It might not seem compatible to have two separate businesses — one that specializes in household organization and the other in gluten-free education. But Julie Aderhold of Suamico has started both and believes they are related.
The businesses, Healthy Home Organizing and Gluten Free Navigator, were formed under the same LLC and offer unique services.
“I think they are related,” Aderhold said. “Both deal with creating and managing a healthy life. One area of overlap would be a service I offer my gluten-free clients — organizing their kitchen. After someone is diagnosed and begins a gluten-free diet, they need to completely go through their kitchen and get rid of all food containing gluten.”
Aderhold also recommends replacing appliances such as toasters, wooden spoons and cutting boards that could be contaminated. In addition, separate spaces should be created for family members who have a regular diet.
Her knowledge of the challenges comes from personal experience. Several years ago, she was diagnosed with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that damages the wall of the small intestine. She is one of many who suffer from it. The number of those with either celiac disease or gluten intolerance is growing, and it is estimated that about 25% of Americans follow a gluten-free diet (for many, it is just a preference).
That has resulted in a huge challenge for restaurants seeking to accommodate customers. To give guidance, a major role of Gluten Free Navigator is to provide coaching to restaurants, universities, hospitals and senor living facilities.
“There really isn’t anyone doing exactly what I do,” Aderhold said. “As a gluten-free coach, I am a contractor with the Gluten Intolerance Group and am paid by them to train and audit restaurants and other food services facilities.”
Restaurants can join the Gluten-Free Food Service, or GFFS, a program offered by GIG. GFFS reviews policies and procedures, recipes, ingredients and training for food service facilities. Having completed the many hours of training, Aderhold fills the role of adviser and trains restaurants and other establishments on gluten-free best practices.
When she isn’t working on that, she is spending time on Healthy Home Organizing.
“I organize my time to pay attention to both businesses, just like I do in the other areas of my life,” she said. “I set priorities and have daily and weekly things I do on a regular basis. And then I forecast out the week. As things come up that are unexpected, I reprioritize and make adjustments.”
It’s not surprising that Aderhold is organized. She believes that organization is an important part of creating and managing a healthy life. Pointing to a study done by UCLA, she noted that researchers found that clutter can be such an overwhelming problem that it caused elevated stress hormone levels.
She added: “Clutter can increase negative feelings and lead to depression. An overly messy space may lead to feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy.”
Other studies have had similar findings. Clutter, it was reported, isn’t just messy and disorganized, it is bad for physical and mental health. Those findings fuel her passion. And even though her research showed that there was a lot of competition in this sector, she believes there is such a need that there is plenty of business for everyone.
The most important aspect for prospective clients is finding an organizer who is the right fit in terms of personality, philosophy and design.
“Organizers go into clients’ homes; into their personal space,” she said. “You should hire someone who is the right match. I really focus on helping put together a customized space and systems that work for the individual because every person is different. I am a no judgment zone and completely confidential.”
She stresses that there is no typical job, and that every situation and environment come with challenges that are addressed as she creates a plan. Aderhold doesn’t sell the products that are used to organize things, but does offer recommendations and knows how important those can be to a business.
For her, word-of-mouth endorsements have proven to be the most effective way to attract new clients. She is also a strong believer in the benefits of networking. In addition to being a member at The Nest, a co-working space in downtown Green Bay, her previous career in the nonprofit sector means she has made a lot of contacts.
Another valuable contact has been Gary Lewins, a volunteer with the Green Bay SCORE chapter, who has been assigned as her mentor. He has been advising her as she grows the businesses, and she says, has provided solid feedback.
“I set some deadlines for myself and shared those with Gary,” she said. “It’s been nice to discuss those plans with someone to keep things real.”
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As she continues to work with SCORE, she will be taking the next steps in marketing. Separate websites are planned for the businesses, but social media will be limited because she prefers meeting “one-on-one” with clients instead of trying to reach groups online. The websites will explain the businesses, and she will offer a free initial consultation so clients can get to know her before proceeding. She can be contacted at: [email protected]
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.