‘Downsizing’ entrepreneur offers her keys to success

Fiona Hill has her own specialty organizing business aimed at helping seniors and older Canadians, with a growing number of customers coming from Mississauga and Oakville.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur was not easy for Hill but it has offered her unique insight into what it takes to help a small business get a foothold in a niche industry.

Hill, owner of Fiona Hill Downsizing shared her top tips and advice with YourMississaugaBiz.com:

Be connected to the goal of your business

Hill’s first experience in organizing and downsizing was helping to clean out her father’s house when he was moving into an assisted living facility. “All of a sudden he couldn’t live at home anymore,” she said, explaining the situation arose while she was between jobs. “And afterwards I thought, there has to be an easier way of doing this.”

Work for an established company to gain experience

Hill knew that she enjoyed the process of helping her father, but had no other experience with or knowledge about the organizing industry. So she worked for another Toronto cleaning company for nearly one year before setting out on her own. Doing so helped Hill see what other organizers and companies offered, and what she could do to set herself apart.

Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth

While many house-related services like cleaners depend on online reviews, Hill said  her clients often talk about her services among friends and at social events. She estimated approximately 30 per cent of her business comes from referrals.

Partner with other organizations for referrals

Much of Hill’s business also comes from real estate agents who offer her services as an incentive to clients. “I’m one of the things they can use as tool or a value-add,” she said, noting the popularity of “free staging” services. “The smart ones are starting to offer downsizing.”

Be aware of the amount of work actually involved

While Hill has been able to turn her independent downsizing business into a full-time job, it means long hours, working weekends and often times underestimating the amount of work she is taking on in any given project.

 

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