On this week's podcast, Marcus sits down with Kandy Negus. Kandy owns Order Your Spaces, a professional organizer business. Listen to this week's podcast and find out more about how she built her business to transform her lifestyle.
Produced by Blue Fish in Mobile, Alabama
Kandy Negus: Hey, I'm Kandy Negus and I'm the owner of Order Your Spaces, a professional organizing companies starving Mobile and Baldwin counties.
Marcus Neto: Very good, Kandy. Well it's awesome to have you on the podcast, and I think especially appropriate considering the Netflix special that has been released recently. So I'm happy to have you here.
Kandy Negus: I'm happy to be here.
Marcus Neto: Well, normally the way that we start the podcast is we want to know a little bit about the person that we're talking to. So why don't you give us some backstory about yourself. Where you're from? Where'd you go to high school? Did you go to college? If so, where did you go and what did you study? Now if you're married and you want to kind of get into any of those kinds of things, just talk to us a little bit about who you are.
Kandy Negus: Okay. I grew up in a sweet little farming community, 30 minutes south of here, Grand Bay, Alabama. And I actually went to high school there, but the high school no longer exist. It was called Mobile County High School, and they merged with Alba after my time. So my school has actually been turned into a middle school now. But I did graduate from there, went on to South Alabama, where I had no idea what to major in because I didn't want to be a nurse and I didn't want to be a school teacher, and back in my day, that's the only thing women did-
Marcus Neto: Those were the options, yeah.
Kandy Negus: But I went anyway, because that's what you're supposed to do. But then I fell in love and I got married, and I didn't finish school and started a family. I've lived in Mobile. My husband's from here and we moved to Mobile when we got married from Grand Bay, that was 30 minutes-
Marcus Neto: Sure, big move.
Kandy Negus: Big move there. But his family is like three generation Mobile, Alabama. So raised three kids. They're all married, they're all off the payroll. I have three grandchildren. So I spent most of my years, I kind of hesitate when I say this, Marcus, being a stay at home mom, because I was the stay at home mom that didn't stay at home, because I was always involved-
Marcus Neto: You were involved in various community activities and stuff like that-
Kandy Negus: Whatever my kids were involved in, I was involved in. But I spent the last 10 years working in the medical industry, administrative office manager, because most organizers also have that skillset of just being administrative.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. Keeping things square and then in an office, whether it's paperwork that needs to be filed or schedules that need to be organized...
Kandy Negus: Or the supply closet, that's wrecked.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, exactly. There's a little bit of OCD, I'm sure, in that. So as far as you walk into a supply closet and if it's messy, it's kind of like, no, this has got to be taken care of now.
Kandy Negus: Right, I couldn't stand it.
Marcus Neto: Well, go back and tell us, what was your first job and were there any lessons that you learned from that? And I mean, not your first job as like an administrative assistant position-
Kandy Negus: Oh, I know what my first job was.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. What was your first job?
Kandy Negus: I was 13 years old, and we had a pecan orchard across from where I lived, and we picked up pecans as kids. And so you were on your knees all day in a pecan orchard picking up pecans and putting them in a feed sack. At the end of the day, the guy weighs them, and you got paid so many cents per pound, and that was my first job. And I did that job until I was old enough to drive and then get a real job working at a hamburger place.
Marcus Neto: There you go. Now then, going back to that pecan orchard picking job though, I mean, were there any lessons that you remember from that, as far as I mean that you would still carry with you until today?
Kandy Negus: Work is hard. And yes, I mean like when you earn that money, you're going to be careful with how you spend it-
Marcus Neto: Because you had to spend all those hours on your hands and knees-
Kandy Negus: Yes. I mean we, I'm the oldest of four children and so we had to earn our money to go to the county fair. And the county fair was a big deal when I was growing up. Like we went three or four times. We didn't just go once. I mean, my family loved the fair. And so we kids, we had to earn our money to go to the fair, and so that's how I earned my money. And so that's a vivid memory for me, earning that money to go to the fair. And I didn't waste my money on those tricky little games where you couldn't win the stuffed animal, because I'd worked too hard for that money. I wasted my money on the Ferris wheel and the cotton candy and the hot dogs, and that kind of thing-
Marcus Neto: Experiences over things-
Kandy Negus: That would take your money.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, no, I get that. I certainly remember my first job, and I don't know that we've ever gotten into this and I'm not going to get into it now. But yeah, I mean, when you've worked hard for something, you certainly have a desire to spend that money more wisely. So how did you get started with your business? Because this is something that's fairly new, and I know that professional organizers are now kind of becoming more and more prevalent. I don't know, I guess that's the right way to say that-
Kandy Negus: I can address that. I can tell you how I got started and I can even tell you why I think we're becoming more prevalent. I'm in the fourth quarter of life, that's what I like to say about my husband and I, we're in the fourth quarter of life, and I have spent my whole life helping people get organized. It didn't matter what industry or what I was involved in, whether it was the school or helping the athletic director or going into the medical office, wherever I went, people were always, oh, well just get Kandy, get Kandy. She can get that organized for us.
Kandy Negus: And so I've done it my whole life and I love doing it. Some women love to cook, some women love to shop. I love to organize, and I'm always recognize that about myself. Well, last year I just said to my husband, I said, you know, we're in the fourth quarter of life and I've kind of had this dream for 10 years, when it started coming on the scene in larger metropolitan areas, not little smaller towns in the south, but I began to be aware that it was a thing, okay, that people will actually pay you to clean up their clutter. And I used to think, oh, I would love to do that, oh, I would love to do that. Well, last year I just said to my husband, I don't want life to pass me by, and me not do the one thing that I really wanted to do. And yes, I'm good at administration, and I mean I've run PTAs, and I've run athletic departments, and I've done a lot of administrative. I've been a wedding planner, I've done a lot of event planning.
Kandy Negus: But my real passion is let me come in and help you transform your life, because I have the skill set and I can make a difference for you, I can help you. And so I said to him, I really just want to give this everything I've got. And I have grandchildren, and the 9:00 to 5:00 job is not flexible, and I don't want to be the grandmother or the mother-in-law to my two new daughter-in-laws that is never available because she's working the 9:00 to 5:00. I don't want that to be my legacy.
Kandy Negus: I want to be available to my family and available to my grandchildren, but I like making some fun money. And so this fit the bill, do something I love, have flexibility and at the end of the day feel very rewarded. Now to answer your second question, Marcus, kind of why is this coming on the scenes now? And I can tell you when I said to my husband, I think I want to start an organizing business. He said, do people need to get organized? He said, what is clutter? And I said to my husband, you have lived with a woman for 30 something years that has not allowed that in our home, so you think everybody lives like we do. Well, when I began to bring home before and after pictures to him, and he would see the before, he would go, oh. I said, these people look like your office. You know, your cluttered office? Well, that's what these people, you know.
Kandy Negus: So he began to kind of get on board and understand it. But I think the reason that this industry has come on the scene in the last 10 years is we're consumers, and we all have an Amazon box on our porch every day, and we take more and more and more stuff into our life and into our home, but we don't get rid of anything. And so stuff just piles up. Whereas say, the generation of people that lived before us, they didn't have access to the goods that we have and they didn't have stuff constantly coming into their home, and they didn't have as much clutter. And I think people have more money today than say they did 30 or 40 years ago and they spend it, and so that's where the ... Honestly Marcus, when you hear a man or woman say, oh, I just need to get organized, what they're really saying is I just need somebody to help me with this clutter.
Marcus Neto: Or I just need to learn how to let go of some of this stuff that I don't really need anymore.
Kandy Negus: Right. Right. And so the organization, I like to say that I have the privilege of entering into women's homes every day, helping them to reduce the stress by reducing the clutter, and that the organization is just the bonus. That's just what comes as the icing on the cake, that's not the root. The root is the clutter.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. Well, you said something and I want to kind of highlight that as a point here on the podcast, because we were talking beforehand and I was telling you like anybody that sits down in the chair across from me, like we're here just to have a conversation, but the purpose of this podcast is really to kind of show the audience that there is no rhyme or reason between success or not success as an entrepreneur. So you can be young or old, you can be a male, female, white, black, Latino, Asian. You can be educated at college or not educated, and you can have PhDs or not have a college or even a high school degree. There's really nothing along those lines. But also you can choose to have a lifestyle business, which is what I think you have.
Kandy Negus: It is.
Marcus Neto: So you may be a freelancer, a solopreneur, or somebody that has a hustle that they're working on, or you could be somebody that works 70 hours a week, 80 hours a week, and you're trying to build a huge business. And there's nothing right or wrong about any of those situations. It's really about what makes you happiest, and for you to say, I wanted to do something that made me happy, but I also wanted to have a legacy of feeding into my family and being there for my daughter-in-laws and stuff like that, I mean, I think that's phenomenal because I want this audience to hear that, that it doesn't have to be a 9:00 to 5:00, that it can be something other than that. And sometimes, because I think so often right now, a lot of the more prevalent people on social media are saying that it has to be basically an all the time, all day, all night kind of thing, and it's just kind of like, well, it can, it can be that if that's what you want it to be-
Kandy Negus: If that's what you want your legacy to be.
Marcus Neto: But it doesn't have to be that way. Yeah. Now do you remember the first time that you sold your services and you thought, hey, maybe there is something to this? What was that like? What was that experience like?
Kandy Negus: Okay, well, to start my business, I throw a text message out to 50 contacts in my phone. That's how I started. I threw a text out saying, hey, I think I want to start a pro organizing business. Any takers? I had four friends immediately jump on the bandwagon-
Marcus Neto: Yes, please.
Kandy Negus: And they got the heavily discounted friend rate. But I can remember helping a friend with her kitchen of 30 years and it was just, her husband loves to cook and he was like, I'm not cooking in this kitchen. And I mean, a man that loves to cook, I mean, get your kitchen cleaned up. I don't like to cook. So he was like, it's just too cluttered. I can't find anything. And so she brought my assistant and myself in, I have an assistant, and we revamped that kitchen, and it was a big kitchen and it was a big project, but at the end of the day, we had made tons of donations, tons of trash bags. She was thrilled. I mean, you get a big hug in my job at the end of the day and sometimes there are tears, but they're tears of happiness because you've literally transformed somebody's life.
Kandy Negus: And I know it doesn't sound, that kind of sounds like, oh, people get transformed because their kitchen got organized. Organizing is not me making a drawer look pretty. It's me changing the way someone lives their lives so that they can be more productive, more creative, and do the things they really love to do. And this little part that I come along beside them and help them with enables them to do the things they really want to do with their life. And these were empty nesters, and they love to get in the kitchen and cook together, but they couldn't because it was messy.
Kandy Negus: Anyway, this was the thing. Her husband wasn't there. He came home from work, and I got a personal text from her husband. He asked for my number from the lady, from my friend, and he said, wow, this looks like something that should go in a magazine. I'm going to give you a bonus and I need your business cards, and I'm passing them out to every man I work with. That is rewarding to know that you really made a difference in somebody's life. Not like, oh, we just got some pretty hangers and put them in their closet. That's kind of what people think about on the surface, but it's really a lot more than that.
Marcus Neto: No, I mean, I get it. I totally get it because there's something, there's emotional baggage that comes along with having all that stuff kind of hanging over your head. And I think, and I'm going to go out on a limb here and I'm probably going to need to backtrack this, but I think especially for women, because that has typically been, typically, I'm stereotyping here, has been the role of-
Kandy Negus: The home.
Marcus Neto: The homeowner or the housewife, that she-
Kandy Negus: Home manager.
Marcus Neto: The home manager, that she would, thank you for guiding me through this because this is a landmine-
Kandy Negus: I'm helping you Marcus, home manager.
Marcus Neto: But I think for women, like there's this baggage that comes along with that of like, I have this thing that I have to do. I have the 9:00 to 5:00 plus the kids, and going to the grocery store and doing all these things, but man, there's this thing that I really wished that I could make time for, but you know, that time isn't necessarily ever there. And so for somebody to come in and literally inside of a day, know the processes by which, and also be able to help them identify which of the pieces they're holding onto that they don't necessarily need. I think I can see how that would be an extremely powerful and an almost very emotional a process to go through.
Kandy Negus: Let me address that. I want to speak into that, Marcus-
Marcus Neto: Please say something outside of what I just brought.
Kandy Negus: No, listen. Home manager, you're right. That has kind of fallen on the woman in the past. But I can say that you younger folks and the newer generation, I'm just kind of looking at my sons and their wives, and the men are more involved in home management today. I love this. I mean, I'm not saying they're becoming domesticated, but men are recognizing, hey, she works outside the home too, so we've got to both get in the kitchen. We got to both kind of do the laundry, so that we both can have fun on the weekend. We want to take the boat out, it's spring, we live in Mobile, we live on the water-
Marcus Neto: Just enjoy life.
Kandy Negus: Oh, we can't do that because on Saturday we've got to do all the laundry and she's got to go to the grocery store. No, we're going to go to the grocery store. So I love this about the younger folks. They're getting both, but here's to speak into the she's working, juggling kids, more women work outside the home today than have ever worked outside the home, or they have some kind of entrepreneurship, or maybe they're actually working inside their home, but they're still working. Okay. My clients are all across the board. I recently helped a 35-ish and her husband, moved into a new home, they had four kids, they own their own business, they work from home, and she's more organized than I am but there just wasn't enough time.
Kandy Negus: So she brought my team in to just help me get my house set up because tomorrow I got to get up and run my business. So there's all different types of people that need this help, and it really just falls down to, I don't have the energy, I don't have the time, or I don't have the skill set.
Marcus Neto: That's fair.
Kandy Negus: What I want to encourage your subscribers to hear today is my message, which is there is no shame in outsourcing your life. There is no shame in reaching out and getting help in an area that is not your area. I don't love to cook, Marcus, and I don't think I need to be embarrassed about that. I outsource. I mean, there's some great places here in Mobile that do meal delivery or meal pickup, and they cook better than I do. So I outsource.
Marcus Neto: It's interesting because I think as entrepreneurs, we've made the switch of feeling, because I remember early on in my business career, you felt like you had to get better at the skill sets that you weren't necessarily good at. And certainly there are some things where you're going to need to bone up if you don't know them.
Marcus Neto: Like if you run a business and you don't know financials, you don't know a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, those kinds of things, then get a damn book and figure it out. Right?
Kandy Negus: Exactly.
Marcus Neto: Or have somebody kind of walk you through it-
Kandy Negus: Watch YouTube.
Marcus Neto: Yeah. I mean your accountant should be able to help you with that, but that doesn't necessarily mean that if you're not bent that way, then I wouldn't necessarily suggest that the business owner be responsible for doing all the bookkeeping and doing your own taxes and stuff like that. But I think, we've moved away from that kind of mindset to a mindset of where we understand that we need to bring in people to offset kind of our weaknesses, and so I mean, but it's interesting that we haven't made that jump in our personal lives where we're actually bringing people in to kind of help us with that.
Kandy Negus: I like to say that hiring a professional organizer is like getting a personal trainer at the gym. You go to the gym to get the personal trainer because he or she will look at you and go, all right Marcus, you're in this season of life, these are your goals, I'm looking at you, this is what you're capable of and this is what I'm going to push you in. And they're your accountability partner. And that's why you pay for the personal trainer.
Kandy Negus: A professional organizer is like hiring a personal trainer. I'm going to come into your home, I'm going to listen to your goals, I'm going to see what your needs are, and then I'm going to customize my plan to fit what you need. And I'm your accountability partner and yes, I'm going to hold your hand through the whole process, and I'm going to help you understand why there's so much clutter in your home. And we are going to help purge some of that. And purge is kind of like, ah, I don't want her to come. She's going to ask me to get rid of my grandmother's china. No, I'm not. Your grandmother's china is special and it means something to you. I'm just going to help you find a place for it. You're not going to have to get rid of everything.
Marcus Neto: If you were talking to someone that wanted to get started in running their own business, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?
Kandy Negus: Oh boy, it looks glamorous, but it's really hard work. Love what you do because it'll be worth it at the end of the day for all the hard work you had to do behind the scenes. Get a business coach, which is what I did, that can help you figure out all the things that you need to figure out and you can't figure them out by yourself. Outsource what you're not good at. For me to get started, I don't know the first thing about logo and branding and building a website, and I know that and didn't pretend to know that, and I bartered.
Kandy Negus: Find a tribe. I'm a part of a network of professional organizers where we get to bounce off of each other. They're all over the world, and that group is invaluable to me, because it's kind of an isolated, like, who are you going to talk to about situations, or oh, I ran into this today, or I've got this, or how would you do that? You need a tribe. I think business coaches are great because they're your accountability partner. Like, hey, did you do what I asked you to do this week? Did you step out? Did you reach out? Did you send that email to Marcus?
Marcus Neto: Yeah, no that's good. Are there any books, podcasts, people or organizations besides the business coach that have been helpful in moving you forward?
Kandy Negus: Oh, wow. I'm a part of a network called Pro Organizer Studio, and it's out of North Carolina, and that is very instrumental in helping me to build my business. As far as podcast, there are-
Marcus Neto: No, we give four because not everybody reads books. Not everybody listens to podcasts-
Kandy Negus: I do all of those. Yes.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, I mean if you have them then great, but don't feel like you have to
Kandy Negus: Yes. I just think, Marcus, my whole life I've been reading books on organizing. I'm a huge, huge fan of Stephen Covey. He's now passed away, but his legacy and ministry continues. I've read every book he ever wrote, The 7 Habits of Effective People. I've always loved time management organization. I was the girl that would go through the grocery store line and the new magazine would be there, 25 organizing tips for the new year, I bought it. I was that person.
Kandy Negus: Well, now today we don't really buy magazines as much, but I listen to tons of podcasts that are all instrumental in my industry. But I can't say that any one person, I can say that there is a woman in Birmingham that's had a pro organizing business for five years, and the way she structures her business, and I follow her because she resonates with me. A business is a personality, and her personality and how she runs her business in Birmingham, I've been following her for five years, trying to get the courage to be her. And her business is HOUSE PEACE. That's the name of it-
Marcus Neto: No, that's really cool.
Kandy Negus: Does that answer you?
Marcus Neto: Yeah, absolutely. How do you like to unwind?
Kandy Negus: Oh, goodness. I love the water. We have a boat. My husband has owned a boating industry for 40 years. He's retiring this year. We have a house at Dolphin Island. So now that doesn't take care of the winter, but this weekend was pretty enough to be on the water with a boat. And so we live in the south, I love living in the south. I don't like cold weather. And so unwinding would be me on a boat with my husband, with my three grandkids, going to Sand Island.
Marcus Neto: No, that's really cool.
Kandy Negus: That'd be my favorite thing to do.
Marcus Neto: Well, and tell people where they can find out more about your services and connect with you.
Kandy Negus: I am on social media, Order Your Spaces. I'm on Instagram and Facebook. I do live videos once or twice a week because, Marcus, everyone cannot afford to hire a professional organizer, and so I like to give value to the community and help women by doing these live videos and live demonstrations. And I'm trying to get better about being on Instagram Stories, just giving tips and giving information and helping. So they can find me on social media or my website, orderyourspaces.com.
Marcus Neto: Very cool. Well, I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. To wrap up, any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?
Kandy Negus: Well, thank you for having me. I love what you're doing here, highlighting business owners in Mobile, and giving those of us that are newer in the industry a chance to tell our story.
Marcus Neto: Yeah, no, absolutely. We started this kind of on a whim because we, Jared and I, and Jared couldn't be here today, but Jared and I wanted some way to work together and so, but it's turned out to be a really kind of an interesting, I don't know, is this an experiment? I'm like, we've been doing this for three plus years and 130, 140 episodes. We've had a lot of really good conversations, and I always tell people it's out of selfishness because I really enjoy what I learn when I sit down and talk to people. There have been podcasts that I've learned about. There have been books that I've learned about. There have been different things that have come out of these that have been really helpful to me as a business owner to learn and understand. So Kandy, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as a business owner and entrepreneur. It's been great talking with you.
Kandy Negus: Thank you, Marcus.