It may not seem compatible with having two separate companies – one that specializes in home organization and the other in gluten-free education. But Julie Aderhold of Suamico started both and thinks they are related to each other.
The business, The Healthy Home Organization and Gluten Free Navigator Program, is formed under the same LLC and offers unique services.
“I think they are related to each other,” Aderhold said. “They both deal with creating and managing a healthy life. One area of overlap will be the service I provide to my gluten-free clients – organizing their kitchen. After someone is diagnosed and begins to follow a gluten-free diet, they need to go through their kitchen completely and get rid of all foods that contain 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 follow 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 people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance is increasing, and it is estimated that about 25% of Americans follow a gluten-free diet (for many, it’s just a preference).
This has created a major challenge for restaurants looking to accommodate customers. To provide guidance, the main role of the Gluten Free Navigator is to provide training for restaurants, universities, hospitals and living facilities.
“No one is doing exactly what I do,” Aderhold said. “As a gluten-free trainer, I am contracted to the Gluten Intolerance group and are paid by them to train and audit restaurants and other food service facilities.”
Restaurants can join the Gluten-Free Food Service, or GFFS, a program offered by GIG. GFFS reviews policies, procedures, recipes, ingredients, and training for food service facilities. After completing several hours of training, Aderhold takes on the role of consultant and trains restaurants and other establishments in gluten-free best practices.
When she’s not working on it, she’s spending time organizing a healthy home.
She said, “I organize my time to pay attention to both companies, just as I do in other areas of my life. I prioritize and have daily and weekly things to do on a regular basis. Then I anticipate the week. When unexpected things arise, I reprioritize and make adjustments.”
Not surprisingly, Aderhold is a regulator. She believes that organization is an important part of creating and managing a healthy life. Referring to a University of California study, I note that researchers have found that clutter can be an overwhelming problem that causes stress hormone levels to spike.
She added: “A clutter can increase negative emotions and lead to depression. An excessively cluttered space can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, or inadequacy.”
Other studies had similar results. It has been reported that clutter is not only chaotic and disorganized, but detrimental to both physical and mental health. These results fuel her passion. And although her research has shown that there is a lot of competition in this sector, she believes there needs to be plenty of business for everyone.
The most important aspect for potential clients is finding a suitable organizer in terms of personality, philosophy, and design.
“The organizers go to the clients’ homes; in their personal space.” “You should assign someone who is right for you. I am really focused on helping put together custom space and systems that work for the individual because everyone is different. I am a judgment-free and completely confidential area.”
She emphasized that there is no typical job, and that every situation and environment comes with challenges that are addressed when you make a plan. Aderhold doesn’t sell products that are used to organize things, but it does make recommendations and knows how important those products are to the business.
For her, oral validation has proven to be the most effective way to attract new clients. She is also a firm believer in the benefits of communication. In addition to being a member of The Nest, a co-working space in downtown Green Bay, her previous career in the nonprofit sector has meant she’s made a lot of connections.
Another valuable contact was Gary Lowes, a volunteer with the Green Bay SCORE chapter, who was appointed as her mentor. He’s been advising her while she’s growing the business and, she says, has given strong feedback.
“I made some deadlines for myself and shared them with Gary,” she said. “It was good to discuss these plans with someone to keep things real.”
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As it continues to work with SCORE, it will take the next steps in marketing. Separate corporate websites are planned, but social media will be limited as they prefer a “one-to-one” meeting with clients rather than trying to reach online groups. The websites will explain the business, and offer a free initial consultation so clients can learn about it before proceeding. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tina Dittmann Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and former area manager for SCORE, Wisconsin.
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