pet sitting marketing yard sale

The Most Unique Pet Sitting Marketing Tip That Costs Hardly Anything and Builds Strong Relationships

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE TEMPLATE & SCRIPT HERE.

 

Here I am explaining it JUST AS this idea came to mind:

I am writing this post out of the norm. I am not putting it into my publishing schedule, I am not going to make a long list. I am just going to tell you this very brilliant idea I just had as I was just out yard sailing. You see, you get the pleasure of all these marketing ideas I now have, that I can no longer do anything with, because I sold my pet sitting business.

Twice a year, a local planned community of 4400 homes has a yard sale twice a year. Once in the Spring and the other in the Fall. They do this to drum up shoppers and because it is against Home Association rules to put YARD SALE signs up everywhere in the community.

I always love these mornings because like Forrest Gump said, “You never know what you’re going to get!”

pet sitter marketing

How This Amazing Idea Came About:

So I was chatting with an older gentleman telling me that he had just remodeled and trying to sell me on his stove and microwave. “Look!,” he said, “It’s like new. You can see yourself in it still!” I wasn’t even in the market, but he was trying to hard sell me on the idea of getting rid of his “problem” which was this stove he no longer wanted. His wife was even mumbling about dragging it back in the garage and taking up space.

Can you picture it? 🙂

Recently, I learned that Habitat for Humanity would come out and pick up items you didn’t need, especially things like stoves, windows, doors, etc. so I mentioned it to him.

As I walked back in the car, the lightbulb over my head came on!

How To Help Saturate Your Pet Sitting Market Area

As pet sitters and dog walkers we are always driving around and passing by yard sales and garage sales, right?  What if you had a one page flier in your car that was a list of  valuable resources?  Something like:

What You Need To Know After Your Garage Sale Is Over

How To Avoid Lugging Everything Back In Your Home After Your Garage Sale

The Feel Good and Monetary Benefits Available After Your Yard Sale

On this flyer, you would list out places to drop off items in a 5 miles radius and places that you can call to schedule a pick up. The key to this is leaving the companies name and phone number.

Further, if you have a pet shelter in the area, many of them would love to receive the endless dog cages and cat carriers that almost every yard sale has. Why not be a resource to your community by helping give them ways to take care of their “problem” and give back?

pet sitting marketing yard sale

How Does This Come Back To Your Business?

At the bottom of the flier, you can have your business name, info, and a special offer. Even if they don’t become a client, it just gave you a reason to break the ice, talk to these people, tell them about your company and that you are a community leader helping to solve problems.

Great conversation starters, “If you don’t sell this (dog crate, cat carrier, dog carriage, pet steps to the bed) what are you going to do with it?”

Another way you can get even more creative is thinking of specific things… like:

Baby clothes to a shelter.
Scrap book pages to a local NICU.
Quilting or sewing materials to the local charity who makes baby blankets?

There are so many charities other than just “Goodwill” Get creative and make an interesting list!

Side note – The Community Yard Sale I went to hands out maps and a list of all the homes that are selling something. If I still had my company, I would totally contact the community director and find out if I could help “sponsor” the day by adding donuts at the checkin stand (where sellers get their balloon to mark their sales) *AND* including this one page sheet to the end of the list of homes selling goods!

Getting excited yet?

You Can Take It Online Too!

This list, could also be a blog online. There are so many Swip Swap CITY sites, where it is like a virtual online yard sale. How about any pet products being sold, you post a link saying, “I know what you can do with this here.” Inside would be an article about how the local shelter takes donations or (maybe?) they have a resell shop where they resell things to make money to keep the rescue open?  We always see people selling things online. Just make sure the Title is good click-bate! 🙂

 

Spread The Word

This is good-will, solving problems, and getting your brand out in the community. You can easily give them to your staff to hand out and offer incentives if the people call. Over half the yard sales I just went to either had a pet sitting next to the seller or the seller had pet items. Let’s use our incredibly warm and fuzzy industry to break the ice, build relationships, and be a solution to people’s problems!

Need a pet sitting Employee Manual and Training Handbook already written for your pet sitting or dog walking company? Now I have it all for you. Yours in just 60 seconds after purchase! 

pet sitting employee manual

How Should I Pay My Pet Sitting Employees?

how should I pay my pet sitting employees

 

If you are reading this, statistics show me it is because you did a google search. This is one of THE most asked questions amongst pet sitters and dog walkers. How should I pay my pet sitting employees is such a loaded question, that the answer is gray. Here’s what I mean:

How Much To Pay Your Pet Sitting Employees Has Nothing To Do With Your Competition.

The first thing that any pet sitting and dog walking business owner does is ask on Facebook what others are paying their staff. They seem to think that if they pay what others are paying, that it can be justified. It is very common for business owners to look outward to see what everyone else is doing

Illustration depicting a roadsign with ahow much concept. Abstract background.

How Much to Pay Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employees Has Nothing To Do With What You Feel Either

Another common reasoning I hear a lot of is “I feel bad if I don’t pay my employees a lot”  I would want more money if I was working for me. “I want them to feel happy that they are working for me and they will be happy if they get a lot of money.” I’m sorry, but wrong reasoning again.

how much should I pay my pet sitting employee

How Much You Should Pay Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employees Should Depend On What You Can Afford.

In the Pet Sitting Pricing and Strategy Guide I walk pet sitters step by step how to come up with their own perfect price based off of facts and then matched with their personal fiscal goals. I also show how to apply a principal where you always have enough money for you, the owner, your staff, and the business. This results in a well funded business, employees that are always paid, and a business owner with a regular paycheck. The numbers tell you exactly how much you can afford to pay your pet sitting and dog walking employees so you can feel confident when hiring.

 

classes-pricing-guide

How Should I Pay My Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employees?

Depending on which way your CPA and lawyer advise you on your State Labor laws there are a few ways you can do this:

1. You can pay by the hour. You would track the time they start and stop work and you would have to pay at least minimum wage over time.
2. You could pay piece work. That means $x/per each visit or walk. This is very popular amongst the industry.

3. You could pay a commission based off how much the client is charged.

At any rate, I would highly recommend calling your State Department of Labor and ask them about the Labor Laws in your area and what your responsibilities are as a business owner in your state. 🙂 They are there to happily answer your questions!

prices on website

How You Should Pay Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employees Isn’t A One Size Fits All Answer.

All businesses are operated differently and have very different goals so the answer of what to pay and how to pay will vary from business to business. The very best answer you can get is from your team. People that know your business the best, and the laws of the land in which you live! 🙂 But my best advice? Know exactly how much YOU want to make and how to make your business work for YOU!

You can download my step-by-step worksheet download my class so you can come up with your own numbers!

how-should-i-pay-my-pet-siting-employees

Let Your Employees Know When They Will Be Paid And How In Your Employee Handbook.

Your employee handbook should explain everything your employees need to know about the policies and procedures of your company. Above, we discussed ways in which you can compensate them. In your employee handbook you will outline exactly what their job is that they get paid for, how to submit payroll and when. If you do not have a handbook yet, I have an Employee Handbook and Training Manual that are completely written for you here

pet sitting employee manual

Employee Manuals

Employee Quick Start Program vs. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual

employees

The most natural question I get when talking about these products I have is, “Bella, what is the difference between the Employee Quick Start program vs the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual?”

And it is a pretty good question too!

So here, I will do my best to break it down into an easily digestible explanation. I understand these documents can be confusing by themselves.

But out of the gate, let me make this clear: It isn’t one or the other like the title of this article might suggest.

In fact, if you have the Employee Quick Start, the Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual will only enhance what you already have. The Employee Quick Start has a manual that is an outline but you still need to write. The handbook and training manual are already written FOR you. 🙂

It is perfect solution for the business owner who just doesn’t have the time to think and research what needs to be included, write it all out, and then produce the documents.

The Employee Quick Start:

Often times, when a pet sitting or dog walking business owner is ready to take the JUMP and bring on employees, it is a confusing and monumental project. There is confusion on things like, how much do employees cost? How much should I pay? Do I have to pay by the hour? How do I train them? How do I conduct or know what to ask on an interview? Where can I get an employee manual? How do I monitor the employees, and a lot, lot, more.

The Employee Quick Start was created with all this and more in mind. It has everything from A to Z that a pet sitter or dog walker would need to consider as they venture into having employees. Topics like: Pricing structure, building a team, employee manual outline, interview process with questions and an application, ways to transition your clients from you being their pet sitter, to your staff, and how to become a manager of your business instead of a worker are all explained in a step-by-step fashion.

The Employee Quick Start does contain an employee manual outline, with thought-provoking questions designed to get the reader thinking so they can start writing. It is like a handbook and manual in one, addressing some policies of your company AND how to do the job.

It is also offered in downloadable format or 1:1 on the phone. 

Employee Quick Start

 

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Employee Handbook and Training Manual:

The Employee Handbook is extensive – covering all the most important things that a handbook needs. It is very “legal” and “corporate” addressing everything from your mission to whistleblower policies, while containing definitions, Workplace, Hiring, and Continued Employment Policies, Code of Conducts, Employment Duties, Work and Compensation Policies, Employee Information, Leave Policies, Workplace Safety, Disciplinary Policies and Procedures, Separation of Employment, and an Index. With over 40 pages.

Employee Handbook

The Training Manual explains things such as how to scoop litter, different types of leads and how to walk dogs, and specific tasks that need to be done at visits and a lot more. It tells you HOW to do the job of a pet sitter and dog walker. Some sections include: Pet Visits, client communication, keys, pet sitting for a cat, walking dogs, and more. It is also over 40 pages.

Training Manual

Wondering About The Quality of Writing?

This document was also revised by a technical writer and edited over and over again through many months of creation. The purchase of one or both these documents come with explicit instructions on how and where to easily insert your company information throughout the pages.

Get Both Documents at Once

I offer a special discount when purchasing both documents at once! Just click the picture below to buy them both right now.

Employee Manuals

A Common Problem With These Documents and Solution:

If you are like me, sometimes when you receive a document and try to edit it, the margins get all wonky and no matter what tricks you try, things just don’t line up looking all “pretty.”

I anticipated that you might have this problem and solved it for you before you even knew you had it. I have landed an incredible deal with someone who can typeset the entire document for you when you are done adding your logo, company information, and anything else you might want to add to it.  This is the same person that I have used for this project and they are offering an incredibly affordable rate of $25 for 30 minutes of typesetting your documents.

Ready To Exhale?

There aren’t many options out there that will knock these two tough topics off your to-do list out there. I mean, the pet sitting and dog walking industry is pretty unique, right? No HR company is going to understand how or what to tell people about the nuances of our businesses like how to scoop non-clumping litter and where it goes. (Just thinking of that makes me chuckle). So take it from me, someone who had a pet sitting company for 14 years… I know the anxiety you are feeling. I know that cursor just antagonizing you blinking on your screen… Let Jump Consulting help!

If you have any more questions, just post them in the comments below. Chances are, if you have a question, someone else did too! 🙂

 

What Can I Do When Someone Gives Me A Bad Review?

Young Lady with a computerAs small business owners, from time to time, we get a bad online review. Whether it is warranted or not, it is something we need to take seriously and have options when responding.

Recently, there has been national news about a pet sitter from Dallas who sued a ex-client for over $6,000 for writing a bad review of their company on Yelp. There are many different ways to look at this situation, but the one we will focus on today:

 

Is it Actually Legal to Sue Over a Bad Review?

Listen to this interview with an Arizona attorney, Brent Kleinman who helps us understand what this means on a state and national level.

I asked Brent what he thought about the case? He explained that it is unprecedented and that recently (Dec 2015) the Senate just passed a bill barring companies from using “gag clauses” to block negative reviews saying that a business can not have this type of clause in their contract. Next, it has to pass the House and President has to sign.

Apparently, there was even a hotel who said they would charge customers an extra $500 if they wrote a negative review.

As you can see, things can get out of hand. Brent stresses the importance of actually working with a small business lawyer in your state to construct a contract that protects the business owner while being respectful of the consumer rights as well.

Brent is from Just in Time Consulting as my business. I am using legal knowledge and marketing background to help businesses make a smart decision in creating and operating their business. The email is justintimeconsultingaz@gmail.com and the phone number is 602-291-2227.

 

Take The Journey: Sink, Swim, or Fly A Tedx Speech

“I’m not going to sink or swim, I am going to fly”  And fly is what she did….

A few weeks ago, I had the sincere pleasure to witness a fellow business owner in my community simply knock it out of the park at her first ever TedxFountainHills speech. I say first, because after you watch/listen to this, you will understand why I know she will be doing more.

Her story is compelling, her reflection is remarkable, and her spirit is something that inspires me. I am sure you can relate too. Ever say these things?

“I am just not a good employee.”
“I didn’t want to be constrained…”

As Gelie talks about her journey as a young girl from Russia to the USA, you hear her love for life and business shine through. You hear about the struggles, but you hear about the successes. You hear about the sheer determination… and I want you to listen to this.

{Pet Sitting Industry mention at 13:50}

 

Gelie Akhenblit is the co founder of Networkingphonenix.com It is an incredible resource for the community that tells viewers what networking meetings are going on and where all by the criteria that they seek. It’s simply brilliant. She has grown to over 32,000 members and received countless awards.
Gelie, you are a superb story teller, funny as you inspire, and most importantly, relatable. Keep flying. Keep pushing. I will always support you!!!

P.S. I agree, boys are stupid. *wink*

What Happens When A Pet Sitter Is Bit? Workmans Compensation. Dog Behavior


Vinny Olito, is a dog behavior consultant with Camp Ruff Ruff and he does dog boarding and training in Staten Island NY 

Jena Howard is the owner at Muddy Paws in Woburn Ma

Lori, works for Jena and was the person who was bit.

 

Often times we discuss incidents happening or even WHAT IF scenarios.

As someone who has been through two workman’s compensation claims over the past 13 years of business,

 I understand what it is like as a business owners going through it all. 

Today, we are going to examine an actual dog bite that happened just two weeks ago. 

Jena posted in my pet sitting group when it happened, and Vinny quickly jumped in to explore the different ways to look at the situation via dog behavior. 

It is one of the reasons why I love the private coaching group so much. So many have a variety of background and resources and this was an example of something I didn’t just want to leave as a discussion on the thread that got buried as time went by. 

I am honored to have Jena, Lori, and Vinny here today with us to discuss what happened. Lori, the pet sitter will take us through the facts of the dog bite, as she lived them. Jena will tell us what motions were put into action and what she learned as a business owner. Then Vinny will round us out with his thoughts as it relates with dog behavior to this situation. 

We are doing this to help you and your staff!

We do this to reflect and help the industry. Never before (to my knowledge) has an incident been documented and publicized for all to learn from. It is all our hopes that you hear what happened, store it in your long term memory, so if you ever find yourself in this position, you will know what to do. 

It is important to say that Jena has employees. She does not have Independent Contractors. If she did, this would be an entirely different discussion.

It should also be noted that Lori said that Jena was a “awesome boss” and that she really looks out fir her staff and backs them up. 🙂

What sort of questions should pet sitters ask to help avoid this happening in their business?

Some top questions to set human canine relationships up for success before meet and greets.

1. Does your dog have a bite history?
2. Has your dog ever shown any observable behaviors related to aggression?
3.How does your dog act around unfamiliar humans on leash and off?
4.How does your dog cope when an unfamiliar person walks into your home off leash? On leash?
5. How many humans does your dog fully trust (human network) ? Do you meet unfamiliar humans on walks…”get an idea of how many humans an individual dog trust” I would love to hear things like so many, loves everyone. Red flags for me would be immediate family and or a few friends…red flags, skittish, fearful, leary examples.

Looking for questions to raise red flags to avoid bites and set everyone up for success. These are some questions to ask during your initial phone consult that will get you some red flags and a better feel for a dogs temperament. Of course this is not solution or all possible questing but some good ones…

pet sitter bite

A Blab With The Founder of The National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs.

In the past 24 hours something crazy happened. This incredible woman, who I had been personal friends with on Facebook for about two years, posted something about, “I am going to do my first blab.”  I spoke up, we connected, and next thing you know, 12 hours later, we are doing a blab together {below}.

The most interesting part was that we decided to wing it. Just go with it. Dive on in. Not worry about doing it right or wrong and what happened was nothing short of infectious…. a divine meeting even.

Seriously.

Have you ever have one of those moments when things just “work?”  Diane Cunningham and I had a fantastic 40 minutes and I posted the recording below. We covered a LOT of topics in such a short time.

1. How dating and God are interestingly related.
2. Her story and mine.
3. How God has intertwined in our lives.
4. How waiting in patience on God paid off.

… and at the end, …we prayed.

It was seriously awesome and I know I am not doing a good job of explaining here, so do me a favor, press play and go on about working online while you listen to us in the background. I promise, you won’t regret it.

A little on Diane: She is the Founder of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. and you can connect with her via all the social links on the site. She is a humble, real, spirit filled, woman of God and I can’t wait to collaborate more with her.

Here is all her contact info:

Diane Cunningham Founder and President
National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs
www.nacwe.org
Be my friend:  www.facebook.com/DianeCunningham
Become a FAN: www.facebook.com/NACWE
My mission is to inspire women to dream big, catch on fire, and change the world!

Now, check it out! 🙂

How Pet Sitters Get Through Tough Times In Business

I can honestly say that I just had the most fun I think I have ever had on a video streaming application this morning. Blab the newest “cool kid” thing is taking the world by storm. It is a way to connect people [ pet sitters ] together where there are four “chairs” for people to be on camera and a chat box for the “audience” or standing room only. You can get up from your seat and allow someone else to sit with the exception of the moderator.

I planned one for 830am PST today before I got on with my day and it really started me off motivated! The replay is below and you can press play and then open up other screens and go about your work online while you listen. It is an hour long and  it stars on camera: 

Yenni Desroches from MA with Next Level Pet Care
Britta Harris – Dog’s Best Friend
Katie Westerfield – Homeward Bound Pet Care
Lori Genstein – I’ve Got The Scoop

with many more in the chat room chiming in on the conversation. It was a great group because everyone was at different stages of their business. We even met Sam in the Philippines who wants to start a pet sitting company!  (I love how technology brings the world together)

We talked about a while bunch of things with special guest appearances from Britta’s cat, Lori’s son and cat, and my Rocco. The conversation flowed beautifully and we shared our thoughts on

  • Connecting with our community
  • Managing systems and processes
  • Getting through tough times personally and in our business.
  • Doing free visits for those in need.

Products mentioned during the blab were:
The Fetch Foundation

To learn more about blab go to blab.im  and if you want to learn about it I would google or Youtube it. Or…. if you are really daring, just sign up and stick your nose in. It is super great!!! 🙂

Enjoy!

NOTE: You can not pause, rewind, or fast forward the video.

1st Blab! See Who I Met & What I Learned For You And I!

In this short blab, I met Sanjay. I love the fact that I can meet people from all over the world face to face. It is incredible! Blab is the newest video app where you can bring people in, on camera, or they can hang out in the chat room. It is very different than Google hangout and Periscope. Take a look. What do you think?

Do you want to do a “pet sitter happy hour” blab?

 

The Real Story About What Happened To Me This Past Year

Here is what really happened this past year...

I’m about to get real.

Like grab a tissue, or maybe at parts, even a glass of wine. This isn’t for the faint of heart. If you don’t like hearing about God and Jesus Christ, or about hitting rock bottom, or being paralyzed in fear, what you are about to read, isn’t for you.

If you enjoy an inspiring true story, with heart wrenching truths about my personal life and business, and more highs and lows than a Knott’s Berry Farm theme park, then this IS for you. Here’s the real story about what happened to me this year…

I made a decision when this all started happening that I was going to be open and honest about it. Here is me talking about it as if “oh everything is great! I can do this. I will stay strong.”  I was being authentic when I wrote that, but I had no idea the horror that was about to come and how I would balance the personal and the business. I have written about some of the personal side of things in my private family blog, but never really talked about the whole picture publicly and that is what I am about to do here.

Why am I doing this? I don’t even know if there really is a RIGHT answer to that. I just know that this might be the longest post I have ever written. I feel like so many of you are so raw and venerable with me, that I might as well throw it out there for the whole world to see. I accept that if there is any judgement passed on me for what I am about to tell you that it has nothing to do with me and everything about the judger. Truth be told, it is also cathartic and the more you tell your story the more real it becomes (so I have been told) So, here goes…. In no particular order.

In the beginning, like I imagine when any traumatizing life circumstance hits a person, I was shocked. So shocked that I couldn’t pick up my hand to call my mother on the phone. But, I already told you a lot of the story leading up to the birth of my 12oz daughter. The story when EVERYONE told us “it didn’t look good” and that “babies that small don’t survive.”

(Seriously, think the Planned Parenthood babies they are talking about. Olivia was the size of a 22 week baby, even though she was 28 weeks. She is one of the 50 smallest survival female babies on record.)

I didn’t even quite believe it myself at the time, but I stared every one of them in the face and said, “SHE WILL MAKE IT.”
Fake it until you make it, right? That’s what I was doing. Privately scared out of my damn mind. The one thing I ALWAYS wanted more than anything in life, and I mean anything…. was an incredible husband and children. I am on record for saying in interviews that the most important job (in my mind/life) would be being a wife and a Mom. So here I am. I have the man of my dreams that I just married on 1/4/14 and then on 7/21/14 I am giving birth via a classical C-Section (oh yeah, much different than a “normal” one) to a baby that I am told won’t survive. We actually were given the option to abort 4 weeks prior. It was the first time I actually saw my big strong husband cry.

It killed me.

I remember going to sleep that night talking about the WHAT Ifs and a funeral v memorial service if it came to that. We decided to put it in God’s hands and every night I took out the doppler and stuck it on my belly. Still to that day, the sound of the heart beating is my most favorite sound in the entire world.

While the high risk OBGYN was “sewing” all 4 layers of my tummy back together she engaged me in a conversation about Turkish coffee. All the while I was wondering if my daughter was breathing or alive. I didn’t even get to see or touch her for two hours after the pregnancy. The room was sterile and cold. Things were beeping and dinging. A team of at least 20 people were rushing around doing things that I would soon over my 185 stay in NICU understand inside and out.

But that wasn’t even the toughest part.

The toughest part was learning to live life by the minute. Sometimes even second. Being in NICU presented so many life changing situations. First, I had to learn how to keep up with a team of Dr’s all talking about Olivia at a rapid pace in their Dr language. Then, I had to navigate through the joy that she was alive, but EVERY. SINGLE. SOLITARY. DAY. for at least the first three months they would tell me everything that was wrong with her. I will never be able to express how much I LOVE each and every one of those Dr’s and nurses, but NICU is a tough place. Mentally debilitating. I was pumping milk every 2 hours, then 3 hours. For any woman who has ever done that, you understand that each session is 45 min from set up to clean up and it is like a part time job. There are no cell phones allowed in NICU. I couldn’t hold my baby until her 21st day of life because she was too fragile. I mean her skin was translucent and her eyes were still fused SHUT!

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I explain it that we got to see a fetus on the outside of the womb and gloriously lived to tell about it. We kept being told that we had to wait through the “honeymoon” period. (The first 2 weeks) because that is when micro premies can crash. In fact they are known to do WELL at first. So no one would even be happy and we were too scared to be.

Imagine giving birth and having months of a delayed happiness and relief that your child is here and alive? That doesn’t make logical sense. It goes against everything in human nature.

I learned what every single monitor did. I learned about all the systems of the body inside and out. I knew what blood tests were needed and what numbers we were looking for. I knew exactly what my baby was doing my watching a monitor and when I was holding her I wasn’t being told things like watch her expressions! Isn’t she beautiful. Oh she sleeps so peacefully.  I was being told, watch her color. Make sure she doesn’t get dusky. Make sure that the CPAP or ventilator machines don’t get twisted up. There was dings and bings going off all the time for her *AND* you can multiply that my three because we shared a pod with three other babies…. It was always very tense. You didn’t know if it was your baby crashing (needing to be bagged and breathed for while they turn blue and their heart rate drops to the floor) or if it was someone else’s. I lost count of the number of times I had to walk away from her incubator because there were too many Dr’s, Nurses, respiratory therapists all trying to help her. I was in the hall way balling my eyes out. Sometimes while holding her it would happen to the other parents. I knew exactly how they were feeling and would almost go through that horror right there with them all the while trying to stay calm.

They prepared us…
NICU practically kicked Alex and I out for a weekend in Oct to go to San Diego. That was the only day that we didn’t see her but we knew she was in good hands with her primary nurse. Olivia was only 4 lbs then. they were telling us that she will need a ventilator and trach to breathe. For those of you who don’t know (because I sure didn’t before this happened) that is a hole in your throat with tubes coming out of it hooked up to monitors. They were telling us that we can’t just hop in the car and drive with her. Someone needed to be in the back sitting with her. They were telling us that we would have nurses in our house 40-80 hours a week and much more. They told us to go away because when we came back we weren’t going to be able to have a vacation anytime soon. I cried a lot that trip. How can you go be carefree on vacation while a chunk of your heart is laying in a hospital bed?

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But I did. It was recommended by everyone. Including the therapist I was seeing. Yes, I admit that openly, proudly, and freely. It was much needed during that time in my life and I would encourage everyone to do it. You really learn a LOT about yourself and your thinking. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this all without it.

The Dr’s told us that it could be until she was 2 or 3 before she wouldn’t need the ventilator and trach. It was tough to tell. Basically she needed to “grow”

I was always saying, “give her a minute! she started off at 10inches 12 oz for God’s sake”

Let’s switch over for a second and talk business…

The ENTIRE time this was happening, my life was falling apart and I was hanging on by a thread, I still had a pet sitting and coaching company to run. Admittedly, I did almost no coaching. In lieu of that, I did create these “stop light confessionals” that I would film on my way to NICU each morning. It was bursts of motivation and people loved them. I loved doing them. (that reminds me, I should get back into it) See? I made my situation work for ME. See them here

…But the pet sitting, I couldn’t just crumble to the ground. Luckily, I have amazing staff who I was able to rely on. A staff member really stepped up and did whatever was needed in the office. She already was in the “office” on the weekends and she just took over 7 days a week and contacted me when she needed answers to things. That was the biggest blessing of all. I don’t even know if I can ever thank her enough. There was no way I could answer phones in NICU. I tried hiring a VA service and that blew up in my face. Oh, it was horrible. It is one of the reasons why I tell everyone in the Employee Quick Start Program to have your TEAM assembled before you need them. You can’t be doing these things when you are in the trenches and your mind not in the game. We simply told clients who asked that I was on maternity leave… which wasn’t a lie, but not the “maturity leave” I had so fondly dreamed of.

If I had a business that depended on ME, I would have lost all the years since 2002 I had been working so hard…. OR had I chosen to work and not be at NICU I would have missed out on a lot with my baby.

That is an interesting point.

HAVING MY BUSINESS WORK FOR ME ALLOWED ME TO BE BY HER BEDSIDE 6-10 HOURS A DAY. Do you understand that? Oh, I am sure those nurses were sick of me… but as I looked around, other parents had to work. I was there. That is probably the SINGLE most IMPORTANT thing that my companies have allowed me to do. BE THERE FOR MY FAMILY. I will forever be grateful. That is worth more than any paycheck I could EVER pay myself. EVER.

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Can your business do that for you?

Back To NICU….

It was December. My in laws just came from Macedonia for 4 weeks. Oh it was so GLORIOUS to have them here. Never mind that they don’t speak English and I don’t speak Macedonian (yet… I am taking classes) They are the most fun, loving, understanding, nurturing, people I have ever met. They just left and Olivia was making WILD progress on the oxygen. She finally got off the ventelator and stayed off it…. she was weening down in her oxygen supply. She was up to 9 lbs and we were “cleared” to try the bottle.

ALL THE DOCTORS SAID SHE WOULD NEED A G TUBE BECAUSE SHE WOULD HAVE AN ORAL AVERSION. (…and we could have done this in Oct and just gone home then. But we didn’t. We gave her time. We waited. We were patient. We believed

She took that bottle like a CHAMP. She sucked, swallowed, and breathed all on her own. I was crying (again, I know.) The nurse was crying. The nurse who was filming us (everything is documented) was crying…. we were all so proud of her.

A week later, on Dec 31st (Happy New Year) Dad was feeding her the bottle when the Dr came in and said we needed to stop and he needed to see us in the office. (I called this the principal’s office because nothing good ever happened in there) I was crying, again, telling my husband that I didn’t want to go in there. I didn’t want to hear what they were going to say. I knew it was going to be bad but I just didn’t have any more strength in me. For ONCE since JULY I was actually hopeful about Olivia’s progress… I was looking towards the future and BAM!!!!!!

Like a friken Mac Truck. I kid you not. All I hear: lung and heart…. collapse…. 100% need vent and trach…. Phoenix Childresn Hospital. And before I know it my husband and I are rushing over to PCH to meet a social worker to “show us around” before she left for the New Year holiday. She showed us a room and all I can remember thinking is, “Do these people think I am choosing a God damn hotel room?!??!” We couldn’t speak to any Dr. I just knew that PCH was the best option for these procedures and that is what we wanted for her. We didn’t have any other info other than she was going to be transferred on January 4th.

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NOT how I pictured leaving the hospital for the first time. Another dream shattered.

Do you remember that date? I wrote about it at the beginning. My husband and I’s first wedding anniversary. The gift? Take my daughter outside for the first time in her life in an ambulance to the local children hospital.

Joy.

I don’t even know how I made it through. It was like we were on another roller coaster. A bigger one. One day we were happy weening off oxygen and the next day we are on 100% vent support in an ambulance being told that the time had come for a vent and trach. That was what our life was like for 6 months. A drug addict probably had less highs and lows in their normal weeks!

…..and then God stepped in.

All that stuff I just wrote?

It was wrong.

Olivia was fine. They read the ultrasound of her chest wrong. She needed a valve plugged up and she would be “fine.”

Shock again. Afraid to be happy. Can this really be it? Can this really be all?

Guess what? It was. And 15 days later on Jan 19th, we were driving home with our daughter.

Even 6 months later, I wanted the full experience of being wheeled out with my baby in my arms.

Even 6 months later, I wanted the full experience of being wheeled out with my baby in my arms.

A day we had been praying for since July 2014.

You guys… there is so much to tell you. There are so many lessons. I can’t even begin to type the shock and horror I went through on a daily basis. We came home and she was on a feeding tube because she wasn’t taking full feedings yet. You have to remember she had JUST started to take the bottle and needed to work up to 4oz at once. It was like asking a newborn baby to drink at a 6month old baby level. It was going to take a minute. But not enough to keep us living at the hospital.

When we arrived home, we listened to the Dr’s. Until my inner Mama Bear came out. I started going against the GI Dr’s at the hospital and sought out my own professionals. The GI Dr’s wanted to put Olivia on a conveyor belt and treat her like every other kid they see and pop a GTube in her. We had a consultation with the surgeon for it. It was on the calendar. Insurance approved it,  and WE CANCELED IT.

God came through again. I am fully convinced that the hands of God touched my daughter and healed her. There is no other medical explanation. Fast forward to today. We have no oxygen. We have no feeding tube. Olivia is taking her full feeds by bottle. Every day she is getting stronger. Physically she is like a 6 month old, which in my mind is exactly where she should be. She just “got out of bed” six months ago.

 

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I had to tell you all of that (the short version) to tell you this:

The past year of my life has been the most excruciating I have ever had.

 

The Hard Reflections I Have Made:

1 – The systems and processes in my business allowed me to be full time at the hospital for six months, all the while still collecting my regular paychecks. Invaluable to me and my family.
2 – I know understand and respect the here and now. “Problems” aren’t problems anymore. I have perspective and I don’t borrow problems I do not yet have. Just remember, the SUN is always behind those clouds.

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3 – My shoulders aren’t big enough for any of this. God’s are. He held us in his arms throughout this and He still is. I will always give Him the glory and I will always accept and respect motherhood as the #1 priority in my life. Everything (work) will work FOR that. It will work AROUND that. I have work so I can have a better Motherhood and opportunities for my family. It either matches up with that, or it doesn’t. A GREAT example of this is my private Facebook group. It is CLOSED on Sunday’s. Know why? Because I don’t want to deal with it on Sunday’s. I need one day to be “off” Could I get someone else to moderate? Sure. Would that promote what I believe? Nope. So guess what? It is closed on Sunday’s and I will delete people’s posts if they post. I know that everyone won’t stay off of FB but if I can keep one person from burring themselves online rather than connecting with people face to face or even themselves, then it is worth it. I believe in truly walking the walk. Leading my example. It is right for some and wonky to others. That’s ok by me.

4 – I have zero control of anything. All I have is my Faith, prayers, and inner strength. (which comes from God)  I totally could have rolled over. I could have accepted the drugs to “get me through that tough time” but I know I needed to go THROUGH IT and not mask it. Let me talk about that for a minute:

When we got home: 
I was petrified. I was militant with feedings, meds, everything. Being in the hospital for 6 months everything has to be exact. I WISH I had the Mommy problems of running up to my baby to see if they were still breathing because they were sleeping so nicely. I was truing to figure out how to be a mommy to a medically needy child. At one point I was giving her meds SIXTEEN times a day. I even had to put that NG tube down her nose, through her throat, to her belly, then check to make sure it was in the right place with a stethoscope, and then secure everything with the tape. All the while she is screaming in pain.

WHAT KIND OF MOTHER HAS TO INFLICT PAIN ON THEIR CHILD LIKE THAT? I was a crying mess ball many days… I felt so guilty that she was in this situation. I was grieving the loss of a 1/3 of my pregnancy. you know, the part where you gush about it all, have a baby shower, get pregnancy pictures, and tour the hospital? I was ANGRY that it was happening to me. I felt so sorry for my husband who felt helpless but so PROUD to say that the people that go through what we are going through have 90% failed marriages. Ours is the strongest ever. Every day I tell him “I would marry you again if I could” I have the very best man on the planet for me. I know why it took until I was 31 to get hitched. I know why everyone else didn’t work out and this year has proven that again and again.

5 – Support. I learned that there is no way I could make it through anything without support. Both personally from my extended family and friends and in business. I learned how to let go and delegate better than ever because I literally couldn’t be physically present for some of the things I needed. A great example is www.meetegar.com  That man has saved my social media and helped my website rankings soar to an average of 300-500 visitors a day on the pet sitting website. I have listened to others, because that is sometimes the only thing you can do out of desperation. Sure, I made mistakes but as one of my friends say, I corrected and continued because that is all you can do. I hope that the next time something knocks you down that you bounce back up. It doesn’t matter how many times you are knocked down, what matters is how fast you get back up. Got it? LET PEOPLE HELP YOU.

6 – Be real and release. I cry a LOT. Practically daily. Today, it is moreso because I am so dang happy. But it is a release. You know what else I like to do? Sing! Although I am terrible and I am convinced that Olivia will be tone deaf listening to me but I am talking about belting out those FIGARO!!!!!!!!!!!!’s haha. Seriously. No joke. It releases so much stress. Sometimes Rocco joins in. (I am that good ha!)

7 – I am not strong. I wish people would stop telling me that. What I am is a decision maker. I refuse not make a decision and be paralyzed in fear which means to sit in murky, bacteria growing, gross waters. I want to be a river. Sure, I might run over a rock here or there. Sometimes I might even go off a cliff, but even that turns into a beautiful waterfall and then it keeps going… Do you catch my drift?

My 3 Stages:

I had shock and horror – That was until Jan 21st. Not knowing when I could breathe. What was “wrong” what tomorrow held. Being woken up at night with emergency calls.

Processing and fog lifting- That was Jan to about July. I experienced PTSD. There is no way around saying that. it is the truth. Only once we were home was I able to process the horrors of what had just happened.

“New Normal” – My new daily challenges are that she is cutting her molars and is starting to get into things. I WILL TAKE IT! I am feeling better. I am working out every other day. I am cooking dinners again. Doing the little things that make me feel like a good wife and mom (my own standards) I am CHOOSING to think of the past year as a BLESSING that I got to SEE God up close and personal. I am accepting that my husband and I were strong enough to HAVE Olivia and I shiver thinking if another pair of parents who wouldn’t be able to handle it all “got her” So I thank God for giving her to us all all aspects. The good, the bad…. but as a parent, that is what you do, right? Whatever it takes. I am choosing to get through it. Be real about the good days and bad days. I still get triggered. Movies are a great example. But I have my coping strategies that I learned because I opened myself up to that help. I chose to mentally work though it and not medicate and (personally) I am so thankful that I did and had the support of my family on that one. I feel like I was able to go through the dark times, feel it, process it, and then put it “behind me”  I hope that makes sense?

 

I Clung To What Made Me Happy.

You guys, I have had so many emotions. COACHING has helped me feel normal. In a world where everything is spinning out of control, COACHING has allowed me the opportunity to make positive impacts on businesses. You see it online and in the FB group. People are making positive changes because of the guides, classes, and 1:1 coaching. That is my true calling. That is where my heart is. It isn’t so much about “selling” stuff. Yikes, why would I sit here typing for the past hour, pouring my heart out to you, if it was about that. I actually care about you. I believe SO MUCH in being transparent. Because I expect that from those I coach with. It isn’t a one way street. I have my faults.

 

We ALL HAVE CHOICES!

Aug 2015 13 months & 17 lbs later.

But this past year…. I had a choice. Roll over and die or stand up the best way I knew how and put one foot in front of another even though sometimes I couldn’t see where I was stepping and it literally was stepping forward in Faith. I could write so so so much more, but now I am over 3000 words and I hope you are still reading. I’ve been wanting to talk to you. I have been wanting to tell you all of this. It’s real. I am STILL going through it.. but EVERY DAY is getting better and better. Every single day I am bursting with JOY, AND LOVE, AND AMAZEMENT, at the medical miracle of my child.

Thank you for sticking with me through this long story. You can see my personal FB page to see current pictures and day to day Olivia progress. It really is amazing. Go ahead and request me. Be my “friend” 🙂

I will leave you with the biggest lesson my 12oz baby girl has taught me:

ALWAYS HAVE HOPE.
ALWAYS BELIEVE IN MIRACLES.

My Baby Girl....You are worth it all!

Customer Service Is Dead. What Are You Going To Do About It?

My Baby Girl….You are worth it all!

I spend my days on the phone and in medical offices these days. I counted the other day and my daughter has 23 possible people or companies that I have to call for her. Each one has their own way of doing things. Some of them their own “portal” that I have to log into. They all call back at the end of the day, five minutes before closing time, from a blocked number, leaving a message with no information on it. They don’t call back if it is less than 5 days. You never get to speak to the same person twice. There are gate keepers and message takers for everything. Actual call I just had:

Yes, I need to speak to the Doctor and waiting for a appointment until September will not be ok. Who can I talk to that can help me with this? Mame, I have 8 callers waiting to be helped, I don’t have time to sit here and try to figure this out. (She actually said that)

Well give me someone who can.

No response.

Just hold music.

I guess I was transferred to someone who can help. But no, wait, I just got a voicemail. No idea who or why but I have no other choice. Oh boy… here we go.

Fast forward to when I am on the phone. UNKNOWN is calling. Before I had Olivia I just wouldn’t answer, now I do. Now I answer with such fury that I practically hang up on the person I am talking to and answer the phone with a pen in hand.

(I learned a long time ago to write down every single person’s name, the time, date, and what was discussed)

This lady listens to my song and dance and then says, “Ok well the Dr is on vacation from June 18th to the 30th so I don’t know if we can squeeze you in.”

Really lady?

*unleashing Mama Bear mode* because any other mode doesn’t seem to get my point across. I re explain to her what and why I need it. She says she will pass the message along to the doctor.

I can tell that she is just trying to get me off the phone and really doesn’t even care about me.

Sigh. Fine. I say, “Can you please tell me what message that you are giving the Dr?”

She says “That you want a earlier appointment”  

I am so disappointed. I restate the reason WHY we need a different appointment. All the while feeling trapped. This ding dong is going to be appealing to the Dr for me to squeeze us in and she doesn’t even have the right message?

No joke. We go through this twice more until I talk slow, and she types the short, direct sentences I tell her to type in the message.

I’m so fed up, that I just sit here, eat this Cheesecake (seriously) and take my anger and create a blog out of it.

 

This cheesecake stood no chance.

This cheesecake stood no chance.

No One Cares Anymore!

I am serious. It is a day when pigs fly that we actually ever get anyone who is WANTING to help us. I have these conversations at least three times a week. It isn’t just the medical field. I have realized that so many people are working like their customer is an inconvience to their life.

When did “How can I help you?” go out the window and the birdy that says “How can I NOT help you?” fly in?

I keep telling my husband – If this was a business I would fire them. I would switch companies. But unfortunately it isn’t that easy. It is even more work switching companies and I have learned that it is all the same.

We had this one incident where our home warrantee sent out a plumber and they said they fixed it. They didn’t. It was still leaking. They refused to come back out. So we disputed the charge. I just don’t understand people these days.

Be Nice To Your Customers

Look, I get it. Things happen. You can’t always solve the problems. But you don’t have to pour salt on the wounds of your customer either. How can this apply to your business?

If you have to say no, show that you care by emphasizing with their feelings. I don’t mean re stating the problem like the TMoble representative does either. People can tell when you are being real or fake.

Give people options of what you CAN DO instead of telling them what you CAN’T do.

Come from a place of yes!

When people have a problem, for God’s sake, let them get it off their chest. If they don’t, they will find a place like a online review site to get it off their chest.

Listen to your customers. Care about them. Don’t avoid conflict. Learn how to go through it nicely.

Remember,  you only have to be a little bit better than everyone else to knock someone’s socks off. Hopefully you are better than just a little bit. *wink*

 

I Will Pay More To Get Better Service

Do you hear what I am saying? I will pay for peace of mind. Do you know we had three therapist helping my daughter and none of them made the types of improvements that one did that we drove two hours to see? I will spend the time, energy, and money (entire day) driving two hours one way to see this specialist. I will pay out of pocket if I have to. She is a solution to my problem. She literally said to me, “here is the problem…. but don’t worry, we will find a solution!” And I believed her. Holy Heaven, I almost dropped to my knees and praised Jesus right in her office because someone was FINALLY there to HELP us… out of the 23 people on our “team.”

There are other people out there like me. Think of that client who was burned that time that she let her best friend’s daughter pet sit for her and she threw a party? Or that person who took their dog to the kennel and they got so sick they had to take them to the vet?

Be The Solution To The Problem. Not The Problem.

I know that we all have clients that drive us crazy. I am positive that I drive these medical people crazy. But I have to get to a level of crazy to get them to even call me back. Don’t make your clients crazy. Focus on what you can do. Come from a place of yes. Tell them you love and appreciate them. Thank them for allowing you to do your life’s dream of owning a business or working with pets. Celebrate their crucial role in your business and life.

 

How Does This Look?

Dear Client, 

I understand that you need XYZ and I totally get it! I would too. However, due to our policies I can’t exactly do that, but here is what I CAN do. Tell me which you would prefer: 
1. 
2. 
3. 

Again, we want to do the best we can to help find solutions for all your pet care needs. I am interested in hearing your thoughts of these options and welcome your thoughts. If you think it is better, feel free to ring me at the office at: XXXXXXX   I will be there during office hours between XXXXX

Sometimes it is as easy as just letting them know expectations BEFORE it happens. Perhaps your welcome email before the consultation happens?

.
“Ok, so here is what you can expect during the consultation. We will XYZ.

When we are done, I will approve your appointment and send you a confirmation via email.

We do almost everything via email because we know that you are busy and we don’t want to be bothering you all the time with phone calls interrupting your day.  

Our pawsome online scheduling system is there to help you as well, so after you book your airline ticket, you can bop on over to our website and book your pet sitting service as well…… etc etc etc.” 

.

Talk with people. Not at people.  Don’t be so focused on how we can’t help them, or what we can’t do. It is our job as business owners to educate them. Show them what we need them to do to have the best results together. We need to LISTEN and ACKNOWLEDGE. It’s pretty interesting how much one can accomplish by doing those two things.

Learning How To Sell Ice To Eskimos: "Our Nightmare Is Your Dream!"

“Our nightmare is your dream” Kyle Waring tweeted two days ago.

Ain’t that the truth? He has so much snow after record breaking snowfall in Boston that he decided to start selling it to people for $89!  Can you believe it? He even has plans to sell fall foliage in the Fall! As a past New Englander now living in the desert, I must admit it does have some nostalgic appeal! Check out his website

This is a whole new take on the “selling ice to eskimos” saying that we constantly hear.

Someone is actually selling something that arguably has no tangible value, but he is making shipments and making money on the snow in his own back yard. How outlandish is this idea?

If this one person can do this, and even land a 2 min segment on the Today Show, then you surly can sell your pet sitting business and services to potential clients.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It all comes down to salesmanship (or woman). Do you know how to sell? Can you connect with people on the phone? Canyou tell a cat client that the absolutely need overnights and two day visits for their cats? Can you turn dailydog walkingclients into vacation clients and vacation clients into daily dog walking clients

Don’t sell yourself short. We need to celebrate the relationship our clients have with their pets more and keep the stinking Pet Sitter Phone Scriptthinking out in the cold. Maybe send it to Boston? 🙂

This man had an idea, found the target market (corporations) and is actually selling snow. Come on now, sell your pet sitting services!

Need more help with selling on the phone? Check out the wildly popular Phone Script Class. Over 200 pet sitters have taken
this course! With purchase, you will have two, one hour recorded sessions with questions and rebuttals at the end. Never stumble over your words or have anxiety when the phone rings. Answer the phone, land sales, meet your business financial goals!

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Learning How To Sell Ice To Eskimos: “Our Nightmare Is Your Dream!”

sell pet sitting“Our nightmare is your dream” Kyle Waring tweeted two days ago.

Ain’t that the truth? He has so much snow after record breaking snowfall in Boston that he decided to start selling it to people for $89!  Can you believe it? He even has plans to sell fall foliage in the Fall! As a past New Englander now living in the desert, I must admit it does have some nostalgic appeal! Check out his website

This is a whole new take on the “selling ice to eskimos” saying that we constantly hear.

Someone is actually selling something that arguably has no tangible value, but he is making shipments and making money on the snow in his own back yard. How outlandish is this idea?

If this one person can do this, and even land a 2 min segment on the Today Show, then you surly can sell your pet sitting business and services to potential clients.

It all comes down to salesmanship (or woman). Do you know how to sell? Can you connect with people on the phone? Canyou tell a cat client that the absolutely need overnights and two day visits for their cats? Can you turn dailydog walkingclients into vacation clients and vacation clients into daily dog walking clients

Don’t sell yourself short. We need to celebrate the relationship our clients have with their pets more and keep the stinking Pet Sitter Phone Scriptthinking out in the cold. Maybe send it to Boston? 🙂

This man had an idea, found the target market (corporations) and is actually selling snow. Come on now, sell your pet sitting services!

Need more help with selling on the phone? Check out the wildly popular Phone Script Class. Over 200 pet sitters have taken
this course! With purchase, you will have two, one hour recorded sessions with questions and rebuttals at the end. Never stumble over your words or have anxiety when the phone rings. Answer the phone, land sales, meet your business financial goals!

What Should I Do When I Arrive To An Overnight With No Supplies and Lots of Poop?

I have a question for you: I recently took my first pet sitting gig. It included 7 days, staying over night, feeding an elderly dog, the cat, changing the litter box, and cleaning up any messes the dog might make. Though I took him out every day, it was clear he suffers from dementia and ended up doing his business in the kitchen, OFTEN. The people were very nice, but when I went to stay, there was nothing there for me, no towel, or food…I didn’t really expect food, but thought that there would be at least a towel for me. So my question is, What should a pet sitter expect when they go to a house sitting gig like this? They also didn’t provide rubber gloves. I know now that I am going to have my own kit and go prepared. The other thing is that the price negotiated, really did NOT include cleaning up all the mess that I had to clean up. I did not try to renegotiate anything. I did let them know that the dog missed them and was confused, and pooped 3x’s a day on their floor. Would you try to ask for a clean up fee after the fact? Or would you have it in part of your agreement as an add on if the animal made messes frequently? Thanks

Here are my thoughts as it pertains to the question. First, congratulations on your first pet sitting gig! That is very exciting and you will always not only remember this day, but the first of many in your business 🙂 Just like a child!

Let’s first address the accommodations. When you are doing overnights, usually it is industry standard for the pet sitters to bring all their own belongings. It isn’t like going to a hotel where the provide you everything. A lot of pet sitters I know bring their own bedding, towels, and food. Perhaps creating a more thorough expectation of what you require for your overnight service might help both parties? Or even if you send the client something like this?

Pet sitting supplies: You will find numerous times throughout your pet sitting career that supplies are a luxury! I can’t tell you how many times I have had to bring my own Spot Bot (including the cleaning liquid) or paper towels etc to a home to clean up messes.

money2You mentioned “negotiated price” I do not come from the school of thought that your price should be negotiated. Unless of course your pricing strategy has that built in. Does it? For example you state a high price but then, “give people a deal” and it goes lower. Is that what you mean? Or did you have a firm price that you believed your services we worth and this client haggled you down? In any case, if it wasn’t a calculated move on your behalf, chances are high that you will end up feeling unappreciated. I see it happen all the time to pet sitters.

Communication: You mentioned that you “let them know.” I would encourage you to be a little more direct like: “Oh! Fido seems to be thinking he can potty on the floor. I wanted to let you know incase there was something medically wrong with him and I should bring him to the vet?”  In other words, this isn’t normal behavior, nor is it acceptable. By you playing “dumb” you open the door for the client to potentially say, “Oh he does that sometimes” and then you can take it any direction you may. For example, “Oh I didn’t realize this. I don’t have any cleaning supplies. Do you have X,Y,Z hidden somewhere in the house or shall I go out and purchase them for $X trip charge plus the cost of the supplies?”  Obviously, you say it/ type it in a nicer way.

To answer your question, cleaning would not be an add on for my company. Reason is, I don’t charge by time. I would just do it and include it in their rate. Although my rates account for this. If it was excessive, we would not accept further bookings from the client. Personally, it doesn’t sound like the type of client I would want for my business if they have that much going on with no support and trying to bargain you down. But…. just because they wouldn’t be the type of client I am looking for, doesn’t mean that others wouldn’t love to have them. It is a personal decision. Do you like granny panties or thongs? 🙂 haha. Hope you smiled!

How 20 Seconds Of Confidence Can Get You Through All Your Business Challenges

Confidence…..

We all know what that means but do you know the impact it can have on your life if you just take a deep breath and have confidence?

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On the plane about to watch movies for 14 hours!

On the plane ride home I was watching “We Bought A Zoo”  (Great movie by the way) and Matt Damon’s character gives this advice to his son who wanted to approach a girl…. All you need is 20 seconds of guts. So muster it all up and go for it. You just need 20 seconds.

Well it is true!  In our lives. In our businesses. Here is another story….

After dating for (Oh Gosh) like ten years and striking out again and again., I could have lost my confidence in myself, my appearance, the ability to date. But I didn’t. And I met my soul mate!

After going out for only 7 months, I could have gotten scared and waited longer before getting engaged, but I was confident in our relationship and that led to our marriage. Our TWO marriages one in Az and in Europe!

I was scared to go to a foreign country where I really didn’t speak the language (but learning) and get married again, travel the country, and go in and out of countless homes just sitting that frustrated that I didn’t understand much of what was being said…  I was worried that they would think I was foolish because I didn’t understand or I would act in the wrong way. Courage got me through it and helped bridge that (what turned out to be) not so big gap of understanding. You would be surprised how much you can get away with non verbal communication.

Fog canceled our flight from Macedonia to Rome and we wouldn’t have been able to get there (for our honeymoon) for two

The Coliseum

The Coliseum

days.  It took confidence in my husband that he rearranged everything, and even though it wasn’t a journey I would have necessarily planned, he still got us there. It was operation VIVA ITALA!! (More about this adventure in another blog)

You see, sometimes courage doesn’t even need to be in ourselves, but sometimes others. It is ok to trust. It is ok to fail. It is ok to do trial and error. The common theme in all these examples are you are moving forward!

What sparked this topic was an event that happened this week after I returned from my trip. I am on a hiring blitz, ready to pound the pavement, post on craigslist, and talk to everyone I know… But after I was coming out of one pet store I was feeling a tiny bit defeated.  I was thinking to myself, yikes! If I had a bad attitude about doing this and I didn’t have the courage to say YES this whole process would be a lot worse. I started reminding myself that I needed to fake it till I made it.

I started reminding myself that courage is contagious and if I didn’t believe in myself, then why would they believe in my company or hang my fliers?

It got me thinking, and I wanted to let you know that confidence is everything. Even if you don’t think you have it. You don’t want to have it. You don’t know how to get it. You just need to fake it till you make it! Trust me.

Tell me about you: 
When did you have courage about something in your business or personal life, how would it change you? Tell me about a time or a current situation that confidence was needed when it wasn’t so easy for you to do. By sharing your story, you will help inspire others! (aka give them the confidence!)

 

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Help! Where Do I Learn About Google + For My Pet Sitting Business?

For those that have been following me over the past few days on Google + and in my community, you will know that I have been getting serious about Google + and it is my prediction that this is what is really going to set you up and over your competition. It is going to take your blogging to a whole new universe, and it is going to teach you more than you ever wanted to know.

Just another Facebook? No! Facebook is filled with relationships and chatter. Google + is more about learning… to grow your business, to learn a new hobby, to teach yourself a new trick, and to connect with people who are amazing thought leaders in all types of industries. Facebook, is totally different. And Google + isn’t just about “getting a profile and forgetting about it”

(Can you tell I am excited? )
Google + is a social network. Much like Facebook you have a profile page and a business page. Your business page can be connected to your YouTube and Reviews. It is very confusing at first but I proimise you, stick with it, be a part of the solution and you will get it.

At first, I admit, not many were actually using it. But when your Google + profile is searched by the actual Google engine, then yeah… if you are a small business it might be great to jump on board.

Google has endless products, services, and apps that they can help your business with. I am still learning and have been evolved in a 48 hour overhaul while getting my website to go faster. How did I finally do all of this?

Google Helpouts.

Go there. Google helpouts. It is your friend. Actual human beings, will join you in a private video conference to help you work through everything. Gone are the days where you read through websites on How To’s and now you have a person sitting right there with you (virtually) helping you get through it all. After all, that is how I was able to get my 4 Youtube stations, 3 profiles, 5 business pages, and God knows what else, all consolidated to two easy to use “profiles”   Now, I admit, everything isn’t perfect, and I still have to wait 9 days for one of the transfers (merging two profile pages) to go through… but I am so much closer than I was three days ago. When it was a crazy messed up spider web that I didn’t understand.

For those of you who know me, you know I am not the type to speak or teach unless I really feel like I know exactly what I am talking about inside the problem and on top of it. I defiantly do not understand all that is “google +” but I am learning and invite you to learn with me inside Jump Consulting’s Google + community (think “group” on Facebook)

So… here are some things I have learned.

1 – Not to delete my accounts that already have 100+ people following me. When I post blogs to these circles (think groups of friends) it holds more klout in Google’s eyes because I have a bigger audience.
2 – Your circles are like a way to classify people. The standard lists things like Friends, Family, Acquaintances, but I encourage you to create your own like, Clients, Pet Sitters, Friends, Networking, etc.

3 – One circle you create could be people you admire, or want to follow, like thought leaders, and others could be people who you want to see your “news” Circles allow you to have a profile that is YOU and you can attract, promote, or learn in whatever circle you want to share or create in.  No longer do you need everything separate!

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4 – Google Helpouts is a God send! I got in early with a great guy named Chris Hubbell. He was working for free at the time just to gain lots of great rankings so that he could eventually start charging…. Well that didn’t take long. It is also how I found Joshua Cheney (a recommendation from Chris) to help me speed up my website.

In a age when google is God when it comes to the internet, and you can have your google listings appear with not only your reviews and stars but also Google + page… that could be huge to the next client who is looking for a pet sitter for Fido. They can virtually get to know you! What is your profile saying about you?

Authorship & Publisher

Now it gets REALLY mind blowing…..

“Authorship is establishing you, to Google, as the author of a piece of content that gets published on a website. In simple terms, it’s like establishing yourself as the confirmed author of your blog by using your Google+ profile. And they take your Google+ profile picture and use it as the author picture in SERPs. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.”  Read more at http://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-authorship-lethal-guest-bloggers/69733/#72qXLzCmlL86UZjI.99

Google Publisher  is something that every single serious pet sitting business owner on the web who blogs needs to understand. I am not even going to try to explain it. I am going to tell you that you need to read this: http://www.buuteeq.com/blog/googles-authorship-markup-author-vs-publisher/

Did you click on it and read???
So eventually, no longer will your amazing blogs that you have been writing show up as just the TITLE, but also your little picture next to it. Now which one do you think YOU will click on if you were the potential client?
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When pet sitters are constantly trying to sell TRUST ( that is what we sell, not dog walking, pet sitting, litter scooping) what better way than to get on this wave and make it work for you?

My challenge to you:

Spend one week doing everything you can on Google +  Talk to the experts, I am not one of them, and get them to virtually sit next to you and show you around, explain it, and help you through it all.

I am willing to bet that you have a few more profiles than you realized and I know I have heard pet sitters wonder about their review pages and google maps, local, etc. Argh. Even writing this is giving me a headache. But take this – I learned SO MUCH in the past two days by stumbling around with Chris. Yes, I got headaches. Yes, it was tough… but get in now.  USE these resources.

It is time to take your website and your social network and let them do the talking and selling online. It is here, and it isn’t going anywhere.

Side note, Google + is a GREAT place to learn things. There are so many people sharing info on there… just dive in!

More things to come soon. This is really just an open letter/ramble to you all so you can see what I have been doing since Wednesday and I hope that I gave you a little direction to go in. Dive in. Google it! Get on Helpout. Become a student! Learn!!! I promise, I will have more to come soon.

 

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Find The Pain And Be The Solution To Gain More Clients

A very important person in my life was talking to me about the sales he does in his office and he was describing to me something he was telling his staff.

Find the pain and be their solution.

Imagine this…you get a call from a prospective client. They are scared to leave their pet at home with a stranger and they have never used a professional pet sitter before. You know that you are amazing. Your clients know that you are amazing. But how do you get it across to this potential client that you are trustworthy, know all about pets and their house wont be a scene out of Animal House while they are away?

Speak to their pain.

Be the solution.

Be confident that you are the ONLY solution.

Often times, as pet sitters, I think we just want to listen to how adorable their pets are…and then tell them how much our services are. It really isn’t solving any problem other than creating a new problem, a hole in their wallet. Let’s switch our thinking to: They are calling you because they have a problem. They have a pain. The pain of trying to trust someone enough to come and take care of their pride and joy. In fact, I just got an email yesterday that said: ” I’ve never left her with a stranger but know she’ll be fine.”

Next time, try coming at the caller’s problem from “let me help solve this problem for you”  “I know how daunting it can be” and then follow up with an email proving why you are the best by showing them testimonies from past clients? This would put a whole new spin on things and really separate you from the competition who is usually only talking about price.

Being a part of the solution.

You would be selling the value of your service and offering up (in your eyes) the ONLY solution to their problem. This, is where knowing your company values is huge! What can you now offer up as a solution that is different than the next pet sitting company on the list that they are about to call? Everyone has the “best” care. Everyone is bonded and insured. Almost everyone is a part of a national organization. But are you award winning? Do you have notable people like veterinarians in your area that vouch for your services? Have you been published in local publications or been on local media weighing in on important pet topics? Is there something about the way you run your operation different than anyone else? These are all going to be solutions that are specifically about YOUR company and a answer to your callers pain.

Find the pain. Solve the pain. Be the solution. It is that easy.

Now here is to you… What do you think? Have you ever thought about this approach? Do you think it would work for you? Is your business unique enough that you can highlight why you are different than the next pet sitting company on the list? Sound off below. In fact try it and tell me how you felt about it! It will work!

The Secret To Make Sure Your Pet Business Keeps Getting Referrals

Pet Sitter Pop Quiz: What Do You Do With This Referral?

If one of your closest competitors emails a potential client and says the following. What do you do next?

Client,

Thank you so much for your interest in our services. Unfortunately, we do not go to your area at this time 🙁

Please consider http://xyzpetsittingcompany.com/ I know the owner personally (Molly) and would leave my pup with her or her staff in a heartbeat!

You are still welcome to come to our Mutt N Mingle’s. The next (and last one of the season) is on March 6th. 6pm at West Addison.

Let me know if you have any questions!
Molly, please see their questions below 🙂

What is your next move?

A) Smile quietly and wait knowing that I may have a new client getting in touch with me soon.

B) Reply to my competition and turn down the opportunity by saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

C) Send an email to my competitor thanking her tremendously for the referral AND immediately send an introduction email to the potential client?

Not All Referrals Are Followed Up On

The above is an exact email that I sent to a pet sitter in another town. Names have been changed to protect the innocent 🙂

I thought the answer was obvious, but now I’m not sure…

This exact scenario happened to me eight days ago. I just spoke to Molly and asked her, “What ever happened to those clients I sent you? Did you land them?” If I was a dog I would be wagging my tail with the same anticipation that they look at us when we have a ball in our hand.

“I never heard from them,” said Molly.

“Whaaaaat?!?!??!” I said. “You didn’t follow up with them? I forwarded you their email. Did an email introduction. All you had to do is say hello, introduce yourself, and ask how you could help them!” I was so disappointed. I felt like I had given her a great gift, wrapped it really pretty, and she didn’t even try to open it.

I took a step back and continued to tell her, “Listen, when I send you emails like that – respond with something like this:

Bella, thank you so much for the introduction and the kind words.

Client, Hi! My name is Molly and I am the owner of XYZ Pet Sitting company. I see that you were asking how much we change and what is entailed and requested that Bella calls you. Since we service your area, I was hoping that you could let me know a good time of the day to call you so you can tell me all about your fur kids! In the meantime please feel free to check out our webiste and facebook too! Looking forward to your reply.

Thanks again Bella!

Molly replied that it didn’t even dawn on her to contact them and that she honestly thought they would contact her if they were interested.

(NOTE: I call this entrepreneurial narcissism. Not everyone cares about how amazing our business is. We have to give them a reason to care!)

I had to explain to her that as business owners it is our responsibility to go out and make the sale happen. We need to show that we want it, that we care, and ACKNOWLEDGE the gifts that are given to us.

This has personally happened to me in many other arenas other than just pet sitting…

It happens all the time.

Enough for me to write this blog about it! =)

So What Is The One Secret?

Open the gift!!!! That means follow up with the potential client and say THANK YOU to the giver. This will ensure that they will keep going to bat for you and your company again and again.

SOUND OFF BELOW: Have any of you ever been in this situation? How do you handle it?

It Is Rude To Post On Facebook As Your Business

Hey!

Listen up all you business owners…

Unless you personally know the person’s page you are posting on – it is rude to do it as your business. Don’t be a shameless promoter by posting from your business account onto other people’s facebook pages. Use your personal account. If you don’t want to do that, then don’t post. Especially when you are in the same industry. It is tacky and not good business principals. I see it all the time.

What do you think?

[Video] Becoming An Expert In Your Community.

 

Did you know statistics show that experts make more money than non experts?

Here is a talk I gave in the Summer of 2010 to a local networking group of women. It is very interactive with lots of questions and participation from the audience.

Most people are scared to be an expert in their community.

“Surely others know more than me,” they think.

But in reality, an expert is someone that knows just a little bit more than someone else, AND willing to get up and talk about it.

When you position yourself this way, you will be sought out. People will come ask you questions, ask you for interviews, quoted in the press.

In this video, I share how I became and expert in my field. At first, I didn’t think I was a pet care expert. Hear how someone helped show me that I was actually an expert in my field. And I hope that you are inspired to see that you, too, are an expert!

Your Blog Can Help you Become An Expert:

When you have a blog that is your platform that you can publish your works on. Others can find you, link to you, you can pitch stories to local news outlets. Through social media like Twitter and Facebook, you can take these blogs and post them on media outlet pages or to the journalists themselves.

You can help leverage cross promotions. I talk about Yappy Date and how I connected with a few other business owners to create an event and help cross promote between the two of us.

In short, the more that you establish yourself as an expert, the more that you put your knowledge out there, the more attractable you and your business can be to others.

NOTE: This was filmed in 2010, some of the social media references may be dated. *smiles*  For example, an audience member asks how valuable is social media really? 🙂

 

 

Becoming an expert from Stephen Murphey on Vimeo.

How A Bookkeeper Could Save Lots Of Money On Your Taxes

I admit it.

There were MANY YEARS that I was so overwhelmed, confused, and would have huge anxiety at just the mention of money and my business.

I knew a lot of it was coming in. I knew that some months were higher and lower than others. I knew I was keeping myself above water. Although, I honestly had no idea HOW.

Just budget your money!

I would listen to people tell me ‘just budget”  and make sure “you pay yourself” or “save for that.

Yeah. Ok. But HOW?

When you own a small business and there are a million tiny pieces to the pie, where do you, the business owner, fall? Usually, the people saying that were the 9-5ers who got a steady paycheck from their boss. They couldn’t relate to me!

After all, some things are partial business expense, partial personal expense, right? So how do you account for that?

I would wonder if I were placing things in the right spot in my QuickBooks program. Hoping to God that I would notice if clients didn’t pay on time (before I accepted credit cards), or even at all! Trying to make sure I paid everything on time especially when the heavy months came about…. you know, when it seems like everything is due all at once? (insurance, registration, membership dues, and throw in a new set of tires too!)

not-sure-what-to-charge-2

The January Scramble To Account For The Money:

I was one of those people that when January came I would call up all my banks, ask them to send me a PDF of my transactions (bc I didn’t hold onto them each month, let alone enter them into QuickBooks), I would also call all the other reoccurring companies I have paid like cell phone, electric, car payments, etc. Then, I would simply take all those records and sit with a bottle of wine and enter them all into QuickBooks the way I thought they should be.

I would press print, and give it to my accountant and say, “I do all my own book keeping. Here are my records for my taxes.”

Now here is a really important part. So read closley, ok? My accountant’s job is ONLY to take what I give her and do the taxes. She is NOT (nor is yours) there to look over your years worth of records and go through it all. She only uses what you give her.

 

Just because I had quickbooks and entered information into it, doesn’t mean I knew what I was doing. Although, for the longest time I made the mistake of thinking I did.

 

I wish someone hog tied me up and got that through my thick head.  I probably paid a lot more in taxes than I should have because of my very poor record keeping.

I know I wasn’t accounting for all the expenses I should have been keeping track of, therefor my taxable income was probably a lot higher than it should have been.

 

I Never Had Money To Pay Myself!

Aside from all of this – I never had a lump cash flow of money that would just be floating in my account. If I ever had a bad month or a rainy day, there wasn’t anything to fund it with.

There were times that I paid my bills on my then credit cards just to get by.

But what does a business do when they finally get their business going… the money is coming in… and they don’t just want to live for today, but live for tomorrow?

THEY HIRE A BOOKKEEPER! Here are 4 reasons why I love mine:

  1. We meet briefly every week. I give her my receipts, she tells me what was paid, what is going to be paid, asks me any questions she may have, and I tell her about anything coming up that I want to budget for.
  2. Each week she tells me if we are on, under, or above target.
  3. If I want to purchase something personal or for the business, I give her the heads up and most likely WE create a strategy to make my wishes come true.
  4. I get paid twice a month. This money is set up to be money for ME. All of my business and personal bills are taken care of and this is to go shopping, get my nails done, go on trips, save, etc. It is such a relief.

Bookkeeper typically costs about $25 to $30 an hour)

By having financial freedom in both my business and my personal, life my anxiety has gone way down. If there is one thing that is like oil and

On vacation

water in my life it is finances and me. I have never been a spender, but I have always been stressed out by numbers. I feared not ever having enough.

Yes, even I have fears.

I say all of this because I want you to really understand how important it is for your business to be in great financial health. God forbid something were to happen in your life where you had to stop your business next year, would a buyer be able to have a clear financial history of where you have been and what you have done. Down to the nitty gritty details? Would they be able to compare one year to the next?

Not keeping detailed financial records for your business could cost you more in taxes, and actually make your business to appear less valuable than it is. Is that what you really want?

Let’s be good stewards of what we have now, so the future will be easier.

“If you’re a crook in small things, you’ll be a crook in big things. (Luke 16:11)”

PS – Let me mention, that when you are financially fit you are able to BLESS THE HECK out of others. No longer are you living as a slave to the dollar, but now blessing other people! Have you ever been in a position where you could help someone out? Give them the money or resources to do things that they can’t do for themselves, without any need or want for payback? It is one of the most amazing highs in life. To have the resources to change others lives. What do you think? Comment below!

What questions do you have for me about finding a bookkeeper?

What Kind Of Boss Are You?

So this week I had a interesting conversation.

One of my good friends was speaking about how much they HATE THEIR JOB.

I don’t just mean like I can’t stand it. I mean like day in and day out HATE it.

You know…after church on Sunday their anxiety starts setting in because they are dreading having to go back on Monday. They spend their entire Sunday despising the next day.

Each work day, they come home from work thinking, “Is it Friday yet?” Just so they can be caught in the rat race the following week again.

What a horrible life! Read more

3 Reasons Why You Need To Trust Someone And Hire Them!

“But I don’t trust anyone to do as good of a job as I do Bella. I do 110% and no one will do that as a worker for me, or I will have to pay them a lot of money!”

There you go again with the stinking thinking! It isn’t that you can’t trust them. You can’t trust yourself to make the right decision.

Did you read me right?

First of all, you can’t give 110%.

You can only give 100%.

That is all you have to give.

So right there, it is telling me that you are already exaggerating your problem.

You don’t want someone as good as you. If they were as good as you, they would take your business. Here are 3 area’s I think every employer needs to address within themselves to help them push past the barrier that is preventing their business from growing. Read more

Why Happiness In Your Business Isn’t Just A Number

 

When I coach people, my main goal is to give them freedom. The freedom that their life is currently not giving them. One of the things I always ask before beginning is, “What do you have this business for?” Nine times out of ten they tell me they started this business in hopes spend more time with their family, go on trips, and not work so hard.
Read more

Why Happiness In Your Business Isn't Just A Number

 

When I coach people, my main goal is to give them freedom. The freedom that their life is currently not giving them. One of the things I always ask before beginning is, “What do you have this business for?” Nine times out of ten they tell me they started this business in hopes spend more time with their family, go on trips, and not work so hard.
Read more