For seven years since 1982, I had been thoroughly enjoying working hands-on in homes and speaking in churches with a simple seminar using before and after pictures of homes that I had organized all over the USA. What a treat to bless women and men in churches as they listened to my seminars and then went home to reorder their homes and their lives. My business was also becoming a ministry, and I saw the fruit every day as people either called or wrote to tell me how appreciative they were of my ideas.
I also had a Board of Advisors- four men and one woman who encouraged me early in my business to start teaching in corporations. Since I had had no experience with working in a corporation and couldn’t speak “corporateeze”, I was intimidated and would not make the leap. But God had other plans and saw to it that I would soon do just that. He dried up all my work in homes! Wow, when you have had a successful business that has grown each year, you tend to expect it to repeat that growth year after year. But 1989 was awful! I could not find work. So I turned to God, and He began to lead me gently to create a seminar and hands-on program for businesses.
Here’s how it happened. I had had experience working one-on-one with individuals in their homes and small business offices but had never spoken or worked hands-on in corporations. One day a builder asked me if I could organize his office as well as his secretary’s office at the same time. I had never done that but often was a bit bored as I worked hands-on with only one person and was searching for a way to work with more than one person at a time. I went to his office, worked hands-on with both him and his secretary at the same time, and it was a piece of cake! I would get him started, then rotate to her room and get her started. By the time, I had finished with making sure that she knew what to do next, I would enter his office and continue with him. This worked so smoothly because as I discovered, it was not necessary to just stand in one office as each participant was going through their papers. As one was purging from his stacks of papers, I could easily rotate to the secretary and get her going on her next step. As I worked with them I thought maybe I could actually work with more than two people — what about five or maybe ten-what about working with fifteen?
Another revelation came that transformed my business. I discovered that if a person had taken my seminar and then hired me, the organization for them was much easier, much faster and it tended to stick. That’s when I got the idea to combine a seminar with the hands-on training and to work with five people at one time. I could charge less per person but actually make more for the day because I was working with a group.
As I called around, I found that no organizer at that time was doing anything like that concept. They were either offering seminars only or one-on-one training. I thought that I had a unique idea but I needed a snappy corporate training system. That’s when I came up with the idea of FileMAP® (see my book If I File It, Can I Find It? Strategies for Organizing your Office and your Thinking).
I wanted to present a simple, succinct, snappy, easy-to-implement filing system that would work in all industries since I wanted to spread my expertise to all kinds of businesses and corporations. This filing system had to be easy to understand, easy to implement, easy to maintain but also had to mirror a filing system for the computer. I intuitively knew that the computer filing system would be huge in the coming years and that both the paper filing system and the computer filing system had to look the same. I came up with FileMAP®, tested it out on several people, and it worked like a charm.
I had taken pictures of some of the businesses that I had organized in the late 80’s and all I needed was a sharp 30-page workbook to go along with the seminar, and I was ready.
Well, they say if you build it, they will come. It didn’t quite happen that way, but it was close. After I had created this one-day seminar-hands-on workshop for businesses and corporations, I read an article about the Marriott Corporation. The manager being interviewed mentioned that her employees were disorganized, so I took that as my cue. I called her, walked into the headquarters of the Marriott Corporation with a 17 cent black and white brochure and a slide carousel, and they bought my seminar! For the next ten years, off and on, I worked at the headquarters of one of America’s largest corporations!
My one-day workshop was a hit. It combined a seminar where I taught and motivated the participants what to do and then went to their offices and actually worked hands-on with them helping them to implement the program right at their desks. What a concept! It was fun, exciting, instructional, and at the end of the day all 5-10 participants had created a brand new office.
News spread and from that point on, that has been mainly what I have been offering to businesses and corporations. I have spoken in 46 states and Canada, sharing my expertise and helping people to establish order in their offices and homes. What a ride! I never dreamed that I could actually speak in corporations, excite people, help them to help themselves, and make excellent money.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” —I Corinthians 2:9