Talking Entrepreneurship with Ronni Eisenberg

June 22, 2020

By: Richard Lau

Talking Entrepreneurship with Ronni Eisenberg

Tell us about yourself and how your journey brought you to where you are now.

40 years ago, I took a battery of career planning tests. The only results it showed was that I was super off the charts organized and an excellent teacher.
At the same time, a friend of mine, a reporter for the New York Times, was writing an article on a new phenomenon. A small group of women around the country who made a business helping others get organized. She said, "if they can do it, so can my friend Ronni, you're the most organized person I know." So I persuaded her to put me in the article, promising I would go into business. I recall sitting at my dining room table with my home telephone line, the next morning, the article came out, hoping and praying my phone would ring. The first call came in at 9 AM, and the phone didn't stop for six months. It propelled me into a business that never stops. Here I am 40 years later, still helping people get organized.

After 40 years, I think I've done it all. As a spokesperson for Fortune 100 companies, I loved promoting the organizational benefits of their products, my ten books being the media hook. I also designed a line of organizing handbags that sold out on QVC.

I've organized households, set up schedules, streamlined papers, paid bills, sold furniture and revamped closets and kitchens. I planned moves and getting settled after the move. I've overseen contractors, renovation, and removed gift and personal shopping from to-do lists and managed time. I set up household notebooks of information, organized all occasion cards and holiday gift wrapping supplies. I sent floral arrangements, selected stationery, chose to frame, and purchased home goods for my clients.

I've also helped clients with virtual services. I have consulted with clients through phone chats and Zoom on organizational practices. For example, I helped a Senior VP with time management and office systems. Tracking how she spent time, I was able to design a more efficient schedule. Another client hired me to stage his home for sale. As I had already viewed his home and taken measurements, I was able to make all the purchases online.

Was there someone or something that inspired you?

I'll be honest; I had to inspire myself because the organization was just an idea back then. When I started, very few people understood what I did for a living. It would take up to 10 minutes to explain, and even then, people would assume it was a hobby instead of a real business.
Luckily, times have changed, and everyone has heard of this genuinely life-changing profession. I had to figure out a way to put the organization on the map, and so I had to continually market, promote, and reinvent myself and change direction.

How did you create your brand name and logo?

I've always gone by Ronni Eisenberg. For a while I was Ronni Eisenberg and Associates, then after my first book was published, Organize Yourself!, I wanted my name to be the brand, and so I stuck with it.

How did you go about establishing your marketing?

Here's what is fascinating and what's new. Not much, and then some. The problems I saw 40 years ago, I still see today, and many of the solutions remain the same. What's mostly changed is that four decades ago, you might have said, "I have ten things on my to-do list that I should've done yesterday." Today there may be a whopping 25 things on your list. Sure, you're overworked, overwhelmed and sometimes felt on the margin of collapse. Back then, your mamas did too.

The difference is that we didn't have the same benefits as modern technology, which is a game-changer and, at the same time, a stress charger. Today, expectations are at a coronary high. As a frontierswoman, snail mail was in; cell phones were a heartbeat away. You couldn't be found, and you could have a real vacation without being interrupted. Times were a little slower. There was less. You even had a grace period to decide without pressure beating down your fitness crazed back. Kids had after school activities too, and watching some telly like Sesame Street wasn't the worst thing in the world. Today we need an air traffic controller to navigate a family calendar with the finesse of getting to where and when—more room to store more stuff. We have apps to keep track of and sort information, emails to keep track of details that you didn't need to know and text to store conversations that get misconstrued anyway.

That's how we get in touch today. Picking up the telephone and having a "Hello, how are you, what's new?" conversation is almost unheard-of. Being there has everything to do with being fully charged and plugged in. It's all about to fast-forward change (that's what happens through the years) and what stays the same.

Tell us about your first experience in the industry.

A woman called me the day she read that live-changing New York Times article. She said that she had to call me that very minute because she was afraid that if she didn't, she might lose the tiny scrap of paper she had written my phone number on. When I walked into her apartment, she asked if I was nervous since it was my first job as an organizer. I was so confident; I said that I wasn't worried because I knew exactly what I was doing. It was something that I knew well from the inside out.

What is your work structure like, and what does the average workday look like for you?

My work lately is my blog, my virtual clients with endless projects, marketing and promotion. My day can start at 8 AM, and I can work for another 12 hours. I'll take breaks to exercise, chat with family and friends, make time for meals, play with my pups and then back to work.

What philosophies do you integrate into your workflow most often, and what view inspires you in your work?

Two words to find my work style. Priorities and perseverance. It's always OK to shift gears as long as I keep my focus and my eye on the result.

What do you think you do that drives your success?

As I said above, I persevere. I know how to overcome obstacles, and I do not take no for an answer. And that means whoever is doing the talking, including myself.

How do you engage with your clients and build your following?

I've always tried to build relationships. My clients are human beings who have full lives, and I like to know what makes them tick.
Many of my clients have become dear friends throughout the years. I've been lucky. I've had wonderful and amazing clients.

How do you use social media, and what recommendations do you have?

I am active on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I've also done quite a few videos, radio and online interviews. My recommendation is to pick a few and do a stellar job on those. It's tough work, and it's too difficult and stressful to keep up with every social media platform unless you hire someone to do it.

What do you wish you knew before you started? What advice would you give to someone entering your field now?

I was very young when I started, so there was a huge learning curve. I can tell you this for sure; I'm glad I didn't know when I started and how it would turn out. If I knew, I might not have worked as hard as I did to push through all the challenges. I wasn't sure what it would look like, but I knew I would be successful.

Is there an event or situation that you can point to as life-changing for you that you can share with us?

The first time I did the Regis Philbin show, I was awful. It was the most embarrassing experience I ever had. So when I finished, I went home and vowed that I was going to turn it around. And I did. I worked on my media skills, and a year later, I was back on the Regis Philbin show, and it was terrific. I killed it. It was a two-day show where I reorganized his office, and he was thrilled.

What has been the most memorable or inspiring interaction with a client or customer?

I met one of my clients when she took one of my workshops at the New School in New York. She was quite a brilliant woman—the head of the reading department at Hunter College. We immediately became friends, and I helped her with a myriad of organizing projects throughout the years. She was like an adoring aunt, and there was no one like her. She passed away last September. I miss her terribly, and she's someone I carry in my heart, and I will never forget.

What has been the hardest challenge for you in this industry?

All the new technology and the overload of new information today is enormously time consuming and thus challenging for me.

What are the trends in the industry that you are excited about?

I love working with sponsors and promoting their products through the media. It's not necessarily a new trend, but it is a trend that continues.

What are you looking forward to in the next week/month/quarter or year, and what are your aspirations?

I always look forward to discovery and possibilities. I look forward to the next exciting idea or person I meet. There's still something to learn. Both of you think of something he surprised to learn about me, OK.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Yes, I love to cook, I'm a good dancer, and I love soul music. I also love to have fun and play. Like I was back in grade school.

What's your personal "go-to" workout?

Since the pandemic hit, I started online exercise classes, and I am hooked. I love body conditioning, weightlifting, kickboxing and, most of all, barre!!

Where is your favourite place in the world?

I love London, I love LA, but my favourite place is when I click my heels and go home.

Feeding the mind is essential! Any books to recommend?

The Stanger by Harlan Covan.

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