Get to Know Joshua Zerkel, CPO
How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be a Productivity Strategist and Certified Professional Organizer?
In my previous professional life, I was a graphic, web, and interface designer, and while I really enjoyed being creative and liked design in general, my natural abilities kept pulling me in a different direction. At every job, I kept getting the same requests from co-workers: could I help them get organized so they could stay on top of their work and projects the same way I was able to? As it turned out, I very much liked helping people create systems and strategies for managing the projects and the pieces of their daily work lives – and it felt very natural for me to do so. So why not get paid for it?
Like many other entrepreneurs, I decided to leave the corporate world and strike out on my own. I began organizing professionally in 2002, and formally launched Custom Living Solutions in 2003. Within a few months, I had a roster of clients in both offices and homes, and was making a big difference in how they lived and worked.
Since then, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients in dozens of industries to help them clear clutter, manage their time, and develop systems for their businesses and their lives. The work we’ve done together has helped them generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue, add clients to their businesses (and better serve the ones they already have), make the most of their space and their time, and focus on what’s important to them.
One of the great things about working with me and the team at Custom Living Solutions is that I built a business, from scratch, during two of the worst economic downturns in recent memory – the dot-com bust of the early 2000’s, and our most recent recession. Through it all, I’ve relied on systems and strategies in my own business to help keep my business on track, and have been successful regardless of the economy, and I’ve shown clients like you how to do the same. I know what it takes to run a truly successful, six-figure business (and the business of life), and am committed to helping clients learn how to do the same thing.
I’m deeply committed to the success of my fellow entrepreneurs. I believe entrepreneurship is the backbone of our economy, and as the myth of job security starts to unravel, I think more people will be striking out on their own, without any sort of job security. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, and I want to provide support for these brave folks. To that end, I teach regularly at the Small Business Administration, the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and speak to many small business and entrepreneurial groups.
One of the things I learned through my years of experience as a professional organizer and productivity strategist is how there needs to be a system for your systems – a way of tying everything together. When I work with clients, we have a systematic, 7-step process that we focus on to make sure that we cover your key areas of organizing and productivity. Without the right systems in place, it can feel like you’re just shuffling papers around – and that’s not my goal for our clients. I believe that getting organized for organizing’s sake is a waste of time and resources. Rather, I’ve found that when organizing is in service of a bigger goal – spending more time with your family, boosting revenue in your business, etc. – the actual organizing strategies are much more purposeful and meaningful to you.
I’m known as a bit of a geek, and one of my specialties is helping clients integrate technology into their lives and into their work. I get to help clients choose the right tech tools, get them set up, and then train them on how to best use them so they become helpful tools, rather than hair-pulling frustrations. What’s great is that I have a wide array of tech tools in my toolbag, and I personally try them all out – every single one – before I recommend them to clients. That way, I can confidently share tools and services that I believe in and use in my own business.
Who are your clients exactly?
We work with professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other solo service professionals just like you who are really good at what they do; however, have never been taught exactly how to manage all the “bits and pieces” of their business so they CONSISTENTLY stay at the top of their game. That said, some of the industries we’ve worked with include:
• Advertising Agencies
• Angel Investors
• Business Coaches
• Career Coaches
• College Consultants
• Computer/IT Consultants
• Court Reporters
• Educational Consultants
• Event Planners
• Executive Assistants
• Executive Coaches
• Financial Planners
• Fund Managers
• Graphic Designers
• Hair Salons
• Holistic Health Counselors
• Insurance Agents
• Interior Designers
• Jewelry Designers
• Leadership Coaches
• Life/Personal Coaches
• Marketing Coaches
• Marketing Consultants
• Media Coach
• Massage Therapists
• Medical Consultants
• Mortgage Brokers
• Non-Profit Organizations
• Pet Groomers
• Personal Trainers
• Product Designers
• Project Managers
• Property Management Company
• Public Defenders Offices
• Real Estate Agents
• Real Estate Brokers
• Real Estate Investors
• Retail Stores
• Sales Managers
• Sales Trainer/Consultants
• SEO Consultants
• TV News Anchors
• Venture Captial Firms
• Wedding Planners
What happens if you haven’t yet worked with people in my field?
We have helped our clients to save time, money, and boost their productivity so they could create hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue across numerous industries. Most likely we have worked with people in your industry. Yet, even if we haven’t, you are not at a disadvantage.
Here’s why: across all industries (and even in homes), the concepts behind getting organized and increasing productivity are very similar – only the application of them changes based on you and your situation. We custom-develop every strategy to suit your needs, styles and tastes – that way, you’re sure to get a system that will work for you, regardless of the industry you’re in.
How are you different from other professional organizers?
There are lots of great professional organizers and productivity consultants out there, but many of them are focused on organizing for organization’s sake. It’s great to put your things into pretty little boxes, but what does that really get you? To me, they’re missing the point. While getting things pretty is a nice side benefit of our work, it’s not our main focus. Instead, we’re invested in helping you generate real, meaningful, tangible and frequently measureable results from our work together. Whether it’s increased focus on your key projects, a clearer, more professional work environment, or just more time to spend with your friends and family, our job is to get you closer to your goals – not just to help you get organized.
Also in support of your goals is our structured methodology for how we work with you. With every client, we utilize our proprietary Profitable Productivity System, which helps us make sure that the seven key areas of productivity get fully addressed. It’s a comprehensive approach that truly leaves no stone unturned with your organizing and productivity.
Another difference with Custom Living Solutions is that instead of offering one-off sessions that won’t help you make and maintain real progress, we offer a planned, strategy-based approach to your projects. We work together with you to develop strategies and systems for improvement, and then work side-by-side with you to help you implement them. But that’s not all – we then continue to work with you over time to help ensure that you have the support you’ll need to successfully improve your productivity not just for today, but for the future as well.
What is the Profitable Productivity System, and how can it help me?
We have a unique, structured approach for helping you called the Profitable Productivity System, which helps form the foundation for all of the help that we offer. Using this system helps us look at seven key areas of productivity and organizing, including:
• Planning your organizing and productivity projects
• Editing your belongings
• Ensuring your technology is serving you best
• Maximizing your physical space
• Dealing with new and old paper
• Managing your time and tasks
• Maintaining your time
Of course, each client is different, and you’ll need a more focus and attention in some areas and less in others. But by making sure each of these key areas is addressed, we can get you back on the road towards maximum productivity and optimal organization.
What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?
The Custom Living Solutions programs were created for busy professionals and entrepreneurs like you who are excited about their businesses and the possibilities for their lifestyles, and are committed to doing what it takes to create the lives, businesses and homes they deserve. The productivity and organizing work we’ll do together is designed to help you put the systems in place that will truly support your ideal lifestyle.
Personally, I’m a natural go-getter and an overachiever, and I enjoy working with other high achievers who just need some step-by-step guidance in moving their productivity ahead. Typically, we work with people who are well established in their careers and are prominent in their fields. They are great at what they do, but are tired of dealing with struggles in their own offices and are ready to make positive changes to boost their business productivity and their income. Our clients are looking for a partner to help them determine how to make that happen.
Additionally, our clients tend to want lasting changes – not quick hits, and are committed to putting in the time, effort and energy to create systems that will serve them now and in the future. If you’re clear on the goals you want to achieve, and you’re ready to move past excuses and take decisive action to overcome your productivity and organizing challenges, we’re probably a great fit for you! Your business (and your life) will be more successful, profitable, and more fun as a result.
For what type of professional is this program NOT going to work?
At Custom Living Solutions, we are very selective about who we work with. Out of fairness, we prefer to (gently) turn away those who aren’t suited for our programs and thereby likely won’t get the results they would have signed up for.
The Custom Living Solutions programs are NOT for those who are looking for someone to walk in with a magic wand and solve, in one session, long-standing ineffective habits around organizing and productivity. Think about it – it likely took you years to build up the current habits that you have, and it will take time for you to learn new habits that will serve you better. Our work is not about simply tidying things up – if you need that, just hire a housekeeper (it will be a lot cheaper!). But if you’re looking to transform your underlying skills, systems, and habits, and are ready to be a part of the process for making those changes, we’ll gladly help you do that. Tidying up will probably be a natural by-product of the process of your work with us.
Another type of person who I won’t work with are those who are happy with their current systems, but are being “encouraged” to change them by someone else – a spouse, partner, boss, etc. If you are happy with your current systems, strategies, and environment – and the results they’re bringing you – it’s unlikely you’d experience any real benefit from our work together. Especially if you have no desire to change things on your own, you’re likely to get only minimal benefit from your investment in our services.
Can this really work for me?
Yes! The result of our work are systems and strategies that will support your business and your lifestyle – not just today, but for the future as well. How do I know this with such certainty? Our proven successes with people just like you. (See Success Stories and Case Studies)
What results can I expect?
Depending on what you choose to focus on, you can expect to:
• Start working smarter, not harder at building your business (or the business of life)
• Stay accountable to your goals and achieve them
• Develop a strategic action plan for your organizing and productivity projects
• Eliminate the clutter in your life and your business
• Create an effective and productive work environment that will support your goals
• Make your home more enjoyable and relaxing
• Gain control over paper
• Better manage your tasks, to-do’s, and time
• Choose the right technology and apps to save you time and steps
• Maintain your systems with easy strategies for keeping things on track
Can I contact some of your former clients to see what it’s like to work with you?
Our work is confidential, so we can’t give you contact information for our clients. However, many of our clients have been so transformed by our work together that they’ve posted testimonials on our Success Stories page, as well as on our Yelp and LinkedIn profiles. If you’d like to see more in-depth explanations of what clients say about the benefits of working with us, read our extensive Case Studies. Read all of the Success Stories and Case Studies to see which ones resonate with you.
How quickly can I expect results?
Without knowing you, your personality, your habits, your existing systems, and many other variables, it’s impossible to estimate how long it will be before you reach all of your goals. That said, most of our clients experience some results within the first couple of sessions.
Will I recover the investment I put into working with you?
In all likelihood, yes! First, you’ll want to determine just how much your current lack of productivity and organization is costing you. Here’s an easy way:
How many hours per week do you waste on disorganization and lost productivity?
What is your hourly billing rate?
Total cost per week (hours wasted per week times your hourly billing rate):
Total cost per year (cost per week times 52):
If you’re wasting even just a couple of thousand dollars a year, our services can pay for themselves by increasing your productivity – sometimes dramatically. And if you’re losing more than a couple of thousand dollars a year, can you continue to afford NOT to work with us?
What you’re regularly getting with Custom Living Solutions programs are proven systems and strategies that will move you and your business into action faster than you would on your own. Expect to get a lot of great advice, as well as the resources and implementation you’ve been looking for and haven’t found until now. You’re investing in your results.
OK, how do we get started?
I’m so excited that you’re ready to take action! That you’re ready to do so speaks volumes about the results you can expect to achieve.
Here’s what you do to get begin: just apply for a complimentary Strategy Session, email our team at email@example.com, or call us directly at 415-830-6345. We’ll be happy to get you started!
If I’m not sure I’m ready to get started, how can I sample your work at low cost to see if it’s the right solution for me?
A way to sample our expert advice is to download our Special Report “The 7 Must-Have Productivity Systems” and by subscribing to our free ”Profitable Productivity” email newsletter. ”Profitable Productivity” provides you with proven ideas, the latest tools and downloads, and powerful strategies from the Custom Living Solutions array of programs, products, and services. It is a must for anyone who wants to create a productive and organized business or lifestyle. Fill in your name and email address at top-right of this screen to register for both the special report and the newsletter.
OK, I’m ready to do this for myself, but I have a couple of additional questions. Can I call you?
Great, sounds like you’re ready to step into your future! If you have a couple of questions, check out our FAQ, email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us directly at 415-830-6345 and we’ll answer any lingering questions you may have.
I can’t wait to see you succeed and look forward to supporting you reaching your business and personal goals. Let’s get started!!