value of your pet sitting service

4 Ways To Find The Market Value Of Your Pet Sitting Business

Business owners may often wonder about the value of their business. Knowing the value of your pet sitting business helps business owners determine if they are pricing their services effectively. It can also help them better understand what they can do to improve the value of their business. Valuing your business service is an important undertaking if you plan to sell your company.

There are a number of ways to determine the value of your pet sitting service. Though arriving at a valuation is a complex process, it is important to note that determining the value of your pet sitting service is just as much an art as it is a science. Below, we will discuss the most common ways that you can determine the value of your business.

4 Ways to Determine The Value Of Your Pet Sitting Business

value of your pet sitting service

There are four common ways to determine the value of your pet sitting service. Though some are more accurate than others, you can take a weighted average of the four to arrive at a more accurate valuation. Here are four methodologies you can use to determine business valuation:

 

1. Book Value

The book value is the easiest to identify, but it is also the least accurate way to determine business value. Business owners can determine the book value by looking at the balance sheet and considering the value of hard assets minus the debts. For example, a restaurant has kitchen equipment, which would be considered hard assets with value. The restaurant owner could determine the value of these assets by estimating what the resale value of the equipment would be.

The book value or assets-based method of determining business value often results in the lowest valuation. This is because this type of valuation does not take into account what accountants would call “Good Will.” Good Will is the difference between what someone is willing to pay for your company, or its market value, and the value of your net assets, or assets minus liabilities. Most companies have some Good Will, which provides a higher overall valuation.

In your pet sitting company, Good Will ends up being the majority of your businesses value.

 

2. Publicly-Traded Comparables

The public stock market provides a valuation to each company with shares being traded. This can provide a basis for valuating your company. Especially when you compare your business to similar companies. Using this method, you would look at the last twelve months (LTM) and next twelve months (NTM). Or you could look at  revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

You can take the average multiples in each category – LTM revenue, LTM EBITDA, NTM revenue, NTM EBITDA – and multiple this by your company’s performance over the past year and projected performance over the next year. This provides an estimated value for each category. Then, you can take the weighted average of the four different estimates to arrive at a valuation.

 

3. Transaction Comparables

The transaction comparable approach is similar to the publicly-traded comparable approach that we just discussed. With transaction comparables, valuation experts focus on recent transactions.

This time, you take the multiples of LTM and NTM revenue and EBITDA for recent transactions. Then, you apply those multiples to your business. This allows you to arrive at another estimated value based on historical and projected performance.

This method would be used more for dog walking companies where there is a lot of repeat business.

 

4. Discounted Cash Flow

The discounted cash flow method of valuation is different than the other three. It is driven by long-term projected performance rather than focusing on historical performance. With this method, you are estimating what your future cash flow stream is worth in today’s dollars, or net present value (NPV).

You start by attempting to determine how much profit you expect to make in the next few years. Once you have determined how much profit you will most likely make in the future, you apply a discount rate. This considers the time value of money.

Cash flow is one of the greatest determinants of business value. By looking at how much cash you have generated and how much you will generate in the future, you can have a clearer idea of business value. The more consistent and predictable your company’s cash flows are, the higher the value of your business.

Once you have the four different estimated values, you can apply a weight to each to determine the overall estimate. The lowest weight should be assigned to the book value. This is because book value is the least accurate of the four valuation methods. Then, apply equal weights to the remaining three estimated values – (Publicly-Traded Comparables, Transaction Comparables, and Discounted Cash Flow).

This will give you the most accurate valuation for your business.

Now that you have an estimated value for your pet sitting service, you can work toward finding ways to increase your business value. One way to start is by gaining access to working capital for your business. Another is finding ways to expand your offering to increase cash flow. You may also want to reevaluate your pricing model for products and services. Why? Well, you may not be charging as much as you should!

choosing pet sitting software

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Pet Sitting Software For Your Business

Choosing pet sitting software is no doubt a daunting task. After all there are a TON of different companies, all with loads of different, innovative features. But how do you know which of those features you truly need? Today we’re going to talk about the 5 things you MUST consider when choosing pet sitting software in order to keep yourself sane and organized.

5 Things To Consider When Choosing Pet Sitting Software For Your Business

choosing pet sitting software

Accounting

When choosing pet sitting software, we have to consider what type of accounting we do. You want to ask yourself if it’s important to you whether or not your accounting is done within the system. By this I mean if you want the software to track invoices, income, give you profit and loss reports, etc.

But, maybe your accountant or CPA prefers you use a software like Quickbooks to do your accounting. Maybe your CPA works with you virtually through Quickbooks where they log in and help you manage business finances. If this is the case, then a software with built-in accounting may not be vital for your business.

 

Customer Service

Another crucial aspect of choosing pet sitting software is customer service. What type of customer service does the software offer? What is there response time like? Do they have 24/7 support? What do other pet business owners think about the company’s customer service? Do they have online Facebook support groups? And are these groups run by community or actual Helpdesk at the company?

All of the above are great questions to ask and research when choosing pet sitting software. As a pet sitter, I know you know as well as I do that things DO go wrong sometimes. And in the event of an emergency or major problem with your software, you want to make sure that someone has your back.

 

How Often Is The Software Updated?

Nowadays, technology and software is constantly changes. There are always new breakthroughs. It’s important to choose pet sitting software that stays on top of the technology industry and is constantly changing with it. This can include things such as increasing loading speeds, GPS, adding new features, and optimizing their software for other devices such as phones or tablets.

Plus, does the company actually listen to their client’s ideas for changes? You definitely want to pick a company that listens to feedback and implements it in a timely manner.

 

Mobile Version or App Version?

It’s really handy for your pet sitters to be able to use the software on their mobile devices. So it’s important to find out when choosing pet sitting software if they at least have mobile friendly version (i.e. a simpler website specifically for a phone). Or, even better, do they have a specific phone application that you can download? And, can the client use the app or just the company?

Being able to use pet sitting software on a mobile device eliminates lots of room for error and can eliminate a paper trail, as in pet sitters won’t have to manually print out client notes or their schedule. There’s lots of benefits to having mobile access to your pet sitting software, so this should be a primary deciding factor.

Communication

Every pet sitting company should have a primary form of communication. When communication is spread out between multiple methods (i.e. email, texting, phone calls, voicemail etc.), things get lost in translation. Consider choosing pet sitting software that offers communication within the program. This can be helpful so that you have all client and pet sitter communication within one medium.

Or, if you prefer email (or another method), then choosing pet sitting software with communication built in may not be as important to you.

 

Final Food For Thought

Everything listed above are some of the major things you should consider when trying to choose a software company. You should consider these 5 factors first and determine what’s important to you. Then, you can look at the additional “bells and whistles” that the software companies offer.

Software is there to help you, so you want to find the program that’s right for YOUR business and fits in with your model.

pet sitting software company comparison

 

switch pet sitting software companies

The Problems With Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies

Thinking of switching pet sitting software companies can be a big pain in the A$%, isn’t it? In fact, all the headache that goes along with switching is the single most important reason why I hear many pet sitters won’t do it. Even after we see the {free} comparison chart of all major 8 companies!

As a business owner, we already have way too much on our plate. If delegation is the key to success, why don’t we allow our clients to help us out with this process?

Stay with me here…

The Problems With Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies

switch pet sitting software companies

Don’t Make Switching Pet Sitting Software Companies A Solo Project

When switching pet sitting software companies, you will ultimately have your clients log in, update their info as needed, and schedule services with you, right? A common misconception with pet sitters is that they think the burden of updating their client’s information is on THEM – but I’m happy to tell you that this is not the case 🙂

So let’s invite them to “update their information” as we get our new system set up.

” This type of phrasing not only shows that you care, but gives the client an incentive to comply. It also alleviates the pain of you having to enter in all the information or pay to have someone do it. Plus, different systems might have different fields for information making it a little difficult. When this happens, we might procrastinate things even more. AKA Not get the task complete!

 

Here Are Two Examples Of What You Can Say To Your Clients:

If you can muster up the positivity and set expectations properly – consider the task of switching pet sitting software systems done!

How do you do that? Well, thankfully, you are reading this now, so here goes a mock letter, that you can copy and paste, right here from my website, for you to use:

 

Sample Letter #1

Dear NAME:

Our tail is wagging in anticipation of this new toy we just bought for XYZ PET SITTING COMPANY. It is an even BETTER scheduling software system that we just know you will absolutely LOVE!

Feel free to scratch and sniff your way around by going HERE and clicking THIS. Once you are in, you can actually create your OWN UN and PW. (I thought it would be better for you to create it rather than making something that you would probably forget, because, let’s face it, you didn’t create it!)

Before we are able to approve your next booking, we just need you to take 5 minutes, enter in the info for your fur babies, your credit card, and then you can be on your way to booking.

EVEN BETTER:

I know it is probably been dog ages since you have updated your babies info, so this will help us all stay on the same page!

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?
If your paws hurt, you can always watch how easy it is to set up an account by watching this 30 second video HERE

Or, you can give me a howl on the office phone OFFICE HOURS, I am on stand by ready to help!

Tailwags,
YOUR NAME

 

Sample Letter #2

Hello CLIENT,

We are doing some updates to our online profile system and just need for you to update your fur kid(s) info before making your next booking.  Feel free to do it now, if you have the time!

It is as easy as 1-2-3.

1 – Click HERE and create a UN and PW
2 – Fill out all of your info and your pet’s info.
3 – Oh wait, we are all ready done! See how easy that was? 🙂

If you have any questions at all about this new process, I am in the office OFFICE HOURS and ready to help!

Tailwags,
YOUR NAME

Manage Expectations & Solve Problems Before They Come

I have always said, if you can manage someone’s expectations, you will cut the questions down to a minimum. Likewise, if you can expect people’s behavior, you can lessen your frustrations!

Here is what I mean: Anticipate the questions that your clients will have for you and consider making a short video like this one to help show them their answers:

You can easily create videos on Screencast-o-matic for free!

Remember, Questions Do Not Mean Criticism

Don’t fret when clients are asking you questions on the system. It doesn’t mean that the system you just moved to is de-funked. It means that they just simply have questions and they are looking to you for help. Think of it as a way to touch them and open up a conversation about how their services are going or how their pets are doing. Ask them their opinion of what they like and if there is anything you can improve on. Simply ASKING that last question can secure a client for life because they know that you care!

Switching Pet Sitting Software Systems Doesn’t Have To Be Tough

Change is always tough. I am betting that it actually took you a while to take the JUMP towards switching pet sitting software companies, am I right? What you need to do now is hold on tight, anticipate the questions, and know that you don’t need to sit there for hours upon hours to update every single client file.

Nor, is a data transfer going to be seamless. So in my opinion, it is best to have your clients help you do it. 🙂 Not to mention, all of the companies are always there to help you. After all, they want you to LIKE using their software!

Don’t ever let this challenge prevent you from making a switch!

 

social media marketing channels

The Best Pet Sitting Social Media Marketing Channels

In this day and age, there are SO many different types of social media marketing channels. So many in fact, that it is near impossible to manage accounts on all of them. Try to think of each social media outlet as a different channel on TV. Nick Jr. isn’t going to be attracting the same type of audience as CNN or Showtime.
Listen in to this awesome video as Gary V tells the story that each social media platform is a different channel. Today, we’re going to talk about a few different of the major social media marketing channels, and how you can make the most out of them.

The Best Pet Sitting Social Media Marketing Channels

social media marketing channels

Twitter

The format of this channel is twofold: short and sweet. But what’s so great about it, is that makes getting in touch with high profile people easily accessible. Twitter is the back door to many celebrities and news anchors in your area. It’s a great way to get you and your business quickly and easily noticed.

How? Simply reply to their stuff. Retweet their stuff. Then, you can ask them [the news anchors] to cover your story. Or you can forward your story to them too!

Example:
@reporter: 4 Ways To Keep Your Dog From Tearing Apart The House During The Next Hurricane. <– Can I come on @SHOW and tell you more?

YouTube

Videos galore! If you’ve been with me for a while, then you know how IMPORTANT video is for your business. Check out this blog and video I made for you for more on this:

Make your videos under 3 minutes. People have short attention spans, and are much more likely to click on a short video than a long one. Then, tell a story about the pet you have with you. Have a beginning, middle, and end. Not every video is a commercial. Start with doing supporting evidence to your services. Like a video of you doing a puppy sit, dog walk, overnight (maybe under the covers? LOL). Upload natively to Facebook as well to increase video views!

Don’t forget to ask your audience to like, comment, and subscribe to your channel. It’s important to give your viewers a call to action at the end – otherwise they will do nothing!

Facebook

This is where most of your clients will be. Why? Because that’s where they can keep tabs on their family AND have a distraction next time they are bored at a meeting. If you take a look at Jump, for example, we have over 2500+ likes on our Facebook page and 2 Facebook groups with hundreds of members. This can be you too!

For more on how to promote your business through Facebook, check out these blogs:

How To Get More Engagement On Your Facebook Posts

7 Facebook Tips You Should Always Be Doing For Your Business

Tips To Be Successful When Posting On Facebook As Your Business!

There’s a ton of programs that enable you to schedule your blog posts to your Facebook page. Then, consider boosting your new blog posts for $5 for one day. This will vastly increase the number of people your post will reach. In turn, this will boost traffic to your page!

You Can Make Any Platform Your BEST Platform

Even if you don’t prefer the big social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, there are lots of other social media marketing channels that you can use. Overall, the best social media site for your business is what you choose.
Of course, there are many more out there like Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram. But keep in mind that, typically, if you have 30-60 year old client base, many of them are on Facebook. Out of all the social media marketing channels, Facebook is also the world’s largest to date with over one billion people.
It’s also to keep in mind that with different social media marketing channels, they are all spoken in differently “languages,” so to speak. What I mean by this is that, you might have the same topic across platforms, but you will not have the same message.
So, to make the most out of social media marketing, simply find the platform(s) that work for you. Then, learn and understand the “languages,” so that your posts deliver the message that you’re trying to send. I understand that this can seem daunting at first, but a lot of this is trial and error. The only way to learn is just to start posting!
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above and beyond

Out-Of-The-Box Ways To Get More Pet Sitting Clients With This Simple Concept

Question: What would happen if today you didn’t gain any more pet sitting clients because you already have enough? How would you go about keeping the ones that you have?

So many companies say they go “above and beyond” with their clients, and attribute that to gaining more pet sitting clients. But what does that really mean? How do you go above and beyond with your pet sitting clients when you are sometimes removed from the day to day pet sitting? Your heart might be above and beyond but what actions do you do to show this?

more pet sitting clients

You might try with occasional emails or maybe even gifts… but usually, that is surrounded by you wanting something or it is an obligation to give a gift (holidays, new pet, pet passing).

It is passive.

It is predicted.

Sometimes it is even talking AT them and not with them…

Well now, I want to flip your thinking.

What if you started talking to your clients just like they were your friends? Ever see something that would be valuable to a friend and share it with them on Facebook? I do. All the time and I do it in business too.

 

In fact, since selling my company a few months ago, I feel awkward because there are so many things I read that I think, “Oh wow! I want to share that!” but I don’t have anywhere to do it. So now, you are going to reap the marketing bursts my brain has:

Here is How To REALLY Go Above And Beyond To Gain More Pet Sitting Clients:

 

1. Cincinnati Winning Basketball And Streets Being Clogged

Recently, we had a member in my Facebook Group notify all her clients the about street closures for the parade that Cincinnati was having for their team who won the finals. She let them know so they didn’t get in a traffic jam going to work. Nice way to reach out to everyone in a valuable way, huh? Many thanked her for the heads up.

Simple gestures like these will stick in your client’s mind. It’s a great way to ensure that your current clients will recommend you via word of mouth – ultimately ending up with MORE clients for you!

 

2. TSA Taking Longer And People Missing Flights.

When I had my pet sitting company, I actually emailed all the clients who were leaving town that weekend and reminded them about TSA wait times. It was a big story at the time. Many people were missing their flights. I even included a link to the airport where they listed the current wait times at each terminal location. I got many “Thank you’s!” and even a bunch of, “We were driving but thanks for thinking of us!”  Great way to show that you care and reach out without WANTING something, huh? 🙂

 

3. Major Weather Catastrophes Like A Tornado, Fire, Or Flood

Admittedly, it is horrible when this happens. There is panic among everyone and if you have a client out of town, watching it on the news, they might even get anxious.

Imagine getting an email from your pet sitter while you’re away saying something like “Don’t worry about the weather going on… here is our plan should we ever need it and you can stay up to date on our Facebook page.” And then post updates!

Pet sitting software systems will help you contact a certain group of clients that are away so you can speak directly to them. You could even email everyone a blanket email saying:

To the families who are away: Here is our plan.
To the families that are local: Here are some resources.

As pet sitters we all say we care, but how do we show it to everyone? Imagine the confidence that would our worried traveling pet parents? The alternative is that there is no communication and they are calling you frantically. I can almost promise you, no other pet care company is doing this. Get ahead of the anxiety!

 

4. Snowstorm That Strands People On The East Coast

Even thought I am in warm and sunny AZ, the snowstorms on the east coast during the winter affected by business and my clients. Flights would be canceled, delayed, or worse, people couldn’t get into the airport because of the road closures or airport closures. Acknowledging the stress in your pet parents lives while traveling will make them feel safe and secure. And they will remember you. It is very similar to #3.

 

5. Pet Food Recalls

Hear of a pet food recall happening? A quick email to your client base with a link to the press release on your website will be helpful for them to know you are thinking about them and care about passing along valuable information.

 

above and beyond

There Are More Ways To Gain More Pet Sitting Clients By Going TRULY Above And Beyond

Too many to be listed! For more creative ideas and inspirations, check out these other great tips:

Just keep an open mind the next time you are watching the news or listening to the radio. Think about yourself as a journalist as well as a pet sitting business owner and that will really help shift your mindset.

Now it’s your turn. How do YOU go above and beyond with your clients? How did that help you ultimately gain more pet sitting clients? Let me know in the comments below.

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pet sitting network

How To Build Your Pet Sitting Network Locally

It’s no secret that the pet business industry, in a word, is competitive. There are all different sorts of businesses in the pet sitting network from pet sitters to dog walkers to dog groomers etc. I could go on and on.

But what if I told you that you could use your competition to your advantage? Like, the next time someone goes to get their dog groomed and asks the groomer for a pet sitting recommendation, they recommend YOUR company. That would be pretty awesome, right?

Today we are going to discuss how to successfully build and maintain a pet sitting network so that companies refer YOU over your competitor.

How To Build Your Pet Sitting Network In Your Local Area

pet sitting network

Step One: Decide Which Companies You Want To Go After

The important thing to remember here is quality, not quantity. Let’s think about a couple of scenarios for a moment.

  1. A successful pet sitting business owner (that’s you!) reaches out to 10 different companies in their area and they form relationships. Awesome, right? Seems like it. Except, you find out that these companies don’t have that big of a following, and suddenly you find yourself doing more work for them then they are for you. Not. Good.
  2. The same successful pet sitting business owner reaches out to 3 different companies in your area and you form relationships. Each of these companies have a strong following and are on the same “level,” so to speak, as you are! This connection is mutually beneficial to both companies and everyone is putting in the same amount of effort as the other. JACKPOT!

Do you see where I’m going with this? The moral of the story is not to build your pet sitting network with every business in your area.

You want to find people that already have a strong following, so you don’t end up working more for them than they are for you. The best way to do this is to hit Google and do a little market research on what pet related businesses in your area are killing it on social media, blogs, and in the community. Find a few successful companies that look like people you would want to work with in your pet sitting network, and then reach out to them. Easy peasy.

pet sitting network

Step Two: Become Friends

A great way to start a successful business relationship is to start with a friendship as the foundation. After you reach out to the businesses you’ve chosen, invite them to a cup of coffee so you two can get to know each other better. A business date, if you will =)

Take this opportunity to ask meaningful questions such as:

  • What are their challenges?
  • Where do they advertise?
  • What are they looking for in your business relationship?
  • What’s their community following like?
  • What kind of marketing do they do?

 

You Want to Get A Good Sense Who They Are

These types of questions should give you a good sense of who you’re about to expand your pet sitting network with and can help you decide whether or not they are a person you want to invest your time in. Go with your gut – if it doesn’t seem like something that will benefit you, they leave it be. You can afford to be selective.

As a business owner, I know your time is precious. I don’t want to see you wasting your time doing ANYTHING that’s not going to help you or your business at the end of the day.

For more on this topic, check out my podcasts on Faith-Based Business Networking and Getting Rid of Toxic Relationships.

awesome business partner

Step Three: Be An Awesome Business Partner!

I already know you’re an awesome business owner, but are you an awesome business partner? I hope so! When forming business relationships with other companies, they are a give-and-take.

Just like you don’t want to be doing all the work for another company, they don’t want to be doing all the work for you either! It’s important to find a healthy balance that is mutually beneficial for everybody. If you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t panic. Keep those lines of communication open with your partner, and be vocal about the challenges you’re facing.

You are not alone in this. The great thing about having a pet sitting network is that you not only have new friendships, but they can offer you great advice from a local pet business owner’s perspective.

 

Do What’s In The Best Interest Of You:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you have to do what’s best for you and your company. So if a business relationship isn’t working out, or you just simply don’t have the time or effort to put anything into it, don’t be afraid to break it off or distance yourself.

I want you to be empowered, and not feel like you’re trapped into something that you don’t want to be.

As pet business owners, it’s so easy to overwhelm yourself and bite off more than you can chew, so to speak. In business, and in life in general, the only person who is going to look out for you is yourself.

You have to put yourself first – so don’t be afraid to do so!

pet sitter networking

care note examples

Hilarious Care Note Examples: What To Say (And What NOT To Say)

Ah, client notes.  (aka care notes, journal, updates, etc) It can be tough deciding what to say (and not say) in your client care notes.

Ever stare at that paper or screen wondering, “Just how do I make this visit sound more interesting than it really was?”  or “How I do make it sound like it wasn’t as bad as it was?” 

Another pain point us pet sitters and dog walkers often have is just how exactly do we explain to our staff how to say things,

what to say,

and the appropriate length?

Yeah, the struggle is REAL my friends! Today we’re going to take a look at how exactly to structure the perfect care note, as well as some care note examples for inspiration.

care notes

Anatomy of a Great Care Note:

Great care notes should have a beginning, middle, and end. They should have the facts but heavy on the warm and fuzzy. They should never have shorthand because it doesn’t make you look professional.

Like ur for you’re or u instead of you.

Limited emojis and the method the message is sent or given should be appropriate with the length of the care note.

Pictures and videos are optional but always appreciated.

What Types Of Methods Can You Send Care Notes?

Care notes can come via text message, email, notes written on the counter. Sometimes they come on a private blog, on Facebook, or through a client management system through a journal of sorts (pretty neat, huh?) Sometimes companies give options and some companies only have one preferred method.

Just look for the tiniest of inspiration… and go with it!  One care note example could be that sometimes just marking every bush could turn into “Fido expanded his kingdom to a greater area today.”  Or another care note example might be that perhaps it was a beautiful day out, you can say that “Fido enjoyed sniffing all the smells in the air”

A little insight into the pet sitting world. We leave our clients notes or text updates so they know how their babies are. Sometimes for the sake of the client’s peace of mind we have to “fluff” our updates a bit.

client care notes

Care Note Examples of What To Say (And Not Say):

Sometimes it is hard to know what to say and not to say. We want to stay positive but sometimes this proves pretty challenging when we care for certain pets. The following is from Sarah, a fellow pet sitter. She wrote this on her Facebook page and it is what sparked this blog. It is hilarious and something that all pet sitters and dog walkers could relate to! Here are some care note examples:

Client gets:
Fido had fun chasing a squirrel today!
What I actually meant:
Your dog went ape s&#t and lost his mind when we saw a squirrel 100 yards away and about dragged me down trying to go after it.

Client gets: Fluffy threw up on the carpet but no worries! I was able to clean it up with no stain!
What I actually mean: I spent 20 minutes on my hands and knees scrubbing the cat puke out of your weird, clearly expensive rug praying to sweet baby Jesus that I can get the stain up for you.

Clients gets: We worked on Fido’s leash manners today! He’s really coming along!
What I actually mean: Your dog makes me wish I carried around Vodka in my water bottle.

Client gets: Fluffy preferred not to come out today and visit but I did find her under the bed!
What I actually mean: I think your cat wants me to die.

Pet sitting and dog walking isn’t always warm and fuzzy. The pets don’t always cooperate and we don’t always have the best time. Tell me about a time where you had to get creative. How do you deal with these challenging communication moments in business?

Happy New Year From My Kitchen Table…

Happy New Year! ….as I start writing, it is 8:23 here in Arizona. I felt compelled to just write but realizing this was much longer than a Facebook status, I thought to post this here… I am talking to you.

The business owner who is stressed, worried, overwhelmed, unbalanced, and willing to be vulnerable.  Here is an excerpt from an email I received this morning,

 

Hello, I am just feeling very overwhelmed in my business. Even if I just continue onward myself and don’t hire an employee I still need to figure out how to say no without being afraid I’m going to lose a client. Setting boundaries for my clients and how to handle that without offending anyone….

 

And don’t I get it!!!

I have felt that exact way. In fact, sometimes I STILL feel that way. It is called self-doubt, stinking thinking, decrease in self-confidence, and lack of boundaries.

But as I sit here, at my kitchen table writing to you tonight, while my husband is at work, and Olivia is asleep in her bed- I am reminded (Thank you Facebook TimeHop) of where I used to be.

My story IS your story

In order to drive home a point about this New Year (skip to the bottom of this if you are antsy)…. I feel like I need to take you on a trip down my own personal memory lane.

 

This year… In January, my husband became a Nurse. Something he has worked SO HARD for and it is just (seriously) in his PORES he is so good at it. It also gave him an incredible schedule where we works all weekend and Monday afternoons and then off the rest of the week. We are both able to be home and with Olivia and I am able to work when I need. =balance

Easter Sunday is when I knew I wanted to move on from my pet sitting business of 14 years and in a few days, I found a broker and had it on the market. The decision was easy for me. My goal was always to sell once I had a family and my real passion is helping others achive their goals through coaching.

In May, on Mother’s Day (I can’t make this stuff up) Olivia started walking.

The end of May, we took our first family trip over Memorial Day to Cape Cod. I had so much anxiety about this one. To all you Mom’s who have traveled with little ones… my GOSH they have a lot of GEAR! Then, add into it Olivia’s medicine that needs to be refrigerated, and her feeding challenges…. I was terrified of being that Mom with the screaming kid on the airplane. Although, in all honesty, Olivia isn’t a screamer, she is an explorer. She doesn’t sit still. Taking a red eye with her own seat proved to be great and she slept the 5 and 6 hour flights. (Yay!) It also proved to us that we don’t always need to be a on a strict schedule with her. It was empowering.

The end of May, my pet sitting business was officially sold too. (record time at top dollar!)

Then came July where in FIVE DAYS we sold our house and bought a new one… and let me tell you, this was total randomness. We weren’t even planning on it. The opportunity just presented itself and rather than think of all the things that could go wrong, we JUMPED.  And it was the best decision of our lives…. aside from getting married, of course! 🙂

In July was also Olivia and I’s bday’s. Mine is the 18th and her’s is the 21st. There are certain times of the year that are major triggers for me….. her Bday is one of them. You see, being a Mom stuck in NICU for 6 months…. wondering (first) if she was going to live, (then) the quality of life she was going to have… was such a battle. I do have PTSD from it and learning to manage it is a challenge when the triggers appear. This year, we kept it a low key birthday for her. It was fun, intimate, and perfect for us. 🙂

Around this time, I decided to revamp Jump Consulting. I started working on a complete rebrand of the company and a new business plan. Now that I was down to one company, I could really dream big and figure out my visions and set goals. And that is exactly what I did. I forumulated a terriffic team, and admittedly kissed a bunch of frogs to get there. But now, I have such a soild support team that I am so greatful for!

In August we got into our new home, and wouldn’t you know, Olivia started eating SO MUCH BETTER! It was insane the progress she has finally been making. Not to mention our incredible renown feeding therapist that occasionally comes to our home to do some private sessions with us. Her name is Marsha and she has changed our LIVES. (If you have feeding issues with your kids, let’s talk!)


And now, since then…. I really feel like my family and I have been finding our groove. For those of you just getting to know me, here is my life the past few years before that:

Oct 2012 – Met Alex, my hubby
June 23 2103 – Engaged
Jan 4th 2014 – Married in Scottsdale, AZ
Jan 11th 2014 – Married in Skopje, Macedonia then honeymoon in Rome.
Jan 28th 2014 – found out I was pregnant
May 25th 2014 – found out it was going to be a tough pregnancy and on bed rest.
July 21st 2014 – Olivia was born at 0lb. 12oz. 10 inches long. (One of the 50 smallest surviving babies on record!)

Jan 10 2015 – hubby started school for fast track to be a Nurse (gone working or studying all the time)
Jan 19 2015 – after 185 days I took her home from hospital with Oxygen and NG feeding tube. 80 hours a week of nursing in my home day and night for the next 6 months…
2015 – I was in survival and processing what happened in NICU. (Our bodies have an incredible ability to fight or flight. I fought, then months later I comprehended it all) Lots of tears, grieve, anger, frustration….and some days, there still is. 2015 was a decompressing and starting to heal year…. I was so tense too…. just waiting for the other shoe to drop because I was conditioned that way with NICU. We would get calls in the middle of the night, “Olivia stopped breathing…..” or something else equally as crazy. 🙁

Are you tired yet? I am!

It feels like my husband and I have been on the run for the past few years. If you told me that we would have all this in front of us, I would have sabotaged it.

But I have learned from it.

I am stronger because of it. I have that as EVIDENCE that I can make it through things and that, sometimes, God has to carry me through it because stuff just gets that real.

When business owners tell me they are tired. They don’t have time. They can’t be out doing pet sits every single day and need to learn better systems and processes. I 100% get it because I was right there too and I proved how to make it work time and time again.

So Now It Is New Years Eve….

…I don’t know what the future holds, and you know what? I don’t even really WANT to know…

I want to have goals and plans… but I also understand that it is okay if they don’t come true.

I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. I don’t think that a day on the calendar can change things. We are always making these resolutions.. but never really reflecting on what they were the last time we promised ourselves something. Did we win? loose? Knock it out of the park? Fall short? I feel like these promises to ourselves can be made on ANY DAY.

I just know that I want balance.

And I want balance for everyone that my light shines out to. (Notice I didn’t say who I coach?) I want balance for everyone around me. That’s a tough thing to achieve. I believe it comes with having priorities in life and then making plans to accentuate the priorities.

For example, I really wanted to be there for Alex and Olivia. I wanted to be present. I didn’t want to have a bigger company or take it to the next level. I totally could, but it wasn’t in my heart. So I made the choice to get out. At the time, I was terrified. I was taking a big pay cut. But I was committed to my priorities in life, being my family. Olivia taught me what’s really important. Much like I am sure your own children have done?

Side note – It really is amazing how these tiny little humans can do that for us, isn’t it? 

Saying NO is easy, if you have priorities.

Back To The Email

Getting back to the except that I showed you above. The email in my inbox… that gal is buried by her company. She is making decisions based off fear and not her priorities in life. My advice to her is this:

If you want balance in your life, you have to fight for it.

Are you are worried about your income yet are overbooked? Raise your rates if it is only one of you or hire people. The second rule when I coach people is “who cares about the competition”  The writer has a fear of missing out that is dragging her down. Not everyone who calls is a client. It is mathematically impossible. I would encourage her to figure out who she wants as a client. Define them.

 

All About Balance

But friends, it is all about balance in life. Balance in your time, relationships, carbs (lol!), money, etc.

I want to encourage you ALL to seek balance in your life. I feel like if you can achieve balance in your life, everything else will (more easily) fall into place.

My rule #1 is “You are your own worst enemy.” And you are! Here is the thing… there is no secret to pet sitting and dog walking. It seems like everyone is doing it these days.

Here is the thing… there is no secret to pet sitting and dog walking. It seems like everyone is doing it these days.

But what is really important is those who are successful – they went for it. They have failed MORE TIMES than the ones who are struggling. Do you know why they are successful?

And when I say successful, it could really mean anything. I am not saying the company with the most money, staff, profit margin. Successful according to their own desires.

Anyways…. did I mention that I am also sick right now? My nose is really telling me, “Get off the computer and go lay down” So I am going to wrap this up now….

Ever notice how kids are SO happy and carefree? 🙂 Giddy up!

My Wish and Prayer for you in 2017

I pray that the person reading this is able to be true to themselves. Find and stand up for their priorities by creating balance in all areas of their life. I pray that we all understand that being a workaholic and too busy do not lead to a healthy and balanced life (despite what society tells us) and that in the end, you and those you love are happy and healthy.

Happy New Year. From my family to yours!
Bella

(PS) Now it is 9:12 and I have to edit, format, add some pictures, and post! 🙂
(PPS) Edits finished at 9:32pm

google drive

9 Apps to Help Small Business Productivity


As a small business owner, we all wear many hats. Sometimes so many hats that we end up feeling like a character in a Dr Sueus book trying to balance them all up on top of our head! We know we should use apps to help our business productivity but often get overwhelmed with the sheer choice of the 10 different ones to choose from to solve just one problem. 
When I heard about what Fundera does to help small businesses, I was inspired to share my favorite 9 apps to help small business productivity.

pet sitters facebook group

So today, I am going to help solve that problem by giving you

9 Apps To Help With Small Business Productivity:


# 1  I always forget to keep track of my miles so I am always trying to go back and map it out.

SOLUTION:

The MileIQ app is so incredible that you can never say that you forgot ever again. This app runs in the background of your phone and keeps track of everywhere you drive. Then, when you have a moment you swipe left for business, right for personal and it puts all your trips, miles, dates exported to a nice spreadsheet. You can even calculate medical miles if needed. Last, if you find yourself driving the same place time and time again, you can train it to know, Location A, and anytime you drive there, it will automatically categorize it. It is only $5.99 a month. I am willing to bet that small investment will save you LOTS of time!

 

#2  I can’t keep track of all the people and tasks that I have assigned to my team to help keep my business running smoothly and communication flowing.

SOLUTION:

Trello lets you collaborate through boards, lists, cards, that you can color code and organize the way you want. You can add your team members to the board (designers, virtual assistants, graphic artists, copywriters, etc) and tackle projects without them getting lost in the email shuffle. You can even check them off or take them off your board when you are done. Cost: FREE.

 

The next section doesn’t need an introduction. It is Google. More and more small business owners are turning their backbone over to google to help them manage their company’s processes. Let’s take a look:

 

#3 I am always running out of space on my computer or phone because I have too many pictures or videos.

SOLUTION:

Google Photos – Offers anyone free storage backup and automatic organization for all your photos. Literally, you can search by location, person, or even off the wall things like, ‘long hair’ and all your pictures relating to your search will come up. Best of all, it is in the cloud, so go ahead and don’t get the largest memory on your next computer or smartphone 🙂

google drive

#4  The document that I need is stuck on my home computer and I can’t access it while I’m at a client meeting. (Or) I don’t want to splurge for Microsoft Word on my computer.  (Or) I am running out of memory on my computer for all my files. (Or) I am tired of sending the same doc/spreadsheet back and forth looking for the latest version. (That is a lot of problems, huh?)

SOLUTION:

Let Google Drive be your desktop! Again, it is in the cloud so you can access from anywhere. You can open Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides and even make Forms for people to fill out. The most impressive part to Drive is you can share folders of documents with people and get real time updates. You can actually see someone typing if you are looking at the document when they are typing! It is almost as if you are (virtually) next to each other! No more emailing back and forth the “latest version” of a spreadsheet! Check it out!

 

#5  I don’t want this client to know I am up at 1:53am responding to an email but I don’t have time to write it and send it in the morning.

SOLUTION:

Boomerang (in gmail) will allow you to schedule an email to send out at a certain time. It can also be told to put a email that you sent to the top of your inbox on a certain day or time. Think about that person who you told you would follow up with! 🙂 Beware, this only works on the laptop or computer. COST: First 10 messages are free.

 

#6  I’m tired of writing the same exact email multiple times a week or month. I have a template, but I have to open Word and then copy and paste it.

SOLUTION:
Canned responses in Gmail will populate (in your email) the template that you choose. You can even set a rule that if certain people or subject emails you that it automatically sends a certain canned response. To activate this for free, from your gmail, go to the gear icon, settings, labs, search for ‘canned responses’ and then press enable. You are now on your way. Cost: FREE

 

 

#7 I need a freelancer in a certain budget to do *something* for me but don’t have the time to search websites or ask for referrals and do all types of research.

SOLUTION:
Put in your specifics to Upwork.com and they will bring you qualified applicants, or you can search for some one there. I have personally hired my podcast producer, sales writers, technical writers, graphic designers, and more on there. They have a work diary so you can log the work done so you have accuracy for the amount you spend. COST: Free for app. Varies depending on your needs.

#8 I am going bonkers trying to figure out the different time zones my clients are in and when I have mutually available time as they do. I am so frustrated with all the back and fourth emails and waiting to hear back.

SOLUTION:
Combine your google calendar with Calendly and set it to the days and hours you are free and just send your client the link to your calendar. It automatically translates your open schedule to their time zone, allows for your to personalize questions such as phone number to call, and even can send them a confirmation 24 hours in advance to remind them of the appointment. It also syncs with Google calendar

SOLUTION:
Put in your specifics to Upwork.com and they will bring you qualified applicants, or you can search for some one there. I have personally hired my podcast producer, sales writers, technical writers, graphic designers, and more on there. They have a work diary so you can log the work done so you have accuracy for the amount you spend. COST: Free for app. Varies depending on your needs.

 

 #9 I need a quick cover photo, FB Ad, Flyer, Graphic created but I don’t have a designer to call on or the time to wait for them to get back to you. Or I don’t have the budget for the freelancers I know.

SOLUTION:
Canva is an app that can help make you look good! The free version allows you all types of sizes, colors, and templates. The paid version ($9.99/month) will save your business font and colors in the pallet so it is easily accessible making your brand consistent every time.
.COST: Free (Basic version)

There’s 9 Problems Solved!

All of these apps will definitely help your productivity levels. You will find yourself with more time to spare and less stress off the back and forth while working with your team and clients. Having a small business is tough enough when we wear all the hats but hopefully, this has shown you that you don’t have to wear them all. Perhaps something on this list has helped spark some excitement inside of you? Or maybe you have a great app that you want to share with our readers below? Feel free to comment! 🙂

how to start a pet sitting business