We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie VanDerven and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leslie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
First and foremost, I wanted to start a business that I was passionate about. I love the philosophy of Feng Shui, rearranging furniture, organizing everything, and most of all I find personal satisfaction in helping people achieve harmony and balance in their lives. I love seeing and hearing about the results of my work, how manipulating my clients’ home environment makes them FEEL better! Starting my own business was the result of taking a Feng Shui certification class in 2008. With the understanding of how our home energies affect our lives, it was clear to me that an organizing business could help so many people struggling with feelings of being overwhelmed. At that time, my husband and I were starting our family and I wanted to make my own hours and my own decisions regarding the work I was doing.
What should our readers know about your business?
There are many excellent professional organizers out there. I believe what sets me apart is my Feng Shui background and that I work with the person before the “stuff.” Instead of diving right in to fancy closet systems and containers, I want to understand WHY the client has called me. Once I understand the problem and their overall goals, I can assess how their home habits and their “stuff” is affecting them. I want to understand the problem on a deeper level, not just address the obvious. Together we come up with an organizing strategy and outcome that they’re thrilled about and inspired by. I am always excited about the results of my work, especially seeing the joy on my clients’ faces after we’ve cleared out a space and rearranged a room! I started making a name for myself by giving away my services and only asking for a Google review in return. I did very little advertising and still rely heavily on referrals and reviews. My biggest challenge was learning all the “business” stuff. I honestly can’t stand being on my computer. (I prefer organizing your pantry.) What I know now, is that everyone has a gift or set of skills. Trading and paying for other peoples’ skills is the way to go instead of trying to learn and do everything by yourself. I want to spend my time doing the things I enjoy and that I am good at. I will pay helpful people to do the things they’re good at, like building websites (Katelyn Woodhams, Fire + Flow Designs) and social media. As my husband Adam would say, check the easy boxes. Ask for help. What may seem overwhelming and impossible to you isn’t for someone else.
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?
If Marney Prince were coming to visit for a week, we’d start with hike up to Horsetooth Reservoir or mountain biking at Lory State Park followed by breakfast at Loucile’s. Then perhaps a stroll through Old Town. I like drinks at Social and dinner could be at any of the awesome restaurants downtown. I’d take her on a bigger hike up in the Poudre Canyon, probably Greyrock, and most definitely go to a show at Red Rocks!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to Mike Forney, who was my S.C.O.R.E. mentor, the Fort Collins Small Business Development Center, my husband Adam who has loved, encouraged and supported me in every aspect of my life, and my amazing subcontractors who’ve helped make many of my individual jobs a success: Ally Layman, Daniela Granados, Julie Emery, Rachel Vesta, & Megan Guilbeaux.