Amanda Roberts creator of Ducks in a Row: Organizing Life

Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your family?

 Hi! I am Amanda Roberts. A wife and mom of two boys. My background is in social work and I am a business owner, but I spend most of my days homeschooling my boys!

Tell me a little bit about yourself pre-motherhood.

 I graduated with my master’s in social work in May of 2009. My husband and I got married on May 23 in Fiji! Growing up I had a great family life and childhood. Our family loved The Lord and we had a humble life. I loved sports and being with friends. My husband and I decided to start our family after two years of marriage and had our first boy, Michael, in October 2011. Our second son, Andrew, came pretty soon after in May 2013.

What was your first job?

I worked in a nursing home as a dietary aid throughout high school and college which prompted me to become a social worker, specializing in Gerontology.

Were you always passionate about organizing? Or did this unfold after marriage and motherhood?

I have ALWAYS been organized. My friends used to pick on me for having such a neat bedroom growing up! But it wasn’t until I became a mother that I decided to pursue a career in organizing. I had done internships in hospitals and nursing homes and even had my first graduate job working with children in schools, however, after having my first son my husband and I decided that I would stay home and raise our children. If you know me, you know I can’t sit still for long, so I decided I would start helping family and close friends by cleaning their homes, while still being a stay-at-home mom. It was during one of my cleaning sessions with a distant cousin that I learned I could, in fact, pursue my dream of being an organizer even with my degree in social work! This family member had an organizer that worked for them with an MSW as well! That day, I decided I would start this process of becoming a business owner and ultimately starting my business, Ducks in a Row: Organizing Life!

My friends used to pick on me for having such a neat bedroom growing up!

When did Ducks in a Row become more than for you and close friends/ family?

So now, fast forward…after a few personal setbacks I was finally able to “officially” start my business in January of 2015. My initial idea of starting the business was around the fall of 2013. I continued working for friends and family for those two years until I filed for “sole proprietorship” and began advertising in January 2015. I continued to work for people I knew (getting paid) but I didn’t have my first, “real”, client until the winter of 2015.

What was the moment you almost didn’t follow through with bringing Ducks in a Row to life?

As I mentioned above, I was set to start my business in January 2014 when a family crisis held me back. I had a brief thought that maybe I shouldn’t pursue this. But honestly, it didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t have to scrap my dream, I just had to put it on hold briefly. Ever since then, I ran with it and haven’t questioned or looked back. However, in 2020, the pandemic definitely threw a curve ball at my business! Instead of giving up, I knew I needed to scale online. That’s when I decided to do life/business coaching which included a focus on time management, productivity, and organizing. I also started by Podcast in the fall of 2020. Now that I homeschool full-time, I do most of my work online, creating planners, courses, and coaching. I only complete about 2-3 in-home organizing sessions per month.

However, in 2020, the pandemic definitely threw a curve ball at my business! Instead of giving up, I knew I needed to scale online. That’s when I decided to do life/business coaching which included a focus on time management, productivity, and organizing.

What got you past that hurdle?

Honestly, I am just the type of person that needs to follow through. I just can’t handle it if I don’t do something that I set out to do. Sometimes this is a blessing and sometimes it is a curse! But at the end of the day, I’ve always known in my heart that God gave me this gift of helping people keep their homes, lives, and time organized so I knew I had to just keep going. 🙂

So many women, homeschoolers, moms, etc have great ideas. Ideas they have been pondering for a long time, maybe even years, but you moved forward, why do you think you acted and what encouraged you onward?

I have the desire to provide financially to my family as well as educationally (and emotionally, spiritually, etc). It’s a passion of mine to help others, hence the degree in social work, so, it would be hard for me to not do that as a career. My full-time job is still very much, homeschooling my boys, but it’s also so important to me to provide in this way as well. I also know that my hard work sets a great example of work ethic for my boys.

Tell us about your initial launch. What did you expect?

This is funny because I honestly expected to have clients flooding in wanting in-home organizing as soon as I created my facebook business page! LOL  Instead, it took a full year! Launching online actually went better. Most likely because my name was already established. I had a handful of coaching clients pretty early on. My first planner launch was pretty good too but still hoping for more in that area. And so excited to see how the continuation of this course launch does as well!

What surprised you the most?

It surprised me at first that people who NEEDED my help, didn’t actually WANT my help! It is very difficult for people to allow someone in their home to help them get organized, which I now totally understand.

What is your day-to-day like? How do you wear all the “hats” in this season of life?

So clearly, I love to be organized with my time and manage it well, so this part is fun for me! I wake around 6:30-7 and workout, make breakfast for us, and have devotions. By 9 we are usually starting school. We do school until about 12:30 then have lunch. In the afternoon, I will do most of my work for Ducks in a Row. During this time, my boys play, watch some TV (usually educational), and read. We also do read-aloud and family exercise in the afternoon. I try to have dinner on the table between 5:30-6:30 depending on our evening activities. Evenings are set aside for family time.

In the early days before launching when you were dreaming up Ducks in a Row what is the ultimate goal? The “if I can accomplish X” it will all be worth it!

Wow, this is such a good question, and really made me think! I think my initial goals were to make money for my family while helping others. We didn’t start out homeschooling, so my business was my full-time job at first. My goals were much loftier then. I wanted to be a successful business owner making a typical decent full-time income. At this point, I want to focus on my family and use Ducks in a Row as a good income but a side job. At least until my boys are completely independent with schooling (or graduated). But truthfully, if I can accomplish HELPING OTHERS TAKE BACK THEIR TIME AND TIDY THEIR HOMES, I will feel successful and it will all be worth it!

What has been the biggest unexpected blessing to come from the adventure that is Ducks in a Row?

Doing work for God’s kingdom, hands-down. Thinking of all the people that I have helped over the years seriously brings a tear to my eye. The relationships I’ve made, and the impact on lives for the Lord is just the best. There is no doubt that God placed each and every one of my clients in my life for a reason and I am so blessed to have been able to make an impact on their lives.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished up Where the Crawdad’s Sing, and am about to start Confessions of a Crappy Christian by Blake Guichet

What is your favorite podcast?

I love a lot of different podcasts, but if I had to pick one, it would be The Jennifer Allwood Show.

What is your ‘everyday superpower’? Ex: always picking the fits “just right” container for leftovers.

Honestly, managing time. It is a gift, which is why I want to share it with others 😉

Thanks for being here!
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Amanda Roberts as much as I did.

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