Tag: how to grow my pet sitting business

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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The 5 House Marketing Strategy

The 5 House Rule Marketing Strategy

The 5 House Rule or the Forced Referral Marketing Strategy

The name of this strategy is called the five house rule or the forced referral marketing strategy. The idea is if you get pet sitting clients in a neighborhood. Let’s say the client’s names are Paul and Claire.

The 5 House Rule Marketing Strategy


You’re going to say how nice Paul and Claire are and how much you love taking care of their pets. It is customary for the business owner to offer a discount to all of the neighbors as a token of courtesy for your wonderful clients.

The idea is they’re going to then talk to Paul and Claire because they probably know Paul and Claire, since their neighbors, ask them about you, Paul and Claire are going to give you a review, and then you should be getting at least one out of the five sign up as pet sitting clients.

From there, you have five more houses to market to, so on and so forth. Instead of saying, “Hey, Paul and Claire, do you think you could spread the word about my business and give me a referral, tell your neighbors”, they might, they might not.

When you do this, you’re forcing the referral. You’re writing the sales letter, and then the neighbor will then ask your client about you and then give you pet sitting clients referrals that way.

Send a sales and discount letter to the neighbors left and right, and 3 across the street.

Offer them an awesome discount or some incentive to sign up for service. Usually, one out of the five will sign up, and then you’re going to have five more houses, so on and so forth.

It’s personalized.

It’s not just like a mass mailing. “Hey, check out my pet sitting business.” There are some great campaigns and strategies for that too. But this one is a personalized neighborhood, five-house rule marketing strategy.

Howdy, Pet Lover! Are you struggling with attracting new clients to your pet sitting business? Would you like to have a consistent pipeline of new clients coming to your business? Well, wait no longer, my friend. Grab my FREE report, 125 Ways To Get More Pet Sitting Clients. This resource is 100% FREE and is my gift to you. Enjoy!
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How to Manage Fear in Your Business

How to Manage Fear In Your Pet Sitting Business

My mission in 2021 is to help as many pet sitting business owners get their businesses back after COVID. I will be popping in here every week to do these little mini-lessons. Lorraine, a member of our community, asked me to focus on fears.

Historically, fear has helped us as humans stay alive. As we’ve evolved, what it’s done is pretty much stop most people from taking action in their lives. Back in the day when we were cavemen, fear helped us to stay alive. If you’re like walking down the highway and a car is coming, and you feel fear, that’s a good fear.

Suppose you’re fearful of judgment, failing, embarrassment, and success; all these other fears we have are not serving us at all.

Remember, fear is just an unpleasant emotion.

Back in the day, I had an intense fear of judgment and failure, which kept me stuck for a very, very, very long time. I’m here to tell you today is that fear is just an unpleasant emotion. It’s in our minds. It’s make-believe. You’re making yourself believe something. Most people are afraid of feeling unpleasant emotions, so they’ll avoid doing anything that brings those up. That’s what keeps us stuck.

Start moving through fear with your courage.

I do not like speaking live in front of people, but I’m doing it anyway. I was fearful of embarrassing myself, of saying something stupid. What I do is I stop when I start feeling that emotion; I close my eyes I take a deep breath. I feel the fear. And I remind myself that it is all just in my mind, and I’m going to act despite it anyway.

How to Manage Fear in Your Business

 

This is a mantra that I say to myself many times that helps calm me. I deal with a lot of anxiety. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety for absolutely no reason.

That is my mini-lesson for you today. Understanding that fear is in your mind. Stopping yourself when you are feeling fearful. Reminding yourself that this is in your mind, you’re making yourself believe something that isn’t true.

It’s not necessary. You’re causing suffering in your own life. I cause suffering in my own life. When in reality, that was just false belief systems that I was creating in my mind.

When you start doing this, and you start moving through fear, that’s when you start gaining confidence through your courage, and it’s just going to get easier.

Do meditation.

Another thing that you can do to start helping with this is meditation. I know meditation was challenging for me. When I first started meditating, I would last a minute. Now I’m up to about 25 minutes.

Meditating and EFT tapping are good ones. You go to YouTube and look up EFT tapping for fear. Listening to binaural beats at night when you’re going to bed. Hypnosis. There are a million things that you can do to start working through your fear.

Mind work is the most important one. It is understanding that you are the thinker of your thoughts. The thoughts that you’re thinking are what is creating the fear in your body. Without your mind, the fear wouldn’t exist.

Journaling helps, writing this stuff down. So helpful. I tell my students to create a morning practice for themselves when they get up and do something positive. Whether if you’re spiritual. If it’s reading scripture. If it’s reading something or listening to something positive, journaling, meditation, exercise, all good things for helping deal with these fears.

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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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1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy

1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy

Most people forget about their email signature. Number one, email is free. Every time you send an email to either a client or a client prospect in a marketing funnel, you can optimize your email signature with a call to action.

If you’re emailing your customer, you could finish with your name.

“If you were happy with your pet sitting service, please click here to leave a Google review,” or “please click here to leave a Yelp review,” or “please click here to schedule your next service.”

If you’re sending it to a prospect, you can have something like “Click here to follow us on Facebook,” or “follow us on Twitter,” or “follow us on Instagram,” or LinkedIn, or whatever other social media that you’re on.

1 Super Simple & Free Marketing Strategy 2

 

You can send them to a piece of content to warm them up. You can have a call to action to send your customers to a landing page where they’re giving you their name and email address for a coupon, which will then drop them in a follow-up sequence to incentivize them to schedule service with you.

You can have a link for whatever call to action you want. It’s free. And one of the most overlooked marketing strategies there is. Go check out your email signature in your email client and your email autoresponder and have some fun with this.

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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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4 Ways to Increase Sales in Your Pet Sitting Business

4 Ways to Increase Sales in Your Pet Sitting Business

I get a million questions about marketing and how do I make more money? We tend to over-complicate things. It’s pretty simple.

1. Increase the number of new customers you bring to your business.

This is where you want to have a sales system where you are getting your pet sitting business, messaging, and offers out in front of new people and adding new people to your customer list.

2. Increase customer frequency.

It means getting your current customers to book from you more frequently. Again, you need to have a sales system to incentivize and remind your existing customer list to book service from you.

4 Ways to Increase Sales in Your Pet Sitting Business

 

It’s also the most forgotten practice in business. You have a customer list. These are the people that are willing and ready to buy from you.

3. Increase average transaction value.

Having your customers spend more money each time they book from you. Well, how do you do this?

Don’t just offer the basic 30-minute visit. Go to my website at petnannymainline.com, and you go to the services page, you will see that I offer a wide array of services, from 15, 30, 45 minutes, 60-minute, two-hour visits.

Plus, we have an entire menu of add-on services, or we call them concierge services. So when our customers are traveling, we will not only do the pet-sitting, dog-walking, and house sitting, but we will take care of an array of things that they need to be done in their home to keep things running smoothly for them. This will increase the average customer transaction.

4. Lastly, increase profit margin.

Increase your profit margins, meaning you need to make more with each visit booked. How do you do this? You can streamline and lower your expenses, or you can raise your rates.

Think about your compensation schedule for your sitters, as well. That’s another way to increase your profit margins.

Howdy, Pet Lover! Are you struggling with attracting new clients to your pet sitting business? Would you like to have a consistent pipeline of new clients coming to your business? Well, wait no longer, my friend. Grab my FREE report, 125 Ways To Get More Pet Sitting Clients. This resource is 100% FREE and is my gift to you. Enjoy!
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Why I was Attracting Non-Ideal Pet Sitting Clients

Why I was Attracting Non-Ideal Pet Sitting Clients

 

One of the most common discussions among my students, and in my Facebook community, is how to find premium pet sitting clients who are easy to work with, who treat you with respect and who are prepared to pay premium prices.

I understand this dilemma because at the beginning of my pet sitting business journey I had exactly the same problem.

When I started my pet sitting business back in 2001 I had no idea how to run a business, how to set up a business, how to set myself apart from the rest, and I just threw a bunch of gunk up onto the wall to see what stuck.

That was my marketing strategy.

How you present your business matters

And the result was that I presented myself as a hobbyist versus as being a professional company.

I attracted non-ideal pet sitting clients who didn’t respect me, who haggled with me, who were not pleasant to work with.

I was very, very unhappy.

Why I was Attracting Non Ideal Pet Sitting Clients

 

Then, there was a moment with one specific customer that really changed my perspective on who I was prepared to accept as a client and who I should be trying to attract to my business.

This client lived in a giant mansion and booked me to visit her house five times a day, so the bill was quite large for that specific assignment. Then when she got home,  she wouldn’t pay me.

I emailed her, I called her, I emailed her invoices. Finally, she said, “If you want your money, you need to come to my front door and ask me for it face to face.”

And that was it. That was a defining moment with my business. I realized I was not prepared to accept being treated rudely or without respect on a day-to-day basis.

In fact, I almost quit the business because I was so unhappy.

Set yourself apart from the crowd

I had this roster filled with customers that I couldn’t stand. I worked seven days a week, 365 days a year and I was extremely unhappy, and I almost quit.

But I turned it all around and here we are in 2019, and I have an amazing business that’s bursting at the seams filled with ideal clients.

I have a staff of 40 pet sitters, I employ three managers, and the business is killing it.

So I’m here to tell you that I am living proof that you can have a hobbyist business and turn it into a professional company that will provide you with a lucrative career.

It is possible but you need to set yourself apart from the hobbyist and all of the people that have come in and saturated the market.

Don’t worry you don’t have to do this on your own. Join my Facebook group – Pet Nanny Coach Community for advice, support, and tips on growing your pet sitting business.

Howdy, Pet Lover! Are you struggling with attracting new clients to your pet sitting business? Would you like to have a consistent pipeline of new clients coming to your business? Well, wait no longer, my friend. Grab my FREE report, 125 Ways To Get More Pet Sitting Clients. This resource is 100% FREE and is my gift to you. Enjoy!
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