The question for me has never been, “Why become a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO)?” The only question was how fast I could get it. I certified as soon as I was physically able to take the test. Here are some of my reasons.
It’s no surprise that I like benchmarks as much as I like order. Knowing that I belong in the best tier of professional peers helps me be more confident and ensures there are no detrimental gaps in my professional knowledge.
Every industry has standards. Can you imagine how shoddy some of our public systems would be without standards and certifications, like those for medical professionals and financial professionals? Even computer geeks, food service managers, and car mechanics now earn certifications!
Earning the CPO designation is a vote of confidence for our industry. After all NAPO has done for my business, I wanted to be part of the early wave of professionals who gave back to NAPO. Paying for, preparing for, and displaying the credentials moved the Association and the entire group of professional organizers into a new level.
Professional organizing is what is referred to as a “low barrier to entrance” business. I’m was grateful for that early on. But the costs and experience required to earn the CPO title is a welcomed and reasonable hurdle to designate that we CPO’s are experienced and capable, a cut above anyone who wants to print up business cards. That leads to higher earning potential. That can lead to higher success rates in our individual businesses. And that leads to the likelihood that we’ll each be here longer to provide solutions to our clients. Which leads them to trust us more.
I suspect we have all declined to (or been burned by) tradespeople working without adequate knowledge, certifications, or licenses. Not once has a client actually asked me, “Are you a CPO?”, but that’s OK. They see my credentials when they research my company. It’s one of many, many factors that will ultimately lead a client to know, like and trust me with their problems and their stuff. If only one more client a year signs on because of credentials, then the investment is paid for.
If each of us is running a business where the cost of the certification is easily born by our business, then more of us can consider our business a stable, full-time business with benefits. When we value ourselves at the professional level, our clients will, too, and the financial rewards will be enough that the cost of the CPO title will just be one small business expense.
Darla DeMorrow owns HeartWork Organizing (www.HeartWorkOrg.com) near Philadelphia, PA.