woodruff: Well, John, I am [inaudible] [00:00:30]. I am a mom at home meeting the needs of her family that only she can do and creating a passionate business in the nooks and crannies of her life. I found you after I got my first iPhone in late 2012. I found you when I was driving to a client. I realized that an iPhone had a thing called a podcast, and I love to learn, and I love entrepreneurship.
You were the very first podcast I found in April, 2013. You were on episode 180. In the next five months, I walked 500,000 steps, listened to all your old podcasts and new ones, and was current at 360 for September 1, 2013. I am EOFire. I went from being amazed by your guests to be determined to become a success story and featured on your show.
John: What I love is you were so close to being on brand. You were almost there at 365. You got there a little early at 360.
Lisa Woodruff: Dang it.
John: Well, Lisa, I’m excited to be really going through your journey. You have really just been a shining example of somebody who knows how to rock the organizational area of this world, which is so tough for so many people. That’s your area of expertise. Give us two value bombs that we need to know about this that we probably don’t.
Lisa Woodruff: I like to keep this super simple. Number one, I want you to only pick one goal to accomplish for the day, and then focus all of your spare time, energy, and thoughts on that. Like this weekend, I was thinking about this interview; refining my answers, thinking about the curveballs that John might throw at me.
John: I’ve got some curveballs.
Lisa Woodruff: Oh, no. Number two; the second one would be something that’s really helped me be a successful entrepreneur is to set aside one day a week just for family, home, and personal needs. So on Sunday, I’m not allowed to work. We love to work, and we’ll work every spare minute. But when I started doing this, the family just started to flow better. There was actually toilet paper back in the house again and the kids had the clothes they needed for school or the extra notebooks I had to go buy yesterday. If you set one day aside and focus really on the personal and family needs, then that will make the other days when you really rock your business go better.
John: No TP makes an unhappy JLD. I will definitely say that, Fire Nation. Love that, Lisa. Let’s kind of move into something that you’ve changed your mind about in the last six months. I mean, it sounds like that might be one of the things; you had this great idea, like, “I need to spend one day a week just focusing on personal.” But what’s something that you just believe in now that you didn’t believe in six months ago, or vice versa; something you used to believe in that you just don’t anymore?
Lisa Woodruff: As a female entrepreneur with kids, it is still my responsibility to take care of the kids most of the time. My husband works a 9:00 to 5:00 job. That is not negotiable, so I have to be really flexible. I really want to travel and speak. I’m actually gonna be a speaker at Fincon this year and I had –
Lisa Woodruff: Thanks. I had to get over that idea that nobody could do everything at home except for me. My husband’s not excited about it, but I’m gonna be gone for eight days to speak at Fincon and do Chris Ducker’s Mastermind event. And then I want to launch a speaking career, so the family’s just gonna have to get with it.
John: Love that. Fire Nation, this is the reality. Things fall into place. Everybody, from the beginning of time, doesn’t react super well to change because change is different, it’s scary, it’s out of our comfort zone. But guess what? We acclimate. We’re humans. We get used to things. That’s just the reason why you need to take that action that you know is best for you in your life. Let’s talk, Lisa, about what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. I mean, having no TP in the bathroom is not a good thing, but it’s not a worst moment. Let’s talk about what you consider just the lowest of the low. Tell us that story.
Lisa Woodruff: Well, I’m getting hot and sweaty just thinking about it. Nobody likes to explain their faults, but I do think there’s a lot of value out of hearing everybody’s stories. When I very first started my business, we were it debt. It was not really a choice time. But I knew if I was going to sink my teeth into something, it was going to be about organization, but I wasn’t really sure how I was going to monetize that back in 2012.
I put a $500.00 membership on my credit card and joined a networking group that I thought could get me where I wanted to go. My goal was to be able to speak to that networking group in my city and then in the other cities. About eight months in, I did. I traveled two hours away and spoke at one of their meetings. I did a great job. People loved it. They came up afterward and they wanted to buy something, and I didn’t have anything because I was a professional organizer in Cincinnati. I couldn’t sell that.
So I went home and I thought, “Okay. That’s not a problem. I’m gonna speak to the group in Cincinnati in two months. I’m a professional organizer. That’s what I’m going to sell.” So I went and I spoke, and I didn’t really know my audience well. They were all business owners. They weren’t focused on putting their money in organizing their house. They would have bought anything that I had about branding, which I was talking about, but I wasn’t marketing that. I didn’t get the hint.
I went and I spoke. I had a brand new outfit. I had my table all ready. I went to the event. There were only 12 people there. Normally, there were like 40. No problem. Six people there were actually guests that weren’t members that came there just to hear me speak, which was really cool. So I got up, and I knocked the speech out of the park. I know that because one of the people there was a speaking coach. She came there to critique me and then offer her services, and halfway through, she stopped writing notes because she was so drawn into my story.
So I did a good job, but I had nothing to sell. The only person that made money that day was the organization because two people bought those $500.00 memberships. So they made $1,000.00. I made nothing. And it took me another 18 months before I could even figure out how to sell anything other than my physical professional organizing services.
John: This is so tough because, Fire Nation, this is the journey that we, as entrepreneurs, have to go through. This is why I start these EOFire episodes off with the worst moments because you can’t skip over this part. Everybody has these worst moments. Everybody has these struggles. Just know that if and when you’re going through this, that you’re going through the entrepreneurial journey and you just need to use it as a learning experience.
My big takeaway, Lisa, from your story is you need to know your audience. You need to know who you’re speaking to. You need to have that plan in place for the right audience in front you. So that’s my big takeaway. But, Lisa, what do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from your story?
Lisa Woodruff: People were following me, but where was I leading them? I spent a couple of years after that chasing that audience, that entrepreneur audience, which I’m on your podcast, but I really realized that that’s not my target audience. My target audience is the woman who is looking around her house going, “I have got to get this organized. If this was organized, I would have more time to do what I’m passionate about. But where do I start?” That’s my audience, so I have to get in front of that audience.
John: That was an ‘ah-ha’ moment that you just shared right there, but take us to one of your greatest ‘ah-ha’ moments that you’ve had to date and really walk us through that story. I want to hear about the ‘ah-ha’ moment and then the steps you took to turn that idea into success.
Lisa Woodruff: Well, what was working – because I’ve said all these things that weren’t working – what was working was my ability to be a professional organizer and to teach and train people. I had built a team of three of us that were organizing in Cincinnati, and I was able to teach and train online, too. I have this system called The Sunday Basket, which organizes all your mail and daily papers and people were doing that. They could find the blog and do that system. That was working. But they couldn’t get their homes organized.
I finally realized that there is not a one-size-fits-all organizational solution for everyone. As a professional organizer, I can shift from helping a child organize their bedroom, and then the next day, be working with someone who’s an empty-nester and downsizing the family home. I realized what was missing in my online community to my clients was this idea of personalized organization based on your state of life. That is when the light bulb went off.
I realized I was taking the idea of organizing your home and then customizing it to each age group and stage of life that people are in. As a professional organizer, I knew that I would be able to teach that skill and that I needed to figure out how to bring that message to people so that they could get organized. So I had the ‘ah-ha’ moment, but it took me 12 months in order to bring that to fruition because I had to create this new language for people to understand that organization is a journey.
There are four phases of life that a woman goes through, and in the last 100 days, with the help of The Freedom Journal, I created and launched an Amazon best-selling book called The Mindset of Organization that walks women through that journey.
John: Woo-woo! Freedom Journal shout-out. I love it, Lisa. Thank you for that. Something that you just shared that I really want to hone in on, that I think is so important, you were speaking about language; that you had to come up with and you had to figure out a new language and how to speak. That’s so key and that’s such an insight that it takes, Fire Nation, entrepreneurs way too long to figure out. You need to know the vocabulary that your audience, or your clients, or your avatars are going to use.
You need to know the words that they’re gonna say for their pain points, their obstacles, their challenges, so that you can use that and form your language that’s going to speak to your potential avatars and clients. That’s how you do this. And that’s why you need to jump on phone calls with potential avatars, with future clients, with even current clients if you have them, and have these conversations and listen to that vocabulary so that you can form that language that’s really meaningful. So, Lisa, that’s my big takeaway. What do you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from your story?
Lisa Woodruff: You know, the number one lesson that I learned is that growing our businesses is a journey, too, and once you put in the thousand hours, you then need to prune and organize what you have learned to really help your audience get the best experience.
John: I kind of want to move into something that you are overly excited about, Lisa. You have a lot of things going on; I mean, the podcast, just organizing in general, you’re speaking at Fincon coming up. A lot of cool things are happening in your world. What’s the one thing that you are most excited about today?
Lisa Woodruff: Well, I really want to talk about this idea of 100-day goals. I had heard that a couple months before The Freedom Journal came out and just – I’m a very goal-oriented person, and I have naturally always created my goals and my plans in September, January, and May every year. I thought it was because I was a teacher.
But after The Freedom Journal came out and you talked about this 100 days and other people have been talking about it, I realized that 100 days really is a great framework for achieving a goal. So I created the 100 Day Home Organization Challenge with daily actionable steps to get your whole house organized. I have a special for Fire Nation if I can mention it.
John: Let’s hear that.
Lisa Woodruff: Okay. If you use the code ‘FIRE’, you will save $47.00 off your 100 Day Home Organization Challenge and the first 19 continental United States Fire Nation listeners to register will get a Freedom Journal mailed to them to focus on their 100 Day Business Goal. You can find all the information at Organize365.com/fire.
John: Love all of that. You even nailed my, “Fire.” Fire Nation, one more time, that’s Organize365.com/fire. Be one of those first 19 people and guess what? You’re gonna get a Freedom Journal shipped to your doorstep if you’re in the continental United States, which, by the way, I totally get because it is so crazy expensive to ship internationally. I really hope that UPS, that FedEx, that somebody gets their act together and figures something out. Fire Nation, don’t you go anywhere because we are about to enter the lightening round after we take a quick minute to thank our sponsors. Lisa, are you prepared for the lightening round?
Lisa Woodruff: John, I’ve been practicing for three and a half years.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Lisa Woodruff: Nothing. My great-grandmother had four businesses and every woman and man all the way back in my family has been an entrepreneur.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Lisa Woodruff: Okay. This is specific for you and the house that podcasting built. When I moved into my house 20 years ago, my dad said to me, “If you’re going to do something, do it sooner than later so you can enjoy the work.”
John: Wow. That’s gonna be really valuable advice because we have 5,000 square feet. We’re like, “Oh, we can kind of put that off until later,” but maybe we should just take action. What do you think?
Lisa Woodruff: Do it now. I’ve seen the house. It’s gorgeous.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Lisa Woodruff: I love learning, I have always loved learning, and I learn something new every day.
John: Can you share an Internet resource, like an Evernote, with Fire Nation?
Lisa Woodruff: I’m switching everything over to the Rainmaker Platform currently so that I can have one database to use for all of our online resources just to streamline everything for my assistant and myself.
John: If you could recommend just one book, what would it be and why?
Lisa Woodruff: Alright. You’re gonna love this one, John. Have you read the book Generations?
Lisa Woodruff: And it’s not been recommended on EOFire?
Lisa Woodruff: I get bonus points for that. So Generations, it’s an older book by Neil Howe and William Strauss. It’s a thick book. You’re gonna love it. It’s called The History of America’s Future and it shows patterns in the generations from all Americans from 1584 to the future, 2069, and how there are these recurring patterns of generations.
The more I learn about the phases of people’s lives and things like that, generational perspective is so important. How a Baby Boomer looks at their house is completely different than how a Millennial looks at their house. We need to bridge this gap and talk about our physical stuff thinking about the generation that’s looking at that. It is not available on audio, however, The Mindset of Organization will be.
John: Love that. Now let’s give that shout-out to your book. How can Fire Nation find your Amazon book?
Lisa Woodruff: It’s called The Mindset of Organization or you can just search ‘Lisa Woodruff’.
John: W-O-O-D-R-U-F-F, Fire Nation. Now, Lisa, this is the last question of the lightening round, but it’s a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have, you food and shelter taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven day?
Lisa Woodruff: I hate this question. I’d rather answer the question of what my next 100-day goal is, but, okay. Starting over from zero would take years of time. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman or – my whole goal in my entire life has become a Mrs. I got two degrees in college, but I was going for my MRS and I got it. And then after I got that, I wanted babies.
Business is something I do and I love and I’m passionate about, but I cannot even imagine life without my husband and my kids and spending it with the people that I love. So I would probably reflect, learn a lot, visit anything historical there so I could learn about the history of the area, and explore, and find someone to love.
John: Well, Lisa, we started today on fire, let’s end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Lisa Woodruff: Take the next step. If you look forward, you’re going to get overwhelmed. If you look back, you will be amazed. But just take the next step. You can find me and everything about me at Organize365.com/fire.
John: I love it. Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with LKW and JLD today, so keep up the heat. Head over to EOFire.com, just type ‘Lisa’ in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. Best show notes in the biz, timestamps, links galore.
And, of course, head directly to Organize365.com/fire for just awesomeness and a change to win a Freedom Journal shipped to your doorstep, you continental United State-ers. I just want to say, Lisa, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation. For that, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Lisa Woodruff: Thanks, John. I’ll keep listening.
John: Fire Nation, I hope you enjoyed our chat with Lisa. What a story. And you know this; we have a free eight-day goals course for you at Freegoalscourse.co. Lisa rocks goals. I hope you rock goals, as well. So, get goal focused, Fire Nation. I’ll see you there or I’ll see you on the flipside.
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