If you haven’t heard of the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” it’s written by a Japanese woman named Marie Kondo who is an organizing consultant based in Tokyo.
Her job was to go into people’s homes (mainly women) and help them tidy up and get organized.
By all accounts this job does not sound like one with a whole lot of potential.
If you had a friend who said “I am going to start a company where I go into people’s homes and help them tidy up”, you would question your friend’s life choices.
But Marie Kondo has made some very good choices. The “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is a global bestseller and she is now successful and famous.
Here are 8 reasons that Marie Kondo made it big:
1. Tidying appeared to be a small niche market, but it’s actually potentially huge.
We live in a world where “the long tail” can sustain a business. You could target “41-43 year old men who watch cricket and like trivia” and probably find enough people worldwide to support a business.
But for something to be a blockbuster, it has to be able to serve a much larger market.
At first signs, tidying homes seems to be very focused. But of course, the market is huge because it can actually be applied to anyone with a home and possessions.
2. No one had dominated that market
There are some people like David Allen (Getting Things Done) who talk about time management and efficiency which overlaps into organizing your workspace.
But no one had really dominated the tidying niche. It meant there was a gap waiting to be filled.
3. She lived it
If you read the book, you get the feeling that Marie Kondo is passionate about tidying. Her stories go back to when she was a child and show her obsessed with how to organize things.
This passion is magnetic for readers and fans.
4. She didn’t say “me too”
One thing that strikes you when you read Marie Kondo’s book is that her approach is totally different to most tidying advice.
It’s definitely not a “me-too” book.
5. She spent years figuring it all out
Only someone who has spent a long time thinking about a topic could come up with something so groundbreaking and new.
It’s obvious that the years of thinking about this served her well.
6. The approach was tested.
Being an organizing consultant in Tokyo helped Marie get lots of practical experience and case studies. This enables her book to be much more than a theoretical work. She has tested her approach and it works.
This enhanced her credibility and meant that the system she had figured out, was refined and practical.
7. The book is about more than tidying
The thing that I believe gives this book cult status is that it has two levels to it.
Sure on one hand, if you follow her advice, you get a tidy room. But the deeper level is that it gets you to confront your relationship with possessions.
This is a profound effect of the book, that makes it stand out.
8. She is a publicity hound
Although she looks quite shy and from how she describes herself in the book, quite introverted, there is no denying that Marie Kondo knows how to hustle. She does a lot of media appearances. And no doubt this publicity drive made a huge difference in getting her books published and out there.
How do you replicate this?
What if you wanted to replicate this success? Here’s what you would need to do:
- Find a problem that is under-appreciated but potentially affects a lot of people
- Make sure the problem is one that you also have, and are heavily interested in finding a better solution.
- Spend a LONG time thinking about how to solve this and experimenting with different approaches.
- Through this experimentation, find an approach that is quite different to the standard advice.
- The solution should deal with a superficial problem but with a more profound approach
- Test it out on others. See if it really works across other situations.
- When you’ve found your solution, tell as many people as you can.