Tag: pet sitting business

What I Learned from the Last Decade

What I’ve Learned This Past Decade

I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the big lessons I’ve learned over the past decade in my pet sitting business.

Truthfully, this list could have been much longer, but these were the things that stood out the most to me.

1. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Know when it’s time to pivot.

2. Get help in your pet sitting business before you think you need it.

3. Build a team ASAP to free up your time for revenue-generating activities. In short, stop working IN your business if you want to multiply.

4. Always listen to your gut. If you have a bad feeling about a PIA client or prospect or a sitter on your staff, listen to what your body is telling you. It’s your intuition trying to speak to you. Every time I have ignored that feeling, I have lived to regret it.

5. Success, at its foundation, is generally a sequence of steps followed in order.

6. You’ll never really ever, “feel ready.” Do it anyway.

7. You’ll sometimes need to go through majorly rocky STUFF to get to your loftiest goal – these things happen FOR you. They are lessons to prepare you for bigger and better things.

8. The energy and mindset work is real and has played a massive role in my success.

9. Beware of the people in your life who are energy sucks. Create clear boundaries to protect your energy and well-being.

10. Money is energy. Respect it. Treat it like you’re in a relationship with it. Don’t ignore it.

11. The world you see around you is a reflection of the thoughts you think every day and the belief systems you carry through life. Change your thoughts, change your life.

pet sitting business

 

This practice is difficult and needs to be consistently practiced.

It’s also totally worth it.

Now, what about YOU?


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My #1 Pet Sitting Business Secret

My #1 Pet Sitting Business Success Secret

Are you ready to hear my number one pet sitting business secret?

It’s something available to anyone starting a pet sitting business and was the one thing I did that really boosted my business and got me to where I am today.

So, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that at the beginning of my business journey I was pretty miserable.

Working around the clock for clients that I hated, I almost quit. In fact, I almost went into pharmaceutical sales!

After having many long conversations with my husband and my parents, I decided not to quit but to go all-in.

A business coach is like a roadmap to success

Almost miraculously, just as I’d made that decision this person stepped into my life out of nowhere.

Her name is Fabienne Fredrickson, a business coach who came to speak at a pet sitting conference in Philadelphia.

Immediately I thought. “This is who I want to work with. I want to hire this woman to teach me how to have a successful business.”

I came home and told my husband that this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to hire somebody that has the business results that I want in my life. I need someone to teach me what it was that I didn’t know.

And he said, “All right, well that sounds great. How much is it?”

I think back then the program cost $15,000 and he about had a heart attack.

I don’t blame him, he didn’t know about business coaching or business building and it was a lot of money.

Finally, after discussing it long and hard, he said, “Fine, I believe in you. I trust you. But the deal is whatever she tells you to do, that is what you have to do. Every last thing she tells you to do.”

And I did. I joined the program, I learned, I implemented, and I got results.

Back then there wasn’t a pet sitting business-specific coach so I went with a general business coach. But she taught me all about marketing, all about ideal clients, and attracting your ideal clients.

She taught me all about systems and processes and how to have a website that converts. She taught me all about automation. I listened. I learned.  And then most importantly, I took action, and in one year I increased my business by 100%. It was a big year.

The $15,000 investment was absolutely worth it.

Make an investment in your future

The key was I hired somebody that had the results in their business and in their life that I wanted, and that could show me what to do.

It gave me a shortcut to success.

And that’s my number one pet sitting business secret. Hire yourself a business coach, whether it’s pet sitting specific, pet business specific or somebody else.

So, my advice is to find somebody that you connect with. Find somebody that you trust. Find somebody to show you the way and give you a shortcut.  Without a roadmap you can spend a lot of years spinning your wheels, not making enough money, wasting your time, wasting your freedom when you should be making money, enjoying your life.

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How I Raised My Family While Growing My Pet Sitting Business

How I Raised My Family While Growing My Pet Sitting Business

Growing my pet sitting business while growing a family

As a business owner who is also a Mom, I get asked the question so many times, “Colleen, how did you build the business you did at the same time you were raising the kids?”

So I thought I would share my experience of growing my pet sitting business while raising a family and dealing with all the hundreds of tasks and responsibilities which come with both those jobs.

It almost started by accident when I was pregnant with my first baby, Lucy.

I really wanted to spend the first three months with her completely and not work at all in my business doing any pet sitting or managerial duties.

Working while the baby sleeps

So I hired my first manager with the plan that she was going to leave after three months, but I fell so much in love with my daughter and with mothering that I decided to make the manager permanent.

Having someone to take care of the day-to-day running of the pet sitting business freed me up, during the quiet times when the baby was napping, to work on business growth strategies and marketing the business.

The result: I ended up increasing the revenue by $53,000.

And that was when I realized just what a powerful tool it was hiring someone to manage the pet sitting team.  The more time that you take to work on your business and stop working in your business, the more quickly you’re going to be able to scale your businesses.

How I Raised my Family While Growing My Pet Sitting Business

 

Then, when our family grew to include my two boys, I still made business growth a priority.

The kids would go to a babysitter for a few hours a day so that I could still continue to work on the business. But that also meant that during the second half of the day I could completely focus on them.

And now, everyone’s at school until 4 PM, so unless I’m doing a coaching call at night that’s when I stop work.

I get to work from home, so whenever they’re sick, they get to stay home with me. We never have to worry about that. I’m at every school function, and I get to be with them during school vacations.

Hiring a team let me focus on my priorities

My pet sitting business has given me the freedom and flexibility to enjoy my family.

So that’s how I did it, guys. I had already hired my team of sitters before starting a family, but hiring a manager really made the difference in allowing me to focus my time and energy where the business, and my family, needed it the most.

That’s my advice to you,  you need a team to do the client work and a manager to do the administrative work so that you can have the time to grow and multiply your business.

With that strategy, I raised these three little kids (see video above) all the while growing a company that I love.

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How to Create a Powerhouse Pet Sitting Website

How to Create a Powerhouse Pet Sitting Website

Last week I wrote a post about the 5 elements of on-page search engine optimization. My hope is that you quickly turned around and implemented the strategies I laid out for you, but my guess is that many of you tuned out the moment you read the term “SEO.” If this was you, don’t worry! I get it! I too used to wander off to lala land whenever high-level technology conversation began. It was just so overwhelming to me that I’d rather pretend it wasn’t important.

Well, I have some good news for you. You don’t need to know how to do these types of overwhelming tasks. WOOHOO! Isn’t that a relief? You should delegate them to a team of skilled professionals who know what they’re doing and can complete the tasks in a fraction of the time it would take you to learn and then implement yourself.

Personally, I didn’t even know that these types of services existed until about 5 years ago. I mean, I knew that there were people who would make changes to your website, but I didn’t know that you could hire a team of professionals who were skilled in ALL things technology. Once I made this fascinating discovery and I hired my first web team, I saw my business pick-up a ton of momentum.

Repeat after me… “My pet sitting website is the cornerstone of my business.”

Say it again… “My pet sitting website is the cornerstone of my business.”

If you want to see your pet sitting business reach new heights, you need to have a pet sitting website that is client attractive, meaning it pulls in your ideal prospects and pushes away your non-ideal prospects. You need to design a FREE offer, so you can capture the information of your prospects and follow-up with them to turn them into paying customers. You need to write a blog with Google Authorship, so that you are adding fresh new content to your website and therefore ranking higher on Google. The list goes on and on.

How to Create a Powerhouse Pet Sitting Website

A team of website professionals has the ability to…

#1. Create a beautiful and functional web site design that is also mobile responsive

#2. Design an opt-in for your free offer

pet sitting business

#3. Design web forms that your clients can submit directly from your pet sitting website

pet sitting website

pet sitting business

#4. Create a blog design that is simple and easy to read and SEO friendly

pet sitting website

#5. Create an E-Commerce Store

pet sitting business

#6. Add video to your pet sitting website

pet sitting business

#7. Create beautiful PDF’s, ECovers and Infographics

pet sitting website
They will also…

Help with SPAM, page loading speed, Google Analytics, search engine optimization, social media optimization, article marketing, video editing, marketing material creation, keyword research and mail merges. You name it, they can do it!

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5 Things I Would Have Done Differently In My Pet Sitting Business

Tips I wish I had known when I started my pet sitting business

It’s hard to believe but it’s been 19 years since I first started my pet sitting business! There have been ups and downs, but I’ve learned a lot along the way and today I want to share with you the five things that I would have done differently (if I knew then what I know now.)

Hopefully, you can learn from these tips and do them differently in your pet sitting business, so that you can get where you want to be much faster.

One: Have a clear vision of the results you want to achieve

The first thing I would have done differently is to have a clear vision of the results I wanted to achieve in my business versus just flying by the seat of my pants, which is pretty much what I did.

I had no plan, I had no vision, I had no idea what I wanted to create, I had no idea what I wanted to make each month.

It took me a long time to get to where I am now because clarity equals power, and I didn’t have any clarity. Be clear on what you want to achieve, and you’re going to get there much faster.

Two: Hire help as soon as possible

If your business depends solely on you, you do not have a business, you actually have a job. I know because I did this.

I had a job for many years. I created a large job for myself. As my business was ramping up and I started getting all these customers, and I was booked out all the time, I worked 12 to 15 hour days, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

I had no idea how I could stop being the sole person that was managing the business and doing all the client work. When I finally learned how to do it, and I built a strong team, things started to happen really quickly. I created a balance in my life and my work, which is just so important.

Your business is supposed to add to your life, not to make you miserable, exhausted, and burned out.

5 Things I Would Have Done Differently In My Pet Sitting Business

 

Three: Use technology to expand your business

The third thing I would have done differently is I would have leveraged technology so much sooner.

If you are still doing everything manually it is going to be hard to grow your business successfully. There are tools out there now which can save you time, energy and in the end help your business to bring in more money.

There are online scheduling systems, automation tools for your emails and social media marketing which will make running your business so much more efficient and profitable.

Creating processes and systems that happen automatically through the use of technology was a game changer for my pet sitting business.

Four: Understand the lifetime value of your customer base

Your lifetime value of a customer is how much a customer is projected to spend with you during their lifetime with your business. It costs way much more money to acquire a new customer than it does to incentivize your current customers to book from you more often, this, my friends, is a game changer.

I should have been nurturing the relationships by staying in touch with these customers instead of just assuming that when they needed pet sitting or dog walking that they would call me. That’s an assumption you don’t want to make.

People forget who they work with. People want to do business with people. They want to know that by you staying in touch with them that you care about them, that you care about their pets, and they’re going to easily remember to book with you each time they need service.

By staying in touch with them you’re also going to create raving fans. It’s not just enough to have customers in this crowded marketplace. You want your customers to be raving fans who use you all the time and are going to spread the word about you and your business.

Five: Hire a business coach 

I waited way too long before I hired my first business coach. Back then, there really weren’t any pet business-related business coaches, so mine was not in the pet field and yours certainly doesn’t have to be either.

If you find someone who runs a business that you admire, that has the results that you would like in your business, that has the business model that you want to follow, go and hire them. Ask them to help you to get you to where you want to go. It’s a shortcut. You don’t have to try to figure all these things out on your own.

So, these are the five main things I wish I had known back when I started my pet sitting business. I hope they help you to design and run the business you are dreaming of.

 

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How to be More Productive in Your Pet Sitting Business

It’s time to get focused on our pet sitting business growth plan. The plan starts by identifying and eliminating our productivity time sucks so that we can accomplish great things in our businesses. Below are my 7 tips on how to be more productive.

#1. Take a Pause Between Tasks

There are some days when I wake up and realize that I have a never-ending list of tasks to complete. I frantically write them all down in my notebook and then jump on trying to get them all completed. This is NOT an efficient way to manage your time or your tasks.

Solution on How to Be More Productive:

  1. Prioritize what is immediately necessary.
  2. Take a quick pause between tasks and ask yourself, “does this really matter,” or “is this moving me closer toward my pet sitting business goals.”
    • If the answer is no, then move onto the next immediately important task.
    • You can go back to the previous tasks when your more important tasks have been completed.

Tip: Trust me on this one. I can’t tell you how many times I have tried barreling through my tasks just to realize that my day was gone, and I had gotten nothing of actual importance completed. Prioritization is key!

#2. Steer Clear of the “Perfectionism Predator”

According to communication expert Anett Grant: “Perfectionism is the predator of productivity.” This is another point that I have great familiarity with. I suffer from something called “perfectionism paralysis.” This characteristic can be defined as aspiring towards impossibly high goals. The thought of or the inability to reach certain perfection sets me on a procrastination and paralysis cycle where I look for any reason to not release a product or program for fear of criticism that the project is not perfect. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I catch myself doing this quite often. I really need to keep myself in check with it.

Solution on How to Be More Productive:

Here is some advice for you that my mentor once told me, “good is good enough. Get it out there! You can always go back and make changes after it is released.”

pet sitting business

TIP: Read Getting Things Done by David Allen

#3. Beware of the Social Media Time Suck

The problem with social media is that you can log in to send out some work tweets or business Facebook posts, but then you check your news feed and then next thing you know two hours has passed, and you have gotten nothing of substance done.

Solution on How to Be More Productive:

  1. Set specific time blocks per day for using social media for business.
  2. Save your personal social media time for after business hours.

You can also use it as a distraction. Every time you receive a notification that a picture was posted of you, or that you were tagged in a post, your immediate reaction is to go check it out. Am I right? These distractions are eating up valuable time in your day and keeping you from accomplishing your pet sitting business goals.

Solution on How to Be More Productive:

  1. Turn off all notifications from your social media outlets.
  2. Set specific times to check for updates.

#4. Meditate for Massive Growth in Your Pet Sitting Business

Don’t run for the hills just yet. Meditation can be off-putting to some people. I’m not sure why, but it most definitely scares some. Don’t be afraid!

Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, increase emotional intelligence, improve creativity and your overall health. These are all pretty awesome things, so why not give it a shot?

Solution on How to Be More Productive:

Download the HeadSpace App. This free app will get you started on a simple and easy meditation practice, and all it takes is 10 minutes per day. That’s it! I challenge you to give it a try.

#5. Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is trying to do more than one thing at a time and can be one of the worst productivity killers. In the age of smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, email, facetime and social media, it is so easy to multitask without even realizing it. And here’s a newsflash, our brains are not wired to work that way. Researchers found that when we attempt to multitask, the brain “bottlenecks” the information and quickly moves its attention from one thing to the next, instead of addressing the items simultaneously. Rather than becoming more productive when faced with multiple tasks to accomplish at once, this suggests we only become more frazzled—and thus less able to handle the challenges of a high workload.

Citation: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24516634

Solution on How to Be More Productive:

  • Find a distraction-free place to work. I suggest the library.
  • Block out distractions by shutting off all of your devices.
  • Set a timer and work in two-hour time blocks without distraction.

Tips: Just in case you don’t trust yourself to block out all of the distractions on your own some apps can help you out. Check out:

  1. Dark Room, a full screen, distraction free, writing environment. Dark Room is just about you and your text.
  2. Anti-Social is an app that makes it easy for you to target and block any distracting website so you can be more productive.
  3. Rescue Time is an Internet tool that tracks what users do all day so they can learn where they’re wasting time, get better at self-management, and make changes that amp up productivity.

#6. Get a Grip on Email

How often do you feel swamped by email? My guess is pretty often. Pet sitters receive email all hours of the days and night with requests and changes from current clients, new client inquiries and emails from their staff. It is endless! I honestly feel like I can write an entire mini-course on this subject, but for today, I’m going to give you some quick tips.

Solution on How to Be More Productive:

  1. Do not check email continuously throughout the day. Set specific times for when you will check and answer emails.
  2. Set boundaries and expectations with your clients by setting an autoresponder that clearly states your office hours and when they can expect to hear back from you.
  3. Create templates of often used replies so that you can quickly cut and paste.
  4. Unsubscribe from any emails that are polluting your inbox. (I hope they’re not mine, but if so, I get it. ;))

Tip: You can always create a Feedly account and subscribe to the RSS feeds from the writers who content you want to read. This way you’ll still receive the updates, but they’ll be neatly organized.

#7. Set Aside Time for Yourself

Taking time off is one of the most difficult things for a pet sitter to do. For whatever reason, you are expected to be on call 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. An expectation that I will never quite understand. This is not a healthy lifestyle and is most certainly a recipe to spoil your productivity. You need time off to clear your mind and recharge your engines.

Solution on How to Be More Productive:

  1. Schedule your time off at the beginning of the year and alert your client list, so that they can plan their trips accordingly.
  2. I would also suggest hiring another pet sitter to cover your visits or contacting another local pet sitting business owner to cover your workload during your time off.

Bonus: My #1 Pet Sitting Business Success Secret

Click Here to see my #1 Pet Sitting Business Success Secret

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Productivity Hack for your pet sitting business

Super Simple Productivity Hack for Pet Sitters

A simple tool to help pet sitters get more done with less stress

If there’s one thing I’m certain of, pet sitters are short on time, which is why I’m excited to share this week’s business building tip that will show you exactly how you can create more time and get more efficient in every area of your life.

You and I all have one million things going on in our brains each and every day that we need to get done.

For our pet sitting business, we need to get a newsletter out, we need to get marketing emails written, we need to schedule all those clients, we need to send that client a baby gift, we need to reach out to that sitter to figure out what’s going on with her summer schedule, the list goes on. And it never stops!

Then, on top of all of that, you have your personal stuff to take care of.

For me, it might be events at my children’s school or signing up the kids for camp, packing for a camping trip, getting the car serviced, etc.

When we have all this stuff swarming in our heads overwhelm sets in, and overwhelm causes inaction. When we have too much to do it’s easier to just ignore it than to actually get it done.

This is where my super simple productivity tool can help pet sitting professionals just like you.

The Weekly Brain Dump

STEP 1

Each week, preferably on Sundays, I want you to get out a piece of paper and do a thorough brain dump on every single task that you can possibly think of that you need to get done. Include personal tasks as well as those for your pet sitting business.

STEP 2

Cross off the things that you do not need to complete this week.

STEP 3

Schedule the remaining tasks onto a calendar of your choice. And the most important point – make sure you include due dates because if you don’t schedule it, it’s just wishful thinking.

I’m going to repeat that – make sure each task has a due date!

Make The Brain Dump one of your success habits to get you where you want to go, so much faster. It may be simple, but it’s an effective tool to help your pet sitting business grow.

FREE PDF Download For Pet Sitters

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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Tax Tips for Pet Sitters

Tax Tips for Pet Sitters

Plan ahead and never again get caught short at tax time

Taxes used to stress me out more than you can imagine. Every year I would be shaking in my boots as I anxiously awaited to hear what I owed. The problem was that I never planned ahead. Why didn’t I plan ahead? Because I didn’t know how. You don’t know what you don’t know. Now you will know. Pet Sitters that follow the simple method below will always be prepared for the tax man.

Tax Tips for Pet Sitters

#1. You need to stay on top of what your quarterly tax payments need to be and if you’re making more money than you anticipated, you need to be putting more money aside for taxes.

#2. Create a separate account for your taxes: I use Capital One 360 (previously ING.) It’s super- easy to create an automated savings or checking account.

 

#3. Name the account “The Government’s Money”: The money you deposit into this account is not yours. It is the government’s money. Labeling it like this will be a gentle reminder that the money is not yours to touch. Do not borrow from this account!

#4. Deposit 20%: Every single time you make a deposit into your business account, you transfer 20% of that deposit into your tax account.

I most definitely suggest that you consult with your accountant about tax planning, but if you follow these simple tax tips for pet sitters you will always be prepared for tax season. Hallelujah!

Today is tax day and I’m completely prepared. I never thought I would see the day. I’m a happy Pet Nanny!

Your Homework Assignment:
If you don’t already have one, open a tax account where you can easily transfer at least 20% of your business deposits into. Then name the account “The Government’s Money.” You’ll thank me later. 😉

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