Sitter Spotlight: Laura Breakstone

Today I have a special guest in my home office, which never, ever happens. My student and friend Laura Breakstone, who’s also a Pennsylvanian, came down to visit me today to record this video in person. Then we’ll go grab dinner and catch up on all the goodness on what’s going on with her business. Thank you for being here.

Laura Breakstone:

Yes, yes, I’m very happy to be here.

Colleen Sedgwick:

So I wanted to shoot this video so you can talk about your experience with Pet Nanny Coach, the Launch & Grow Program and the Multiply Mastermind program. So it could be helpful to see what you’ve gotten from it and help others decide if it’s a good fit.

Laura Breakstone:

Absolutely.

Colleen Sedgwick:

All right, so first, can you tell everybody how you came to find Pet Nanny Coach?

Laura Breakstone:

Yeah, I was browsing YouTube, and I just had a dream in my head and thought, what would it take to run a pet sitting business? And all of a sudden, you pop up, and that’s how I got started.

Colleen Sedgwick:

If you go to petnannycoach.com/youtube, you can go to my channel; I’ve got a ton of videos there, from basic videos on how to start a pet-sitting business to videos about automations and high-level strategies. So you can hit over there or not now, watch this first, and then you can go there.

All right, first question. So before we started working together, what problems and struggles were you experiencing? So you were not already a pet sitter. You were a brand new-

Laura Breakstone:

Yeah, I was completely new to the business idea of it. I was doing pet sitting under the table. I was working as a manager at a couple of retail stores and pet retail stores. And people would come in, and they’d say, “Oh, well, do you know a pet sitter?” And I’d say, “Well yeah, I do some pet sitting.”

So it was just on the side, and I saw the potential for it to grow, especially when I started working for the little mom and pop shop because then you get to know people there, they start to know and trust you, as you always say, and yeah, I saw a lot of potential with that. So yeah, that was a side gig.

Colleen Sedgwick:

All right, good. So how did you decide to, or how’d you come to be enrolled in the Launch & Grow program?

Laura Breakstone:

I just wanted to take everything to the next level. I decided I was ready. I don’t think there was any monumental moment other than I just thought, let’s try it out, because I mean, I wanted to shoot for my dreams and give it a whirl. There was no monumental moment. I think I just thought I was ready.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Good. All right, so the Launch & Grow Your Dream Pet Sitting Business is for brand new pet sitters that don’t necessarily have a business yet or for pet sitters that may be in business for a little bit. Still, they’re not getting the results they want, and what I teach in that program is the foundational pieces you need to get to 3k months, and then we take you to 10k months from there.

So that’s the idea. I have my 3k month framework and my 10k month framework. So Laura started in the Launch & Grow program, the 3k framework, and then she enrolled in the Multiply Mastermind program, and it has been such a blessing to have you as part of the program. You’re such a shining ray of sunlight into my life.

Laura Breakstone:

Thank you.

Colleen Sedgwick:

A+ student just decided to make the commitment and go all in. So what made you decide then to go onto the Mastermind?

Laura Breakstone:

I needed more. I just needed more. It worked out so well, and I thought this program is amazing. What’s the next level? I needed to know that next level.

Colleen Sedgwick:

It’s much more advanced.

Laura Breakstone:

Yeah, yeah, it’s a lot more advanced because with the Launch & Grow, it’s just getting that initial stuff out of the way, forming the LLC, building a website, all that stuff, so then once you have that down, then it’s like, now what? That was the biggest thing, it’s like, okay, well, I’m started, but now what? That was a scary thing for me, so the fact that you had a program laid out to tell me, here’s what you do, I had to go for it.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Good. And here’s the problem, guys, is that many pet sitters don’t even know what’s next. Let’s say they may jump and start their businesses, lay the foundational pieces, and have clients, but they don’t understand how to scale their business, and they get stuck working in their businesses instead of on their businesses.

And the truth is that there are only so many hours in a day that you can trade for dollars, so you get stuck completely trading hours for dollars and can’t scale the business.

And that is where the Multiply Mastermind program comes in. It’s how to multiply your existing business, where you have a client base, you’re making money, but now we want to take it to the next level where you’re making money with working less.

So the less you work, the more you make, the more freedom you have, and the more impact you can have because of all the clients you’re going to be able to serve. So that’s the difference between getting out and working in the business. So before you joined, what fears, what were you worried about? Were you worried about anything?

Laura Breakstone:

Before I joined Multiply Mastermind you’re talking about?

Colleen Sedgwick:

Yeah.

Sitter Spotlight Laura Breakstone


Laura Breakstone:

I don’t know anything I was worried about regarding the program because that was super laid out. I mean, there’s always that financial aspect of it, too, that you have to consider, but the way I looked at it is like you’re paying for a college class.

And actually, I got to tell you that this is worth more to me than a college class. I’m serious, I paid for four years of college, and I feel like I learned more doing this than I did my entire four years of college because in college, you’re paying for a lot of fluff courses.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Absolutely.

Laura Breakstone:

Let’s be real, I mean, it’s a lot of fluff, and I’m not technically using my degree. Although it applies to this industry, it’s a pre-vet degree.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Yeah.

Laura Breakstone:

But this, actually, I learn more doing this.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Wow.

Laura Breakstone:

Because it’s real-world practical experience and knowledge that you’re gaining.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Right, business structure, business advice, online marketing advice, how to find clients, service them. Good, that makes me happy. All right, what are the greatest results and benefits you have received from being in the Mastermind?

Laura Breakstone:

There’s so many. There are so many. How do I even rattle them off? One of the most obvious ones is just revenue increase. I mean, you see that every single month, increase after increase.

But there are business things you learn from this program, but there are also life things you learn from this program too, and both of them were near and dear to me. There’s certain things that you have to overcome a lot of mental hurdles with, like self-confidence issues and things like that, and this program also helps you battle some of those anxieties and fears, which was another great benefit out of this. Especially with the book club, that’s great. Inspirational reading. It’s changed my life.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Yeah, I had a student tell me that the book club has been life-changing for her the other day.

Laura Breakstone:

Mm-hmm, yeah.

Colleen Sedgwick:

So the year that Laura joined, I decided to incorporate a lot of mindset work versus just business strategy because that’s what I was known for, and I thought, you know what? What’s missing here is the mindset piece because people get stuck in fear, people get stuck in not wanting to step out of their comfort zone, so I thought, I need to add an element to this program that we work on that, and one of those things is a book club that we do.

We dive deep into the book and do workbooks and exercises based on the principles we learn. So not only are my students getting a lot out of it, I am too. I love it.

Laura Breakstone:

Yeah, yeah.

Colleen Sedgwick:

At first, I was like, I don’t want to be reading a book every month, but they need this, and now I’m like, it’s great.

Laura Breakstone:

Yeah, and the audiobook option also helps because you just read in the car.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Right.

Laura Breakstone:

Well, listen in the car. You don’t read in the car.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Yeah, listen in the car. And it’s not mandatory. I tell all my students that join, “I would love for you to be part of this, but if you don’t want to be, that’s fine too. It’s not part of the core curriculum,” but I think it’s really helpful.

Laura Breakstone:

Yeah, yeah, for sure.

Colleen Sedgwick:

All right, good. All right, so would you recommend the Multiply Mastermind to pet sitting business owners who want to multiply to 10k or more a month through sales, systems, and support?

Laura Breakstone:

Yes, big yes, Oh my gosh, I do recommend it. Any chance I can get I recommend you because it’s just a life-changing program.

Colleen Sedgwick:

Oh, well, thank you. I appreciate you being here.

Laura Breakstone:

Yes, absolutely.

Colleen Sedgwick:

All right, guys, any questions about the Multiply Mastermind, you can go to applytomultiply.com. On that page, you’ll get all of the information about the program and what’s included, and you can apply on that page. We’ll hop on a call to discuss to see if we are a good fit to work together, and we’ll go from there. All right, but if you are interested, go to applytomultiply.com, and hopefully, we’ll be chatting soon.

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Is Pet Sitting Software Worth the Business Expense

Today’s Business Growth Video asks if pet sitting software is a necessary business expense.

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. This is something that I wish I had invested in so much sooner in my business.

The number one reason is that I used to have the night sweats and spheres of me missing a pet sitting visit. When you use a pet sitting software, that worry goes away because everything is tracked online through the software.

Is Pet Sitting Software Worth the Business Expense


All of your clients’ pet care plans are nice and organized inside the software, and you can keep client credit cards on file and then charge them before the service begins. It also streamlines and organizes everything. So no more chasing payments. It is just an absolute must and something like I said, I wish I had done sooner.

I recommend Time To Pet software. 99% of my students use it and love it. I have a coupon code that I will link to below this video. It will help with the starting expense.

Other options are Precise Petcare, Leashtime, PetSitClick, Scout, and Power PetSitter. There are lots of options out there. So check those out as well. If you were on a super tight budget, look into something called PocketSuite, it’s about $9 a month, and it’s a great starter software. It’s not pet sitting specific, but it’s a great starter software for scheduling and accepting client payments. So if you’re on a tight budget, start there, and then you can always upgrade to a more expensive pet sitting software in the future.

Coupon code: timetopet.com/r/petnannycoach

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A Cheap and Effective Old School Marketing Strategy

Today, our pet business growth video is an old-school marketing strategy. When I’m coaching my students, I’ve noticed that everybody is super duper excited about learning all of the hot online marketing strategies I have to offer. Don’t get me wrong; I love online marketing. But I need to remind them that the old school, grassroots marketing strategies still work.

We go around in our community and pass out flyers once a month. For example, here is a flyer from Pet Nanny Pet Sitters of the Main Line. This flyer has a QR code right here, so anyone that sees it with their camera can take a shot at the QR code, which takes them to a high-value coupon, which then has a call to action to sign up for pet nanny service.

This works. So here’s a marketing template: I give this to my students in my Multiply Mastermind program, and then they can go ahead and make it their own. They can change images, colors, logos, and such to make it easy.

pet business marketing strategy

 

This is an effective pet business marketing strategy. We also use it for hiring. So here we go, we talk about Pet Nanny is hiring, are you passionate about pups, crazy for cats, fearless about frogs or iguanas, rabbits, chinchillas, or other exotic pets, so on and so forth. The QR code then takes them to the application page on our website.

Do not forget about the old-school marketing strategies because these work. Go around your community, find out where they have bulletin boards where you can post these, and do it. It’s so inexpensive. You can create this on Canva, have it printed right from Canva, and take action on this strategy within a week. So that’s your homework. Take action.

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5 Tips for Attracting New Customers to Your Pet Sitting Business

One of the ways that you can make more money in your pet sitting business is by attracting brand new customers consistently. Here are five ways to do that.

Increase your direct mail marketing.

I feel like so many people forget about snail mail in this day and age. They’re only focused on online strategies, but I tell you that people read snail mail. Create a direct mail marketing campaign to attract new customers to promote your pet sitting business.

Build an online presence to attract website visitors.

You want to make sure that when people are online, which they are every day, they can find you. First of all, make sure that you have a professional website.

Second, you have your Google My Business listing updated and optimized. Maybe starting a blog. Different ways that you are attracting new customers to your website, which is your conversion mechanism, which is going to convert them into paying customers. Make sure that you have your website listed on as many backend websites with all of the traffic leading back to your site.

5 Tips for Attracting New Customers to Your Pet Sitting Business


Create a social presence.

Social media, guess what, people use it because it works. You want to make sure that you are creating valuable content for your ideal clients on your social media channels. But again, direct them back to your website to convert them into paying customers. You’re not using social media for your business, just for its fun. The end goal is to convert your social media followers into paying customers.

Offer a referral incentive for customers who refer their friends.

Educate your current customers about your referral program, saying, “Hey, we love and appreciate referrals. This is the best way to do it. And we are going to incentivize it by giving you credits off of your next booking.”

Develop strategic alliance relationships.

Creating these relationships with other business owners that target the same market as you do but provide a different service. I’m not talking about pet sitters. I’m talking about pet groomers, pet photographers, pet stores, and vets. And the idea is that you’re sharing each other’s customer lists and referring business back and forth to each other.

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Set Your Dog Walking Business Apart From Your Competition

In the Launch & Grow Program, I talk about the importance of purple cowing your dog walking business. What I mean by that is making yourself stand so far apart from your competition that you’re the only logical choice in your market.

Think of an amazing offer that’s different from others.

Now, purple cow, I did not come up with that statement that Seth Godin coined. He has a concise book; if you’re interested in reading it, you can check that out. But think about what would be amazing that you could offer that’s just different from “Hi, I’m going to come to your house and walk your dog for 30 minutes.” Think about what you could package. Think about what you could include. Think about things you could do to make your customers go; “wow, this business is awesome, and they are who I want to hire.”

Survey your audience.

After putting all of your unique ideas down on paper, you can survey your audience. You can use a tool like SurveyMonkey, or a free one is Google Forms. Shoot that out to your current customers and say, what would it include if I could wave a magic wand to do the perfect business for you? Or what would it look like?

Set Your Dog Walking Business Apart From Your Competition


List Unique Selling Propositions.

The best ideas come from the customers that you already service. Then I want you to organize everything that makes you special, everything that makes you unique, into a list. We call these your unique selling propositions, and it’s just a list of what makes your business special.

I put a lot of time and effort into my list, create your own, organize them into a list, and include that on your marketing materials. If you visit my website at pet-nanny.net and see what sets us apart, you can check out my USPs. Do not copy them, please.

People want to know why they should hire you. In my programs, I teach my students to create a premium service that attracts premium clients who will pay the premium pricing, which is a crucial step.

So, how do you purple cow your dog walking business? Survey your audience, ask for ideas, organize your unique selling propositions into a checklist and put those on your website and marketing materials.

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Can my Independent Contractors Wear Clothes with my Business Name and Logo?

Today, I’m answering a question from the Pet Nanny Coach community Facebook group member, who asked if her independent contractors are allowed to wear clothes with her pet sitting business name and logo on them.

Can my Independent Contractors Wear Clothes with my Business Name and Logo


The answer is absolutely not.

The reason why is because they are not classified as employees. If they were employees, then yes, you could have them wear whatever you want them to in terms of having and showcasing your pet sitting business name. You could have them use card magnets.

But if they’re independent contractors, they are independent of your company. In the eyes of the government, they are their own business and, therefore, should not in any way be affiliated with your company. They are not eligible to wear clothing with your pet sitting business name and logos on it.

I want you to be very careful with this. I do not believe that the benefit of having your sitters wear this type of clothing outweighs the risk. Trust me on this.

I’ve been through two audits. This was a very stressful subject in my life for many years. I won those audits, thankfully, but I know myself when it comes to independent contractors. So please take my advice. Don’t go down this road. The risk to your pet sitting business operations being interrupted is not worth the reward that you may get from your independent contractors wearing clothing with your business name and logo on it.


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Don’t Let the Fear of Online Trolls Hold you Back

Today, our question comes from a member of my Scholars group, and she wrote, “I’m curious how and if you respond when your pet sitting company is recommended for service in local Facebook groups. Do you comment on the person who recommended your service or comment separately? I hesitate to throw our name out there in these groups if we haven’t been mentioned since some people are not so nice.”

This comes down to fear of judgment, which we all have.

My answer to her was to comment on the person who referred you, comment separately, and DM the person looking for a fantastic sitter. Be proud of your service.

Don't Let the Fear of Online Trolls Hold you Back


Don’t let some trolls that are sitting behind their computers, who may say something negative about you, hold you back from getting your message out to the people that need you most.

When you respond, something you can offer is a PDF download of all the amazing testimonials that your clients have given your pet sitting company, or you can give them a high-value coupon. There are many cool ways to respond in these instances, but again, do not let fear of judgment hold you back from being so proud of your service and what you have to offer.

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2 Reasons Why Problems in Your Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Business Should be Celebrated

I was on TikTok the other night, and I came across a quote that made me so happy. It reads, “Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” Steve Maraboli. I’m not quite sure who Steve is, but it got me thinking about my life and my dog walking business, and how I have learned to deal with problems because I used to get all stressed out and freaked out when a sitter would mess up, or I would mess up, or a customer leave a bad review.

But as I’ve learned, and as the business has grown, all of these problems have only created a better business and helped me grow as a human being.

I want to talk about the two reasons why problems need to be celebrated.

Problems reveal the ways that your business can grow.

They are showing you something. For example, you have more customers than team members. Awesome. You need to find more pet sitters and build better hiring systems. This means that you’re growing. That’s a good thing.

Two, you get a bad customer complaint posted on the internet, posted on Google My Business, posted on Yelp. Awesome. Now you can drive your team to serve your customers more effectively. At the same time, you build your marketing to counter the effect of the complaint and systemize how you will deal with any negative reviews that pop up because they’re going to happen. And that is okay. But guess what? The problem occurred and now you’ve created this new system. Good. It means you’re growing.

Lastly, you have an employee that isn’t working out. Awesome. Now you have a better understanding of the type of people you want to work with. And you’re going to create an attraction system on where to find these people. This is a good thing, and this is how you’re going to grow a better team.

You are building a better dog walking business.

Every problem is like a cleanse for your business. It just takes you to the next level. You will have to solve every problem that you face and then come up with a system to avoid having the same problem happen again in the future.

This is what I’ve done over 20 years of my career in the pet sitting industry. I didn’t know what I was doing when problems first happened. Now, everything is systematized to a T, and my team and my managers know how to deal with everything in a great, systematized way. It just takes all the stress off.

I’m not saying I’m without problems. I have a business and I’m dealing with human beings. Problems still arise, but now I’ve grown as a leader. I’ve grown as a business owner that I don’t freak out when these things happen. I try to look at it through the lens of this happening for me and not to me, and it will create an even better business.

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