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How it all began

Barbara Hemphill's career began in New York after eight years overseas with the Church World Service. Looking to supplement her family's income while raising three adopted children, she culled ideas from playground conversations.

"I once read that a lot of successful businesses start when people listen to what others complain about," she says. What she heard were tales about dysfunctional closets, paper-strewn dining tables, and home chaos.

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Hemphill was always organizing something. She enjoyed the work, was good at it, and decided to place a newspaper ad as an organizational consultant for $10 an hour.

Today, her rate for a residential visit would be a high-end $150 an hour, only she's dropped home consultations to concentrate on businesses. Getting companies better organized makes a difference in the bottom line, so a professional organizer can charge as much as $2,000 a day.

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