This episode is part of the “Best of Bella” series. Bella chose this episode with a former state auditor as one of the best, because she loves being able to bring unique experts to you. If you missed this episode the first time around you’ll be pretty surprised by what you hear.
Who is Katrina Kadyszewski? [4:10]
How does interpretation come into play with auditors? [6:20]
Which documents should you have when being audited? [10:55]
What is the goal of an auditor? [15:20]
Should you get your lawyer or CPA involved when being audited? [17:15]
How are businesses chosen for audits? [22:40]
How far back should you be keeping records? [24:45]
What is the VCSP (Voluntary Classification Settlement Program)? [26:00]
Original Show Notes
In this episode of “Bella In Your Business”, Bella talks with Katrina Kadyszewski, a former state auditor with the State of Connecticut.
Katrina has over 16 years of experience working in a variety of financial positions. She started in the brokerage industry with a Series 7, 63 and 65 and life and health license, and then transitioned to audit work for the CT Department of Revenue Services. She then left to support small businesses in their efforts to get organized for expansion.
Katrina spent 3 of her almost 8 years with the CT Dept. of Revenue Services in the Business and Employment Tax Audit Unit, focused primarily on payroll tax issues. The last 5 years she has worked as a Corporation Tax auditor, traveling across the US auditing largely Fortune 500 companies.
Bella and Katrina first discuss a big controversy in the pet sitting industry, which is misclassification of employees as either independent contractors or employees. Katrina outlines some key indicators that auditors look for in making that determination:
Is there an actual contract between you and the contractor?
Are your payments to them regular in nature?
How much control do you have over them with regards to work hours, uniform, training, etc.?
Do they offer the same services to other companies through their own business?
Are you providing them all the tools, training, and supplies they need?
Basically, consider how loose is the relationship?
They also discuss why they think business owners are so apprehensive about audits, what documents a business owner should have at their disposal if they are being audited, and whether business owners should take their lawyer and accountant to the audit. Katrina also gives some insight into what triggers an audit.
There are resources out there to help small business owners. Katrina and Bella suggest a few, like the IRS’s 20-factor test to help you determine employee or independent contractor status and amnesty programs that exist to help encourage business owners to make the right switch.
Have you ever been audited? Want to hear about pet sitters who have been audited? I have interviewed a handful and reported about it all here.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/katrina-photo-e1560890909160.png300300Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2019-06-19 22:00:242019-06-20 06:57:04Episode 151: BEST OF BELLA: Interview with a Small Business State Auditor
In May, we talked all about Customer Service and Experience in the Mastermind. As we do with every month, we have guest experts come in and speak with us. This month, it was Dan Gingiss. He simply blew us away with all his knowledge and his reflection on what professional pet sitters are really competing with when it comes to Rover. I was so moved by this idea that I wanted to dedicate an entire blog to it.
Here Is What Dan Said:
You see, Dan basically said that the pet parent doesn’t even get to EXPERIENCE our business or how “great” our services are because our entire intake neglects the user experience. The reason why it is so easy for Rover to get the business isn’t because of the low price (what we tell ourselves) but rather the quick and easy process of signing up.
I took what he said to heart when I was recently talking to my next door neighbor. She confirmed everything that Dan was saying on the hotseat in the Mastermind. Here is her story:
Kate Needs A Pet Sitter For Marley:
Marley is a 5-year-old mixed breed who is used to having family and kids around. However, Kate recently separated from her husband and had a work trip coming up. Marley would normally be taken care of by her husband and kids, but this time her kids were going to be at her new husband’s home.
Having many balls in the air in her life, Kate had known about this app named Rover and thought she would try it. In a few minutes, she was signed up and 60 seconds later she found out that her neighbor four doors down was listed on the app.
She sent a request for service via the app and had a consultation scheduled with Karen in less than 30 minutes.
Kate didn’t have to call anyone.
She knew the prices.
She saw the social proof of what others had said about Karen’s experience.
Kate felt confident knowing that Karen was her neighbor and that she had experience under her belt, and by the sight of her picture appeared to be a baby boomer. “How convenient,” Kate thought.
They met the next day for a consultation where Kate told Karen everything about Marley and just like that, a new relationship was formed. Karen did mention to Kate that once they established their relationship, she would be willing to take it off the app.
What About This Intake Prevented Kate From Going Elsewhere?
I was really interested in this conversation I was having with Kate. What I left out above is that I asked her if she considered a google search before going to Rover. She said she did.
Kate had searched for “pet sitters near me” and “pet sitters Phoenix.” She went on to tell me that she clicked on their sites and they either looked like they were a “fly by night” sitter or it was too complicated to sign up. She didn’t want all the back and fourth of calling, emailing, or texting. She wanted the path of least resistance (her words, not mine) and to get this task taken care of on her list amongst all the other personal things going on in her life.
The Path Of Least Resistance
The sales process is such a delicate little flower, touch the wrong petal and it will wilt and die. Many of us think our sales process starts when we get to talk to the customer but in actuality, 60% of the sales process is OVER by the time we speak to them. (Our hotseat expert in April, Mark Schafer told us that!)
If you think about it, if people can’t:
See themselves or their problem on the front page of your website above the fold
Know where to go to sign up
Have an easy time signing up
Feel like they have signed up and checked it off their list
Get to speak to a human or get a fast response when requested
Then they will move onto the next provider. I would even argue that many new clients who try to find a sitter on Rover contact more than one pet sitter at a time. I would also venture to say that the first person who gets back to them or that they like during a consultation would be the one they choose.
It was only two or three years ago where that face-to-face meeting was the most important thing in the process and I can hear many pet sitters thinking, “But Bella it is!”
But you are wrong.
Stay with me… I am fighting FOR you…
While the consultation was so important just a few years ago… now you won’t even get that opportunity if the beginning of your sales process is preventing people from signing up.
There were many predictions this would happen and it is here. The experience that a consumer has with your business before they even meet you is paramount. It is why Rover has been winning. It isn’t because of the professional or non-professional service.
In fact, you would be lying to yourself to think that all professional pet sitters are great or all Rover sitters are bad because that just isn’t the case. Rover, as you know, is a tech company. They will keep winning every time because of the experience on the app. That is what draws people to sign up. It is familiar to download an app. It is accomplishing to know that you found a pet sitter or dog walker for your dog.
So How Can The Professional Pet Sitter Win?
I thought you would never ask! In order to start winning more you MUST change your mindset. You also MUST build your team because you are going to need people to help you accomplish all of what I am about to say.
Are you ready for me to spill the tea?
If you use a software app tell people to download it RIGHT AWAY on your front page.
Know the problem you are solving. It isn’t dog walking and pet sitting. It is trust, peace of mind, and guilt.
Enable the feature to allow people to sign up right away. Doing so will only allow them to feel like they have accomplished something and they have something invested with you. Don’t adopt the stinkin’ thinkin’ of “But Bella, I need to meet with them and approve them first.” I agree! That is what the consultation is for. Let them feel like they are getting somewhere with you.
Talk EXACTLY to your avatar on your website. If I can copy and paste your website onto someone else’s site, you are doing it wrong.
SHOW ME what it is like to sign up with your company and use you as a pet sitter. Don’t tell me. Telling me was so 3 years ago… this day and age you must SHOW people!
Never change your website again without using the data you can get from your website via Hotjar and Google Analytics.
These changes should really set you apart from the competition. It should appeal to your exact audience, draw them in, and get them interested. Words like “professional” don’t mean much but when you talk about areas in your community, how easy it is to sign up, manage their expectations, and follow through on your promises – you can be way ahead of the game.
Get your systems flowing perfectly so you can attract the masses, qualify them through your processes, and sign them up in record time.
I know this works because I have helped countless companies make this switch in their messaging. I have seen how talking to everyone doesn’t work and addressing your target does.
When you know that your target is a busy professional, they want pet care checked off their list. When you know that your target is a busy mom or someone in the middle of a big life change, they want pet care checked off their list. They don’t want to receive instructions on how to sign up. Or to sign up a little to then be told 24 hours later they need to fill in even more info. Give the people what they need.
You have to remember that sales are a HUGE umbrella that covers a lot of things. You need to make sure that none of the “things” are preventing you from making the sale.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/activity-adult-cute-271721-e1560224662657.jpg500500Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2019-06-11 06:00:132019-06-11 16:44:47Why Rover Is Beating The Professional Pet Sitter
I had a coaching call recently with a client who was upset that her employee started her own Instagram account sharing all of the dogs and cats that she was caring for. Understandably, the business owner was emotional over it as she has had two past staff members start their own companies. She felt threatened and betrayed by this staff member and was contacting me to find out what to do about it.
My first question to her was, “What does your handbook say about social media conduct in your business?”
Oops! She didn’t have one. Just the generic clause that says something about keeping the client’s information private and that all trade secrets and marketing materials are the property of the business.
This situation is more common than you may realize. A lot of companies haven’t addressed the ever-growing social media space where we have phones that could record and document just about everything we do, including inside our client’s homes.
For many, it is unclear about how and when we are allowed to use our devices and how that affects or helps our job. If we are not explicit in our handbook about what process needs to take place when capturing images, then we simply cannot hold our staff accountable to anything and thus can’t get upset.
This brings up the major distinction we need to address when on the verge of getting upset at our staff:
Is it a People Problem or a Process Problem?
Anytime you start feeling all the feels over a situation in your company, as a leader, I want to ask you to slow your roll enough to ask yourself “is this a people problem or a process problem?”
What do I mean by that?
If you have a people problem on your hands, chances are you already have laid out specific processes in order to complete tasks in your company. You have given explicit instructions via written, verbal, video, etc and have drawn a clear picture of what success should look like. It is just the person who has chosen not to follow what you have outlined or their poor attitude or insubordination just simply contributes to their poor performance of a task.
If you have a process problem, it might appear that it is a person if you think that they just didn’t do it right. But that is rarely the case. If we look closer to see if you have given accurate instructions one can see that perhaps the staff member was unclear on what they needed to do. Or maybe they understood it one way but you actually intended for the finished product to be different.
Let me help illustrate with a few more situations. See if you can relate to any of these:
Pet Sitter Eats The Clients Cheese
Sounds like a pretty silly headline right? But it is true. A few years back we had a very popular discussion inside my Facebook group about whether a staff member should be fired for eating cheese from the client’s refrigerator. (Really, I can’t make this up)
“A client called a pet sitting business owner furious because he saw their pet sitter on his nanny cam eat a piece of cheese from the refrigerator while there for a daily dog walk. This sitter was a top sitter at the company and seemed to be a great employee.”
Now if we lead with emotions, we can absorb the anger from the clients and spew the fire to our staff and ask them “Why did you do that?” Or we could take a deep breath and think, “Is it prohibited to eat anything from the clients home while on visits? Or could the client have given the impression to the sitter at any point that it was okay?”
As a manager, we need to look at the facts. If you did have a clause in your handbook that prohibited any food or beverage to be consumed that wasn’t brought into the home by the sitter – then this would be a people problem. The sitter was not following your process.
The Sitter Who Requests Too Much Time Off:
Ever have that sitter who is constantly telling you they need days or times off? What do you do? How do you react? To see if this is a people problem or a process problem, ask yourself, “Do I have a time-off request process?” Do they need to request and then you approve or deny? Do they have to find someone to cover their shift? Is there a cut off time when they can request? What does your handbook tell them to do? If it doesn’t address this, it is a process problem that we need to establish within your business and add to the handbook.
When this is established clearly in your handbook and the staff member is always requesting time off, then you can cite the handbook process and blame it on that. If this person is rejecting your process or not following it, then it is a people problem. At which point you have other decisions to make, like redefining their availability or cutting back their hours.
Too Many Texts Asking You How To Do Their Job:
Feel like your phone notifications won’t stop dinging to alert you to a new email or text and it is from the same staff member asking questions? Ask yourself if you have addressed this in your handbook or processes. If you haven’t, that is a process problem and be thankful that it is offering you an opportunity to solve this problem so it doesn’t happen again. Address it in your handbook.
You will know if it is a people problem if you can keep referring them back to the handbook. Perhaps some additional 1:1 coaching is needed from you or your manager with them. If it has been explained before it is an opportunity to coach them. Say things like, “How could I have been more clear on what is expected?” or “Where do you feel we are experiencing the disconnect?” Typically these phrases will encourage positive and open dialogue so you can work together. If they just aren’t getting it, or the information isn’t sticking it might be time for a write-up. If you have clearly defined the process or what success looks like, then it is a people problem.
Being a Great Leader In Your Company
Being a great leader in your company is a tough thing to do because we have built our businesses from the ground up with our blood, sweat, and tears. Often times we want to react and get emotional about things that we feel like everyone should know because we have known them forever. After all, that is why we are the business owner, right? Just don’t forget that not everyone has been doing it as long as we have been AND that getting our processes all written out is often difficult because we forget to include some things. Try to learn from every experience, check your emotions at the door, and ask yourself, “Is this a people problem or a process problem?” It will help you every time.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Depositphotos_171408892_l-2015.jpg13331999Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2019-05-28 06:00:502019-05-28 10:35:53People vs Process How to Discover the Real Problem in Your Business.
Switching from independent contractors (ICs) to employees can be a challenging process to execute no matter what industry you are in. It is especially tough for the pet sitting and dog walking industry because they are often small businesses, they have limited funds, and little advisement or support from experts.
Luckily for you, that is where I come in. In an earlier blog, I told you about the major shifts in our industry. One of them is businesses switching the classification of workers from ICs to employees in droves. Many are afraid to do it. They don’t know what will happen or how to do it. Stick around until the end and I will help get you through that.
What If All My Staff Leaves?
The first thing many people are terrified about is that their staff will all leave them. Many think that if they tell their staff they are going to be getting taxes taken out and that they will now be able to dictate when people work that the staff will leave them. Perhaps they are true ICs already, running their own business, have many other clients of their own, and don’t want to give that up!
All of this is a valid concern. If your staff leaves, you are left with many clients and no one to help service them. You are only one person. There are certain ways to make sure that this transition happens perfectly and specific things you should not do.
What If My Clients Are Unhappy With The Shift?
The only problem that would come up with the clients is if their pet sitter changed. (See above) If your sitter decided to terminate the contract with you and the clients had to get new staff members, that is just about the only reason I see clients getting upset with your decision to switch from independent contractors to employees. In reality, they would have to find another company anyways, so time to step up the “why trust us” game.
What If I Have To Raise Rates?
Ah! This is probably the biggest concern percolating in your head! Most likely, you will have to raise rates. There are countless people I have advised that had to do just this. Basically, they were paying too much (I will discuss below) and charging too little so naturally, they needed to shift their client base and raise their rates.
The numbers don’t lie and a lot of people start out with my pricing structure and strategy class. This class helps you understand what you need to charge and how to have a strategy that ties into your goals. There is a good chance you might have to raise your rates.
That is, unless you want to be a non-profit. 🙂
What If I Have To Lower Pay?
This sounds so scary and it is! What do you do if you already know you would like to pay more and now the numbers are showing you that in order to achieve your goals you need to pay even LESS.
Ahhh that is scary and almost incomprehensible.
But trust me, it can be done.
I helped one gal switch from ICs to employees. Her clients went down. Her staff went down. Her prices went up and her profit was higher than ever before. In the end, we need to remember that this is not a popularity contest.
Did you know that audits can happen up to two or three years later?!?! So even if you were to switch from ICs to employees today… it doesn’t mean in a year from now you couldn’t get a knock at your door asking to explain your ICs from 2 years ago!
We All Need To Be Leaders
With all these problems, it is easy to stick our head in the sand and play ostrich. But guess what? If we want to be the best leader of our life and business – we have to face this fact. Pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t going to get us anywhere and many, many, many states are cracking down and making it impossible to have ICs.
The benefits of having employees are that you can train them, you have more control, you won’t be scared of an audit, and YOU, the business owner, are protected because you are able to have all types of insurance. (Non-owned, worker’s compensation, general liability, etc)
As an established business, switching to employees is possible but you must have a plan. You must know the steps you need to take and what it is going to cost you. You want to think about the big picture and know why you are doing it so it will help you get through the tough times. This is something that is tougher to accomplish the larger your company gets so if you are thinking about doing it, I would highly suggest that you do it sooner rather than later.
Register Now – Tuesday May 21st @ 3pm
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Ah, good old Facebook! It is exploding with growth, constantly changing, yet our behaviors as marketers haven’t changed much. Many people talk bad about Facebook.
People think that you have to pay to play.
People wonder how to “crack the code” despite Mark Zuckerberg himself coming directly out and giving us a roadmap on how to succeed in Facebook Land.
Yet, many dog walkers still just struggle to get a good return on their investment.
The struggle is real. Can you relate?
Social Media Strategist and Chat Bot expert Kelly Noble Mirabella from Stellar Media Marketing had this to say about all the changes:
“The talk about the newsfeed does have me thinking, and I think any business using Facebook should be looking for ways to “be the destination” as Bella Vasta has taught us, regardless of the newsfeed.
Like it or not there has been a MAJOR shift at Facebook this year. People have been let go or left after YEARS of working on Facebook.
For example, 3rd in charge at Facebook, Chris Cox, is now gone with no replacement in site. What’s more interesting is Mark’s big push to focus on stories, groups, and message (along with Instagram products). He is so focused on these things that most of the departments in charge of these aspects of the business report directly to Mark Zuckerberg.
Is the newsfeed dead? No.
Will, it ever go away? (NEVER SAY NEVER).
I think one thing we can rely on is change is in the air. How will you be adjusting your marketing to meet the challenge? My advice, focus on learning and adopting Chatbots (Messenger Marketing), Facebook Groups and Niche Communities, Instagram, and stories. But it is not enough to adopt them, you MUST create a destination where people will GO OUT OF THEIR way to consume your content.”
I love Kelly’s bird’s eye view on this “problem” that many of us feel when it comes to Facebook.
I agree with everything she says, especially that we must get out of this 2010 mindset. Things are changing and there is a new way to do things that will never have you scrambling.
But first, we need to stop with the mistakes.
These mistakes lead to frustration and wasted time and I don’t want that for any Jumper!
Here are the biggest mistakes I see some dog walkers making on Facebook every day.
Post Frequency is Too Little or Too Much.
Posting too little
If I were to go to your Facebook page right now, when was the last time you posted? If you didn’t post in this past week you aren’t posting nearly enough. You have to keep in mind that most clients go to your social media to try to visualize their pets in your care. They want to see what you are doing. The story your Facebook feed tells them will make or break potential clients checking you out. If they see that you aren’t very active, they will wonder all sorts of things.
Posting too much
It isn’t recommended to post any more than once a day. In fact Hubspot found in a study that posting more than two times a day dropped the respondent’s engagement by over 50%! When you post too much, it isn’t that it looks bad to the potential clients, but Facebook just won’t favor your page in the feed. I would keep it to once a day.
I loved what Andrew and Pete said about this at their keynote at Social Media Marketing World 2019. Here is an entertaining video they recorded talking a lot about this topic and what you should do:
The Content of the Postings Is Not Helpful
Straight From Instagram
If you are posting from your Instagram directly to your Facebook page, stop!!!
The way you tell stories on Instagram is very different than Facebook. Hashtags are different. Just forwarding posts over to Facebook from Instagram screams that you flat out don’t care.
Why send people to a Facebook feed when it is really just your Instagram feed? There is nothing unique or engaging in this. It can send a signal that you just don’t care.
Sharing Other Brand’s Content
You might see some content that you think is really interesting and want to share it.
I would caution yourself to think, “Is this helping my strategy?”
If the answer is no, then don’t post it. If you don’t have a strategy, then don’t post it.
Almost everything you post needs to lead back to your core message and strategy for your Facebook page.
Sure, occasional shares of a cute pet video are great. It might even get you a lot of likes. But, do you know the strategy around that? Do you know that there may even be a best time frame to post it that would help a future, more important, post from your brand
Only Sharing Pictures With No Story.
Facebook LOVES engagement and what better way to garner it than by telling a captivating story that hooks the reader in to participate somehow in your post?
Always be thinking of your audience and how you can help them. Don’t just post pictures, but tell a story about something that has to do with the picture when it was taken.
Wrong Calls to Action
Calls to Action (aka CTAs) are huge in every single part of marketing that you do. They tell your viewer WHAT you want them to do.
Chat Bots Done Wrong
Sometimes when I land on a Facebook page there is this spammy bot that pops up. It is more of a nuisance than anything else because I have to click it away so I can see your page. Unless you have put a strategy into your bot, I really wouldn’t allow it to pop up just because you can.
In The Cover Section
(This is a cover video from the Better Marketing with Bella program)
Video is key.
What type of impression are you making out the gate with the new viewer on your page?
Is your cover section a stale image from years ago that looked like your 10yr old son made it in middle school?
Or is it a beautiful video displaying the month of the year and all the dog inspired events or activities?
Which one says that you have time to devote to your business and wowing your clients?
Invest the time, or money, into beautiful cover photos or videos that speak directly to your audience and isn’t spammy.
Send A Message
There is a great spot on the top of every business profile on the right side that you can set as your CTA. Most say, “send message“. I would say you should have “contact me” on there. Just hover over the button on desktop and press the edit button. There, you can change it to whatever you want.
What mistakes are you making on Facebook?
Maybe you didn’t even realize you were making these mistakes. Maybe you wanted to ignore it. NOW is the time to make the changes and start seeing more success in your business.
If you are looking to REALLY rock your marketing plan, I want to invite you to join me in Better Marketing With Bella. This is a six-month program that helps you rock your marketing with branded graphics, videos, emails, cover videos and more! You can learn more about the program right here.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Depositphotos_73468169_l-2015.jpg13342000Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2019-04-30 04:13:302019-04-29 07:54:31The Biggest Mistakes Dog Walkers Make On Facebook
Our eyes are drawn to pictures and visuals…and all the social media platforms know this.
As pet business owners, this is exciting because what is more fun than posting pictures of sweet loving pets on Instagram? I mean we have it pretty easy, right?
Or at least I think we have it even tougher than most and I am going to tell you why. Most businesses I see stop at the cute pet face. That’s it. That is where they leave it but it does nothing to draw the viewer in other than showing that your company (or you) visits with lots of pets each day or week.
Did you know there are 500 million people on Instagram every day?
According to Hootsuite here are some very exciting statistics:
71% of users are under 35 years old – hello millennials! 80% increase year over year for videos – stop thinking of Instagram as only pictures. 500 Million people use stories every day – are you using the story feature? 71% of businesses use Instagram – so if you think that your competition isn’t on there, you are wrong. But are they doing it RIGHT is the question? 80% of users follow at least one business – Following a business on Instagram typically isn’t as intrusive. 75% of users take action – this statistic is huge. How many things have you bought off Instagram? I know I have. They get me every time!
And here is a statistic you can’t look away from. According to Marketing Dive,
71% of consumers want personalized advertisements and want to engage regularly with brands.
With statistics like this, how can you deny Instagram? Now because I am that fun loving, ever inspiring coach for you – I want to make sure you are not one of the “boring” brands out there. After all, there is no reason for it. I want to make sure you stop the scroll and the attention of the right people…. but before you do that – you gotta STOP doing this.
In no particular order:
Not Getting Local Enough
Every picture you post and every story you publish should always have a local location. It is how you will come up in the searches when people are looking locally. This can happen for your potential clients, your existing clients, other local businesses, and events around town. If nothing else, get in the habit of marking the local dog park on all your posts.
You can also tag local people. Perhaps upon the new client sign up you can ask your customers if they are on Instagram and what their handle is. Then, when you upload a picture of their dog, you can tag them in that picture. This works as a notification and if you do it weeks after your service with them, it is a super way to subconsciously get on their radar again.
A pro tip: Most people think you have to physically be at the location in order to mark your location on it. You don’t. I have literally tagged locations in San Diego while posting from my living room in Phoenix, Az.
Not Using The Right Hashtags
I want you to think of hashtags like we did in the early 2000s when we were trying to find the right keywords for our website. Consider each Instagram post or story to be like a micro website or blog post.
Not using enough hashtags
Not using any hashtags won’t do anything for your post.
Using few too many (like three) won’t give you a fighting chance and often times aren’t even local enough to matter
Say you posted a picture of a golden retriever and used #goldenretriever. Not to sound mean, but who cares? Well, except for that Golden’s parent of course. That is going to do nothing for your business but if you use hashtags for the local dog park or landmark, or local festival happening that weekend, you stand the chance of getting more eyeballs and that coveted double tap.
Using highly competitive hashtags
Don’t make the mistake of using hashtags that only have millions of followers. What that is doing is entering your “lightweight” brand into the “heavyweight” championship. Think about it… if you are competing with millions of other people, what are the chances that your content will be shown?
Slim to none is the answer.
So don’t do it. Or at least don’t ONLY do that. A few hashtags that are hugely popular are okay but it is really important to not just only use those. Pick out some clusters about your business, about your area, and about local events going on.
Not taking the time to plan your content and material and plan it out visually.
Pictures that all look the same or have all the same things just are not going to be visually appealing enough for people to feel like you care. The effort you put into your social media is a direct message to your followers about how much effort you put into your business. Think about it as a consumer. They are judging you… so let’s help make it a good one!
Not using filters
When you look at an Instagram feed and it just looks like a bunch of noise, you know the creator hasn’t thought out what they were going to post ahead of time and it was all very impulsive. As busy business owners, I know it’s hard to preplan all the time, so simple use of the same filter could also help this be achieved. But when you don’t use filters and you don’t have certain styles for taking pictures it just looks like a scrapbook. Keyword, “scrap”.
Again, we want to give an impressive opinion of our business just like we do on our website so think seriously before you post.
Posting the same thing over and over again.
When all you post is the close selfie shot of a dogs face, the only person who really cares about that is the parent of that dog. If it isn’t my dog, I don’t care. I don’t ream to sound harsh, but it is the truth. UNLESS… you are telling compelling stories with each post, which many do not. So really think ahead of time about the topics that you want to display on your Instagram feed so when they come up in real life you can snap a picture.
Too much text, graphics, or reshares
Sometimes I see people only post quote after quote of stock photos where it doesn’t actually show anything unique. It is just other people’s words, or pictures, or warnings and again this does nothing for telling the message of the brand.
This screams you have no idea what you are doing. It is generic and doesn’t serve the business. So if you are one of those people who screenshots others graphics and then post them as your own… not only is that illegal but it also isn’t doing much for you.
Okay well maybe there is one exception – it is hilariously laughing out loud funny.
How Should I Plan and Post My Instagram Account?
Now, I wouldn’t be your coach Bella if I didn’t also offer you up a solution….
And today happens to be your lucky day.
My team and I have literally spent hours preparing this for you. A webinar that normally would have a three digit price ticket on it – but I decided I am just going to GIVE it away to you for free. Here is what I am going to teach you:
How to create content
How to develop your very own Hashtag Strategy
How to engage with your audience
How to amplify your reach in your neighborhood (without paying for it!)
How to create engaging stories
What Instagram success looks like and more importantly how to measure it!
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Depositphotos_53625047_l-2015.jpg19862000Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2019-04-16 04:00:182019-04-16 13:19:46The Top Mistakes Pet Businesses Make On Instagram
As I get back from Social Media Marketing World 2019 in San Diego, I wanted to bring a little of what I kept hearing the entire time – the importance of using video on Social Media.
It was pretty exciting because it basically validated everything I know and teach . . . but I thought I would use a mashup of what many influential people in the Social Media space were saying and bring it straight to you. Because, hey, that is what I am here for, right?
Before I dive deep into explaining what you should now be doing on Social Media, I think it is important to reflect a bit on the past – what I HAVE done… and what I see many of you still do.
I remember back in about 2016 (wasn’t even that long ago) the Facebook “game” was very different. With my coaching company (or even pet sitting company) I would post my blogs on social media and watch the hits to my website skyrocket! I would see them hit almost 500 hits a day and I would get a lot of engagement and interaction.
But, like I said, that was back in 2016.
That’s when posting links on your Facebook page still actually did something for you. It was starting to decline, but not as drastic as it did in 2017 and 2018 where organic reach is now basically on life support.
It was also during the “pre-gold rush” stage of Instagram so most marketers attention was still focused on Facebook.
Things have changed.
Things changed drastically when Zuck made the announcement back at the beginning of 2018 addressing the fact that Page engagement was going down. He said that we would start seeing even MORE of a decline in efforts to create “more meaningful engagements on Facebook” and they would only be rewarding those posts that were engaging, being shared, and where people were starting to have conversations with one another.
But . . . what posts match those criteria?
This is why you have been hearing all about video over and over again.
There is a multitude of ways to do video, some more effective than others . . . but gone are the days of posting a link to your blog and watching the graph spike that day.
Mari Smith said in her 2019 Keynote address at Social Media Marketing World that our posting should be:
70% Video, 20% Images, 10% Links/Status Updates.
Now, marketers (and business owners) have to work for it.
Do you see where I am going with this?
In Jump Consulting, we used to pump out two blogs a week. It was mainly to grow the website, answer questions, and get engagement on Facebook.
And it worked.
We have the most content out there than any other pet sitting or dog walking resource and it is constantly growing. But, I started to learn that a 500-800 word blog just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I needed less posting and more depth.
What we needed was LESS FREQUENCY of CONTENT and to spread it AROUND more.
I am in private groups with people very close to pivotal people.
I stay on top of this stuff so you don’t have to.
You know what we did in 2019 with the Better Marketing with Bella program? We STOPPED giving people blogs . . . and instead gave them outlines so they could do a FB Live and/or blog.
Then, we gave them MORE videos.
In our monthly calls, I teach heavily on how to keep maximizing their efforts and investment.
The results? Their engagement is through the roof. While others are getting hardly any engagement (likes, comments, shares) the Better Marketing with Bella crew is killing it.
One gal just got an opportunity at an apartment complex with 40 units as a result of her amazing Instagram strategy that we worked on.
Even though video is very easily made through many different apps these days, it takes a lot of time, attention, messaging, and brain power to think months in advance, and it’s exhausting.
Most say they will do it, but fail simply because it takes a lot of time.
Better Marketing with Bella helps and gives our students over 25 assets a month. We are giving assets that work. They are branded, they are relevant to the current social media times, and as a student, you have access to Bella, the expert.
With social media, less is more… which makes knowing WHAT even MORE important…. 🙂
P.S. Did you know that stories are getting seen 15X more than the feed? Yeah, our program helps with that too! 🙂
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Technology sure has grown since the start of this industry. In the 90s, we were doing everything with paper and pen.Paper schedules, our flip phones, if we even had that… and websites were just coming on the scene. Social Media wasn’t popular and the only real type of marketing and advertising was good old fashioned print mail.
Take a minute and think about this for a second. If you started a business in the 90s or even earlier 2000s, the way we get business and provide business has 100% changed since then.
Some might argue that it has gotten more complicated since then, but technology has actually made it so much easier to get instant data coming in and going out of your business that you can make real-time decisions. We can make pivots without waiting for publication cycles or a meeting with a bookkeeper.
Automation is something that many businesses need to adopt to make their processes run smoother. Proper automation could actually yield higher profit margins, while improper automation, or lack thereof, could really add to the stress of owning and operating a business and cost the business owner a lot of money.
Today, I am going to show you all the ways you can automate a pet sitting and dog walking business.
Listen up! If you are a solo sitter, this is especially important because there is only one of you and you need to make every minute of your day efficient.
If you are in the process of building and scaling your business, it is even more important. You want to make sure you have as much automated as possible so when you hand the baton to an office manager they will have the most efficient workflow.
So here is the list, in no particular order, and how you can use it in your business.
GSuite has so many advantages that your business can be using. First, is the email. Here, you can assign everyone their own email so that all the company info is sent to that email and when they leave the company it is all absorbed back to your company. If you do not do this, consider yourself to have a security breach where clients sensitive info is stored forever on someone’s email account.
Another advantage to GSuite is the ability to have canned responses. These are responses that you or your staff might type all the time, but being able to populate the message inside the email with one button really saves a lot of time. It also ensures that the messaging from your company is consistent.
This chrome app allows you to schedule emails to send and also will remind you to follow up with other emails that you indicate. The beauty of this automation is when someone emails or calls you after your office hours, you no longer have to:
A. Email them back and break the boundaries of office hours essentially showing them that they can reach you at all hours of the night.
B. Try to remember to reply to them in the morning and sleep with one eye open because you don’t want to forget. You know that feeling? Like something is hanging over your head?
Pet Sitting Software:
This might sound like a no-brainer but do you even know how many pet sitters and dog walkers are not using this the right way? Make it mandatory that every client needs to schedule online. They need to update their notes online. They need to change their schedule or cancel….. make them do it all online! Make sure that your entire staff if using your software to the fullest capabilities. You can even turn on notifications for GPS in case some don’t arrive or check in at the right time and this has been a lifesaver and peace of mind to so many.
The most common question I get asked around software is, “Which one should I choose?” It is a very personal question, but I think there are certain things you should consider:
2. Customer service
3. Software updated?
4. Mobile version or app?
6. Credit Cards
More explanation about how to come to a decision on this here.
This goes hand in hand with software. Whenever anyone has a question about the software (clients or staff), record a short video explanation. Loom is a free Chrome extension where you can record your screen. By doing these videos, and then properly naming them and storing them, this will allow your staff and clients the ability to make a difficult situation easier by way of the video. You could even create a video and add it to your FAQ on your website so it is at the user’s fingertips. This will also decrease the number of problems you have to solve.
Ever struggle to know what software to schedule your social media? Agora Pulse really checks ALL the boxes. They post to every relevant platform, have a way for you to keep up on your social media notifications and inbox all in one place, and also will recycle your content so it never “dies” after you post it the first time. This is a necessity for any small business who wants to have a killer social presence. If you’re ready to get started, you can sign up right here for a free trial and 2 months free!
If you get into the habit of batching your social media, you can do it all in 1-2 hours a month to set it and forget it. then you will be getting told that “I see you everywhere” when it really took minimal effort!
The thing I LOVED about working with Payroll Experts was that it was easy. Here is how this worked:
My staff knew what days they needed to email me their payroll by.
I would gather all the names and amounts and email it to my specialist.
Done! The company took care of the rest and direct deposited it all.
Having a company take care of all the necessary payroll “stuff” is very helpful. Percentage change and laws change and honestly, there is just too much to keep up with. Certain forms need to be filed at certain times and when you can hand it off to someone to take care of, it will free up a lot of your time and headspace.
Did you know studies show that if you don’t see it, you will spend more money? It always makes me chuckle when people think credit cards COST money because they see it coming out but don’t realize that the mere fact of having credit cards will cause people to spend more with you… because they don’t see it! It happens all the time.
If you have a software system you can automatically set it to charge clients at a certain time or you can go in once a week and click, click, click, CHARGE…. and off it goes to your bank. Using credit cards saves SO much time over collecting the checks and going to the bank.
You won’t ever have to sit down and search through Paypal to see if someone paid you, be folding laundry to find that you WASHED the check that was in your jeans, or just try to keep track of the cash you have been given.
Sure, credit cards cost (typically less than 3%) but the time that you save and money made by not seeing it is astronomical.
Most hiring methods are de-funked and I get it. You have a lot of other things going on and when an applicant gets back to you it isn’t always easy to stop what you are doing and reply. Let alone understand what to say or remember which applicant you said what to.
It is difficult when you need an employee you have to post a job opening, then wonder if your hiring ad is good enough, and then find out if anyone applies… etc.
What if I told you over 70 pet sitters found the solution to that through automation and are using software to solve this problem?
Did you know the job market is shifting? Do you realize that people aren’t just applying to your job? Do you realize it is like dating and you have to appear attractive to them? What better way to do that then responding fast and having an entirely automated process? A company I work with (and sponsoring the retreat!) has done just that for over 70 pet sitting companies. I explain how here and you can get your own Bella hook up and discount here.
Most people I know have a bookkeeper because they understand that there are just too many chances to make mistakes that will take money out of your pocket at the end of the year. In order to get fast reporting, Quickbooks online is a must. Now, feel how you may about the company… but once it is set up the rest is really easy. AND if you have a bookkeeper this is something they can do for you. Having a bookkeeper and QBO allows you to get reporting fast because you don’t have to pass reports back and forth. It also allows your statements to be downloaded automatically from your bank and credit cards. I highly recommend this set up. It is what I do and I only have to look at my numbers when my bookkeeper sends me her monthly report and I have full knowledge of what I am spending money on, profit, cash flow, and what I can afford.
Like Asana or Trello are great project management tools or even a great place to store a checklist with your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Here, your office staff (or you) can do a brain dump and organize the cards into categories that make sense to you. You can add people to the boards and you can share your thoughts and plans in an easy way.
If you don’t check this weekly, you are missing out. It will tell you how people arrive on your website, where they go, what they read, and even what you need to add to your website. This is a highly powerful tool and we actually have a lot of trainings on it in the Jump Mastermind. Plus, Google Analytics is free!
So as you can see there are lots of ways you can arrange your business to flow. In the end, it is all an individual choice but we have to understand that we need to use tools to help us because there just certainly isn’t enough time in the day to do “all the things.”
If you need help in any way, let me know in the comments below or in one of my free groups. I am here to help.
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Are you able to ask them on a “date” (interview) and get them up and hired in the next week?
If the answer is no . . . and you have to start from scratch by posting an ad . . . then you are reactionary hiring.
This causes a lot of sleepless nights.
It causes anxiety that . . . “if one or two people quit on the same day… your business wouldn’t exist”
Feeling of helplessness when your office manager is telling you . . . “I am posting all the time but not getting any applicants”.
It is like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you are about to collapse!
This Is Why I Always Say…
This is exactly why I say to “always be hiring” and “hire more than you need,” because you just never know!
I have been there personally with my former company.
I have had the pit in my stomach, the worry, and as a coach I have been dreaming and searching for something I could pass along to you to help take all that fear and anxiety away.
I have seen vacations be ruined because the business owner had to stay back and take care of the business because they were understaffed. I have also seen business owners look forward to a dream vacation, spend a fortune, count down the days, only to spend the entire time working and putting out fires.
This is not why we started our own business and we must keep that in sight.
Getting ahead of the hiring challenge will help you to grow a business that you desire. It will help take you from solopreuner who really just has a job to someone who is the boss in charge that can multiply themselves for the masses.
To grow, to achieve your goals, you have to get really good at putting yourself out of a job. But in order to do that – you must have someone to replace you.
If you don’t figure out how to hire for your business you will eventually stall out. Don’t let this be you.
You Deserve To Be The Boss In Charge
I want you to think back to when you started this business. Why did you start it and at what point did it start running you? Staffing is 50% of the challenge that you will always have no matter if you are just starting or been around for 15+ years. You must stop trying to save the same problem again and again and start solving it systematically.
So what are you going to do?
Are you going to consider creating a process where you can have QUALIFIED applicants always on hand?
Over 70 pet sitting and dog walking companies have trusted my partner, JazzHr with their hiring needs and have been able to take charge of their business and their life because they now have control over the hiring challenge.
Whatever you choose, know that this is something you will need to address so you can take some of the stress away from running a growing business.
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On more than one occasion I have gotten the question “How does blogging help me get pet sitting clients?” And while I have been blogging up a storm for years on how to do all of this, I realized I haven’t actually explained on a strategy level how blogging helps customers find you and how it converts them to pet sitting clients.
I have shown you Mark, a dog trainer, who ended up with so much business from blogging that he raised his prices.
I have brought you the story on my YouTube Channel and on my podcast Bella In Your Business, of a man on the brink of bankruptcy in 2008 who started blogging and not only saved his business, but became a worldwide leader in his industry, which then lead him to make over 2 million dollars speaking all over the world about exactly how he did it.
I even showed you what you need to do post publishing to make sure the most amount of eyeballs get onto your blog. Post publishing is almost as important as writing the actual blog.
There have been numerous other instances… as I have over 200 videos, 500 blogs, and 130+ podcasts (at the time of publishing) but I have never actually directly answered “How does blogging get me clients” so let me explain.
We Google Everything.
When you have a question you don’t know the answer to, where do you go?
People ask google (or Siri or Alexia, etc) everything! We ask them on our phone. We ask them by typing in on our computers, and we even ask them by voice.
Search is something that has changed so much over the years and more and more questions are being asked, and less “search term + city” ENTER.
People are looking for answers to their questions. Will you be the one answering them? I guarantee most of your competition isn’t doing it.
There is a huge opportunity up for grabs. Will you take it?
Content Marketing in 2019 is Like the Gold Rush.
This is still an untapped strategy that many are too lazy to adopt. Or, they lack the planning to actually execute.
In many communities YOU, my friend, can still stand out online. Imagine if you were trying to make a purchase and googling to learn more about the product or service. Typically people want to know the major questions:
How much does it cost (in the area)?
What are the problems with the product or service?
How does it compare with others?
What are other people saying about it?
People will figure out the answers to their questions somehow and why not it be from you? You can be the one responsible for bringing the information that the people want. For that they will be grateful.
When People are Grateful To A Brand It Leads to More Revenue
I want you to imagine the last time a company was super helpful to you. When they educated you or provided value in a way that you felt like you could trust and was unbiased.
A super example of this is Hubspot. They have endless blogs, downloads, and even free software that you can download now all so you can get comfortable with the knowledge of sales and tracking the things they provide the tools for. They basically let you test drive their brand before making the investment.
This ability that the consumer has to “kick the tires” is hugely powerful IF they can actually believe what the brand is saying. This will make the decision to reach into their pocket a lot easier and less stressful becasue they feel like they have gotten to know you.
Repurpose & Upcycling Your Blog
Blogs are super for repurposing, or what my friend Brian Fanzo calls “upcycling”. This is when you take the content and chop it up, we use it and spread it far and wide. We also talked about this on the Bella In Your Business Podcast.
Another advantage to repurposing is that different people frequent different channels. Some people might follow you more on one channel than another and by posting your content on more than one platform you can and will expand your reach.
But I warn you, master one platform before you add another or it can get overwhelming.
Writing a Blog and Then Chopping it Up Will Help You Upcycle
For example a simple 1000 word blog might be upcycled like this:
Create graphics with your major points and share it on Facebook with a link back to your blog.
Create an infographic and tease it on your instagram feed.
Talk about it on your IG stories or FB stories and encourage people to go back and look at the article. (This is for your business and personal stories)
Go live on your FB page talking about the article.
Go live in your Facebook group talking about the article.
Tweet about it.
Post it on your business page on Linkedin.
In this day and age it isn’t about creating more and more content but using the content you do have and spreading it as far as you can.
Think about spreading out pizza dough. It is the same effect!
The Bottom Line:
At the end of the day, your customers will always have the same questions. They will get their answers, one way or the other.
It is all apart of the buying and decision making process.
What if someone was looking for a veterinarian in the area and they came across your blog about the Top 5 Veterinarian’s in CITY? That was just one touch you made with a potential customer.
What if someone was thinking about using your services, and when they went to search for things like “how much does dog walking cost in CITY?”
Your blog was the one that kept coming up. It would subconsciously show them that you are showing up online.
That you are a trusted local expert. That you care enough to make your marketing shine, that must be a great indication of your work ethic. The very thing they are hiring you for!
Still Not Sure How To Get The Most Out Of Your Blog?
I get it. Many people fall into one of three categories:
They hate marketing for numerous reasons.
They love marketing and always intend on doing more but really don’t ever get to it often OR (most importantly) consistently.
They love marketing and rock it on a daily basis.
If you are #1 or #2 then I have a solution for you. It is Better Marketing with Bella where we provide you over 25 marketing items each month for six months. We provide videos, content calendars, graphics, emails… It is a six month program and we will be admitting those who apply and meet the criteria very soon. You can apply here.
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Whether you are just entering into the pet sitting and dog walking industry or been here a long time like me (17 years!) I bet you wonder about the state of the industry and where we are headed.
You might wonder if all businesses are like yourself?
What the effect of Rover and Wag will have on the industry as a whole?
I bet you wonder if you are making enough?
What the “industry standard” is and how you measure up?
Whatever the case might be, I see a major shift happening that no one is really talking about…
I also want to know what you think as you read what I am about to write so please, comment below or on the original post and let’s have a conversation about where YOU think the industry is going and how we can help shape it.
But first… I must put out there that like attracts like.
With everything I will say, my findings MIGHT be skewed only because the type of sitters I have been lucky enough to attract are real go-getters. They are business builders, get knocked down 7 times and get up 8 types of people.
They fail and learn from it.
They aren’t paralyzed in fear and they tend to have a great group of support around them. They are about efficiency, processes, and systems.
So here I tell you – my thoughts and insights are shaped by these incredible business owners and what I have personally witnessed as possible.
They are my inspiration and hope for the pet sitting and dog walking industry’s future.
The Consumers Are Changing From Baby Boomers To Millennials
Tailchasers Inc killing it on their website. (Actual screenshot)
According to Mintel, pet owners are spending 86 BILLION dollars on their pets. When I first started in the industry the surge was from the Baby Boomer segment, now it is transitioning to Millennials. This is a very important change that is necessary for any pet business owner to acknowledge. The buyer habits and behaviors have shifted with technology and the independent pet sitter and dog walker need to take notice.
Did you know that 3/4’s of 30 something-year-olds have pets? While American’s might be holding off longer to have children, as many pet professionals know, pets are often the “first child” before settling down and having two-legged children. The consequence of this is a huge market share that doesn’t like to talk on the phone, wait for responses back, and loves to do everything on the phone. Passive websites are a thing of the past and the buyer journey has to include the buyer as an active participant.
This is a huge point that we need to understand. There is a major shift in the way people research and purchase goods and services and it is something every pet business owner should reflect on how they are shifting to this change.
There Are A Lot Of Pet Sitting And Dog Walking Businesses For Sale
One quick search on bizbuysell.com and you will see that there are many pet sitting and dog walking businesses all over the country up for grabs. I feel like I have a front-row seat because many investors call me and ask to help them evaluate the business they are interested in purchasing.
I see this trend happening a lot now for (what I believe) to be many reasons:
1. With Rover and Wag making a splash… I see some companies that are just rolling over and giving up on the business. Believing that it is too hard and that they can’t compete.
(Which couldn’t be further from the truth BTW)
2. Our industry is growing up. No longer are we in the infancy stage like when I started my own company back in 2002. We are all grown up. Some business owners that started 10, 15, 20 years ago are ready to get out and as a result, they are selling.
3. The pet industry is booming and year after year becoming larger and larger. Investors see this and are willing to take $100K or $200K out of their retirement to purchase a business that they know they will make their money back in about 1.5 yrs.
4. Pet sitting and dog walking business owners are looking to scale fast and one of the best ways I see them doing this is acquiring other businesses. It is how Chunsoon Li, Randa Clark, Crystal Hammond, and Mark Shaver are doing it.
Want to Learn More About Buying and Selling Your Business?
I know that as a pet sitting and dog walking business owner, you dislike all the irresponsible Rover and Wag pet sitters. It is undeniable the number of accidents and pet deaths they are bringing along in addition to undercutting some pet sitting businesses prices.
Although it is important to remember that not all of them are bad and there are some responsible sitters on those apps. In fact, if I were to start my business today… and not really known where to turn, I just might have listed my services on there too.
But here is why their splash is exciting to me and something for you to think about:
1. They have raised $310.9M in ten rounds of fundraising. That is insane! What they can do with that money shows in their national print, TV, and social media campaigns. What they have essentially done is educate the entire USA about our profession and that we exist. I feel this is a major reason why our industry has spiked in the past two years. Like it or not, they have educated the market on what a pet sitter does.
2. Rover is a technology company. They have encouraged many professional pet sitters to get software of their own and whether anyone believes it or not, I really think they have helped raise the bar when it comes to the user experience and being able to “go digital” and sign up online.
Study after study shows that the user wants to be involved more and more in the process and Rover is giving that to them every time. Professional pet sitters are increasing this trend by allowing their prospects to sign up with them online and get a leg up on their social media by using video and all the incredible tools we have access to. I see a lot more professional pet sitters and dog walkers really caring about their social media presence and website now and really stepping it up notches!
Gone is the time of a basic Wix website that you create yourself for a top rated and performing digital storefront.
3. Consumer behavior has developed into asking Google everything. Did you know one of the most popular questions Google is asked is “should I text him back?”
From “How much does a pet sitter cost in CITY” to “Pet Sitter reviews in CITY” I believe that Rover and Wag have gotten the public to think about this with their top rankings in most cities. They got the public to wonder about this and then they start researching online. Where I see some professional pet sitting and dog walking companies fall short is by not answering the Big 5 on their website.
Marcus Sheridan explained in great depth on my podcast, Bella In Your Business what the Big 5 are. One of my clients was able to take her brand new website from Barketing Blog and get to to the #1 spot of one of the most competitive markets in just a month because of this strategy I told her to use.
4. More people than ever are starting pet sitting and dog walking businesses. Initial thoughts by the defensive business could be “Great! This means more competition, Bella.” Although if you realize that 6 out of 10 households have pets… there really is more than enough to go around and it fills the gap of those who need cheap pet care.
In the words of Michelle Obama… “When they go low, you go high.”
Ok, so that might not have been what she meant, but many startups do start very low and don’t have the impeccable customer experience that I know your business already brings. So in essence… this gives you a reason to have the top-notch prices in your area.
You also should keep in mind that only 50% of new businesses last more than 5 years according to the Small Business Administration, which helps add businesses to the selling market and goes to show that you shouldn’t be comparing your well-established business to that of a startup who probably isn’t even charging enough to stay in business in five years.
A necessary evil that happens when something gains popularity, like the pet sitting and dog walking industry, is that it draws attention. Regulations are popping up all over the country making it harder and harder to just do whatever you want when it comes to your business.
Minimum wage is going up in many states, therefore, affecting many overnight services.
Accumulated sick day pay is happening in many states causing business owners to factor in this extra pay.
Some states are being required to pay for cell phone usage like California and Illinois.
A massive tidal wave is happening where business owners are reclassifying their sitters from ICs to Employees. They are realizing that the safest way to grow is with employees, and the only attractive way to sell one day is with employees.
It is because of this interesting shift that we are working hard behind the scenes on a major project for all of you looking to switch from ICs to Employees in 2019.
Sign up to be the first to get the step by step instructions on exactly how to do this:
Pet Sitting And Dog Walking Businesses Are Growing At The Fastest Rate Ever!
I have never seen pet sitting and dog walking businesses scale so fast in the 11 years I have been consulting. It is incredible how many people are acquiring smaller companies or lateral companies to grow their empire. They are accomplishing this a bunch of ways:
It is equally exciting to see people hiring multiple people at a time instead of just hiring one person at a time reacting to an open position they have in their company.
Another change I see is that when people move out of their territory, they are keeping their old territory and running it remotely while opening up a new one. Or, they don’t relocate but just open up a new territory to expand their kingdom.
Some members in the Jump Mastermind have hit their last year revenue by mid-2018 while others have figured out membership modules that are just increasing their profits.
It is really so exciting to see all the ways businesses are flourishing, despite what some naysayers might say about the tech companies.
The Use Of Software Is (and Will Continue To Be) at an All-Time High
Pet care companies that use software have the benefit of increased productivity, with their time being spent on the money-making aspects of the business instead of performing tedious and repetitive tasks. For larger companies, this can lead to the need for fewer office employees, while for smaller companies you may have more free time. Allowing clients to add their own information and schedule not only saves you time, but it also lowers the frequency of errors as the client immediately sees the same thing that the company sees.
To be taken seriously online in this industry you really need two things: A great website and that website to be connected to the software.
As millennials come into the largest buying power, they want to do things online. They want to have an experience online that solves their problems and doesn’t take forever.
I am happy to say that I am starting to see pet sitters finally invite the viewer into the process on their site. They aren’t just talking at them or creating an online brochure, but really speaking to their avatars, solving the unique problems, and inviting the viewer to take action that will make them feel like they are able to check “pet sitter” or “dog walker” off their never-ending to-do list.
Some are even starting to show-and-tell. They are finally starting to show the consumer the experience they will have on their cell phone when service is being provided. Whether this is IG stories, FB Stories, showing what the updates look like, sending a GPS map of the walk, only using GPS tracked collars… pet sitters are keeping pace ever-changing technology and it is becoming a real disruptor in their local markets.
My Predictions for 2019:
Companies are going to get even larger and things like benefits will become more and more talked about.
The middle sized businesses will shrink slightly because they will get burnt out, stall out, sell, or on the opposite side… grow bigger.
Companies will start to develop their own software apps specialized to their own companies and going outside the mainstream industry choices.
More regulations coming down the pipeline for the proper classification of workers will be coming as our political climate continues to heat up, causing more companies to switch from ICs to employees.
Online user experience is going to become one of the most popular selling features and is what will really start to set companies apart online. In the past it was a blog, software, or video… but this is all the “norm” so it will be important to have all that AND a great online user experience.
How Can You Achieve All Your Dreams With No Sunlight?
We have all seen the experiment online where one plant was ignored and told negative things and another plant was given attention and spoken positive messages too… right? In this experiment, the negative comments plant wilted and the positive comments plant flourished.
Your brain and your business is the same exact way.
In order to achieve what you want for your business… you need to surround yourself with those positive comments. Surrounded yourself with people checking in with you daily and giving you encouragement and there to guide you. The pet sitting and dog walking industry isn’t going to get easier as it grows. It will become more cutting-edge, more innovative and larger. Where many used to strive for a six-figure company… more will be striving for a seven-figure business.
I am already seeing it happen and I am excited to be cheering you on.
Let’s do this together.
What Do You Think?
Comment below, I would love to hear what you think. Tell me what I might have missed, what your predictions are, or if you think I am off my rocker! *haha* What has been your experience and where do YOU want to be in 2019 with your business? How do you plan to achieve it all and what changes have you seen in the industry?
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Hiring can be one of the biggest fears and challenges that I see pet sitters face on a day to day basis. This topic is for sure 50% of all problems that all pet sitting and dog walking businesses will face when trying to scale their business.
Bill Gelderman, from Orion Systems, says that “hiring shouldn’t be an event… it is a constant recruitment process” and I can’t agree with him more.
If you are a business that reacts and only attempts to hire a new team member when someone quits or you have too much business and need help then you will always be under your business and behind the eight ball.
In June, a company called JazzHR came into my life and promised to revolutionize how pet sitters and dog walkers solved the hiring problem. Their promises sounded too good to be true so naturally, my suspicions were raised and I put them to the test.
I had a few pet sitters try them out and the feedback was unreal.
I never saw the hiring problem solved at such a systematic way before:
JazzHR is a software that posts to 15 job boards and helps you keep everything in one place. No more sending back and forth emails and trying to remember what stage of the process someone is in. Jazz’ main job is to get your hiring ad seen by as many people as possible and then organize your recruitment process.
Even as so many pet sitters started raving about their positive experience with hiring qualified people fast, I started reading “JazzHR is just like Indeed” and really… it isn’t.
Is JazzHR The Same as Indeed?
In short, no. If you think that JazzHR is like Indeed, you don’t understand the truth behind what JazzHR can do.
It is sort of like asking if a bicycle is like a Porsche?
Sure, both platforms will get you the applicants, just as both modes of transportation will get you from point A to point B. Although the way in which it is achieved and the quality of the journey is drastically different. Indeed even tries to pull the wool over your eyes and make you think they are performing well for you, but that isn’t always the case.
1. What kind of applicants are you getting?
When you take a closer look at how Indeed brings businesses applicants you see that they have a matching feature which matches job seekers to jobs based on resume content and general questionnaires. This might work if you are looking for a software engineer, but not so much for a pet sitter or dog walker. It can also leave the business wondering:
Did the “candidates” actually apply or were they matched
Matched candidates might not be qualified for the job
If they didn’t actively seek out your job, they may not be interested
Here is more about what Indeed says about their matching feature in their Terms of Service
1(d) Regardless of whether you are an Employer or Job Seeker, Indeed may use application materials (including resumes and responses to screener questions) to determine whether the words of any Job Seeker’s resume and answers to screener questions match the words of a Job Listing, and vice-versa. Regardless of whether you are an Employer or Job Seeker, you agree and consent that Indeed may differentiate those matching resumes and screener questions from those that do not match, and presenting them to Employers as matches or not matches.
In essence, customers perceive “matched” candidates as more applications, when in reality the candidates did not actively seek out the job and apply.
JazzHR Only Gives You Qualified Applicants, Indeed Does Not
Think about where you spend your time when you are interviewing and hiring. Is your mindset that it is a popularity contest and you are just striving to get as many applicants as you can or are you looking for the most qualified applicants?
With Indeed there is no filtering system as good as JazzHR. JazzHR uses your exact questions to know if the applicant is right for you and only shows you the ones that are qualified. So now you are spending your time looking at applicants that have already past through your screening process.
This being said, JazzHR can only be as good as the way you set it up which is why I recommend making sure you reach out to their support team… or even me… to give it a look over to make sure you are maximizing your efforts.
Spoiler Alert: I only recommend about 4 knockout questions.
Imagine which scenario would keep your morale up? Imagine if this could actually make you LOVE hiring? Or at least not feel like you were wasting so much time sifting through endless amounts of applicants? Having ONLY qualified applicants in front of you really does turn a stressful and depressing process into a happy one.
2. Save Time & Track Your Hiring Process:
Up until recently, I have seen two ways pet businesses have been moving people through the hiring process:
1. Through their own business email, writing emails back and forth. They spend time reviewing the thread, hemming, and hawing over how they feel about an applicant. Sometimes even looking back to review their file because they forget what they already asked them. They are writing every email by hand while thinking to themselves, “It is okay! it doesn’t that much time”
2. They have a similar process as #1 above however they have gone through my Employee Quick Start course and have all the emails loaded as canned responses. Yet, they still struggle with remembering what the applicant said the entire process, finding the emails, and being interrupted throughout the day with the emails.
Both of these solutions take an enormous amount of time out of a business owner’s (or their management’s) day.
No wonder why no one likes to hire.
See what I mean here as I take you through the Phases of an actual dog walking online interview process.
In this video you will see how workflows can be used to streamline the entire hiring process. You can move people through 4 stages in one day if you wanted to. The applicant will be blown away and impressed at how professional you are and the process really commands respect for your position and business.
3. Moving Through The Hiring Phases Fast & Easy:
Traditional hiring is tough because you have resumes, cover letters, email exchanges everywhere and sometimes you don’t even remember who you are talking to or what they said. You have to search through email and while doing that almost always get side tracked.
Am I right?
With JazzHR you are able to upload your entire hiring process into their software so everything and everyone stays in the same place and you can see where they are in YOUR process. For those of you with staff that helps you hire, they too can see exactly what is going on with each applicant. (Especially helpful for those who might allow their staff to do the first round of interviews)
Take a look how a pet sitter does it here:
She has Phases to her interview process and it is as easy as clicking a button and moving them onto the next phase. The phases itself weeds people out and if you position the questions correctly, it will test them on your company values.
Example: You are looking for someone who would rather ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. To test for this, you can do a situational question in Phase 1 where you force them to make one of those decisions and explain why.
4. Interview Without Doubts On What To Ask Or How To Evaluate:
Many times we are rushing to a face to face interview.
Praying that the interviewee shows up and we are wondering what we might ask them? All the while really feeling stressed because let’s face it, we don’t feel confident interviewing. On top of all that, we feel pressured to make a decision to hire them or not, yet it is almost always based off our gut. Never any real non-emotional mathematical equation.
Here is how JazzHR helps you to ask the same questions at all interviews and then be able to evaluate your applicants based off what is really important to you. No more stress, not knowing what to say, or who to hire.
JazzHR is revolutionizing the pet sitting and dog walking hiring process.
More Things That JazzHR Can Do That Indeed Does Not:
See how many people view your ad
Post to more than one job board at a time with one click of a button.
You can ask people questions while they apply and knock them out if they don’t answer the correct way.
Sync your google calendar to invite them to an interview.
Store your interview guides to keep all your interview questions neatly in one place and then rank the applicants. (See the picture above)
You can track how long it takes you to hire an applicant. Is there a tipping point to when people lose interest in your job?
You can also send job offers there and they even have a feature where they can electronically sign things (think application or job offer) where it all stays virtually.
There is so much data that can drive so many of your hiring decisions and as we all grow as business owners we know how important it is to make all decisions moving forward based off the data and not our feelings.
Helpful tips and tricks for those of you who are signed up for JazzHR:
1. If you are on the Hero plan, use all three job posting slots that you have access to. Also, take their free webinar they just started offering.
2. If you are open the Pro or Plus plan… you have unlimited job postings. Use them and see which performs the best. Just make sure they aren’t the same title.
3. Job boards block the cute titles so make sure you have what you are looking for like “pet sitter” or “dog walker” and a short description like your area.
4. On the Hero plan, you have email support. They will get back to you fast. On the Plus and Pro plan, you have 2 one hour sessions to help you get set up. Use them!
5. On the Pro or Plus plan you get to choose from a big list of knockout questions I suggest. Use them 🙂
6. If you ever have any questions, just ask me. I am always here to help. Like seriously, I would be happy to go under the hood and give you my suggestions on improvement.
What Would It Mean If Your Hiring Problem Was Solved?
Today, if 2 people quit and you could just open up a program, press a button to initiate the interview process for people you already vetted…. how much less stress would you be under? How much would you now (all of a sudden) not CARE if someone quit because you already had people waiting in the wings?
It is like making Thanksgiving dinner from scratch 3 hours before the company or prepping most of the meal a few days ahead so it is stress-free the day of!
Yes, I just compared hiring to Thanksgiving dinner 🙂
Do yourself a favor and give JazzHR a fair shot. I promise you, it will really help solve a LOT of your hiring problems… if you use it right!
Disclaimer: I am a partner with JazzHR and I do get paid a small fee if you sign up… BUT as a user of Jazzhr myself, I would never recommend anything that I didn’t 100% believe in. To date, over 60 other pet sitters also believe in it and it has really helped them too. 🙂 (PS) If you click on any of the JazzHr links above you will get all the discounts and bonuses they have agreed to give to my crew.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Depositphotos_120996590_m-2015.jpg6641000Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2018-12-13 13:12:582018-12-13 14:41:37Secrets To Success on JazzHR vs. Indeed for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers
Many of you have asked for recommendations on what to use to start shooting your video. Rather than make a purchase and wonder if it is the right one, I thought I would give you the list of products I have bought and use. Enjoy!
Please Note: The links on this page are affiliate links and therefore earn me a commission. Thank you for your support.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Video-Gear.png5001500Jump Consultinghttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngJump Consulting2018-11-12 07:54:152019-03-08 13:21:48Video Gear for Pet Sitters
I’m not lying when I say that this has been one of the most exciting weeks here EVER at Jump Consulting. I have so much going on… being created for YOU that I almost feel like how am I ever going to be able to TELL YOU all about it. I am about to do my best below….
Please, tell me what you think about it all. I want to know!
Jump & Scale
Over 90 Jumpers showed up for my FREE 3-Part Jump & Scale webinar where I taught you how to write killer job postings, attract the best candidates, and hire the right people. I can’t express enough how much I loved getting to teach on this topic and (hopefully) inspire you to always keep hiring!
If you missed out, have no fear. The replays of the video will be coming today (yes, today!!) and if you missed out, you can access them right now by signing up at jumpconsulting.net/scale.
Now here’s what else is happening this week…
Better Marketing With Bella – 2 Spots Left
I’m so excited to announce that I’ve opened up 2 more spots for the wildly popular Better Marketing With Bella Program. Imagine having your marketing 100% handled for the first half of 2019. Think about all of the OTHER things you could be working on in your business. Every month you will receive videos, outlines, emails, graphics, and so much more delivered to your inbox.
This week I had the INCREDIBLE Jessika Phillips on the podcast, and I know your mind is going to be blown when you listen to this episode. We’ve talked about content marketing, social media marketing, inbound marketing and more… but this week the focus is all about relationship marketing. If you feel like you have trouble getting inside the mind of your client and really understanding what they want from YOU, then you have to listen to this episode. Check it out here.
T-Shirt Tuesdays: How To Get Consistency With Employees
This week’s T-Shirt Tuesday is brought to you by Allison Muggli of Pets Domain ATX (thanks girl!!) and we’re talking all about how to get and retain consistency with your employees. Do you feel like your employees get sick a lot, call out, or take a lot of time off? Well, you’ll want to watch this week’s 3 minute video to learn how you can put a stop to that real quick 🙂 Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/jumpconsulting/videos/340122153213926/
Bella Was Interviewed On 2 Podcasts
This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed on not one, but TWO different podcasts! I can’t tell you guys enough how fulfilling it is to share my stories with so many different audiences and inspire them. If you have a few minutes this weekend, check them out and let me know what you think. On the one with Jay, I really get into some motivating stuff…
That’s it for this week! Is there anything I can help you with? Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Always Keep Jumping,
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Happy October! It’s finally starting to feel a lot more like Fall. The leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder, and Halloween is coming up. As a business owner, this month is a total gold mine in terms of content creation. I mean, who doesn’t want to look at photos of dogs in costumes?? Let’s a take a look at a number of pet sitting October blog or video ideas that you can use this month…
4 October Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas
1. Holidays – Halloween!
As I mentioned earlier, Halloween is one of the best holidays for marketing your pet business. People absolutely love to see dogs, cats, and other furry critters dressed up in spooky costumes. Alternatively, many people aren’t aware of the dangers that chocolate and candy can pose to our fur-babies, so Halloween can be a great time for teaching. Here are some blog or video ideas around Halloween:
Should I Take My Dog Trick Or Treating With Me On Halloween?
Top 10 Spookiest Costumes For Your Dog On Halloween
What Happens If My Dog Eats Chocolate On Halloween?
How To Reduce My Dog’s Doorbell Anxiety On Halloween
The list goes on and on!
2. It’s Starting To Feel A Lot Like Fall
Weather is a great topic to write or talk about, because many pet owners are not too sure how to care for their pets when the weather changes. Since October is typically cold and windy, you can write some blogs (or make videos) educating your clients on how they can care for their pets during the Autumn Season:
What Should I Do About My Dog’s Fall Allergies?
Can Pumpkin Be Harmful For My Dog?
Is It Safe To Walk My Dog At Night?
What Should I Do If My Dog Gets Fleas/Ticks?
These are just a few ideas, but if you think on it a little while I am sure you’ll come up with more interesting questions worth answering! If you have a good question, research it and then blog about it!
3. Fall Games & Activities
If you live somewhere that’s very hot, most of you clients were likely not taking their dog outside much during the Summer. Now that it’s starting to cool off, it’s the perfect time to start getting Fido back into an exercise routine!
Try searching the Internet for games that dogs and their owners can play outside, such as hide-n-go seek with a treat. Compile a list! You can even write or talk about the best hiking trails in your area, outdoor pet-friendly cafe’s, or dog parks. The list is truly endless.
4. Don’t Forget About The Pet Educational Themes Of The Month
There are quite a few interesting topics you can talk about for October. Consider exploring one, two, or all of them if you prefer!
National Pit Bull Awareness Month: Write a blog or make a video educating about the stereotypes attached to pit bulls.
Adopt-A-Dog Month: Discuss the considerations for adopting a new dog or adding a new animal to the home.
Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month: Talk about the benefits of rescuing a shelter dog, or other ways people can help even if they can’t adopt.
National Animal Safety and Protection Month: Educate your audience about the different ways they can ensure their pets safety.
I hope these October pet sitting blog or video ideas are helpful to you and are able to give you some inspiration. If you are a pet sitting business that DOESN’T have a blog – it’s never too late to start.
If you choose to write about any of these topics – be sure to post a link to your blog in the comments section so I can read it. I want to see where your creative minds take these ideas!
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Untitled-design-33.png500500Jump Consultinghttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngJump Consulting2018-10-05 11:30:092018-10-05 11:30:094 October Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas
Hurricane Florence is heading straight for the Carolinas. As you will see from the weather report below, it is a very serious storm and one that isn’t going away for a few days. It is anticipated to stall out on the coast and have effects throughout the weekend. The right side of the hurricane is where you will see the most tornados pop up. Please listen to Meteorologist Jennifer Watson’s advice in the video below.
This post will be updated as we get new information. Please verify all data as information changes by the hour.
Pet-Friendly Shelters for Hurricane Florence
Update: Maryland Opens 2 Pet Friendly Shelters
University of Maryland College Park (Ritchie Coliseum)
West Brunswick High School. 550 Whiteville Rd. Shallotte, NC
No shelters are open in this county due to the mandatory evacuation order. People evacuating from this area are encouraged to seek shelter at Knightdale High School (100 Bryan Chalk Lane, Knightdale, NC). The shelter will open on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.
Ben Quinn Elementary (cats and dogs only, opening Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.). 4275 Martin Luther King Blvd. New Bern, NC
James Kenan High School (opening Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.). 1241 Nc 24 & 50 Hwy. Warsaw, NC
No shelters are open in this county due to the mandatory evacuation order. People evacuating from this area are encouraged to seek shelter at Knightdale High School (100 Bryan Chalk Lane, Knightdale, NC). The shelter will open on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.
The nearest pet-friendly shelter is located in Jacksonville at Jacksonville Commons Middle School (315 Commons Drive South, Jacksonville, NC). The shelter will open on Sept. 12 at 2 p.m.
Smith Middle School. 9201 Seawell School Rd. Chapel Hill, NC
CW Stanford Middle School. 308 Orange High School Rd. Hillsborough, NC
Pamlico Community College (pets with current proof of rabies vaccinations only, opening Sept. 12 at 5 p.m.). 5049 Nc 306 Hwy. Grantsboro, NC
Burgaw Middle School. 500 S. Wright St. Burgaw, NC
Cane Bay High School. 1624 State Rd. Summerville, SC
DuBose Middle School (opening Sept. 11 at noon). 1005 DuBose School Rd. Summerville, SC
DuBose Middle School (opening Sept. 11 at noon). 1005 DuBose School Rd. Summerville, SC
Blenheim Elementary/Middle School (pets will be provided a separate area of the shelter but must be kept in a carrier, opening Sept. 11 at 2 p.m.). 143 Highland St. Blenheim, SC
FEMA:As of Monday evening, the emergency agency had positioned more than 80,000 liters of water, 402,000 meals, 1,200 cots and 34 generators at Fort Bragg near Fayetteville, North Carolina.
FEMA: Both Fort Bragg and North Field Air Base near Columbia, South Carolina, are serving as “incident support bases” to distribute more supplies, including meals, water, blankets when needed. And FEMA teams have been sent to both states where they will serve as “rapidly deployable assets, with expertise in operations, logistics, planning, and recovery.”
Advice for Pet Lovers from Meteorologist Jennifer Watson:
Current radar shows as of Tuesday Sept 11 2019 2pm EST
Information has been compiled for you by Bella Vasta a pet business consultant. If you are a pet business owner, join her free Facebook group for a community of pet business owners looking to grow their businesses
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This is what happened August 17-19th in Paradise Arizona when 10 pet sitters got together…
$5,100,000.00 in revenue. 168 employees. Almost 20 office managers from the USA and Canada.
It all started on a challenge.
I was sitting in Chris Ducker’s workshop at Social Media Marketing World and he was talking about how consultants build their business. There was just one element that I was completely missing, and that was a live event.
I immediately was filled with negative thoughts… “no one would come to this” and “I would have to charge a LOT of money if I really wanted this to be a legit and high-class experience… ” so I put my feelers out there.
Wouldn’t you know I got greeted with EXCITEMENT and a “sign me up” before I even had a landing page created? That checked my thoughts real quick and I set out to make this thought a reality. I even recorded this video to share my excitement…
I was excited to say the least.
So I got to thinking about how I could make this an incredible experience where hearts would change.
Hearts would change. That was important to me as I know that face to face can be magical. I wanted people to come together, not just know, but FEEL that they weren’t alone in this world, and form bonds that would supersede this weekend.
And it happened.
When we left each other this weekend, I was holding back tears each time one of the gal’s Uber would pull up.
And I wasn’t the only one.
Each one who left, it was like a new BFF was leaving me. Nicole, from Miami Pet Concierge, was the “worst.” She gave this heartfelt speech and singled out what she admired about so many fellow roommates that we all teared up.
“Jump into Paradise allowed me to spend quality time with like-minded, brilliant, and inspiring business women which is hard to come by. I left this weekend feeling supported, challenged, and most importantly understood. I learned valuable information from our keynote speakers and from our group sessions that I will now incorporate into my own business. From sectioning my service areas into territories, HR tools, and tactics, and simple things about communication amongst my staff; this was a very valuable weekend for me both professionally and personally.”
I arranged for some pretty powerful women to come into the house and chat with us. First, we started with getting our vision aligned and understanding if we were operating from the zone of genius or excellence.
Carey Conley put us through an exercise that had a few of us emotional and really thinking of what we learned throughout the rest of the weekend.
It really helped bring some serious perspective to why we are doing what we wanted from our life and business. Who doesn’t need a little reminder every now and again?
We also had Brandy Lawson come in and talk to us all about how to use messaging to solve the biggest problems in our business. Guess what they came down to? Getting more clients and getting more staff.
It was unique the way she was able to break it down for us in such a way that showed us all how we can easily solve them everywhere we are online.
She even took the time to go through every single person’s front page of the website and give actionable pointers of how to make it better going forward.
Brandy was a wealth of knowledge so much that one of our members requested a 1:1 meeting with her before they left on their plane ride home.
We also invited Niki Ramirez to the Retreat and she spent four hours going over coaching, termination, and role-playing scenarios with us. She was so gracious with her time spending longer than originally planned and no question unanswered.
The most powerful part of this session was when I could see light bulbs going off over their heads. Niki actually brought 7 case studies of actual pet sitters scenarios she has helped with that we worked through. We were collectively problem-solving situations that would normally be emotional and overwhelming and creating plans of execution for when it happens.
Termination is inevitable if you don’t want to be “a slave to your business” as Niki says.
Our speakers were just incredible!
“It was an incredible experience to learn more to help the business I work for to Excell and get to meet other powerful and just as incredible ladies as well. To hear their stories and ideas. An opportunity of a life that I’m glad I didn’t miss.”
One of the best assets in the house we were in was this really long table. We could fit all of us around it and had the best discussions. We went around and shared a bunch of objections and learned how everyone handled the rebuttals.
We talked about the different ways people were running their local community Facebook groups. We talked about the different internal structures of management and it was so exciting to see all of the contrasts.
Sure, it is something we occasionally talk about in the Mastermind but to have everyone face to face learning and interacting was powerful! It was casual and not stuffy or highly structured that if someone needed to be on the phone, or go to the bathroom, or grab more food or drink, we could get up and go. It was so much nicer than being trapped in a conference room!
I have never learned so much in one weekend and stayed in my PJs. So many amazing women, and so many surprises. People are not always what you think. Again learned again you cannot always judge a book by its cover. If you have 0 or a 100 employees or did not matter. So much love and support.
Rest assured these sessions didn’t only happen during the day inside the house. The beautiful negative edge pool also lent a great atmosphere for us to circle up. We talked about everything and were so passionate, we even passed around the blow-up cactus as our “talking stick” *smile*
The Experience of Jump Into Paradise
There is a lot of magic that gets to happen when you are all together in a house. First, the talented Katie Westerfield etched us all these INCREDIBLE glasses that had our name and the Paradise logo on them. Everyone was shocked, and can I say – no one lost their cup 🙂 As Betheny Green said, “we all have our adult sippy cups!”
Everyone had their own surprise on their bed with tripods, battery chargers commemorative Tshirts and more…
We had our own private chef come on Saturday and Sunday morning who made us all our own omelets and some of the best potatoes and bacon we all ever ate. She also brought us fruit and pastries and it was just… yummy!
Chef Darlene has cooked for Oprah!
We also had Jenny Rojas come and we did Yoga on Saturday morning… in the Master bedroom because all 12 of us and our yoga mats could fit in there. It was incredible! It was a neat experience as we had some yoga professionals and novices in the room but she seemed to appeal to all of us. A great feat for sure!
The master bedroom was so big that all 12 of us fit in there!
At night time, our “driver” my incredible husband who played along drove the van we rented so we could all enjoy the ride together to and from some great places in Scottsdale. We enjoyed great meals…. and probably had so much food from the catered lunches left over in the house that we didn’t really need to actually GO out to eat – but it was all about the experience. 🙂
The Connections Were Made…and Will Happen Again:
The entire experience was something that none of us will ever forget. I think Maureen Dunn McCarthy from Love and Kisses Pet Sitting said it best:
” I enjoyed my weekend with other likeminded pet business owners. We shared in larger groups together and also grouped into smaller intimate groups to share our business structures and ideas. It was such a great feeling to know that you are not in this business alone. I went to this event to get a better connection with these ladies that I now call my friends and I left with more than a business connection I left with my heart full of love knowing that we are all in this together and can reach out to one another whenever needed.”
Before it even started members were asking to do it again and as we all said a teary eyed goodbye, we vowed to do it again. So… July 26th to 28th 2019 we WILL be doing it again. It will be in an Estate or Mansion again (no hotel) and there will be limited beds.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.png00Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2018-08-24 14:56:352018-08-24 17:23:36What Happens In Paradise..... A Recap Of The First Ever Pet Sitter Retreat
Pet Business 4th Quarter Marketing Workshop
LIVE, in person, Philadelphia, PA
Friday September 28, 2018
1-4 pm William Way LGBT Community Center
1315 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Do you always feel overwhelmed when the holidays come because your Marketing is….ummm, lacking?
Have You Ever Felt This Way Around The Holidays?
1. Realized the week of Christmas:Shoot! I should throw up an image of a pet at Christmas. Make it look like I got my act together! Or maybe you thought I should have had my act together and sent out an email reminding people to book for the holidays….
2. Maybe you have seen another business rocking the holiday messaging and shared their image to try to piggy back on their marketing?
…….Or be honest! You have been a little jealous because you wish YOU thought of that idea so you take a screenshot and vowed that NEXT YEAR – I WILL GET THIS RIGHT! (but you really don’t) 3. Maybe you are just tired? It is cold and grey outside! You are so sick of schlepping in and out of your house peeling all your layers on and off and the last thing you want to do AFTER you warm up from this frigid New England weather is to actually try to be creative and plan ahead for this holiday marketing….
Not to mention there are enough other people pulling at you like your family and DANG this weather is COLD.
……..(insert the ‘I’m too busy’ and the ‘I’m not good enough’ self-tapes here)
But Do You Know…
Holiday marketing is one of the BEST opportunities you have to invest in your business.
1. Every 12 months the holiday season comes! (So you can use it again and again) 2. People are feeling happy, cheery, and will always love pets. Just think…… YOUR marketing could be something that a cold, exhausted, and depressed business owner shares on social media! (which used to be you…see above *wink*) 3. Producing holiday-themed marketing shows your business is fresh, plans ahead, and on top of things! This makes people LIKE you and want to TRUST you because you appear to have it all together.
The Holiday Season Creates A Unique Opportunity Unlike Any Other Time Of The Year!
You can connect and/or create relationships with other businesses in your community.
Offers you a unique message that typically is newsworthy.
Gives you an excuse to expose your brand through thoughtful and helpful messages
The 4th Quarter Holidays Are Bountiful And Include:
Halloween Veteran’s Day Thanksgiving Hanukkah Christmas New Years
Bella is Coming to Philadelphia…
She wants to give you a one on one, face to face dose of holiday cheer and get your entire fourth quarter marketing in gear… IN SEPTEMBER!
This will give you plenty of time to take what you learn (and create!) from the workshop and execute when you arrive home because you will be three months ahead of schedule.
Imagine how that would FEEL? 🙂
You could get busy cooking with the kiddos in the kitchen for the holiday season rather than being chained to your digital device!
Let this year be the year that you can rock your marketing all the way around the Christmas Tree in 2018…. And 2019, and 2020, and, well, you get it…
Join Bella In Philadelphia:
William Way Community Center
1315 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107 Friday September 28, 2018
1-4 pm William Way LGBT Community Center
1315 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
The Setting & Experience:
A private community room is awaiting you. This will be an intimate small group of pet business owners (less than 30) from all over the east coast for a three-hour workshop.
It isn’t a lecture.
It isn’t a class.
IT IS A WORKSHOP! 🙂
It is an environment where you will want to bring your laptop or tablet and we will have brainstorms, tactical, and creating materials as Bella go around and helps you one on one.
You will receive a packet both printed out and in digital form so you can follow along and have all the resources at your fingertips. You will leave with concrete, actionable items that you can use immediately.
Feel The Energy! You will feel the energy as you feed off each other talking about the exact market that you all have experience with……
THE EAST COAST.
The entire group will have a lot in common and really become a think tank for each other. Everyone is in the same climate, located in the “wicked” awesome east coast, you have experienced ice skating on lakes, skiing up in New Hampshire, and all the snow, ice, festivities, and cold climate content you can handle!
Who knows? You might even make a new friend! 🙂 Hear what Lynn had to say after just one hour with Bella in a workshop…
You Will Leave This Workshop With:
1. CONTENT: Your online content planned for Oct, Nov, and Dec. Honestly, when have you EVER sat down and created a full-blown plan for this? 2. NETWORK: Know exactly how to network with businesses in your area so you can leverage relationships by working together to make a big splash in your community. The Boston workshop created their own Facebook page after the workshop! 3. CAMPAIGN: A 4th quarter marketing campaign to designed to connect your business to your community. (Three Hours with Bella Coaching $825) 4. EVENT: Excitement because you finally understand how to have a successful event where your business is center of attention and gets all the publicity. This same exact knowledge can be applied to endless events beyond just October, November, and December. Bella will teach you all the elements you need to make it a success, even her Amazon shopping lists where it applies. (Howling Event Class value $69.00) 5. SCHEDULE: A plan for all your offline marketing BEFORE the busy holiday season and leave with some of it already scheduled. Bella will lay the steps to create a marketing plan out so you can see how easy the process is to do so you can do it all year round. 6. MEDIA PITCH: Leave with a pitch prepared to send off to local media outlets to get your business featured in the news, the local paper, radio, a local blog, or magazine. Just imagine how much exposure this could bring you. (This is HUGE….. when you get a feature you now have bragging rights for “as seen on ABC, CBS, NBC, or in The Boston Globe….)
None of this will be too technical or rocket science.
Bella Will Be There To…
Teach you, show you, and work ON things with you that day right on your laptop. You are going to have Bella, an expert pet business and pet business marketeer, looking over your shoulder at your laptop or tablet helping you 1:1 create your Master holiday plan that you can use again and again.
Howling Event Class Download
Handouts to follow along
Only $227.00 to secure your seat now.
Due to the size of the venue, and Bella’s desire to help each individual, seats are very limited.
Can I bring my office manager or members of my staff? Yes, although due to limited space, you will have to purchase multiple tickets. Contact Bella for more information: email@example.com Can I have my office manager go instead of me? Sure! Will this be helpful to solopreneurs? Of course! In fact, it will help take the stress, guilt, and creative brainstorming off your mind and enable you to knock out your holiday marketing knowing that you can reuse it again and again. Will I leave with anything finished? If you listen to what I will be presenting and actually do the WORK in the WORKshop then yes, there is no reason why you can’t leave with some things already ready to go! Will Bella help me brainstorm what I can do in my local town? 100% yes. Will there be food served? Food will not be provided. Do I need to know anything technical for this class to be useful? If you can log into Facebook, you are good to go!
Is this going to be any different than online? One thousand percent YES. Anyone that has seen Bella live has said there is some energy and motivation that they walk away with. There is nothing that can ever be mistaken for when you can actually work one on one with someone. Bella talks fast… how will I follow along? Bella is going to be providing handouts to follow along with throughout the workshop. Don’t worry, you will be able to keep up and (hopefully) have a three-month content calendar by the time you leave!
Tickets are non-refundable but they are transferable.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Depositphotos_130668702_m-2015.jpg6671000Jump Consultinghttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngJump Consulting2018-08-21 12:42:502018-08-22 13:36:004th Quarter Marketing Workshop in Philadelphia!
What if I told you that you are not a superhero? That you cannot save the world because we all have to save ourselves first?
I know it sounds strange to say. But it’s true! As pet sitters, we are always wanting to serve others from our pets, our clients, and of course, our families. This desire to serve others often leads to us putting ourselves last…
But that lifestyle is only sustainable for so long.
3 Reasons Why Pet Sitters Are Not Superheroes
We Have To Take Care Of Ourselves So We Can Take Better Care Of Others:
Take a step back for a second and ask yourself the following questions:
On an average day, how many meals are you eating at home?
Are you mostly preparing “on-the-go” meals?
How many meals are you preparing at home to take with you versus eating out?
How many drive-throughs are you going through in a day, week, or month?
Are you even eating enough (a.k.a eating BEFORE 5:00 PM!)
Do you suffer from having extra weight on your body that you really don’t want to have?
When we look at our lifestyles objectively, our choices will either shorten or elongate our lives. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to take care of ourselves first.
Plus, in my experience, the food I eat drastically affects my brain function and my ability to interact during the day. It affects how effectively I’m able to interact with myself and the people around me.
The bottom line? Take care of yourself. That is the #1 way we can make sure that we are our best selves for others!
We Don’t Always Maintain The Best Relationships With Our Loved Ones:
I want you to ask yourself how many movies, dinners, barbeques, lunches, pedicures, hikes, etc. you’ve missed out on because you’re working? What about birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and the big one – holidays?
Maybe you’ve even gotten to the point where the people in your life are literally conditioned to think that you’re never available, so what’s the point of inviting you?
It’s a downward spiral that is too easy to fall into. We are so focused on growing our businesses, making our clients happy, and reaching that next milestone that we forget about the little (but important) things in life.
I don’t want you to have to live your lives like that, and I can pretty safely say that you probably didn’t start a business to not have a life! In fact, so many people start a business so they CAN have a life. They don’t want the corporate 9:00 – 5:00 lifestyle, but instead, want that time to spend with their husband and kids.
I am officially giving you permission to take your life back. You are allowed to say NO.
There is a real danger that happens when we don’t eat right, when we don’t take care of our bodies, and when we don’t have relationships that matter in our lives. We get burned out, depressed, and negative. Life starts to feel like a frying pan hit you in the face. You feel tired, and those things you used to enjoy, you just don’t anymore.
I’ve been there. Sometimes I am STILL there. But my job is to give you that inspiration and motivation to realize that you are not a superman or superwoman – until you take care of yourself first! And yes, that means taking care of your relationships first too.
Sometimes We Put Ourselves In Danger
Don’t put yourself in danger anymore. Please.
Don’t take it upon yourself to take on that dog client that’s growling and snapping at you (unless you are a dog behavior expert!). Do not come in and try to save the day. It isn’t worth it. These scenarios are exactly how people get bit or otherwise severely injured.
Know when to say no. Know that we cannot, unfortunately, take on every single client that gives you a call or sends you an email. If you do, accidents WILL happen.
I want to encourage you that even though you are not a superhero, it is okay not to be a superhero! If you are feeling alone in this industry (or even in this world), I want you to reach out to me. Use me as a resource.
I have an amazing Mastermind group with over 60 pet sitters where we talk about how it is okay not to be okay. We talk about how to support each other. Some of us are moving at full speed, while others are in cruise control. It’s great to be growing, but sometimes it’s also great to NOT be growing!
If you feel you are the same place you’ve been for 6 months, 12 months, or even YEARS, something has got to change. I can help you get there.
Let’s give you back that light inside of you, so you can shine it out to your communities.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Untitled-design-22.png500500Jump Consultinghttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngJump Consulting2018-07-17 20:00:532018-07-18 00:42:183 Reasons Why Dog Walkers Need A Break
As our industry grows, we are no longer in the infancy stage. In 2018 the industry is expected to earn 72 billion dollars with 6 billion being in the pet services sector. Pet sitting companies that were once run my mom and pop now are full-fledged business needing to hire a manager to help run the entire operation.
You are reading this because you too need to hire an office manager for your pet sitting or dog walking business but face the challenge of so many questions. Today, I am going to answer them all in the most comprehensive blog post to get your tail wagging!
Can I Even Afford To Hire A Manager?
Obviously, I am not sitting next to you right now, looking over your financials so what I will say is this: Can you afford not to? Do you think that your business can keep growing with you doing all the scheduling, bookings, charging, social media, public events, triaging client and staff problems?
Wouldn’t you like to take a nap in the middle of the day? Have regular family dinners at home at a sensible hour? Not feel like you are running ragged all day and night?
The answer to this question is only one that you can answer, but I would venture to say that if you are reading this now, we can find a way. Most pet sitting and dog walking office managers make between $10-$15 an hour.
This is how I encourage lots of my clients to start. I tell them to start handing the business over on Friday through Monday because those are the days where you typically have minimal calls and volume. It is a great way to start off. This will also help you (and them) gain confidence in the position. Some businesses pay by the hour, while others pay per the day because the volume is so unpredictable.
This would be a full-fledged M-F gig where you pay someone by the hour and let them do it all. It could mean 30 hours a week or more and they would be your right-hand person and the first line of defense. Sort of like a gatekeeper. Some businesses pay a flat salary, while others pay by the hour.
How Do I Train An Office Manager?
When you hire a manager it is going to be a big learning curve for you, the business owner, who does this every day. There is a good amount of prep work that you will have to do and that would include creating an office manager manual where you write down all the systems and procedures that you do in your business.
I have a great system that I have shared on video inside the Jump Mastermind that has delivered great success to many businesses. This can often be the toughest part of the task because we tend to get long-winded and either over or under explain what needs to happen. It is important that you have a system in place to test your instructions.
How Do I Know If The Office Manager Does A Good Job?
One of the most common mistakes I see people make is being a micromanager. Or, as one of my friends call it a “helicopter CEO” You don’t ever want to be like this because it will not create a long-lasting relationship with that manager. They will think you don’t trust them and quit.
Rather, consider systems that help promote smooth back end workings. For example, I have a great video inside the Jump Mastermind that shows you a google spreadsheet that tracks all the calls and emails that come in from new clients. From this small sheet that takes 30 seconds to fill out, the office manager and the business owner are able to be on the same page.
No phone calls required. At any moment both the manager and the business owner can see who has called, what the outcome was, and even what the close rate is. After all, you will want the manager you hire to have a BETTER close rate than you already do.
What Do I Do When A Manager Doesn’t Do A Good Job?
Here is a fact:
At some point during the relationship with your manager, something will fail where they, or you, fall short of expectations. It is important to acknowledge that this will happen so you aren’t blindsided when it does.
How you handle it makes all the difference in the world.
First, examine if it is a people or process problem. Was the process there and the person just didn’t follow it? Or was there no process there and they were clueless about how to proceed? Once you can identify this, rectifying it all will be easier to maneuver. There is a big difference between a system and a process so narrow down which it might be and tackle that first.
Your mindset will also help you during these failed attempts, only if you let it. Embrace the messy and look at it as an opportunity to make your business better by learning from what happened. Failures with a good attitude are the indication of a successful CEO 🙂
No one ever said that if you walked through the wrong door that you couldn’t just turn around and walk right back through it! 🙂
Where Do I Find An Office Manager?
I wish I could tell you that there is a spot where all the qualified applicants hang out, but I can’t. I can say I have had clients with great luck on Indeed, Craigslist, and through my partner, JazzHr which basically posts on 15 job boards for you and helps weed the applicants out so you are only left with the creme de la creme!
I would also consider hiring from within because they already know your business.
Whoever you decide to hire, they need to have strong communication and organizational skills. I would consider putting them through the Orion test and a background check and making sure that all your processes were running smoothly before bringing anyone else on board.
Hiring An Office Manager Was The Worst Thing I Ever Did
Said no one ever.
You might not knock it out of the park the first time, but you will eventually. Who knows? Maybe it will be love at first sights and it just works? Like any relationship, this one takes time. It takes a lot of understanding about how to delegate, give instructions, and then fall on your own sword when maybe you didn’t give great enough instructions. Being a boss is tough. It isn’t all glamorous but having an office manager is the one thing that will really help take your business to the next level. It will take things off your desk and give you room to breathe (first), and then work on growing your business.
If you need a group of people around you to support this endeavor consider joining the Mastermind. To date, I believe there have been at least 12 office managers hired… so far. So you would be in great company!
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Depositphotos_119704484_m-2015.jpg6671000Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2018-07-03 08:18:282018-07-03 08:18:28How To Hire A Manager For Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business
People wanted to feel closer to one another where they could bond and really know exactly who was in the group.
This sort of closeness transforms businesses because when people can feel free to share openly and honestly without fear, true business and personal growth happen.
I see it all the time.
The Problem I Needed To Solve For Pet Sitters:
People would direct messaging me explaining that they wish they could share in the free group but they didn’t feel comfortable because: …they didn’t know who was reading. …they didn’t know if it was going to be screenshot and publicized. …they didn’t want to be judged. ….they were afraid what others would think.
Plus they really wanted to build their business and wanted to know how and not just in one post. They needed someone to help hold them accountable. They were hungry and ready to work.
They were also ready to invest in their own success.
They knew that the free groups, while sometimes good, only gets you so far. They knew that in order to be in an elite community where people are showing up and are caring about one another’s success, pushing together, that they would have to invest their time and money.
When this investment happens a lot of the bickering, drama, and failure to follow through on tasks or goals goes away.
When I decided to launch the Jump Mastermind group, I knew I needed to take my own advice and:
Defining My Audience Was A Must.
I also realized that people joining would want to know that “hey these are my people!” I know they would want to feel comfortable sharing, know that others had the same type of business and it would feel so comfortable
…almost like a family.
I didn’t want it to be a free for all where just anyone with a bank account could join.
I settled on $50K thinking that by this time, one would already have a website, clients, and are up and running. They also might be on the verge of having staff and just need that support.
Or they might already have staff?
I needed to set the bar at a qualification where we didn’t just get watered down with a bunch of Wag and Rover sitters. I also didn’t want a bunch of people who were constantly spinning their wheels “too busy” to make any progress.
But I have to be honest with you.
I actually had some really incredible people who are making things happen in their own business who haven’t yet reached this $50K threshold.
Their value wasn’t defined by their revenue.
It was actually defined by their mindset.
I have come to realize that mindset and participation is actually more important and any dollar number.
But Bella Doesn’t Care About Small Business…
It has been tough taking this type of stance with the Jump Mastermind. I have been told, “Bella doesn’t care about small businesses” which really couldn’t be further from the truth. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have 350 blogs and 200 videos free to the world!
I have also been bad-mouthed inside some ‘not so secret’ Facebook groups. For posting videos and blogs on my own Jump Consulting facebook page and saying things like “If you aren’t growing, then your dying!”
It hurts to read these things, but then I remember these aren’t my people. They aren’t the type of people who have been flooding the Jump Mastermind.
I learned a lesson.
The very reason I set out to define who is right for this Mastermind was glaring back at me as my loyal friends sent me screenshot after screenshot of the Bella Bashing that was taking place.
The lesson was mindset.
Mindset is the most important thing to ALL business success so it should be a cornerstone of the Jump Mastermind.
Additionally, I realized that I have an enormous responsibility to the group, or the “Jumpers” as some of them lovingly call each other, to make sure that the quality of people in this group stays at the cream of the crop!
To make sure that people who would write things like the above never end up in the group.
Side note: To the point of the screenshot above…I would never, ever, try to convince anyone to become a member. The group isn’t about that. It is like working out. I can’t make you work out. You have to WANT to do it! 😉
I Learned, Not Everyone Is The Right Fit And $50K Isn’t The Barrier:
It is the right mindset. Mindset is everything.
One of my favorite mentors says to write and talk about who is NOT a good fit for what you’re doing, and thanks to this interaction I have 3 ways detailed below.
3 Ways To Know Who Is Not Right For The Jump Mastermind
1. Those That Don’t Want to Grow:
If you aren’t growing, you are dying.
It is literally a science.
You can’t change that.
Also, you really become the people you hang around. Have you ever asked yourself and took inventory of who are you spending your time with?
As pet sitters and dog walkers, it is TOUGH. We are either around pets all day or alone!
Have you thought about how intentional or unintentional you are about who you surround yourself with? Are they pouring into you or sucking you dry?
Any successful person I know has always been surrounded by people of the same mindset pushing them to be better.
And the clincher?
They typically meet with them on a regular basis.
2. Those That Don’t Want to be Challenged:
This is a really tough one.
As business owners, we spend a lot of our days pouring our heart and soul into our businesses. When someone challenges they way we do things or encourages us to change our methods to go out of our comfort zone, it’s tough to receive!
It is even tough for me.
I just put my website out into the Jump Mastermind a few weeks ago and told them to rip it apart! Afterall, they are my target audience. Naturally, the struggle is real to not react and be defensive when we hear something we don’t like. It is a real human reaction many of us have when we are told to change.
They are why I have made recent changes to my own website and for that I am grateful.
A Mastermind conditions you to take it easy. Consider others ideas and think about solutions that you might not have thought about the first time around. It is literally the ‘group think’ and it helps members become better and better each month.
3. Those Who Are “Too Busy”
I tell my coaching clients to replace the words, “I’m too busy” with “It isn’t a priority” because that is really what it means.
We make time in our life for things that are a priority.
If someone isn’t willing to make the time in their life to participate in the group then they won’t be a good fit. They won’t get anything from the group and they probably won’t give anything to the group.
Granted we all have seasons in life. Sometimes we are in growth mode, sometimes we are in maintaining mode. To know which you are in is powerful.
Remember that bonding I told you about? Two local meet ups have already happened in the three months that the Jump Mastermind has been happening. People are connecting so much online that they are meeting up IRL (In Real Life) and learning to care and share on such a deeper level.
Want to know the clincher? These people were IN the free facebook groups, and never got together until the bond they formed in the Mastermind inspired them to.
Pretty powerful, huh?
So Where Does That Leave Us?
Well if you have read this entire thing you are either in one of two camps.
Camp #1: You disagree with this entire article. It might have even upset you. In that case, that’s okay. You have every right to feel the way you do. Let’s just be happy that I have taken the time to spell it out and you know for certain this Jump Mastermind isn’t right for you.
Honestly, it’s no problem for me, as I hope it isn’t for you!
Life is too short.
Camp #2: You are already scanning the page for “where can I sign up?” Thinking YES I need a group of people who GET me, who are DOERS and not complainers, and who will SHOW UP for me. If that is you, you need to go here and sign up.
It is tough for me to express in words how much of an imapct this Jump Mastermind has had on so many businesses and personal lives. The privledge of being able to lead this, to spend my time pouring into many people and have them supporting my goal of influencing lives and busineses has been nothing short of overwhelming. So I am just going to let them do the talking for me. Don’t take my word for it. Hear what they have to say below.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Depositphotos_22420341_m-2015.jpg6671000Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2018-03-28 06:00:582018-03-28 07:48:23The Journey Of Discovering The Right Person For The Jump Mastermind Group
One of the most popular questions I have gotten since launching the Jump Mastermind group is what is the difference between the Mastermind and a Facebook group? It is a valid question that requires a lot of explanation because the difference is vast.
One can almost compare it to a cross-country trip from California to Boston. The Facebook group is hitchhiking across the country with no money to reach Boston. With the Mastermind people are flying in a comfy private jet, saving time, comfortable, safe, and well fed.
Here is what I mean:
The Problems With Facebook Groups To Grow Your Business
Fact is, they all have unique formats. When joining a group I suggest you pay attention to:
the screening process
the numbers of moderators
who it is led by
if there are free resources
the focus or subject matter
the number of people admitted and their involvement
the overall tone of the group.
All of these factors greatly influence the success of a Facebook group.
When a Facebook group has no format and people just post about whatever they feel at the time it can get quite messy. One day you are talking about starting a business and the next day you are talking about expanding from 25 to 30 employees.
Some formats I have seen:
Centered around a products or service
Messages of the day like “welcome new members” or “post your url and business below” or “Tech Tuesday” posts… those get stale after a few weeks. This format tends to become robotic and dry.
Theme related where they are laser-focused only on one thing.
A curator of other people’s content.
2. Facebook Groups Can Give Bad Advice
The larger a group becomes, the tougher they are to manage and members could run the risk of getting bad advice simply because there are too many posts and comments for the moderator to sift through.
This could be so detrimental to the member’s business.
I have actually witnessed someone who has been failing miserable trying to get their pet sitting company off the ground for 18 months, generating only $1500 a month…. actually giving advice to a $100K + company on how to hire more staff.
Jaw dropping part? They were talking their advice!
The advice or guidance in a Facebook group isn’t always vetted and bad information or advice or ideas could be perpetuated. You have to be certain who the person is that you are taking advice from.
I feel this can bring the entire industry to its knees and I see it happen more and more frequently.
It is important to know who you are allowing in your mind and business.
“Before you join a Mastermind Group be prepared to commit and be transparent. This means committing to work on your goals and being transparent about where you are currently and where you want to be.” –Katie Casell
3. Facebook Groups Hardly Have Any Follow-Up With Its Members
When someone gives advice, there must be some sort of follow up or accountability that the advice worked or didn’t work.
Was it good advice?
Alternatively, the person who is receiving the advice, did they follow through? If they didn’t, did the person who just spent all the time giving their time and energy to helping this person essentially “waste” that time?
These days, we waste so much time doing things that don’t move our business forward. One really needs to consider if pouring into someone else’s problem online in a Facebook group is really worth their time? Are they just wasting their time giving their endless opinions?
I know some are.
Worse off, some facebook groups allow people to delete their comments or threads. Not only does that hurt the integrity of the group but it also negates all the time the posters took to reply. If there is no follow up, this can really hurt the core of the group.
4. Who Is Hiding In The Shadows?
Sometimes these Facebook groups are so big that you don’t know who is a member.
You don’t know if there is your competition stealing secrets. Everyone has this false sense of security that it is private, and it is actually laughable!
Do you know that right now… I have a fake profile that is in almost every single pet business Facebook group? It would be like finding a needle in a haystack to find this profile and anyone can do it. Who is lurking in your facebook group right now?
Stealing your secret’s, screenshotting your vulnerable moments or ranting moments when you are complaining about an employee or client?
True Story Of A Pet Sitter Lurking In Shaddows To Hurt Another:
I once heard of a person complaining about an employee and another pet sitter in the group who knew this employee took a screenshot and sent it to the employee. Let’s just say it was a big mess. There is such a false sense of security in these Facebook groups and no one could possibly have the control or intimacy when you get into hundreds of people or even thousands.
The Positives to Facebook Groups:
It is only right to mention the many great things that Facebook groups have done. Lots of long-lasting relationships have been formed. Heck, it is how I have met many of you through my own free groups:
Sometimes people have even met up offline at individual meetings, networking groups, or conferences. Lots of resources have been shared to help with things like payroll, credit cards, software systems, and more. Facebook groups can be a real asset but it takes a lot of work, sifting through all the content, opinions of everyone, and time spent scrolling and replying. But this does take a lot of time for these bonds and trust to form.
Here is How Masterminds Are Different Than Facebook Groups
Even though some Masterminds are on Facebook, the format in which they are run, the selection process of members, the topics, and the leadership will drastically change the effect they have on your business. I already discussed in great depth why you should join a mastermind and all the benefits you will bring to a business but it is also important not to think they could just be “another facebook group” and here is why:
Mastermind Groups Have Accountability:
Unlike the traditional facebook group, members and leadership will follow up with you.
Hey, how did that problem you were trying to solve pan out? Did you follow through with your action plan?
Asking about how did that problem you were trying to solve pan out and following up with the person why gave you the advice is very common. This adds an element of accountability that needs to exist to maintain the integrity of the group.
Ways Groups Can Hold You Accountable:
Have your own file with goals that the members and leaders will check in on you.
Spreadsheet of goal tracking.
Group meetings you will be asked specifically, how you are doing with your goals or “did you accomplish that one thing.”
Follow up on conversations and close the loop that was left open
You can no longer say you are going to do things – you have an entire Tribe of people holding you accountable and not letting you forget.
Squirrel Moments Are Eliminated
One of the toughest thing as an entrepreneur is keeping those “squirrel” moments down to a minimum. A mastermind helps give you that focus. In a typical Facebook group no one is asking you “How are you spending your time?”
In Facebook Mastermind Groups you could actually post a video or picture showing that you are getting your goals completed. There is the ability to get real personal about what you are doing, how you are doing it, and when you are doing it. This only helps the group bond.
Here is an example of how a Facebook Mastermind Group helps keep members on task:
You know that day where you have two hours alone at the coffee shop? Typically you could blow those two hours and have no idea what you did. You were on Facebook about 6 times reading, responding, and sharing with your friends and groups that don’t really matter or pour into you. Then you were on email about 8 times because you kept getting distracted. Then you also were working on a blog article in another tab…. catch my drift?
If you had a Facebook Group Mastermind backing you up, you would have “homework” to do. You want to come to your next meeting or post in the group saying that you accomplished what you said you would.
Maybe even share a picture or video which helps others get to know you and bond more!
All of a sudden busy work on Facebook becomes less important, those emails get checked once instead of 8 times. You crank through that blog and get focused because you don’t want to let the group (and yourself) down.
In the pet sitter Mastermind group we have going, we actually paired up with accountability partners and nightly they were checking in on each other. The relationships formed and the energy everyone found their business was magical.
Mastermind Groups Have Valuable Topics:
When Mastermind groups get together there is an agenda with a strict timeline for each activity. There is sometimes a topic that everyone weighs in on or a member that they circle around to help focus on something in their business. The group stays on topic with the leadership’s guidance and that allows the group to be incredibly productive.
This doesn’t happen in a typical facebook group. It is a free for all with no rhythm to posts being published or guidance.
In a Mastermind facebook group, Monday through Friday you are getting daily inspiration, teachings, and motivation.
Topics are great to help hold a timeline too. In the Jump Mastermind group we have a new topic each month. In January, it was goals. I know it doesn’t sound sexy, …. but it was thrilling for so many members! We had experts on vision come in, we did exercises together, we learned the difference between to-do lists and goals and we practiced self-discipline and focus. The results were incredible (just watch Sarah’s video above!) . People were learning from one another. They felt comfortable in knowing they weren’t the only one who struggled with the same types of things. The results were eye-opening. I have an entire list of 35+ things that were done in a week and here are just the first ten:
Set up Calendly and invited candidates to interviews
Finished quiz for manuals and downloaded dog behavior manual for printing
Completed a module for a certification
Set up year-end review with an accountant
Rewrote 3 policies in the employee manual, counseled an employee on tardiness, reconciled check payments, posted hiring ad, and now onto reviewing and sending out invoices
Set up & scheduled blogs & social media posts for 2 months out!
Put out help wanted ad
Met with a new vet office in town
Wrote and printed interview questions
The group got focused and stayed on target and it was so beautiful to watch.
In a general Facebook group, no one cares if you get things done or not. There is no one there to hold you accountable, check in with you, and more.
In February we dove deep into everything numbers. From finding out exactly how much our business would be worth if we sold it today, how our trends can dictate our marketing, how much an average dog walk or pet sit costs our company to how to manipulate marketing and sales to achieve our fiscal goals, to understanding google analytics and so much more.
Mastermind Groups Have a Certain Size:
Size matters. *wink*
Really, how can you have an intimate feeling when you have 1000+ people in a group?
I would even argue that the larger it becomes, the more one can become lost in a sea of people like I talked about earlier.
In a small facebook mastermind group, everyone knows one another. New people are introduced to the group. Relationships form and you don’t get lost with who said what?
You are able to go deep with people and the time between interactions with one another is short. In a large group, this can’t happen.
Part of being in a mastermind is allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Small groups allow this to happen when you know who is watching.
Mastermind Groups Have A Screening Process:
Not just anyone can join a mastermind group. Some Facebook groups only require you to say you have a business, or an email, be of a certain gender, or subscribe to a certain pastime and BOOM! You are a member.
A Facebook Mastermind Group is different. The members are often screened in such a way that they have to meet the requirements and there might even be a cost associated. In the pet sitter mastermind I run, members must be making at least $50K a year and be willing to show up and work on their business. Participation is mandatory.
The Real Difference Between Facebook Groups and Mastermind Groups For Pet Sitters:
It all comes down to what are you looking for? Are you looking for a chance where you can bond with a group of your peers, running the same type of business you are or are you okay with being a wallflower in a larger group where you can just be a fly on the wall?
Neither is the right or wrong answer.
Those who really want to make incredible strides in their business running with a Tribe of people who know you intimately and got your back is where the magic happens.
You are the sum of the 5 people you hang around the most with.
Who are your 5 people?
Did you really like this article? If you want to know more about the Jump Consulting Mastermind for pet sitters and dog walkers that have a business doing over $50K + in revenue a year than comment below or ask in one of my Facebook groups.
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Have you ever wondered if you should join a mastermind? It’s a good question for many business owners who are ready to take it to the next level and who want the extra support and guidance from people they really respect. Today, I want to dive deep taking a look at what Masterminds are, what they are not, and what you should consider before you join a mastermind. Are they all created equal? What makes some have a greater impact than others?
What is a Mastermind?
A Mastermind is a group of people that come together to help one another. Typically they have a difference of opinions, resources, and experiences which makes the group even more powerful.
It is a place where members can work through ideas, make plans, and overcome challenges with many minds at once. It is a place they can feel safe and say things they normally wouldn’t publically and in an environment where members can be challenged and vulnerable all at the same time.
If you join a mastermind you can expect to have structured meetings, strong attendance, and expectations placed on all members as a cornerstone to maintaining membership. Some masterminds meet in person weekly, others meet virtually, some meet once a quarter at different locations around the country.
A way to illustrate the mentality of a Mastermind is a gang. I know that might sound a bit harsh but think about it: They all hang together, they act as one unit, and they all influence each other’s decisions.
They also hold each other accountable.
Why Would Someone Want To Join a Mastermind?
There are endless obvious and not so obvious reasons why someone would want to join a mastermind. Sometimes it is for selfish reasons; they want to get as much from the group as possible. Sometimes it is for selfless reasons; sometimes they want to give back. Some because they just want to be apart of a bigger body that is moving.
Feel Alone in Business
Many business owners simply feel all alone. Their friends and family just don’t understand their business. They don’t have many friends on or offline that understand what they do or have the same attitude towards growth that they do.
Sometimes it just feels like we are trying to convince people that we even have a business and no one really believes us. “Oh my daughter walks dogs” is typically the way someone shows they “understand” what we do. When you join a mastermind everyone intimately understands exactly what you do.
They Have No Support
When things go good, there is rarely anyone that understands the depth of the strength it took to reach that achievement. When things are bad, it always feels like no one understands. Maybe some might pretend to understand, but in the end, all they are looking to do is tell you what they think you should have done and how wrong you really are (according to them). The people who join a mastermind tend to invite the support into their lives both good and constructive.
Again, the group think offers many opinions, resources, and advice.
Big Fish in a Small Pond
I know many business owners who are on the top of their game. They have a fresh outlook on their business, a positive mindset, and embrace failures as ways to learn. Unfortunately, not everyone is like that and sometime you will feel like you are surrounded by a bunch of people who are small fish with simple minds.
A business owner must be careful of where he or she spends their time because hanging out this crowd too long can severely hurt your business. If you join a mastermind you can be prepared to feel like a small fish in a big pond. It will offer you a chance to learn, grow, and explore the possibilities.
What Masterminds Are Not:
If you want to join a mastermind, it is important to understand what they are not. Sometimes people get masterminds confused with something else and it is important to be clear what they are not so you aren’t surprised.
They Are Not Coaching Groups
If you are expecting to get one on one coaching from the Mastermind leader, then joining a mastermind might not be right for you. It gets a little tricky here as some had a hard time finding the distinction between this group think and coaching. While you might feel like there is a little overlap, a Mastermind isn’t coaching.
When you hire a business coach you are getting to work one on one through challenges and there is often direct teachings specifically for you. The beauty of a Mastermind is learning not only when the spotlight is on you, but also when it is on others and they are learning lessons that you can directly apply to your business.
In fact, most of the learning happens when you witness others journies throughout it!
It is Not a Place To Vent
Masterminds are focused on solutions. They solve problems, together as a group. They have a positive, can do, we-believe-in-you attitude and a lot of encouragement sprinkled into everything. It is not a place to come and complain without looking for a solution. It is not a place to vent or moan and groan. When you join a Mastermind it is about overcoming your challenges and by the end, you should feel confident knowing exactly how you can move forward in conquering your obstacles.
You Can’t Be a Wallflower if You Join a Mastermind
The Mastermind will not be successful without everyone participating, and that means you! If you were at a business networking meeting, you might be able to get away with sitting at the bar and letting the room work you… but not in a Mastermind. You need to support your fellow members. You need to offer advice and encouragement and you need to show up and be on time. Afterall, that is what you want them to do for you, right?
“Be prepared to work and you will reap the benefits. What you put in is what you will get out of it.”
Alix DiLorenzo Homeward Bound
Jump Mastermind founding member
What To Expect if You Join A Mastermind
Admittedly, this concept is pretty new to the pet industry…no one is really doing any of these so I want to break it down to show you exactly what Masterminds are all about.
They are laser focused:
This means that the participants are directly out to do a certain goal or task. Each group might achieve this differently.
I am in a Mastermind with under five people. This masterminds task is to put one person in the hot seat at our weekly meeting and we all help that one person figure out a challenge, create a roadmap, and the person usually commits to achieving that duty by the next meeting.
In other masterminds when you have larger groups, sometimes there are monthly themes. Where everything you talk about that month has to do with the theme.
“When considering a mastermind, be ready to do the work. Be ready to be laser focused and use valuable advice that is not available anywhere else.”
Kelly Harrell Tails Around Town
Jump Mastermind Founding Member.
They Are Member Driven:
Just like you can’t be absent and it isn’t a coaching session, the true “mastermind” happens when all the group members put their heads together for the common good of the group. The group is driven by the memberships ability to support one another.
“Being in a Mastermind Group helps you to break through your fear and make some powerful choices that you would not otherwise have done. It helps you to GET REAL with yourself and your business. Everyone in the group has something to bring to the table. If you have a challenge, you can get some answers from someone in the group that has probably gone through it before and can help you. It is all about sharing because the members of a mastermind group tend to be so open about their past mistakes and so open to helping.”
Maureen Dunn Mccarthy Love and Kisses Pet Sitting
Jump Consulting Founding Member
The Leadership of The Group Matters:
Although it isn’t a coaching group, the leader of the group should have some clout with the members. They are the captain of the ship leading and guiding the group down the road. Leadership will help create topics, have experts come in, keep the tone of the group, enforce the rules, keep the meetings on target. They will also hand select or approve the group members entering the group so you can be assured that there has been some vetting done.
Alternatively, if there is a leader who doesn’t have resources, knowledge, or authority over leading a group of people, it might end up being a bit chaotic. I’d ask yourself, how much do you believe in the leader?
“The most important thing for any business owner deciding what mastermind to join is who the founder is. Are they the rare individual who has the charisma, eloquence, grit, heroism and, above all, love to believe in you when you’re battle-scarred and you don’t even believe in yourself? Do they have a plan and vision for the people they bring together? Do they understand what it takes to succeed from deep inside? Do they challenge and drive you to walk up the mountain to see the planets align for the first time in all your years of business and life?”
Asha Olivia Hoby Dogy
Jump Consulting Mastermind Member
There is Usually an Investment:
What separates one group from another? Cost.
You will automatically value something if you have to invest your hard-earned money. If you didn’t invest, you have nothing to lose and often the way to treat “it” will change. Just think the last time you were given something for free vs something you had to save up and buy? You valued the one that took a lot of work to acquire!
Masterminds have a wide range of costs. I have heard of some as much as $60,000 a YEAR and I have heard of some at $19 a month. The cost also creates exclusivity. Not everyone can just join. There is an investment to have your seat, to have the privilege, of being around a group of like-minded individuals. Cost should be a factor that you should consider as a tool that ensures that you are surrounded by serious people.
You Need To Show Up Consistently!
Masterminds rely heavily on the group all being present. Regular meetings require that you get to know one another so attendance is a must! Even if the group doesn’t have you in the hot seat that day, there is still a lot you can learn from others going through challenges in their business and you might have the key piece of advice that help that business owner.
The group is only as good as the members that show up! If no one showed up, there would be no group. It also helps hold members accountable.
“You have to understand the group takes time to participate and that you have to be prepared to: -take time to invest in yourself by achieving your goals which may mean you work more at first to reap the benefit of letting go. -be pushed by your peers -get exceptional advice from other bus owners like you from their own trial and errors. “
Katie Westerfield Homeward Bound Pet Care
Jump Mastermind Founding Member
Is a Mastermind Right For You?
It is always tough to tell if the Mastermind would be right for you. At the very least, I think you should contact the organizer of the group you are looking to join because they will be able to tell you.
Now, if you are like me, you are probably saying, “yeah right Bella! They just want to “sell” me to join the group” But here is the thing – it actually hurts them if you aren’t the right fit and join. One bad apple could through the entire group mojo off and the group leader
If you are at the point in your business you want to be held accountable, feel like you want to take your business to the next level but need a bit of group think to expand your horizons and cheer you on… a Mastermind could be for you. It is just as much about giving as receiving and the networking that naturally happens in these groups tends to create forever friendships!
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December is here! That means snow, cold weather, the holidays, and time with the family. As a pet sitting business owner, it also means that you’re gearing up for the busiest month of the year. Many clients will be taking trips out of town for Christmas and New Years, which means that you will have a full plate with pet sits and dog walks. It’s important to make sure that your website is up to date and ranking on Google during the holiday season since many pet owners will be scouring the Internet trying to find the perfect pet care solution! Without further ado, here are some December pet sitting blog or video ideas:
4 December Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas
1. Holidays – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Years, & More!
It’s very common that a great portion of your clients will go out of town for Christmas & for New Years. After all, it’s one of the busiest times of the year for the airports. There will be tons of people in your area googling flights, hotels, and pet care – there’s where you come in! To make sure they can find you, here’s some examples of holiday-themed blogs you can write:
What Should I Get My Dog/Cat For Christmas?
Should I Include My Dog/Cat On My Holiday Card?
10 Easy Dog-Friendly Christmas Treats
New Years Resolution From The Dog/Cat, To You
The list goes on and on!
2. Baby, It’s Cold Outside!
Weather is a great topic to write or talk about, because many pet owners are not too sure how to care for their pets in extreme weather. Since December is very cold and snowy, write some blogs (or make videos) educating your clients on how they can care for their pets during the Winter season:
5 Ways To Exercise With My Dog When It’s Too Cold Outside
4 Games To Play With My Dog In The Snow
Can My Dog Get Sick From Being Outside In The Cold?
Is It Possible For My Dog To Get Frostbite?
These are just a few ideas, but if you think on it a little while I am sure you’ll come up with more interesting questions worth answering! If you have a good question, research it and then blog about it!
3. Winter Games & Activities
Admittedly, there’s not a whole lot of games that dogs can play outside in freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall (at least not ones that are very long!). But don’t let this stop you from writing or talking about other activities pet owners can do with their animals indoors while they’re waiting for the weather to warm up!
Try searching the Internet for games that dogs and their owners can play in the snow, such as hide-n-go seek with a treat. Compile a list! Or, write/talk about some indoor activities pet owners can engage in with their dogs and cats such as snuggling, watching movies, playing with indoor toys, taking naps, and more.
Are there restaurants in your area that are pet-friendly? Make a list, describe each one, and use it as a blog! You can also do this for hiking/walking trails and stores (preferably ones with holiday bargains!)
4. Don’t Forget About The Pet Educational Themes Of The Month
There are only a couple of themes for December but they are still worth considering writing or talking about:
National Cat Lover’s Month – Write a blog or make a video on why cats are so loved!
National Mutt Day (December 2nd) – Write a blog or make a video on why mutts are so loved!
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The Fall season is coming to an end, and Winter is quickly approaching as we enter into November. So what does this mean for you as a business owner? Well, it means Thanksgiving and Black Friday are coming up, the weather is starting to change, and people will be taking a number of holiday trips! The opportunities to market and gain new clients are endless. But how will these potential clients find you? Through your blog of course! Read on for a November pet sitting blog ideas I have compiled in order to drive traffic to your blog and appeal to a new base.
4 November Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas
1. Holidays – Thanksgiving/Black Friday!
Many people go out of town for Thanksgiving weekend, since it’s a four day weekend for most. This means that there are a pool of potential clients in your area that will be looking for a solution to watch their pets when they’re away. That’s where you come in! You can write or talk about a number of Thanksgiving topics including:
Thanksgiving foods you can/can not feed your pets
Why your cat/dog is thankful for you/your pet sitter
Why pet owners are thankful for their pets
Hot Black Friday deals for pet toys/products
The list goes on and on!
2. Say Goodbye To Autumn, & Hello To Winter!
Weather is a great topic to write or talk about, since many pet owners are unsure on how to handle their pets in certain climates. A lot of questions arise when dealing with snowfall and below zero temperatures. Consider writing or talking about ideas such as:
What temperature is the ‘cut-off’ for walking my dog?
Should dogs wear snow booties while walking?
Does salt hurt my dog’s paws?
What happens if my dog eats snow?
These are just a few ideas, but brainstorm a little and you’ll be sure to come up with a lot of compelling questions worth answering!
3. Winter Games & Activities
Admittedly, there’s not a whole lot of games that dogs can play outside in freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall (at least not ones that are very long!). But don’t let this stop you from writing or talking about other activities pet owners can do with their animals indoors while they’re waiting for the weather to warm up!
Try searching the Internet for games that dogs and their owners can play in the snow, such as hide-n-go seek with a treat. Compile a list! Or, write or talk about some indoor activities pet owners can engage in with their dogs and cats such as snuggling, watching movies, playing with indoor toys, taking naps, and more.
Are there restaurants in your area that pet-friendlyndly? Make a list, describe each one, and use it as a blog! You can also do this for hiking/walking trails and stores (preferably ones with Black Friday deals!).
4. Consider The Pet Education Themes Of The Month
DogTipper.com is a great resource for learning all about monthly themes. To save you some time, here are the themes that you can write or talk about for November:
Adopt A Senior Pet Month (ASPCA). Write a blog or make a video about why adopting senior pets is worth it!
Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Make a blog or video about early cancer warning signs/symptoms, treatment methods, prevention tools, and more.
Pet Diabetes Month. Write a blog or make a video about early diabetes warning signs/symptoms, treatment methods, prevention tools, and more.
National Dog Show (American Kennel Club). Broadcast yearly on Thanksgiving! Be sure to tell your clients where/when/how they can watch!
National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week (The US Humane Society) – November 5th – 11th. You can talk about the benefits that shelters provide to homeless animals, and why it’s always better to adopt and not shop!
National Take A Hike Day (November 17th). Encourage your clients to take some time to take their dog on a hike! Be sure to give them a choice of some stellar local hiking trails.
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Since my last post on credit card processing and pet sitting software companies, I have gotten lots of questions about how credit card rates are determined. I know it is a taboo topic we don’t often talk about. The purpose of writing this is to be able to use it as a resource again and again.
I take personal responsibility for everything I publish, and genuinely want to help every business become educated on a messy and confusing topic.
That’s why I haven’t written this alone.
I am not the authority on merchant services, also known as “credit cards” in our Facebook forums, so I decided to go straight to the experts I know, like, and trust.
Tiered Pricing vs Interchange Plus Pricing?
Since the post of my recent blog where I shed some light on what was happening with credit cards and one pet sitting software, I was asked a few questions. The most popular was, “Do the people I work with offered a tiered pricing program or do they use the Interchange Plus Pricing model?” This pet sitter was hearing that the Tiered Pricing Model wasn’t the best choice.
I thought it was a great question so I reached out to my contacts and spent 20 minutes on the phone learning about what determines credit card rates and taking notes for this article.
I am going to tell you what I discovered, but first, I am going to explain the two. If you are like me, I didn’t know and I really didn’t care as long as I was in love with my rate (which I am, of course!)
This is when a company creates buckets and all cards fall into one of the buckets. Each bucket has its own percentage and that is what the card will be charged. Some buckets make the credit card company more money and some buckets make the company less money. The customer who is charging the cards will only see as many rates on their bill as how many buckets their cards fell into.
Interchange Plus Pricing
This is a system where it acknowledges that there are thousands of cards out there. On your statement, you will see a different fee for all cards including the upcharge that the company decided to add onto it. This statement might be a little harder and confusing to look at as the customer but allows cards not to be grouped together.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both models.
To answer the question I received: The company I work with uses both.
It is why looking at people’s statements is so important to see what cards they are already currently charging and then find the plan that best fits them. They gave me an example that a donut shop might have different types of transactions than a hotel and that made perfect sense. Different volumes, amounts, and probably types of cards.
You actually might remember that person who I just helped save $8700!She would have saved some by taking the flat 2.9% offer but ended up double because she had the negotiating power with many companies and chose against the software that would lock her into a higher rate of 2.9% causing her thousands of dollars.
You Could End Up Paying a Lot More In Your Credit Card Rates Than What They Courted You For:
What a certain software system is trying to claim “you could end up paying a lot more than what they courted you for”is actually true! Many merchant services operate like this. They bait you with a great rate and then switch or raise you as time goes on. In fact, the one you are with right now, might actually have raised your rates already and you have been too busy to even notice. After all, your payments are probably on auto-deduct, right?
What this software company says is true….. if you don’t know where to go.
How Do You Know Which Is Best For You?
Different businesses will have different trends like the hotel and donut shop I mentioned earlier.
It all depends and this is why it is SO important to have someone that you can know, like, and trust walking side by side with you. They should be able to explain credit card rates and fees and even re-evaluate things with you as your business grows. I can easily see how a dog walking company would vary differently than a pet sitting company simply because of the spending habits of their different clients.
What’s My Motive?
It is to help you. I have spent ten years in this industry looking through your profit and loss statements, looking where you could increase profits and cut costs. We have agonized on how to pick the best rate to charge so you can achieve your personal financial dreams. We have celebrated and cried together. A business coach with no successful clients isn’t a good business coach at all. So what I am trying to do here is make you successful. Make you keep some of your hard-earned money. I am trying to encourage you to not procrastinate a horribly stressful and confusing task that every business owner needs to pay attention to at least once a year and let you know that there is help.
I am begging you to not just say OK when someone gives you a flat rate without fully understanding the implications of what that really means. It might be good. It might be bad. My motive is to arm you with an education so you can make the best choice for you and that you can literally take to the bank.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Depositphotos_10324856_m-2015.jpg6671000Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2017-10-04 04:00:192019-01-26 22:07:28How Are Credit Card Rates Calculated For My Pet Sitting Company?
I couldn’t understand when a handful of clients came to me and said they couldn’t use more than one credit card processor in their pet sitting software system. (They all had the same one.)
It bugged me, as their coach, looking out for their bottom line…. so I reached out to their software company.
The pet sitting software company is very popular, newer, and always improving. Admittedly, they even have a lot of great bells and whistles including a feature that only one other company has.
They are cutting edge.
Always making improvements.
Quick to send and reply to emails.
Overall, they appear to be pretty darn awesome!
So I asked them, “Why can’t my clients use another processor other than the one you are encouraging?” and their reply was basically that they had problems when they had multiple credit card processing companies and they had to only choose one to support.
They said that many were using one processor in particular, so it is the one they decided to “support” on their app.
It didn’t really make sense to me, as they are so cutting edge… but I accepted their response.
Wait….This Pet Sitting Software Company Does Offer Multiple Processors to Accept Credit Cards?!?
A few days later, I had a conversation with another client of mine. She was using this same pet sitting software company AND using a credit card processor who was different than what they said they could support. So I went back to this company and they said some people were “grandfathered” in.
So now, I was really confused. Can you not support it or do you choose NOT to support it, and why?
Something Didn’t Add Up.
What DID add up was the dollars it was going to cost my client in credit card fees and the pet sitting software services. The pet sitting software company she wanted to switch to was double as expensive as what she was currently using. By switching software companies, she would have to switch credit card processors and it would be a fixed rate for processing.
That sounds stress free, right?
Maybe even a good thing?
In a world where there are thousands of credit card rates… knowing that you can count on being charged one percentage and one fee per transaction is pretty darn awesome…..right?
Or at least not all the time.
So I encouraged her to do the math.
Here is an example for those of you reading this:
This breakdown is Credit Card Fee/Total Revenue per Year/Cost of Credit Cards
2% of $500,000 is $10,000
3% of $500,000 is $15,000
4% of $500,000 is $20,000
Or, another example:
2% of $200,000 is $4,000
3% of $200,000 is $6,000
4% of $200,000 is $8,000
This Pet Sitter Did The Math.
She realized that switching pet sitting software companies would double her cost in software (from around $200 a month to $400). Although, this new software company COULD save her some money in her credit card fees… so it sounded enticing.
And that is where many pet sitting companies stop their research and education.
When all was said and done, if this pet sitter didn’t switch software companies and lowered her rate to the competitive company, she could save a lot of money in a year. In fact,
Switching Her Pet Sitting Software Company Would Cost An Extra $8,700.00 A Year!
Over $8,000 difference!
You could buy a small car for that price!
Or 4 MacBook Pro’s!
Or even 4 brand new websites!
That is a ton of money, and for this pet sitter, it was too much money.
She decided to stay with her current software company and switch credit card processing companies to save those thousands of dollars.
Learning About Kick Backs
Kickbacks are something that when a person recommends a product or service, they get something in return. Sometimes they are called referrals. This day in age the big buzzword is affiliate marketing. I earn kickbacks for some things I recommend… but not all. For example, when someone signs up for credit card processing through my contact, I get a referral fee.
So this idea really got me thinking.
How can a company that advertises that they are always making improvements not make THIS improvement and how can their software be so robust that it GPS’s walkers, but they can’t take more than one payment processor?
Yet, I know they can because I have clients doing it?
So… I Called Up WePay.
WePay is much like Stripe, Square, etc. They are an interface that allows businesses to accept credit cards for a low cost without using a gateway. The way the credit card industry works is with lots and lots of numbers and rates. It is a volume based business because the more processing that happens, typically, the better rate businesses can be offered.
This works many ways.
I talked to WePay and you know what they told me? If I was a software company, I could offer 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction to my customers who were using my software.
Once my clients reached a total of $250,000.00 in charges a month, then I could start making money on the back end. I could negotiate with WePay for a larger personal cut. I was told that the more money my clients charge each month, the more “wiggle” room I could have. So it would go something like this:
2.9% charged to my software users (they are all business owners)
I negotiate 2.5% behind the scenes with WePay and they still charge my customers 2.9%
That extra .4% will go directly to me on the back end as a profit share.
Let me use actual numbers:
$500,000 in revenue a month.
multiplied by .4%
=$2,000 a month
If you are a software company and have at LEAST 100 clients charging at least $10,000 a month…. that is $1,000,000 in revenue a month. That could be $4,000 a month they are making off credit card processing if they were only earning .4%
There are so many variations, and it is hard to estimate anything, but it is safe to say that a software company could make a LOT of money off the charges that my customers make.
While discussing the possibilities with WePay, and telling them I was in the pet industry, they actually named the software company that does this exact type of deal with them and how great it works out.
And Now It All Makes Sense
Listen, I want to be super clear – this is the way that credit card processing works and I am not against it. I am not even against this software company having another revenue stream.
What I am against is the feeling of YUCKY that sits with my clients and I when we asked this software company a direct question and got (what we feel) smoke and mirrors.
Essentially they have the most expensive software (all the power to them!) and they seem to hide the fact that they make money off of that too. I just don’t like that it appears like they are not telling the whole truth or being upfront. Not to mention they are leading their clients to think that they are getting a great deal.
In a world where transparency and authenticity is golden online, I would really encourage them (because I know they will eventually read this) to come clean. So many people would have so much more respect for them.
We aren’t against them making money. We all have choices and business decisions to make. It is more about their refusal to disclose it.
I find it challenging to encourage my clients, whose best interest I serve, to tell them to use a software that is the most expensive, and then they have no negotiating power with their credit card fees on. For that reason, I can never recommend this software.
Know Your Rights With Credit Card Processing:
These are all according to me and what I have learned. Nothing legal about what I am about to share *wink*
Shop rates like you would your home mortgage.
Ask your current company to reduce your rate. If they can’t, see #1.
Go with the company with the best customer service and rates.
Know that you have the right to have your own personal contact at the credit card company. You should be able to call or email them and they know about you and your business.
Understand that rates change based off what is going on in the world, your volume, and a bunch of other reasons that make my head spin.
Get someone on your business team (a rep) that you can know and trust!
If you get an 800 number and are just a fish in the sea, run!
Online reviews will ALWAYS be bad. They are full of people upset, especially when it comes to credit card processing. It shouldn’t hold much weight.
My Final Advice:
You have to be an advocate for your business. You need to know your numbers on a global scale. You need to know projections, if you are up or down, the average price of a visit/walk, how much it costs you, how much you’re spending in labor, how much you want to make, and HOW MUCH you are spending! If you have no clue, my Pricing Structure & Strategy Guide can set you straight.
You can’t stick your head in the sand. It is one of the most important responsibilities as a business owner. Know your numbers or at least know how to recall them in reports that are up to date and at your fingertips.
When choosing a pet sitting software company decide on the features that are most important to you and see what company can serve you the best. My top three would be customer service, ability to negotiate credit cards rates, and how they will help improve my processes. My top three, might not be your top three.
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Depositphotos_11020907_s-2015.jpg333500Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2017-09-27 16:58:082018-08-29 09:59:33The Truth About Credit Card Processing And Pet Sitting Software Companies
It can be a scary moment in any dog walking business when you start to notice a decline in new clients. While dog walking clients are usually consistent in their bookings, there’s no telling when a loyal client may choose to stop service. This is why it’s SO important to consistently have new clients coming down the pipeline. Easier said then done right? Let’s discuss some of the challenges that dog walking business owners encounter when trying to gain more dog walking clients, and how you can overcome them.
The Problems With Getting More Dog Walking Clients
One of the reasons many dog walking business owners aren’t gaining new clients is because they don’t ASK! I’m officially giving you permission to overcome that barrier – don’t be afraid to ask for new clients through your marketing! Plus, you want to make sure you’re promoting your business on every platform you have an account for. This can be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media marketing. Note that this doesn’t have to necessarily be advertising – you could simply be solving people’s problems via Facebook and then boosting that post for $5 or so. Or, maybe you are sending out email newsletters or writing blogs. Don’t forget to keep track of how much interaction and engagement each platform has, so that you can determine for yourself what the best social media marketing channels are.
Keep in mind that with any marketing cycle, you may not see results right away. That’s why I say consistency is key. The more you market and the more you brand, the more your business becomes a household name. Growth takes time, so be sure to stick with one marketing effort for a few months. Track your results, and if you notice that you’re not getting much feedback, change it up! Just allow adequate time for your marketing to run its course, which will help you really determine if your marketing is working.
Maybe you’re consistent in your marketing, but are you doing enough (and spending enough)? Marketing is definitely an investment, so you have to be smart about how to get the most bang for your buck. Also be sure you’re investing in marketing both online AND offline. As the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. Spending your money on marketing is really the best way to grow and scale your business – given that you’re working smarter NOT harder. To help you with this process, be sure to check out my one year pet sitting business marketing plan I designed for you.
Even more so than money, time can be a commodity you have very little of as as dog walking business owner. I see a lot of business owners that are just so busy in the day-to-day aspects of their business, that they literally have no time to spend on marketing. Don’t let this be you! Design systems and processes to prevent this from happening. When you are being buried by your business, you absolutely NEED to make sure you have clients in the pipeline to stay afloat.
Remember those Facebook posts, email newsletters, and blogs I mentioned above? I recommend writing a batch at once and then scheduling them! Almost all content platforms have a scheduling feature now – so take advantage of it! But if blog writing, email writing, and Facebook status creation isn’t your forte, let me do it for you here through my Better Marketing With Bella Program.
Okay – so I think we’ve established that gaining new dog walking clients is definitely no easy task. There’s a lot of problems dog walking business owners run into for sure. But I think we’ve also determined that there are a number of ways we can overcome those problems. If you still feel lost, let’s work on it together – I am here to help!
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/dog-walking-clients.png500500Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2017-09-06 06:00:522018-06-06 13:14:53The Problems With Getting More Dog Walking Clients
Summer is coming to an end and we are quickly approaching the Fall season. But what does this mean for you as a business owner? Well, it means the kids are going back to school, Labor Day is coming up, and there are numerous opportunities for you get new clients. However, they will never know you exist unless you BLOG or VIDEO – it is a necessity! I know that coming up with blog/video topics is difficult, so I’ve compiled a list of intriguing September pet sitting blog ideas that will help your website shine on Google!
4 September Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas
1. Holidays – Labor Day!
Labor Day can mean two good things for you as a business owner.
The kids are going back to school.
People will be taking trips
Many people in your area might be trying to figure out what they are going to do with their dogs now that their kids will be gone all day. Why not answer their question by writing a blog or making a video? Discuss different pet care options where you live and make your business shine by showing (not telling) why your service is #1.
Also, consider writing about Labor Day. Write a blog or make a video about different events going on around town or ways people can celebrate with their families. It may get your clients’ thinking about taking a trip if they weren’t already, and sure enough, they’ll need you to watch the dog – score!
2. Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!
The weather is a great topic to blog or video about because it’s very broad and there are so many different directions you can go.
September can be pretty rainy, so why not blog or video about it? Ask and answer questions such as:
Is it safe to walk a dog in the rain?
Should dogs wear raincoats or rain boots when walking in the rain?
Can dogs get sick walking in the rain?
The questions are endless and will engage your audience to click and find out the answer.
3. Autumn Activities
Changing of the seasons allows pet owners and their pets alike to engage in activities they might not have been able to do the season before.
For instance, make a list of the top hiking trails in your area with the most scenic view? Summer is too hot for hiking, plus the changing of the leaves makes great scenery. Write about it and get your audience thinking!
Or maybe blog/video about some of the best games to play with your dog outside during Autumn. Other topics could include a list of the top dog parks in the area, dog-friendly restaurants, or other pet-friendly events that may be going on around you.
4. Educational Pet Themes Of The Month
Did you know that every month has a specially designated theme that has to do with pets and animals? September is:
Happy Healthy Cat Month
National Disaster Preparedness Month
Take these topics and run with them. Write about helpful tips cat owners can use to ensure their cat is both happy and healthy. Or take the second topic and describe how dog owners and their dogs can be prepared in case of an emergency.
Additionally, there are certain pet oriented days in September that you can write time-sensitive blogs/videos about such as:
National Hug Your Hound Day (2nd Sunday In September)
https://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/dog-walking-clients-1.png500500Bellahttps://jumpconsulting.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/JUMP-CONSULTING-LOGO-2018-2-01-2.pngBella2017-08-30 06:00:152018-09-13 14:24:404 September Pet Sitting Blog Or Video Ideas
Good help is hard to find, as any business owner knows. With the variety of web-based services which offer Independent Contractor (IC) opportunities for aspiring pet sitters and dog walkers, why would a pet lover choose to work for a traditional business as a pet sitting employee rather than working independently and possibly bringing home more cash?
Becoming an employee of an established company offers lots benefits for folks who are interested in caring for pets. When considering how to proceed, it’s important that an individual consider several things. Below are the top 10 differences in working for an employer versus working for one’s self.
Ten Things You Need to Know About Being A Pet Sitting Employee VS. IC
1. Instant income
Possibly the most obvious benefit of working for someone else is the instant stream of work! Rather than posting a profile all over the internet, handing out business cards and hoping to meet people at the dog park, an established company already has visits lined up and ready to go for employees. There’s no need to hustle.
All of the marketing and client retention is completed by the company, which takes time (and money!). If a client is unhappy, employees are still paid. If tools or supplies are needed, it’s covered. An IC is financially responsible for all things related to the care they provide during visits they are contracted to complete.
Beyond covering overhead costs, a professional business will be insured and bonded by a reliable insurance company. Although some of the web-based services offer insurance, there have been several questionable situations where insurance refused to pay out – it can leave an IC open to liability.
4. Personal liability
When working under the umbrella of insurance and bonding provided by a corporation, employees are generally insulated from lawsuits claiming negligence or other civil suits; this is not the case when working as an IC.
5. Workers comp
Did you know many health insurance policies will not cover workplace injuries? Most professional pet care companies carry workers compensation insurance; this means, if an employee is injured while caring for a pet, there isn’t a reliance on private health insurance — or the employee’s personal bank account! Self-insurance for workers comp as an IC is available, but it can be very, very pricey.
With a professional company, clients are screened ahead of time for pet temperament, neighborhood safety and accuracy of information provided in advance of the first visit. Employees won’t go into a job blindly and just hope for the best.
An employer covers roughly half of taxes owed by an individual, plus they file the employee’s portion automatically each quarter. An IC must pay the full amount of taxes on all monies earned at the end of the year – and that bill can be unexpectedly large.
Most established companies have specific rules for how to handle uncomfortable and emergency situations. No need to make up a solution on the fly!
Beyond having established protocols, many companies teach technical skills on how to best care for pets including body language, avoiding bites, etc.
10. There’s Always A Back-Up
Feeling sick? Have an emergency? By being employed by a company, there will be someone who can pick up the slack when you’re unable to perform your visits. As an IC, you and your clients may be out of luck.
Ultimately, both approaches have their perks. It comes down to what’s most important to an individual when deciding how they would like to pursue a career with pets! By properly presenting the information above, an IC for an internet company may be persuaded to instead join a professional team.
Robin Brown is the owner and founder of Manhattan Mutt Company, LLC in Manhattan, Kansas. She is a Yankee-born, Southern-bred, Midwestern transplant. Her life revolves around her husband’s Army career, a sassy toddler and the dogs who inspired her to launch MMCo.
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