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Episode 44: Why Your Business Needs Pet CPR Training With Cara Armour

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Cara Armour, Product Manager and Marketing Manager for ProPetHeroa pet CPR and first aid online training program for pet business owners.

In 2003 Cara Armour co-founded Active Paws Inc., in the Boston, MA area. In 2009, Cara won Pet Sitter of the Year. She is decorated in many accolades and even expanded to opening a grooming and holistic pet supply store.

Cara Armour

Since 2003, Cara has been trained by the American Red Cross as well as several veterinarians in Pet First Aid and CPR. In 2011 she completed an instructor training course and became a certified Pet First Aid and CPR instructor. In 2015 she co-founded an online Pet First Aid academy and now works as a product and marketing manager for ProPetHero, the Pet First Aid and CPR division of ProTrainings.

She is also a volunteer and foster home for The Boxer Rescue Inc, a health conscious breeder of Boxers.

Bella and Cara talk about Pet First Aid and how to go about training you and your staff.

They discuss the benefits of being trained which are:

  • Being able to save the lives of your pets or pet clients.
  • Learning to recognize potential issues with a pet and bring that to the owner’s attention.
  • Using that trained status to stand out from your competition and create greater security among your clients.

They talk about how an online training course, such as the ones available through ProPetHero are more useful than in-person training because:

  • You can do them at your own pace and anywhere you want.
  • The cost is significantly low compared to sending staff to an in-person training course
  • You can monitor staff’s progress and comprehension of the material.

There is even a special discount for “Bella in your Business” fans. You can get 10% off by going to here.
Coupon code: CPR-petsitter

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 43: Helping Your Clients Deal With Pet Loss Grief With Wendy Van de Poll

In this episode, Bella speaks with Wendy Van de Poll, the founder of The Center for Pet Loss Grief and an international best selling and award-winning author and speaker. They discuss pet loss grief and what pet professionals can say and do to be supportive to their clients in their loss. They also talk about how pet professionals can deal with their own grief.

Topics covered are:

  • What is pet loss grief
  • What you as a pet professional should do when a client gets the news that their pet has a terminal illness
  • How to help your clients when their pets die
  • What you shouldn’t say or do
  • How a pet professional can deal with their own grief over losing an animal client
Wendy Van de Poll

Wendy Van de Poll

Wendy Van de Poll is a pioneering leader in the field of pet loss grief support. She is dedicated to providing a safe place for her clients to express their grief over the loss of their pets. What makes Wendy successful with her clients is that she get’s grief! “Over the years I’ve dealt with my own grief and helping many families communicate and connect with their pets long after their loss. It’s what I’ve done since I was just 5 yrs old!”

She is compassionate and supportive to all who know her. Her passion is to help people when they are grieving over the loss of a pet and her larger than life love for animals has led her to devote her life to the mission of increasing the quality of life between animals and people no matter what stage they are in their cycle of life! She has been called the animal whisperer. She is a Certified End of Life and Pet Grief Support Coach, Certified Pet Funeral Celebrant, Animal Medium and Communicator. She is the founder of The Center for Pet Loss Grief and an international best selling and award-winning author and speaker. She holds a Master’s of Science degree in Wolf Ecology and Behavior and has run with wild wolves in Minnesota, coyotes in Massachusetts and foxes in her backyard. She lives in the woods with her husband, two crazy birds, her rescue dog Addie and all kinds of wildlife.

You can find out more about Wendy and the Center for Pet Loss Grief at https://centerforpetlossgrief.com.

 

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partnership agreements

Partnership Agreements: The $40K Pet Sitting Business Lesson Learned

When you start a pet sitting business, you never think about the end, right? You start your business, all excited, with all these hopes and dreams of changing the world and having all this freedom and flexibility to do what you want.

Right? 

Or maybe you already have this wonderful business going part time or full blast and you meet that (what you think is) love of your life. You get married, no prenup, because let’s face it, neither one of you is made of money… and you live happily ever after.

Or do you? 

Or let’s even say that you and your friend or co-worker decide, “heck! we can do this together!” and you start a business together, skipping down the yellow brick road singing along together. You think this is great! I get to be with someone I trust and make money doing what I love.

But is that true?

partnership agreements

When Beth Green came to Arizona to do a little R&R and business boot camp, we felt strongly that we needed to share her story. We needed to warn the pet sitting industry about what could happen to your business. As we both point out in this video, it is almost irresponsible not to plan for a business dissolution. We plan for marketing, finances, customers, employees, but not an exit plan? It is easily forgotten in the mix, which is why Beth & I really wanted to bring home this very important message.

Why Do So Many People Forget About Partnership Agreements?

A partnership agreement is a document that you sign when you first start a business or a legal relationship (like a marriage) explaining what each other’s roles are in the business *and* what course of action you have agreed to take when one partner wants out of the business relationship. Without these partnership agreements – your business is left exposed and all your hard work could go down the drain.

 

How Easy Is It To Get A Partnership Agreement?

It is as easy as typing it into your friend, GOOGLE, and then editing it to your satisfaction. Have a lawyer give it a look over, and sign it in front of a notary.

If you are starting a business together, the obvious time to do it is at the beginning when you start. For marriage, it would be a prenup. If you are already married, it would be a post nuptial or a partnership agreement.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Partnership Agreements?

Sit down because you might not like this answer. The options are basically this:
1. You have to remain business partners until one of you caves in.
2. One of you will have to buy the other out and argue over what the business is worth.
3. One abandons it and creates a lot of problems.

I am not a lawyer and there might be more scenarios but this is what I have seen as a business coach.

If Your Business Partner Dies, Their Beneficiary Could Also Come After You:

After I posted this article, I got lots of examples flooding in of other people who have dealt with the fall outs of not having a partnership agreement. Take a look at the lesson Lauren’s family learned:

pet sitting partnership agreements

How Important Is This Really Bella?

Honestly – if you are married right now, you need to have this document. As they say, the only thing that is definite in life is death and taxes. I have had about 3 calls in the past 1.5 years about people freaking out because they are getting a divorce and they are scared that they significant other is going to take away the business. They are terrified because it is their livelihood. Their job. Part of what defines them as a person!

It is VERY real.

 

Another True Story That You Have To Read:

Soon after this post went live, I had another pet sitting business owner come forward and tell me her story. She agreed to go on record and have me share it here with you to show you all that this stuff really does happen….

Jessica Greenfield writes:

Hi Bella!
So my story is very long…. Lol. But I’m going to sum it up and give you the parts that are relevant to the topic at hand. Because I could seriously write a book about my experience with being married, starting a business, drug addiction (my ex, not me!), business failure and divorce…
But what really resonated with me about your video with Beth was when Beth said everyone thinks that nothing will ever happen to their relationship because you are in love and everything is great. Or something to that effect… That’s exactly what I thought too.
While my ex husband and I were engaged, he was laid off from his job. The factory he was working at went out of business and we found ourselves wondering what we were going to do. He made 3x as much as I did at my job so it was a hard hit. After a while of not being able to find another job, my ex wanted to start his own business. He had bad credit so of course, I told him to put everything in my name. He started an online business while I worked full time at my job and helped out here and there. I was able to quit my job after a few months and things were going great (or so I thought). We got married and moved out of our house and converted it to a store. Unfortunately, after just a short time, I realized that things weren’t quite right… money missing, I was being lied to about things, and he wouldn’t let me do or look at any of the financials. I found out my husband was on drugs and driving our business and our entire lives into the ground.
Long story short, we went out of business and got divorced. But everything was in my name. My ex moved out of state and avoided getting the divorce papers for almost a year. I needed to file bankruptcy asap so I could start repairing my life and move on but I couldn’t do this until the divorce was settled. So, after much drama and BS, I decided to suck it up and we each took all the debt that was in our own names. I walked away with $400,000 in debt and he got a $1,500 light bill….
So, my story is a little different than Beth’s. Beth had a successful business that her husband was not a part of and then a divorce while I had a husband with a failing business that I was not a part of (I was merely an employee – not part of the business part of things) and a divorce. But I think the moral of the story is the same. You need to protect yourself and make sure you are prepared for any situation. You may think you know your partner, but things change. Business puts so much stress on your relationship. You change, your partner changes, and you are so busy that you may not even notice until it’s too late. Too late to fix things, too late to remain civil and act like grown-ups… Then what?
Believe me, it’s not a good place to find yourself in.

 

If you have a story and you want to share with the world to help inspire others, just post in the comments below or reach out to me and I would be happy to add it here. I want to help as many people realize how uber important it is to have a partnership agreement in their company!

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 42: How To Use Facebook Groups and Video In Your Pet Sitting Business

On this episode Bella speaks with Maureen McCarthy, owner of Love and Kisses Pet Sitting. Bella has found Maureen’s use of Facebook groups, social media, and video to be an awesome example of how to market.  Bella gets the scoop from Maureen, about how Facebook groups can be a great way to connect and expand your reach as a business. Maureen started a group for her own community called What’s Up Indiana Trail and it has grown like wild fire. Through it, she has been able to get more people engaged on her own facebook page and grown her business.

They also discuss Facebook Live videos – which if you’ve been listening to me for awhile, you know that I consider video as a MUST HAVE in your business. Maureen discusses with Bella how exactly she started doing Facebook Live videos with both her and her staff and the direct effect they’ve had on her business revenue.

She talks with Maureen about:

Maureen McCarthy, owner of Love and Kisses Pet Sitting

Maureen McCarthy

  • The Facebook group she started.
  • Why she started the group
  • How much work is involved
  • How successful it has been
  • How she got into doing videos


Her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndianTrailPetSitter/

 

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Bella in your business pet sitting podcast

Episode 41: Communication Problems In Pet Sitting Companies With Adam Smith

On this episode Bella speaks with Adam Smith from Precise Petcare. They discuss communication problems pet sitting business owners often have with both the pet sitters who work for them and with customers.  They discuss how the software offered by Precise Petcare addresses many of these challenges.

Adam Smith

Adam & Lynn Smith

Precise Petcare is an online management system that could quickly become the center of your business. The online scheduling, billing and client/staff management are all in one place. With their system you’ll have fluid communication between you, your staff and your clients. Much loved features include Pet Care Journals, the Live Sitter Map and GPS sitter check-ins. Precise Petcare was co-created by a pet sitting business owner and a web developer to combine a perfect blend of knowledge and talents specifically for this industry. Husband and wife team, Adam and Lynn Smith understand first-hand what your needs are as a pet sitting business owner and have built each aspect of the software and continuously update and improve the system – without having to rely on outside talents to delay the process!

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transparent pet sitters

3 Transparent Pet Sitters Who Go The Extra Mile On Their Websites

Transparency literally means you can see THROUGH something. It is a term that is thrown around a lot in business. But what does it actually mean? Transparency builds trust because the person, object, or business, isn’t hiding anything. If your viewer feels that you are being transparent, there is a higher chance they will trust you and take you seriously as an authority..

Pet sitting businesses often talk about themselves. Examples being how great they are, and all types of cliches. But, the truth is that many other businesses can also say the same exact things about themselves.

Today, I wanted to inspire you by drawing attention to a few transparent pet sitters who wrote blogs that go the extra length to really let it all hang out there. In short, being very clear about their ways.

3 Transparent Pet Sitters Who Go The Extra Mile On Their Websites

transparent pet sitters

 

#1. The Pet Sitter of Boise:

Julie Fredrick is the owner of this incredible successful and growing business. She utilizes her website 100% as she has started and built this incredible company all while having a “day job.” As part of that, you can learn the answer to about just about everything, without having to make a dreaded phone call to talk to a human. I mean really, who likes to talk on the phone these days?  Take a look at her FAQ page here

Julie goes as far as listing exactly what her insurance policy covers. If that doesn’t scream transparency, I don’t know what does! She is a great example of transparent pet sitters.

The Pet Sitter of Boise

#2. Endless Pawsibilities

Over in Toms River, New Jersey, Endless Pawsibilities owner Tory Lattig is knocking it out of the park. She uses pictures and videos to tell the story of what goes on during a pet sit.

This is an extremely popular question of many first time pet parents. So, to be able to use this blog to show her apprehensive caller what actually happens can really help put down that barrier. Tori just used the internet and the tools on her cell phone to bring to life the actual daily events that occur when you are a client of her company.

 

Endless Pawsibilities

#3. Jen Loves Pets

In San Diego, Jen is answering clients questions by giving a detailed explanation of what they can expect at a meet and greet. I especially love this posting because it is so important to set the right expectations. It’s also a good idea  tell your new client exactly what they can expect from you and what you need from them. Setting these boundaries up in advance sets the both of you up for a great relationship. Also, this is another posting that you can easily add a link in an email to explain when you first meet a client (saving you time!).

Jen Loves Pets

They Ask, You Answer

A lot of what these fabulous pet sitters are doing actually comes from the They Ask, You Answer principle from The Sales Lion. Listen in on the next 30 minutes, and I promise your life will be changed. This concept changed mine and is the epitome of what the sitter’s are doing above.

 

BMWB 2nd Semester

pet sitting office manager

How To Get A Business Phone To A Pet Sitting Office Manager

To all of my pet sitting business owners with staff – this one’s for you! Are you considering hiring an office manager? Or maybe you’re just going away on vacation for a week or two and need a temporary office manager to fill in? Either way, you’ll need to consider how to get your business phone to your pet sitting office manager. This can be tricky and complicated.

So, today I’m going to break down some of the best ways you can get your business phone to your office manager without the hassle!

How To Get A Business Phone To Your Pet Sitting Office Manager

pet sitting office manager

 

Temporary Solutions

If you are looking for a temporary solution, you don’t have to make a permanent move. It might be as simple as forwarding the business line to their cell phone. Or you can even physically give them the business phone. Keep in mind these solutions are only short term. They can also sometimes be a way to do a “trial run” to make sure your potential office manager is right for the job.

If you do this, don’t forget to make sure that their voicemail is personalized for the business! You want it to say something like “Thanks for calling Bella’s Pet Sitting.” You don’t want your clients to know that their call is being directed somewhere else. Keep in mind this is only a short term solution.

Permanent Solutions

If you need a permanent solution, I do not suggest handing a phone back and forth. Even physically delivering a phone to your pet sitting office manager can be messy. There’s too much room for error here. You need to set up a permanent system.

There are a number of companies such as Grasshopper, Phone.com, and RingCentral, that do a “phone tree system.” With this you can redirect a line to many different people depending on where you want it to go.

Since our offices are virtual, this is probably the best way to direct client calls. You really want it to be a cloud based system so you can text if you need to text (even though I don’t recommend it!). You also need to have a record of all communication between all lines. Plus, they have useful features such as transcribing voicemails, the ability to use your computer/tablet, and more.

What About Google Voice?

Ah, Google Voice. Super popular among pet sitters for sure, and I even used it regularly in my own business! What I’ve learned is that it’s really nice for sole proprietors if you’re trying to separate business and personal.

But when your business and operations grows bigger and bigger you will eventually outgrow Google Voice. It’s a good stepping stone but I don’t recommend it long term. It’s a great program for being free, but if you’re serious about bringing on a long-term office manager you will need a more sophisticated software.

Phone systems are really smart these days. Clients calling won’t know they’re in a phone system. They won’t hear things like “Press one for this and press two for that” – unless you want it that way!

Overall, you want your phone system to be able to adapt to YOU and your business. So, do a bit of research and choose the company or solution that will best fit your needs. You’ll be glad you did!

If you’re still unsure about taking the plunge by giving your employees a business phone, be sure to check out this blog I wrote here addressing your concerns.

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Episode 35: Identifying and Overcoming Challenges As A Small Business Owner

On this episode of “Bella in Your Business” Bella spends time with Heather Dopson, Community Builder at GoDaddy.

Heather Dopson

Heather Dopson, Community Builder at GoDaddy

Heather has a passion for digital trends and innovation along with a deep understanding of social networks, consumers and branding. As a Community Builder at GoDaddy, she leverages her skills as a connector and her drive to help small businesses succeed. Her mission in life is to help people lose their J-O-B and find their J-O-Y.

They discuss:

  • How Heather got to this position of Community Builder
  • Some challenges she sees happen in small businesses and freelance communities
  • How small business should owners determine what they work on themselves or what they outsource/delegate
  • The biggest opportunities she sees people overlook when it comes to driving awareness and driving revenue
  • “Beyond the Domain” a Facebook live series of videos she is doing for GoDaddy.
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Episode 34: “Click Here To Agree” Contracts, Sharing Client Photos, And Privacy Policies On Your Website.

On this episode Bella speaks with Sara F. Hawkins, an attorney who specializes in working with startups, entrepreneurs, marketing and advertising agencies, as well as major corporations where she regularly counsels clients on all aspects of federal and state marketing, advertising, sweepstakes and contests; international promotions; social media and internet law; copyright, trademark, and digital rights; as well as general business matters.

Sara F. Hawkins

Sara F. Hawkins

With a background in consumer product marketing compliance, Sara has worked with clients to create policies and procedures for engagement with agencies, celebrities, and influencers. Sara frequently speaks on legal topics related to influencer marketing; sweepstakes and contest promotions; as well as a host of digital, native, and mobile advertising and marketing topics. Since 1998, Sara has maintained her own firm in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bella and Sara discuss:

  • Where business owners can get photos from
  • Photo licenses and what they are
  • Who regulates photos and copyrights
  • How business owners can get clients to agree to share photos
  • Privacy policies
  • “Click to agree” agreements.

Here is the resource for my Deposit Photo deal 🙂
Sara can be reached at her website or Facebook

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Episode 32: Amy Schmittauer Explains Video In Her New Book VLog Like A Boss

In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella speaks with Amy Schmittauer from the popular YouTube series Savvy Sexy Social

In this episode they discuss what a Vlog is, and how and why Amy got into it.  They also talk about how pet sitters can use video to enhance their business and marketing and some tips on how to overcome that fear of being on camera.

Amy’s newly released book Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging just launched on Jan 31st and just by listening to this episode, you might win a free copy.

Want to join our book club?

The Jumpers in my FB group voted for Amy’s book as our next book club read. If you would like to join us, we start the middle of February. You can get a copy of her book here and join our FB book club group here

 

Amy Schmittauer

Amy Schmittauer

Amy Schmittauer  is the Vlog Boss. As a new media triple threat —YouTuber, Keynote Speaker and Author—she coaches people to go after what they want in life and leverage online video to make it happen.

Creator of the popular YouTube series Savvy Sexy Social, her channel boasts a global community and millions of views.  And let’s not forget she is Mama to an adorable Beagle named LUCY.

In Amy’s first book Vlog Like a Boss: How to Kill It Online with Video Blogging, she shares her collection of strategies and tactics to help you create video that gets the attention you deserve.

 

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