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.
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.
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.
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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