We had the good fortune of connecting with Beth Blacker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Beth, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I always say that my passion for having a place and purpose for everything is in my DNA. My mother and grandmother were both very organized and I just followed in their maternal footsteps. I never had to be told to clean my room, do my homework or any other age appropriate executive functioning skill so there is no doubt that I have always hovered on the OCD line and enjoy having systems and processes for everything. As a result, I always sought out jobs early in my professional career that required a significant amount of attention to detail and order. I often say that I “see things” others don’t when I walk into any space whether a home, office or business and want to just dive in with my vision for how the space could function with an incredible amount of energy. Trust me, though, it is a blessing and a curse being so action forward. For some people, this process can be very intense so I need to be able to constantly assess where my energy level needs to be to make sure the client doesn’t get overwhelmed to the point they shut down and can’t move forward. It’s a balancing act that requires compassion yet some degree of being ruthless. Otherwise, what is the point of hiring any expert for anything in life we cannot do or maybe just don’t want to do ourselves. I never claim to be a therapist but I do consider myself a coach on some level and, therefore, my goal will always be to set up every client for success with sustainable solutions. It’s not a one and done type of thing…it really is a life maintenance plan and I am happy to be the conduit for any change that helps anyone go from chaos to calm and find a reasonable way to maintain that sense of peace with their “stuff”.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I was a senior in college I made the decision to abandon any plans to go on to any type of graduate program or accept a job with an ad agency in NYC that I had interned at the summer before. It was the first time in my life I didn’t have a real plan and as someone who is all about being organized, it was very unsettling. But a few very wise friends convinced me that I needed to pursue my passion for cooking and baking and suddenly I was going through a 6 month intensive culinary arts program in Manhattan. It was the perfect experience to give me enough knowledge about the industry to get into the a very specific segment of the food service management world, corporate dining. And it was at a time when the foodie revolution was really starting to take place in the US. The only cooking shows on TV were Graham Kerr’s, The Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child’s, The French Chef. There were plenty of food magazines but the internet was still 15 years away from becoming a household convenience and so it wasn’t a very popular decision at the time for a University of Michigan graduate. But I did all of my research thanks to the articles preserved on microfilm in the university’s library and the rest as they say was my post college first career history. I eventually moved on to doing more event planning and trade show management which continued to hone my organizing skills but once I left NY (for my then husband’s job in KY before we moved to FL for a different job) and started our family, my professional life was put on hold. When we divorced in 2001, I found myself about 7 years behind in terms of technology but still felt very confident that I had significant skills that would get me back into the working world and landed with a start up research and marketing company in Tampa. I was hired initially to work part time as their office manager but the job quickly evolved into a full time client relations and business development position and it was where my passion for the start up community really began. I continued to work for them until 2005 when my mother passed away somewhat unexpectedly from cancer and at the time was remarried to my second husband who convinced me to transition to helping him with strategic partnerships and community outreach for his mortgage company. A few years later, though, the mortgage meltdown took hold and I did the responsible adult thing…took a job as a hearings specialist for a large foreclosure law firm…to have a steady paycheck and reasonable benefits. But it was a soulless job and I needed a creative outlet at night. So I would bake…a lot…and bring my “work product” to my office mates in exchange for donations to various local charities. That eventually mushroomed into a full time baking business right around the time that social media was really taking off and I hitched a ride on that rocket and embraced online marketing and connecting. It wasn’t long before one of my products got the attention of a national broker who wanted to mass produce and distribute it. And while we were never able to get it to the masses, it was still a very successful venture in terms of what I learned, who I met and where it ultimately all took me. So after making the decision to move to Colorado in 2016, I did work for a few different companies at first but ultimately realized I really am happiest when I am doing professional organizing and clearly I must be doing something right because, despite a pandemic over the past year, I am busier than ever and truly jump out of bed every day excited to make whatever little difference I can in someone’s life on any given day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I moved to Colorado in 2016 after spending the first 50+ years of my life living in places that I made home but no place has ever felt more like home than this state and when anyone comes to visit nothing gives me greater pleasure than to show it off. And as someone who likes to organize and plan, I have no problem coming up with an itinerary that takes into consideration my guests level of interest in any of the outdoor adventures that my Rocky Mountain life provides. I love to hike so any chance to show off the beautiful trails (chosen based on comfortable degree of difficulty) I am thrilled to do. Hopefully they are willing to get an early start so we can enjoy an après hike adult beverage and/or meal in one of the little mountain towns nearby and in non pandemic times I would definitely want to end the day finding live music, especially at Red Rocks because you can’t come to Colorado and not experience a concert there! If you have never been, it is a bucket list must!Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As I already mentioned, I have to give credit where the real credit is due to my mother and grandmother for not only passing down their executive functioning DNA genes but also nurturing my innate ability to create and maintain order when it comes to all of the external “stuff” in our lives. But with regard to my actual business success and notoriety, I have been so fortunate to connect with some incredible strategic partners in recent years who have helped expand my reach, especially several Realtors who offer my services to their clients as part of the listing or buying agreement, a plethora of senior care specialists for not only referring clients but giving me opportunities to share my expertise via presentations (live before COVID and now all virtual), blogs, interviews, etc. to help that demographic understand the downsizing process and deal with all of the emotions in letting go of a lifetime of memories in most cases and last but certainly not least, a variety of nonprofits that I am able to pass on countless donations of household items for those having an immediate and desperate need. There are truly too many names to actually name but to them all, I am so grateful for all of the support and encouragement especially in the past year while navigating a pandemic.
It’s Just Stuff