Ever heard the phrase, “wearing many hats?” Birmingham native, Rachel Williams wears as many as her clients need to get the job done! She tells us all about her professional organization and household management business, cleverly named ToDo4U.
I started my company, ToDo4U…Professional Organization & Household Management in 2008. It has solely supported my family since 2012. Originally, I was working three jobs and attending UAB and just wanted a name for all the side-jobs I was doing. It was when texting was going mainstream so that’s how I got the name and it just stuck.
My service is Professional Organization, with a twist. A variety of services spring from life changes. I am not about telling people to get rid of all their stuff or that a certain file system will solve all their problems. I create personal plans based on individual needs. From there I can provide organization and maintenance plans as well as delegate or facilitate communication between family or “team” members and be an “accountability buddy.” I can schedule, pack, and unpack. I can rearrange, sort, and declutter (which can range from staging to downsizing to more extreme/sensitive situations like hoarding).
I am the sole owner/operator of ToDo4U. I expanded several times, hiring people to work for me, and each time was a very clear message to me to stop. I communicate extremely well and even that didn’t help one bit. Paying people poorly to be micromanaged by me in an effort to ensure that they are duplicating me adequately…that’s not the life for me. I like to think I’m just not replaceable. 😉
Sometimes clients call me for one thing and I end up doing another. I try to anticipate needs ahead of time, which is a good bit of my job- thinking ahead, asking questions, moderating discussions. Some of the most unusual things I’ve found myself doing on organization jobs are:
*returning things to people that have been unearthed but the people no longer talk to each other
*removing a mummified rat
*packing a client’s ex to move out
*cleaning out a dryer vent
*deciding a client would be more productive with early morning wake up calls…so I did that
*listening to a client reminiscing about hot dogs in Georgia…so I took him to Georgia to eat those hot dogs.
And….being with a client as they were dying.
I love making a list, planning and delegating it out, and watching the list get crossed off. I appreciate the dynamics of being on my clients’ “team”. I enjoy connecting with clients outside of the boxes my corporate path had put me in. My job is very rewarding. I never ever thought I would hear “You changed my life!” or “You’re the best part of my week/month/year!” But I hear it quite frequently. While mine is a professional service, many of the clients I’ve had will be people I think fondly of years and years from now. I have to remind myself sometimes but I often feel I’m the luckiest person in the world.
I caught myself saying “I could never work for commission” the other day. The hardest thing about being a small business owner is not always knowing what the next week or month will look like, especially November-February! I pride myself on making myself available to clients, especially when the unexpected happens. I have an acceptable month planned out but the work load will double now that we’re in peak season, I just never “know” ahead of time. I can’t even complain about that really though because my job grants me freedoms, experiences, and connections that you can’t get from security.
I’d like for people to know that sometimes being organized really just means we need to tackle a specific agenda: this room or this clutter or move from here to there. Holistically, however, being “organized” means that MOST of the time you take care of yourself, your life is working for you, your life makes you happy, your life reflects who you are. I love people so doing anything I can to help them achieve this comes naturally.
I’ve grown to love that small town big city feel Birmingham has going on. It’s affordable, accessible, and lately I’ve much appreciated the diversity in activities. You can find what you’re in the mood for in Birmingham, without a lot of hassle! My hopes for the future of Birmingham are for more diversity, more acceptance, and more bike lanes!