How Marketing and Hiring Work Together

How Marketing  and Hiring Work Together

My mission in 2021 is to help as many business owners get their pet sitting clients back after COVID and multiply them to consistent five-figure months. I will be coming here to share some tips, tricks, strategies, mindset stuff because 2020 was a rough year. I want to give back, which is how I’m going to go ahead and do it.

Yesterday, we had an excellent question in the group from Jen Smith. Jen said asked, “Age-old question, do you hire or contract first, or get the new pet sitting clients first? Due to COVID-19, I’m personally working extra jobs by necessity, my kids and bills don’t pay for themselves… what do you do?”

Evaluate where you are in the business.

If right now you were at the Build-up Bill or Build-up Betty stage, the Launch and Grow stage, your focus needs to be on marketing and getting clients.

If you’ve lost a ton of pet sitting clients due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you want to get the marketing back up and focus on filling your client book, and then you want to switch the focus over to the hiring.

Now, when you’re at the Multiply stage, which is there are no more hours to trade for dollars, you are the bottleneck in your business, you’re the one that’s doing everything, you want always to be focused now on hiring and marketing at the same time. They work hand-in-hand.

If you don’t have pet sitting clients and marketing systems in place, don’t focus on hiring all the time.

You need to get to a certain point. You need to get all of these marketing systems and sales systems in place to have the work to give over to your sitters.

You need to have your sales, systems, and support in place.

Refer back to the video at the top of this blog post. You will find there my Multiply Formula. That’s my framework. I teach my students how to multiply their businesses to $10,000 or more a month in revenue.

When you do that, you will have more money, impact, and freedom in your life, but you need to have the three main components all working together. You need to have your sales, systems, and your support. Support is not only a team of pet sitters, but also your admin support and tech support.

How Marketing and Hiring Work Together

 

Have your marketing plan on autopilot.

With your sales systems, you need to have your marketing plan on autopilot, so every week, you have it mapped out, your marketing plan on your marketing calendar, and how you will attract new clients to your business. You always want a pipeline of new clients signing up for your service. You want it systematized, and you want it scheduled, and you want it planned out.

Then you want to wow your customers when they come to your business, really knock their socks off to show them that you are the most outstanding company that they’re going to write great testimonials for and refer you all over town.

Nurture the pet sitting clients already in your client list.

Let them know how much you love and appreciate them and incentivizing them to book service more frequently, and increasing their transaction amount for each invoice by offering different, amazing add-ons and such.

When you have your sales system going, and it’s on autopilot, you go on your networking meetings, meet with your strategic alliances, have your email campaigns going, and have your direct mail campaigns going, etc. You have all of the plans and mapped out; there’s always going to be business coming, there’s always going to be bookings.

Have your recruiting, assessment and onboarding systems in place.

Then you’re also going to have to have the sitters that will be able to handle all of the business. You need to have your recruiting systems in place and attract high-level talent to your business.

You want to have your assessment systems in place. A way to assess these people coming into the pipeline that you’re recruiting, how they will be as sitters once they get started, and then a fantastic onboarding system, which also the assessment kind of goes into the onboarding.

It doesn’t stop after the assessment, but having these unique onboarding systems in place so that by the time they are finished, your sitters are going to go out into the field and do a fantastic job.

You need to define and document your systems and build business hubs to delegate easily.

The idea is the system runs the business, and the person runs the system. You should not be the system in your business.

That’s the problem with most entrepreneurs and pet sitters. They are the system. Their business is in their head. If anything were to happen to them, the business and systems would disappear. You need all three of these pieces working in conjunction for you to be able to consistently create five-figure months, $10,000 or more a month.

Getting back to Jen’s question, you need to build up the client list. When you get to that point where there are no more hours to trade for dollars, we need to focus on the Multiply Framework, which is where your sales system and your support systems will work hand in hand. You have to do the sales part to hire the sitters. You don’t want to bring on many sitters and then not have the work for them.

Manage new pet sitter expectations.

Let them know this is not an overnight thing. This is a slow process. We’re going to bring you on. We’re going to see how you do. We’re going to do this very slowly. We’re going to get feedback from customers, but we will build your book of business within eight to 12 weeks. That is the expectation.

Then also makes you put skin in the game. If you bring these people onto your roster, you need to do your job as the marketer and CEO, as the person that’s meant to get clients for this business to fill your sitters’ schedules.

I used to have all these same concerns. I was like, “Oh, when do I hire? I don’t want to have people sitting on the list.”

When you do all of this, you do not have to worry about it. It all works beautifully together. Market your business consistently, hire consistently, build out your systems, which is my answer to Jen’s question.

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The Importance of Having a Powerhouse Team

The Importance of Having a Powerhouse Team

We are now in 2021. I was very excited to close the books on 2020 because it was the worst year of my life as it was for so many. I was excited for 2021 to hit the ground running and start with a bang and throw myself back into my pet sitting business because business building makes me happy.

When out of nowhere, I received a positive diagnosis for COVID, completely unexpected. A family friend accidentally gave it to my entire family. We’re all fine. I had a horrific headache and exhaustion for two weeks—nothing where I had to be hospitalized or anything.

The reason I’m telling you this is that something unexpected happened to me. And I was once again reminded about the importance of having a powerhouse team to help with your business.

The system runs the business, the person runs the system.

My business could entirely run without me because I had everything from soup to nuts systematized, and then I have a team of amazing people who implement the system. So, therefore, I am not the bottleneck.

So I’m not even just talking about having a pet sitter team as the business owner. It would be best if you had somebody helping you on the administrative side because you might have people who can go out and do the walks but if you were sick like I was, I was pretty much narcoleptic fallen asleep every hour, I needed somebody to be able to manage things on the backend.

For my coaching business and my pet-sitting business, the managers were able to take care of everything. I was able to sleep and heal, and everything ran seamlessly.

Start thinking about the systems in your business.

Every single thing that you do needs to be documented with point by point outlined instructions so that you can easily delegate it to a team member and they can implement the system. I will repeat it.

The Importance of Having a Powerhouse Team

 

When you have a business that can run without you, you truly have a business.

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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 - 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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Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters

Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters

People have strong feelings about using pet sitting independent contractors as employees. I have much information on this subject that I want to share about this as long as nobody emails me or posts crazy things.

I successfully built a high six-figure business, using independent contractors for 17 years. I switched to employees in 2018 because I kept getting audited. They kept coming for me, and I kept winning the audits.

The last time they came for me, they said just one year after I’d already won the previous audit that no record of that audit and that they were going to do it again. It was an exhausting situation, and I didn’t feel like fighting it anymore. I just wanted the monkey off my back. Thus, I let this win, and I switched to employees.

And it’s been great.

There hasn’t been a big difference. I do team meetings, they do marketing for me, and they can have car magnets (not that I use car magnets. If I wanted to, I could have them do that). Employees get the perk of getting benefits now, which they appreciate.

Direction & Control if Using ICs as Pet Sitters


Understanding the direction and control aspect of using pet sitting independent contractors and ensuring you create the correct framework will help you when you get audited.

Your clients direct and control your pet sitting independent contractors.

Your clients ask them to be there at a specific time and have outlined the pet care plan for the independent contractor to fulfill. You are simply the connector between the IC and your client.

This setup is how I won all the audits that I went through. I went through the 20 point checklist as well, had everything set up correctly, etc. You can ask employees to use car magnets, wear clothes with your logo, etc.

If people are using IC’s, I believe it’s their choice and great if you’re using employees.

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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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TITLE - What To Do When a Pet Sitter Services a Client Without Your Knowledge

What To Do When a Pet Sitter Services a Client Without Your Knowledge

One of the downsides of building a team of pet sitters is when one of your sitters provides service for one of your clients behind your back. I can’t tell you it is not going to happen. It’s more of when it will happen. Here are ways to handle it.

First, evaluate how you feel about the pet sitter.

If this sitter is a good hire, who you enjoy working with, provides fabulous service to your clients, and you don’t want to lose them, I suggest having an in-person meeting.

If they’re an independent contractor, make sure you have their independent contractor agreement. If they’re an employee, make sure you have their signed employee handbook.

Then have a sit-down and go over their job description, expectations from them, and how they breached the contract, what lengths you can go if you decide to pursue this, whatever is mentioned in the contract. Mention you love working with them, and you didn’t want to do this, and that you must come to an understanding.

If this person is not someone you trust and don’t want to work again, have a meeting via Zoom or in-person and let them know what is in the contract, what they breached, and what you’re going to do because of it. At this point, you can decide whether you want to take legal action or not.

QUOTE - What To Do When a Pet Sitter Services a Client Without Your Knowledge_ver03


Don’t go to the client.

You might want to let the client know, in a nice way, “Listen, this is how my business works. It is against our company policy for clients to subcontract pet sitters.”

Thus, you need to decide if this client an ideal client? Is this somebody that you want to continue working with? It’s all about the decisions that you need to make about the people they are.

I wouldn’t like to work with this client again. If this is a client that you usually wanted, maybe you were out of town, maybe there was a reason and extenuating circumstance. They contacted the sitter outside of the company, outside of you, perhaps then you’ll have a different decision. Take note of it on their client record inside your pet-sitting software, and be aware.

Communicate expectations with the sitter.

Tell the sitter what is expected of them, what they signed, and what lengths you can legally go to if you decided. Remind the client kindly about your policies and leave it at that.

Have a system.

What are you going to do when you find out that someone on your team breaches their contract? Have it all mapped out to know exactly what to do, and you don’t have to guess. You’re just following the company protocol.

All right, guys, I hope this helps.

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10 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Team

10 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Team

Finding that sweet spot in communicating with your team is essential to your pet sitting business growth. Building a team of sitters that trust you and that you can trust working with your managerial team is a top goal.

Here are ten tips on how to do this effectively.

#1 Conduct monthly video conferences.

My managers run these meetings for me via Zoom. We discuss what is going on in the business, what worked well, what slipped through the cracks, and what we can improve on. We also take the opportunity to answer any questions and get any feedback.

For those who can not make the meeting, the video is emailed to them and posted in our team Facebook group.

You can use a Facebook group to communicate regularly. You can post tips and tricks, things to remember, policies and procedures, report the need for a last-minute sitter, etc. This Facebook group is proven invaluable for bringing everyone together in one location, and you can quickly get a message out.

#2 Send regular monthly newsletters.

For those sitters that can not make the meeting, you can not trust all of them to watch the video. A newsletter is a great way to get any messages across.

A newsletter can be a letter letting them now, “Hey, this is what’s going on. This is what’s new with you.”

Enumerate all the things you would discuss in the video conference.

#3 Use Slack for internal communications.

Slack is an excellent tool to communicate effectively with your management team. Slack is searchable, so if you’re looking for something you want to discuss, you can use its search bar to find what you are looking for.

#4 Have regular check-in meetings and surveys where you encourage feedback.

Whatever time period you decide, you’re going to want to send out a survey. Ask your sitters, “How is it going? Do you have too many clients? Would you like some more clients? What would you like to be different about the position? How much longer can you see working for the company?”

You’re trying to get ahead of the game. You want to make sure you are keeping in touch with them. The last thing you want is a sitter who’s unhappy, quitting, leaving you with clients who don’t have coverage.

These regular check-in meetings and surveys help you deal with that. Don’t forget to encourage feedback, letting them that you are open to hearing what they have to say and that you’re willing to make changes.

Communicate your boundaries too.

“Hey, I only want to work mid-days, Mondays, and Fridays.”

That’s where you will discuss the job description, and say, “You were hired from Monday through Friday, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. So, unfortunately, that is outside of the position that was offered.”

It goes both ways. But being able to communicate about it, especially now, when we have Zoom and don’t have to meet, it’s invaluable.

#5 Celebrate their great work and express your appreciation.

If somebody goes above and beyond for you, show them your appreciation. Send them a card in the mail, or gift cards, or an email.

QUOTE - 10 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Team


#6 Build comfort in talking about what is not working.

There was a time in my business when I was fearful of expressing things that I was unhappy about. I still struggle with that a little bit, but I’ve gotten much better.

You can’t be fearful of expressing things that you want in your business. You are the owner of the business. I’m here to remind you and remind myself that you have every right to express when you are unhappy about something.

#7 Create boundaries with methods and timing of communication.

Having people consistently go to you to fix their problems and communicate with you at all hours of the day is unacceptable.

Nobody should text you at midnight saying, “I am locked out of a house.”

What are you going to do at midnight if they are locked out of a house? They need to be trained and trusted to be able to handle a situation. They should know what your protocol is, to begin with, before they even go out into the field.

So it would be best if you created those boundaries with them, letting them know the best way to communicate with you, how you want to be communicated with, and between what hours.

#8 Respond to every team member’s email within 24 hours.

Letting emails sit in your inbox never has worked out well. Trying to communicate as quickly as possible is a great tip.

#9 Acknowledge special moments in their lives.

When people who for you and are having special moments in their lives, you want to celebrate with them and let them know that you care.

You can use sendoutcards.com, an easy way to send a greeting card and any gifts or gift cards.

#10 Make internal documents and knowledge easily accessible.

Once you have everything broken down into individual SOPs, you can easily share it with your team.

“Colleen, I don’t know how to send an email in Infusionsoft.”

“Okay, this is how you do it.” And you click the link, and you copy and send the link to your team via Slack, maybe.

And then they’re able to go ahead and follow the SOP. You can also include video links in those SOPs, and you are off to the races.

I hope these tips are helpful to you. You can also go to my YouTube channel where I’ve got tons of videos over there to help you build your pet sitting business. Or you can join our free Facebook group at petnannycoachcommunity.com. Don’t forget to say hi.

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