FAQ: Client interview with Margaret

Please take a moment to read this before hiring Margaret.


Who are your clients?

I work with busy professionals just like you, many of whom have significant home and volunteer responsibilities in addition to their professional lives. Some of the professions I have worked with include:

Business Coaches
Career Counselors
Construction Professionals
Event Planners
Executive Coaches
Graphic Designers
Homeopathic Practitioners
Image Consultants
Insurance Brokers
Interior Decorators
Life Coaches
Marketing Consultants
Martial Arts Teachers
Massage Therapists
Mortgage Brokers
Non-Profit Executives
Financial Planners
Personal Shoppers
Personal Trainers
Professional Organizers
Pet Sitters
Public Relations Professionals
Real Estate Brokers
Real Estate Investors
Retail Store Owners
Research Scientists
Sales Professionals
University Professors
Virtual Assistants


How are you different from other “business coaches?”

While I am passionately interested in seeing you getting great results, I am not at all interested in pushing, prodding, or giving you a kick. My aim is to help you get much better results with much greater ease.

I connect you to the motivations that can help you move ahead much faster than you thought possible. While some business coaches may focus on a single issue, such as “time management,” my focus is on sustainable productivity, which requires a combination of tools and mindset.


What is expected of me?

Sustainable productivity is not a race, where only the fastest wins. Nor is it like going back to school, where there is a final exam and a grade. It’s more like a life-long project. You will be learning to set a sustainable pace. You’ll be trying on strategies that we hope will suit you for a long time.

I have just one iron-clad requirement: you must tell me how it’s working for you. No excuses, no blame. If you didn’t or couldn’t finish an assignment, I need to know that.

Do your best, and tell me what’s really going on.


Is there anyone for whom this program will not work?

The Plan to Thrive program is not suited for those who are unable or unwilling to learn new skills and habits.

Plan to Thrive is not the right program for someone starting a company with an eye to making an IPO (initial public offering) in the shortest possible time.

I am known as a curious, constant learner, and I work best with others who are willing to try new things. This is a program that will make a difference for the long haul.


What exactly is the Plan to Thrive program, and what does it include?

Thriving in your professional life begins with having a goal in view, learning to manage all the tasks required to reach that goal, and making the most of your time and energy. Here’s what Plan to Thrive enables you to do:

1. Write a short business plan (one you will actually use)

Lack of a business plan is a contributing factor in over two-thirds of all small business failures. It is the single most important thing you can do to insure your success. The Plan to Thrive planning process helps you create a plan appropriate to the size and aims of your business, one you will actually use.

2. Make the most of your time and energy

There are just eight hours in a day, five days in a work-week. Learning to boost your productivity through focused action will get you to use that time to its fullest potential.

3. Track your tasks

Learn to get your to-do list out of your head (where it’s distracting) and into a reliable task management system that works with your learning style and business needs.

4. Set up your office for success

Use your space to make your work flow effortlessly and reliably. Use real estate principles to set up your office to function better than you thought possible.

5. Manage your incoming items

We all have stuff coming at us from a variety of sources: email, voicemail, personal requests, ideas we’ve thought up, magazines, ezines, tweets – and the list keeps growing! Learn to manage the flow of incoming items and get rid of the feeling of being overwhelmed.

And there are three bonus steps:

— Marketing your business

For solo entrepreneurs, I provide reliable tools and advice to get and keep a full practice by devoting your time to the things that make your business thrive.

— Mastering project management

Many projects seem to take forever. If there are important projects in your plans, such as writing a book, designing a website, or developing a new program, you will develop the skills necessary to see your project to completion.

— Growing your team

Remember, Frank Sinatra didn’t move his own piano and Babe Ruth didn’t sew his own uniforms! Learn to work from your greatest strength, and delegate what you shouldn’t be doing in the first place. You will learn how to grow your team, how to delegate effectively, and when to outsource your tasks.


Can this really make a dramatic change in my business?


But don’t just take it from me. Listen to my clients.

From a web designer in San Mateo, CA

When I heard Margaret Lukens’ informative presentation, “Organize Your Time and Energy – For Business,” I knew I’d found the perfect coach to provide my web development practice with the guidance and focus it needed. Impressed with the exercises she shared and her calm demeanor and expertise, I enrolled in her four-month coaching program, “Plan to Thrive.”

Before working with Margaret, I was overwhelmed with emails, client work, marketing, and everything else required to run a business. I was working hard, sometimes 10 to 12 hours a day, but yet, I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. Together, we created a plan to reach attainable business and personal goals, accompanied by a color-coded calendar and money-tracking tool, which I follow diligently. With Margaret’s coaching, I’ve learned how to organize my day and manage my time, communicate clearly with clients, be realistic about the work I can accept, and most important, I’ve learned how to say “no” to clients who aren’t a good fit.

Even though I finished the Plan to Thrive program, I continue to work with Margaret. I realize that in order for any professional or business owner to succeed in business, we need the support of a business coach and/or accountability partners.

Today, my business has been completely transformed. While I’m still booked solid, I enjoy quality time with my with family, work a sane schedule, and pay myself a salary. With far less stress and overwhelm, I’m enjoying my life, and my business, so much more. Because of Margaret, I’m working smarter, not harder!

Phyllis Garland, Garland Web Design Services

From a leadership and executive coach in San Francisco, CA

Before hiring Margaret, I thought I already knew all of this stuff – how to put together a program, how to use my time more efficiently etc. Heck, I even coach people around similar issues! But I never wanted to take the time and energy to invest all that knowledge into myself and my business, and so I kept putting it off, and over a long period of time of procrastination, my business suffered because of it.

As a result of working with Margaret, Ive learned how to focus my marketing messages and craft them so that it specifically addresses the problems of my ideal client to spark their interest in hiring me. I’ve learned how to effectively design program offerings for my ideal client and how to position myself with an authentic message.

Margaret is great at cutting through all the resistance and keeping me accountable to the tasks at hand! She is very action oriented, and I feel as if I’m making progress with specific goals and objectives in a timely and effective manner. She has lots of great tips on tools and resources that can save you time, money and energy too, which she generously offers on almost every call.

Thanks for all your help Margaret – its been a joy and pleasure working with you so far!

Monique Svazlian, owner of Highest Path

From a professional organizer in St. Peters, MO

I hesitated to hire Margaret because of budget and time.  However, she made it easier by breaking up the payments into installments, and  it was well worth every penny!  I put the appointments in my calendar and by about the second or third one, I found myself looking forward to our time together.  I knew she would always come up with some insight or suggestion I had not thought of before and boy, what a wealth of information.  I feel like my business has taken on new life! It has been invaluable.

There are so many tools that she taught me to use and ways to “measure” my business.  I know exactly what I need to be doing each week instead of just going from one thing to the next without a real plan.

I am so glad that I my made the choice to invest in my business.  The program was just what I needed to find focus and differentiate my business from others.

Diana Luetkemeyer, owner of Freedom Organization

From a productivity and organizing professional in Berkeley, CA

I had read lots of books on business development and I “knew” what to do. Plus, I was afraid to spend the money for the Plan to Thrive program.

I’m so glad I didn’t let that stop me.

Now I have a plan! I learned how to do the math, I got super useful tools and lots of ideas and support to grow my business. Before I started working with Margaret, I knew I needed to think about my business in a different way. I had read The One-Page Business Plan, Book Yourself Solid, Growing Your Business. Margaret helped me put what I learned in those books into practice.

I have much more confidence around growing my business and working with my ideal clients. The ideal client exercise alone was worth the price of admission.

Margaret generously shares her knowledge and experience. I felt heard, respected, supported. Her gentle questioning allowed me to explore my attitudes and beliefs about myself and my business.

I would recommend working with Margaret to people who want a plan with a clear path to growing their business and support for implementing that plan.

Gabrielle Fishman, owner of Gabrielle Organizes

From an author and online business owner in Santa Clara, CA

…I feel so much more focused now …. I worked “all the time” before, but because no one can keep up that level of focus, I would take random breaks and do other stuff, but it tended to always be with me glued to the computer, as if proximity itself would help things get done. Now I feel like, this is my time to write. I am not going to send an email or take a little break or whatever; I’m using this time….

I felt relaxed and happy working for the first time in a long time.

Kelli Pearson, author of Miss Brain’s Cool Math Games


What results can I expect?

You can expect to:

  • Create a compelling plan that will realistically get you to your goals.
  • Set precise goals for revenue, work hours, and other crucial measures.
  • Make your work flow more easily.
  • Learn what it really means to work smarter, not harder.
  • Get rid of the feeling of being overwhelmed by your workload.
  • Stop forgetting tasks.
  • Avoid the last-minute panic when a project is due.
  • Change habits that have held you back (some you may have even thought were necessary!)
  • Stay accountable to your goals.
  • Receive forms and written explanations you can use again and again, long after the Plan to Thrive program is over.
  • Learn time-saving skills and habits.
  • Make a dramatic change in your productivity (not just “nibble around the edges.”)
  • Feel more energized in your business, and probably in your life as well.
  • Recognize what is necessary for your success and what can be left alone.
  • Create a business that is sustainable and enjoyable over the long term.


How quickly can I expect results?

Of course your results will depend on your ability and willingness to apply the tools and techniques of the Plan to Thrive program. Many clients experience a dramatic difference in their results and their level of stress in the first week of the program.

Do all the assignments. Make the Plan to Thrive program your priority. Be patient with yourself – you didn’t form your current habits overnight, and you won’t change all of them overnight either. But you will begin to feel relief as you begin to shift your habits and your mindset.


I have some issues that must be kept confidential. Can you handle that?

As a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, I am bound by their code of ethics. (See that code at www.napo.net.) As a Certified Professional Organizer, I am also bound by the more stringent code of ethics of the Board of Certified Professional Organizers (see it at www.certifiedprofessionalorganizers.org.)


How long have you been an organizing and productivity specialist?

Since the age of six or seven, I have always been an organized person; I got it from my father. (But maybe you have been, too. Many of my clients are highly organized people who want to do even better.)

When I was in college, I was the one who corralled my friends to make the 8 pm movie on time. When I resigned from my executive position in a large corporation, my colleagues fought over who would inherit my files – I had the information everyone needed, and I could find it in seconds.

But I have also struggled with organization at times. Sometimes figuring out how to use the space we’ve got feels like trying to fit 10 pounds of sugar into a five-pound bag – it’s a frustrating mess. I know that it can be hard to adjust to new technology. And in the modern world we all have more things coming at us than we can comfortably handle.

Fortunately, I love exploring the subject of productivity, trying out different techniques and strategies. I sometimes invent new ones for clients. I have made a study of the different ways in which people naturally organize their time, paper, and projects, and believe me, one size does not fit all! What works for me may not work at all for you.

I began focusing on professional organizing + productivity in 2003, when I realized that many professionals were feeling overwhelmed, struggling to have the work life they really wanted, and that I have skills that can really help them.

In addition to an MBA from University of Chicago, I have earned the Certified Professional Organizer credential. I am a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, and other organizations.


I care about the “bottom line.” Will I recover my investment in the Plan to Thrive program?

Absolutely! Many clients are excited to report they have been able to accomplish more of the things that create their success, and do it more easily.

Ask yourself what an hour of your time is worth. Now imagine gaining an hour a day – for the rest of your working life. (Quick benchmark: if you earn $25 per hour, saving 30 minutes of your time each day is worth over $6,000 per year.)


I think I do want to work with you. What are the next steps?

Congratulations on deciding to turn over a new leaf and invest in your success! I’m happy to help you create more ease and better results in your work and your life.

I offer the four-month Plan To Thrive program by telephone.

Click here to schedule an appointment for a free “get-acquainted” conversation.

There is no obligation for this call. I will answer any questions you still have and together we will make sure that I’m the right partner to help you reach your goals.

Please do set up your free call today. I look forward to hearing from you!

Copyright © 2009-2014 Margaret Lukens