Tag: owning a pet sitting business

TITLE - 26 Office Organization Strategies

26 Office Organization Strategies

Office organization requires effort and planning, but it isn’t difficult to accomplish.

QUOTE - 26 Office Organization Strategies


Use these tips to turn your office into a haven for productivity.

1. Declutter.

This is what I’m focused on this month with my Multiply Mastermind students and my Scholar students. We’re doing a 30-day decluttering challenge, not only of our office but also of our homes and lives.

Empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Take everything out and look at it. Then throw away or donate anything you don’t need. Ask yourself the question, is this serving me still? Am I using this? If not, it’s time to go.

Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you need it, out it goes. Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants, real or artificial, and decorations. If they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

2. The Desk Zone.

Desks should only contain the necessities, like your computer, phone, printer, and reference materials. Too many things cause clutter and disorganization.

Ideally, your desk should have drawers for supplies and files used daily. Pens, pencils, tape, paperclips, and staples should all stay in containers or in easy to reach drawers. This is your workspace. This is where you are going to make great things happen. You want to make sure this is clear of clutter, so you can focus and be productive on your business.

3. Clean Off Your Computer Desktop.

Digital messes count as clutter, too. Files sitting on your computer desktop are distracting and will make it difficult to focus. I make this part of my monthly system, where I am cleaning off all the files on my computer desktop.

I’m constantly downloading things, and I take that one day a month to put them in the correct Dropbox or Google Drive folder. I can tell when I look at somebody’s computer screen, and it’s covered with files, that we got some internal stuff going on. Remember, once a month, get that desktop cleaned.

4. The Paperless Office.

One of the best things you can do for your office and the environment is to go paperless. Paper creates clutter. Although a certain amount of paper is necessary, try reading and storing documents online instead. Before you hit the print key, ask yourself, do I need to print this?

5. Go Digital.

Organize all your files in cloud-based software like Google Drive or Dropbox. I use both. I teach my students in my Multiply Mastermind program how to create their business hub in Google Drive.

Then you want to create systems so that your files are easily accessible. If you went inside of my Google Drive or my Dropbox, you would think I have some severe OCD problems, but I can find anything in two seconds flat. That is how organized I have these files in there.

6. Inbox and Outbox.

Having in and out boxes on your desk creates space for those documents that have to be printed, as well as incoming and outgoing mail. This allows you to know exactly where documents are instead of having them in piles all over your desk.

7. Snail Mail.

Sort your mail every single day. Don’t just stick it in a pile to be sorted. Every day, the mail comes in. What’s going in the trash? What’s being shredded? What’s going in your inbox to deal with that week?

If you wait and just let those piles stack up on your kitchen counter or in your office, it’s going to create brain clutter. Remember, we’re trying to clear our outer space to stay focused on the important things that we want to accomplish during the week. Do daily mail sorting. It takes 2 seconds.

8. Filing Cabinets

An organized office needs file cabinets. Color coding makes it easier and faster to find information. If your files become stuffed, clean them out. Put prior years’ files in a labeled storage box to free space. For all of the documents that I need daily, I want them just like an arm’s reach away.

I have a silver cabinet here, things that I don’t need as often. So like worker’s comp stuff, insurance stuff, stuff like that, that goes in there. But quite honestly, again, I have very little paper because I’m trying to keep everything in the cloud.

9. Magazine Boxes.

Store the magazines you want to keep in special magazine boxes on a shelf to declutter your workspace. Better yet, throw them out as soon as you’re done reading them.

My mom loves to order me magazines, even though I constantly ask her not to because they create clutter. My system is when the magazine comes, I read it immediately so I can toss it. It stresses me out. When I see the magazine, I’m like, oh, I have so much to do, I don’t want to read this magazine, but I don’t want it hanging around. So I read them the day they come, and then I toss them.

If that’s not something you want to do, you can get these magazine boxes at, The Container Store, keep them on a shelf, so they’re not creating clutter in your office or life.

10. Paper Shredder.

Shred documents with personal information that you don’t need to keep. This will free up file space and protect your confidentiality as well. You don’t want to be throwing any of your personal papers with your information directly in the trash, so use your shredder for those documents.

11. Filter Your Email.

Create a filtering system for your emails. Examples of mailboxes to create, customer care, sitter correspondence, drafts. You’ll always want to have a drafts folder, so you do not have to re-type every single email that you send to sitters and clients, the applications that come in, etc. and you can have a complete file.

So what I do in my Mac mail program is I flag. I move all the things I need to do that need my attention that I have not yet completed. I flag them, and they’re in that folder. And then I go in and complete them. When I’m done, remove the flag and then delete the email.

You can also create rules inside your email client, where certain emails automatically get sent to these folders, and you don’t have to do it manually. But the goal is inbox zero. You don’t want your Inbox completely cluttered with emails. If you’re not reading them, delete them. Get rid of them or filter them.

12. Do not disturb.

Reclaim your time by hanging a sign on the door or a dry erase board to let others know you’re unavailable. Dedicated work time helps maintain an organized mind, as well as an organized office.

I don’t know what I would do without my do not disturb sign. When my three little children come home from school, they would barrel through the door if I didn’t have that sign on there. I know many of you have issues with boundaries with siblings, not siblings, spouses, or parents living with them, or children living with them. This is how you create that boundary – putting that do not disturb sign up on your office door.

13. Personal Items.

Personal items can crowd your workspace, and that’s okay, but don’t let them overrun you. Designate a specific area for personal items, and this will keep your desk organized and free from distraction.

So my children love to make me projects at school, and they want me to hang them all over my office. And I do too, but I don’t keep them too long. This is the only one I have right now. It says Happy Mother’s Day. And this is a pen in a cute little pot, but I keep this on my desk, but this will go away soon, just because I don’t like clutter.

14. Plan It.

A personal planner or desk calendar will help you keep track of your schedule and deadlines. Write everything down, including birthdays, appointments, client meetings, deadlines, and other helpful notes.

If you are a pen and paper girl, you can get calendars on Amazon that you can keep on your desk. I personally love Google Calendar, and I have a calendar for just my personal appointments. I have a calendar for my kids. I have a calendar for my marketing. I have a calendar for my programs, so on and so forth. I can share them with my students in certain programs or share them with my husband or share them with my team. They all sync from every device, and it truly is a lifesaver. So I personally love Google Calendar but use what you like.

15. Once a Month, Do a Clean Sweep.

Spend one day a month doing a total clean sweep in your office. Put files and supplies back where they belong, clean out desk drawers and file cabinets, shred papers that you don’t need if they contain personal information. Schedule a day to do this.

Every first Monday of the month, I have a business organization day where I do all of this. You know, my desktop, the computer desktop, my office, papers, throwing things away from the filing cabinet, going into my QuickBooks online, looking at the revenue and expenses from the month before, so on and so forth. It is a scheduled day on my calendar where I am doing a clean sweep.

16. Tip-Top Computers.

Computers are the lifeline of an office. Dust it weekly to keep it in tip-top shape, install and use antivirus software and system utilities to keep your computer running well. Also, you’ll want to back up and empty the trash regularly. This was big for me.

I do videos all the time, and I had so many videos sitting in my trash can. It was slowing down my computer so badly, and I didn’t even realize it. Now every week the computer gets dusted and the trash gets emptied.

17. What To Do.

Maintaining a to-do list will help you stay organized. Make it a habit to write down important tasks and cross them off as they’re completed.

Something I teach my students in my programs is called the See It Through Strategy. And a big part of this is taking weekly, either on a Sunday or Monday, you’re getting everything out of your brain, and you’re putting it on your to-do list, and then you’re scheduling it on your calendar.

I love to keep all of my notes on an app called Notability on my iPad, so everything is all in one place. You can use a notebook, you can use a Google Doc, but the point is that you are getting it out of your brain and putting it down on paper to use that brain space for business generating, money-making activities.

If we have everything in our minds, things don’t get done. It causes confusion. We want clarity, and doing this thought download at the beginning of the week of all of our to-dos and then organizing them on our calendar is so important. Again, I use Notability, which I love.

18. Deadline.

No one likes them, but we all need them. Incorporate your deadlines into your master to-do list and keep that handy in your planner. Sticking to a deadline schedule will force you to stay on track. Parkinson’s Law states that something will take for as long as you give it.

So if you say you want to get a website designed and you don’t give yourself a deadline, it could take you six months. But if you say, I’m going to give myself one month to get this done, that is how you increase your productivity. You have to provide yourself with deadlines, or otherwise, it’s just going to eat up all your time and take forever.

19. Ugly Cords.

Tidy up those messy cords with twist ties or rubber bands. I ordered a whole bunch of different colored ones on Amazon.

20. Reference Zone.

Set up a specific zone in your office for these materials. This could include binders, books, manuals, magazines, dictionaries, and professional items. A bookcase should fit the zone nicely.

I have a giant cupboard over here that I got at an auction. It holds so much stuff, it’s unreal, but this is where my reference zone is. All of my binders and reference documents from any program that I’ve ever joined, or documents that I create for my students is right here, and it’s behind a closed door so I don’t see it. If you can get something where you can close the door and keep that organized, that’ll be great.

21. Fresh Start.

Straighten your desk at the end of each day. That way, when you sit down in the morning, you can start with a clean slate. If you have a priority task that needs to be completed first thing in the morning, leave it out on the desk to help you get focused and ready to go.

If you do this one tip, I promise you your productivity is going to skyrocket. That is something I do, systematizing pretty much everything in my life, but at the end of every day, this desk is cleaned off.

That way, I can sit down with a clean slate, a clean mind, and get going first thing. If I sat down with piles of stuff everywhere, that’s not a good way to start your day.

It takes two minutes. Just clean off your desk, put everything away, and turn it off, shut it down, and head out.

22. Label It.

A label machine is your best friend. Labeling all files, folders, bins, containers, trays, boxes, and other organizational tools lets you know exactly what’s inside.

I used to have a Dymo label maker and stamp printer on my desk that took up a lot more space, so I switched to this because I don’t want clutter.

So label everything, and that way, you know exactly where everything should go.

23. Charge It Up.

Designate a space in your office to charge all of your devices. There are three children and two adults living in this house. We all have multiple devices. There were cords everywhere. Everybody was charging things in different places until I got a dry sink at an auction. And we set up a charging station. So everything’s organized. We have all of the charging cords labeled, so we know whose cord is whose, and everything’s right in one spot.

24. Organize Your Valuable Documents.

Create a special kit for all of your valuable documents, assets, and personal information. I ordered a fireproof briefcase from Susie Orman, the financial guru. We keep marriage certificates, birth certificates and anything about our assets in there.

You have to think if the house were to burn down and you could grab one thing, what would you need? That’s where you want to keep all those documents. It’s super organized.

25. Build a Life Binder.

Organize important papers in an easy grab-and-go binder. Here are some categories: medical, pet, auto, manuals, house, kids, and personal.

Many manuals are kept online now, so you might not even have to keep those anymore—just something to keep in mind. Keep it in your reference zone, and you can pull the binder out, and everything is right there and organized.

26. Utilize Wall Space.

If you have a small space, use your wall space to hang filing systems, calendars, whiteboards, shelving, and more. There’s so much more space when you go vertical.

Before I moved here to Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, I had a smaller office at my old house, and I used the wall space. It had all of my calendars and whiteboards and shelving.

Here, I don’t need it as much. I have a much larger space. I like things out of my sight. So I have these two glass cabinets, the big cupboard here, and then the dry sink back here, where everything is organized and put away out of sight. Use the wall space if you have a smaller space.

Keeping yourself and your office organized isn’t difficult after you create systems that you stick to. Following these simple tips will keep your office running smoothly, enable you to accomplish more, and help you feel less stressed.

If you are struggling with organization and clutter, it usually is a sign of something going on up here. You need to learn how to organize your mind, thoughts, and to-dos, and usually, the external physical environment becomes much easier to keep organized.

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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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Amazing Customer Experiences

Amazing Pet Sitting Customer Experiences

Please think about your pet sitting customer journey from start to finish. And I want you to think about it from the moment that the customer makes contact with you. It could be the moment they land on your website, or this could be when they call the office.

Create the know, like, trust factor through video on your homepage.

First, let’s talk about the website. Are you creating the know, like, and trust factor through video on your homepage so that if a prospect hits your website and they say, “Oh, let me click play. Oh, wow. This is great.” And you talk about your services; you talk about the value you provide, talk about the benefits, talk about how you are the solution to their problems.

That right away is going to give you a step up above the pet sitting competition. Is your messaging clear? Do your contact forms work? Is your number clickable? Everybody’s on mobile these days. They need to go boop and touch the phone number and have the phone call.

I know that seems so simple, but how many times have you been to a website, and you’re like, “I can’t call the person.” Very simple. Make sure the phone number is clickable.

Load your pet sitting website with social proof from happy customers.

Social proof is free, and it, again, creates that know, like, and trust factor, and it’s going to portray to your prospect that you are the person they want to do business with.

Make sure every website link is going to the right place.

If I sign up for your free offer on your website, is the email being sent? I can’t tell you how many companies I’ve worked with that have that opt-in offer on their website, but then nothing happens on the back end. That’s not a good first impression, especially when they leave you in the trust with their animals and their homes.

Make sure someone answers the phone.

That is a big one, and I have a manager, my client happiness manager, and she is supposed to answer the phone, and if she doesn’t answer the phone, she’s to call back within five minutes. That’s the deal.

If you’re not answering the phone, if you’re the admin and you’re out walking dogs, how long is it taking you to get back to your customer prospects? This is part of the journey. Every five minutes that you let lapse before calling a new customer prospect back, your chances of signing them on as a client drops significantly, so keep that in mind.

Be friendly on the phone.

I had a student once, and we were doing a coaching call, and she just sounded miserable. And people would call her office, and she wasn’t signing clients. I said, “Is this the tone of voice that you’re using when you’re speaking with your clients?” She said, “Yeah. What’s wrong with my tone of voice?”

I’m like, “Well, it’s not very welcoming or friendly.” I was scared to death. It was just a cold feeling. Remember, they are trusting us with their homes and their pets. They want to feel that you are warm, and friendly, and approachable and that they can trust you.

Listen and take good notes.

We all know that everybody loves to talk about their pets. It would be best if you sat back, listen to your customers, write down notes so that you have a clear understanding of precisely what they’re looking for. And say it back to them. Let them know that, “Yes, I am listening to you. I hear what you are saying.” That’s going to go a long way.

Have an easy system or process for customers to get started.

They say, “Okay. This is great. How do I get started?” Is it easy? Always want to make it easy for them to buy from you.

Set clear expectations of what is to happen next.

“Okay, we have you all signed up. This is what’s going to happen next. Your assigned pet care professional will be reaching out to you within” enter the time period.

“You’re also going to be receiving an email that’s going to tell you all about them. X, Y, and Z. You’re also going to receive a welcome packet in your inbox. There are two sets in that welcome packet. Number one. Please fill out the forms. Number two. Update your billing information.” So on and so forth.

They know exactly what their responsibility is and what they can expect on your side.

Reach out to your customers before they depart.

If you are reaching out, how is that? Is it an automated process through an email autoresponder? Are you picking up the phone or calling them?

Regardless, you do want to make that touchpoint. This is going to give them peace of mind, “Okay, this company is on it.” 

Do you have prepared information on how they can prepare for their pet sitting, dog walker, or house sitter? With a simple checklist PDF that they can go, “Oh, this is great information.” They can put it on the counter and make sure they have everything ready.

You’re taking the pressure off of them because you’re giving them exactly what they need to do to prepare for their sitter.

Keep in touch with your customers while they’re away.

If so, how? Do they request how? Did you ask how they want to be kept in touch with? Do they want text messages? Do they want videos? Do they want emails? Do they want phone calls?

You need to set that expectation that you need to ask them first and then follow through with how they want to be communicated with. We had a client once who the sitter was texting every visit with cute pictures, and he was like, “Stop texting me. I am on the beach trying to relax. I do not need to be texted.”

Right there, I went to their onboarding form, and I said, “How do you like to be kept in touch with?” I give them the options. I don’t want to bother my customers who don’t want to be bothered, but if they do want to be bothered, I want to be sending those messages. Make sense?

When a client returns, make sure they were happy with the service.

When they return, what is left for them at the final visit? What are they walking into? Do you reach out or send a survey to make sure they were pleased?

Every time a client ends service with me, they are receiving a survey because I want to make sure they were happy with their pet sitter. And if anything was out of the ordinary or anything went wrong, I want to know so that I can make it better.

What are you doing to Wow them?

Are you sending them a card? Is the sitter leaving a handwritten thank you note for allowing him or her to take care of their pets? Are they leaving a little bag of homemade biscuits? There are a million different things that you can do to really wow your customers.

Stay in touch when they are not actively using your service.

Are you keeping in touch with them? Are you providing value to them with interesting or helpful content? Are you checking in with their furry pals? Are you making quick phone calls, or sending short text messages, or sending a send-out card, “Hey, it’s Colleen from Pet Nanny. I haven’t heard from you guys in a while. I just wanted to see how doctor Watson’s doing. We miss him so much. Let us know if you need anything; we’re always here to help. With warm wags, Colleen.” Something like that. You can do that so easily through sendoutcards.com.

Are you reminding them about upcoming holidays when they may need service?

This is the whole journey. From the time they hit the website, they call the office, how they sign up, is it easy to buy from you? Before they depart, while they’re away, when they return, and while they’re not actively using your service.

 

I tell you, if you do improve it, this is where you are going to set yourself apart from the rest. I see in so many pet sitting groups there are so many pet sitters, “How am I going to make a living doing this?” This is how.

You’re going to attract amazing customers; you’re going to provide genuinely stellar service; they are going to use you over and over again. They’re going to refer you all over town, and this is when business becomes easy.

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 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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7 Tax-Saving Tips for Pet Sitters

7 Tax-Saving Tips for Pet Sitters

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Tax time is upon us. I want to talk about seven tax saving tips for your pet sitting business.

1. Keep your tax and financial documents for at least seven years.

If you’re ever audited you’ll need those records. Any claims made at tax time require supporting documentation. Keeping good records is an excellent idea for any pet sitting business owner because it encourages organization, always a good thing.

It’s challenging to reconstruct records at a later date. To give you a real quick story about how this is very important, I have been audited twice. They tried to audit me one year after the second audit that I had won. I’m supposed to have five years safe harbor.

My accountant went back and said, “Hey, you guys audited Colleen last year.” They said, “We have no record of that. We have no documentation of that. You need to prove that we did.” Thankfully, we had all of our records. I was able to send it to them so that they couldn’t continue with the audit.

So, a simple system I use is Dropbox, and I have a Financials folder. I have a folder for each year where I store all of my financial documents. There you go, a straightforward system that you can implement today in your business.

2. Understand your loans.

The IRS doesn’t classify most business loans as income. The interest paid on loans is generally a deductible expense. It’s essential to have records regarding the use of any loans, which may be for equipment, or to finance some other activity.

In the year 2020, with all those PPP loans, you must understand how that implicates your taxes and how it’s forgiven if you took out a PPP loan.

3. Know the different types of audits.

First, there’s an office audit, which generally is a simple audit where you’ll be requested to report to your local IRS office to resolve some slight discrepancy.

Then, there’s a correspondence audit where they’ll, it’s hard to say, where they’ll ask you to mail in some documentation.

Then, there’s a field audit, which I went through. These tend to be comprehensive audits conducted at your place of business—very, very stressful. I would never want any of you to have to go through what I went through. I ended up winning, by the way, which was good.

Then, lastly is the criminal investigation audit, which, hopefully, will never happen to anybody watching this video. If you get notified that a criminal investigation audit is happening to you, immediately consult your lawyer because you’re suspected of tax evasion.

4. Pay your quarterly tax bill.

When you have an employer, your taxes are regularly taken out of your paycheck. If you’re self-employed, you’re required to estimate your tax each quarter and pay it. Failure to pay this can result in a significant tax penalty.

You might also end up with an enormous tax bill than you can handle in a single payment.

7 Tax-Saving Tips for Pet Sitters

 

I did not pay my quarterly taxes for years, and I would stress about it, and I would toss and turn, “Oh my gosh, am I going to have enough money to pay the taxman?” One year I did get caught with a $15,000 bill that I was not prepared for. So, I never again missed a quarterly payment after that experience.

5. Prepare early.

The vast number of tax filers wait until the last minute. If you’re expecting a refund, this can be the worst time to file. The IRS is overwhelmed with all the tax returns that pour in. So, preparing your tax return early leaves you time to find any missing documents and answer any questions, all right? It just gives you peace of mind to get it done with, get the monkey off your back.

6. Get help.

Depending on your business finances’ complexity, hiring an expert to prepare your pet sitting business tax return is an excellent idea.

In theory, the money you spend ought to result in a smaller tax burden. It can be helpful if any legal issues arise. The price you’re going to pay for using an accountant and a CPA lets you know what you can be deducted. You don’t know what you don’t know. That’s going to be money in your pocket that you’re not paying to the government. I’s going to pay for itself to use an accountant or a CPA. That’s number one.

Number two, when I was audited, my accountant was so awesome. He dealt with the whole thing. He knew exactly how to structure the audit. He knew exactly what language to use. He knew exactly how to organize everything, where I easily won that audit.

Without him, I don’t even know what would have happened. That audit was for using independent contractors appropriately. That’s a whole other story. Thankfully I had him because he was an MVP in that experience.

7. Avoid using taxes collected from employee payroll, or that you put aside to pay business expenses.

Don’t do that. That happens when you have all of your money in one account.

My tip for you today is to create a bank account outside of your regular bank. I want you to title it The Government’s Money. It’s not your money.

Every week, you’re going to take a percentage of your revenue; you’re going to transfer it out of your bank into the government money account. By the time you’re ready to pay your quarterly tax bill, the money is there set aside, and you’re not tempted to touch it because it’s outside of your regular bank, out of sight, out of mind, okay?

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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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My No-Jerk Policy

My “No-Jerk Policy”

Rewind to 20 years ago, when I was building my pet sitting business, I accepted any client that would come down the pike. It didn’t matter how disgusting their houses were; it didn’t matter how rude they were; it didn’t matter if I had to chase down payment. I would work for pretty much anybody, anytime, because I just wanted to build my client list and make money.

What happened over time, I’d built this client list with many wonderful people, but with a lot of non-ideal heartsick clients is what I call them, and people that I would not wish on anybody.

My “No-Jerk” policy came around due to one specific client. This client lived in this big, beautiful house, they had these three big, giant beautiful dogs, and I had adopted their Great Dane from them because they had internal fighting amongst their dogs.

They were never necessarily rude, but they were very cold, but they were very generous too. This client would leave me nice tips, which made me have these mixed feelings about them. I didn’t feel like the best feelings, but nothing ever overtly necessarily happened with them.

Then the nanny started taking walks with me with the dogs, and she would tell me these insane stories about how mean these people were to her.

Then I have a sitter that’s spending the night there. The sitter got locked out of the house. This woman (client) called me and was cursing and screaming at me in a way that you would not even believe. And I was like, “I’ll drive over; I have a spare key and let her in. Chill.”

So I hung up, I went over, I got the sitter in, I came back, and thought, “You know what? I’m not letting this happen person talk to me like this. I don’t need this. I’ve had enough of these types of people.”

I remember going to my dad and saying, “Dad, what would you do in this situation?” He thought about it, and he was like, “You know, you don’t owe them any explanation. Write them a letter, put the key in the envelope, drop it off in their mailbox, and be done with them.”

Looking back, that would not be what I would suggest to any pet sitting business owner. But again, I was newer in business. I was a young girl.

So that’s what I did, and then I got this scathing email from this lady. They’re just awful, awful people. I clicked delete, never responded, and from there, my “No-Jerk” policy came into play, which has now changed my life, changed my business because I do not put up with any of this anymore.

From that moment moving forward, if any clients were rude to me, my managers, or my sitters, they were tagged as a “jerk” inside of Infusionsoft, my email marketing software, and we were no longer doing business with them.

Build a system to gracefully unleash these “jerk” clients.

Since then, I have built the most wonderful client base.

My No-Jerk Policy


Here and there, a few will drop in, and then the no-jerk policy comes into play.

Remember, many pet sitting clients will love and respect you and your business.

Many clients have pets that will love your service, will respect you, will tip you, will tip your sitters, and you can have fantastic relationships with them. You do not need toxic, awful people in your life, and you certainly don’t deserve to be spoken rudely.

Go with your gut.

In my Pet Nanny Coach business, I had one that slipped through the cracks last year. She had been a student many years ago, and she was a nightmare. She came back to me, begging to go back and work with me. Against my better judgment, I let her through, and it was even worse the second time.

When people show you their true colors, believe your gut and focus on the extraordinary people who don’t give you any problems. Sometimes we forget about those people. These people aren’t hounding or are rude to you. Those are the people that deserve your attention and your extra love and support if you will.

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My Secret Sauce to Building a Lucrative Pet Sitting Career

My Secret Sauce to Building a Lucrative Pet Sitting Career

I realized that I had been making videos for members of the pet sitting industry for many years. Some of you may not know who I am if you’re new to the industry. So I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know a little bit about me and how I was able to make millions was in the pet sitting industry, and how I became to be a coach to help others create lucrative pet sitting careers.

Flashback to 2001. I was a special education teacher teaching Down syndrome children, and I was completely unhappy in my career. As much as I loved the children, I did not feel like I was supposed to be doing this. I felt like I was trapped in the classroom all day. I wanted to be out in the fresh air, and I didn’t know what to do. I graduated from Ohio State with a special ed degree. So I had just assumed that this is what my path is supposed to be, to be a teacher.

After a heartfelt conversation with my parents where they asked me, “Colleen if you could do anything, what would it be?” And I said, “Well, I wouldn’t mind playing with dogs all day.” I said it as a joke, but it ended up being the sentence that changed my life. I decided at that moment that I was going to create a business based on my love of animals. That was how Pet Nanny started.

The problem was I knew nothing about business. Back then, I think there was like one book on the market. I read the book, and I followed the instructions, but that’s pretty much all I knew about business.

I didn’t know about business, marketing, team building, systemizing your business, and managing my finances. I spent a lot of years spinning my wheels. I did not get very far with the company. I ended up creating another job for myself, where I was working a lot.

I had clients, but non-ideal pet-sitting clients who didn’t respect me. They took advantage of me, called me all hours of the day and night. I had no free time. I’d never spent the night in my bed because I was always at my client’s houses, and it got exhausting.

To me, it was like I was maybe making a little more than I was when I was teaching, but I had no free time whatsoever. I completely lost my freedom. So at that point, I was trying to decide, do I want to do this? Or do I want to start something else? Maybe pharmaceutical sales, go back to teaching. I didn’t know.

Then again, I made the decision. I’m going to give this a go. I’m going to try to create a business that can run without me being an integral part of running it.

Create a business that can run without you being the integral part of having it run.

So I hired a business coach. I attended events, read books, and did everything. I implemented, and I got results.

How I've Made Millions in the Pet Sitting Industry 2


Currently, I have three managers that manage the company and a staff of 40 pet sitters that go out to take care of my client’s home. On average, we make around $75,000 a month in revenue, and I only have to work one hour a week in the business.

I started knowing absolutely nothing to get where I am today. It took me a lot of years to get to where I am today.

That’s how you will market your business, how you’re going to get new customers, how you’re going to wow your customers, and how you’re going to nurture your current customer list.

Have support. Find amazing pet sitters.

This is how you’re going to assess to make sure they’re going to be a good fit to work with your company, and it’s how you’re going to onboard them.

So by the time they’re ready to get started with your customers, they’re going to do a fantastic job.

What systems do you need in your business for it to run like a well-oiled machine? How to document them and build out your online business hub so that your business can run without you. That is how you know you have a true business.

Have the freedom to continue growing the business and doing things you love.

Guys, money is a good thing. Think about all of the things you can do and all of the charities you can commit your time to if you have extra money.

And freedom. You’re not stuck working like I was seven days a week, 365 days a year. You can have the freedom to continue growing the business on the backend. You can have the freedom to take part in hobbies that you love. Horseback riding, tennis, and paddle tennis. You like to travel. You want to work from different areas. You can do that when you build this type of business.

How many pet owners and pet lovers in your community can you impact with your amazing service?

So by you building this awesome pet sitting business, you’re going to be able to service so many more pet lovers and their furry pals and provide them with stellar pet care. And become a standout in the pet sitting industry.

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!

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