Work Family Balance

Work Family Life Balance

One of the members of our community, Emily Lewis, asked me to talk about work-life balance in her pet sitting business. There are two main topics I want to cover.

First is when you have young children, and you’re trying to build your business, and I did a video about this last year. Here is a link to that video: https://youtu.be/302z5z1PikI

Hire a manager.

When I started having my family, having Lucy, that’s when I hired my first manager. When I hired her, I wasn’t expecting to keep her on to work for me.

I was planning to have her come for three months and cover things for me to be a new mom and enjoy my new baby. I ended up loving mothering so much, and she was doing such an amazing job that I decided to keep her on. When Lucy got a little bit older, I realized that I had all this time now because my manager was taking care of things.

She was taking care of all of the administrative tasks for me, which freed up so much of my time to focus on growing the pet sitting business. So that is why I kept her on. The year that I did hire her, I made an additional $53,000. So it was like, “Well, this is a no-brainer.”

Have a support team around you.

When you hear me talk about building your team, I’m not only just talking about building your team of pet sitters. I’m talking about your support team around you. I now have three managers and a virtual assistant that helps me with everything.

I can focus on marketing and getting new clients, and having our current clients booked more frequently. That’s where my manager onboarding system comes from.

I think it’s important. It is part of a process.

Work Family Balance

 

The manager also helps to free up your time to be a mom as well.

Have an organized household and set boundaries.

My kids are now in school. They’re at school every day until four, and then I can focus on the business. So my suggestion for when you have young children is get a support staff around you, and work when the baby sleeps, and work when your husband gets home from work. That’s what I used to do. I used to hang with my kids, and then when he got home, that’s when I would sit down and get my work done.

Now, if you’re asking about COVID, that’s a whole different ball of wax. If your kids are home, luckily, my kids are in Catholic school. So they are in school full time. They have been since September.

Last spring was not easy, and my suggestion for that is you need to be super-duper, duper organized in your household, and setting boundaries. Ensuring everything’s set up at the beginning of the day, in their specific spots. Make sure they have everything they need. Lunch is made the night before, and have space for just yourself to work in your home.

We have a system in my house when I have a smiley face on my door; they’re allowed to come in. When they have a sad face on the door, that means they are not allowed to come in. That means I’m either doing a Facebook Live, I’m recording a video, I’m on phone calls, I’m teaching. So that’s kind of how they know whether they can access the office or not.

Delegate duties to your manager.

My manager handles all phone calls, emails, scheduling, and keeping track of all of the sitters availability. My hiring manager takes care of the sitter recruiting, the sitter assessments, and the sitter onboarding. Then she manages them as well.

Sue is my main manager that does all of the face-to-face client work. I have my sitter manager and my hiring manager, Jessica. My Online Business Manager is Michael, and he runs both sides of my business, so Pet Nanny and Pet Nanny Coach. He helps with all tech and marketing stuff and organizing all the projects that we’re working on in my pet sitting business.

When you get to a point in your business where you have 2,000 clients to service, that managerial role does become a full-time job and will suck up all of your time. That is when I suggest bringing on the manager and again, freeing up your time to be with your children.

I can go to any school function that they need me, all the sports events, that’s all taken care of because I am not the system in my pet sitting business. I’ve created a business that’s a machine that runs without me because of the amazing support system and the systems that I have put into place. So I can run the business.

Create a miraculous working routine.

So you want to make sure you’re getting up, and you’re doing something positive for your mind. Whether that’s listening to a positive podcast, reading something positive, doing yoga, exercising, something where you are starting your day off on the right foot. Mine includes Peloton and meditation.

Get up and get dressed.

During COVID, people were just kind of lounging around in their sweat pants, and it’s not good for motivation. So get up, get dressed, put a little makeup on, do your hair, and that’s going to help with the motivation.

Have a designated workspace.

So everybody in my home knows that when this door’s closed, a sad face is on the door, that mommy is working, and I’m not to be interrupted until I come out and give them the A-okay.

Now, if they’re very little, obviously that’s going to be different, but my kids are a little older now. So that’s a system that works for us.

Plan weekly.

You want to make sure that you’re doing your weekly planning on Sundays. We call it the see it through strategy where you’re taking everything out of your mind, put it onto paper, and put it onto your calendar so that you know exactly what you’re working on every day.

Then on Friday, you’re going to do the Finish Up Friday hour where you’re going to go through and see all the tasks you had on your calendar to see what wasn’t completed. Then you’re going to put that on the following week’s calendar.

Define boundaries with family and friends.

I used to talk on the phone all the time with my friends during the day. I don’t answer it anymore. I don’t answer text messages until the day is over. I’m taking care of my family and building a business, and now they know that I’m not available to chat about the Real Housewives during workdays.

Meal prep.

I try to plan my meals every week. I use an app called Plan To Eat, which I love. I put the recipes in for the week. It creates a shopping list. Billy does all the food shopping. He has the app, and he knows exactly what we need to buy at the store because I have everything planned for the week. I try to do as much prep work at the beginning of the week.

Chopping the onions or making the ziti, or today I’m making shepherd’s pie. I try to do as much as I can at the beginning of the week.

Design an end of day routine.

When you have a family, you want to turn off your computer, turn off your phone and be present with them. I have a whole routine that I’m shutting down for the day, and then I’m with the family, and that’s it.

Again, that’s from having that support team. You’re not on-call 24/7. Having a pet sitting business for years, I was on-call seven days a week, 365 days a year, and that’s not the way a business is supposed to be. It’s supposed to add to your life, and you need to create these support systems around you so that you can shut it down at the end of the day and be with your family.

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How we Handle Bookkeeping & Payroll in my Pet Sitting Business

How We Handle Bookkeeping & Payroll in my Pet Sitting Business

I started using my bookkeeper probably about ten years ago for my pet sitting business. I remember just thinking like, “Oh my gosh, this is such a huge investment.” but I read the book Profit First, which completely changed how I view money, and finances, and systems.

I ended up finding a bookkeeper who specialized in Profit First, and she was located in Pennsylvania. So it just seemed like a perfect combination. We’ve been working together ever since.

Have your pet sitting business set up in Quickbooks Online.

You don’t have to use QBO. You can use software like Xero or Wave apps; there’s a ton. We use QuickBooks Online, and we have all of my Profit First bank accounts connected to it.

They go in there every week, and they categorize all of my expenses to make sure that everything is organized.

At the end of the year, make sure everything is balanced. Then send to your CPA to do the taxes.

People ask me often, “Colleen, is this something that you think I should invest in?” If we do not have the budget for it, as of now, it’s absolutely something that you can do on your own.

But when you do end up getting an influx of cash that you will justify that expense, I highly recommend it. It just makes everything so lovely, neat, and organized.

Move your payroll over to a software system called Gusto.

My manager, Sue, runs the payroll every two weeks. All the visits from the first of the month to the 15th are run on the 16th. All the visits from the 16th to the end of the month are run on the first. It’s simple to use.

I use Employees, and it calculates all of the taxes and whatnot, and then sends all of the employees their paperwork at the end of the year, 1099s are for independent contractors. If you use independent contractors, it will do that for you.

Back in the day, I used to sit every two weeks, and I would write the checks to 20 some pet sitters, and it took forever. It was a giant waste of time. So I had put these fantastic software systems into place.

So with QuickBooks Online and Gusto, and using my team, my bookkeeper, and my manager, it’s not part of my duties anymore.

How we Handle Bookkeeping & Payroll in my Pet Sitting Business

 

Again, freeing up my time to focus on money-generating activities, marketing, and getting new clients. So that’s how we do things here at Pet Nanny and Pet Nanny Coach.

I use a Profit First bookkeeper who keeps my QuickBooks Online completely neat, organized, and categorized weekly.

My CPA does my taxes, and my manager, Sue, the Pet Nanny manager, runs the payroll every two weeks. So hopefully, you guys found that helpful.

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How to Read More Books in 2021

How to Read More Books in 2021

This is a challenge that I’ve extended to my students in my Multiply Mastermind Program and my Scholars Program.

But one of the big things I hear when I suggest different books to members of my pet sitting community or my students is “Colleen, I do not have the time to read a book. I don’t have time to do anything for myself, let alone sit down and read.”

Start listening to books.

I use an Audible app through Amazon, and it’s given me the ability to take in at least one book a week.

Realize you have plenty of time when doing other things.

You might not have time to sit down with an actual hard copy book, but my second tip is you have plenty of time when you are loading and unloading the dishwasher, cleaning your house, doing laundry, and you’re walking the dog. If you put your earbuds in and listen to the book when you’re doing these things, you don’t need a lot of mental concentration when doing these types of tasks. You can consume more.

Speed up Audible.

You don’t have to listen to it at the exact speed that the author is reading. You can go up to two times as fast and that way you can get through more books.

How to Read More Books in 2021 - ver02

 

I highly suggest trying to read more in 2021. Please start with The Big Leap, which is my all-time favorite. I recommend it to everyone in my pet sitting community. Get Audible on Amazon, put your earbuds in and listen while you’re doing housework, and speed it up if you need to, and that’s how you’re going to get more reading in this year.

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How to be Ready for 2021

How to be Ready for 2021

We previously talked about your pet sitting business vision and the results that you want to create and get really, really, really clear. To get there, we need to start taking some action, maybe action that we haven’t taken in the past, or we need to possibly stop doing some of the things that we are doing to get to where we want to go.

How to be Ready for 2021

 

I want you to think about three things.

The first thing we’re going to talk about is what you need to stop doing to get to where you want to go.

If you’re going to create a six-figure pet sitting business, perhaps you need to stop doing the pet sitting because if you are still doing the dog walking and the pet sitting, there’s only a certain number of hours in the day you can trade for dollars.

Therefore, you’re going to have a cap on the amount of income you want to create. If you’re going to build that multiple six-figure lucrative pet-sitting career, perhaps that is what you need to stop doing.

So maybe you will have already stopped doing the pet sitting, but you’re spending your entire day answering phones, returning emails, doing all the scheduling, doing the payroll, et cetera. Maybe you need to stop doing all aspects of the administration of the pet sitting business.

When I flipped over from being a pet sitter and dog walker and took over all the managerial roles, that became a full-time job very quickly. Perhaps those are the roles that you shouldn’t be focusing on anymore, that you should delegate to a manager to focus on income-generating activities.

What else do you need to stop doing in your business? Perhaps it is the hiring, that’s another thing. After my business got to a certain point, I spent so so much time interviewing and processing, and onboarding new sitters that it ate up all my time. And again, I was then not focused on income-generating activities.

Think about what we need to keep doing.

Maybe you have a fantastic way with people, and when issues pop up, your clients love how you handle problems. Perhaps you have the manager doing the other admin stuff, but you’re going to keep dealing with the issue resolution.

Maybe you’re good at writing emails or writing letters. Perhaps you’re good at smoothing things over. This is a role that you probably don’t want to give up if that is the case.

Maybe you have a keen sense of the type of people you want to hire for your business so maybe hiring needs to stay on your list of duties. Perhaps you need to keep doing excellent video content.

Maybe you’ve done these how-to videos that have gotten a lot of engagement on social media. These are the types of things, really think about what you need to keep doing in your business.

What do you need to start doing

Again, how you got to where you are is not going to get you where you want to go. What do we need to add and start doing to create the business of our dreams?

So maybe you need to start networking. Perhaps you need to join a networking group. Maybe you need to start doing some paid advertising, like Google ad words or Facebook ads. Many people are super scared of venturing over into paid advertising, but I’m telling you that it is fantastic once you get it set up correctly.

Perhaps you need to start working on your leadership skills with your teams. Maybe you need to have regular team meetings.

So really thinking about your business in three ways, what are you going to stop doing, what are you going to keep doing, and what will you start doing? Very, very simple questions you can ask yourself. Write it down, and then commit to that for your plan for 2021.

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TITLE - How to Manage Your Pet Sitter's Lack of Response Time

How to Manage Your Pet Sitter’s Lack of Response Time

I’m doing a follow-up to a video I did a few weeks ago, wherein I gave a tip to include due dates when requesting things from your team of pet sitters or customers.

I received a follow-up question from a community member.

“Colleen, I loved that video. I implemented it immediately. However, I still heard crickets from my staff of pet sitters. What would be your next step? Or what consequences would you institute if this happened to you?”

I would call a meeting with the said sitter and say, “I sent you this email on this date. I gave you this due date. Number one, I never received an acknowledgment. Number two, you did not turn in the video by said date. Why is that?”

Then you listen to their response.

QUOTE - How to Manage Your Pet Sitter's Lack of Response Time


You don’t want to be that person, just the talking head. Take time and listen to what they have to say.

Then I’d say, “Okay. A requirement for this position is I need this video to create a trust factor for our customer prospects. I also need you to respond to me when I request something from you. I’m going to ask you, is this still a position you are interested in doing?”

If they say, “Yes, absolutely,” say,

“Okay, wonderful. But moving forward, I’m setting this boundary, which is the personal responsibility that I’m requesting from you. This is how we do business around here. You ignoring my emails is no longer going to fly.”

If they say, “No, this isn’t actually for me,” you are better off.

Think of it this way. Let’s say your customer left a last-minute note. They’re running out the door, and they said, “Oh shoot, there are two new plants by the slider. I need to have the sitter water them.”

Do you want a sitter to be like, “I don’t know if I’m going to do that today. I don’t feel like it.”?

No, of course not. That is pretty much what that sitter did to your professional email, requesting a video from them and giving them a duty. They blatantly ignored you.

Now, it may have fallen through the cracks. There may be a reason. With this specific situation, people are often nervous in front of the camera, and instead of telling you that, they may have just tried to ignore it.

This isn’t a total deal-breaker. It would be best if you instituted what you’re going to allow and set the stage for what you expect from your team of pet sitters.

If they explain, “I’m just really nervous about being in the camera,” give them helpful tips and tricks.

If they say, “No, this position isn’t for me,” you’re better off. That is how I would personally handle it. It doesn’t have to be a contentious conversation.

It could be a friendly conversation. “You’re amazing. I love how my customers love you, and the pets love you. But here’s the deal. I am the owner of this company, and I need to know when I send you a request for something that you, one, acknowledge and, two, get back to me in a timely fashion. If that’s not going to work, then this business relationship isn’t going to work.

I hope that makes sense and you find that helpful.

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TITLE - Avoid Perfection Paralysis in Your Pet Sitting Business

Avoid Perfection Paralysis in Your Pet Sitting Business

I had a great coaching call with one of my Multiply Mastermind students, and we were talking about automations. Automations are what I teach my students to create on the backend that will take the manual processes out of their business, so things are happening without doing every last piece of it.

The number one automation we need to get is a lead magnet on their website. That is something you can offer your customer prospects in advance that will give them value, that’s going to add them to your email list, to convert them into a customer.

My student created several lead magnets. A lead magnet for dogs, for cats, one for summer, and one for winter. They were all excellent lead magnets, but she doesn’t need seven of them.

She just needs one.

She needs one to get it up and to run within her automation to get the campaign going.

That is what this lesson is all about. You have to be aware and mindful of the rabbit holes.

QUOTE - Avoid Perfection Paralysis in Your Pet Sitting Business

 

My student is staying stuck because she’s focusing too much on the rabbit holes and perfection paralysis. She was afraid to get it out in the world before it’s perfect.

There’s always plenty of time to get it perfect and add the bells and whistles to make it amazing.

Right now, get it up, get it out into the world and get it running because that’s how you’re going to build and grow your business.

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TITLE - Quick Tip on How to Increase Response Time From Your Pet Sitters

Quick Tip on How to Increase Response Time From Your Pet Sitters

I had a weekly private coaching call with one of my students when she let me know that she had sent an email to her pet sitters requesting a video from them. She will use the videos on her website and marketing materials to create the know, like, and trust factor with her prospective customers.

The sitters didn’t respond or acknowledge the email.

QUOTE - Quick Tip on How to Increase Response Time From Your Pet Sitters


So I suggested the following.

(1) Rewrite the copy of the email.

Start with:

Dear First Name,

Last week, I had requested a video. This is why I am requesting it.

(2) Then, explain the importance of the request and include instructions on how to do it

For example:

Don’t stress out about it. It’s easy, peasy. Grab your iPhone, introduce yourself, let them know what your pet care values are, and that you’re super excited to meet them and their furry pals.

(3) Always include a due date

Anytime you are requesting anything from your staff or requesting a testimonial from your clients, always include a due date. People respond to due dates. Otherwise, it just sits in their inbox as something to do when they get to it.

I hope this helps.

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The key to freedom in your pet sitting business

The Key to Freedom in Your Pet Sitting Business

Systems in your business are the key to your success. Imagine your business running like a fine-tuned machine. You have time to spend with family, take a vacation, play a sport or hobby.

You are the bottleneck in your business, and you are stopping yourself from being able to grow to a higher level. It’s taking up all your time. Your business is supposed to add and expand your life.

Systematizing everything takes yourself out as the bottleneck of your business.

You should have a system for new client calls, what happens when they sign up, an onboarding process, hiring system, marketing system, what to do when the website goes down, and the protocol when a sitter locks himself out of the house, etc. When everything is organized, then that is when you will gain your freedom back.

The key to freedom in your pet sitting business


Use Google Drive to organize your online business hub.

This will make it simple to delegate to your team, have things done, and complete it to your standard. There will be no questions about how you want something done in your business.

Use screen recordings when explaining things.

You have your computer showing step by step by step, how you want something done. Plus, you have an outline format.

The system runs the business, and the person runs the system. You should not be the system in your place, and that’s what most pet sitters are doing.

I hope this helps.

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