• Community

Meet a Member: Rosemary Flannery, Producer & De-Clutterer

This week, I'm happy to revive one of our blog's vintage features: member profiles! To start us off, here's my interview with Rosemary Flannery, a lovely member we met at a focus group in New York. A client who blogged about cleaning his kitchen with Rosemary's help calls her "one part Felix Unger, one part Sigmund Freud." You can visit Rosemary at her own blog, From Clutter 2 Clarity. So Rosemary, what do you do? I am a freelance producer for design and animation but have started a sideline business as a personal de-clutterer/organizer. I love helping people throw things out. So many people tell me they need someone like me to help them, but very often they are ashamed to admit they have a problem. When they've reached their breaking point, I get the call, it's like they are calling a "help line." I start in one corner and work my way around the space with the client nearby. We handle every item. Once we have decided what to keep, I use eco-friendly cleaning products to clean the area so everything is sparkling in its new incarnation. Why did you decide to go freelance? It wasn't a conscious decision, but a necessity at the time I was beginning my career in production. At first it was very tenuous, but gradually as I developed a network, I worked steadily and really liked the diversity of projects. As a de-clutterer, it is all about project work. Tell me about one really interesting project you've had. As a producer, I got to be a "pop culture guru/trendspotter" for a marketing company which held a creative brainstorming session at Dylan's Candy Bar to come up with ideas for a Yoohoo chocolate candy. I know this sounds crazy, but one of the most challenging de-cluttering missions was to clear off piles of mail, magazines among other things from someone's dining room set. It took over five hours to try and clear some space but I could have used about 2 more days to have an impact. ** What advice would you give to a new freelancer?** Wow, there's so much to offer but one thing I have learned the hard way is to have the client sign a deal memo outlining the parameters of the job, payment schedule, etc. and have the client sign it so you have some recourse if you don't get paid or the job veers drastically from the original specs. Network, network, network--you have to remind potential clients constantly (but not in a harassing way) that you are available. Timing really is everything. Also listen to what clients are saying--are they busy, are they looking to fill a position but do they need help while trying to fill the job--offer your services. Lastly, save some money and open up a self-employment retirement as well as a savings plan for those lean times. Do you know a lot of other freelancers? Is there a community? I do, although many of them have taken full-time gigs as they have married and had families. There is definitely a community. I have a group that I always refer in case I am unavailable. What is your favorite spot in the city in which you live? Hmm . . . there are so many to choose from [in New York City]. I love the downtown approach on the FDR to the Brooklyn Bridge, especially early in the morning as I am on my way to the NJ ferry at Pier 11. I like strolling through Stuyvesant Town and the magnificence of the interior at Grand Central and Bloomingdales on a Saturday in the summer - it's so quiet! Is your city or community freelance-friendly? Extremely. ** What's one thing you do-in life or work-as a freelancer you wouldn't or couldn't do as a traditional employee?** Being a freelancer allows me to have freedom in choosing what projects I want to work on and when. I love to travel so I work basically to fulfill my travel fix. It's great to block out time like an entire summer to indulge my habit. I don't think most companies would allow this kind of time off for an employee.