Self Employment

  • Solo Business Success: Sherri Curley is the Practical Sort providing Eco-Organizing Solutions

    Eco-Organizing Solutions

    Sherri Curely is The Practical Sort, Eco-Oganizing Solutions

    Sherri Curley started The Practical Sort to help people organize their living space.

    Sherri Curley started The Practical Sort, a small Eco-organizing business putting her coordination skills to work.

    Origin Story: Sherri Curley does not call herself an “empty nester,” she prefers “free bird,” shedding the negative and hollow connotations of her children leaving the nest.  She asked herself, “what does that look like?”  Jackie’s Better, Smarter, Richer class appeared on her computer screen (“as if Jackie communicated through the universe to me,” she adds).

    Sherri was not sure what she was going to do.  Jackie asked her what she was good at.  With a long history of helping individuals and non-profits find and restore order, an organizing business seemed like a natural conclusion.   The Practical Sort Eco-Organizing Solutions was created.

    Sherri offers organizing services using an eco-friendly paradigm drawing upon her previous work at the US Environmental Protection Agency.  Busy women can feel overwhelmed and scattered by the disorganization cluttering their living spaces.  Most of her clients have little time, desire, or ability to get their personal spaces sorted.  The Practical Sort helps them rediscover productivity and the comforts of their homes by gaining control and transforming their surroundings. She encourages reducing what people bring into their homes.  She then encourages releasing what they no longer need or want in a way that is kind to the environment.

    Journey of re-creation, re-imagination:  Sherri writes, “As my business has evolved, I have added engaging with realtors to assist their clients with pre-sale home prep and project management services.  For example, if a client is too busy or has difficulty getting their home market-ready, I give them a hand.  I help by researching, scheduling and confirming handiwork contractors, painters, carpet installers, stagers, gutter cleaners, etc. I also liaison between the contractors and realtors to ensure the projects are completed thoroughly.”

    She recently teamed up with one of Portland Metro area’s premier home cleaning services, Executive Choice Cleaning and Staging Spaces PDX.  This paring “will offer a one-stop shopping experiences for relocating clients.”

    What’s working now?  Sherri has been trying different approaches to reach potential clients.  Referrals from past clients and realtors have been most lucrative.  Real Estate Open House networking events, realtor broker meetings, and SBDC gatherings have been effective as well.

    Take Away:  “I am currently enrolled in an intensive non-traditional business training curriculum.  We devote considerable time exploring ourselves, our personal roadblocks, and ways to push through them.”  She adds, “Keeping an open mind as to where the journey is taking me is key.”

    For more information about The Practical Sort or to schedule a free phone consultation, please visit or contact

    To take Jackie’s Better, Smarter Richer class or buy the work book, visit the Products links on this web site.

    Subscribe to Jackie’s newsletter to learn about meet ups and other information to further your solo business.


  • Encore Entrepreneur Stories: Anne Hudson works home remodeling small business magic as the Sourceress

    Anne Hudson remodels interiors.

    Anne Hudson’s talent for design serves her well with her home remodeling small business The Sourceress.

    Encore entrepreneur inspiration comes to home interior designer Anne Hudson, age 70, with her home remodeling small business.

    What the business does:  Anne’s specialty is Sourcing interior materials such as furnishings and fixtures for remodeling projects.

    Design, beauty, and a keen eye for aesthetics and design have been an integral part of Anne Hudson’s careers.  Her first career was modeling. Then she worked as a course leader for Career Makers. Now, she is taking advantage of another interest, designing interiors, including working with furnishings and fixtures.  Others have always noticed Anne’s knack for design.  Home remodeling is Anne’s encore career.

    Re-Visiting, Re-Creation, Re-imagining:  The name of her business, “The Sourceress,” came to Anne about a year ago while she was meditating, and became the name of her solo business.  Glimpses of her knack for design has been evident over the years.  She had an apartment at one time that she re-modeled, and after she moved out, the landlord kept the work she had done. Her design was that good.  Later, when she bought her house, she made many modifications to meet her design aesthetic. She loved every minute of the project and her home became a show place for her friends who have encouraged her in her business.

    Anne’s talents developed at at early age, largely thanks to hands-on education from her parents.   The do-it-yourself approach is “in her blood.”  Anne’s father was an electrician, and her mother designed their house.  She learned much from her father as his knowledge of building went beyond the usual work of an electrician. Says Anne, “My daddy could do everything!”

    Anne explored resources to help her with her solo business.  She deliberated over whether or not to to invest the money to take the Solo Business Builder class.   She realized that the benefits, including the moral support, would be well worth the money and the time spent.

    What is working now:  Anne is still called upon occasionally to model.  People in their 70s are not tapped on a regular basis for modeling, but when they are, she is at the top of the list.  But Home design is her priority.

    At this stage, Anne says “I don’t know what I don’t know.”  She recently discovered Oregon Association of Minority Enterprises  (OAME), and plans to have coffee with a different member every week.  Another organization she has connected with is the Metropolitan Contractors Improvement Partnership (MCIP).

    Master Bath Remodel by Anne Hudson The Sourceress

    Master Bath Remodel by Anne Hudson, The Sourceress.  DYI spirit and an eye for design are evident in her work.

    Right now she is looking for who she can partner with.  She is seeking smaller contractors who don’t have the design flair.  Building relationships is key, says Anne.   She plans to meet with people in the industry, find out what they do, what they need.  Anne considers herself to be a “conduit of goodwill.”  She admits she was hesitant with the networking concept originally, thinking it was how people used each other.  Now she sees it in a more positive light.  “That all changed for me when I took a course called Career Makers.  The first morning, the founder talked about ‘the gracious art of networking,’ which for me sounded like blasphemy.  However, Anne soon saw networking as really valuable and went on to be a Career Makers course leader for 17 years.

    “I now refer to my network as ‘sacred ground’ because my network is about building lasting relationships founded in trust.  I network all the time, everywhere, with every body about everything.  It’s become a part of my DNA to have my radar tuned.  I never know who I may need and where that connection may lead.  I may be standing in line at the post office, a conversation starts, and ???  Who knows what magic can come of that.” She wants to connect people who need help with home design to those who offer it.  She is a resource, The Sourceress.  You can find Anne on LinkedIn: