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?
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.
Enter your first name and email address below to receive our Wildly Successful Pet Sitting Business Plan Workbook
If you’ve been following me, you’ve probably heard me say a gazillion times, “Stop working in your business and start working on your business.” This was the major shift that completely changed the trajectory of my career and my life with my dog walking business, and where I learned this was the E-Myth Revisited.
It was the first business book I read that had a major impact on my life. It’s just like bells went off in my head, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, “I am doing this business thing all wrong.”
So what the E-Myth says is that entrepreneurs are people that understand that going into business is something that you do. You’re building a business that runs without you having to do the work to create the revenue and the income.
The problem is that most small business owners are technicians. They’re like myself and most of the students that I work with. We go into the pet industry because we love and adore animals and want to provide amazing pet care. But then we decide that we want to grow the business, and we don’t know how to do that because we are technicians. We’re not entrepreneurs innately, as the word would define.
So that is the big shift. You have to start thinking differently about your business. If you had a hundred different locations, you would not be able to service a hundred different locations, be the manager, be the pet sitter.
You would have to think about your dog walking business differently in terms of creating systems and processes that are easily replicable between all locations and that it is running without you being the person that is doing all of the marketing. You’re not the person that’s doing all of the admin. You’re not the person that’s doing the pet sitting. You’re not the person doing the database, the hiring, and all of the stuff that goes into it.
Start thinking of ways to remove yourself as the bottleneck.
You have to start thinking about yourself from a place of removing yourself as that bottleneck in your dog walking business so that you can create these processes so that you’re able to grow your team and you’re able to service more customers and, therefore, make more money.
You have to get out of the technician mindset and move yourself to that entrepreneurial mindset of working on your business and not in your business. This creates freedom in your life, which makes money in your business. It’s such an important shift if you want to grow a lucrative dog walking business.
Enter your first name and email address below to receive our The Top 15 Things to Automate in Your Pet Sitting Business Freebie
Today, our topic is how to start a dog walking business or a pet sitting business.
1. You need to take action.
If you have been thinking about this for a long time but can’t seem to move forward with your idea, you need to take the first step. Here’s what I want you to do. Count with me, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go. Take action.
Action is going to build momentum. Just get started. When your mind goes, “Oh no, no, no, I’m not ready, I’m not ready,” do the 5-4-3-2-1 rule and start.
2. Let’s get clear on your business vision and the results you want to create.
What exactly are you going to offer to your customers? Is it a dog walking business? Is it a pet sitting business? Is it a cat-sitting business? Are you going to do power walks? Are you going to do a pet taxi? Are you going to do a concierge service?
3. Create an Excel sheet to calculate your startup costs.
I highly suggest using a Google Sheet or an Excel sheet. The good news is that the startup costs for a dog walking business or a pet sitting business are very low. If you guys are like, “I want to do this,” but you’re worried about money, this is what you should be doing. You should be getting into this industry because you can get into this market at a very low cost.
4. Choose a smart name for your dog walking business.
Think about what people are going to be typing into Google. Are they going to be typing in ‘Cloud 9 Pet Sitting Services? No, they’re probably going to be typing in ‘dog walker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,’ or they’re going to be typing in ‘pet sitters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.’
So what are you doing, and where are you doing it? If you can choose a name that has these keywords, you’re going to be way ahead of your competition.
5. Get legal.
First, you want to choose your business entity. If you’re starting, it’s most likely going to be a sole proprietor; that’s how I started. Then as I got larger, I moved over to a limited liability corporation to protect my assets. You need to choose.
What’s your entity going to be? Then you want to register your fictitious name or do business with the government, and then get a business license if necessary.
6. Write a tagline.
It’s a short, memorable phrase that’s associated with your service. I did not choose a smart business name when I started my business. I chose a very generic name that a million businesses have.
It was not smart, but what I did was, with my tagline, I differentiated myself. So Pet Nanny, Pet Sitters of the Main Line. There we go again with those keywords. What am I doing? Pet sitting. And where am I doing it? On the Main Line.
7. Have a professional logo design.
If you want to be a professional service, get a logo design. You can go to upwork.com, guru.com, fiverr.com, or 99designs.com, and you can have a logo design very inexpensively. It doesn’t cost a lot of money. When I had my logo designed, it was $700 back in 2001. Now you can get it done for nothing.
8. Have professional business cards and marketing materials designed and printed.
In my Launch & Grow Your Dream Pet Sitting Business, we go very deep into marketing strategies for you to get clients, and guess what? If you’re going to be a professional business, you must have a logo and marketing materials.
You need those marketing materials to be able to promote your business. Again, Upwork, Guru, Fiverr, or 99designs. Very simple, very inexpensive. Even VistaPrint has a graphic design service now, which is like $5. That’s how inexpensive it can be.
9. Price your services.
How much should you be charging? Do competitive research on other local pet sitting businesses and kennels, create an Excel spreadsheet, and get clear.
10. You want to have a client-attractive website designed.
People need to find you on the web. People are on their phones; people are on their computers. They are searching for you on Google, and you need to have a professional website. In my Launch & Grow program, we go into depth about every piece you need to have to convert your website visitors into paying customers. This is important and inexpensive.
You need to have a hosting plan for a website, so godaddy.com, Bluehost, WP Engine, or SiteGround. I love SiteGround because you get all the security with your website at a quarter of your WP Engine cost.
11. Join trade associations.
So Pet Sitters International or my preferred association is the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, NAPPS, which is all about education and how you can grow your pet sitting business. It’s well worth the money you will pay for these memberships. It gives you credibility, and you’re on their pet sitter search network. People go to their website and type in their zip code, and you’re going to be listed in their directory.
12. Register your business online.
In my Launch & Grow program, again, I give about 78 different websites you’ll want to register your business on. You want to register with Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, petsitting.com and petsitusa.com.
Try Business Insurers of the Carolinas or who I use: Pet Sitters Associates.
14. Prepare your paperwork.
Below this video you can find my Complete Checklist for Starting a Pet Sitting Business, where I give you the actual documents that you can email to your clients before you go and meet with them. This includes a welcome letter, and it has all their client and pet information, the vet release form and the key release form.
I also give you a digital process where you can do all of this online and get rid of the paper, which I highly suggest. So check out that link below.
15. Set up a business bank account.
Too many pet sitters I talk to are co-mingling their funds. They are getting checks from their clients, and they’re depositing them right into their personal bank accounts. No, no, no, no, no. You want a separate business bank account.
I would like more bank accounts, but that’s more of an advanced strategy. Start with just the business account. Go to your bank and say you’re starting a business. Bring them that fictitious name statement, doing business as, and you can open a business bank account.
16. Set up your social media accounts.
Set up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok accounts. These are free channels that you can use to promote your business and get clients. Go and claim your listings or create them.
17. Shop for your supplies and go to step two in the checklist.
But to name a few, you want to send out a press release to your local media, post your flyers or postcards on local bulletin boards, drop your cards off at local pet stores and vets, give your business card to anyone you do business with, hairdressers, landscapers, dry cleaners, dentists, et cetera, announce your business on your neighborhood Facebook page, and the list goes on.
The first two things I have my Launch and Grow students do are: Number one, define your what. What results do you want to create with your dog walking business?
The second exercise I have them do is to define their why. Why do you want to create this business?
Know your What. Clarity equals Power.
Decide what you want and where you want to go because if you don’t know the results you want to create, no program, book, or coach will help you get there. I know this from personal experience.
When I started my business, I was teaching school. I was unhappy in my career. I decided to start a pet sitting business because I liked dogs. That was my what. I had no specific goals clear in my mind. I didn’t know what I wanted to create, and I was lost for many years early on in my pet sitting business.
What result do you want to create? Look at your business.
Are you doing this to be the only pet sitter in your business? If so, great, define it. This is what I want.
Or do you see a business where you have a team working for you that will help service your clients? What are your financial goals? How much do you want to make with this business? Get clear. Do you want to make $2,000.00 a month, $3,000.00 a month, $10,000.00 a month, $20,000.00 a month, $50,000.00 a month? How long do you want to take to build the business?
If you want to create a six-figure pet sitting business, how long will it take you to get there? Do you want to say within the next three years I want to be at six figures? Or, within the next 12 months, I want to be at six figures, which I’ve had many students do, by the way—by getting super clear about what you want your business to look like, all right?
Do you want to be a dog walking business? Do you want to be a pet sitting business? Do you like to offer house sitting services? Do you want to provide concierge services?
All of this is super specific because when you know what result you want to create, it’s just showing up and doing the work that will get you there. That’s step one, know your what.
Know your Why.
If you don’t have a compelling emotional reason for what you’re doing, if you don’t have a strong enough why, you’re going to get frustrated, you’re going to get bored, you’re going to get upset, and you may quit. That was me.
I had built this business just by default. I had all these clients. I didn’t have a plan. I was miserable. I was living in people’s houses 365 days a year. I hated it. I hated the business that was created before me, and I didn’t have a strong enough why.
Remember my why, that I liked dogs? No. When things get tough, and you get derailed, or you lose motivation if you are not connected with why you want to create this business, why you want to make financial freedom for yourself, why you want to service your pet-owning and pet-loving community, I’m telling you, you’re going to close up shop, and you’re going to quit.
So, get clear. I want you to write as many compelling reasons as you can. Just make sure you’re genuinely connected emotionally to what you want, to being crystal clear on why you want it.
So, in short, what do you want to create, and why do you want to create it? Those are the first two steps in starting your dog walking business, starting your pet sitting business, or starting any business.
Hey there, Newbie Pet Sitter! Are you feeling stuck or overwhelmed with starting your pet sitting business? Fret no longer, my friend. I’ve got ya covered!
Enter Your Info Below to Download The Complete Checklist For Starting a Pet Sitting Business!
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.