SUE BECKER of DOWNERS GROVE | The Founder of From Piles to Smiles
This Local Mom and Entrepreneur Helps People Create Substantial Change by Organizing and Simplifying their Lives – Both at Home and at Work through Her Organizing Businesses
WEST SUBURBAN CHICAGO–As a child, Sue loved cleaning the house and keeping her room neat. In high school and college, class notes were well-laid out and she used a calendar to plan assignments. As she moved to the corporate world and began working at a Fortune 500 company, the managers held a ‘Clean Off Your Desk Day’.
“I was puzzled. I didn’t understand why this special day was necessary, since my desk was always clean,” Sue says. That day, she discovered her true passion and proceeded to open her own business From Piles to Smiles in 2000.
Getting started was the hardest part as she was working full time at a well-paying job, and her husband was just getting started in his own business. They also had two children in private school. The numbers indicated that the timing wasn't right for both to venture out on their own, so Sue started her business while also working full time.
After about 6 months of working two jobs, she took the plunge and left her full-time job. Organizing wasn't as well known back in 2000 as it is now, so it was a real struggle to educate potential clients and sign them on as customers.
Initially, finding clients was her biggest obstacle, but she’s fortunate that now she gets most of her business through referrals. The biggest challenge now is finding the right balance between work and her personal life. Because of the intimate and personal nature of her work, it doesn’t work well to outsource tasks to an assistant, so it makes for some long days, but she loves helping people live better lives, and feels blessed to be able to do that with a job she loves. Many of her clients have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), so she also received additional training and earned a certification to help her work successfully with people with ADHD.
Although Sue lives in Downers Grove, she is able to help clients’ worldwide thanks to Skype, GoToMeeting, and WebEx. She also loves Evernote, Remember The Milk, and Trello to create and organize lists and reminders; as well as Outlook and Google calendar to access and share her calendar from anywhere. Other hot sites are SugarSync to back up files and photos and Genius Scanlets to snap a picture of a document and convert it to a PDF.
IN SUE'S OWN WORDS.....
"I help people create substantial change by organizing and simplifying their lives – both at home and at work. I create customized systems to conquer piles of paperwork, pare down overwhelming clutter, and streamline jam-packed schedules. I'm privileged and honored that so many people trust me with their chaos and challenges. I get to know them on a deep personal level and give them hope and confidence as we create a new life of order. I've helped save jobs, relationships and sanity - it's humbling and deeply gratifying."
AREAS OF SPECIALTY
• Paring down and organizing paperwork
• [endif]Creating filing systems
• [endif]Setting up systems to handle incoming paperwork
• [endif]Creating bill payment systems
• [endif]Consulting to develop productivity skills and use appropriate time management tools
• [endif]Creating processes to streamline tasks and create household routines
• [endif]De-cluttering and organizing the home and creating systems to keep it organized
• [endif]Working with people who have ADHD and chronic disorganization conditions
MENTORING THE FUTURE
"I have two pieces of advice: First, believe in yourself even if others don’t. Since organizing and productivity coaching weren’t well-known when I started my business, I had many doubters, especially people in mentoring roles. They tried to talk me out of leaving my lucrative, yet unfulfilling job, and weren’t supportive of my vision for combining work and a life of meaning. I knew in my heart it was possible to have both these things, so with the emotional support of friends & family and faith that God would give me what I needed, I forged forward and never looked back. Second, understand and pay attention to the numbers – the financial health of your business is the key to its success, no matter how much passion and determination you put into it. If you don’t understand financial statements, take a class or find a mentor who can coach you through knowing what you need to know. Make course adjustments along the way and be willing to tweak your original vision so you remain financially viable and can continue to fulfill your dream. With a well-thought-out business plan, determination, organization (yes, that sure helps!) and hard work, you can make your dream come true." –Sue Becker
AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS
• Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization
• Featured author in the book Conversations on Success along with sales legends Tom Hopkins and Danny Cox and communications expert Dr. John Gray
• Author of many articles and have been featured in numerous local and national newspapers and magazines, including Real Simple Magazine, Redbook Magazine, The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun Times
• Have appeared on the national TV show Starting Over as an expert on time management and space organizing
From Piles to Smiles
Downers Grove, IL
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