Julie, who once described herself as a "personal disaster area" has turned disorganization into super-organization and a thriving consulting, organizing and speaking career. On April 21 of this year, she celebrated her birthday and the 10th anniversary of her business at the White House. Julie was recognized as a national SCORE client success at the organization's 35th anniversary celebration.
Julie's passion and career were in the theater. Directing off-Broadway shows in New York and attempting to become an organized mother, Morgenstern often dreamt of a "rent-a-mom," someone that she could hire to do all the chores she was too busy or overwhelmed to do.
In 1989, Julie's life reached a turning point when she divorced and became a single mother with a three-year-old daughter to support. Realizing she could no longer survive on an income from the theater, she decided it was time for a career change.
With a $100 dollar loan from a friend, she purchased an ad for $25 in Big Apple Parents Paper, a publication distributed throughout New York City at places working parents frequent such as daycare centers and grocery stores. The ad read, "Drowning in meaningless busy work?" and included a "to-do" list of services Task Masters offered. Chores on the to-do list included: errands, clutter control, cleaning kids rooms, party planning and moving management. The rest of the loan ($75) was spent on a business start-up special from a printer, which included business cards and stationery.
Julie received a call from her first client, an elderly couple who needed someone to organize and submit years of health insurance claims. She made $500 on this job and reinvested every penny into a half-page ad in Big Apple Parents Paper, believing a larger ad would make her appear to be a more well-established and successful company.
Her advertising investment paid off: She began to receive about five clients per month. Jobs included food shopping, renewing passports, organizing bedrooms, planning 40th birthday parties and weddings, designing closets and kitchen storage space, and creating photo albums and scrap books. Before long, she was extremely busy. Her eight-year daughter Jessi accepted the role of "Chief Business Advisor." Julie explains, "Jessi has always had the purist, most practical point of view."
But as a one-person operation, there was a limit to the number of hours she could work with clients. She also had administrative work to do and couldn't afford to take a day off. She saw a ceiling to how much she could make as a one-person operation and felt the need to expand.
Julie learned that business was anything but boring. "I thought that business wouldn't be creative, but it is even more gratifying than theater. I can come up with my own ideas and make them happen." With all of the exposure, she gained many high-level clients such as American Express,Cosmopolitan Magazine, the New York City Mayor's Office, Merrill Lynch and NBC Television.
In October 1998, Julie released her first book, Organizing From the Inside Out. The book encompasses Julie's entire theory on organization, from the inside out-first analyze, then strategize; finally, attack. It was a New York Times Business Best Seller and an Amazon.com bestseller for 1999.
The future looks bright and busy for Julie. She is developing an idea for a half-an-hour weekly TV show about transforming disorganized lifestyles and is considering certifying organizers nationally to develop a nationwide network of Task Master representatives.