During quarantine, has everyone watched Home Edit and read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Just me? We’ve all been looking for new organizational methods and ways to rearrange our homes now that we’re spending SO much more time in them.
Amy Tokos has been passionate about organization since long before the days of remote learning and haphazard home offices. Read on to learn all about this incredible engineer turned mom turned professional organizer turned renowned expert, author and speaker.
I am truly fascinated by this founder story.
Amy followed the traditional path: got the degree, started the great job in lean engineering, fell in love, had the babies and– SCREECH. Babies. Amy and her husband made the family decision that she would stay home with their kids while they were young.
Amy was ready for a new challenge by the time her youngest started kindergarten. As she started to explore the kinds of jobs that matched her qualifications, she remembered the time commitment and travel required in her former positions. Though she’d loved that at the time, her priorities had shifted. She wanted to be close to home and still have the ability to be flexible for her growing children.
Finding a new direction…with some help from Oprah
Amy felt lost. What could she do that would add value and stimulate her mind, but give her the ability to be home for her family? On a whim, she flipped to an Oprah Magazine article about incorporating passion into one’s life.
This article gave several exercises to do,” Amy tells me. “The one I remember was, ‘Imagine yourself walking into a party where you know absolutely nobody. You overhear a group of people talking about something. Not only do you want to hear what they have to say, you want to share what you know about it.’”
Immediately, she thought of her organizational experience, helping friends with their homes. Her background in lean manufacturing (simplifying industrial processes to make them more efficient) gave her a keen eye for simplifying her friends’ homes and lives. Why not try it with paying clients?
Freshly Organized was born.
Organizing her own business
Amy jumped right in, joining the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and becoming a Certified Professional Organizer and productivity consultant. She sought mentors and read books that helped her learn the ropes of running her own business; marketing, taxes, client contracts, and to her the most challenging aspect of entrepreneurship, self-promotion.
I had to dig in and figure it out. I got the organizing down, that was the easy part.”
Amy quickly picked up steam, and Freshly Organized went from a one-woman operation to a business with multiple employees, helping families and companies to organize and simplify their spaces, processes, and even calendars. The company focuses on REAL organizing:
I love me a good acronym. Twelve years in, Freshly Organized is bigger and better than ever. Amy has a great team, has established herself as an organizational expert with features in national publications, and this year won Best of Omaha’s first ever organizational category. She recently launched her own podcast and became President-Elect of NAPO.
So what’s next for this renaissance woman? Amy is starting to think about succession planning for the business, but still loves what she does. “I don’t know what the future will bring,” she says, “but we’re having a good time.”
What advice do you have for women considering entrepreneurship?
“Make sure it aligns with your priorities and your passions. Running a business takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of support, it takes a lot of your brain power and your thought power, and it has to be worth it. If it’s not worth it, step away and do something that is worth it.”
Wise words from a truly inspiring woman. Learn more about Amy Tokos and Freshly Organized at FreshlyOrganized.com.