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19 min read

Structure for Success - Organizational Strategies for Solopreneurs

organizational tips for solopreneurs


Watch the Episode on YouTube

In this episode, business organizing strategist and solopreneur, Aldreama Harper, dives into the world of solopreneurship, exploring key organizational strategies that can help lead to success. A few of the topics she discusses include:

  • Three of her ten steps to eliminate the feeling of overwhelm (hello, de-cluttering!)
  • Things people often neglect regarding their workspace that they need to start focusing on ASAP
  • Aldreama's philosophy on time management and how people can be better at prioritizing the right things
  • Her favorite productivity tips that solopreneurs typically overlook
  • Favorite purchases to get (and stay) organized

Throughout the episode, Aldreama shares personal anecdotes and real-life examples, making the strategies relatable and easy to implement for aspiring and established solopreneurs alike. 

This episode offers valuable advice, practical strategies, and actionable steps to structure your way to success as a solopreneur. Aldreama Harper's expertise and passion shine through, making this episode a must-listen for anyone on the path of self-employment and business ownership.

Connect with Aldreama Harper

Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Favorite Quotes:

"If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." - Zig Zigler


Going solo in business doesn't mean you're alone! Join our thriving Facebook community group exclusively designed for solopreneurs!  Connect with like-minded individuals who understand the unique challenges and triumphs of running a business single-handedly. Gain valuable insights, discover proven strategies, and unlock the power of networking as you engage in lively discussions and receive expert advice. We hope to see you there!

About Aldreama Harper

Aldreama Harper is a Business Organizing Strategist, known for her expertise in helping female solopreneurs streamline their businesses and maximize their productivity. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by female entrepreneurs.Aldreama launched her Professional Organizing Business nearly 20 years ago. As a Solopreneur herself, Aldreama knows firsthand the juggling act that many female entrepreneurs face.  Due to her own packrat tendencies, her passion for organization and efficiency led her to develop a systematic approach to help others declutter their businesses and create effective systems that save time, energy, and resources.  She then collaborates closely with her clients to develop customized solutions that align with their goals, values, and work style.  Aldreama's strategies are designed to empower female Solopreneurs to take control of their lives and their businesses in order to create a strong foundation for capacity and growth.She provides practical tools, resources, and guidance on how to streamline operations, optimize workflows, and implement effective systems. Her approach goes beyond just organizing physical spaces and digital files; she also focuses on mindset and productivity techniques to help her clients enhance their overall performance.  Aldreama's coaching style is supportive, motivational, and results-driven. She understands the unique challenges and opportunities that female Solopreneurs face and provides empowering guidance to help them overcome obstacles and achieve their business goals.Her clients rave about her ability to simplify complex processes, provide clarity, and create a roadmap for success. In addition to her coaching services, Aldreama also delivers dynamic workshops and training sessions to empower female Solopreneurs with the tools and skills they need to thrive in their businesses. Her workshops cover a wide range of topics, from time management and workflow optimization to digital organization and delegation strategies.Aldreama's engaging and interactive teaching style has earned her a reputation as a sought-after speaker in the business community.  Aldreama Harper is more than just a Business Organizing Strategist; she is a mentor, cheerleader, and trusted advisor to female solopreneurs looking to scale their businesses efficiently.

Her passion for helping female entrepreneurs succeed shines through in everything she does, and her impact on her clients' businesses and lives is immeasurable. With her unwavering dedication to excellence, Aldreama continues to inspire and empower female solopreneurs to achieve their full potential and build successful, organized, and profitable businesses.

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on Apple Podcasts Thanks!


Full Episode Transcript:

Aldreama Harper (00:00):

If you don't have an agenda, particularly as solopreneurs, if you don't have an agenda, by default, you are making an agreement with shiny objects. You're making an agreement with chaos. You're making an agreement with things just coming into your space that you have not considered by not planning the day before.

Intro (00:25):

Welcome to the One-Person Business podcast, the show for solopreneurs, consultants and contractors who are ready to take charge of their business and reclaim their freedom. Join us as we bring you inspiring stories, invaluable insights and practical strategies from successful solopreneurs and industry experts, empowering you to create a thriving business that aligns with your unique goals and allows you to live life on your own terms. Here are your hosts, Joe Rando and Carly Ries.

Carly Ries (00:55):

Welcome to the One-Person Business podcast. I'm one of your hosts, Carly Ries.

Joe Rando (01:00):

And I'm Joe Rando.

Carly Ries (01:01):

I was just saying this offline to our guest today, how excited I am to have her on the show, basically, for selfish reasons. Aldreama, I feel like there is a lot that you can teach me today. Welcome to Aldreama Harper. She is a business organizing strategist known for her expertise at helping female solopreneurs streamline their businesses and maximize their productivity. As a solopreneur herself, she knows firsthand the juggling act that many solopreneurs face. Due to her own pack rat tendencies, which is so funny 'cause I'm the same way, her passion for organization and efficiency led her to develop a systematic approach to help others declutter their businesses and create effective systems that save time, energy, and resources. She provides practical tools, resources, and guidance on how to streamline operations, optimize workflows, and implement effective systems. Her approach goes beyond just organizing physical spaces and digital files, and she also focuses on mindset and productivity techniques to help her clients enhance their overall performance. Aldreama, we talked about this offline too, but I only scratch the surface of how in depth your bio really is. So listeners, if you want to know more, she has a whole list of things she's accomplished. Feel free to check out our show notes or her website after the episode. But for now, welcome to the show.

Aldreama Harper (02:20):

Well, thank you so much, Carly. I am so excited to be here. Thank you, Joe. I don't take this for granted. I really do appreciate being on the show. When I got your request, I was like, oh, yay. But then I was like, I'm kind of scared.

Carly Ries (02:41):

No, it's gonna be great. If anything, you're gonna have to keep me on task because I do have questions I want to ask for our listeners, but I feel like since I have so many questions personally that I want to ask you, I might go rogue. So just make sure to keep me on task and that I don't start asking things specifically for me.

Aldreama Harper (02:58):

Absolutely no problem. We can always do something offline too, okay.

Carly Ries (03:02):

Perfect. Thank you.

Joe Rando (03:03):

What I love in that intro is that you did what you did for a very similar reason to why I did what I did, which is a complete lack of ability to kind of naturally organize the work I was doing. It led me into building the LifeStarr app. And you did the same thing because of, what did you describe it as? Organizationally challenged?

Aldreama Harper (03:25):

Pack Rat. I have Pack Rat tendencies.

Carly Ries (03:30):

Trademark that.

Aldreama Harper (03:31):

I know, right. There you go.

Carly Ries (03:34):

Well, let's get right to it. I need to start with our audience in mind here. So where do you see solopreneurs struggling most when it comes to staying organized?

Aldreama Harper (03:45):

I think mainly in this online community, in the online space, I see where a lot of solopreneurs struggle the most. They struggle with administrative tasks 'cause they want to do all of that. They want to do their own accounting, they want to do their own social media. And there are so many platforms. There are so many automation tools that can help you do that. It's very tempting though, to want to do your own accounting, do your own social media. It's very tempting to handle those things on your own. I did it myself. I wanted to keep it in house. So that's definitely one of the things that solopreneurs need to keep in mind.When it's something particularly like bookkeeping that I just mentioned, it's something that I hate. So it's gonna be time consuming. It's going to be overwhelming. I'm not going to want to it. I'm gonna procrastinate about it and make mistakes. But it's definitely something that I see and when I talk to a lot of solopreneurs, they just want to do it themselves. That's one of the most common things that I've seen so far.

Carly Ries (05:11):

And that can lead to just being so overwhelmed for people. You actually have this 10 steps, is that right? To eliminate the feeling of overwhelm? I don't want to give away the goods 'cause I want people to go check it out with you. But can you give us three of those 10 steps?

Aldreama Harper (05:29):

So those three are, identify the clutter, set goals and prioritize and create a plan. The most important thing when you approach any kind of endeavor, whether it is getting organized, whether it's managing your time, whatever those challenges are, it's most important to identify and assess the situation. That's why I use that as the first step. The first step is to identify the clutter. Take a look around the room, the space, even if it's a small space, if it's your kitchen table, just take a look around and list the items that need to be removed. One of the things that I have found, even for myself, because I still have pack rat tendencies, like I said, but, the space, you want to assess it because if you don't know what you're tackling, if you don't know and don't have a plan for tackling that particular endeavor, or starting small with identifying what you're gonna remove, you're gonna be in overwhelm.


You're gonna instantly be in overwhelm because you are looking at the whole thing. Most of the time, I have found that clients, what they will do is they walk into the room and they see the whole thing, and they instantly get overwhelmed because they want to tackle that room all at once instead of identifying the smaller items that they can tackle. So, identifying the clutter is one thing. Set goals and priorities. You want to ask yourself how quickly do you want to get started? How much stuff do you want to get rid of? Do you want to get rid of 90%? Do you want to get rid of 50%? What's the vision for the space? A lot of people don't even have a vision. What's the functionality of the space?


All of this helps you to stay focused, help you to stay on track and really have a plan. And which takes me to the third one, create a plan for decluttering. I have found that, and again, I have to go back to myself. When I first started in the organizing space, and I would help others to get organized, I would come in with a plan, but it wasn't a really good plan. I was really learning how to help others get organized. What I have discovered was I had a missing piece. I did not start out with decluttering. I just went in due to my own pack rat tendencies, and start to organize their stuff, which is a huge mistake. So that was really an inadequate plan.  Because if you don't declutter first you are gonna end up organizing the stuff that you already have. That's the one thing that over the years I had to really get ahold of, the decluttering first. That is my biggest problem, getting rid of stuff.

Joe Rando (09:16):

As I look around my desk, I realize, I don't know what the technical definition of the word declutter is.

Aldreama Harper (09:24):

Well, one of the definitions would be purge. You want to remove everything that no longer serves the room or the space, or no longer serving you. It's just another word for purging everything. Because what happens is you just keep organizing the stuff that you have. If you have pencils or whatever, you're going to just organize those and you're not going to remove maybe the pens or what have you, that may be dried up. I just did that a couple of days ago. I had a whole bunch of pens and probably 'cause I love pens, I love office supplies. So I had a lot of them that were just dried up. So yeah, that is just another term for decluttering, just getting rid of the clutter. Anything that does not serve you.

Joe Rando (10:22):

Cool. I love that you love office supplies. I was just gonna say, I'm thinking about that Marie Kondo book, but she had a different definition, which was, "if it doesn't bring you joy, you get rid of it." But then I heard a comedian say that he read the book and took it to heart and got rid of the book!

Aldreama Harper (10:46):

I love her approach as well. Thinking in terms of what gives you joy sometimes, and that really applies a lot to me. It applies a lot more to items like clothing, maybe you're working on your closet and things like that. I like to focus on solopreneurs, so I really like to work in their offices. And you may find some things that you may think they're giving you joy, but that may not be the primary thing to think about. Is it functional? Is it working for you?

Carly Ries (11:30):

Okay, so I'm curious, 'cause we were talking about decluttering, um, your workspace, everything. When it comes to workspaces, what are some things that people often neglect? Things that you see time and time again? I know for me, I never thought that natural light was such a big deal for me. So I had this office in my house and I was like, oh, well I can turn on the light. I didn't realize what big deal that actually having the sun in there was. I just didn't even think about it. So maybe that's not normal, but what are some things that you see often that you start thinking about more because people fail to do so time and time again,

Aldreama Harper (12:08):

I know I've been using the word decluttering a lot, but I think from what I've seen, it's really been the importance of decluttering first. Depending on what what you have in your office space. I like a lot of stuff in my office space, but not all of it serves me. It's so crucial to look around and make sure that if it's not serving the purpose or the functionality of the way you work, then it doesn't belong in the office. What happens is a lot of times is happen my clients will look at other people's offices or other spaces and they want it to look just like that. Not thinking about the fact that this may not be functional for you.


I think that's really an overlooked theme. I can't think of a another word, but, a problem for a lot of people. They look at lot of the reality shows, they look at YouTube, they find different things on YouTube and it's like, "I want it to look like that". But it may not work for you. I'll give you an example. What I discovered along the way was that looking at other people's way of organizing may not fit my way of organizing, but it doesn't mean it's not organized. Does that make sense? If you see in my office, I have a lot of containers. I love containers. For some people, that doesn't work for them. Another example, my husband, we are totally opposite in organizing. I'm one that likes containers, he hates containers. So when I organize stuff, I have to keep that in mind. I think to answer your question about what is the biggest thing that people neglect?, I think it's the fact that they don't consider the importance of decluttering. They don't consider the fact that not everything that they see is functional for them. Hopefully I made sense with that.

Carly Ries (15:05):

Absolutely. Yeah. I actually want to switch gears a little bit. 'We're talking a lot about the physical space for organization and decluttering, but you are so good about organization beyond just the physical space and how people prioritize their time and everything. Can you tell us your philosophy on time management and how can people be better at prioritizing the right things?

Aldreama Harper (15:31):

That is so good, Carly. I thank you for asking me that. My philosophy on time management is that it's not about managing time. Because you can't. And people say that all the time. But, it's about managing the agreements that you make concerning your time. The thing is, we make agreements all the time. We make agreements when we wake up in the morning. The thing that I tell people about that is, if you don't have an agenda, particularly as solopreneurs, by default, you are making an agreement with shiny objects. You're making an agreement with chaos. You're making an agreement with things just coming into your space that you have not considered, by not planning the day before or planning for your time and allocating in terms of what you were going to do the next day.


And so it's really more about agreements. And when you have a plan for your day, you can handle it with more intentionality by honoring the agreements that you make concerning your time. You can stay focused, you can stay productive. One of the things that I always have my clients to do, even when we're going through the decluttering challenges, is before we even get started, decluttering anything or getting organized with anything, you make an agreement with yourself first. The thing that happens when people do that, when they break those agreements with their self, they no longer believe what they tell themselves about time management, about getting organized about any of it. So they give themselves permission to do whatever because they're not honoring an agreement that they should be making concerning the activities that they're gonna focus on.

Carly Ries (17:35):

I saw a quote recently that was like, instead of saying, I don't have time for that, you say, I don't prioritize that. And it helps you realize like, oh, I don't have time to work out. And it's like, well, no, you just don't prioritize working out. That really makes you think. It's so true. It really made me reframe how I thought about how I spend my day.

Aldreama Harper (17:57):

Absolutely No agreement, no commitment. You just do whatever you want. You're just flying by the seat of your pants because you haven't made any type of agreements with yourself about what you're gonna do.

Joe Rando (18:11):

I have a question on that. I go and I'll plan my next day. Sometimes I'll do it the day before. A lot of times I do it in the morning but what happens a lot of times is something, some fire comes up. Something comes up and it just gets in the way, somebody's blocked or something, and all of a sudden my plan goes out the window because at that time, from 10 to 1130 that I was gonna write the blog is now being used to deal with some other issue. How do you advise people deal with those kinds of unforeseens?

Aldreama Harper (18:42):

You always allow white space in your calendar because no matter what, it's never gonna be a perfect day, particularly in our lives as solopreneurs. You allow white space in your calendar even if you plan it. I had a lady one time reach out to me and said "I really want you to coach me. I want to have everything on my calendar blocked out, and I want everything organized from the time I get up in the morning until the time that I go to bed at night." I said, "well, good luck with that because I am not your coach, because that's impossible. You're just setting yourself up for failure." There's always gonna be something so you just have to have a buffer. I always in between coaching clients or between things that I'm working on in my business, I always allow buffer time. Sometimes I just need to reset. It's a good thing to do, just allow some white space on your calendar for emergencies and you'll be fine.

Joe Rando (20:02):

Do you have a percentage of time you recommend to keep unallocated in an eight hour day? How many hours of the day should you allocate?

Aldreama Harper (20:11):

Actually, it depends. I arrange my calendar by categories. Mondays, I don't do any interviews or anything like that. So Mondays, I call it my ease into my weekday. I'm flexible with my time. I allow myself to do things that don't require a whole lot, but it allows me the time to set up things for the week, review my calendar, things like that. So that's Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for me are coaching days. I will have coaching clients on Tuesdays, coaching clients onThursdays. Wednesdays, I have a networking event, so that's allocated for that. It just depends on the things that you have to do. You can do it by days or you can allocate the time according to hours that you want to work on certain things.


It really just depends on you. If I was to coach you, Joe, I would look at what you're currently doing and we would do an assessment. Like I said, it always starts with an assessment because I want to see how you work. What are some of the things that are priority for you? I would want to look at that before I said, okay, 90% of your day, or 50% of your day. Because everyone is different. You've got to find your own rhythm, and that's what I would help you do, find your rhythm.

Carly Ries (22:12):

Okay. So your space is decluttered. You have allocated your time, you've made your plan, now you have the ability to be productive. Do you have any favorite productivity tips that you tell clients once they can actually hit the ground running?

Aldreama Harper (22:29):

Just like what Joe was asking me, in terms of how much time, one tool that I just love, it's called I always will have my clients look at what they're currently doing. That tool helps you to see where your time is already being allocated. The thing that I like to tell people is that it's just like a budget. You gotta see where your time is being spent first, before you even start the ball rolling, start your week or whatever it is. That tool has saved me. It has saved other clients because they get to see exactly where their time is being spent. You can also just journal your time. It doesn't have to be something like But, that is one of the tools that I always share with clients in terms of figuring out how productive they are and then tweaking along the way.

Carly Ries (24:04):

I had a huge reality check about a year ago with my social media usage with an app like that. I don't remember if it was Clockify or something else, but it definitely forced me to change my ways.

Aldreama Harper (24:17):

Yeah. Sometimes you don't even realize. It's just like I was saying with the budget, if you create a spreadsheet in terms of the money, you spend $5 here on Starbucks or whatever, you spend five minutes here, you spent an hour here and you look at that and you're like, "okay, that was not really a very productive day". Just like with the budget, when you add it up, if you go five times a week, and you spent $5 at Starbucks, which of course it's more, we know that, but you have spent $25. You do that week after week, you spent a hundred dollars over the month. So that has been one of my favorite tools that I have people work with upfront to figure out where are you spending your time.

Carly Ries (25:21):

Well, let's stick on the "my favorite things" category. Let's go back to the physical side of it. I love that you had your baskets there and that's what you use. What are some other products you recommend people purchase to get and stay organized?

Aldreama Harper (25:39):

So I want to answer that with a caveat because when I'm helping clients, one of the first things they want to do is get organized. So my approach is I save the organizing and tidying up as the last thing that they do. I love containers. I just showed you that. By the way, this came from the Dollar Tree. This is like $1.25. I have 1, 2, 3, four. And I have a couple of them in my closet. So Dollar Tree is probably my number one because I like containers. But what I wanted to say was, it depends on your organization. I like containers, so that's gonna be my favorite thing. Office supplies, that's my favorite thing. I love pens, I love journals. I love these things.


And the reason I love these is because I can build my own. I am one that does not like to have paper that tells me what to do. If it has a block there for the date and then it has just lines, I'm okay with that. But don't tell me how to block out the areas on my journal and stuff. Those are some of my favorite parts. I am one of those that' is really obsessed with that kind of stuff.

Joe Rando (27:29):

Do you have a label maker?

Aldreama Harper (27:33):

I do.

Joe Rando (27:35):

I do too. It really helps.

Aldreama Harper (27:37):

I love to label stuff. When I've gone out to clients, it helps them as well. I had a client that we actually did her kitchen. I had a label maker you can write on it, but you can erase it if it's doesn't work. Those are the kind of label makers that I have that I recommend because you change your mind. I know, I do. I change my mind in terms of what I want to call it.

Joe Rando (28:18):

Yeah, I've got the little one that prints it out on a sticky thing. I use 'em for file folders because I can't read my own writing ever. I'm left-handed and so I use the label maker. The other thing I use it for that's changed my life is I label cords, like electronics cords. You go, "oh, what's this one for? I have no idea."

Aldreama Harper (28:43):

Yes. I'm glad you said that because these little things, you can tie the cords together. I have that in my home studio.


I love these because I don't like to see the cables.

Carly Ries (29:02):

For people that are just listening in, it was one of those wraps with the Velcro that you can put around your cord. Adreama was also talking about her journal and notebook that she has that she likes to customize. That was visual. Basically just saying how much she loves creating her own journals and not following the prompts that some come with as well as these really cute bins from the Dollar Store.

Joe Rando (29:26):

Now that we're video, we forget that some people are just listening

Carly Ries (29:31):

That's why I thought I'd throw that in there.


Maybe we can become affiliates or something with a Dollar Tree, get something for these bins. Haha

Aldreama Harper (29:40):

Well, I'm already an affiliate with Amazon, cause I keep Amazon pretty hot.

Joe Rando (29:50):

So what you're telling us, if you leave, Jeff Bezos' net worth is going down

Aldreama Harper (29:55):


Carly Ries (29:59):

Aldreama, this has been so fun. I can't believe we're actually wrapping up right now. We ask all of our guests this question and we wanted to know your take. What is your favorite quote about success?

Aldreama Harper (30:11):

My favorite quote is by the late Zig Ziglar. "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." That is my all time favorite quote.

Carly Ries (30:29):

I feel like that applies to everything you've said today with the plan for decluttering, the plan for type management, everything. I feel like that is the perfect recap.

Aldreama Harper (30:39):

I saw him in person one time before, years ago, but that was my biggest takeaway. I was like, absolutely correct.

Joe Rando (30:54):

Just a little shameless plug, at our event coming up, which actually will have already occurred by the time this gets put out, but, we have Greg Rutan speaking about Sales. And Greg used to, I believe, tour with Zig Ziglar and do those sales things back years ago. Greg is going to speak at our Solopreneur Success Sessions about sales without the sleaze. I hope you'll be there.

Aldreama Harper (31:24):

Oh, I plan to.

Carly Ries (31:27):

Since this will be past that event, be sure to tune in for our next solopreneur success sessions. Look at to check it out.


Aldreama, since we just did our own shameless plug, let's plug you, where can people find you if they want to book a consultation, get to know more, all that jazz.

Aldreama Harper (31:50):

For a 15 minute consultation, they can go to I try to keep it simple. If they want to know about my events, they can go to and any other links, they can go to

Carly Ries (32:12):

Perfect. Love it. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show today. I know I needed this big time. I hope our audience feels the same. And speaking of organization and staying organized as solopreneurs, we have an app and development that will help solopreneurs do just that. Be sure to go to, click on our tools and you can get updates there. We have a lot of other great resources for solopreneurs as well. Thank you for tuning in and we'll see you next time.

Closing (32:47):

You may be going solo in business, but that doesn't mean you're alone. In fact, millions of people are in your shoes running a one person business and figuring it out as they go. So why not connect with them and learn from each other's successes and failures. At Lifestarr, we're creating a one person business community where you can go to meet and get advice from other solopreneurs. Be sure to join in on the conversations at




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