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Meet Jennifer Barnes of JB Organizing in North Suburbs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Barnes.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jennifer. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
JB Organizing began over 20 years ago after a brief, but intense career journey that took me from major media outlets and PR firms to AIDS Research and Medical School applications. Along that brief, but intense career journey I learned a couple pivotal things: I thrive in situations where I can make my own schedule and manage projects and situations, I am innately very organized and naturally look at spaces in terms of efficiency, I love working with people and speaking before groups, and I truly enjoy learning new things and helping others. Friends, family, and coworkers commented on these abilities, asked me for assistance, and got me thinking. There was a market for my skills and I loved it. I soon had my first child and a new business. I began with a couple clients and was gathering momentum when I found out I was pregnant with twins. Soon, we had 3 kids under 17 months and out of necessity my client numbers dwindled, but my hands on experience organizing had just begun. I used my crazy family life and home as a learning lab and soon had a wealth of experiences on which to draw. As my family grew to include 5 children in 5 years, my business grew as well. I purposely grew my business very gradually over the past 20 years.

As my children grew, I expanded my client reach to include Business and Home-based clients and my speaking radius and repertoire to include presentations on all aspects of Organizing, Parenting, and Small Business/Resume Development. My real life experiences organizing and managing a large family, have allowed me to help clients from all walks of life to apply “real” organization that fits with their “real” life. When I present before groups, I am able to speak from humbling, life-changing, real life experiences; helping others to know that they are not alone and that they can do this crazy life in an organized, efficient, and fun manner.

Today… I’ve been married 23 years; my kids are 19, 18, 18, 16,14. As the owner of JB Organizing, I speak all over the Midwest and am expanding that radius every year; and I have a business and home organization clients all over the Chicago and Milwaukee areas, and I help others across the country build their own small businesses and develop resumes that fit their needs.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In many ways, the journey my business has taken has been smooth and full of blessings. I have been blessed to be able to be able to build my business gradually and mostly via referral. I have been blessed to be able to work my schedule around that of my family. I have been blessed to have had many, many real-world experiences which have served as my classroom and taught me irreplaceable lessons about organizing ones’ home, life office, and future. However, as is often true, the other side of the blessing coin is often fraught with obstacles… I gave birth to and juggled five children (including twins) as I built my business – it wasn’t easy!! There were times when I had to pause my “outside the home” work so that I could attend to the health needs of my family. There were times I had to decline opportunities that were too far away and would take me away from home for too long. There was also the time when I lost the original name of my company (to a company in California), as a result of not protecting it correctly; I learned some valuable business lessons about the internet and trademark laws during that struggle. There were definitely hard times along the way, but all became learning experiences on which I have been able to pull for my speaking and my work with individual clients. The obstacles have become the blessings.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about JB Organizing – what should we know?
JB Organizing provides “Real” Organizing and Encouragement for “Real” people doing “Real” life. Our company is special because we don’t just change the spaces; we work with the clients to change their habits and teach them how to organize for themselves. Our greatest joy is when a client contacts us later and shows us spaces that they have organized by themselves using what we taught them. We meet clients where they are in life and walk the journey with them from there. We work hard to get to know our clients. We are known for our personal touch and how we completely customize the process to fit the specific needs of the individual and their life.

JB Organizing aids people in bringing order to their home, life, office, and future. JB Organizing does this by: Speaking on topics related to organization, parenting, motivation, and small business development; Organizing a given space or producing an Organization Plan; Providing Time Management Training and Small Business Development Assistance, and Creating a Resume that positively reflects the image and experience of the given individual.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
JB Organizing would not be what it is today without the support of my husband Craig. He is an amazing husband and father to our children. I have been able to grow this business, because of his help, stability, and encouragement. He always listens to my crazy ideas and never discourages them, even when his intensely practical nature cringes at the craziness and risk. I also learned a lot from my entrepreneur father, Jim Butler. He has been able to teach me (after being self-employed for more than 35 years) many of the practical aspects of growing a business. So many clients have also helped, as my business has been built primarily on referrals. JB Organizing would definitely not be growing as it is without their support. I am thankful!

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