Interview with Ciara Niclasen from Simply Sorted Professional Organisers
Ciara is the founder of Simply Sorted Professional Organisers based in Perth WA. She is a mum of a boisterous toddler and is in training to become Perth’s first KonMari consultant.
1. What is your Why? What motivated you to get into business?
It was my own journey to simplifying my life that made me take the leap to start Simply Sorted Professional Organisers.
For years I felt like I was ruled by a clutter home. I wasn’t a hoarder or a shopaholic, and even though I thought I was reasonably organised, the cupboards, drawers, wardrobes & garage in our home were all busting at the seams.
I would spend my spare time tidying up a drawer here and a cupboard there, but it would end up a mess again weeks. I felt like I was caught in a toxic cycle of tidying, and it was time-consuming, stressful, and exhausting. At times I would even avoid inviting friends and family over to visit because I was embarrassed and ashamed in case they opened a cupboard, door or drawer. My motivation and self-esteem declined and I would beat myself up because I couldn’t get ahead. I was completely overwhelmed!
Deep down I knew I wanted things to be different, not just for the sake of my sanity, but also for the sake of my family. I wanted a home that welcoming and easy, yet calm and organised. I wanted to spend less time cleaning and have more time for what was truly important to me – my family, friends, health and happiness.
In 2012 I’d finally made the decision and committed to streamlining my life, our life. From that moment on, our life changed. I never would have imagined that it would see me starting up my small business and
helping others create a more intentional life and home so that they can bring more ease into their day and balance into life, and free up time for the things they enjoy most.
2. What are some of the challenges/obstacles you have had to overcome?
The past year I have been trying to find my feet in business while juggling a family, a day job, fertility treatment and the financial and emotional investment that accompanies it. There have been times where I contemplated if it is all worth it and each every time, no matter what the challenges the answer is always resounding YES. There’s someone about helping people create the changes they want in their home and life that lights me up inside. It’s just not something I can turn my back on, and I know from my own personal and professional experience the life-giving lessons and changes that decluttering and organising your home can bring into your life.
I am a big believer in huge advocate of self-empowerment and empowering our children to make this life your best. I truly believe that it was through decluttering, organising and simplifying my life that I gained the confidence to pursue my dreams and a business I adore.
3. What did you worry about most when you started your business?
I definitely worried that it might not work. I had never been in business before so I had no idea of the resources – time, money and knowledge – it would take. In some ways it was probably a good thing that I was so naïve because I may not have taken the leap if I had known what a massive learning curve it would be. In saying this though the journey has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It’s been a journey of enormous personal growth and I feel so blessed to have incredible clients who open up their doors to me and welcome me into their homes.
4. How do you find the juggle of kids and a business?
It’s a constant challenge. I work early in the morning or late at night and during nap time. Kids as you know are so unpredictable. No day is the same and there is still so much juggling involved so you can get to everything. I’m learning though to accept that there will always be times when something unexpected happens, and that’s okay. It’s up to me to make this journey into business what I want it to be and being present and the best mum and person is one of the reasons I started this journey in the first place.
In some ways being a mum and running a business has also been a blessing. I’ve learned new and creative ways to do things and it’s allowed me the opportunity to find efficiencies in what I do at home and at work so that I can keep pushing the needle forward.
I am also incredibly grateful to a supportive my family who understand that there are just some days or times that I need to invest in the business. At the end of the day though, it’s still a juggle. What I am learning is that you can do it all, you can’t always do it all right now.
5. How do you prioritise/ block out work time when working from home?
This is something I am still working on. I work in my day job as a nurse two days a week, so I don’t get much business stuff done on these days as we are out of the house so early and by the time we get home I like to be able to play with my little boy before the dinner and bed time rush hits. On the other days I have my little boy with me so I usually block out one or two hours of work time when he is napping. The same goes for the weekends. Outside of this I have been making a conscious effort to be present with my family because as you know this season of life and childhood is so precious and will be gone before I know it.
6. What has been a game changer for you in your business?
Without a doubt it has been the people I have met and the lessons I have learned that have really changed and shaped my business life. Some of the biggest game-changers have been getting structured support from a marketing coach Elle Swift, joining the networking group Fusion Biz Babes and the learning academy The Social Method Society. I feel really grateful to be part of two incredible communities of like-minded business women where everyone supports each other and shares advice and lessons on growing and collaborating in business and managing the work-life-parent juggle.
7. What do you think is the biggest barrier most ambitious mums face?
In my opinion one of the biggest barriers for mums is self-confidence. It’s about believing in your own ability and knowing that just as much as anyone else, you deserve to go after to after dreams. I went into launching Simply Sorted with the mindset that I would just give it a go. I want my little boy to grow up knowing that you can chase your dreams no matter how old you are and to understand that even if it doesn’t work out you will have learnt invaluable lessons about yourself and life.
8. What tips do you have for other mums wanting to start a business?
Get clear on WHY you want to start your business. Seek support from other mums in business. Access as much training and support as you can. There are so many incredible free resources available including podcasts, blogs and facebook groups.
Remember, that whilst you can do it all, you may not be able to do it all at once. So start small, get the foundations of your business right and build from there.